The term “Hinduism” embraces a wide array of philosophies and practices, and while certain Hindus may think and worship in an essentially monotheistic way, the practices of others may be more readily labeled polytheistic or pantheistic. Each seemingly separate god is, therefore, a different manifestation or quality of the One God.While this concept may seem alien to many westerners, it is not without a western analogy. Hinduism is incredibly diverse and complex. 3. Describing God, Romans 8:36 says that “from him and through him and to him are all things”. Panentheism posits that, while God is within all things, He/She/It simultaneously transcends all these various forms. I recently did a talk to the local school here in UK on this subject and mentioned that it is a collection of faiths, a way of life, a broad church with many philosophies and practices. A bit further on in the conversation, the student asks, “Who is the one God?” The sage replies, “Breath. . Justin Aptaker graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee, earning a B.A. Wonderfully clear writing on a challenging topic. Any such conceptions fall under the category of Saguna Brahman (Brahman with qualities), and are generated by Maya.There is also a philosophy of “qualified non-dualism” within Hinduism, which posits that although Brahman is One, it is meaningless to speak of a Brahman without qualities or attributes. The word “panentheism” comes from the Greek roots “pan-” (all) “en-” (in) and “theos” (god), so it means exactly what 1 Corinthians says: “God in all”. Does Hinduism have something in common with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam who all hold a strong belief in one God? You have done a good job of presenting an objective view of this subject. The Necessity of Forgiveness – and Accountability: Matthew 18:21-35. At that dawn of knowledge, the acknowledgement for SUPREME PRESENCE stemmed. The only way was to vote it as awesome, and that is nothing. It is a great essay and attempt to understand Hinduism; yet, i would add or view some points otherwise. This paradox can be traced to the history of Hinduism. However, to call Hinduism monotheism would be, in most cases, erroneous as well. Over time, Hinduism has evolved from a polytheistic religion to one that is widely monistic. However, Hindus rarely worship all of the gods and goddesses simultaneously; instead, Hindus generally worship only one God/Goddess as being higher than the others (although, in theory, they are all equally Brahman). But how many gods are there?”Sage: “Three.”This line of questioning continues until the sage finally replies that there is one god. monotheistic configuration." . Thus, although God is as close (immanent) as our own thoughts, God is also distinct enough from our own selves and the material universe so as to allow for us to have a relationship with Him/Her/It (as one can not really have a relationship with oneself). Polytheism in Hinduism: When Humans were getting into civilized life, it was realized that there were beginnings and ends.Sustaining gave way for mere survival. Perhaps this is why the religion doesn't go for missionary zeal and lets follows drift in and out. To put the matter plainly, trinitarianism is tritheism that claims to be monotheistic. God is not always a creator. One important line of thought in Hinduism (popularized by the philosopher Shankara), called radical non-dualism or “Advaita Vedanta”, is a monistic philosophy. Therefore, while there are many different types of Hinduism (and therefore many different types of "isms" with which these different traditions can be labeled), none of them is technically polytheistic. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Waiting for the Big One: A Small Meditation on Dukkha, Reconciliation in the Time of Coronavirus, Living in the Spirit of Contemplative Prayer. Panentheism is certainly not unique to Hinduism. From time to time you will also receive Special Offers from our partners that help us make this content free for you. Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! Henotheism (literally “one God”) better defines the Hindu view. Well written and discussed, japtaker. There is no simple answer to the question of whether Hinduism is monotheistic, polytheistic, pantheistic, or something else entirely. An important Hindu scripture, the Bradaranyaka Upanisad (or “Upanishad”), contains the following conversation--edited here for brevity--between a student and sage:Student: “How many Gods are there?”Sage: “Three and three hundred, and three and three thousand.”Student: “Yes, of course. 1. Any conception we have of Brahman, such as “God”, or any quality that we apply to it, such as “being” or “consciousness” can not be a conception of Absolute Brahman, as this is inconceivable. The Christian concept of the “trinity” conceptualizes the One God in a similar way, dividing Him into three different manifestations which each act within different capacities, but nonetheless share the same divine nature. Hinduism cannot be exclusively categorized as either monotheistic or polytheistic, as some Hindus consider themselves to be monotheists and others consider themselves to be polytheists. Hinduism will be used as a primary example, since it offers a good example of polytheism and how it can be blended with the Hindu understanding of monotheism into a useful and practical theology. According to H.P. Because it is not. 2. Both are compatible with Hindu texts, and the right way of practicing Hinduism is subject to continued debate, with many Hindu schools regarding it as a henotheistic religion. They believe that God cannot manifest into physical form, and certainly cannot be personified. Sushmita from Kolkata, India on April 14, 2012: Japtaker, I am so amazed by this Hub I cannot express myself. Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 14, 2012: Thank you, JapTaker. in psychology and a minor in religious studies. How do I argue that Hinduism is monotheistic? PANTHEISM defines immanent and transcendence as not just the personal (differentiated), but also the impersonal (undifferentiated) reality. Hinduism incorporates diverse views on the concept of God. Therefore, Hinduism is not polytheistic. Thus, all things, including the individual Self (Atman) are Brahman, and the only reason we perceive there to be many things is because of ignorance (Maya), which ultimately, is also Brahman. H.P. Hindu texts and practices suggest the simultaneous existence of polytheism and what seems to be monotheism, but some Hindus find it insulting to be called polytheists. Technically speaking, polytheism is the belief in many gods, none of whom participate in the divine essence of any of the others. Polytheistic means many gods and not many creators. Owen's idea of pantheism, I believe, does not apply to Hinduism, since the "one Being" of the Hindus is not ONLY or identical with the many forms/appearances of manifestation, but ALSO beyond or more than the forms of manifestation. This one God is also known as the Absolute or Brahman. The merging of polytheistic and monotheistic concepts in this way is unique to Hinduism. Trinitarians vigorously deny that trinitarianism is tritheism, yet the two are inherently similar, as we will see. (Introducing Hinduism, p214). Polytheism is the belief in, and worship of more than one god. Monolatrism, a religious system wherein one recognizes many gods (though in Hinduism, these are not of different essences) but only worships one of them. Thus, there are different things/beings/qualities, but they are all different aspects of the one Brahman.What does monism have to do with pantheism? Hinduism is not polytheistic. Therefore, Hinduism is not polytheistic. This page will discuss elements of monotheism, polytheism, monism, pantheism, and panentheism within the Hindu tradition. I have come to the conclusion that Hinduism is neither, but monistic. In this sense, and in others, the practice and beliefs of many Hindus can be described as pantheistic. God is within everything and everyone, closer than our own heartbeats or the air we breathe. Although Hinduism has, in essence, one creator, it implies belief in many gods. The latter is a special case of polytheism, the belief in many Gods (e.g., Hinduism). Hinduism, a premier religion since the dawn of civilization, advocated the concept of GOD to make humans understand that: You can opt out of these offers at any time. In this regard, is Hinduism monotheistic polytheistic or atheistic? To equate it to whole of Dharma would be incorrect and an argument that should be defeated. Justin Aptaker (author) from United States on June 09, 2017: ocoy from Cedar Crest, New Mexico on November 07, 2012: A unique mix of the theoretical and the actual.