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Hinduism’s Influence on Christianity

Hinduism’s Influence on Christianity



You may find it surprising that much of Christianity originated from India. Indeed, over the centuries, numerous historians and sages have pointed out that not only has Hinduism had a predominant influence on Christianity, but that many of the Christian rites could be directly borrowed from Hindu (Vedic) India.

French historian Alain Danielou had noticed as early as 1950 that “a great number of events which surround the birth of Christ – as it is related in the Gospels – strangely reminded us of Buddha’s and Krishna’s legends.” Danielou quotes as examples the structure of the Christian Church, which resembles that of the Buddhist Chaitya; the rigorous asceticism of certain early Christian sects, which reminds one of the asceticism of Jain and Buddhist saints; the veneration of relics, the usage of holy water, which is an Indian practice, and the word “Amen,” which comes from the Hindu (Sanskrit) “OM.”

Another historian, Belgium’s Konraad Elst, also remarks “that many early Christian saints, such as Hippolytus of Rome, possessed an intimate knowledge of Brahmanism.” Elst even quotes the famous Saint Augustine who wrote: “We never cease to look towards India, where many things are proposed to our admiration.”

“Unfortunately”, remarks American Indianist David Frawley, “from the second century onward, Christian leaders decided to break away from the Hindu influence and show that Christianity only started with the birth of Christ.” Hence, many later saints began branding Brahmins as “heretics,” and Saint Gregory set a future trend by publicly destroying the “pagan” idols of the Hindus.




Great Indian sages, such as Sri Aurobindo and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living, have often remarked that the stories recounting how Jesus came to India to be initiated are probably true. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar notes, for instance, that Jesus sometimes wore an orange robe, the Hindu symbol of renunciation of the world, which was not a usual practice in Judaism. “In the same way,” he continues, “the worshiping of Virgin Mary in Catholicism is probably borrowed from the Hindu cult of Devi.” Bells too, which cannot be found today in Synagogues, the surviving form of Judaism, are used in church-and we all know their importance in Buddhism and Hinduism for thousands of years, even up to the present day.

There are many other similarities between Hinduism and Christianity, including the use of incense, sacred bread (prasadam), the different altars around churches (which recall the manifold deities in their niches inside Hindu temples), reciting prayers on the rosary (Vedic japamala), the Christian Trinity (the ancient Vedic trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as the creator, maintainer and destroyer respectively, as well as Lord Krishna as the Supreme Lord, the all-pervading Brahman as the holy ghost, and Paramatma as the expansion or son of the Lord), Christian processions, and the use of the sign of the cross (anganyasa), and so many others.

In fact, Hinduism’s pervading influence seems to go much earlier than Christianity. American mathematician, A. Seindenberg, has, for example, shown that the Shulbasutras, the ancient Vedic science of mathematics, constitute the source of mathematics in the antique world of Babylon to Greece: “The arithmetic equations of the Shulbasutras were used in the observation of the triangle by the Babylonians as well as in the edification of Egyptian pyramids, in particular the funeral altar in the form of pyramid known in the Vedic world as smasana-cit.”

In astronomy too, the “Indus” (from the valley of the Indus) have left a universal legacy, determining for instance the dates of solstices, as noted by 18th century French astronomer Jean Sylvain Bailly: “The movement of stars which was calculated by Hindus 4,500 years ago, does not differ even by a minute from the tables which we are using today.” And he concludes: “The Hindu systems of astronomy are much more ancient than those of the Egyptians-even the Jews derive from the Hindus their knowledge.”

There is also no doubt that the Greeks heavily borrowed from the “Indus.” Danielou notes that the Greek cult of Dionysus, which later became Bacchus with the Romans, is a branch of Shaivism: “Greeks spoke of India as the sacred territory of Dionysus, and even historians of Alexander the Great identified the Indian Shiva with Dionysus and mention the dates and legends of the Puranas.” French philosopher and Le Monde journalist Jean-Paul Droit recently wrote in his book, The Forgetfulness of India, that “the Greeks loved so much Indian philosophy that Demetrios Galianos had even translated the Bhagavad-gita.”

Many Western and Christian historians have tried to nullify this India influence on Christians and ancient Greece by saying that it is the West through the Aryan invasion, and later the onslaught of Alexander the Great of India, which influenced Indian astronomy, mathematics, architecture, philosophy-and not vice versa. But new archeological and linguistic discoveries have proved that there never was an Aryan invasion and that there is a continuity from the ancient Vedic civilization to the Saraswati culture.

The Vedas, for instance, which constitute the soul of present day Hinduism, have not been composed in 1500 B.C., as Max Muller arbitrarily decided, but may go back to 7000 years before Christ, giving Hinduism plenty of time to influence Christianity and older civilizations which preceded Christianity.

Thus, we should be aware of and point out the close links which exist between Christianity and Hinduism (ancient Vedic culture), which bind them into a sacred brotherhood. Conscientious Christian and Western scholars can realize how the world humanity’s basic culture is Vedic through proper research.

~ Stephen Knapp

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15 Responses to "Hinduism’s Influence on Christianity"

  1. Ron Patterson  January 29, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I knew one of the Catholic saints was the Buddha. St Bartholomew I think…so who teaches sans kit ? Would like to learn the language.

    Reply
  2. Ron Patterson  January 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I knew one of the Catholic saints was the Buddha. St Bartholomew I think…so who teaches sanskrirt ? Would like to learn the language.

    Reply
    • srivas  June 20, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      My mom is a sanskrit teacher with a PhD is ritualistic practices

      Reply
  3. Alfredo  July 12, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Excellent article.
    Ron Patterson: I must put this correct: Catholics Do Not have Budha as a saint! That’s completely wrong!!

    Reply
  4. Dineshkumar Trivedi  December 14, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Sarvejana sukhinah santu, Sarvejana niramaya.
    ( Everyone in the universe be happy and healthy )

    Reply
  5. llanfair  June 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Something to think about:

    Where was Jesus from age 12 – 30? He was educated in India during that time. But this is up for debate of course.

    Reply
  6. ashutosh  June 5, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Please start a online Class on the teaching of SANSKRIT, if possible

    Reply
  7. Sheryl  June 5, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    As per the Gospels Jesus during His youth was learning and teaching at the synagogues, proof being people were astonished about His command over the Laws that they remarked as to was he not Joseph the carpenter’s son and yet he speaks with such wisdom. For them to know that he is The same Joseph’s son,it would mean Jesus was living with them.

    Reply
  8. Ajay  June 6, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Christianity is not Indian, it is Jewish ideology. They adopted some Pagan ritual of Greek thats why they have some similarity with Hindu. But they are carry forward Jewish legacy. Christianity is Greek version of Judaism along with Greek Paganism. Read more on – http://www.religiontruths.wordpress.com

    Reply
  9. Sharan  June 6, 2015 at 7:30 am

    A small correction; As regards the French journalist, it is Roger Pol-Droit and not Jean Paul Droit. Dhanyavathaha

    Reply
  10. v. k. verma  June 6, 2015 at 11:24 am

    This is less than half true that Christianity is from Hinduism. Cocasians, white people came to India ~8000 yrs back and established several dynasties like Ayodhya and Dakshin Kuru in Hastinapur. After Mahabharat they went back to Uttar Kuru i.e. area like Iraq and Iran and those returned back are identified as Aryans, very cultured and prosperous. They ruled their as descendants/ sons of Ajamede and established first empire as Mede or Media empire.Lastly around 500 BCE They had been using alphabets like that of English but dialect was Sanskrit being their original language.You can find out inscriptions of Ecbatana and Darius’s statements. Christianity and Islam are born afterwords.

    Reply
  11. kishor vig  June 8, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    i have gone thru the article. it is absolutely false and misleading. you are playing with the religious emotions of Indian public. everyone is aware that the Hindu Sanskruti is the oldest in world and is much prior to Jesus. may be christian are Hindus and conveniently later on recognized as christian. few of the practices in Hinduism are adopted by christian to show that they are the same and thus conversion shall not make any difference and this is how the poor and downtrodens are allured to get converted. this article is nothing but to show the same thing that christian is same as Hinduism.

    Reply
  12. Pingback: Ecclesiastes 1:9 | Sthapati

  13. Prassoon Suryadas  September 20, 2015 at 12:30 am

    This is total farce; attempt to condition Indian mindset more friendly to this foreign religion, so that conversion is made easier!

    Reply
  14. karthik  June 8, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    read “euclid and jesus” book by c.k.raju which questions the existence and historicity of euclid and jesus.

    Reply

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