Does Hinduism fall under Pantheism.

David R. Israel davidi at
Tue Aug 5 01:37:52 UTC 1997

Amarjit asks:

>      Can someone clarify whether Hinduism is a Pantheistic religion.
>       Why?  Why not?  Would appreciate any help.

no doubt one must define both "Hinduism" and "Pantheism" to do the 
subject justice (i.e., whose Hinduism? & whose Pantheism?) --

but -- promsing to be brief! -- perhaps the assembled scholars will 
look indulgently on an impromptu "general understanding of this 
stuff" manner of reply? --

Pantheism, I think, usually denotes (mainly) the presence of divinity 
(or, divinities) in all (hence, pan) embodied forms -- particularly, 
in the living forms of the manifest world -- trees, animals -- as well 
stones, stars, clouds -- in short, the universe --

Hinduism, by most reckonings, recognizes what might be called "both 
the manifest and unmanifest aspects of God" -- therefore, I'd say 
Hinduism both includes & transcends Pantheism. -- will allowing that 
there may be Hinduisms which are equivalent to (the thus-defined 
Panthesim), just as there might be Pantheisms that reach to the level 
of the (thus-suggested) Hinduism.  Does that clarify?

Meher Baba's Parvardigar Prayer -- while certainly syncretic 
in its lexicon & approach (especially, combining terms / categories / 
etc. of Hinduism, Sufism, and Zoroastrianism) -- has many lines 
rouching upon this business of the iminent & transcendent -- that is, 
it brings into focus what, in my view, is indeed present in Hinduism 
qua Hinduism (at least, certainly, the Hinduism of Ramakrishna, say)

Here are a few (from memory -- ergo punctuation & capitalization [at 
least] may likely be somewhat awry) -- from said prayer:

. . . . You are without beginning and without end, non-dual, beyond 
comparisoon, and none can measure you.
You are without color, without expression, without form, and without 
You are unlimited and unfathomable, beyond imagination and 
conception, eteranal and imperishable.
You are indivisible and none can see you but with eyes divine.
You always were you always are and you always will be.
You are everywhere, you are in everything, and you are also beyond 
everywhere and beyond everything.
You are in the firmament and in the depths, you are manifest and 
unmanifest, on all planes and beyond all planes.
You are in the three worlds and also beyond the three worlds.
You are imperceiptible and independent . . .

/ / / /

wonderful passages are found in the Gospel of Ramakrishna addressing 
questions generally cognate to this "panthism?" matter -- one could 
open the volume most anywhere, but certainly in the initial pages, 
where that great Hindu master chides his new student for taking a 
disparaging view of the stone-worshipping (pantheistic) aspects of 
devotional faith . . .

this ia a large topic, and I've exceeded my promised pinch.  The 
leraned can more usefully (re)cite chapter & verse of Shankara or 
Upanishads or for that matter the Gita, etc., on these themes.  
Consider the passage where Krishna reels out the spool of who-all he 
is.  Both in the forms of the world (pantheism) and beyond them 
(transcendentalism) -- if one cares to view that list w/ such a 
"dualism" (or bifurcation) in mind . . . 

   >    david   raphael   israel    <
   >>      washington  d.c.      <<
 |  davidi at      (home)
 |  disrael at      (office)
 |   thy centuries follow each other
 |   perfecting a small wild flower
 |                                       (Tagore)

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list