According to the American heritage (1), philosophy is the love of wisdom and a study that tries to identify the essential principles of various arts and sciences together with the environment in which the arts and sciences operate. Its is a broad concept with various branches each dealing with specific issues, for instance, epistemology which is the search for knowledge, logic which looks at aspects of reasoning, metaphysics which is the study of being, aesthetic which studies beauty and ethics which is the study of human conduct. Religion on the other hand can be defined as a set of beliefs in regard to the various aspects associated with the universe, for example, its cause, nature, and purpose. The universe is perceived as the creation of a supernatural being and hence there are devotional practices and ritual performances that are directed towards the relationship between people and the superhuman being and a set of codes that oversee the way people attached to a certain religion behave.
It can also be said to be a particular set of beliefs and practices established and approved by a group of individuals for instance the Islamic, Buddhist, and Christian religions (Harper 1). From these definitions philosophy and religion are different due to the aspects involved in each of them and the fact that a supernatural being(s) is usually the center of any particular religion as opposed to philosophy. Hinduism is a well known religion, unique, and the world’s third largest religion. It combines religious, philosophical, and cultural issues and originated in India. There exists a difficulty in determining whether Hinduism should be viewed as either a monotheistic, pantheistic or polytheistic religion due to the fact that Hindus believe in Brahman as the one true reality, but with many manifestations. Monotheistic religion is one which believes in the existence of one god as opposed to the belief in many gods as is the case in a polytheistic religion. Pantheistic religion on the other hand believes in the view of the universe and God to be one or that God is everything and everything is God. There are various facts that support Hinduism as either monotheistic or polytheistic, for instance, the Vedas bring out different deities associated with various aspects of the natural happenings for example rain or sun hence the polytheistic aspect.
The monotheistic element of the Hinduism religion is brought about by the argument that the gods involved in worship are diverse forms of a single Supreme Being (Brahman) that manifest itself in a variety of ways. The Hindus however define their religion as both monotheistic and pantheistic for instance multiple forms of one God and God being one as well as many. Hinduism can however be termed as being pantheistic with elements of polytheism since they believe that God is identical with the universe and worshiped in various forms of deities (Anonymous 1). There is no similarity between the doctrine of the Trinity in Christianity and the divinity of the Vishnu and Lakshmi basing my argument on the beliefs attached to both. The Trinity in Christianity involves the existence of one God in three forms, which are distinct but connected and have to work together; God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit while the divinity of the Vishnu and Lakshmi shows the interdependence of the two forms of Gods that are not attached to each other. Lakshmi is the owner of all wealth while Vishnu offers protection, maintenance, and preservation to the wealth (Indian heritage 1).
“Is Hinduism Polytheistic?” Religion facts, 2007. 24 Jan 2011.
” Random House, Inc. 24 Jan 2011.
” Indian Heritage, 24 Jan 2011.
New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, 3rd ed.” Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 24 Jan. 2011. < http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/philosophy>.