Hinduism and Mystic Judaism

First of all let me say that this is a huge subject, of which I have only just scratched the surface. It would be possible to spend years studying Judaism, it has many subtleties and complexes that my brief study will have missed.

At first glance the key concept of the unity of God may appear as a direct opposite to the Hindu idea of one God with many manifestations. If we look at the Zohar, a collection of works on Kabbbalah (Jewish Mysticism) we can see that there is a concept of different aspects of God in the Jewish tree of life.

The Jewish Tree of LifeThis tree is made up of Sephiroth or aspects of God. The idea is that God can manifest in different ways. These have descriptions such as Binah, represtenting Understanding/ repentance/ reason, but also associated with “the higher mother”. Similarly relationships such as “bride” and “son” are represented in the tree of life. David R. Blumenthal, Professor of Judaic Studies, Emory University, Georgia, USA writes:

The historical interlude of the Christian reception of the Zohar in counterreformation Italy aside, it seems to me that a more profound theological question has arisen: If God can, indeed, have personalist dimensions as part of God’s own inner being, why should there be only three such dimensions? If God can, indeed, encompass different levels of being, all of which are equal within God’s inner-ness, why should there not be as many such levels as necessary? To put it clearly: If God’s being is plural, why only Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Why not Ineffability, Knowability (Father), Intuition (Mother), Grace (male), Judgment (female), Compassion (Husband), Eternity, Awe, Fecundity (male), and Providence (Bride, Mother) — all of which are equally integral to the divine whole? To put it in declarative form: The zoharic dialogue with the trinity leads to the statement: Three is not enough! God, in God’s fullness, is more than three. God, in Whose Image humanity is created, has more than three dimensions. The awesome complexity of the human personality — in which Image humanity is created — suggests that there are many more than three basic dimensions to God’s personhood. Indeed, if we, humans, are more than trinitarian, certainly God is more than three. (From Three is not enough).

This view certainly coincides with very closely with Hindu views of God. I think that the Judaic tree of life is described in abstract terms because of the biblical dictates against making images of God. This prevented Jewish mystics from using straightforward images as Hindus do.

This aspect of the Kabbalha corresponds closely with the Hindu Jnana Yoga. Judaism also has equivalent ideas to Bhakti Yoga. The founder of Hassidic Judaism Baal Shem Tov saw prayer and devotion as more important than the study of the Talmund and the tree of life. He also saw great importance on purity. He declared the whole universe, mind and matter, to be a manifestation of the Divine Being; that this manifestation is not an emanation from God, as is the conception of the Kabbalah by Mitnagdim, for nothing can be separated from God, echoing Advaita Vedanta.

There have also been attempts to show that the tree of life reflect the Yogic chakras. Altogether, there are striking parallels between Judaism and Hinduism. Some of these certainly emerged as mystical revelation. It is also possible that some of these concepts were within Judaism from the beginning, echoing the original true world religion.

25 responses to “Hinduism and Mystic Judaism

  1. Friend,
    Very interested to observe the similarity that you perceive between Judaism and Hinduism.
    I am keen to understand if there are similarities between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
    Would appreciate your kind comments.
    regards
    S Mohan

  2. Look Forward to yr comments

  3. Thanks for this nice article. I think I need to know more about Judaism.

  4. Pingback: Hindu Yamas and Niyamas and the Ten Commandments « Western Hindu

  5. A significant similarity between Judaism and Hinduism is that each person has an eternal soul (Atman) and that there is a greater God- or force (Brahman). The terminology is different and there are distinctions in the manifestations of God, but the basic concept is the same. This concept leads to an identical morality –that is paying respect to the eternal soul within each person and paying respect to a God outside of but a part of the soul.

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  7. There are many similarities between Hinduism and Judaism. As you wrote there are many similarities between Hindu Tantras & “mystical side Judaism.”

    For example, Star of David & The Six Points Star (SHATKONA) are identical. That YANTRA symbolically represents the union of PURUSHA and PRAKRITI or SHIVA-SHAKTI.

    1. Hinduism & Judaism are CULTURES. They are not organized religions like Islam and Christianity.

    2. In fact all Western religions like ISLAM and CHRISTIANITY originated from the MOTHER CULTURE Judaism.

    3. All eastern religions like BUDDHISM, SIKHISM, to some extend JAINISM originated from the MOTHER CULTURE Hinduism.

    4. Since Judaism and Hinduism are CULTURES, they never convert others to their respective CULTURE/RELIGIONS.

    5. Vedas are REVEALED FACTS. So too TORAH

    6. BOTH have lunar calendars in both traditions. The Gregorian Calendar we use now is the reformed reform of the Julian calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, which is a SOLAR CALENDER.

    7. Rishis did not start a religion. They just repeated what was revealed to them. Moses and Abraham did not found our religion; they were only agents of the divine.

    8. Neither HINDUISM nor JUDAISM proclaim monopoly on GOD or TRUTH. Neither proselytize, nor undermine or replace in any way the religious identities of other faith communities.

    9. GOD is not defined in BOTH. Hindus worship ONE & ONLY GOD Brahman which is nameless & formless [nama-roopa]. Judaism is based on monotheism. Which believes in one INDIVISIBLE GOD.

    10. Apart from all that, I see the symbolism behind the ORIGINAL SIN is HINDU MAYA about which I wrote in detail in my book AM I A HINDU? [www.amiahindu.com]

  8. Hi, I am very happy to see such a comparative study. It will help us to understand the mother cultures like hinduism and judaism to understand the progress of mankind. It attracts more, because of the focus of the spiritual commonality between two religions, which could be the only way religion/culture of intellect should be practised.

  9. Haveria possibilidade do hinduismo ter alguma relação com o judaismo baseando em datas ?

    Teria o Judaísmo(religião monoteista mais antiga) a mesma idade do Hinduismo(religião politeista mais antiga) ?

    Teste: 16/12/2009

    ..

    estamos no ano judaico 5570 (desde que moisés trouxe os mandamentos)
    o calendario judaico tem semelhante quantidade de dias com o calendario comum, a diferença é que um ano pode ter 12 meses e outro 13 alternadamente devido ao ciclo lunar

    estamos no ano hinduista 5236 (desde que krishna nasceu)
    o calendario hinduista tem semelhante quantidade de dias com o calendario comum

    diferença = 534 anos

    ..

    considerando a oscilação do calendario judaico que em um ano tem 12 meses e em outro 13 meses

    ..

    [calculo judaico]
    5570 /2 = 2785
    2785 x 12 meses = 33420
    2785 x 13 meses = 36205
    33420 + 36205 = 69625 dias

    ..

    [calculo hinduista]
    5236 x 12 meses = 62832 dias

    ..

    [calculando a diferença em dias]
    69625 – 62832 = 6793 dias de diferença
    Paulo diz (19:48):

    ..

    (pra ver a diferença exata entre dias e anos)
    6793 dias /534 anos = 12 meses = 1 ano de diferença

    entao.. primeiro antes de tudo
    eu fiz ano x meses pra saber em dias
    ok

    sabendo a diferença em dias
    deu 6793 dias de diferença
    calculado em dias

    mas antes de calcular tinha uma diferença de 534 anos

    entao eu calculei os anos com os dias pra ver se dava o tempo exato ou com diferença

    e a diferença mudou de 534 anos contando contando anoJudeu x anoHindu
    para diferença de 1 ano contando (12/13 meses anoJudeu) com (12 meses anoHindu)

    dividí a diferença anterior de anos com a diferença posterior em dias
    Acredito eu, que seja a resolução separando as metades de 5770 e multiplicando-as por 12 e 13

    deu diferença de um ano, que talvez pode ser explicado por algum ano lunar a mais ou a menos..
    ou por dias a mais ou a menos em ambos calendarios.

    Oo

    resumindo: entre todos esses mais de 5 mil anos

    as duas religiões começaram no mesmo ano
    coincidência ?

    • Thank you,
      That’s very interesting. The Hindu religion was already old when Krishna was born though, he was predated by Rama and worhip of Shiva had been going on as long as archaeological artefacts were found in the Indus valley. By the way, I don’t speak Portugese, I pasted your comment into Google translate!
      Namaste
      Chris

    • we are in the Jewish year 5570 (since Moses brought the commandments)
      The Jewish calendar has a similar number of days with the common calendar, the difference is that a year can have 12 months and another 13 turns due to the lunar cycle

      are Hindu year 5236 (provided that Krishna was born)
      The Hindu calendar has a similar number of days with the common calendar

      difference = 534 years

      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      As mentioned by Chris, Sanathana Dharma is much older.
      You have taken Lord Krishna’s Birth as Starting point of Hinduism, which is wrong.

      *********************************************

      Translation 🙂

      Como mencionado por Chris, Sanathana Dharma é muito mais antiga.
      Você tomou nascimento do Senhor Krishna como ponto de partida do Hinduísmo, o que está errado.

  10. To Paulo,
    I think it the comparison is not correct.[not just for wondering “if Krishna was born”] but the calender comparisson.We hindus have a complex calender that follows the sun and the moon and the stars .In fact there are five aspects which are determined as per our Almanac called “Pancha[five]Angam[parts]viz.Day,thithi[phase of moon],Nakshatram[the asterism of the day]and Yogam and karanam[which I request somebody to explain]. There are extra months in Hindu calenders also.
    Another fact is thet Sri Krishna is only the 8th of MahaVishnu’s 10 avatars.It is very uncertain to tell when exactly the hindu calender started.The closest we could get to dating the Hindu calender will be to date the Indus Valley civilization;even that will not tell the full truth as what is seen in the Indus is a civilisation that was quite advanced even then.So roughly it is between one or two millenia older than the Indus valley finds.According to some Historians the finds of the Indus valley pertaining to rituals and religion seem to echo/follow what has been laid down in the Rg Veda[the oldest Veda].

  11. Pingback: Hinduism and Judaism, mutual understanding | Western Hindu

  12. Hindisam and judisam have many many simmiler things! Abraham- is Rama ,Moses is similar

    As krishan,both gave the holy book to the world,Torah and Gita ,both Moses and krisna birth have similar coincidence of putting them in basket and cross the river to be gown by another mother ,Moses became the reason of biggest war by taken his people away frm egpit king and krisna was the main reason of mahabhart vectory ,with
    him pandava could never win ,

  13. Some spelling and type mistakes,..wihtout krisha padava could never win And without Moses juiesh people could never go over the river ,

  14. The origin of hinduism can be traced back and linked to abrahimic religion . In fact most of the religions today like judaism,christianity and islam are offshoots of ibrahimic religions and point a common source of knowledge,stories, customs and believes. During prehistoric days written text were not available so the important events, teachings and rituals were transmitted verbally through generations with distortions of facts due additions and deletions.Old testament describes the world events of creation of universe, stories of adam and eve, naoh, abraham. People of Abraham may have travelled to East reaching bringing with them stories of people before them to people of Harrappan valley and a new culture may have evolved over the time. In my opinion Noah and flood of his time became Manu of hinduism. Abraham was percieved as god and became brahma and his wife sara became saraswati.Vivid stories related to moses were attributed to Krishnna whose birth, persecutions, throwing into water all have similarities.krishna was saved by a snake. moses has miracle involving snakes.

    • If you look at the timeline I think you will find its the other way round, Noah and other Abrahamic stories originated in Sanatana Dharma.

      • Tandava you are completely right , i am no hindu, i was raised in a christian, and western environment. And even from this point of view, i know for sure that sanathana dharma is the only order for humankind. It has always existed across diferent ages and will always exist, yet at this age (kali) it dwindles.

  15. Its more than obvious that the highest place on Earth are the Himlayas, so the most logical place to land after the Great Flood are the Himalayas.

    There is a place in the Himalayas called Manali, which is also known as the Home of Manu which is where he landed after the great flood.

    However, he was the seventh Manu and there are in total 14 Manu. This means the great flood has happened 7 times before, and will happen 7 times again!

  16. Btw, Star of david is taken from the Heart chackra!

  17. are you not ethnically white, you are jewish, so……….get rid of your id blog name

    • Where do you get the idea that I am Jewish from? I am not Jewish and as far as I know have no Jewish ancestry. I do hold Judaism in high regard as another ancient non-proselytising religion.

  18. savingstone

    Being a graduate of a Hasidic Rabbinical Seminary, where ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish mystical tracts are studied, and having grown up with several Hindu friends, I would agree that there are many commonalities…However, between the Holocaust, which exterminated 2/3 of Europe’s Jewry (over 70% of those killed were religiously observant…i.e. orthodox) and the mass immigration out of continental Europe that saw increasing abandonment of Judaism, much of the Jewish population is exceedingly ignorant of the traditions of their forefathers…100 years ago this was not the case…this ignorance of their own faith coupled with the dominance of the Christian culture surrounding the Jews often gives rise to incorrect or “Christianized” descriptions of Judaism (such as “Messianic Christianity” or “Hebrew Christians”)…The author does a great job of not repeating these incorrect and inauthentic descriptions of Judaism and clearly took some time to address the authentic mystical side of Judaism.

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