I'm not intimately familiar with Hinduism as a religion, but I have a passing awareness of it as potentially an avodah zarah due to its paganism and polytheistic tendencies.

My question is as follows. A Hindu coworker was having a funeral and people were writing "Om Shanti" as a response. Looking up that phrase, I see it both used as a greeting and as a prayer. The belief is apparently around the word "Om" itself having divine capabilities.

Based on all of this, is it assur to use Hindu greetings? Is this considered either (1) praying in the Hindu religion, or alternatively (2) similar to going into a church in the sense of engaging in the Hindu religion?

  • The second word in the greeting is the name of one of their deities. Does that settle the question for you? Jun 15 at 14:51
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    Saying Shalom aleichem as a greeting in a bathroom would have a similar issue. If one only has in mind to use it as a generic greeting, then it should not be a problem of using Hashem's name. Much like many poskim rule that calling someone who's name is Shalom is permitted in a bathroom (machlokes). However, when used in a greeting it is prohibited in a bathroom as it is considered using the name of Hashem. So this would be the same, even if used as a greeting, it is considered using the name of Avodah Zara.
    – Chatzkel
    Jun 15 at 15:11
  • According to at least some opinions, Hinduism is not, in fact, Avodah Zara, since they believe in one god. The different names of gods are actually different names for different aspects or traits of only one god. Not sure if this would change anything
    – Esther
    Jun 15 at 18:07
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    @Esther We have a question about this elsewhere on this site. What you've commented is a bit misleading.
    – ezra
    Jun 19 at 13:58


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