The Australians rebounded from an eight-wicket loss to Sri Lanka on Friday with a comprehensive performance against an Indian team which was further demoralised when captain MS Dhoni was suspended for one match because of slow over-rate at the Gabba.
Hilfenhaus and Brett Lee then tormented the India top order, taking two wickets apiece in their opening spells to have the world champions reeling at 36 for four.
"It's a long time since I've seen an Australian team bowl as well as they did tonight," said Ricky Ponting, who was standing in for injured Michael Clarke as captain for the second game in three days.
"Full credit to Brett and Ben that opened the attack – their new ball spells were outstanding. Ben to come away with five-for in his first game back in a while was a great reward for him.
"We had their batsmen under control pretty much from the first couple of overs."
Australia won the toss and the decision to bat paid off as Matthew Wade (45) and David Warner (43) shared a 70-run opening stand. Mike Hussey and Peter Forrest then scored half centuries as Australia made 288 for five.
Only Dhoni defied the Australian attack, scoring 56 from 84 balls before he was out to Hilfenhaus in the 38th over.
In his first ODI since 2009, Hilfenhaus returned a career best five for 33 to let the Australian selectors know he is still a viable option in the one-day format.
It was not a happy day for Sachin Tendulkar, who is still one short of his 100th international century. The 38 year old hurt his left shin while fielding in the 25th over and did not return for the remainder of the Australian innings.
He was caught at third man, attempted to upper cut Hilfenhaus, to extend his stretch without a hundred to 29 innings since his 111 against South Africa in the World Cup on March 12.
Apart from Dhoni, the India batsmen struggled against the pace and bounce of the Australian attack. By contrast, all of the Australian batsmen contributed except Ponting (seven), whose form slump in the one-day format continued with his fifth consecutive dismissal for single figures.