|In the Biblical
tradition human beings are fallen creatures, existing in sin and exiled from God, who
stands with a threatening gaze in his heaven beyond. In the Vedas, human beings form a
brotherhood with the Gods and have a common origin, nature and kinship with them. Human
beings can become Gods and gain immorality along with them. There is no overriding or
ultimate sin but simply ignorance and impurity that must be removed to allow our true
nature, which is pure awareness, to manifest without obstruction.
Biblical monotheism tends towards exclusivism if you are not
with us, you are against us. The Vedic view reflects unity-in-multiplicity those
who sincerely think differently than us are also with us, because there is no one way for
all. The Vedic view is of a pluralistic world order that accommodates many variant views
in a vast harmony. It is aware of the Absolute Unity of Truth but also recognizes its many
creative forms in manifestation.
The main Biblical view is that "I, the Lord thy God,
am a jealous God and thou shall not worship other Gods." The Vedic view is "That
which is the One Truth the Seers declare in manifold ways (Rig Veda I.164.46)", and
"May noble aspirations come to us from every side (Rig Veda I.89.1)." The Rig
Vedic original man or Manu states, "None of you Gods are small or inferior. All of
you are great. All the Gods that dwell here, who are universal to all beings, may you give
your protection to us and to our horses and cattle (Rig Veda VIII.30.1,4)."
The Biblical view is of a One God who is at war with other
gods. The Vedic view is of One Truth that has many forms, expressions and paths of
approach. Whether it is Indra, Agni, Soma and Surya of the Vedas or Shiva, Vishnu, Devi or
Ganesha of later Hinduism, each is the Supreme Self in form, aspect or approach and
includes the other Gods in a greater harmony.