The Cathars from a Hindu perspective

In my post Thoughts on Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse I mentioned the Cathars. The Cathars were a sect who lived in Southern France from the 11th Century to the 14th century.

Cathars were were almost vegetarian (but did eat fish) and believed in reincarnation and were pacifist. They also believed that people have the divine spark within them, and are essentialy holy beings. They believed that men had to escape the bonds to the physical world (which they saw as corrupt) by purity and faith. These beliefs have obvious similarities with Hinduism, (the atman, ahimsa, and liberation through moksha).

There were also differences to Hinduism. The Cathars believed that the world was the creation of the Devil and was intrinsically evil. Liberation was through simplicity and truth and following the way of Jesus of the New testament. Jesus was seen as the true God, where as the Old Testament God was seen as Satan.

Despite these differences, I believe that this is another example of Sanatana Dharma, (the eternal truths of Hinduism) being revealed to people with no connection or knowledge to Hinduism. Again those pure of spirit are revealed the ways of God.

The Cathars unfortunately were eradicated by the Catholic church. Seeing their beliefs as heretical they persecuted them, eventually launching a violent crusade. The Catholics saw the difference in belief as a justification for slaughtering these peaceful people (and presumably because of papal infallibility still believe that it was the right course of action at the time). In Béziers it is claimed that 20,000 people were killed, including many women and children. The slaughter continued until The last known Cathar perfect in the Languedoc, Guillaume Bélibaste, was executed in 1321. There are, however a few people who are reviving the Cathar tradition (http://www.cathar.net/).

For more information on the Cathars see the Wikipedia Article.

4 responses to “The Cathars from a Hindu perspective

  1. Pingback: Analysis of “Christian Conversion” text. « Westerner Interested in Hinduism

  2. Pingback: Why Hinduism is the “Eternal way”, the true religion. « Westerner Interested in Hinduism

  3. Pingback: Why Hinduism is the "Eternal way", the true religion. | Western Hindu

  4. Pingback: Analysis of "Christian Conversion" text. | Western Hindu

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