Reading 1: Jeremiah 20:10-13; Gospel :John 10:31-42
The Father is in me and I am in the Father
The statement of Jesus, “the Father and I are one” is a much loved one by Hindu philosophers and spiritual men. For them this proves the unity between Christianity and Hinduism! Today’s reflection is going to be a bit philosophical; hope the reader can tolerate that.
Hinduism apparently is a polytheistic religion with thousands of Gods. But basically, it is a monistic religion, according to the Vedanta school. ‘Monism’ means that there is only one reality, which is an impersonal Absolute. All the variety of beings that we see, including gods and humans are only fruits of illusion, or fruits of maya, or varied appearances of that single reality. We are not even separate one from another. All being is One. The ‘gods’ and ‘devas’ and ‘paramatmas’ are those who have reached the enlightened awareness that they are not separate from that One Absolute Reality. So, when Jesus said that the Father and he were one, he was speaking of the Hindu monistic philosophy, according to many modern Hindu philosophers, including thinkers like Vivekananda! Of course, it is strange that such a religion of absolute oneness of all, discriminates so much in social life with water-tight divisions of society in the name of caste and gender! High philosophy and contradictory social theories can co-exist, peacefully!
Christianity on the other hand is monotheistic, meaning that there is but One God. The creatures are also real and distinct from God, but God and his creatures are related by Love! God creates us out of love. We are not illusions. God cannot love something that is a mere illusion? God creates us with our own existence and freedom. And that freedom makes love possible. There is, therefore, a world of difference between Hinduism and Christianity. We are called not just for enlightenment, or nirvana, but to a loving relationship with our God and with each other! It is strange of course, the Christianity too has contradictory social life, with divisions, castes and wars, all contradictory to its basic doctrine! Division between theory and practice is not the prerogative of only one religion!