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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 This blog is no longer updated, but Ambaa is still writing The White Hindu every weekday at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, April 26, 2010

People similar to me

[EDITED: I just realized that the title of this post could be taken a way I totally didn't mean...changing it now! Great example of how learning another language is a really difficult experience. Saying "People like me" could mean what the title now says or it could mean "You like me, you really like me" and the difference is in tone only, even though English is not a tonal language. Argh!)

I was doing some Internet searches and I came across much more encouraging things than I have in the past.

On one webpage, a man asks, "How are whites received by the Hindu community? My instinct tells me that I'd be met with some xenophobia and seen as an outsider and an oddity; something of a wanna-be."

The responses are very encouraging, telling him that it is common to see white people at temples now. (I've never seen that, but I've been too shy to go all that often).

I haven't read through it yet, but I also found a blog about someone who is a westerner and a convert to Hinduism.

Another blog I found that I'm really enjoying is about a Dominican woman who converted to Orthodox Judaism. Reading through her posts, it's remarkable how much converts have in common, regardless of the religion they are moving to. A couple of things that were very familiar were when she talked about how she felt her soul had always been Jewish and that when she learned about how God was viewed in Judaism it matched exactly the belief she already had in her heart. Her struggles to be accepted in a tight-knit group of people who are a different ethnicity from her are very inspiring.

I haven't been back to the temple since Ram Navami, but I feel so encouraged by the recent things I've found that I'm going to go back soon. I'm also thinking about signing up for some of the programs offered by Chinmaya Mission. They are a world-wide organization with a reputation for being welcoming of all Hindus.

I've been so worried about coming across, as the man above said, like a "wanna-be", but I have to learn to accept that I can't control how others will view me. It really is okay if people think I'm doing this because it's exotic or cool, I know my own reasons and that is all that matters.


  1. I got to your blog due to signing up for comment updation in Western Hindu. I have to say you are inspiring. Try not to worry about what people think about you. What you want to learn is your path. If any person perceives you as 'wannabe' then its their loss.

    Just to let you know, if you are planning to sign up for some course with Chinmaya Mission, then there is this small book that I have from their collection called Undoing by Rudite Emir. It's a classic example of showing that all are welcome in any religion they feel comfortable with. I used to attend Chinmaya Mission and its programmes regularly till some years back, now I am just too busy with life but what I learnt is certainly keeping my spirits up daily :).

  2. Thank you :) I did contact Chinmaya today and got an email back immediately, welcoming me to attend their youth group. I'm glowing with excitement!

  3. Well I hope your quest for knowledge is satisfied and I will keep following your blog :).

  4. If I need to go from point A to point B in life, I'd "wanna-be" willing to do that, right? From that point of view, there's nothing wrong in being a wanna-be minus the quotes.

  5. Āmba,
    Its interesting that you see parallels between Hinduism and Judaism. As two surviving ancient religions I think that there are a lot of parallels as well as differences. Both have a strong link between religion and cultural identity.

    Judaism has a much more formalised process for the acceptance of converts. I think it is interesting that traditionally people asking to be converts will be refused. The linked article makes a little more sense of what happens to many Westerners who feel they have a Hindu soul. Once it becomes apparent that at heart someone is Hindu, Western or otherwise, acceptance will follow.

  6. It is common to see "white babas" in India now.. Not a biggie

  7. Hi. You have an interesting blog. I too am a white Hindu. I got involved thru the Hare Krishnas. Whilst they provoked an interest I found them to be overly restrictive and often corrupt considering their holier than thou attitudes.

    I have been attending temples in the UK and now Orlando Florida for about 11 years (mainly in the states). I did thousands of hours of Seva (volunteer work) at a certain large temple and whilst great most times, I did feel hostility, resentment and suspicion from some traditional Indian Hindus.

    I now attend a much smaller friendlier temple and whilst the cattiness of some suspicious Indians still remains at the end of the day I am there to be with god. If I seem a little jaded don't be put off. I would advise however not to get too involved with temple politics. I'm finding that being on the periphery of a temple's hierarchy to be safer mentally. I realise as a white person we stick out at temple and so you should expect at times other devotees may be suspicious especially if you get very involved as I did.

    If I seem jaded please forgive me. I love being Hindu. I don't seek others permission to be a Hindu. I know I have a spiritual connection to Lord Krishna. He helps me and my family. I believe he has spoken to me on a one to one basis. That might sound weird but it's my belief. I don't know much in way of Sanskrit/Hindi language but I know when I'm at temple the words in the Bhajans are benefiting subconsciously.

    I admire the work you have done with your blog. I have one on wordpress if you'd like to take a look.

    If I've waffled please forgive me. What I want to convey is keep following Sanatana Dharma. It is incredibly diverse and absolutely should accommodate people not born to the religion.

    I'm reminded of the expression "if a cat has kittens in the oven do you call them biscuits?"

    Its not a great analogy. But surely our souls just got born into a body that wasn't born Hindu and God had a reason for that. If we adopt Hinduism as our religion this too could be their plan.(It could be free will too! But let's assume it was gods idea.)

    Thank you

  8. It's great to hear from you! Thank you for your insight. I'll go check out your blog :)

  9. Namaste Aamba,

    I found Vedic philosophy 12 years ago after growing up Catholic. My husband and I used to practice more strictly and were part of many Vaisnava communities before. We just practice at home now. I have found that this path of Sanatana Dharma should make one more tolerant of everything and make it easy to have friends of all kinds. I used to be quite fanatical about things but now that I am older and have a school aged child, I am more relaxed.
    Even she knows her path and likes to see that there is a spirit in everything. If you would like to see a simple family life of non-Indians who worship Krsna, visit my blog: