Hinduism and Judaism, mutual understanding

Hindus and Jews share more than just a symbol

A few days ago I read some comments that were rather disparaging of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The commenter was a Hindu who lumped all Abrahamic religions together as proselytising and intolerant.  Of course there are many Christians and Muslims who are tolerant and accepting of other beliefs, but as far as Judaism is concerned the accusation misses totally, it goes against the faith’s basic teachings. Unfortunately the linked comments  are not the only time I have seen this “lumping together” of Judaism with Christianity and Islam on the web.

Judaism is not a proselytising religion. Though accepting converts, Judaism does not actively seek them. In fact traditionally people wanting to convert are turned away three times before being accepted. Jews do not want everyone in the world to become Jewish. Just like Hindus they believe that this is their way, but others may follow a different path. But what do Jews think about Hinduism?

Some Jews know that India is probably the only place where Jews have lived without persecution for centuries, and appreciate this.  Jews believe that non-Jews can be righteous if they follow the Noahide Laws. According to the Talmud these were laws given to Noah for all the non-Jewish people in the world. Jews believe that they have to conform to a much larger and more restrictive set of laws themselves. The seven laws are:

  1. Prohibition of Idolatry: You shall not have any idols before God ([who the Jews see as] Yahweh).
  2. Prohibition of Murder: You shall not murder. (Genesis 9:6)
  3. Prohibition of Theft: You shall not steal.
  4. Prohibition of Sexual immorality: You shall not commit any of a series of sexual prohibitions, which include adultery, incest, anal intercourse between men, and bestiality.
  5. Prohibition of Blasphemy: You shall not blaspheme God’s name.
  6. Dietary Law: Do not eat flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive. (Genesis 9:4, as interpreted in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 59a))
  7. Requirement to have just Laws: Set up a governing body of law (eg Courts)

There is no dispute that Hinduism traditionally meets laws two to six (see Hindu Yamas and Niyamas and the Ten Commandments), though the first has been a point of debate. Some Jews accepted that Hidus use the murtis as a means of worshipping God and not as objects of worship themselves, others did not. Generally Jews are more inclided to accept that Hindus meet the first law since a 2007 pronouncement by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel:

For the past 1,500 years or more, what in English is called “idolatry” has clouded Jewish perceptions of Hinduism. Happily, this issue may have been resolved once and for all at a February 2007 dialogue in New Delhi between members of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, a body which speaks with authority in the Jewish world, and the Dharma Acharya Sabha, a similarly august Hindu group. Led respectively by Rabbi Yona Metzger and Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the rabbis and the swamis issued a nine-point statement of principles, the first of which removed the “idolatry ” issue from the table: “Their respective Traditions teach that there is One Supreme Being who is the Ultimate Reality, who has created this world in its blessed diversity and who has communicated Divine ways of action for humanity, for different peoples in different times and places.

It is unfortunate that a lot of Jews don’t know about this pronouncement, and generally don’t understand the Hindu view of God. The Hindu belief in one God and created Devas (divine created beings) is similar in some ways to the Jewish belief in one God, angels and archangels. Many Jews think that Hindus believe in multiple equal Gods, and see this as idolatry.

I believe that there can be a lot of mutual understanding between Jews and Hindus. Both religions are tolerant of other faiths and non-proselytising, both believe in similar moral codes, and there are even similar philosophies in some sects. We really need Hindus and Jews to know enough about each other’s  beliefs to understand and accept this.

Picture from wikimedia and available under the the Creative commons license and the GNU Free documentation license.

50 responses to “Hinduism and Judaism, mutual understanding

  1. Fantastic post. Very inspiring. I just yesterday read Swami Dayananda’s own write-up about the Jewish-Hindu talks. That’s the kind of dialogue all the religions need.

  2. Shan Barani

    Many leading Hindus felt that Swami Dayanand Saraswati, grovelled to the jewish priesthood

    There are many Hindu traditions that are idolatrous and polytheistic, as opposed to Dayanand’s sanitised version of Hinduism

    Maimonaides the medieval jewish thinker condemned Hinduism for idolatry and polytheism, this at a time when the monotheist non-idolatrous Muslims and Christians were severely persecuting jews and the Hindus even gave the jews a mini-Kingdom in Kerala, ( Anjuvannam )

    While judaism does not actively convert, at its heart it has hatred for gods other than Yahweh. Islam and Christianity expanded on this hatred
    Buddhism for example is a missionary religion, but does not have intolerance and hatred for other gods like Judaism

    In the past, present and future, jews will receive persecution from fellow abrahamists and not from eastern idolators

    There is also a fundamental disconnect between Hinduism and Judaism

    Hinduism has explicitly feminine deities
    Hinduism also views entire creation including Animals, Plants, Nature as divine whereas in Genesis, Yahweh tells Man to exploit nature

    Hindus have to follow their own religion and not bend it to fit into the jewish mold

    Myself, Idolator, Polytheist and proud of it

    Polytheism is fundamentally tolerant, whereas monotheism leads to fights

    Judaism in the past has resorted to forced conversion,
    Herod’s tribe was forcibly converted to Judaism circa 100 BC

    The current non-conversion stance of Judaism dates from the time of Constantine, since the Church would violently attack the jews if they tried to convert christians

    At Vijayvaani.com, there is a series of articles by Hindu and Jain leaders criticising Swami Dayananda for grovelling to the jewish leadership and trying to fit Hinduism into an abrahamic framework

    The jews have a choice
    They can work with the scripturally correct Muslims and Christians who persecute them or they can work with the scripturally incorrect Hindus and Buddhists who would never persecute them

    It is the jews who need to do some soul searching, and question the intolerant Yahweh
    Why is it that the only persecution they have faced in the last 1500 years has come from fellow abrahamists who follow the Noahide laws

    • Namashkar Shan,
      I will have to read what Swami Dayanand Saraswati to the Jews, I am unfamiliar with it. I agree that we should not sanitise or change Hinduism in any way to accommodate the beliefs of others. We should explain it as it is. I think that the language you are using is going too far in the opposite direction, making it very difficult for Jews to accept.

      With the possible exception of some small sects Hindus believe in one uncreated, unborn God, and created Lords or Devas. I think that the translation of both Ishvara and Deva as “God” means that a lot of Westerners and Jews don’t know that we have this distinction. The major difference between Hindu attitudes to God and the Devas and the Jewish attitude to God and Archangels is that we believe that God wants us to worship the Devas, and typically lord Ganesha is worshipped at the start of a ceremony.

      If Jews (or anybody else) understands this and cannot accept it, then that is fine. I think that it would be a shame though if Jews who could accept this thought that we had many equal Gods, i.e. did not put the ultimate God first and rejected Hindus for something that is basically false.

      Similarly Jews should be aware that the murtis are not idols that are worshipped themselves, but Icons to represent God and be a focus for God in our worship. If they understand this and don’t accept it, again that’s fine, but again they should not reject a false understanding.

      Also, what you say about Jewish non-conversion attitude coming because of Christian persecution doesn’t ring true. Certainly by new testament times they were not criticising the Romans and the Greeks for their beliefs, but for interfering with Jewish beliefs. Perhaps someone Jewish can comment on this.
      Aum Shivaya

      • Dear Tandava;
        You made some good points on the fact that Eastern Faiths do not abuse other faiths, or each other. What I think you missed is that G-d is tolerant; “All of the nations of the world are sanctified by Me…”
        That Jews have forced other tribes to convert is not something to be proud of, any morethan the English absorbing Scotland into their kingdom. But sometimes war efforts in certain type of leaders can cause less than positive results. But, maybe G-d has a “hand” in this, as well?
        Anyway, herod aside, we all have to deal with today. I suggest that we look for and find positive ways to do so, and to repair the world we are in, so that the good interaction we see between Jews and Hindus can become universal.
        Then the rtue Moshiac can come and do his work, and all shall beblessed.

    • “Many leading Hindus felt that Swami Dayanand Saraswati, grovelled to the jewish priesthood”

      Who are they? Where can we read their comments?

      “Maimonaides the medieval jewish thinker condemned Hinduism”
      “Herod’s tribe was forcibly converted to Judaism circa 100 BC”

      This has no bearing on the present.

    • Judaism does not have a hatred for other religions. If you were taught that it wasn’t by actual Jews even if you claim so.

  3. DNA analysis shows that the Ashkenazi jews are a 50-50 blend of Greco-Romans and Palestinians. At the time of Tiberius, about 10% of the Roman empire was jewish and the jews did do a vigorous conversion drive

    The brahmin class and the elite may believe in the one ultimate god, but the masses are idolatrous and polytheist and nothing wrong with it. There are many strands of Hinduism , and many are Tantrist, not vedantic ( more palatable to westerners )

    The jews dont have to accept us. All I can tell the jews is that we have never persecuted them, whereas their fellow noahides have tried to exterminate them and ask them to revisit their theology, based on the last 1500 years of real world experience

    The koran is a rehashed version of the old testament
    Personally of the koran, the old testament and the new testament, I find the new testament as more humane
    The old testament is even more violent than the koran. Yahweh commits genocide, asks his followers to commit genocide, against those worshipping other gods
    Yahweh even asks his followers to kill women and children, except virgins who can be ‘used’. Whereas even the koran is more humane and asks that women and children be sold into slavery instead of being killed outright.

    The only reason that we are having this conversation is that in recent times, Jews dont have the missionary urge. The underlying noahide theology is the same as for islam and christianity

    It was the Roman reprisals after the Jewish wars, that forced the jews into a more non-violent rabbinical mode, instead of the earlier prophetic mode

    Abrahamism, divorces the creator from creation

    @Art, visit Vijayvaani.com and read articles by Sandhya Jain

    Gore Vidal

    The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved –Judaism, Christianity, Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal –God is the omnipotent father– hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. The sky-god is a jealous god, of course. He requires total obedience from everyone on earth, as he is in place not for just one tribe but for all creation. Those who would reject him must be converted or killed for their own good. Ultimately, totalitarianism is the only sort of politics that can truly serve the sky-god’s purpose. Any movement of a liberal nature endangers his authority and that of his delegates on earth. One God, one King, one Pope, one master in the factory, one father-leader in the family home.

  4. @Shan Barani,

    I am the one who started this (Anonymous in Aamba’s Post ) , Yes this is what I Meant, in my comment , Intolerance came from Judaism, period. They are paying the price for that till now.
    Hinduism is Hinduism – We don’t need any kind recognition from any other religion , we will follow what we believe , You follow the Killer GOD, Dead Jew Or THE PIMP We don’t care. But Leave US.

    • S,
      One of the things that I think is good about Hinduism is the tolerance, the idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the world as one family. We don’t need recognition from any other religion, but in the interests of living together we should try to understand each other. If someone understands what Hindus believe and doesn’t like it that’s one thing. If someone has an incorrect understanding of Hinduism and has worse relations because of that then it is a shame.
      Aum Shivaya

      • You know whats a shame?

        Saying this Theosophical crap “They are paying the price for that till now.”.

        Colluding against Jews, and then masking it behind “Karma”, is very poor theology.

        Those who incite this hatred know full well the freedom of their actions. Those who mindlessly go along with it, to a lesser extent, because of ignorance, have less to feel ashamed of. But planning against the Jews, and Israel, as the upper classes have been doing for quite too long….thats not Karma. Thats just human malice, taken to repulsive proportions.

    • In reply to this: “DNA analysis shows that the Ashkenazi jews are a 50-50 blend of Greco-Romans and Palestinians.”

      First. Judaism is a religion, and the religion just happens to be one fit to a particular location, for a particular type of person. So, in truth, anyone, whether they be from the levant or elsewhere, can become a Jew and so attached to the region held sacred to the historical Judeans/Hebrews.

      In reply to: “At the time of Tiberius, about 10% of the Roman empire was jewish and the jews did do a vigorous conversion drive”

      I agree. Judaism was becoming quite popular and many early writers make that clear. Seneca, Tacitus, among others, referred to a certain kind of Roman Citizen who became attached to the Hebraic concept of God as a “God fearer”, this being, according to Judaism, the root meanig of the Mosaic revelation; that people born into this world have to adhere to a certain moral standard. And by this, he will draw done the influence of the being of reality (YHVH) into the vessel of his creation (Elohim, same numerical value as nature – Hateva, aswell as Kos – “cup”, Kli YHVH “vessel of YHVH”. This being an example of the mysteries of the Hebrew language).

      Anyways. So what could the Romans – Pagans, who shared a great deal with Hinduism, as is known.

      I notice that the concept of the demiurge is integral to Hinduism. Anyways, clearly, the Greeks and Romans shared this Hindu conception of the Jewish God, and took it to its logical end. Opposing Judaism through the creation of a Krishnaite Religion. Krishnaism is very much like Gnosticism, and Gnosticism is the core ethos beneath the Christian myth.

      So, Christianity was a Roman response to Judaism; containing the core ethos of Krishnaism (one could very well find the source of this demiurgic belief in Egypt, in which Horus serves as the Hindu Krishna), and in one full sweep, they counter and displace Judaism – the Hebrew Bible, and arrogate its prophecies to its own new paradigm, the new testament, which appears to be a compilation of Hellenistic, Egyptian, Babylonian, Zoroastrian and Hindu thought.

      In reply to:”The brahmin class and the elite may believe in the one ultimate god, but the masses are idolatrous and polytheist and nothing wrong with it.”

      Thats interesting. Some people believe that the “gifts” Abraham sent off with his wife Keturah and her retinue was the occult knowledge of the Brahmins, based on the similarity between the sounds Abraham and Brahman. Could be coincidence.

      In Reply to: “The only reason that we are having this conversation is that in recent times, Jews dont have the missionary urge. The underlying noahide theology is the same as for islam and christianity”

      Im actually someone of this Noahide inclination. I study all religion, but ive found the greatest depth and mystery in Judaism. Its the Hebrew language which tilts the balance, but overall its because im intrigued by the “unity” between the upper yichud (unity) and the lower yichud. Or, the unity between the experience of Gnosis, and our responsibility in this space-time dimension to establish a unity with the upper unity by perfecting the “vessel” of this lower dimension.

      Hinduism is a tremendously sophisticated religion and i have much respect for it. I also have a great deal of respect for the author of this thread, leaning as he is, in good will, to establish closer relations between Jew and Hindu, all creations of the unknowable one.

      On another philosophical note. We can never rid ourselves of that basic fact of Why and How, for what are we in this world. You can explain it away as a “projection” etc, but it doesnt explain anything of WHY we are here, and for what purpose.

      Judaism, and its 7 noahide laws provides that why. To make this world the ‘abode’ of the infinite presence, in which both parties – two sides to one coin, play their part in the song of creation.

      also, what horribly bad taste of you to quote Gore Vidal. Judaism DOES NOT, and it pure libel to generalize like this, mistreat women. Anyone remotely acqainted with the Talmudic, or Rabbinical literature, or even a rudimentary knowledge of Judaism would know that women have always been valued and cherised.

      Infact, according to the kabbalists, every day in Gods 7 days of creation, a more advanced creation was created. The last thing God created was Eve. Eve represented the purpose and point of creation; that this world, this separation, this world of disinction, become melted back into the infinite unity through our labor, our righteous actions, and love for one another.

      But to prevent us from losing our way, the infinite reminds us to remember our purpose: to fear him, is to remember why we are here, and to what purpose. Fear thus provides a container; a receptacle to contain something else.

      Some people, i know some hindus do, think this is a grave evil. Theres a certain paranoia about this idea; it must be a demiurgic fallacy; a projection of our individualized egos into the external world.

      That isnt a fair assumption.

      The unity of the upper world and the lower world. Perhaps our being here points something out about our nature? Is it not logical to infer our dependance? In this individualized state? Why are we individualized, and to what purpose? Perhaps, by ourselves, we are a mere ray of the infinite, but together, when we recognize the one infinite unity interpenetrating all of existence, who outside of ourselves appears to exist, objectively, as “something other” – perhaps in this state of being, this “other” really is that which we call God; and only in this state, as an individualized creature, can we come to relate to that “other”.

      Its a different paradigm. It doesnt deny the mystic states of hinduism, ie; the Kabbalah. It merely integrates a world neglected by so many others into larger scheme of things.

      Thus, man is bidden to imitate the divine form, which inheres in the wisdom aspect of the creation of God. The masculine – giver, is projected into this world as the Husband. The Feminine, reciever, as the Wife. And so the man goes out, and provides the raw energy from without – he works a job – which is then taken by the female, and transmuted and given expression through her raising of children.

      Ive never understood why anyone goes against the divine archetypes woven into creation. Why not obey God, and revere his wisdom?

      • Mike, thank you for a very interesting response. I completely take your point that Judaism is a religion rather than a race. I will

        I notice that the concept of the demiurge is integral to Hinduism.

        The concept of a deimiurge, a God who creates and maintains the Universe in an artisan-like way, is not really central to Hinduism. Many branches see creation as beng a natural extension of God.

        May God — who, in the mystery of His vision and power, transforms His white radiance into His many-colored creation, from whom all things come and into whom they all return — grant us the grace of pure vision. He is the sun, the moon and the stars. He is the fire, the waters and the wind. He is Brahma, the creator of all, and Prajapati, the Lord of creation. Thou this boy, and thou this maiden; Thou this man, and Thou this woman; Thou the God who appears in forms infinite. Thou the blue bird and Thou the green bird; Thou the cloud that conceals the lightning and Thou the seasons and the oceans. Beyond beginning, Thou are in Thy infinity, and all the worlds had their beginning in Thee.
        Krishna Yajur Veda, Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.1-4. UPM, 91

        Even as airy threads come from a spider, or small sparks come from a fire, so from atman [Tandava: here the atman is seen as Parashiva, the Brahman, God within], the Spirit in man, come all the powers of life, all the worlds, all the Gods, all beings. To know the atman is to know the mystery of the Upanishads, the Truth of truth. The powers of life are truth and their Truth is atman, the Spirit.
        — Shukla Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.1.20. UPM, 130

        He has become the sun and moon. He has become the constellations of the stars. Mantra and tantra has He become. He has become the medicine and those who swallow it. He has become the Gods, Indra and all the rest. He has Himself become the universe entire. The soul and body, too, has He become.
        — Natchintanai 144; 219

        In Saivism God is not seen as the artisan but the dancer. Dance is an artform which involves intellect, design, planning, but also the nature and form of the artist. In creation we see Shiva, not just Shiva’s creation.

        Anyways, clearly, the Greeks and Romans shared this Hindu conception of the Jewish God, and took it to its logical end. Opposing Judaism through the creation of a Krishnaite Religion. Krishnaism is very much like Gnosticism, and Gnosticism is the core ethos beneath the Christian myth.

        I am not a followr of Krisna but I think you have it totally wrong here. Gnosticism is closest to the Gyana Pada (path of knowledge), which is of most important in the Smarta sects. Vaishnavism in general and for devotees of Krishna in particular, Bhakti (worship or devotion) is of primary importance. (I also think you are wrong about Christianity in this respect too).

        On another philosophical note. We can never rid ourselves of that basic fact of Why and How, for what are we in this world. You can explain it away as a “projection” etc, but it doesnt explain anything of WHY we are here, and for what purpose.

        The idea that the world is pure illusion is a Smarta philosophy, and though it is loved by a lot of Western Vedantists is held be a very small number of Hindus. We usually see the world as “relatively real”, as real but impermanent and changing, unlike the ultimate reality of God. The “why” is also explained, the maturation of souls, and the how through dharma and karma.

        But to prevent us from losing our way, the infinite reminds us to remember our purpose: to fear him, is to remember why we are here, and to what purpose. Fear thus provides a container; a receptacle to contain something else.

        Fearing God is not part of Hinduism. In fact I have spoken to Jews that say that it is not part of Judaism, that the translation of “fearing God” used by Christians and Muslims is not really accurate, and it would be better expressed as “have respect for and be in awe of God”.

        Some people, i know some hindus do, think this is a grave evil. Theres a certain paranoia about this idea; it must be a demiurgic fallacy; a projection of our individualized egos into the external world.

        Thus, man is bidden to imitate the divine form, which inheres in the wisdom aspect of the creation of God. The masculine – giver, is projected into this world as the Husband. The Feminine, reciever, as the Wife. And so the man goes out, and provides the raw energy from without – he works a job – which is then taken by the female, and transmuted and given expression through her raising of children.

        I think you are looking for a problem that doesn’t exist in Hinduism. We don’t have to immitate the divide form, we are the divine form. Our purpose is to refine, realise, and unveil this.

        Ive never understood why anyone goes against the divine archetypes woven into creation. Why not obey God, and revere his wisdom?

        I think you would find a lot of agreement from many Hindus here. The one difference is on the emphasis of obey. In Hinduism the emphasis is more on following the guidance of a loving God than obeying a legalistic one.

    • Intolerance came from Christianity and other religions that followed it. But pf course if you live and learn among the English speaking world you’ve been taught a lot of antisemitic teachings about Jews, probably from Christians. Have you SEEN the horrible stuff they say about Jews in the Christian bible?! If you want to know what Jews think about other religions, go talk to an actual, real rabbi instead of trolling the internet with fake accusations you probably learned from people who don’t even practice Jewish culture.

  5. Dear Tāṇḍava , My words come out of frustration . I read , your blog ( ALL western Hindus 🙂 ) because I am curious as well as Proud that Hinduism has changed you all without anybody tried to convert you.
    But in India Christians( Dead Jew Worshippers) and Muslims (Pedo followers) are hell -bent on destroying Hinduism and India.
    I suggest you to visit the following sites daily for some time. ( try that for a month- you will know what is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam 🙂 )
    and to know about Islam http://www.faithfreedom.org .
    It is not just enough that we think of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” , others also should think the same thing — (This US VS THEM started in Desert).

    “Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.” — Karl Popper, British philosopher

    Ponnambalam, Thiruchitrambalam, Arunachalam, Mahadeva, Mahalinga, Mathiyaar sunesa ( This is equivalent to saying 108 Om Nama Shivaya — kanchi Sankaracharya, Said this)

    Aum NamaShivaya,

    • S,
      I understand your frustrations. I am well aware that there are some Christians and Muslims who would like to destroy Hinduism. I know that we have to be intolerant of the intolerant. There are followers of these religions who don’t want to destroy other religions, but to live in peace with them. I think it is important to acknowledge that these people are accepting and be accepting of them. Perhaps this way they will convince some of there less moderate brethren to act more reasonably towards us. Perhaps this can’t get anywhere in the Kali Yuga, but I think we still have to try.
      Aum Shivaya

    • S Sir;

      Christians are not that bad which you think they are. Just read “FRANCOIS GAUTIER’S OPEN LETTER TO JOHN DAYAL.” He very beautifully shows the evil of Christianity and also brings the solution of the problem.

      In fact, Christianity is not really a problem. You ask any Christian OR a true scholar who has read life of Jesus from unbiased perspective, it is not a problem as a religion BUT a problem as an ideology. The evil of Christianity is Church NOT the Jesus. What really happens in Christianity is similar to modern day Hindu caste system. If Pope / Church is reformed; there would be no difference in Christianity and the first holy books, the Vedas. The problem and real challenge is to reform Pope and Churches.

      As for Islam, YES it is evil BUT how to stop it is a real challenge. Fortunately, it is NOT a problem for only us BUT for the whole world in general. Christians are persecuted in Palestine, PAK, Egypt, Nigera, Arab nations almost daily. You know when Hitler did Holocaust towards Jews, muslims supported him. So, I think that world must unite in this regard.

      The real problem with Islam is its growth. They achieve growth in two fold ways.

      A: Jihad – slaughter of non muslims to drastically decrease their population.
      B: Nikah: Rape, of non muslim OR muslim women (marriage) to drastically increase muslim population.

      A has achieved >270 million deaths during ancient islam while B can be illustrated by this .
      Osama Bin Laden (Man behind 9/11 attacks) = 17th son of his father. His father had 54 children. While Osama is dead, his brothers / sisters are alive (who might take revenge). 19 muslims did 9/11; imagine what will 53 do…

      I think all non muslims including Christians, Jews and us need to collectively find a solution to this problem.

      What do you think?

  6. Shan Barani

    Nathan Katz on Indian jews

    The tolerant attitude of Hindus to Jews, and vice versa, is brought out in several of the interviews that Katz conducted in India and in Israel. In Calcutta, Norman Nahoum, one of the small number of Baghdadi Jews who remain in India, tells him: “We are taught to abhor idolatry to prevent its assimilation into Abraham’s family of religions, but if you look closely you will see that Judaism and Hinduism have so much in common. In India, we are accepted totally, at the same time we are treated with kid gloves, like special guests.” Referring to Hindus, Nahoum says, “These people ( Hindus ) are civilized; the others ( muslims and christian noahide yahwists ) are barbarians, bent on proselytization. If you ask any Jew who has lived in India, from Cochin to Calcutta , you will find that although the Hindus are called idolaters ( thats why they are tolerant ), they are more accepting of Jews than those so-called new religions that grew out of Judaism.” In Cochin, interviewees tell Katz a similar story: “Anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in our Indian dictionary.

    Indian jews suffer from cognitive dissonance, it is the noahides who persecute them, whereas it is the idolators who protect them. And this has been true for over 1500 years. Time for jews to do a sanity check on their religious teachings

    From the Old Testament, the entire book seems to be a set of massacres ordered by Yahweh on Hindu-like Canaanites, and personally I have more sympathy for the Cananites, Philistines, Moabites, and the rest and very little for the Yahwist protogonists.

    Just as I have sympathy for the Meccan Kafirs and European Pagans

    If I just read the religious texts, the blood-thirsty Koran and the old testament seem identical, whereas the New Testament looks semi-buddhistic
    But as Gandhi said, ” I like your christ, I dont like your christians”

    In the real world, muslims behave just like their holy book
    Christians behave much worse than their holy book and Jews behave much better than their holy book

    Deut 12.2 ( very koranic and used by western christian colonialists to justify genocide )
    Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:

    Deut 12.3 ( very koranic )
    And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.

    Deut 12.4 – “Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods.

    Deut 12.2, 12.3, 12.4 and much of the old testament would seem to recommend destroying Hindu temples and thats the justification used by Christian colonists to destroy Hindu temples

    At a scriptural level, Rabbis are brethren of mullahs and missionaries, whereas on a societal level, Hindus and Jews get along fine

    Thats why thousands of Rabbis go on interfaith meetings with mullahs and missionaries who plan to kill or convert them

    The intolerance Frankenstein unleashed by Judaism , threatens to exterminate them from their Noahides

  7. Hi,

    Please read this article and let me know your view .


    Dear Tāṇḍava/Art/Aamba , If you think I am spreading hatred , let me know .

    [Tandava: Long diatribe by Muslim fanatic removed as I don’t want it on my site. I can’t find the exact one but there is similar here.]

    • S,
      I have removed the diatribe that you quoted, but put a link to a similar one. I know that there are Christian and Muslim fanatics who hate Hindus, and probably everyone else that doesn’t belong to their particular sect. This does not mean that all of them are like that. We should not treat them as though they are all the same. We should certainly be wary – assume the best but be prepared for the worst. If we don’t do that we are in danger of becoming what we hate.
      Aum Shivaya

  8. The problem is All Muslims/Christians Believe the same thing as this Low life Devon. But they don’t tell you this on your face.

    I don’t know How Am I going to love/tolerate these kind of Low life B…..s?

    • S,
      Not all Muslims and Christians believe this. In fact those who do are in the minority in the west. A survey in 2008 shown that 53% of all American Christians believed Hindus would lead to eternal life, including 33% of evangelicals. The real hate-filled extremists will say that these people are not true Christians, but it is a majority view within the faith. I am sure that the figures for the UK would show even more people believing this.

      There are even Muslims who believe that all faiths can lead to salvation, though mostly they don’t mention this in public.

  9. A rabbi can tolerate a sanitised version of Smarthism propounded by Dayananda, with an impersonal Brahman
    How about a worshipper of Ganesha, or Hanuman or the Devi or Narasimha or Varaha Avatar

    Female deities are blasphemous in Judaism
    Animal deities are blasphemous in Judaism

    Theologically judaism has the same view of Hinduism as the previous post

    • Shan,
      You could be right that Jews can only tolerate a sanitised version of Sanatana Dharma. I have found the text of the declaration and I see what you mean about not fully representing Hinduism:

      It is recognized that the One Supreme Being, both in its formless and manifest aspects,has been worshipped by Hindus over the millennia. This does not mean that Hindusworship ‘gods’ and idols’. The Hindu relates to only the One Supreme Being whenhe/she prays to a particular manifestation

      This hard to reconcile with the idea of on Ishvara and many Devas. Though there are some Smarta Hindus who believe this I could certainly not have put it to the Rabbis as “The” Hindu belief. I will probably write a post on this.

      That said, rather than assume that Jews would not accept Hindus it would be better to honestly describe our beliefs and see what they say. I suspect that some reform Jews would accept Hindu beliefs whereas some would not.

  10. In India, Christian missionaries initially only use the new testament, since it is semi-buddhistic and Indians can empathise with it
    They hide the old testament, since Indians find the violence and intolerance disgusting
    Only later after conversion is the old testament introduced

  11. If you strip away Judaism and the intolerant and violent old testament from Christianity, you end up with a very attractive religion of Catharism

    Theologically Judaism is the twin of islam and the very anti-thesis of Hinduism
    However in the real world, neither Hindus or Jews want to kill or convert each other.

    Both Hindus and Jews are under attack from islamic terrorists and christian missionaries, and this is driving people like Dayananda and his jewish interlocutors to seek a mutual tactical alliance

  12. @Tāṇḍava , When I said , “All Muslims / Christians” , I meant , The Indian rice bag converts and Indian Rape Products. , I read your comment in ART’s Blog “some Hindus are not very tolerant of others” , You have no idea about how things are in India. I know , in west Christianity is dying , People no longer believe in Bible. You come and see Indian Christians and then talk. I am more worried about Indian Culture than Hinduism . Hinduism is eternal it can’t be destroyed , But our culture is not like that. MAY BE I AM WRONG. Our Culture survived in spite of Muslim/Christian rule for more than 1200 years and I don’t want to loose it now. , I think , I have to educate you people about “THE PEACEFUL RELIGION”

    • S,
      I am fine with you saying that aggressive Christians and Muslims using lies, deception and threats are wrong. I also realise that the Christians in India are worse than those in the West. After all, who’s going to go to India to spread their message, the one who accepts that there are many ways to God or the one who believes that he has to eradicate every competing belief?

      It is wrong to extend that to all Christians, or even all Muslims. We should give everyone the benefit of the doubt until we know otherwise. It is possible to treat people reasonably while still being prepared for them not to be.
      Aum Shivaya

  13. The concerns expressed by shan bharani are full of substance, the conversion machinary is working overtime in hindu lands. The clear and present danger is real and at the rate the evangelists are converting the poor and gullible, hindus will become a minority in India itself. Tandava and other white hindus must represent the hindus and protest to Indian state goverments. Surya , Chicago

  14. Being a hindu I believe Hinduism is all about unlimited tolerance….even on the face of intolerant…although we modern people are getting diverted from our path. Hinduism means no violence even in the face of violence…

  15. There are many things I love about Hinduism, as much as I dislike about it… Above all I am glad it allows me to believe the way I want to believe without labeling me as an infidel or unrighteous or any of the other labels… After all our belief is what creates our reality, all things being Maya.

  16. Correction : as much as I dislike about it had to be, as much as I dislike some practitioners of it.

  17. @ nita – you are mistaken. when india is on its way of becoming anything but hindu, because of church’s conversion mission and breeding rate of muslims, we can’t sing songs of ahimsa.

    hinduism doesn’t encourage pacifism. violence, as a last resort, to protect dharma (righteousness) is not only prescribed but mandatory. tolerating intolerance under the pretext of ahimsa is shying away from duty. bowing against unrighteousness is adharma. ahimsa is the highest virtue and should be practised for all INNOCENT creatures, not for aggressors and terrorists. infact, according to vedic injunctions, aggressors and terrorists are at once to be killed and no sin is incurred by such annihilations.

  18. I am curious, as to why Shan being a Muslim; is talking so much about Hindu-Jewish relations and acting like Hindus. I know atleast 4-5 Barnis. This is a Muslim caste title of India and elsewhere…. What are you upto, man. Sowing seeds of dissent between Hindus and Jews?

  19. @Amit, Barani is my star, not my caste

  20. Shan Barani is no Hindu!

  21. Siddarth Koul

    I dont care,wether the jewish faith and hindu faith have some things in common or not.All I care about is that whatever we believe in,we should have the freedom to practise it or to change it even if our existing belief dosent appeal to our intellect.Even more imp I believe that the worls two orignal faiths should join hands and have more cultural and social exchange programmes.India and Israel should have more cooperation in economic,research and defence fields.
    True hindus wish well for our jewish brothers.

  22. Shalom, peace and blessing be upon all of you.

    I must admit, I’m a bit disheartened by some of the negative comments made on such a wonderful article. My brothers and sisters, I make no difference between this so called “god of the jews” and the Supreme G-D. If I made add a view things perhaps not know of Judaism:

    In Hinduism there is Form Worship and Formless Worship. One commentor mentioned that the Jews worship the sky god. Would this not in-fact be form worship? Rather than worshiping different aspects of G-D (Creator, Destroyer, Preserver) the Jews form worship includes all three into one, Hashem. Jews have not strayed, nor do they follow a different path; the roads just have different names.

    Jews also do formless worship; perhaps not as well know. With the larger Chabad movement in Judaism, formless worship is starting to take a huge part in Jewish life; practices once only known in Judaism by its patriarchs are now being revived.

    It was also pointed out that Jews did take the lives of others in their early history, I will not protest that; but I must point out that this is human life. Rather I suggest that one looks at the Torah for what it is; a chronology of history. This is what happened in early times, people fought and died for land. Is G-D not also the Destroyer?

    I see that one pointed out the line from Exodus of G-D being a Jealous G-D. This perhaps is one of the few areas where Judaism does indeed take a different path than Hinduism. The word is used in these sense that G-D disapproves of anyone not correctly attributing to G-D. Hindu’s are masterful at understanding the Omnipotentness of G-D; early Jews, not so much. All though all things are G-D, Hindu’s understood that they were worshiping an Idol as a means to worship G-D. Early Jews were just worshiping an Idol as G-D. Not G-D is within this Idol, G-D is this Idol.

    I can not speak for all religion, nor can I say that my view is that of all Jews. I only hope to deter such negative views by sharing my understanding of these subjects. I suggest that the Abrahamic religions exist because not all humans could be unified under Hinduism, or any one religion for that matter. This does not give us the free will that G-D so desired for us. Rather than speaking negatively of G-D spreading light to nations in different ways, we should embrace this and create beautiful relationships between each.

    With love for all beings, from my very soul. -Yusuf

    “I make no distinction between one religion and another. People may worship me in any form they wish. The form of worship does not matter to me. My only concern is the ‘quality of love’ which is expressed in worship. I accept every kind of worship, because I am Supreme.” (Bhagavad Gita 9.20-24)

  23. santosh d gondkar

    Simply lovely, Yusuf. May God help you in spreading love. Vasudaiv Kutumbakam which means – The whole world is my family.

  24. I just want to quote Hindu sacred texts regarding the concept of god:

    Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1 – “He is One only without second.”

    Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9 – “Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.”

    Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19 – “There is no likeness of Him.”

    Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20 – “His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye.”

    Yajurveda 32:3 – “There is no image of Him.”

    Yajurveda 40:8 – “He is bodyless and pure.”

    Rigveda 8:1:1 – “O friends, do not worship anybody but Him, the Divine One. Praise Him alone.”

    Rigveda 1:164:46 – “Sages (learned Priests) call one God by many names”.

  25. Wow. Great Tandav.
    my native place, cochin had us devout Brahmins and jews live together with great love and tolerance for each other.
    Same tolerance towards christianity and islam had negetive effect. They misused it.
    I wont say all Christian or muslims are like that but, thats history. We Konkani Brahmins were living in goa till Portughese invasion and ‘saint’ Francis Xavier torturing ,murdering us. We had to take refuge in Kerala in South India , to save from forceful conversion.
    Although brahmins we used to have big business import, export etc but had to leave everythng behind and escape.

  26. Srimad Bhagavad Gita , Srimad Bhagavatam and many other Vedic scriptures unchallengingly declare Sri Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (krsnas tu Bhagavan svyam). The impersonal aspect of the Lord is only a small portion of Sri Krsnas qualities and form. God is a person in original form as Sri Sri Radha Krsna and remains personal at all times. Krsna can be approached through devotion only. The yuga dharma (duty of the age) of this age of Kali is Hari-Nama Sankirtan or congregational chanting of Sri Krsnas Holy Name
    Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Harr Hare. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada Haribol!

  27. Hindus and Jews are brothers

  28. Arthur Valdez

    As a Native American Historian I have learned much from this post.

  29. Dear Friends;
    I read in several posts here about groveling. I do not like groveling! It opens the door for the negative, while the positive is hidden.
    I encourage respect for all, and we take responsibility for this world, not point fingers at others.

  30. A very nice post & informative comments.
    Would using “statue worship” instead of ‘idol’ help?
    Abrahmic religions seem to be power oriented while hinduism is Dharma oriented.
    Such a bloody past (not judaism since a very long time). Now it has turned into bribery,deception, forced conversions, terrorism & a bit international politics too. Indian Congress vote bank policy has been helping them.
    But Syrian Christians are very different from the relatively new expansionist european missionaries.
    India had sati system & now caste discrimination. But they are both social problems.
    ‘Sati’ was initially meant only for war times(losing wars), when the enemy (usually muslim tyrant armies,i guess) would rape & enslave women. Castism is the disaster of all times and is being dealt with ,slowly.Aurangzeb forced higher castes to contest islam & who wouldn’t convert were pushed into shudras (raising them from 1 to 15% of hindus in his tenure)”dhimmies”. Now somehow they form the majority and are an easy target to the missionaries.
    I wonder if even SANATANA DHARMA (hinduism) had a dark side(maybe a little,if present) in the beginning but lost it’s history in the long run.
    I’m 19 so sorry for any wrong views.

  31. Jews and Hindus are brothers who commonly prosper in Christian/Secular USA and other western countries.Synagogues are not attacked,Temples are not attacked,but they see only prosperity because of intolerant Christians. Amen.

    Israel is supported by Christians in the international arena not Hindus.
    Please check the foreign policies of Hindu Governments and Palestine.

  32. I think the whole debate revolving around the supposed dichotomy between monotheistic intolerance and polytheistic tolerance is misguided. What makes a religion more or less tolerant is not necessarily the number of deities it embraces. If that were not the case Hindu streams closer to a monotheistic worldview would be less tolerant than those that are clearly polytheistic. As far as I know, there is no evidence of this. What really matters and makes a religion more tolerant is whether it is universalistic and seeks converts or whether it is particularistic and does not. It is this particularism common to Judaism and Hinduism that accounts for their shared religious tolerance. As far as the argument that the Torah preaches the destruction of idolaters and idolatry, this is a commandment circumscribed to the Land of Israel, which according to Judaism is the holy land in which God commanded Jews to live. In this regard, Jewish religious intolerance is qualitatively no different to that of Hindus who believe that mosques and churches should not be built on spots that are holy to Hindus. Ultimately, any religious intolerance in both traditions reflects an incest between religious authority and political power. This is the reason devout Jews and devout Hindus should both be wary of putting religion at the service of politics and politicians.

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