The Holy Trinity in Hinduism and Christianity Essay
The Holy Trinity in Hinduism and Christianity
In the past, many Christians believed that the Holy Trinity was an original Christian doctrine that many religions adopted - The Holy Trinity in Hinduism and Christianity Essay introduction. However, it was far from reality as much older religions—like Tritheism in pagan Rome—had their own versions of the Holy Trinity. One such case is the version of Trimurti or Trinity within Hinduism. Indeed, Hinduism is a much older religion than Christianity. Hence, it may have been wrong for devout Christians to claim that their Trinity was original. However, originality was not really much the topic of debate. It is more of the content of the two different versions of the trinity, and maybe there are some similarities between the two versions. Whichever was the case, the trinity seems to be an integral part for some religions, as it explains that there are more than one divine entities responsible for the world and its well-being—its maintenance. So, it can be claimed that the Hindu and Christian versions of the Trinity are not that different, in terms of its purpose for their respective followers and their world.
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Hinduism is one of two major religions in India today, but it is the oldest known religion in India. It has been patterned with other polytheistic religions that clearly has at least one main God, but it possessed monotheistic concepts to which it only answers to one main God. It has been mentioned that it entails three main divine entities, equally important to the world, the people, and their well-being: Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver), and Shiva (destroyer, not in the sense that it entails the destruction of the world and its people). It is mentioned that each god has their own world to rule over: “Brahma is the ruler of Brahmalok, Vishnu of Vaikunth, and Siva (Shiva) of Kailash” (Jayaram 2007). These three gods are also assisted in their divine duties by their consorts or associate divine beings: Saraswathi (knowledge and refinement), Lakshimi (Wealth), and Parvathi (Mother goddess). Other minor deities fall under the three main divine entities in forms like avatars and incarnations.
The Hindu Trinity comprises of three different gods. They perform different tasks and has many different functions in both the divine and mortal realms; Brahman the creator, Vishnu the preserver or the maintainer, and Shiva the destroyer or transformer (of evil). However, each god is actually a quality of one Supreme Being—the Supreme Is divided into three, categorized according to the personality and functions: “ The gods of trinity are not different gods, but manifestations of the same Supreme Iswara, who is also known as the Saguna Brahman or the awakened or dynamic Brahman” (Jayaram 2007). The Supreme Iswara achieves omnipresence through the division into three different gods that serve three different integral functions in both the divine and mortal realms. An analogy to explain this further would be a group of humans serving different functions but for a single purpose and a single society. Although belonging to one Supreme Entity, these gods are worshiped differently by people, based on their functions and the needs of those worshiping. The concept of Hindi trinity, having one Supreme Entity, could be seen as somewhat similar to the concept of the Christian Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.
Christianity may have come after Hinduism, but it has risen to a higher state wherein it has become of the world’s leading religions. Ever since its birth, Christianity followed a monotheistic belief, adopted from Judaism. However, it has also been mentioned that God is divided into three manifestations: God the Father , God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three equal parts of the Trinity are actually manifestations of God’s personality and functions, much like that of the Supreme Iswara: “The Unknown God, creator and source of all life (Father), Jesus Christ who has revealed the Father (Son), and the Holy Spirit, the bond of love between Father and Son, who is always at work in transforming the world according to God’s purpose” (Oomen 2002). In other versions, it has been said that “Father” pertains to God’s quality and purpose as the creator, “Son” refers to His logos and creativity, and the “Holy Spirit” refers to God’s presence in all that He has created. However, both are widely accepted in Christianity. Again, it proves how God asserts His quality of omnipresence to His followers. It has been mentioned that the Trinity has no biblical basis—the word has not been found within the Old Testament—before it has appeared within the time of the New Testament, which was the time of Jesus Christ. However, some experts believed that it has no real biblical basis. It was a doctrine that has been created during the fourth century by the church (Oomen 2002). If this is the case, then it must have been created to counter or deny the trinity of other religions like that of Hinduism, even though their essence did not differ that much.
Both versions of the Trinity entailed a single Supreme Being which was divided into three divine beings, differing in functions in the world and describing the personalities of the two Supreme Beings—God and Supreme Iswara. At first glance, it may be perceived that the many deities of Hinduism would generally brand them as a polytheistic religion. However, these other deities are mentioned to be the manifestations of Brahman, Vishnu, and Shiva, who are also manifestations of the Supreme Iswara. Hence, it can be considered as a monotheistic religion. The same goes with Christianity which was already established as a monotheistic religion. God has three manifestations which pertains to His functions in both the divine and mortal realms. However, these three divine entities originates from only a single source: a Supreme Being. Each version would help people understand how the Supreme Being works within the two realms. Hence, it somewhat clears up a mystery, but not entirely for the trinity is to remain as a mysterious concept.
The two Trinities do not differ much from each other; well, at least for their purpose within their respective religions. It helps explain the world of the believers, and how their respective Supreme Gods would function within the two realms—divine and mortal. The three manifestations of the Two Gods allow the followers to realize how their Gods work, and how they are omnipresent.
Jayaram, V. “Introduction to Hindu Trinity.” 2007. Hindu Website. 25 May 2009. <http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/hindutrinity.asp>
Oomen, Joseph. “The Concept of Trinity and Its Implication for Christian Communication in Indian Context.” 2002 June. Religion-online. Eds. Ted and Winnie Brock. 25 May 2009. <http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2454>