All divine revelations are incomplete and only give partial information that is appropriate for the time and state of spiritual development of the humans in incarnation. Consequently, Theosophy being the latest revelation, has the most amount of truth in it. However, even Theosophy is incomplete and there are major points of contention between different branches of Theosophists. These disputes and differences will be resolved only when the Christ and his Masters return to the everyday world and explain to us what we can not agree upon. This event is scheduled to happen quite soon, hopefully within the next 2-3 years.
If you find any errors in the information below (particularly if you are a devout Catholic or Muslim), please let me know at this email address.
This page is still under construction...
|Aspect||Christianity (Mainly Catholicism)||Islam||Hinduism||Theosophy|
|Date of Origin||33 AD||622 AD||6000 BC if you date by the birth of Rama.|
Probably older if you date by composition of the Vedas
|Founder||Jesus, St. Peter/Paul||Muhammad||None||Helena Blavatsky|
|Summary||Christianity is based on the Gospel as preached by Jesus. The central message from Jesus was of forgiveness and love - love your fellow human beings including your enemies, take care of the poor and unfortunate, if someone strikes you turn the other cheek,forgive those who harm you. This message was indeed truly extraordinary, unique and radical. 'love your enemies' - nobody had ever said that before. The Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount are especially wonderful. However. Christianity as preached and practiced today has mostly degenerated into a dogmatic religion where it is very important what people believe about God and what he apparently demands (the strangest of the beliefs is that contraception is forbidden and also that there is something called 'original sin'). The loving, forgiving God that Jesus preached has now morphed into the strict, unyielding, mean-spirited God of the Old Testament with an added prudishness obsessed with the sexual practices of humans. In spite of this obsession with sexual conduct, Christianity still remains an excellent religion for all humanity and is the main dominant religion for the Age of Pisces.||Islam is based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad as revealed to him by the angel Grabriel. Islam means 'surrender' or 'submission' and the religion asks its followers to surrender everything to Allah, the one and only God and follow strictly His teachings as given in the Koran which was dictated to His last and final Prophet, Muhammad. Islam is said to be the religion of peace and brotherhood - it does not discriminate against any one based on color, race, language or wealth. However, for a religion of peace, Muslims have been responsible for a lot of wars and killings which continue to this day. These killings are not just of infidels, but also of each other - Sunnis kill Shia, Shia kill Sunni and they both kill the Ahmadis and all this killing is apparently sanctioned and approved by the religion. In spite of the willingness to mete out harsh punishment including death for anyone who Muslims believe violates their religious beliefs, Islam remains an ideal religion for simple people especially the uneducated. Its strict beliefs and practices give simple people structure and discipline in their lives without complicated theology or philosophy to understand. Christian ideas of 'love your enemies' or 'turn the other cheek' were too deep and profound for the uncultured, illiterate nomads of the Arabian peninsula, so Islam was inspired by the Masters specially for such people. But as people get more educated and sophisticated, the attraction of this religion will diminish - it may not last much beyond the Age of Pisces and leading into Aquarius.||Hinduism is based on the ancient revealed texts called the Vedas and Upanishads, so does not have a single founder or source. The central theme of the religion is the divinity of all beings and that God is present in all things - animate as well as inanimate. This is the belief in panentheism (not to be confused with pantheism) - that God is beyond human comprehension and that He contains everything within Himself as well as stands beyond and apart from it all - that God is both male, female as well as undifferentiated. However, even though basic Hinduism has these lofty concepts, most Hindus do not know or even understand this philosophical background. The philosophy is usually lost in rituals or habitual practices or no practices at all. If you get a hundred Hindus at random and ask them what Hinduism teaches, you will get hundred different answers and all of them may leave out the most basic and important teachings. In spite of believing that all life is sacred or that we are all One, Hindu organizations, in general, are not very involved in charity, philanthropy or social work. However, Hinduism is the most ancient religion being practiced on Earth today. Almost all esoteric knowledge about God and the fundamental realities of life are preserved within it (you just need to know where to look and what to ignore). In a very short time, basic Hindu beliefs of reincarnation, karma, the sacredness of all life will be well accepted facts by almost all of the people on Earth. Hinduism, also know as Sanatana Dharma (the Eternal Way) will probably last for ever, but it is still appropriate mainly for people of Indian origin, it is too uniquely Indian to be a universal religion (like either Christianity or Islam).||The Theosophical Society and similar organizations (Agni Yoga, Arcane School, Share International) are an experiment by the Masters to reveal esoteric teachings to humanity through their advanced disciples. The books published by these organizations are complex and not easy to understand for the average person and are not intended as religious texts. They have no dogmas to follow or rituals to perform. They are just a source of knowledge - very much like books of science. This experiment by the Masters will end soon, when the Masters themselves together with their Leader - the Christ Maitreya, come openly into the everyday world - this is scheduled to happen soon, perhaps in two or three years.|
|Impersonal God||No such concept||No such concept||Brahman.|
There is only one entity or being that underlies all existence. This entity pervades all of creation but it also stands apart from creation. It is totally impersonal and beyond human comprehension.
|The Absolute, Parabrahman|
|Personal Gods||The Trinity - Three Persons in One God:
"He is Father of the poor, of the orphaned and the widowed, who are under his loving protection. He is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. He is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father in relation to his only Son, who is eternally Son only in relation to his Father: No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
The Holy Spirit is the principle author of Scripture
|Allah (pbuh) - One and only God
Muslims believe that Allah is the all-powerful Creator of a perfect, ordered universe. He is transcendent and not a part of his creation, and is most often referred to in terms and with names that emphasize his majesty and superiority. Among the 99 Beautiful Names of God (Asma al-Husna) in the Quran are: the Creator, the Fashioner, the Life-Giver, the Provider, the Opener, the Bestower, the Prevailer, the Reckoner, and the Recorder.
||The three Logoi:
This means that every planet (like Earth) or a star (like the Sun) or other major celestial body has a Logos or personal God that takes care of the well being and evolution of that celestial body and all its inhabitants
|Divine Incarnations||The Only Begotten Son of God:||None - God can never incarnate as human||Hinduism states that whenever Dharma (righteousness) declines in the world to a considerable extent, and Adharma (evil) prevails, Vishnu (the second of the Hindu Trinity) incarnates as a mortal to uphold the Dharma. The ten Avatars of Vishnu are as folows:||An Avatar of the Age appears every 2160 years according to the precession of the equinoxes. The known Avatars:|
|Denominations (Main ones)||
|Scriptures||The Holy Bible consisting of :
||Islam is also a Abrahamic religion and shares the creation story of the Old Testament.||
The Creation Story according to Theosophy is from an ancient Tibetan text called the 'Book of Dyzan'. Blavatsky has decoded and explained this esoteric text in the 'Secret Doctrine'. However, the story is far too complex for me to understand and I am not sure if it is that important. Far more relevant to us ordinary humans, is the description by Leadbeater of how a Solar System is created.|
"Leadbeater identified three 'outpourings' of the divine essence. They occur in reverse order. The first outpouring, from the Third Aspect of the Logos, penetrates and vitalizes the 'virgin matter' of seven planes of creation. The second outpouring, from the Second Aspect of the trinity, builds forms from the vitalized matter of the planes. It descends to the physical plane and then begins an upward-sweeping arc, ensouling lives on successive planes and urging them forward on their evolutionary paths. The third outpouring, emanating from the First Aspect, remains at a high level. In Leadbeater's words: The third outpouring provides human entities with the potential for unlimited expansion of consciousness."
Christian cosmology/astronomy was derived mainly from the Old Testament which claimed that the universe was created by God around 6000 years ago and that the Earth was at the center of the universe. The Earth was flat floating on water and the Sun and Moon where lights in the sky.
The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West and then somehow hurries over to the other side to get ready for the next day. The stars were either lights in the sky which was a ceiling or perhaps they are angels. Heaven is above and Hell below the Earth - the location of Purgatory is not clear.
There was great resistance by the Church to discoveries by Copernicus and later Galileo that it was the Earth that revolved around the Sun. However, later it was stated that Earth being the center was never part of the Magisterium, so the new fact did not really change Church dogma.
|Islamic cosmology was also borrowed from the Old Testament - so the Universe is again 6000 years old and the Earth is at the center of the Universe. One additional thought was that the flat Earth rested on a whale in the ocean of water. There were seven heavens above and one hell below (but no purgatory).||Hindu Cosmology can be quite confusing since there are different descriptions in multiple texts and myths are mixed with astronomical observations. There seems be to some knowledge of the spherical nature of the Earth and there is a text that says that 'when it is night, the Sun is on the other side of the Earth and does not really set'. But the texts also say that the Sun rides in a chariot pulled by seven horses.
One interesting belief is the cyclic nature of the Universe which goes though regular cycles of creation and destruction - a mini-cycle lasts 8.64 billion years (day of Brahma, the Creator) and a major cycle which lasts 3.11 trillion years (life of Brahma). The numbers may not be accurate, but 8.6 biilon is within the accepted order of magnitude of time since the Big Bang. Also the earth/solar system is about 4.5 billion years, so the life of the solar system (a mini-cycle) could very well turn out to be 8.64 billion years. The theory of the cyclic nature of the Universe is supported by many modern physicists.
The concept of multiverses, a theory also championed by modern physicists, is not foreign to Hinduism. Several texts mention innumerable worlds each with their own Brahma or Creator God. There is also mention of seven heavens and seven netherworlds (not necessarily hells).
Hindu philosophy claims that the physical universe is not what it seems - it may be just an illusion (Maya). This view is also being investigated by many physicists (that the universe is a hologram or a simulation or even as Max Tegmark says just a mathematical concept).
|Theosophy also agrees with the Hindu view of the cyclic nature of the universe. But Theosophy goes further and teaches about incarnations (or Rounds) of each planet and that far from being the center of the universe, the Earth is a minor, obscure planet among millions such planets.
In fact, Benjamin Creme has said that instead being an important planet, Earth is (spiritually and technological) a backward planet even within our own Solar System. In terms of ranking, Earth is nineth or tenth in our Solar System with only Pluto being less civilized/developed than Earth.
The five pillars of Islam can be considered as sacraments:
||Not a religion.|
|Rituals||Ceremony of the Eucharist
- Communion of consecrated bread (body of the Christ)
- Consecrated Wine (blood of the Christ)
|The five pillars of Islam given above, can also be considered as rituals||
||Not a religion.|
|Goal of Life and How to Attain It||Goals: To know, love, and serve God in this life, so as to attain salvation and be happy with Him in heaven
Methods: Obey Jesus's teachings about love and service to mankind. However, today the emphasis is on Old Testament laws and Paul's admonishments
|Goals: Total surrender, submission, obedience, worship of Allah by accepting Allah's Will over ones own.
Methods: Following the five pillars of Islam (see above).
||Goal: The purpose all life is Evolution. The "progressive unfoldment of consciousness by evolutionary development, the attainment of self-consciousness, and self-determinism through will, the multiplication of such self-conscious entities and their gradual perfecting, is what we can call the Plan, for our Earth". Hence, each of us living play a part in this Plan of Evolution.|
|Life After Death||
After death, the soul separates from the body (in case of Muslims the soul is taken out with ease and is then taken with respect by the Angels of Mercy, in case of Kafirs with great pain by Angels of Punishment) and then the soul remains in 'Barzakh', a sort of waiting place, till the Day of Judgment. On the day of Judgment, you are sent to heaven or hell according to your deeds. Islam is kinder than Christianity, there are no deeds which automatically send you to hell (although being a Kafir may qualify). However, there is some confusion, maybe the judgment of heaven or hell as destination, happens right after burial and you don't have to wait for the Day of Judgment?
Heaven in Islam is a place of worldly pleasures, such as living in palaces, drinking wine, eating delicious food and having sex, but apparently that is only metaphorical.
|Schools of Philosophy||Thomism, Calvinism, Molinism, Arminianism - TBD.||Islamism, Salafism, Wahhabism||Also known as Darshanas - Points of View
Muslim eschatology is very similar to the Christian one, except that there is also the Return of the Imam Mahdi. Muslims expect (with some variations) the following events to occur:
||The Universe is continuously going through a process of Creation, Destruction and Rebirth. A specific Universe lasts as long as the Life of its Brahma (equivalent to about 311.04 trillion years). During this period, the Universe goes through multiple deaths and rebirths that correspond to the days in Brahmas life - the dead period being during the night of Brahma's full day(a Brahma day is about 4.32 billion human years). So the universe is not about to end anytime soon - probably has many millions of years to go. However, that does not mean the Earth will last as long - but there is no prediction as to how long.
The earth itself goes through ages that repeat cyclically. There are four yugas or ages:
Kali yuga probably started - 3102 BCE. At the end of this current age, the next Avatar Kalki will appear to destroy evil and save the righteous.
The cycles of the Universe are described as similar to Hindu beliefs - so no end of the world is anticipated any time soon. However, Theosophist do expect a World Teacher to come (Return) to the world some time in the future or near future:
|Egalitarianism, Racism, Casteism, Sexism||Christianity as preached by Jesus is a truly egalitarian religion which makes no distinction between human beings on the basis of religion, race, skin color, gender or material wealth - in fact according to Jesus, the poor and wretched are especially blessed.
However, once Paul gets into the act, he makes it clear that women are definitely not equal to men and should be submissive, subservient and obedient to their husbands.
The Church, of course, finds it easier to follow Paul rather than Jesus and denies women the same rights as men to become priests and conduct mass etc.
The Church also states that non-Christians are condemned to eternal hell except if they are 'invincibly ignorant' of Jesus and Gospel
Most Christians also still believe that Jews are a 'Chosen' people - clearly a racist dogma
For a religion that believes in equality among men, the Church tolerated slavery for quite a long time before unequivocally rejecting it in the 20th century.
Islam also claims to be an egalitarian religion - all men are equal. except that Arabs are more equal than all others. According to many hadiths, 'Allah has chosen the Arabs over other nations' - very much like the Jewish claim of being 'chosen'. Even among Arabs, certain tribes are claimed to be superior to others. Many Hadiths speak disparagingly of people of color (mainly blacks).
Women are clearly considered inferior to men in Islam (a position which goes far beyond the patriarchal attitudes of other religions). In my opinion, Muhammad had serious doubts whether women had a soul or not. In laws and rights women are treated as inferior and unequal to men - somewhat like their property. The Koran when it describes life after death in heaven, only mentions the presence of men from earth. The women in heaven are apparently virgins from somewhere else, their main purpose being to serve the men.
However, Islamic treatment of women was far better than what existed at the time of Muhammad who improved their lot considerably.
Just like Christianity, Islam claims that non-Muslims are doomed to eternal hell after death.
Slavery appears to be sanctioned by the religion and is still practiced in certain Muslim countries to this day.
|Hinduism does not claim to be egalitarian at all. It divides society into four levels or castes in the following order:
The fifth group are the outcastes, the untouchables who are the lowest of all. They do the dirtiest of jobs (like working with leather or corpses or cleaning toilets or sewers).
This division of society appears to be based on profession, and a person's caste is passed from father to son with inter-marriage between unequal castes strictly forbidden.
The caste system has been the cause of much suffering and oppression, with lower caste people, especially the untouchables, subjected to unspeakably horrendous atrocities.
There is a belief that in ancients days the caste system was not hereditary but was based on merit and that it was possible to escape the caste situation you were born into, but in due course of time, this stratification of society became rigid and impossible to change. The caste system is officially banned in India since independence, but it has become so entrenched in the society that even Budddhist and Christians in India maintain their caste from generation to generation.
There are multiple theories about how the caste system came into being. I have my own theory based on the teachings of Theosophy regarding the Seven Rays and the Ray Structure of a human being (see the next column).
As in any patriarchal society, in Hinduism, women are often treated as inferior and subservient to their husbands and male relatives. In extreme cases, they were once even expected to throw themselves willingly on a husband's funeral pyre. However, according to Hindu beliefs, a woman may return as a man in the next life (and a man may return as a woman) according to their karma from past lives.
Slavery as an institution was unheard of in India before the invasion of the Muslims, since the concept of ownership of another human being or being able to buy/sell another human was not acceptable. However, indentured servants or bonded-labor have always existed in India and is a wide-spread problem even today with the world's largest population of such indentured workers (including many children).
Hindus do not believe that salvation (or mokhsha) depends on your religion or whom you worship or your specific belief system. Anyone can attain enlightenment or moksha, including non-believers like atheists or communists.
Theosophy teaches the absolute equality of all human beings regardless of their religion, race, color or gender. In fact, the founder of the Theosophical Society, Blavatsky and several of those who followed were women.
One of the revelations given to men through Bailey as well as Leadbeater was the knowledge of the Seven Rays and the Ray Structure of a human being. This theory of the Ray Structure has been expanded further by Benjamin Creme, with information from his Master that each of the bodies of a human has its own Ray Structure, although the Rays of the Soul of the human are the most important.
According to this theory, there are three major Rays of Aspect and four Rays of Attribute making seven in all. Each human has for his Soul a dominant Ray which determines the nature and temperament of the human through out his many incarnations on Earth as well as his life beyond Earth.
The Seven Rays are:
A person's Ray Structure does not make him superior or inferior to anyone else, but it may determine the direction of his life. In addition to the Ray Structure of the Soul and the various other bodies, the human also has his level of spiritual development that can be measured by the number of Planetary Initiations he has received.
So although all humans have equal rights, they are all intrinsically different depending on their Ray Structure as well as their level of development.
In due course of time, these two aspects of a human being will be taken into account in designing a educational, vocational and development life plan for each person.
Hindu festivals are too numerous to list all and each region may have its own special ones. The ones below are those celebrated by most Hindus. Diwali or Deepavali - 'the festival of lights' is the most important.
The Three Full Moon Festivals (these will soon be recognized and celebrated the world over)
|There are several theological questions about life on earth that still have not been answered satisfactorily. The followers of most religions often try to answer them with a lot of hand waving or obfuscation, still claiming that their own religion is the final revelation and there is no more truth to be discovered. Here are some of the questions and how each religion tries to answer them.|
|Why did God create the world? An infinite, all-powerful God complete within himself, should not need to create anything.||'The world was made for the glory of God. ...he creates the world in order to manifest his perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures.' (It sure sounds like he is not complete without the act of creation.)||'the act of creation is a consequence of the divine attribute of being the Creator' (Sounds circular). 'He created us for the purpose of worshiping Him, Alone and without any partners.' (Sounds needy) 'He created us in order to test us by giving us free will'. (Silly reason)||Creation is God's 'leela' (divine play). He creates and destroys endlessly as a form of play (not as a form of amusement, but as something interesting to engage in). Whether this is true or not, it is a direct answer and fits quite well with an almighty God complete in himself - thus, Creation is not out of need or for a specific purpose but as a form of play.||There is not a separate Creator and a Creation. The Universe is just part of the nature of God and emanates from Him in periodic cycles of creation and destruction. So it always exists as part of his substance. There is no act of Creation at all.|
|Why are some people born with disabilities?||'happened so that the works of God might be displayed in his life'(huh? Not ok!). 'because we live in a sinful world' 'because Adam disobeyed God' (pretty lame and unacceptable reasons)||'All thanks and praise are due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger. This is the nature of life, according to the great Divine Wisdom of Allah. ...tribulations and afflictions are a test from Almighty Allah'||This is because of the person's karma - a result of his own actions in his past life. Whether true or not, this is a direct, logical answer which fits with the concept of a just God.||This is a result of the person's karma from past lives. It may also be the case that the person may have voluntarily chosen before birth, to have this disability in order to fulfill some mission in this life.|
|Why are some people born in poverty while others in wealth?||'there is inequality in this world because it is a broken world, caused by humanity���s rebellion against God���s rule' 'Humanity is fallen and sinful' 'It is all Adam's fault' (basically, they are saying that God is definitely not just or even-handed and we are all already guilty, but apparently some more than others)||Allah does this out of knowledge and wisdom ...there is absolutely perfect wisdom in Him doing so;... poverty may be for some people better than richness, and richness is better for some others...it is all a test..||Same as above||Same as above|
|What happens to children who die in infancy or at birth?||If they have been baptized they go to heaven. If not, we don't really know. We used to think they went into 'limbo' but now we prefer to say we don't know and leave it to the infinite mercy of God.(If they have been baptized, they are the luckiest people in the world. If not baptized, it all depends on 'infinite' mercy which possibly may not be sufficient)||They go to heaven immediately (so luckiest people in the world)||They will be reborn again as a different person.||They will be reborn soon as a different person.|
|Mr. Zakir Naik||A webpage on comparative religion does not seem complete without at least a mention of Mr. Naik. Mr. Naik is a fast talking Muslim (Salafist/Wahabi) cleric/doctor from India who has made a name for himself as an "authority on comparative religion". He claims to have studied all religions, memorizing numerous passages from the holy books of each religion (along with their chapter/verse numbers which he likes to quote often) and after comparing the different religions, he has concluded that Islam is the only perfect, complete and true religion. However his understanding of each religion is rather shallow and superficial. He is not a learned or academic scholar and takes every word of each book literally (at least when it suits his purpose), but at other times he reads all sorts of meanings in the holy books that could possibly have foretold the coming of Muhammad. At times he seems quite unable to distinguish myth from history or idiom from metaphor, but then has no difficulty finding the word Muhammad (or its equivalent) in the most obscure passages. In spite of his firm belief that Islam is the truth and nothing but the truth, all that Mr Naik has succeeded in doing is convincing non-muslims that Islam, as viewed by him, still lives in the twelth century if not earlier, still needs to enter the 20th century and become civilized. Here is a very illuminating collection of excerpts from his talks. Some terrorists have said that his talks have inspired them to carry out their actions. The Indian government has accused him of spreading hate towards other religions. (I personally don't think he intended to do either). Canada and the UK refuse to grant him a visa. In spite of all this, many muslims seem to be quite enamored by his lectures since he appears to be able to answer or deflect all questions/criticisms about Islam from non-muslims.|
Created: April 14, 2014
This page is still under constructon...
Palo Alto, California
comments powered by Disqus