Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hindu Influence in Western Culture #1

I think it's good for Christians to be aware of the many religious influences in Western Culture which are not Christian.  It's good for us to to know these influences so we don't accidentally glorify or lift up false religions.  It's also good for us to know to use as a starting point of conversation with friends when a religiously influenced song or movie is playing.  It's simple to say, "Hey did you know that this song is talking about ______."  It would then be a good opportunity to explain why Christians disagree with that belief and segue into what the Bible teaches on the issue. 

I've been writing about Hinduism lately, while trying to make connections from  those Hindu beliefs and practices to presenting the Gospel of Christ, using Hinduism as a starting point to springboard to a presentation of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us.  While I write these blog posts, I'll also intermingle them with examples of how Hinduism has had influence in Western culture.

One aspect of how Hinduism has influenced the West is through the Beetles!  The Beetles introduced Hindu instruments, such as the sitar, to the West.  Influence of Hinduism can be clearly seen in George Harrison's song, "My Sweet Lord."  The song initially sounds like it could be a Christian or Jewish song, singing about wanting to see, touch, and know the Lord, with "Hallelujah" being sung in the background.  Later in the song, a shift is made to the background singers chanting, "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare, Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama" and etc.  Krishna and Rama are both incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu.  Krishna is the most known incarnation of Vishnu.  He is the central figure in the Hindu epic, the Bhagavad Gita, and in this epic he teaches that living out one's natural position and calling in life as an act of worship to the Lord is a way of reaching perfection. During concerts, Harrison would prompt the crowd to sing "Hare Krishna"!

I've heard that there were some Christian churches in America who didn't know the Hindu influence within "My Sweet Lord" and used it during worship services!  So it certainly can be good to be aware of what other religions are saying, doing, and teaching, especially if the lines get to be blurry between what is Christian and what is not. 


  1. Thank you very much for sharing this information, many people in my community like this song, but many time my question was how to see our God?? after seen online the Bhagavad Gita, I have to read allot and know more about Krishna and all those books and information about!

    Hector M.

  2. Hector, what community do you leave in?

    From your name, I'm guessing it might be a Spanish community. I noticed searching youtube that this song has been translated into Spanish quite a bit. I used to live in a community in Mexico and I always heard Creedence Clearwater Revival songs sung in Spanish. I didn't know the Beetles were also translated until doing the search to make this blog post.

    Are you a Christian?

    I would not suggest the Bhagavad Gita and Krishna as a good source for learning about seeing the Lord. I personally disagree with George Harrison. I don't think Hinduism is a very reliable source for information about God. The divinely revealed books of Hinduism are called the Vedas, but we don't know the names of the people who received these revelations, when exactly they received them, from which god, or how they received them. Because we don't know these things, they are not very reliable sources of information.

    However, I believe that Jesus is very reliable. There are good reasons to trust that Jesus is Lord and that one day we all will see him face to face. However, we'll either see him as our Savior or as our Judge.

    There are some articles I've written on under the "Why Believe the Bible?" category that give reasons why to trust the Bilbe and why we can believe in God even though we don't see him. There's also some articles in "What's in the Bible" which explain who Jesus is and what he has done for us. I'll try to send you a link to these articles.

    Peace in Christ,