Indian students are a rapidly growing population among international students in North America and were second behind China in total number of students in 2000-2001.[i] At the university where I serve as an international student staff worker with InterVarsity, the Indian students recently surpassed the Chinese as the largest international group on campus. Yet in spite of their large numbers there are very few believers. God has given us a wonderful opportunity to welcome them and share the good news of Christ with them. But significant obstacles exist. Therefore, it is vital for us to understand the challenges that we must face in sharing Christ with them and also the challenges they face in coming to Christ. Since the majority of Indian students come from Hindu families this paper deals primarily with issues relating to Hindu students, although some sections will apply to those from other religious backgrounds. It describes some of our experiences in the formation of an Indian Christian Fellowship and summarizes some important aspects of the Hindu worldview. It is my prayer that this would encourage others in sharing Christ with Indian students in their campuses and communities. May God pour out his grace on India and bring many into his kingdom in the coming years.
Prayer, partnerships and perseverance—Story of the Indian Christian Fellowship
Indian culture and religion present significant obstacles to communicating the gospel to Indian students. As a result, prayer, partnerships and perseverance have been essential in our work. Given the ancient spiritual strongholds that exist in the Hindu world it is essential that this ministry be founded upon and sustained by faithful prayer. We have regularly seen that significant steps forward have been born out of times of prayer and fasting. Partnerships with like-minded Indian believers among students and in the community are rewarding avenues for fellowship, growth and encouragement and are essential to help us relate more deeply within the Indian community. While some Indian students want to interact with other cultures it seems that most prefer to remain in a culturally familiar environment. In addition, these partnerships help to dispel the widespread preconception that Christianity is just a Western religion. Finally, a common suspicion among Hindus is that Christians want to make converts for selfish reasons like pride, financial gain or political power. In contrast, the Bible reminds us that love must be sincere (Romans 12:9). We have seen God at work, but it is often a very slow process. The perseverance required in this ministry works to purify us of our selfish motives and causes us to further depend on God through prayer. We must be patient and wait for God to bring fruit as we are faithful in planting and watering the seeds. While we are still in the early stages of the Indian Christian Fellowship, these areas have been a consistent theme.
My background and early experiences with Indian students
Personally, God began moving my heart for the Indian community as an engineering student in graduate school. I was surrounded by Indian students in my classes and actively involved in an international student fellowship. Like so many, I was amazed by the openness of the Chinese students who sought out knowledge of the Bible, often from the moment they arrived. Indian students on the other hand would scarcely ever come to any Christian sponsored event even though their numbers were comparable to those of the Chinese students. So, I began praying for India and for the students that I knew and learning about their culture and beliefs. During that time, God brought me into a close friendship with a Hindu background believer. Through our friendship I saw how difficult it was for him to reconcile his faith with family expectations and pressures. (I also developed a love for Indian food which is a fringe benefit). I also had a growing friendship with a Hindu classmate. We had numerous occasions to openly discuss spiritual matters and even though he freely admitted that his life was incomplete I was saddened to see so little change. Periodically, he would remind me that he was a Brahmin, the highest caste in Hinduism, which I learned only added to the barriers. One evening early on in our friendship he told me he would be very disappointed and hurt if I was only trying to be his friend in order to “convert” him. His directness shocked me, but it was something I needed to hear. It showed me the suspicions that Hindu students often have of the motives of Christians and their repulsion at the very idea of conversion. It also underscored how essential it is for our love to be sincere and the value of partnering with Indian believers so that Christianity is not equated with Western culture.
After completing graduate school and through much prayer I joined staff with IVCF’s international student ministries to work in pioneering an international ministry at another university. From the start, one of my personal desires was to reach out to the large Indian community. While ministry opportunities with other student groups grew, it remained difficult to make more than isolated contacts with the Indian community. So a few of us began praying for the Indian community and for God to bring some Indian believers to join us. There were several years of prayer before we saw any answers, and many disappointments along the way. I once contacted an Indian Christian student to see if he had a desire to reach out to the Indian community but he frankly said “No.” To complicate matters, the turnover rate among Indian students is very high as most are here for a Master’s degree which can be completed in 2 years or less. God continued to teach us perseverance in prayer as we brought these desires to God and waited for Him to answer.
Formation and initial growth of the fellowship
In His perfect timing, God brought together a small group of believers who began meeting regularly for fellowship, worship, Bible study, and prayer. First, God brought to the area an Indian Christian family with both Hindu and nominal Christian backgrounds who shared a desire to reach out to the Indian community. Together we prayed and made some initial contacts. During the following summer I visited India and got a firsthand taste of Indian culture. Those experiences were priceless and opened doors of trust and understanding that I doubt I could have gained any other way. The next fall, God sovereignly brought together 3 Christian students from Kerala (a southern state in India with the largest and oldest Christian community) who had a desire to begin an Indian prayer group. Within a few short weeks all of these pieces came together, and the Indian Christian Fellowship (ICF) was formed with the faculty advisor being one of our prayer partners who shared our heart for the South Asian students.
In the two years since the group began it has been a joy to grow together even through uncertainties and disappointments. Initially the small group (four or five) consisted mainly of believers with occasional visits from nominal Christians. A semester later, after two of the members graduated and there were no new people coming, we wondered what we should do. It is hard enough in a success-oriented world to remain as a small group, but it’s even worse to shrink. But knowing it was God’s work we committed the results to Him and continued to make it a priority at each meeting to pray specifically for Hindu friends and roommates. Later that semester, two Hindu friends we had been praying for went on an international evangelistic retreat with us because of the invitation of an Indian Christian friend. The speaker at the retreat was also from India and their experiences at that event challenged them to seek God further. Immediately afterwards they began attending the fellowship regularly. Even though they faced some challenges from other Indian friends, they soon became a part of our “family.” After attending the fellowship for one year, one of these students began following Jesus. Initially, it was a private decision. But it was soon apparent that it was a genuine step of faith with strong evidence of God’s work in his life. Within a short period of time his friends began to ask him what had happened to him and why he had changed. In the months that have followed, he has grown dramatically in his knowledge of the Word and in witness: bringing several friends to the fellowship and even leading a college friend to Christ.
It has been a joy to watch God transforms one person’s life and then see it soon spill over into the lives of others. Jesus said, “A city on a hill cannot be hidden,” (Matthew 5:14). This has been our desire and prayer for the Indian fellowship. We have seen this again in the lives of two new transfer students that God brought into our midst. Both are relatively new believers from Hindu backgrounds. As they have shared their testimonies with the group, their joy and enthusiasm is infectious and spills over into the lives of other friends and roommates. Although these students face difficult issues ahead (family and marriage especially) we are excited about how God’s work will overflow as we grow and serve together. As a result of these developments and as an answer to prayer, in just the past few months we have seen a significant increase in the number of students visiting the fellowship or curious about Christ. In addition, we praise God for the variety of people currently involved in the fellowship and we pray that its witness would extend to all the Indian groups represented at our university. (There is tremendous variety of ethnic/linguistic groups in India with varying degrees of Christian witness, most of which is concentrated in the south. Currently in ICF the language groups represented are Malayalam, Tamil, Telegu, Hindi, and Sindhi. In our network of friendships we also have significant contacts with Marathi and Punjabi students).
Even though the ICF still remains numerically small compared to the Indian student community as a whole, the witness extends well beyond the group. At times we meet for worship and Bible study in a student’s apartment, which is a testimony to roommates and those in the surrounding apartments. At other times we experience the hospitality of an Indian family’s home, especially enjoying the food and the children. Throughout the year we have tried to meet practical needs, helping students obtain furniture and driver’s licenses and even cleaning apartments. We’ve hosted small-scale outreach activities including a welcome party, a JESUS film showing and a science video discussion. As a result, I think the fellowship has a good reputation among Indian students, regardless of how many currently are interested in joining us. That is in God’s hands. Our desire is to faithfully share the love of Christ with the Indian student community—to be a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14).
Challenges of the Hindu Worldview
While working with international students, we often “get a foot in the door” by meeting practical needs. This may include assisting with English or hospitality needs. While some of these needs exist among Indian students, most of them are not priority issues. English is rarely a problem unless it is translating from the Queen’s English to American, as in “lorry” for truck. In addition, the Indian student association at our university quite effectively takes care of initial pick-ups and housing needs when the students first arrive. Even developing friendships can be difficult since most newcomers are quite content to establish their friendships within the Indian community. These factors make it a challenge to know where to begin. In spite of these things, the best way to start is through friendship, taking the time to listen and to learn about their individual backgrounds and beliefs.
Anyone who visits India or spends much time getting to know students from the subcontinent will quickly discover a dizzying diversity. The world’s largest democracy, India has more than a dozen national political parties, about 20 official languages, five major religions and a seemingly endless parade of religious leaders and cults. Even though Indian students will associate closely with one another while in the States, a closer examination will find subdivisions along ethnic/language lines or other shared backgrounds. So anything written in summary will be a gross over-generalization. My purpose is to describe some major categories of the Hindu worldview that to varying degrees are likely to be common to the minds and hearts of most Hindu students. These areas are 1) Family and duty, 2) Philosophical Hinduism (Vedanta) and 3) Superstition and idolatry.
From the outset I freely admit that I am no expert. I am simply summarizing some important ideas that I have learned from others and observed personally. I owe special thanks to the Christar missions agency for the training I received at the Hindu S.T.O.P. (Summer Training and Outreach Program) and for the chance to visit India with one of their short-term teams. Some of the major categories referred to here were organized and presented exceptionally well through their training program.
Family and duty
Permeating the Hindu worldview, perhaps even unconsciously, is the concept of dharma, which comprehensively defines a person’s duty in all areas of life. Dharma is a loaded term which simplistically means sacred law or duty and is determined from birth by a person’s family and their relationship to society. Originally, the caste system was closely connected to dharma, in which each caste fulfilled a particular job or duty in society. For example, if your family belonged to a laundry worker caste you would learn that trade and fulfill that duty or dharma to society. Lower castes were associated with unclean or menial labor jobs while higher castes performed the more prestigious duties. Highest of all are the Brahmin or priestly castes which are associated with religious duties and instruction. Although official discrimination based on caste is outlawed, caste still plays a major role in society and violent tensions exist in some areas between the high and low castes. A person’s dharma is also related through the concept of karma to the past, present and future. In Hindu thought, karma is the universal and unbreakable law that you reap what you sow. This has increasingly negative implications the more disadvantaged a person is, especially in rural areas and among lower castes. So if you are born a leper it is because of your bad karma (sins in the past) and it is your dharma to live out your life as a leper (in the present) to pay the penalty for your past sins and achieve a better life (in the future). Thus, fulfilling your dharma as a Hindu is essential for maintaining harmony in your family and in society as a whole. To a Hindu, if you are born in a Christian family it is seen as your dharma to be a Christian. As a result, Christianity becomes simply another subdivision or caste which is determined by birth but is not relevant to anyone who is not born a Christian. Likewise, in traditional Hindu thinking it is impossible to be a Hindu except by birth. So when you hear an Indian say “I am a Hindu” it doesn’t so much mean “I believe in Hinduism as a complete system of beliefs” as much as it means “I am a Hindu by definition of my associations and identity, regardless of my personal religious beliefs or practices.”
At the core of Indian culture and dharma is the absolute centrality of the family. Nearly all aspects of life in India are lived in community, of which the family unit is the smallest subdivision. With the diversity that exists in India your family name and relationships identify your place in the whole of Indian society. This is in stark contrast to much of American culture which is designed to maximize independent living and where individuals are encouraged to “make a name for yourself.” Major personal decisions are rarely evaluated apart from family considerations in India. Marriage is an excellent example of this because it is not simply the merging of two individual lives but the merging of two families. When a couple contemplates marriage, language, caste, social status, income and religion must be considered, both out of concern for the couple and for the family’s social image. There is much at stake in family honor, and individual opinions may be sacrificed for the will of the family. In this respect it is similar to many other cultures in the world, including the Biblical cultures of the Near East.
Consequently, most Hindus place their responsibility to their family above nearly all other concerns, and the thought of “conversion” is profoundly difficult. Failure to fulfill your duty to your family will cause family tensions, possible embarrassment in the social community and spiritual consequences for future rebirths. Even if believing in Jesus were acceptable to the family, it would likely become a point of conflict when it came to issues of marriage and children. Hindus may and often do find Jesus personally appealing. But an individual decision to become a follower of Christ is quite difficult because it implies a rejection of one’s own dharma and the acceptance of the “Christian” dharma. The Bhagavad Gita, the most well known of the Hindu Scriptures, states that it is better to do your own dharma poorly that to perform someone else’s dharma well.[ii] To complicate the situation, “Christianity” is often identified with the worst of the Western culture or the behavior of nominal Christians, making it even more unappealing. This was Ghandi’s experience: he appreciated the teachings of Jesus but was rightly appalled by the hypocrisy and racism of the “Christians” he encountered in South Africa and other places. Thus to become a Christian may be seen by one’s family as a complete rejection of them and their culture. The stakes are increasingly higher for those of higher castes, because they have more to lose both spiritually and in social standing.
Another facet of dharma of particular concern to international student workers is that the concept also applies to what an individual should focus on during each stage of life. The first period of life for Hindus is the student stage during which it is their religious duty to be good students. Although studies are a significant portion of this stage of life, so is having fun, and playing cricket may take a higher priority. The student stage continues until the person is married. Once married, they enter the householder stage and their dharma is to raise a family. This tends to be the most stressful stage of life with many concerns weighing upon them.[iii]Hinduism prescribes that only after the householder stage is complete is a person required, according to dharma, to be actively involved in religious studies. Thus students may be curious about religion but they are also justified in postponing serious religious inquiry. One Hindu friend who attended our fellowship said that until he came to the U.S., he had never seriously thought about questions regarding the meaning of life, death or God. Consequently, most Hindu students and families approach religion pragmatically, seeking help from the gods to succeed or simply survive. Some may maintain the religious rituals they have learned simply out of devotion to their parents. Others may become more sincere in their religious duties since they are now facing new problems alone in a foreign country.
For an Indian student to leave behind this close-knit family structure and to enter the “freedom” of university life in the U.S. may bring many problems. In India, social norms and morals are typically enforced through family and societal pressures. But without these pressures to restrict them here, many students go to excess; imitating the American “values” they have seen in movies. Sexual promiscuity, alcohol abuse and partying become common forms of entertainment or escape. The stress of facing new educational and financial decisions alone multiplies the pressures and may drive people further in this direction. The emotional and physical scars from this lifestyle are deep and saddening and may take years to overcome, even for those who come to Christ. These are critical years for Hindu students as they face these new pressures and the conclusion of their carefree student days. Perhaps during this time many will begin to realize their need for God.
A second category of the Hindu worldview is the philosophical teachings of Hinduism, often called Vedanta. The oldest of the Hindu Scriptures are the Vedas, an extensive and complex collection of religious writings dating perhaps as far back as 2000 BC. Philosophical Hinduism derives from the numerous teachings and interpretations of the Vedas which have developed throughout the past centuries. These are well beyond my knowledge and the scope of this paper. But they are the source of many of the familiar and even contradictory teachings of Hinduism including karma, reincarnation, the sacredness of all life, and the unity of God in all things. It is impossible to know what a particular Hindu student will believe about these particular things because of the wide variety of beliefs. Yet, their underlying worldview is certainly influenced by these basic ideas. The best way to find out is to ask questions and be a good listener without arguing at every point.
Few Hindus have the time or knowledge of the Sanskrit language to study the Vedas. Instead, most get their knowledge of Hindu philosophy from the Bhagavad Gita, a story taken from one of the epic Hindu mythologies. It is the best known of all Hindu Scriptures. The focal point of the story is a discussion between the god Krishna and the hero Arjuna as he is on the battlefield facing an opposing army that includes members of his family. He is torn between his righteous duty as a warrior to fight against them and his aversion to harm them as his family. It is a dilemma of dharma. Krishna first answers that killing them is only temporary because all of life is a cycle that will go on forever--reincarnation. Then he tells him he must do his duty and fight against them while setting aside the results of his actions. He should leave the results to God. While this is a gross simplification, this philosophy may be used when faced with a dilemma. It can be a form of resignation, simply accepting your duty in life. Or it could be an expression of trust that somehow God will take care of everything in the end. But clearly, most Hindus readily acknowledge the reality of God’s work in life and are not afraid to discuss spiritual matters. As a result, offers to pray for and with them are rarely refused and often welcomed. This is a tangible way we can show our concern and ask God to bless them and provide specifically for their needs. Simply put, Hindus are open to spiritual things.
Another basic tenet of the Hindu worldview is the unity of God in all things. The direct consequence of this view is the belief that all religions lead to the same God. However, this “God” would be viewed as impersonal even though it may be worshipped in personal forms. While other areas of belief are difficult to predict this view is almost universal. It also presents one of the biggest hurdles to faith in Christ. Hindus may gladly welcome Jesus as divine and worship him along with other gods. But the exclusive claims of Jesus are hard. They are hard to accept intellectually because they go against such a fundamental part of their worldview, and they are hard to accept emotionally because of the implications for family and friends. Of course, the exclusive nature of Jesus’ claims is a difficult issue for anyone, even those coming from a Christian background. But the basic worldview of Hinduism makes it profoundly offensive. Recently, I met a new student from India who seemed quite interested in visiting church and perhaps a Bible study. But first he wanted to make sure that he didn’t need to be baptized or believe that Jesus was the only way to God before attending. As believers our response is to invite them to “Come and see,” (John 1:46) with no strings attached and allow the person of Christ as seen in the Bible and the work of the Holy Spirit to lead them to faith.
Finally, a common tangible desire among Hindus is a longing for peace. Hindu philosophy defines the goal of life as moksha, liberation from the meaningless cycle of life and death, which can be achieved by union with the divine essence. Life is full of suffering and pain and it is something to escape. The Bhagavad Gita explains various paths one can choose to obtain liberation: meditation, good works, ascetic practices or devotion to a chosen deity. All of these require great effort but offer no guarantee and only temporary feelings of peace. This sense of restlessness and desire for peace demonstrates the reality of separation from God. As Augustine correctly described it centuries ago, “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.[iv]” One Hindu friend told me about visiting the ashram of a famous Hindu guru who is worshipped today in India by millions as god incarnate. He remarked that as soon as he set foot on the property of the ashram he could feel a sense of peace and well being. This guru is well known not only for his moralistic teachings but also for his miraculous powers and illusions. Gurus are very popular because of this hunger for peace and the desire to have a personal connection with the divine. In some cases, the guru is even more important than the gods and is worshipped as a divine spiritual guide. How grievous it is that sinful human beings alive today would be worshipped as god incarnate instead of Jesus, the true Prince of Peace. Clearly, the obstacles are not simply false philosophies, but also spiritual realities that empower and deceive their followers.
Superstition and Idolatry—Those who make them will be like them
A third element of the Hindu worldview is superstition and idolatry which, consciously or not, plays a role in the lives of Hindu students. A typical Hindu family will have its own chosen deity to which they give most of their attention and devotion in hopes that the god will help them to succeed and get through life. Most will have a small shrine in their home for regular pujas (worship) with small idols or pictures of their family god or guru. Although the gods are supposed to help a person get closer to moksha(liberation), in reality most people seek the gods’ blessing for the here and now. There are too many problems to deal with now to worry about issues of life and death in the future. When I was visiting a University in India a groundskeeper showed me an old tree and a small stone idolrepresenting the god Shiva, where he said many students would come to pray in the mornings. He remarked that it was especially common before exams. While some Hindus express reluctance about asking God for anything, religious pragmatism seems to be the most common pattern of devotion. Prayer is performed as a duty in the hopes that God will provide for their needs rather than from any personal relationship with God.
Among Hindu students in the U.S., who are educated and usually high caste, the views and practices of idolatry are varied and often inconsistent. On the surface most Hindu students give the appearances of being secular, pluralistic and maybe agnostic. They have embraced a scientific worldview and don’t appear to be superstitious. Yet, in difficult situations their underlying religious views emerge and they will be sure to cover all the bases. For example, a friend of mine would passionately support and defend Hinduism even though he was by his own admission secular and agnostic. But, after finding a job following a difficult job search he gave a special offering at the temple dedicated to Ganesh, the elephant-headed “remover of obstacles” god to whom he had been praying. The more philosophical (Vedantist) students may reject and even scorn idolatry itself and consider it as something necessary only for the uneducated or for those who have not reached a higher spiritual level. They may view Christians in this category for worshipping a specific deity even though an actual idol is not used. Sadly, familiarity with Catholicism in India and the common use of pictures and statues in Catholic rituals further reinforce the perception that Christianity is little different from Hinduism. At the same time, these philosophical Hindus may pursue forms of meditation or yoga in which they are unknowingly opening themselves up to deceptive spiritual powers.
Visible expressions of idolatry and superstition are the religious charms, necklaces and bracelets that some students wear. Many bear the image of their preferred deity or guru. Often, these have been blessed or empowered in a temple ceremony to give them special powers and protection. Typically, they are gifts given by parents to their children who are leaving to study in the U.S. The student may not think of them as being significant for any other reason than that they were gifts from their parents. Yet, they represent demonic realities that exert influence on their lives. Opinions vary on how Christian friends should deal with these objects. Some choose to directly confront these powers by taking authority over them in the name of Jesus and breaking any empowerment of these objects. Others are reluctant to confront the spiritual powers except as they manifest themselves in the student’s life. But, in either case, they are tangible symbols of the real spiritual forces in Hinduism and underscore the necessity of focused, fervent prayer.
Lastly, astrology, numerology and other superstitions may play a significant role in the lives of Hindus. They influence life from the individual to the national level. Professional astrologers determine what times and dates will be auspicious (lucky) or inauspicious (unlucky) for a particular event. For example, an astrologer is commonly consulted to set the dates for important family events like marriage ceremonies. Potential spouses must match each other according to astrological and numerological readings. On a nationwide scale this is seen in the religious festivals. Religious holidays devoted to particular deities abound in India and are governed by the astrological calendar. As a result, certain dates and festivals and even physical places are more auspicious and therefore more popular among worshippers. In the extreme case, certain years in the astrological cycle are the most auspicious, and in these years pilgrims will travel by the millions to visit places like the Ganges River or sacred shrines. Sadly, this has been a cause or excuse for violence between Hindus and Muslims who fight for control of places sacred to both groups. Violence has even erupted among Hindus themselves as pilgrims and various Hindu sects vie to perform their rituals at the most auspicious times.
In summary, Hindu beliefs and mythology influence most of Indian culture. For a Hindu, they touch nearly every aspect of life from the cradle to the grave. In some cases, certain traditional types of clothing are endowed with religious symbolism even though people may no longer be aware of it. As a result, it is nearly impossible to make a clear distinction between what is “secular” and “sacred.” This cultural saturation compounds the difficulty that new believers face as they seek to be faithful to Christ and still value their culture and honor their parents. However this cultural tendency to view all of life in relation to God may enable Hindu background believers to avoid the secular/sacred distinction that has harmed the church in the West. Additionally, this cultural milieu is actually remarkably similar to the culture of the Greco-Roman world as seen in the pages of Acts. It is nothing new to God, and by his grace his kingdom will be established.
In closing, let us consider Diwali, the most popular holiday of the Hindu calendar. Known as the festival of lights it is devoted to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. With celebrations faintly similar to Christmas, presents are given to friends and family and houses are colorfully decorated with lights so that Lakshmi will come and bring money and blessings to that house.[v]Scripture states that we will eventually look like the image of the gods we worship:
The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. Psalm 135:15-18
Consequently, it seems the festival of Diwali reflects the desire for wealth that consumes so many from India! Those who make idols will be like them. Greed and idolatry are closely connected in the New Testament, and believers are sternly warned against them. While it is tragic to think that millions bow down every day to worship a physical idol, we must remember that idolatry comes in many forms. Millions of Americans “bow down” every day worshipping “gods” of silver and gold, concrete and steel. As we seek to share the love, majesty and holiness of Christ with Hindu students, we will be confronted by the idols of self and greed that still cry out for worship in our hearts. As believers, we are fellow idolaters rescued by God’s grace. Therefore, we must have a humble attitude and show uncompromising respect for our Hindu friends. This requires sincere love and patience as we allow God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to convince them of the truth and uniqueness of Christ. But that is, after all, how God brought us to himself.
Suggestions for further study:
Communities of Faith, a Way of Life: Introducing Hinduism by Ram Gidoomal and Robin Thomson
Death of a Guru, by Rabi Maharaj
Christian Approach to Hinduism, by Dr. Sam Gamadia
Living Water and Indian Bowl, by Dayanand Bharati
For a more extensive list of resources contact the Institute of Hindu Studies at the USCWM.
[i] Open Doors, www.opendoorsweb.org.
[ii] The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Juan Mascaro, (England: Penguin Books, 1962) 3:35, p. 20.
[iii] Hindu S.T.O.P. notes, Christar, 2001, Second Edition, p 13.
[iv] Confessions of St. Augustine, Book 1, chapter 1.
[v] Gidoomal, Ram and Robin Thomson, Communities of Faith, a Way of Life: Introducing Hinduism, (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1997) pp. 76, 92.