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Sunday, December 20, 2009


Typically, as I've said before, Hinduism doesn't have conversion. However, the temple that I'm interested in going to states in a FAQs section of their website that they believe that anyone who practices Hinduism is a Hindu and they have no problem with that (see below for the quotes from the temple). They also make the excellent point that at some point, even if proselytizing never happened, conversion must have because of the high numbers of Hindus in other south east Asian countries.

There is a magazine called Hinduism Today and they also publish several interesting books on what Hinduism is and similar topics. They believe in a conversion ritual, according to one of the books, which involves having a priest perform the baby naming ceremony on you and you pick an Indian name. You then insist that everyone, such as your family and coworkers, call you by your Indian name.

I have not done this. It seems rather pretentious and obnoxious to me and, honestly, I already worry that I'm skirting that line. I really don't want my family rolling their eyes behind my back and saying, "Who does she think she is? Does she think she can be Indian by changing her name?"

I think that is what my mother fears when she tells me that I'm going to offend Indians. So far no one has been offended (that they've told me, anyway, although who wants to have that conversation face to face with someone?), though several have been stunned.

But do I actually want to be Indian and if so, why?

Last night we watched a movie about privileged white kids who imitate black culture. It made me wonder if my issue is more universal than I had thought. Is this a problem with a lot of white America? An epidemic in white youth? Do we just not have any culture of our own or are we dissatisfied with the culture we do have?

I want to look Indian, to pass for Indian, just to avoid the feeling that people think I'm putting on an act. (Some friends say I worry way too much what other people think). This is one of the reasons I'm learning to speak Hindi. I somehow feel as though it will give me legitimacy.

I discussed this recently with a good friend of mine I grew up with, and she certainly saw my upbringing as being Hindu. It's hard for my mother and other people to understand that I'm not romanticizing the religion or the culture. I know its downsides and my eyes are open to its faults, but I have an affection for it despite those things and no matter what, the beliefs are my beliefs and there is no religion in the world that better expresses these things that I believe.

The Following is Quoted from the website of the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Lanham, MD:

1. Who is a Hindu?

Summary Answer:
If a person has at least one Hindu parent or has chosen to adopt Hindu principles, and celebrates Hindu festivals, one may be considered a Hindu.

Detailed Answer:
There are many views in this regard.

One way of looking at it would suggest that a Hindu would observe at least some Hindu traditions as being part of a community. For example:

1. in lifecycle events like marriage ceremonies, death ceremonies etc;
2. in annual and seasonal festivals like Navraatri (or Dusherra), Diwaali (or Deepaavali), Krishna Janmaasthami, etc;
3. general community practices, like temple worship, etc.

Some higher levels of criteria may include such characteristics as having worthwhile objectives (Purushaartha) in life (see question 6, principle iii), believing in rebirth and evolution of the soul, and working towards ultimate realization.

From a strict traditional sense, to be a Hindu, one must either accept the Vedas & Vedaangas and/or Aagama & Tantra.

2. Is it necessary to go to a temple or practice anything in any special way to be a Hindu? Can one stop being a Hindu?

Summary Answer:
As long as one is praying at home, it is not necessary to go to a temple to remain a Hindu. One never stops being a Hindu.

While prayer at home is good, prayer at a temple is much better, because the temple is a specially consecrated place, and the idols are specially consecrated idols. The atmosphere and spiritual ambiance in a temple are more powerful and effective. Just as we do watch video pictures at home but, even so, go out occasionally to a theatre to see a film, we can pray daily at home, but need to visit a temple as often as we can.

Detailed Answer:
While there is no one single practice required for a Hindu, a Hindu would be expected to follow at least one of the many Hindu practices. Since temple worship is only one such practice, others may be substituted. And one never stops being a Hindu unless one chooses to relinquish Hinduism by actively converting to a non-Hindu faith.

However, there is a special importance for temple worship in modern living, particularly outside India. Since the temple is a consecrated place, the effectiveness of any practice in the temple is likely to be more powerful. The energy of this consecration is described often by temple visitors as a feeling of peace, bliss, happiness, etc. This, combined with the opportunity to interact with Hindu culture (which may not be available in ones neighborhood), becomes a double incentive for Hindus outside India to visit a temple regularly.

3. What is the position of conversion in Hinduism?

Summary Answer:
There is no traditional Hindu practice to convert others. However, historically Hinduism has spread to Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia and Indonesia in earlier centuries. Therefore, it would be reasonable to conclude that Hinduism does not actively seek to convert others, but there is room for anyone who wishes to become a Hindu.

Detailed Answer:
There is no conversion ceremony prescribed in the ancient tradition, although some modern leaders have invented some. Since anybody can claim to be a Hindu by adopting the principles and practices, there is no prescription in the sacred texts to proselytize others into the faith. Therefore, it would be reasonable to conclude that Hinduism does not actively seek to convert others, but there is room for anyone who wishes to become a Hindu. An observation made by some scholars suggests that by a proper study of Hinduism, a Hindu would become a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian, a Jew a better Jew, and anyone a better human being.


  1. I think every person irrespective of his religion is a hindu.Every single baby who has taken birth and the one going to take birth is a hindu.Thus,the whole human race on this planet is ultimately a HINDU.

  2. Well, I try not to upset people by labeling them against their wishes! I know I hate when other people assume labels for me.

    It does remind me of that quote that the proper study of Hinduism makes Hindus better Hindus, Muslims better Muslims, and Jews better Jews, and everyone a better human being. I don't know who said it, though it is stated in the FAQs at the website for the Shiva temple near me.

  3. Well,truth usually upsets people.For example,every one got upset when galilieo declared the truth that "earth is round" not flat as was thought at his time.

    As far as the question of getting better is concerned, i think in 2days world christians have to get better so world can get rid of wars.Same for muslims.

    Every religion got its teachings from HINDUISM and gave it their lables.So no matter which religion u follow ur indirectly following the teachings of HINDUISM.It justifies my above comment.

  4. I'm inclined to agree with you, Nitin. But then I don't want to fall into the trap of telling others that I know what's best for them because I absolutely hate it when Christians do that to me :)

  5. Sanathanadharma is a universal spirituality,so you can be an American Vaidhika(Vedantist)to the core and contribute to the only true universal religion of the world,Hinduism.India and Hinduism are not synonymous.

  6. The profession of telling "what is best for you" only exists in CHRISTIANITY and ISLAM not in HINDUISM because sun(HINDUISM) does not have to tell anyone that i am the brightest of all.I just told u d truth that u will have to accept one day.
    I am happy to see that more and more christians are trying to follow the hinduism that in-itself is an evidence that"HINDUISM IS THE MAIN TRUNK OF A TREE AND REST OF THE RELIGIONS ARE IT`S BRANCHES"

  7. I am a Hindu and here is my advice to you. Just do what you want and practice what you want and don't worry about what others say to you. Hinduism is quite diverse and every thing is acceptable though we do have our own views of heresy so to speak. With regards to wanting to Indian, it is kind of like an Indian growing up here in the States wanting to be white - culturally you can get there but you can't get past the fact that people will still see you as white and not Indian.

    1. I really do not know what will make a person better Hindu. Reading Vedas and Upanishad's will not only make you a better in fact a better person instilling in you the aspects of truth which is true knowledge. Following are the list of things that you need not do and still be Hindu:
      1. Going to Temple
      2. Remembering God always
      3. Knowing Hindu Mythology
      4. Follow a specific path or Marga in devotion as there many schools in Hinduism which truly covers all the line s of philosophy that exists in the field of religion.
      But following beliefs and practice are good not to make you a good Hindu but a better Human and lead a life happiness:
      1. Understand and lead your life in the true knowledge of Karma.
      2. Know your Dharma in simpler words your duty and act accordingly.
      3.Know amd practice things like Yoga (not the Physical fitness stuff more than that purity of thought and action)
      4. Develop Bhakthi towards a personnel god like Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Shakthi and this path will reveal you greater truth.

      Simple Hinduism will be what you want it to be to yourself and that is the difference between revealed religions and Hinduism. In fact there exists a school of philosophy which atheistics

      Om Namo Narayana


  8. Ambaji ,the quote was from swami vivekanadas talk to enthusiatic Newyorkers in 1893.When they were very impressed with his lectures and expressed their wish to convert to hinduism, then vivekananda assured them thus: Read vedas and upanishads, they will make a methodist a better methodist and a baptist a better baptist so forth.
    You are in good company. White hindus are already here to stay. David Frawley of New Mexico, Frank Morales of Nebraska, Francois Gautier and a whole ashram full of them in Kauai, Hawaii ( google all the above for more info. In fact the white swami had represented hinduism in last years parliament of world religions conference held in Australia.surya, chicago

  9. amba, also, Supreme court in Delhi had clarified who a hindu is, in 1950s or so, when a dispute arose. The court stated that eventhough any one or more above your characterizations may define and label one as hindu, the one criterian mandatory for a hindu is to accept vedas and upanishads as his religious texts. The judiciary panel explained, if an individual says he doesnt believe in the said texts, he is excluding himself from hinduism. But he can still be a hindu if he refuses to go to mandir or refuses to bow in front of any deities and refuses to perform puja or festivals.I read it long time ago ....

  10. i belive that even christians can be christians
    n moslems can be muslims or any1 could be ne1 but still be philosophically be a hindu.
    i personally think that westeners dont need2 be converted to hinduism they can belive in ne god they want2 like jesus or ne other. but still they can be philosophically hinduism does not reject ne other religions or belief.
    actually hinduism is not a religion its a way of life.
    even supreme court of india says that.

  11. the Christian church is responsible for the defamation and vilification of Hindu Gods
    as contained, for example, in the book called Satyadarshini,I quote to you what the press claims ‘Satyadarshini’ says about Hindu Gods. It says Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the victims of lust. It says Vishnu’s daughter Urvashi was a prostitute. It says Krishna represents darkness, rather than light.Christian church views the Hindu faith.
    The problem is that the author of Satyadarshini is Rev. P Suryanarayan and the book says it was revised by Rev S Mallikat. Both of those are members of the Christian clergy.So isn’t there a Christian connection, a church connection with this book.
    Another area which leads to controversy is the belief that the Christian church exploits the illiteracy and poverty of Indians to seek 1956 the Neogi Committee in Madhya Pradesh established that the church used
    the work it did in schools, hospitals and leprosy missions to seek converts.

  12. VATICAN Criticizes Avatar For Its "Worship Of Nature"
    Just one day after the Pope criticized world leaders for failing to come up with a new global climate treaty in Copenhagen, The Vatican newspaper and radio station are criticized the film "Avatar" for flirting with modern doctrines that promote the worship of nature as a substitute for religion.

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  14. Sorry, wanted to edit what I said!

    KK, there are some white people who only want the philosophy and are not interested in converting, which is fine.

    But there are also those of us who are not comfortable being associated with the religions of the west and want to officially be Hindu.

    This blog is an exploration of how possible that is.

    About the church's statements, the Christian church is not really one entity. Just as we cannot say that all Hindus think one thing or another, just because one church says something bad about Hinduism, doesn't mean another church hasn't said something wonderful about it. There is a tremendous variety in Christian teachings, so it's hard to peg them as any one thing.

    I know that I can't be Indian, but I will get as close as I can because it makes me feel more like myself! Strange, I know, but I am finding more and more that there are a lot of people who don't feel comfortable in the culture in which they were born and go with something else!

    Nitin, I don't want to argue with you anymore. To my mind, saying that Hinduism is the main branch and the real religion, is exactly what Christians say about theirs (and Islam says about theirs), etc. I only know that Hinduism works for me and I will not claim it is the most authentic way or the best way because I cannot know that.

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  16. Nitin...I feel really sorry for you....because you are a hindu & still have such a low thinking...We treat others equally & we teach that all Gods are equal...& I am Proud of the fact that we don't believe in conversion...We never say that someones belief is wrong...God can be in any form...

  17. Anonymous.....try to understand my point and don't behave like a "WHITE SKIN FAN"...OK.

    Amba...i know by comparing you with gazni,i have over-reacted so i apologise for that comment.
    Amba.. even you did not get my point.I am not declaring any religion superior or inferior,infact what i am trying to say is that:All the religions whether it is Christianity,Islam,Buddhism etc copied some teachings from hindu religion and gave it their own lable so we can say that these all religions are a part of hindu religion....this is exactly what i mean when i say that "HINDUISM IS A TRUNK AND ALL OTHERS ARE ITS BRANCHES"........

    ("I will not claim it is the most authentic way or the best way because I cannot know that")-Ofcourse,you can know that by comparing what you have learnt in hinduism with the other religions.

  18. Sorry, Nitin, I missed your first comment. Sometimes it takes me a while to find new comments on my older posts, that's my fault.

    It sounds to me now that you are in favor of unity, that all is Hinduism.

    I can agree with that, although I will respect that not everyone will call it that!

    Anonymous, it's a tricky balance between not converting people because all religions are valid paths and ways to God and then also accepting converts who do find their path to God in Hinduism. That is the edge along which I am walking!

  19. Hi,hinduism or say modern hinduism is called today as religion but if you have read about dharma,you know its more then that and there is no need to give yourself a new name just practice is what important in spiritual life, as how honest you are with your path not how much you label yourself in a path with others.

  20. I understand that, and yet labels are important to me. I have a couple of posts about that. I think someday I may grow beyond the need for a label, but at this time in my life I really need to be able to call myself a Hindu.

  21. My opinion is that any religious organization or group is a cult that says that you have any obligation to change your physical appearance or your name.

    Hinduism Today is published by a group that I consider to be on the wrong side of this divide. I find them culty.

    I chant Hare Krishna and refuse to join ISKCON or any other group. I will never change my name. I will not believe in the mythology as literal reality. I love Bhagavan, but I don't love superstition, cults, New Agers, or hippies.

    The great thing about Sanatana Dharma is that it is so flexible. That flexibility attracts us, but then we discover that Hinduism contains enough dogmatists and judgmental cult leaders to keep us busy for years.

  22. I'm reluctant to call "cult" on anyone. I've always been very sensitive to that word because I've been accused of being in a cult.

    People can follow what makes them happy. A dangerous cult situation comes up when people lose themselves in it and when they are unable to leave.

    Certainly, changing a name could verge on cult because it indicates a possible loss of identity, but I do not believe that The Himalayan Academy is doing it in that way. I admire their dedication to ethical conversion, making absolutely certain that new members want to join.

    Though I am not superstitious and whether "mythology" is real or stories makes no difference to me, I respect those who do believe in those things. I might be wrong. I will never rule out that possibility. My mind will remain open.

  23. A Polish nun filed a court case to ban ISKCON because its followers glorify Krishna, who had loose morals having 16000 wives.
    In court the devotee asked the nun to say the oath she took on becoming a nun. The oath says she married Jesus.
    The devotee said: Lord Krishna married 16,000 women, but more than a million nuns have married... Jesus. Between Krishna and Jesus who has a loose character?
    Case dismissed!

    poor NUN

  24. Oh goodness, that's quite a story!

  25. Its reality!!!AMBA What do u think about that fucking NUN?

  26. Okay, calm down, let's keep the language clean, please.

  27. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  28. I don't know how many times I need to say this, but this is not a forum for criticism of Christianity or Islam or any other religion.

  29. lol...i dun know whats wrong with u amba...I never criticised any religion.And as far as islam is concerned i love islam religion.
    I just criticised those people who use religion for doing their immoral works and u got irritated .You also escaped my earlier question "AMBA What do u think about that ******* NUN?"And finally you put a wrong allegation agianst me that i criticise other religions.Well,this all tells a lot about you and i am not shocked at all.Nice to know the REAL AMBA..

  30. I don't think anything about the nun, but I respect her as a person and I don't want to see you using a derogatory word like that against a fellow human being who is your sister in this world.

    I'm getting extremely irritated with you. You don't know me, you don't know anything but what I put on this blog, which is actually only a small sliver of my life and my personality.

  31. First of all, I feel deeply hurt when people say that they convert to Hinduism. Heck! I do not like the name Hinduism. It is a way of life not a religion per se. Even when this notion is repeated myriads of times people still talk about conversion. I simply do not understand the need for a topic called conversion to Hinduism. Suppose you want to become a vegan, you simply become one and not perform a ceremony. Similar thing applies to Sanathana Dharma too.. It would be much better if people refrain from making comments about conversion to Hinduism.. I personally feel that the practice of ethical conversion or whatever the organizations call it as mere sham and wanting to emulate other religions. Why don't everyone keep their original ideals? This is where I disagree with ISCKON and other foundations.

    Second, I am deeply ashamed when people start criticizing other religions. Sivavakkiyar, an Indian mystic told this
    "Are there two seperate Devas who are yours and mine?
    Are the Devas present here there and everywhere different?
    The energy present here there and everywhere is one and the same
    Those who divide people based on Gods will die a horrible death".

    Shame on those people who try to cleave rifts based on religion.

  32. I can see your point, Raghavan, yet I think for some people they feel a need to have a ceremony to mark the start of a new life. I'm not going begrudge anyone that. I personally did not go through a ceremony, I just started living as a Hindu and calling myself a Hindu. For a while I felt like I wanted something more "official," but I couldn't find anything and I ended up feeling fine with what I have done.

    I know the label "Hindu" is far from perfect, but it is the one that people recognize. As a kid when people asked what religion I was I would say Advita Vedantist, but that was such a mouth full they could never remember the words and they had no clue what it meant. It's much simpler and easier to use the word "Hindu."

    Also, I agree that it is a lifestyle as well as a religion or even more than a religion, and that is why it is important to me to take on the culture as well.

    I have been guilty of criticism of other religions before and I work very hard to curb that habit in me. The fellow, Nitin Sharma, has been blocked and is unable to post further comments. He does not believe that a Muslim woman is his sister and said so in some very nasty language.

    Anyway, welcome Raghavan and I look forward to more insight from you...

  33. Apparently I got Mr. Sharma confused with someone else and I apologize to him for that. However, I still won't publish his comments until he can learn to write without swearing at me and calling me names.

  34. "Apparently I got Mr. Sharma confused with someone else and I apologize to him for that."---If this one is for me then i take my words back and apologise.

    "What do u think about that NUN?"---I asked you this question just to know your view about such persons who attack other religions deities.You know ..AMBA..i had expected that u would criticise her because JESUS never preached to attack deities of other religions........You know... had a hindu criticised any other religions deity,i would have criticised him/her severly.

    Saying nasty words to that NUN does not mean that i hate not at all...i respect JESUS and his teachings ....Infact i respect all the religions of the world......i respect prophet mohhammad,i love buddha,i love jainism....each and every religion. But i think we as a good human beings should criticise those people who attack the deities of other religions....

  35. Thank you for making your point more clear. I understand better now.

    I think the nun is misguided and not correct, but I don't think that being mean to her is a way to "show her the light."

    We each have our journeys to go on. I hope that she will understand the universal nature of God someday. In the meantime, I am not going to call her names or make fun of her.

    I would prefer that people did not vocally oppose other people's religions, as she did, but I'm not going to criticize her back. It sounds like she got the perfect end to her argument already. I don't need to rub it in.

    The best way to show someone a better way to behave is to do it oneself. To "turn the other cheek" as Jesus advised is, to my mind, the best way to oppose her behavior.

    She is still a sister, no matter how misguided. All humanity is our family and any "correction" we give should be with love. I believe that with all my heart.

  36. "The fellow, Nitin Sharma, does not believe that a Muslim woman is his sister and said so in some very nasty language."----I never said so for any muslim woman...yeah i do said that for the NUN who criticised hindu deity KRISHNA by saying that "Krishna had 16000 wives so he had a loose character"...for this NUN if i say that she can never be my sister then i think i am not wrong..........what do u think my fellow indians?

  37. I'm sorry, I meant Christian. There is someone else who has been criticizing Muslims and I got confused.

    However, I continue steadfastly to believe that she is your sister. You might argue with her and disagree with her, but that is something that happens with family.

  38. Raghavan, take your argument somewhere else. Even your own parents dont call themselves sanatana Dharmics do they? You want ask them and see for a change or your siblings for that matter? For starters can you list some important doctrines that are of hindu and not of sanatana dharma,here ? SD, what is it if not a religion is it a political ideology ? what is the difference between hinduism and sanatana dharma, is there a hindu who dislikes sanatan dharma or vice versa? Is there a non hindu who accepts sanatana dharma? The 2 are now synonyms. accept it. Hairsplitting is a futile exercise and a mere distraction on these forums. If you say you are a sanatana dharmic, then people think you live in Amazon jungle, a tribal.Also, stop telling us that it is a way of life and not a religion, that argument is very dumb and invites ridicule.

    Conversion to hinduism is most welcome; ought to remain unconditional. whats your problem with that, you sound very selfish to me. Embrace the converts with warmth and give them your best, they are here looking for something that remains elusive elsewhere. If you read some blogs, you will be amazed with the depth of knowlege they acquired about vedopanishads. A very humbling experience to me, a born hindu. Arya samaj converts without any hasssle.-surya

  39. nitin,
    the nun was a hate mongerer, clearly she should be engaged in a debate, but she had been brainwashed almost irreversibly by her own men, a jihadi without a gun; no she is not a sister now, she has to be treated first and then once she revises her stand once sheds hate only then will turn a sister.

  40. Amba, we can have a conversation only with people who listens and responds to us,not with those who cannot do so.Whoever it is ,Mr.Nitin Sharma and the other,must learn either by seeing,or hearing or by inference,that their ideas does not hold water with even "traditional" Hindu thought.I wish he/They would read and try to understand Manisha Panchakam of Adi Shankara.

  41. "I'm sorry, I meant Christian. There is someone else who has been criticizing Muslims and I got confused."---Its alright problem.

    ""---This link might be worth watching..

  42. I've been to the Himalayan Academy website, I've bought books from them. I'm not sure what you are pointing out here...?

  43. "I'm not sure what you are pointing out here...? "----I am not trying to point out anything here,i just felt displaying this so i did.

  44. "Amba, we can have a conversation only with people who listens and responds to us,not with those who cannot do so"----Madam Sita i got a big laugh when i had read your post.It seems you have not been following this blog because had u been following it then you would have never said so.I have always listened and then responded.If does not believe me then plzzzzz take some effort and just have a glance with WIDE OPEN EYES on previous posts and then decide.Dont shoot arrows in air.

    "Whoever it is ,Mr.Nitin Sharma and the other,must learn either by seeing,or hearing or by inference,that their ideas does not hold water with even "traditional" Hindu thought."------HAHAHAHAHA....Sita madam may i plz know what is that traditional hindu thought of yours with which our ideas dont hold water,i want to know.Take some effort to explain!!!!!

  45. maro said...

    the nun was a hate mongerer, clearly she should be engaged in a debate, but she had been brainwashed almost irreversibly by her own men, a jihadi without a gun; no she is not a sister now, she has to be treated first and then once she revises her stand once sheds hate only then will turn a sister."------Agreed with you MARO.

  46. Well, you got at least one to agree with you!

    I still don't, but so it goes...

  47. "Well, you got at least one to agree with you!"-------Had more indians been following this blog , this number would have been much more than

    "I still don't....."-----Ok Amba.......But i agree to engage her in a constructive discussion without being mean towards her.

  48. I appreciate that, it's all I ask!

  49. Well thats good Amba but i won`t consider her as sister until she sheds her hate

  50. Lol. The thing about family is that you don't control it. I guess that's why I say "sister" and not "friend." You don't always like your family, you don't always agree with them, but there they are and you have to figure out how to deal with them.

  51. Amba...i think you have a different meaning of sister.For me word SISTER is equivalent to word NURSE who is known for her good deeds ..thats all nothing more than that...but that does not mean that the NURSE(OR SISTER) is my FAMILY.

    For me word FAMILY stands for a group of people who have blood relation with each other.
    If the NUN sheds hate then she becomes "sister"(i.e. a person who does good deeds) but she cant be my "family".

    "You don't always like your family, you don't always agree with them, but there they are and you have to figure out how to deal with them."------I dont agree with this concept of FAMILY because for me family does not exist beyond my blood relations.I see actions of people either as wrong or right.

    I dont use emotional words like FAMILY to cover up the wrong doings of my fellow people.

    There are two ways to deal with wrong doers:
    (1)SOFT APPROACH---Try to correct them with love.If this does not work then there is second approach:

    (2)HARD APPROACH---Well everybody very well know about this approach.....I think no need to explain it..Lol

  52. I see, we definitely do have different definitions of "sister." I literally believe that family is not confined to blood relations.

    I have said many times, all of humanity is my family, and I have recently been corrected and amend that to say that every living thing in this universe is a part of my family.

  53. Oh, and I also have a much different approach to "right" and "wrong" from you. I refuse to judge actions as right or wrong unless I am facing the situation myself. I cannot know the subtle differences in circumstances.

    Sometimes things appear wrong and are not and sometimes things appear right and are not.

    Since the world is not the ultimate reality, I don't worry too much about everything being "right." The world would cease to exist if everything was always right! Check out my post on evil for more details on that part of my philosophy.

  54. "So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother," Bentley said in his address, according to The Birmingham News,

    - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) on Jan 14, 2011

    the brother says you are not his sister, Amba. Well now what shall we do; there is clarity here 'beyond all reasonable doubt' in his utterances. Shall we go on a hunger strike in line with our cherished ahimsa doctrine, i think so.-surya

  55. Ha! Well, he might not think I'm his sister, but I disagree! :) I'll keep trying to love him as such, though I'll never accept Jesus Christ as my savior.

  56. hii stumbled upon ur blog,intreasting to know some one in america knowing a lot about hinduism.. .but i dont know if few ppl in US who are adopting or who want to adopt hindu values and tradition is just a status symbol

  57. AMBAJI,warmest welcome to hinduism. i am a hindu brahmin by birth. i read almost all our religious books. i read key teachings of other holy books also (quran,bible,etc).but its seems to me that hinduism gives us most freedom to live. there is no specific way to practice are free to say/do/act anything even you can criticize anything in hinduism .hinduism advocates all of us as son/daughter of BHAGABAN.ahimsa(nonviolence),satya(searth for truth),sundaram(beauty) are the key features of hinduism.with these values you are always remained hindu.thats why we are dynamic and progressive in all the way of life.lastly ,according to shree RAMAKRISHNA(a famous hindu preacher & monk)--JOTO MAT,TOTO PATH (all proper thoughts--all proper ways to GOD).

  58. Good to hear from you! Thanks :)

  59. Sandeep, sorry I missed your comment before. It's hard to say, I think we might not ever be able to know who is practicing Hinduism because it is the right path for him and who is doing it because it's cool or a status symbol. My personal philosophy is to assume the best of people. I'd rather do that than to be judgmental and assume the person is not serious about his path.

  60. Hi Amaba,

    It a wonderful blog, I really appreciate your patience in giving a reply to every comment.Nice work :)

  61. Hello again,

    About conversions thing, I came across a small handbook describing historical re-conversions of forcefully converted Hindus back to Sanatana Dharma, which were happened in and around the Sindh region(present day Pakistan) in 19th century. Even though it does not have any validity now, but its an interesting thing to read about the stories of cultural survival
    If any one is interested, here is the link

    Om Santhi!

  62. Thank you! I do try :)

    The book you found sounds fascinating, but the link doesn't seem to have made it through. Sometimes my comment filter gets rid of links thinking they are spam. Perhaps you could give us the search terms to locate it?

  63. Hello!
    No worries, here is the name just you could google it ;)
    "Sindh and the Races That Inhabit the Valley of the Indus (1851) by Sir Richard Francis Burton"

    Actually, the author himself is a very fascinating person,you could read about him on Wikipedia.

    Have a great weekend


  64. Your blog is very interesting. I have come for the first time. I wish to give my opinion of naming hindu names. We have lot of deitities. Each deity has thousands of names. Mostly all hindus names are hindu deity names. When I call my daughter Durga for 100 times a day I am uttering Goddess Durga's name 100 times and those who calls her are also uttering Goddess Durga's name.

  65. That is an excellent reason for naming children after deities! I like it.

  66. I guess iam the only Christian to post here.I hope that i can sort of explain some concepts of us Christians without irritating most of you.
    I have noticed that indian and western media tend to hype up when some westerner(not necessarily Christian)converts to Islam or Hinduism. And being an Indian i have sensed a rush of pride and happiness in Hindus or Muslims when they know it or talk of it.And naturally we(indian Christians) get defensive then.However if you actually google the statistics you can see that by numbers Christianity is actually the most embraced religion by converts.Some 6 million year in Africa converted from Islam alone,says a study by Some Muslim group. But the western media and thus the indian media(which practically copy all international news from agencies like Afp and reuters)are not concerned with what some African or Asian does.And statistically its not rare (comparatively) and thus not news.Also the Christians(Syrian Christians like us and Converts by european missionaries outnumber all the western hindus or muslims)and so, if someone converts to Christianity here its not a news either.I have also sensed the pride Muslims have when talking about the gulf(Arab)and i have thought that we Christians in India must have had the same feeling for europe,Americas and Australia a century back.We have lost most of the power there,thanks to loads of blunders and other factors.

    Christians(not just Catholics) believe that Christ and thus Christianity is the true path to salvation.So we dont believe in Hinduism or Islam or anyother religion.
    Though we dont believe in other religions and thus practically cant respect them, We respect humans. And so cause of that,we respect(not believe) what they consider holy, before them as long as they respect it themselves.And that is neither illegal nor immoral or Non Christian.
    I have felt that ,though west is not the same to us as Arabia is to the Muslims,yet we get the heat everytime westerners fiddles anywhere.Like the Iraqi Christians facing anger from Muslim Iraqis thanks to America.
    As of the nitin guy , i have seen somany of those types. Some Sickass sob. He swears against a nun,well if he were to say so before me one on one,i bet i would have made him feel sorry for it where it hurts.Guess where? And i care a shit whether he is bigger or if he is having Batman shit.Mofo. Am i arrogant?Is that Non-Christian? Well, China crosses the Indian border all the time. India remains insensitive to provocation.But i aint so.

  67. Thank you for adding your voice! I'm happy to have your contribution.

    I have to admit that knowing that Christianity is a religion that many people convert to, in more numbers than any other, is not good news to me. I hate that, actually.

    If it truly makes someone happy to be a Christian, if it helps him in his life, then I have to respect his desire to be so.

    I don't believe in Christ, I do not believe that Christianity is the "right path." I will never be convinced otherwise and my biggest problem with Christianity is the arrogance that tends to go along with believing that you have the only path.

    Not every Christian has that arrogance, thank goodness! But enough do that hearing that someone is a Christian puts me on edge immediately.

    I have not found that many Christians are respectful of my beliefs.

    However, you can probably relax because it does seem like Christianity is winning. :( At least I know that no matter what anyone else wants to believe or think about what I believe, I can keep believing it and no one can take that away from me.

  68. The problem with Hinduism is that it has been very Indian in it character. Here I mean that Hinduism is often associated with India. We have to understand that Hinduism which is practised in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cambodia is not exactly same as the one which in followed in India. There they have developed their own ways and methods of practising and developing Hinduism.

    The White Hindus living in North America and Europe have got an opportunity to develop their own forms of Hinduism. They can and should link Hindu ideas and ways with their own culture and surroundings. They should not be dependent on Indian Hindus to guide them what Hinduism is or not. Instead them they should make their own Hinduism, let's say, American Hinduism or French Hinduism.

    For me, Hinduism is an individual journey. I don't need others to tell what to do or what not to do. I can explore it on my own.

    Bhavya Ketan
    Delhi, India

  69. Very good point. And you know, I'm starting to feel like Hinduism is so individual that we really can't even say "Indian Hinduism", "American Hinduism", "French Hinduism."

    I think I am practicing "Ambaa Hinduism"! lol.

  70. I have a question. I am 15 year old white male and I'm interested in becoming Hindu. My parents are both Christian, and I'm nervous to tell them because I am worried how they'll respond. Any advice?

    1. I think my advice would be to start small. To learn about Hinduism and test out some practices on your own before you make the kind of commitment that would require talking to your parents. I would imagine it will be much easier to follow your own path once you're out on your own. I'm going to pose this question to everyone else, though, and see what others think.

  71. The number of people who convert to christianity and islam are usually the socially gullible and poor people who do it for money or out of fear ..but people who follow Hinduism are of philosophical class hence there is a steep decline of christianity in USA and Europe as now Europeans have attained the philosophical level to understand Hinduism and Budhism unlike poor people of Asia or Africa who are hoodwinked by some false and philosophically illogical beliefs of christianity .Hence in the USA we will find more unemployed youth turning to islam and the intelllectual ones becoming Hindus .

  72. After reading conversations i am of the opinion that
    when a person is interested in you and wants to be friends of you, instead of giving your introduction to the person. you presume that he already know you. & there is no need of acquaintanceship. tell me how will that person learn about you and and your ways of life. gradually he will loose interest in you some day & will become another's friend.
    In the ancient times there was no need of conversion of people in to Hinduism because every one was Hindu. Hinduism was universal religion. all mono & poly theist, non theist and materialistic philosphies were practiced as part of sanatandharam or hinduism.
    But now there is different scenerio religions are organised. the person who is interested in another religion is from an organised religion & it is very difficult for him to transform into new one moreover when there is no welcome from other side.
    he expect that he is going into an organised religion he should be given new identity, name & introductory courses thrugh religions ceremonies which will maintain his enthusiasm and journey in to new religion he wants to be treated well dignified and honoured in new religion.
    Merely saying that there is no procedure for conversion in to hinduism will only be unwelcoming gesture for a person who is taking a brave step to consider about adopting new way of life.
    instead of letting him in confusion we should give him helping hand.
    In india there is no independent hindu religious organisation which do anything in this regard.
    but hindu organisations in other countries can do this work easily . i think that you all hindus from your country come together and form an organisation which handle this issue and welcome these persons who wants to become your brothers.

  73. This conversation has been going on for about 2 years and I am joining now:). Some of my thoughts:
    In order to be Hindu one need not be Indian. Although you are very welcome.
    Ultimately Hinduism is about spirituality. Practising the religion gives an uplift but I think Krishna himself has said that for the one who has transended to sprituality the scriptures are a waste. I believe a religion is a means to an end. We all earthlings have to unify with God, ultimately so, in this birth or ten thousands of them later.
    God bless you.

    1. I'm glad you decided to join in! And I absolutely agree. As my journey has continued, I've found myself less and less religious and more and more spiritual. I do think religion is a means to help us move towards something more open than religion!

  74. Hi there! I know I am posting on something old... But I really love your blog. Just found it tonight. I am white and have been reading a lot about Hinduism and I've also started practicing, perhaps not the way typically is done, but in my own way :) I am hoping to visit a temple soon and learn more so I can perform proper puja in my home. I'm young (22) so I feel insecure that I'm joining this very 'foreign' religion. I know my adoptive family (my fiance's family) will accept me either way, as well as my friends, but I feel others might think I'm being silly... I think you hit the nail on the head. White people don't have culture. Especially not in America. what do we celebrate that is actually MEANINGFUL? What do we wear or express that isn't some part of consumerism? If Americas - not just white people but Americans - has a culture I think would have to be consumerism and that is not something I want to indulge in :(

    anyway thank you so much for your blog and speaking about how you can be Hindu without being Indian! or without being born into it for that matter. I wish you could give classes on 'Hinduism for converts' because it's very hard to find some things out there, you know? I see you were somewhat raised into it, and for that you are blessed. I am coming from a Christian background and even if I no longer am christian I still have it's biases because that's what I grew up with... sigh. I wish I could email with you, I feel like I could learn so much from you :) either way I will read your blog and learn. Thank you thank you thank you!

    1. Welcome! I posted both your comments even though there's a little over lap. Basically, I had to change comments to have them moderated by me before they posted because of some trouble with a troll a year or so ago.

      I'm so glad that you're here!

      I love the idea of classes on Hinduism for converts. I'll have to think about how that might work.

      I'd love to talk with you more in depth privately. Send me a message on the facebook fan page and I'll send you back my primary email address so we can get talking :)

  75. Hello there :) I've tried posting a few times now but my computer is being very mean to me tonight!

    I am very thankful to you for making this blog. I myself am a white American girl who recently started reading into Hinduism. I found that I liked it very much and so I decided to start practicing - granted in my own way, but I Am hoping to go to the nearest temple soon to learn proper puja that I can do in my home.

    I am very hesitant to tell people I am learning about hinduism with the desire to practice because I'm scared they'll think I'm being silly. I'm young, playing around may not know what I'm thinking, just in a phase... It's also hard because I grew up in a Christian family and even though I have given up that faith completely it's still very easy to fall into things I don't understand :)

    I've read several of your posts and I will be reading a lot more. I think you're very lucky to have grown up in a family with a vedic tradition even if they think you are misappropriating Hinduism. I think it would be beautiful to change my name but, like you, it would not... work. People would think I was being silly, like I said before. But I'm new and my devotion as the time goes on might change. :) I wish I could email with you to learn more and have my questions answered. As it stands I'll just read this!

    (my original post was much, must better...sorry!)

  76. @kylel515
    This is a late reply from my side for your query - "I have a question. I am 15 year old white male and I'm interested in becoming Hindu. My parents are both Christian, and I'm nervous to tell them because I am worried how they'll respond. Any advice?".

    Answer: Seriously i don't know how to respond. Try reading ancient books of Hinduism. You are at a tender age where you can explore things on your own. As Ambaa stated try doing little things. Put question to yourself and the scripts that you read. Self analysing wil help you a lot. When you are ready to swin then take the plunge i.e. revealing to your parents. In this way your knowledge repository will help you to make your parents understand.

    Other too could join/correct me !!

    Ambaa, you have made my day !!! In India, i experience Hinduism decline every moment. But off shoots like yours will give rise to American Hinduism. May be when hindusim is wiped off india, you guys will be the tourch bearers. This analogue has come to my mind since the tree under which Gautam buddha was enlighted, got expired in Gaya, Bihar, India. But it still survives, how? Many centuries back, an off shoot of the tree was taken to srilanka. This has grown into tree. And they have taken the roots from here to Gaya again.
    Hence you people in the west must become the offshoot of Hinduism, India.

    Cheers !!!!!

    Sujit Singh,

    1. It's great to hear from you!

      I have every belief that Hinduism is poised to experience a revival.

      I love your analogy of the tree shoot. I think the tree is growing strong in America and will feed back to India until Hinduism is revived.

      It is a beautiful religion and I have confidence that there will always be people who love it and practice it.