Having recently finished the chapter in Huston Smith’s World Religions on Hinduism, I thought I’d share some observations. Hinduism seems like a great place start a book on world religion because Hinduism may be able to house all other religions. For example, there is a pursuit of liberation within Hinduism that focuses on loving and admiring God and therefore loving others. This love gives rise to acts of goodness. Sound familiar? Likewise, there are raja yogas that seem to pursue liberation in the fashion that I typically associate with Buddhism.
The most striking thing about Hinduism for me is that one is instructed to fulfill ones desires. Those desires have a definite order: pleasure, success, service, liberation. But the pursuit is the end not the means. Even though liberation (connecting to the infinite life, truth, and beauty thus being liberated from the finite world) sounds a lot like salvation or enlightenment, I think the purpose is different. Buddha was telling folks how to avoid suffering (I think) and Jesus was telling people how to avoid sinfulness (don’t cringe, sinfulness just means missing the mark).