Are all Religions "Equals" ?

Sarvadharma Samabhava


One of the greatest fallacies in our Hindu mindset is - "All religions are the same."

Apart from Hindus, tell me one religion that believes that to be so ?

Do the Muslims think so ?   
They think all non-muslims (kafirs) will burn in hell fire - forever.  There is no redemption for kafirs - ever !!  They are going to suffer in purgatory forever !

Do Christians think so ? 
They feel as long as you have not embraced Christ, you are going to be exempt from heaven for all eternity ! 

Do Jews think so ? 
Nope !  They are the chosen people of their Lord, a God who, "is a jealous Lord who will brook no other !"   (not my words - read the Old Testament).

Do Jains or even Buddhists think so ?  
No - they feel the Hindu gods are false and everyone has to work towards their own enlightenment.

Do the Sikhs think so ? 
Absolutely not !  They are wiping out all evidence of former Hindu mythology from their sect.  Even now, as they renovate the Golden temple, they are obliterating any paintings of Hindu gods that ever existed there.


So, why are the Hindus the only ones to think "All religions are the same." ?!!?

"Sarva dharma samabhava" is a historical reaction to being dominated by non-hindus for over a thousand years.  Over the centuries, we have developed a lot of intellectual arguments to justify our weak position in the pack.   By milli mouthing "sarva dharma samabhava" we hoped to gain the "equality" in principle, denied to us in the reality.

Under the muslim rulers, we were never equal.  We had to pay an extortionate extra tax - jizia - for being allowed to practice our ancestral religion.  Our temples were constantly under threat from being looted and vandalised by the muslims.  Our Sanskrit schools were closed and cultural activities heavily curtailed.  Our people were converted by economic and social incentives, neither of which really materialised for most of them.  Most of those converted, have remained in the same "caste" related jobs they had before and have continued to be poverty stricken.  If anything, their backwardness is enhanced by retrograde attitudes of their religious leaders who do not want to see them modernise and progress.

Under the Christian rule, Hindus suffered new humiliations and their ancient cultural values were questioned anew.  By taking things out of context, Europeans tended to dismiss Indian scriptures and ideas out of hand.  They made sure the new education system they put in place denigrated Hinduism at every stage and the children of the upwardly mobile Hindus who came to study there were made to feel ashamed of their ancestral heritage.  Even today, the "intelligencia" of India, especially Hindus, are largely educated in the convent schools and have a deep rooted dislike for India's culture, history and religion.  Hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.  Similarly, teachers shape the world and world view of their students.


During the "Ghandi" years, "all religions are equal" idea gained greater currency and in his blind race to "mahtamahood", Ghandhiji made sure we swallowed this along with the idea that as a majority community, we must accommodate the minority community at all cost - yet another foolishness not seen in any other country or community anywhere in the world.

After the painful partition of India, brave new India wanted to let by-gones be by-gones and rammed the "sarva dharma samabhava" down the throat of every Hindu, along with "secularism".  Government, schools and religious leaders marshalled to this tune.  Muslim and Xtians were exempt from it though.  Laws were framed to make sure the Hindus had to follow the "common civil code" while the "minorities" were exempt from it. Once again, "samabhava" was a solely Hindu virtue.  While we were / are constantly being marginalised in our country, we are being asked to practice this dubious virtue with ever greater zeal. 

Muslims and Christians are allowed, even expected, to preach to convert people away from Hinduism.  Yet, if a law is passed to stop "conversion by coercion" - ie offer of monetary, medical or job incentives, muslims and Christians get up in arms to protect their right to convert !  Worse still, if a Hindu group aims to revert (re-convert) recent converts back to the Hindu fold, international media is moved to denounce this as a "Hindu oppression".  Recent gathering in the Danga district of Gujarat is a mute case in point, where for weeks the Christians kept feeding scare stories to the compliant press about a "Hindu gathering" that was to take place there.  They feared they would be "reconverted by force".  No such thing was planned and none of it occurred.  The press quietly dropped the non-happening story, yet, no one came to apologise to the Hindu groups they had falsely accused of stirring trouble. 

In USA, for example, the Christians are desperately trying to keep Hinduism and its "gods" under-check by every means possible.  Even in the education field, Hindu Gods are referred to as "gods" - in small letters - to show they are not the same as Christian "God" - in capital letters !  Outdated, biased and rascist ideas of caste, marriage, worship and rituals are passed off as "facts" in the school books.  Hindus are denied being the opportunity to challenge and change these text books by using every legal loop hole available.  It is amazing that a country that was founded on "religious freedom" is denying it to the Hindus with such vehemence.  Hindus are having to fight this case in the court !!

Hindus need to realise that they are the only ones who believe in this non-existent "sarva dharma samabhava".  Other religions laugh at us for our glib acceptance of this non-existent ideal !  Jihadis keep coming to India from its "neighbours" to convert us by force.  Money keeps pouring in from the Middle East, Europe and USA to convert us by coersion.  Yet, our leaders keep exhorting us to believe in "equality of religions", time after time, bomb after bomb, murder after murder.

At some point, we will have to say "STOP" !!
The same rule must apply to all.  Either all religions accept "samabhava" and stop preaching with the direct aim to convert, or the Hindus should have the same rights as the others and should be allowed to help people revert back to their ancestral religion.  You can't have it both ways.

But first and foremost, we, as Hindus need to awaken and realise that this "samabhava" is a mirage and abandon it at once !


� Bhagwat    [email protected]


Return to Index

Return to Bhagwat's main page

Return to ShriNathji's Haveli