All books of religion agree that the first sin by Adam resulted into a wedge between man and God his maker. All religions that include Muslim, Christianity, Buddhist, and Hindu have all ways through which the gap between God and human beings could be connected. Therefore it can be stipulated that the reason why man and God do not connect is because of Sin. Therefore Christianity—the major religion—believe that salvation is the bridge that connects God and human beings. Alternatively in Hindu religion the bridge is called Moksha. Therefore this paper will highlight the similarities and differences that result in these two concepts with a personal statement as to how one can approach a Hindu about the need for and process of salvation.
Comparison of Moksha and Salvation
Just like all religions that have their own unique course to salvation, the Hindu religion describes their path by the Moksha concept. Moksha (liberation) means the highest goal in the religion where a human being’s soul is freed from the karma of perpetual reincarnated world (Samsara) (Dhavamony, 2002). Therefore just like Christianity one can attain spirituality in two ways, that are, either through death or while living. The difference comes in the stage in life where one can attain Moksha. In Hindu, the only people that were allowed to get salvation were higher-caste Hindus and it was after undertaking three other aims of life. “The three other aims of life include wealth (artha), pleasure (karma), and right conduct (dharma) (Dhavamony, 2002, p. 69).” Therefore for a Hindu to attain Moksha then they had to work their way up the hierarchy of aims before embarking on the last aim which was Moksha. Contrastingly, in Christian salvation anyone can get salvation despite their age, class, and stage in life.
Furthermore, when one is alive Moksha can be attained through three pathways: knowledge (inana); devotion (bhakti); and ritual works (Karma Marga) (Kappor, 2005). The three concepts are the major aspects through which similarities and differences between Moksha and salvation in Christianity are brought out. In looking at knowledge, there is a similarity where both salvations could be attained by spiritualism which is similar to knowledge. The difference results when Dhavamony, (2002), stipulated that in Hindu the hindrance of humanity to knowledge is ignorance and not wickedness as advocated by Christianity. Therefore it is seen that in Hindu when one attains Moksha then he is able to view life from a clear perspective and is at unity with God. However, in Christianity salvation is a process and not a stage where Satan will constantly fight with human beings to deceive them and in turn make them not attain Salvation. Therefore through constant repentance and praying for strength, then a Christian would attain salvation but would have to work hard to continue at that state.
The similarity in devotion (Bharti Marga) is seen when a conduit is used to connect one to God. However, the difference is seen in the conduits being used in both religions which are completely different. In Christianity the conduit is Jesus Christ where salvation is got by accepting him as the son of God and that he died so that our sins could be washed away. In the case of Hindu religion Moksha says that devotion is got through a specific deity. The deities in Hindu are many and include shiva, Ganesha, Devi, or Krishna all of whom are considered an expression of the universal and all-inclusive force of Brahman (Kapoor, 2005).
In ritual works (Karma Marga), both religions show similarity where every human being strives to do ethical works for the benefit of the society. Therefore salvation and Moksha in this case are identified by the participants doing good and maintaining a standard that is set in accordance to divine laws (Kapoor, 2005). However, Moksha is seen to be rare to attain compared to salvation where numerous reincarnations are required. Furthermore, the stage is only limited to males in some sects of Hindus hence showing that Moksha and Salvation in Christianity are different in terms of their assumptions on reality (Dhavamony, 2002).
The Need for Salvation
In approaching a Hindu about the need for salvation, the first thing to tell him/her is that having a relationship with God is not a difficult process and that what is required is faith. It would be crucial to convince them that salvation is not something that is limited to certain people based on their age, sex, or even social status. However, salvation is a process that should commence from faith that God loves you and then from then on devotion to the will of God is of importance. Devotion to a Hindu would mostly entail taking God as their sweetheart in a process called Nayaki-Nayaka Bhava (Kapoor, 2005). Furthermore, they should grow their knowledge (spirituality) in knowing God through reading scriptures and performing spiritual rituals. In performing spiritual rituals a Hindu should accompany the deeds with ethical living where they strive to do good deeds in accordance to Karma. Therefore, in following the procedure listed above, a Hindu should be able to get a good after life as a reciprocation of the good deeds they practised.
Dhavamony, M. (2002). Hindu-Christian Dialogue: theological surroundings and perspectives. New York: Rodopi Publishers. Pp. 85-93
Kapoor, S.S. (2005). Hinduism. New Delhi: Hemkunt Publishers. Pp. 69-75