The Hindu and Judeo-Christian Creaion Myths

Essay by CollisionA+, February 2010

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Hinduism possesses a creation myth in the Rg Veda, just as Judeo-Christians have a creation story in the Holy Bible. Similarities and differences can both be found between the myths. Both Creation myths tell much about the beliefs and behavior of both religions. In these texts, there are some differences in the relationship between man, divinity, and their role in the world. In addition, the culture and environment in which these creation myths were created had a great effect on the content. In trying to understand parts of other religions, one can begin to understand the greater scheme of things.

Just as one can tell a lot about a man by the way he dresses, one can also tell a lot about a religion by its respective creation story. The Rg Veda mentions, “With him the gods, Sadhyas, and sages sacrificed” (Rg Veda).One of the most obvious things that could be taken from the Rg Veda’s creation myth is the Hindu’s polytheistic nature.

It is most obvious when it mentions the various roles of Purusa and Viraj. In Genesis Chapters 1 and 2, it is ever apparent that the Judeo-Christians only believe in the one and only God. The Bible states, “God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed--the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31) The God in the Judeo-Christian creation story creates the world in six days and consecrates the seventh day as holy.

The God in the Judeo-Christian creation story creates the world and all its belongings through divine command. The Holy Bible states, Then God said, "Let there be light,” and there was light” (Genesis 1:3) God says it, and it is. This represents the omnipotent nature of God. God has control of everything and understands everything. In Hinduism, there are many gods who each have their own roles and duties. There is no one god that is most powerful or controls all the others. In the Rg Veda’s creation myth, a sacrifice is what brings about the world and its dwellings. The Rg Veda states, “The Man [Purusa] has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet” (Rg Veda). The deities in Hinduism are often depicted in human or animal forms. Judaism and Christianity don’t necessarily depict God as man or animal.

In the Rg Veda creation myth, sacrifice is a vital part of Hinduism as a whole. The Rg Veda states, “From that sacrifice in which everything was offered, the clarified butter was obtained, and they made it into those beasts who live in the air, in the forest, and in the villages” (Rg Veda). The sacrifice of the Man brought about everything: the earth and all its dwellings. Sacrifice is an important part of Hinduism. Sacrifice in any religion could mean sacrifice of one’s self in mind and spirit. Sacrifice to the Hindus involved steadfast devotion of themselves to prayer and offerings of butter wile chanting sacred mantras. In Christian teaching, God sacrificed his son in order to save that which he ahs created. There is a consistent theme of sacrifice seen in all religions, but Christianity involves sacrifice of one and in some cases one’s body.

In Hinduism, order is kept through a caste system. The Rg Veda declares, “His mouth was the Brahmin, his arms were made into the nobles, his two thighs were the populace, and from his feet the servants were born” (Rg Veda). This caste system consists of four classes of society in which one is born into and has no control over. From the creation myth, one can draw the conclusion that man and divinity had no direct or emotional relationship. That relationship seems more as the divine are the rule setters and man is the follower. In Christianity and Judaism, there is more of a spiritual, emotional and direct relationship between God and man. During prayer, it is encouraged to actually have a dialogue with God and try to connect with Him. As for mankind, they are responsible for themselves. It is up to them to try to follow in the way of God.

The Genesis creation story was written during the exilic and post-exilic period of 4000 to 5000 B.C. The Genesis seemed to have anti-Babylonian influence. The Bible states, “The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken” (Genesis 3:23). This quote embodies the feeling of the Babylonian captivity. The connection between God’s banishing of Adam and the forcible absence of the Christians during the Babylonian Captivity. The Rg Veda, on the other hand, was written during the Vedic period of the 1100s to about the 1700s B.C. The Vedic period was influenced by the Indo- Aryan migration and the Iranian Avesta of Zoroastrianism. All in all, through the breaking down of a creation story of any religion, one can see the vital morals and history of that religion.

Bibliography:Rg Veda- of the Hindu faithThe Holy Bible: King James Version. Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, 2001.