Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 16, 2014

When you watched "The Lion King" and sang along with the catchy theme song, "The Circle of Life" little did you know you were celebrating one of the central tenets of Hinduism.

Hinduism has some 900,000 followers today making it one of the world's major religions. Dating back to 3,000 B.C., Hindus believe in many gods and that god is in everything. Brahman is the great universal force, the "circle of life" that ordains everything and keeps everything in order. It is that unconscious and impersonal force they believe governs the universe.

Ancient Hindus looked around their surroundings and noticed a certain hierarchy to our world. The fish eats the worm, the cat eats the fish, the coyote eats the cats, the mountain lion eats the coyote and the mountain lion gets captured by the game warden before he eats the warden's children. They also noticed this hierarchy goes through a predictable cycle: the game warden dies, is buried in the ground, worms eat his body and the whole thing recycles. Hindu people developed their concept of the road to heaven called, "transmigration of souls," or reincarnation. They hold that all life has an animating force that inhabits certain physical forms based on its level of goodness earned in previous lives.

The ultimate goal of Hinduism is to become completely on with the Brahman of the universe or achieving "Nirvana". "Nirvana" literally means "blown away". Because the Hindus god is a vague impersonal force that dwells everywhere and in everything, reaching Nirvana means losing all sense of consciousness and being absorbed into the unconsciousness of the universe.

In the twentieth century, Indian gurus began migrating to the United States and presenting their teachings on reincarnation. Upwardly mobile, optimistic Americans didn't appreciate the idea that they could regress in their spiritual development. After all, the American dream is about getting and becoming more, not less! So as Hinduism spread in America, we modified the transmigrational highway, making it run only one way - UP! This hybrid belief system formed the foundation of "The New Age Movement" which believes in reincarnation but in an upward direction, never in a downward direction. New Age teachers proclaim we are all gods and the god-part of us migrates upward as we acquire "good karma".

There is little doubt if you talked with a committed Hindu he would be adamant that his way is the only way to God/Heaven, which is interesting since they, like Buddhists don't believe in a personal God or a real Heaven.

Compare that to Jesus' clear affirmation, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me." John 14:6

Isn't it interesting how many people believe that all roads lead to Heaven when some of those "roads" don't even teach about Heaven - at least as we think about Heaven?

What is your plan to get to Heaven?