The myth of Polytheism – that Hindus adore a multitude of stone Gods and Goddesses, survive – not only in the minds of Muslims, but also of Christians. Even amongst those westerners who are sympathetic to India, you will find that as Christians adoring one God, they are unconsciously suspicious of Hindus worshipping many Gods and Goddesses. What they do not understand is that Hinduism is the most monotheistic religion in the world because IT SEES THE ONE IN THE MANY. But nobody has tried to convincingly and logically demonstrate this. Here is my attempt:

The great stumbling block for western (and unfortunately many Indian) historians when they write Indian history is the myth of polytheism.

Throughout its long history, the concept of dharma, or the universal Law, gave such a freedom to Indians that all kind of branches and sects developed within Hinduism, which sometimes even went against each other. Indeed, Hinduism was never static, it never barred its followers from experimenting new techniques and spiritual paths : everything that helps you on the way is dharmic. It is this fundamental principle which allowed India to survive all over the ages with a prodigious continuity, whereas other civilizations saw their cultures and their religions systematically destroyed. Unfortunately, this enormous tolerance of Hinduism – or Induism, if you prefer – is not recognized in the world today, or even acknowledged by Indians themselves, for two reasons. The first one are the Muslim invasions and the second the European colonization. It is the immense shock between these two great monotheist religions and Hindu polytheism, which has completely perverted our perception of India.

Yet, Hinduism, whether you want to call it a religion or a spiritual system, is without doubt the most monotheist religion in the world, because it always recognized that the Supreme can only be diverse and that he incarnates Himself in many forms – hence the million of gods in the Hindu pantheon. Vedic Sages had understood that man has to be given a multiplicity of different approaches, if you want him to fathom the Unfathomable. And truly, for the Hindus, the Divine cannot be “this” or “that”, neti, neti; in its essence He cannot be several – or even one – and thus can never be perfectly seized by the human mind. Indeed, Hindus, who were once upon a time the best dialecticians in the world (and this is maybe why they are today the best software programmers of this planet), were able to come-up with this kind of equation: a) God is in the world; b) the world is in God; c) the world is God; d) God and the world are distinct; e) God is distinct from the world, but the world is not distinct from God; f) it is impossible to discern if the world is distinct from God or not… Never has the unique nature of Hindu polytheism been better defined.

Hindus have also always recognized the divinity of other religions, as their concept of the avatar helped them to accept the reality of other prophets, masters or gurus. It is, for instance, perfectly acceptable for an ordinary Hindu to have on his wall the image of Krishna, alongside the one of Buddha, one of the Christ, with a few photos of the Mecca or even John Fitzgerald Kennedy ! And Hindus have always worshipped at non-Hindu places, such as Velangani, the Christian place of pilgrimage of South India, or some Sufi shrine in Kashmir or Rajasthan. Not only that, but Hindus never tried to convert others to their own religion, not even by peaceful means, as the Buddhists did all over Asia; and their armies never set to conquer other nations to impose their own culture and religion. Yet for the Muslims and later European invaders, who were both persuaded that their God was the only true one, Hinduism with its myriad of Gods, represented the Infidel, the Kafir par excellence, not only did they set upon, by violence, coercion, or devious means, to convert Hindus to their own “true” religion, but they also propagated in the world the image of the “Pagan” Hindus, which has survived even up to today in many ways, subtle – and not so subtle.



  1. What is the vision of Rishis and Sages of India about God? The rishis saw God as Brahman. Brahman means that which has no limitation. There are many Hindus who do not understand the difference between Brahman and Brahma. Brahma is one of the trinity gods in Hinduism while Brahman stands for the One Supreme Eternal Light, which has created the gods, men and other living beings. ‘Whence was it born, and whence came the creation? The Gods were born later than this world’s creation’, mentions the Rg Veda. Yajurveda says, ‘By one supreme Ruler is the universe pervaded. ….’. Upanishads are the backbone of Indian spirituality. Innumerable times the Upanishads mention that Brahman is the only supreme eternal Truth:

    ‘Brahman is consciousness and bliss. Brahman is the controller of all, the Lord of all, the ruler of all…’ (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III.ix.28, IV.iv.22). ‘Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, Infinite… One who knows the bliss of Brahman ceases to have any fear from anything..’ (Taitireeya Upanishad II.1, III.1) ‘All that is in front is Brahman, the immortal. One who wants to be with Brahman shall meditate on Brahman’ (Mundaka Upanishad II.ii.11). ‘All this is certainly Brahman…’ (Chandogya Upanishad III.xiv.1) ‘Know That alone to be Brahman and not what people worship here’ (Kenopanishad 1.5) ‘The One Deity (Brahman) remains hidden in all beings. He is all pervasive, the indwelling Self of all, the regulator of all actions, the support of all beings, the witness, consciousness, non-dual and without qualities…’ (Svetasvatara Upanishad VI.ii) ‘Brahman is omnipresent, effulgent, without body, wound, and sinews, pure and untouched by sin’ (Isha Upanishad 8).

    There are hundreds of such affirmations about the One God in the Upanishads. Taitiriya Upanishad says: ‘Out of His fear the Wind god (Vayu) blows; out of fear the Sun god (surya) rises; out of His fear Fire god (agni) and Indra remain active, and Death (mrityu), the fifth hurries on). The Hindus generally worship the devatas instead of Brahman, the One God, wrongly equating everything with Brahman. This is the outcome of the great spiritual distortion brought about by a group of Vedic priests (Vaidikas). Apart from affirming the worship of Brahman, the Upanishadic rishis also have said that the way of realizing God is to approach a Teacher (Guru), who has realized God. This was meant by the word Upanishad, i.e. sitting near the Teacher. This wisdom tradition was based on the concept of Manu and Manvantara (cosmic age cycles). It is said that Manu is the originator, the progenitor of human race. That is why cosmic age is calculated in terms of Manvantara after the name of Manu. A solar system and all life forms in it are born out of the sankalpam of Manu alias Purusha alias Hiranyagarbha. ‘Purusha alone is all this –comprising the karma and knowledge..’ (Mundaka Upanishad, II.i.10). ‘Hiranyagarbha was born first, and having been born, He became the only Lord of all beings. He held the earth and this heaven. That Single Deity we propitiate with oblation’ (Rg Veda X.cxxxi.1). ‘There is nothing higher than Purusa. He is the culmination; He is the highest goal (Katha Upanishad, 1.iii.11).

    However, the Manu origin of the universe was forgotten owing to certain spiritual errors and in its place Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara, Goddess, etc. were postulated as the creator gods by different sects according to their notions of God. Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara were great gurus of earlier yuga cycles. Through mythological stories, they were subsequently elevated as creator gods by the Vaidikas who wanted to integrate the then prevailing dominant sects into the Vedic system and establish the temple tradition in order to promote their own spiritual and social supremacy. In the jnana path (Manu-centric Guru tradition), it is the enlightened trikala jnani Guru, who is the spiritual authority. Such gurus appear at every yuga intervals for providing spiritual guidance to humanity. This system of spiritual guidance by enlightened sages was replaced by the Vaidikas with the temple tradition in order to fulfill their vision of a priest-centric society. They had already fortified their position by instituting caste rules through the Smritis and Puranas, which authorize only the Brahmanas for the conduct of Vedic rites and rituals. Therefore, the system of worshiping devi-devas was a connivance of the Vaidikas. Even great mahatmas like Sri Krishna and Sri Buddha who opposed devata worship, were portrayed as avatars of Vishnu and were brought into the pantheon so that the folks would remain under the temple tradition.

    The children in this new age would not be able to accept the conflicting ideas about God in the puranas. The conversion of Hindus has been happening on account of two flaws in Hinduism, i.e. the Caste system and Devata worship, instead of the worship of the Paramatma or Brahman through the medium of a realized Guru. The Indian spiritual tradition (Sanatana Dharma) is founded on the Ashram culture, the Guru-Disciple tradition. The realized trikala jnani Guru who sits in the Ashram is the repository of jnana. Such a Guru only can guide the individuals, families and even the rulers. That was the spiritual culture of India. However, the Ashram system has been lost to India and today people have become mere favor seekers in the temples of gods. They have ceased to become the seekers of jnana. This is a peril which threatens the very existence of Indian spirituality.

    Christianity and Islam became successful as world religions because they accepted this new mode of worship departing from the old patterns, focusing on a single spiritual leadership and accepting the idea of one God. Hinduism lost the race because it did not honor its messiahs of change, its great rishis or its great spiritual leadership in the form of Sri Krishna, Sri Buddha and others. Instead, these mahatmas were imprisoned in the very system which they opposed. Hinduism is lamenting for ages trapped in the unholy interpretation of a small group of Vaidikas who subverted the spiritual change that was supposed to happen in Kali yuga, which the rishis and great souls like Sri Krishna and Sri Buddha wanted to bring about. These Vaidikas (including Sankara) assigned the authoritativeness of all religious discourse submissive to the Srutis and Smritis (the Vedic religious lore) because the dictums that give them exclusive divine status over all others are mentioned in these interpolated texts.

    What are the Vedas? Vedas are the revelations the meditative sages receive in every yuga for the spiritual transformation of human race. Vedas are the revelations related to an ancient past in the constant spiritual evolution of humanity that ends with the cycles of manvantaras and kalpa. To say that no new revelations of truth (Vedas) can be got is equal to the bigotry of Christians and Muslims who say that their scriptures (the new Vedas, according to them) are the final word of God. During the long spiritual progression of humanity, sages would appear again and again and the divine Will or the divine Word would be revealed through them for the spiritual transformation of humanity. This is the concept of yuga dharma under the Manu-centric cosmology of Sanatana Dharma. This was affirmed by Sri Krishna also when he declared that whenever dharma is in peril, God manifests himself in the form of gurus. It is this system of Manu-centric jnana tradition that the Vaidikas tried to subvert so that the people would always be faithful to the Vedic system (and through that to the caste system and the devata worship in temples) in which the Brahman priest is equal to a divinity (Brahmana Devo Bhava).

    Hindus should build not temples, but ashrams and large prayer halls suitable for all people to congregate without any bars like the Buddhists, Christians and Muslims do. Instead of feeding people with mythical stories about one or the other gods, let us guide them with the wisdom of the Gita and Upanishads. The puranic tradition has only helped to divide Hindus spiritually and socially because they promote different sects and caste rules. We have to promote the jnana path of the rishis in this new age and not drag people backwards to the culture of bygone ages. Without such fundamental changes, nothing great is going to happen to Hinduism. Only a Trikala Jnani Guru, who honors the cosmology of Manu and who advocates the pure jnana path transcending the spiritual plane of devatas as well caste system, can unite Hindus spiritually and socially. This new spiritual renaissance is taking place through Navajyoti Sree Karunakara Guru, the great Guru in the prophecies. Now the Hindus need not convert to Christianity or Islam to escape from the yoke of caste system and the worship of innumerable gods. The guru parampara of Navajyoti Sree Karunakara Guru, which is founded on the cardinal principles of Sanatana Dharma, provides an alternative for all.

  2. Its kundalini the chakras the nadis and evolution that deities were born to evolve that pope and peer fail to update and hence suffering so much family and future so insecue? Pl follow this line / jesus came to open Agya chakra and Mohammed Sahib for Guru principle in Nabhi chakra dr ak

  3. ‘That man has to be given a multiplicity of approaches to fathom the unfathomable’ is the part that we instinctively grasp early in life. That each person is at a certain level in his karmic cycle, and there has to be route he can follow from whatever point he is at, is something that many people have trouble seeing. A religion, to my mind, cannot be one-size-fits-all; allowances have to be made for each person’s degree of spiritual evolution. Hence, the apparent polytheism with underlying actual monotheism, many-routes-to-one-God.

  4. whats wrong whether one worships one God or many Gods. And whats wrong if people worship a tree or a stone. it should be none of the business of christians or muslims.

  5. I find the issue not so much the idolatry or the multitude of deities, rather the lack of a clearly defined sense of ethical values which Hindus can put on par with the 10 Commandments.

    The Ramayana has lots to offer in the way of an ethical spiritual outlook, but Hinduism’s failure to see it as anything but the story of an Avatar makes it painfully misunderstood.

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