Report of a Lecture on the "Superiority of Hinduism to other existing Religions : as viewed from the standpoint of Theism"
(From the "National Paper", 18th September, 1872)
Author: Raj Narain Bose, in his capacity as President of Adi Brahmo Samaj
Hinduism defined as worship of Brahma, or the Supreme Being, whose knowledge and worship all the Hindu Shastras agree in asserting to be the sole cause of salvation, and other forms of Hindu worship and the observance of rites and ceremonies as premininary means for ascending to that knowledge and worship.
The grosser aspects of lesser worship include 1st. idolatory; 2nd. pantheism; 3rd. asceticism and austere mortification; 4th. the system of caste which are not sanctioned by the higher teachings of non-Vedic scriptures much less by the Vedic scriptures.
The Superiority of Hinduism to the prevailing religions lies in
I. That the name of the Hindu religion is not derived from that of any man as that of Christianity, Mahomedanism or Buddhism etc. This shows its Eternal, independent and catholic character.
II. That it does not acknowledge a mediator between the object of devotion and the worshipper.
III. The Hindu worships God as the soul of the soul, as the heart of the heart, as nearer and dearer to him than he is to himself. This idea pervades the whole of Hinduism.
IV. That the idea of holding intimate communion with God, even at the time of worldly business demanding the utmost attention of man, is peculiar to the Hindu religion.
V. That the scriptures of other nations inculcate the practice of piety and virtue for the sake of eternal happiness, while Hinduism maintains that we should worship God for the sake of God alone, and practice virtue for the sake of virtue.
VI. That the Hindu scriptures inculcate universal benevolence, while other scriptures have only man in view.
VII. That the idea of a future state, entertained by the Hindu religion, is superior to other religions, as it allows an expiatory process to sinners by means of transmigration, while Christianity and Mahomedanism maintain an eternal heaven and an eternal hell. The Hindu doctrine of a future state is also superior to that of other religions inasmuch as it maintains higher states of existence in consonance with the law of progress prevalent in nature.
VIII. That Hinduism is pre-eminently tolerant to all other religion, and believes that each man will obtain salvation if he follows his own religion.
IX. That Hinduism maintains inferior stages of religious belief in its own bosom in harmony with the nature of man who cannot but pass through several stages of religious development before being able to form a true idea of the Supreme Being.
X. That the Hindu maintains that religion should guide every action of life. It has been truly said that the Hindu eats, drinks and sleeps religiously.
(NB: XI, XII are not listed here)
The lecturer (Bose) then showed that Brahmaism, is the highest developed form of Hinduism, and as such, is not distinct from it, though it is, at the same time, entirely catholic in its character. We need not borrow any thing from other religions. The Hindu religion will never perish as long as India exists as a country. All Hindus should work for the regeneration of the Hindu nation.