New Respect for Hinduism Opens a Way to Reach Hindu Seekers
Patricia Richards, from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, has taken Wilmette Institute courses on Hinduism and the Christian Old Testament and is currently enrolled in Judaism for Deepening and Dialogue.
I think one of the key skills I have learned through this course on Hinduism for Deepening and Dialogue and also in an earlier course on the Jewish holy writings is to learn to look at the perspective from which the holy writings were written and for whom, the point in time that the writings were written, and why the writings are written the way they are.
A major change in my values and beliefs, I think, is that I did not truly understand the depth of history that Hinduism encompasses. The Hindu faith and culture are incredibly ancient, and I wonder if a more in-depth study of the history of the area would provide a better understanding of both the culture and the origins of the Hindu faith.
I am also very interested now in a history of the Hindu seers or teachers or wise men. If they memorized and transmitted the Rig Veda for centuries, or longer, this seems to mean that there is an even older theological framework, and I find that very interesting. `Abdu’l-Baha in His writings mentions the numerous Manifestations before the ones that we know of today, and it is thought-provoking that ancient history validates this in a tangible way.
Based on what I have read, I would actually like to study the Hindu holy writings alongside some of the Baha’i writings. Given that each Revelation brings to same message but at the level at which humanity can understand it, I would like to understand the principles as they are taught in Hinduism and parallel these with the principles as taught in the Baha’i Faith. This will help in teaching as, again, being able to understand the perspective of the Hindu seeker would help in explaining the Baha’i perspective. I would actually like to study the Gita, the Seven Valleys, the Four Valleys, and the Hidden Words, at the same time, as I think there are many similar spiritual messages that are concurrent.
Also, I think that the principles behind the messages of the Universal House of Justice, particularly with respect to service/Ruhi, is reflected in many of the Hindu writings and this could be used if studying Ruhi with a seeker from the Hindu Faith or a Baha’i from a Hindu background.