by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Some readers expressed strong beliefs that reincarnation, and by association, other ideas that are basic to Judaism, have come to us from India, the land of idolatry. This is a common and mistaken belief. In fact, a number of the basic tenets of the Indian religions have come from Jewish sources, but to my knowledge, nothing from there has ever seeped into Judaism.
The primary religion of India is called Hinduism. According to a number of Web sites on the history of Hinduism:
“It is generally believed that the basic tenets of Hinduism were brought to India by the light-skinned Aryans who settled along the banks of the Indus River about 2000 BCE.”
Some Web sites identify these Aryans as Persians, i.e. Middle Eastern people. The local peoples accepted the newcomers’ teachings, but they did not discard their primitive idolatries. This mixture survives to this day.
Avraham Avinu (our father) sent the sons that he had with Keturah to the Land of the East,[i] around 2000 BCE, These sons’ names and their children’s names, are listed in the Torah.
Here are a few key tenets of Hinduism:
They are called Hindu, which means “from the river.”
The sons of Avraham would have called themselves Hebrews, which means “from over the river.”
One of the main wisdoms of their religion is called, the Vedas.
One of the children sent there was named Aveda. (Beginning “A” s are commonly dropped.)
“A camp” in Hinduism is called an Ashram.
According to Rashi, one of the sons name means “a camp;” he is named “Asshurim”.
One of the three main gods of Hinduism is called, “shiva.”
One of Avraham’s children sent there was named, “Sheva.”
The religion is called, Brahmanism.
This comes from the name, Abraham.
Avraham loved his children and taught them the truth about G-d. They took these teachings with them, and they spread them wherever they went. So, we do find a number of teachings in the Eastern religions that are very close to the teachings found in the Torah. But their books also include gross idolatries, so they must be kept away from.
Here we see historical evidence for the Torah spreading to India, but we do not find any evidence of their idolatrous teachings spreading to us.
[i] Genesis 25:6