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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 This blog is no longer updated, but Ambaa is still writing The White Hindu every weekday at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, May 3, 2010

Bindi update

Going back through posts I'm finding comments I didn't even know about! I haven't been able to find a way to get updates from blogger of when someone comments. I will have to go back through old posts regularly.

Interestingly, a lot more discussion has been going on at the post about wearing a bindi. I have now been doing that full time since the time I wrote that post, so about two months now. I have small black bindis that are not terribly showy. I wear fancy ones to events where I don't want it noticed, actually. I think that fancy ones look more like pure decoration and less like a statement. These days I feel odd if I'm without one.

One commenter seemed concerned about my focus on clothes, culture, and other outward things. I would like to clarify that my faith is already very strong. I've been involved in Vedic philosophy all of my life. I am happy with that path I'm on. An ex-boyfriend saw this blog and said to me that it was a weird blog for me to have because I'm the least religiously confused person he's ever known. I acknowledged that and told him that's why the subtitle. I'm not religiously confused, but I'm culturally confused.

I think I mentioned before that I have a fear of attack, and yet the actual occurrence of an attack is strangely easy to brush off. This comment was left on that post:

tiph parrish said...

I think you are probably offending a lot of people, I am offended and I'm not even Hindu! I think you might want to try something from your own white culture, haven't white people done enough exploitation without you objectifying religious aspects as well?? If you truly are a "Hindu" you should try respecting the culture and discovering your own heritage.

I'll admit that would carry a lot more weight if the woman in question was a Hindu.

I think that my post about appropriation answers the issue of me "objectifying." It's also another example of how individuals become stand-ins for the crimes committed by their race. Since so many white people have exploited other cultures, I am already guilty of their exploitation.

It makes me wonder whether other people feel a deep connection to their race and their ancestry. I don't particularly, and that might be a function of being a majority race. I also think it might have to do with believing in reincarnation. I don't feel that I am the direct off-shoot of the people before me in my family. I've had other families, lived in other cultures, been other ethnicities. I do, quite literally, feel that the entire world is my family.

So, yes. I am wearing the bindi, whether with salwar suits or with jeans. It helps me to feel that I am not being pushed into a category to which I don't belong by default. This story will also continue to be more about culture than about religion. Though I want to share aspects of my religion and my spiritual journey, it is the empty feeling of being without a culture that drives me in many ways and that is what I am interested in exploring.


  1. As an Indian, I may not get offended about someone who is non-indian wearing the tilak. However the issue for me really is that, should someone wish to wear it, they ought to know what it represents. If they don't and many people don't, it's wise not to. Since you've chosen Hinduism to be your religious and spiritual path, wear it and wear it with confidence. The fancy ones are purely a fashion statement and don't have any underlying meanings. But the blacks, reds and maroons circle sticker ones and the powdered version sindoor is what most Indian women wear on a daily basis. Although some choose not to wear it everyday - like me. It's all about how you want to project yourself to the world.


  2. Aamba,
    I have never felt a real connection with modern British culture, which seems to me to have shallow and selfish values. Rather unexpectedly I have on a couple of occasions felt a deep connection with the ancient people of Britain.

    On one occasion I walked to a place known as Druid's Alter, which has cup and ring marks. These marks often remind me or rangoli patterns, especially the ones on the nearby swastika stone. I suddenly had a feeling of shakti, a power of the place and sat on the "alter stone" and sang the gayatri mantra. I felt a real connection with my ancient ancestors, who had worshipped there before Christianity came and the druids were converted or eradicated as witches. While I meditated there the times of Christianity seemed to just be a short while. Before that, prior to the Kali Yuga this was part of the whole world that understood the universal Sanatana Dharma.

    I have since found that in ancient times there was a strong connection between the druids and Hindus, both being pious and respecting truth. There are some stories that enigmatically talk of a direct connection, like the story of Eithne who lived for years only on the milk from a holy cow that came "from a righteous land, from India". In the original stories Eithne was a Goddess, though in later versions such as the one linked she ends up converting to Christianity, then dying!

    So, strangely enough I feel a stronger connection to my country now I am a Hindu than I did before, though in a way that most English people could not begin to understand.

  3. Yes, once you start getting the wider perspective of time, Christianity seems like a small drop in the ocean. It makes sense that one would feel that spiritual connection to things that have possibly lasted through previous yugas.

  4. Hello Amba .I m a hindu woman and ur wearing a bindi does not offend us( all of us). We see in india a lot of western woman wearing bindis and u know what we feel -we feel flatered and a kind of closeness.Please put aside these fears.

  5. Do u know on the forehead there is a vein which should be pressed and kept cool so that is the place bindi is worn.

  6. That person (from the name) sounds like an Indian and could be an Indian Christian.

    There are some..not all desi Christians who cannot stand it when westerners take to Hinduism. For these desi christians may feel slighted. Its like "Oh My.. I am from India and even I (or my family) are not Hindus...and I thought westerners would give me a high five for being christian. But instead these westerners are interested in Hinduism. That really sucks! "

    Thats a possibility.

  7. Ela, I've been told that the sticker bindis do not accomplish that, what do you think? People have told me that I have to use actual kumkum to achieve the cooling effect.

    Manny, that does seem like a possibility. It is so far the only negative reaction I've had, and it was one person on the Internet, so I'm pretty pleased all together!