“This is the word of God,” my principal yelled in an authoritative voice as she held up a copy of the Gideons Bible in front of me. I was young at the time, but I can’t remember exactly how old I was. “Whoever reads this Bible is guaranteed a place in heaven. If not, you’re going to hell.”

I remember staring at the little blue book with a mixture of curiosity as well as bewilderment. There was a thought that went through my mind, but it was one that I never gave voice to. It whispered, “What if the person can’t read English?”

Well, decades have passed and a lot has changed for me since I was force fed these scary fables for kids. I now know that the original language of the Bible isn’t English, but Hebrew and Aramaic. So who is this God that exists only in books and scriptures? To know Him, then, one would have to know how read. We would need to be literate.

Studying the Bible in Jerusalem, however, taught me that it isn’t enough to just read the Scripture, but also to read it in its original language. Once a person does start to understand even rudimentary Hebrew, the Old Testament takes on a new dimension.

The same could be said of prayers like The Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary that I was taught growing up. I’ve said it a few times in Spanish and there are nuances that exist in Spanish that don’t exist in English and vice versa.

So it is not enough to read, but also to understand the nuances that exist within the languages of the world. Oh, and even then, your job is not over. You also have to try to understand the context–as in, the time and place–during which these texts were written to gleam what was being said, why it was being said; and why it was even said.

It is not one lifetime’s work, but the work of many lifetimes. And I had a sneaking suspicion that this was not what I wanted to spend my life doing.


Brahma, as per Hindu Theology, is the Creator God. Brahma is not the Creator of the World; that is Brahman. Hinduism is not a polytheistic faith. Writers of Abrahamic faiths have asserted that Hinduism is a practise of polytheism, but it is not. In my view, it is simply not even possible to be a polytheist.

How can a person be a polytheist if only one God exists? Well, wait till you speak with the agnostics and the atheists. The plot will thicken, then.

The whole idea, that has been drummed needlessly into my head after ten years of Christian education, is that there are many Gods; but Christians have got it right. I have heard the same story from many other religious groups, but others groups may not evangelise or try to convert others.

Even when one has professed to be a part of a particular faith, the different sects, denominations and so on only serve to confound the mind even further.

The place that Brahma holds in the Hinduism is as the Creator of the Vedas. It is, He, who created the ancient Vedic texts that have come down to us and that have been immortalised in the written form. They were, of course, uttered before they were written down.

Brahma, is thus, the God of Scripture. It is through the recitation, writing and study of these ancient texts that we grow closer to Brahma.

Isha Upanishad, verses 1–2, partially 3 (Image Credit: Ms Sarah Welch)

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