"is called Pantheism. It was held by the great Prussian philosopher Hegel and, as far as I can understand them, by the Hindus."

Was Hegel a Pantheist?

G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831); steel engraving by Lazarus Sichling after a lithograph by Julius L. Sebbers
Public DomainG.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831); steel engraving by Lazarus Sichling after a lithograph by Julius L. Sebbers

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "There is dispute as to just how pantheism is to be understood and who is and is not a pantheist. Aside from Spinoza, other possible pantheists include some of the Presocratics; Plato; Lao Tzu; Plotinus; Schelling; Hegel; Bruno, Eriugena and Tillich. Possible pantheists among literary figures include Emerson, Walt Whitman, D.H. Lawrence, and Robinson Jeffers. Beethoven (Crabbe 1982) and Martha Graham (Kisselgoff 1987) have also been thought to be pantheistic in some of their work — if not pantheists. . . . Although Hegel conceived of Reality as unified and rational in terms of the Absolute (Geist), and in a manner that I take it would qualify Geist as divine, he denies he was a pantheist."

Hegel himself wrote, in "The Philosophy of Religion," "As the universal, God could not find Himself faced by a contrary whereof the reality should pretend to rise above the phantasmal level. For this pure unity and this perfect transparency matter is nothing impenetrable, and spirit, the ego, is not so independent as to possess a true, individual substantiality.

"There has been a tendency to label this idea pantheism. It would be more exact to call it the conception of substantiality. God is first determined as substance only. The absolute subject, spirit, is also substance; but it is determined rather as subject. This is the difference generally ignored by those who assert that speculative philosophy is pantheism. As usual, they miss the essential point and disparage philosophy by falsifying it.

"Pantheism is commonly taken to mean that God is all things--the whole, the universe, the collection of all existences, of things finite and infinitely diverse. From which notion the charge is brought against philosophy that it teaches that all things are God; that is to say, that God is, not the universal which is in and for itself, but the infinite multiplicity of individual things in their empirical and immediate existence.

"If you say God is all that is here, this paper, etc., you have indeed committed yourself to the pantheism with which philosophy is reproached; that is, the whole is understood as equivalent to all individual things. But there is also the genus, which is equally the universal, yet is wholly different from this totality in which the universal is but the collection of individual things, and the basis, the content, is constituted by these things themselves. To say that there has ever been a religion which has taught this pantheism is to say what is absolutely untrue. It has never entered any man's mind that everything is God; that is to say, that God is things in their individual and contingent existence. Far less has philosophy ever taught this doctrine."

Hinduism and Pantheism

Public DomainKrishna

Is Hinduism pantheistic? polytheistic? monotheistic? The answer is not a simple one, but ReligionFacts.com tackles the question in layman's terms here.