Eschatology and Messianic Hope in Hinduism:
A Bahá'í Perspective

By Ali K. Merchant

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #5
Bahá'í National Center: Wilmette, Illinois, USA
March 31 – April 2, 1995
(see list of papers from #5)

    What is known as Hinduism has no single founder. It has evolved over a period of ten thousand years or more, absorbing and assimilating elements of many of the religions and cultural movements of India and neighboring countries. All the key sacred texts of Hinduism are written and recorded in Sanskrit, the oldest extant language in the world. The main scriptures of Hinduism are the Vedas, the Upanishads (Vedanta) and the Bhagavad-Gita. They are called shrutis, the eternal truth. Next comes the Code of Laws, smritis. The main scriptures of Hinduism include four more texts that may be listed as histories: Itihasa, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Puranas.

    The identity of the revealer of the Bhagavad-Gita is attributed to Lord Krishna. The Vedas (derived of the root "vid" meaning "to know") are a compilation of spiritual laws revealed at different periods. It includes four works. The Bhagavad-Gita is sometimes regarded as the fifth Veda. However, a statement attributed to the Lord Krishna claims he was the revealer of all the Vedas. In the Bahá'í Faith Lord Krishna is regarded as the central figure of the Hindu religion. 'Abdu'l-Bahá calls Krishna "the cause of illumination of the world of humanity" and confirms that he was "sent of God" (Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 348).

    The purpose of this paper is to explore the scriptures of Hinduism in the light of the teachings of the Bahá'! Faith. The roots of some of the main tenets of the Bahá'í Faith are investigated in the words attributed to Krishna and other parts of Hindu scriptures. Some of the ancient texts such the Book of Juk referred to by Bahá'u'lláh are identified and briefly introduced. Examples of the prophesies in Hindu sacred texts on the advent of the mission of Bahá'u'lláh are presented and explained. In short an attempt is made to present the organic and evolutionary relations between the Hindu religion and the Bahá'í Faith.

this paper is not yet online