Difference in behaviour towards Others.

27. Difference in behaviour towards Others.

The overriding role of faith and belief has made Christianity and Islam authoritarian and fundamentalist. On the contrary, a religion like Hinduism in which reason, philosophy and psychology play a greater part is more psycho-experimental in approach and freer in entertaining alternative views. People could freely be monotheists, polytheists, atheists, advaitins. Hinduism speaks of truths which are capable of verification by individuals though the conditions of verification are difficult to fulfil by their very nature. It is true that Hinduism gives a high place to shabda-pramana, to the testimony of those who are in a position to testify; but its truths, in the last analysis, are a matter of experience, capable of being tested by the individual, ehipassika (come and see), as Lord Buddha called them. Conse­quently, Hinduism has been more concerned with explaining, examining, experiencing, with sadhana, praxis, yoga. Christianity, on the contrary, has been concerned with dogmatically affirming and with ‘apologetically’ proving and justifying. Islam in its turn has refused even to argue. It cuts short the argument by cutting off your head. Discussion, in its view, is merely waste of breath; it has found that the logic of force is more convincing.

At the back of this sectarian thinking, we believe, is a very partial and inadequate conception of the Godhead. The Semitic approach to God is too numerical and arithmetical, and not sufficiently spiritual. It has made a fetish of numbers but not looked at the heart of the mystery. Advaita, Ekam Sat, ‘One Reality’ of the Hindus taught them to see divinity also in Gods of other people; but the ‘One God’ of Semitic religions taught them to see evil in Gods other than their own. The destruc­tion of the temples and places of worship of other people is an inevitable result of this approach.

Hindus had their wars but those were not religious ones. In the wake of victory, the first thing a victorious Hindu king did was to offer worship to the Gods of the conquered. It was enjoined by the laws and it was also a common practice. Manu taught that a victor should “duly worship the Gods of the defeated people… honour their righteousBrahmins… place on the throne a scion or relative of the vanquished ruler… make authoritative the lawful customs of the inhabitants, and honour their new king and his chief servants with precious gifts.” (Manu. 7-201–203) But the Semitic religions embody a very different psyche. With them came the concept of religious wars, a fanatic intolerance of the Gods and priests of other people, genocide, vandalistic destruction, and colonial exploitation of the conquered people.