B. Hinduism and Other
Do Hindus Have Prophets and
Hinduism does not look to
prophets or messiahs who have a special relationship with God that
other people cannot have and whom we must use as intermediaries,
which is the Christian and Islamic view. It looks to great gurus or
spiritual guides who set forth paths to Self-realization which must
be adapted by each individual in his or her own way.
From the Hindu view, which
has seen the coming and going of many religious systems, a variety
of great teachers and Divine incarnations comes into being
periodically to guide human beings relative to changing
circumstances. There is no beginning or end to such great teachers.
We should take their message, the teaching, and put it into
practice, and not merely revere them outwardly.
Hindu history records
hundreds of such sages from ancient to modern times and says that we
should honor what is great in all of them and need not restrict
ourselves to one only, as if knowledge of God, which is infinite,
was the property of one person. More important than any prophet,
savior or guru is to contact the Truth within our own nature. An
external guide, however necessary, is only an aid to Self-knowledge.
We must discover the Divine presence within ourselves. Otherwise our
religious practice is not yet mature.