Hindu View on Christianity: Hindu View on Christianity
Like all the followers of the different religions Hindus adore theirs. But characteristically also respect other religions. Some even worship gods of other religions as theirs. However they also do not like their fellow Hindus getting converted to some other religion. This is a feature prevalent in all the religions. For instance Catholics do not like their fellows becoming protestant.
This sort of dislike is manifest by what can be called semi learneds. Hindus religious organizations do not make (by nature) attempts to convert others. They believe that all prayers reach the same god. However they like other respecting and following their traditions and culture, even though they do not convert to Hinduism. India a predominantly Hindu country has had some bad experiences with Christians and Christian rule. The native Indian Christians; Nasrani Christians were forcibly converted to Catholicism by Portuguese in 16th century. The Portuguese inquisition in Goa was a worst episode for Hindus.
All these have prompted to make Hindus think about Christians with some caution. However except for some fanatics, all others respect and treat Jesus as a Yogi or a Saint. Praying Jesus is not considered a blasphemy like in Christianity for idol worship. Hindus adore many sages and hermits almost as much as GOD. As Hinduism claims that we are all part of god and the sons of god; everything good is god.
It is also true that Christians have contributed to India and Hinduism by helping reform Hinduism and by bringing the western education system and establishing so strongly that it became a major force in India's freedom struggle and now in rapid development. This is either not known to an average Hindu or thought to be of less significance. It is also true with the conversion of low caste Hindus. Many low caste Hindus have benefited from it by coming out of discrimination by the upper caste Hindus. Note also that this very fact makes Christians untouchables to a Conservative Orthodox Brahmin (read upper class people). Although it has dawned upon these upper caste Brahmins recently, it still is in practice. I am sure this discrimination will fade away in a generation's time.
An average Hindu does not know much about Christianity. But most of them know about Jesus. To summarize, Hindus take everything western to be Christian and do not like the culture. Look at conversion, and do not like Christian organizations. Look at Jesus and his deeds and miracles they hear about him and respect him. Some do not like respecting him. But it’s hard to say that a right thing is wrong. Divinity overwhelms and the bias fades away; Find something in scripture to support their following.
Yekam Sat wiprah Bahuda vadanti (There is one GOD and clerics call it by different names). They pray Jesus with closed palms. I do it whether I like it or not. Truth alone triumphs.
Raghavendra S Kattinakere
Centre For Development Research
PMM Trust (R), Kattinakere