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The White Hindu has moved! This blog is no longer updated, but Ambaa is still writing The White Hindu every weekday at

Monday, March 22, 2010


Reading the message boards again I hit an interesting comment that gave me new insight on why my life might be a problem. Someone mentioned that some Indians see white Hindus as a seal of approval on Hinduism, as though the West has to give it credibility before it is taken seriously.

That is a terrible shame. I wouldn't want to make it seem like anyone needs my permission to practice his religion! I don't know why so much authority is given to Americans, to whites, to those in the West. Perhaps it is simply respect for the economic success the West has seen. That is not an area I know much about. For a book club I've been reading a book called "The White Tiger" and it has some very disturbing things to say about politics and economics in India right now. On that, I am no authority.

I do not come to Hinduism to take it over or to make it better. I come to bow at the feet of an Indian guru (namely, Adi Shankara and the Shankaracharyas who continue his teachings).

I don't think we need to go back to the bitterness of the debate about the "Aryan invasion." Regardless of that situation, I would say that it was not white people who built this religion. The great philosophizing in the ancient writings are from brown people. Krishna, whose words I value above all others, has a name meaning "dark."

This religion fully belongs to non-whites and I do not come to try to take it away. I want only to blend seamlessly into the masses of people who live their lives based on the Upanishads and the Gita and who call out to Shiva and to Rama for help understanding this world.

Hinduism does not belong to me, but I belong to it.


  1. hey carolyn, i'm reading the book too! well listening to the audio book. when there are so many indian guys with accents, i wonder why they got a white guy to fake an indian accent to read it! india is corrupt, but there has to be a separation of spirituality from religion because hinduism is rooted in culture way much. it really is a predominantly sexist society and many of the religious readings are biased towards men.

    even the white tiger has someone in the very lowest caste managing to look at women in such a distasteful way. the fitting in happens when your life becomes a doormat to social control, so it isnt an aspiring goal. i say go for the gusto on your own personality and spirituality and your niche of people will come to you instead of you going to them.

    indian society needs leaders who are not afraid to question tradition.

  2. aryan invasion is afalse theory propounde by britishers in india.
    even indians didnt knew this shit until british told them. aryan theory was false & divisive in nature

  3. The aryan invasion theory is a very hotly debated topic and something I'm not interested in getting into. I'm doing my best to steer clear of politics. It is one theory and some believe it and some don't. Evidence has been shown for both sides, but neither is entirely convincing.

  4. aamba, I think you've said it yourself: that hinduism fully belongs to non-whites. hinduism and indian culture are instrinsicially linked, as the (south asian) author of the now defunct "I wish I were ethnic" blog says:

    "Hinduism cannot be separated from INdian culture. Hinduism is not a universalizing religion, it is an ethnic one, its not something you can just ‘convert’ to (I mean you can, you’d be looking like a total douchefuck if you do though) . This reason alone is why many people do not even consider Hinduism a religion. "

    now, I'm not trying to call you a douchefuck (eep), but I do have serious questions about "converting" to hinduism as a white person. you say that you are not trying to take it away from brown folks, but I think it's so important to examine the impact that colonialism and colonization has had on the world. I think to assume that hinduism is something you can just take on as a white person is to erase the violence of historic and continued white supremacy. just because you deeply respect something doesn't mean it's your to appropriate.

    I'm glad you are seeking peace or spiritual fulfillment or whatnot (I think it's brave), but I think there's lots of ways to express that that don't involve cultural appropriation, something that I think is a form of racism.

    in your bindi article, you even mention that you feel uncomfortable when you see south asian people and you are out in your "indian clothes". I would encourage you to examine this feeling further and think about the power imbalance in this dynamic.

    hope you take what I have to say in consideration...
    spirituality and anti-racism should go together.

    (quotation from (from the cached page:

  5. Well, I have to disagree.

    I do believe that Hinduism is universal, it is for all people. Every scripture, every piece of Advaita talks about the unity that pervades the creation. We are not our superficial differences, we are all one God.

    I don't believe that anyone should be told not to do something because of his or her skin color or ethnicity. Maybe I'm a dumb white person who will never "get it", but I come to Hinduism with respect and deference and I know that my soul is the same as anyone else's.

  6. Hmm some so called representatives of hindus or disguised hindus are trying to destroy hinduism.
    Hinduism is UNIVERSAL no doubt. And it hasnt anythng to do with Racism.
    Aamba I strongly reccomend you to go through Francois Gautier website.
    Here in India there is a belief , ALL WHITES ARE BRILLIANT ,EDUCATED, RICH PEOPLE , Technological and need their certificate for anythng. A subconcious feeling or inferiority that comes from western education etc.
    We still have to learn all those Bluff matter , Aryan invasion terming Us Brahmins as outsiders. Just bullshit.
    Equality is yet to come.

  7. Yes. It is a misunderstanding for those who hate white people and also those who think white people are better or perfect. There should be equality and a feeling of family among all people. That is my belief!

  8. Elam Sat; Viprah bahuda vadanti. this sums up the essence of Upanishads. If Upanishads form the bedrock of Hindus, then it is universal with Indian origins. So, what anyone says doesn't matter. a true Hindu of any race, nationality or origin to seek Brahman in a variety of ways. appropriation etc are all notions to be discarded.
    You are right in simply practicing your faith and not trying to think of the political issues. Sringeri Gurus have consistantly encouraged and guided seekers of varied backgrounds. they do so following the teachings of advaita, derived from Upanishads.

  9. I am not a Hindu. I´d call myself Christian and part of me is agnostic. Therefore this issue for me isn´t a personal but rather an intellectual one.

    I have a problem making this an issue of race or ethnicity. Religion should not belong to anyone. That would only belittle whatever one believes in. It would mean that then humans decide whom religion is for - not the god(s) they believe in. But that basically would be pretentious, it would transform the believer into a representative. The Catholic Church follows this concept with the pope, but I think a belief or religion starts to be corrupted when people try to gain the interpretational sovereignity and dictate or regulate the understanding of the scriptures. After all every indivudual has to find his or her own religious views.
    I understand that some people, due to colonialism, resent white Hindus. And it is also understandable that certain gurus and certain movements didn´t do any good to the perception of white Hindus. But both objections are not of religious nature, but historic and ethical ones.

  10. I too am a "White Hindu". In that my skin is pale but I am a blender baby in all honestly. Predominantly Romani and First Nation. I came to Hinduism as a child when living with a Hindu family. (long story)

    In my reading of the Hindu Holy Books I have never come across any scripture stating that the faith and ideas belong to and only to people born in India. And so I shall defer to those scriptures and try to mind my own business and be the best person of faith that I can personally be.

    I do not hate or feel less then the descendants of the people who butchered my ancestors. I do not hate the children of the Nazi's who killed my Romani Family nor do I hate the children of the white settlers who destroyed my First Nation Ancestors. I try my best to interact with people in the here and now and based upon their actions. I encourage others to do the same.

    Yes some faiths specify that you must be of a specific bloodline to be a member. Faiths that are based primarily upon ancestor worship. And I respect that. However I do not find the "Hindu" faith to be of that nature. Though it is an immense family tree of many beliefs and traditions.

    Some people are not going to like me. Or my "Conversion". And those same people would probably find some offense to me even if I were not a "White Hindu". The simple truth is some people simply want to be upset with somebody. And will find fault because that is what they want to do. Making it their Karma and not mine.

    Jai Kali Ma and thank you for the interesting blog and book.