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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Most Important Thing

Recently I was having an interesting conversation with my mom about my romantic history. It made me realize something.

I've always said that my greatest dream in life is to have a husband and children. I've wanted that for as long as I can remember. Being married is hugely important to me. And yet, it turns out that it is not the most important thing.

My mom observed that my religion has been a detriment in my dating life. Not for everyone I've dated by any means, but it has made it more difficult to find potential partners. Knowing that only 0.4% of America is Hindu, it seems to me that the average American man is looking for a woman who is vaguely Protestant.

If I were able to be content with being a Christian and maybe not even going to church much, my dating pool would be much, much larger.

My devotion to my religion has kept people back many times.

And so my mom expressed regret that she had raised me they way she did. Maybe, she thought, she and my dad should not have instilled Hindu beliefs in me.

That's when I realized that my religion is more important to me than anything. I would not trade it to make finding a husband easier. I would not trade it for anything. Without those beliefs, my life would be without purpose and without meaning. I don't want to live that way.

Because I believe in reincarnation I truly do believe that I have had families before. I have had husbands and children many times before and I probably will again. If I miss out on that for this one little lifetime, it's not really that big a deal.

And that desire for a family is a matter of biology only. It is evolution working in my body.

The goal of achieving enlightenment is so much bigger and more important than that. Husbands come and go, they don't go with you when you die. I need to focus on the things that are eternal, the things that will come with me.

This is not to say that I don't still hope to someday get married and have children. But it was a big moment for me to realize that it is not my number one priority. It's just something that would be nice to have. My focus is really on my own soul.


  1. You know something, that is a wonderful thing to realize. If you find someone who loves you and fully supports your religious calling, that is a beautiful thing. A husband can be a great partner in life, but your soul is eternal and it's all your own. One's own soul really should be everyone's first priority, no matter what they believe.

  2. I think the most frustrating part about finding someone is that you never do find them while you're actively looking. Mostly it happens when you've given up and are content with being by yourself. I don't know if it has something to do with being confident and independent, or something else, but it sort of just happens.

    When I first became interested in India, I went through a personally regrettable period where I wondered what life would be like if I hadn't found someone until now, if learning about India would have been easier if I'd been able to date/marry and Indian man (I know, not the best thought to be having about my actual life partner), and then I realized that it was all silly, and that my husband is the best for me, because he supports all my crazy obsessions and doesn't judge me. He became an Episcopalian when we got married, and now he goes with me when I visit temples. I think there's something to be said for sticking to your guns and finding someone who accepts you for the person you are.

    Ultimately, if you're comfortable with yourself by yourself, then life is okay, with or without that other person. Kudos to you for getting to that point! It's a hard thing to do.

  3. I'm so glad to hear that you have realized what is and isn't important in this life. I think something a lot of us don't do before we get married is love ourselves. You can't really love someone else to you completely love yourself. And loving yourself and what makes you you is something you have been accomplishing. I definitely agree with the above that when you are least likely to look is when you are more likely to find. If that person is out there it he will come right when you need him and he'll be exactly what you need.

    You go girl!


  4. I agree with Kat, and this is something I am learning myself :)

  5. Thanks, guys! It is a really new and different mind-set for me, and yet it feels so right and so natural!

  6. I agree with Laura, there is room for accommodating a congenial white christian man so long as he doesnt oppose your way of praying. Kids are fine to grow up in mixed faith setting. The key is mutual respect and sensitivities to other persons beliefs. In your situation Amba, this is a more practical approach. Being a born brown hindu living in US, I can say, the odds are against your finding a hindu out there. An understanding white christian, say a broad minded man, is far better than a less compatible hindu, a hindu just in name.A good hindu wife besides is someone who will be a gods gift to any man, far husband and kids are put ahead of self by hindu women. Why would a christian man give up such a wonderful companion religion or not.-surya.

  7. That is possible, Surya, you are right. I'll just have to wait and see how it plays out and whom I meet. I just know that religion is a very important thing in my life and I need to be careful to address inter-religious issues in a relationship realistically!

  8. I liked this post of yours. Everything happens at the proper time, as far as the creation of circumstances is concerned. But when opportunities do come, you have to make the right decision at the right time. Good Luck.

  9. Everything that has to happen will happen just when it has to happen, not too soon not too late.


  10. Everything has already been very nicely said by others Amba ,I couldn't add anything more except,Good Luck and Best wishes for Everything.
    "For everything there is a Season and a Reason." Not sure if it is a quote I read somewhere,or if it just popped out of my head. See ,how many uncertainties we live with.It is really liberating if we know at least where/who we are. I felt that way ,too. Nice to know I am not alone.

  11. It's true, finding a Hindu is very difficult cause of the small pool size.

    However, there are many white guys out there who are not particularly evangelical or married to his Catholic church or a far left atheistic bigot.

    I concur with Surya. You may be better off with a non Hindu who would not try to obstruct your faith than a Hindu man who is not compatible.

    So keep all your options open. And you too should try not to fanatically impose your Hindu faith on him. Remember another blog of yours about how newbie converts take their faith more seriously than the ones who are born into it? LOL :)

  12. Hi Aamba,

    I found an interesting book that may interest you

    American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West

    By Philip Goldberg

  13. Love will find you when your least expecting it. x

  14. The key is to keep my options open as long as possible, really get to know people and not get tied down to a particular person too soon. I really do feel very hopeful and liberated, free to just see what comes and not worry about it!

    Thanks for the book recommendation, Manny, it sounds very interesting.

  15. I am Hindu and I would advise you not to use your belief in reincarnation as a means of deferring gratification. Seize the opportunity now. You don't have to marry a Hindu. It's only important if you find someone who respects your personal religious beliefs. Have you ever tried

  16. I really hope you marry a hindu guy though, 61% of American hindus are men. A lot of people are going to be unmarried as a result. > Demographics > Hindus

  17. Oh goodness, now I feel a bit obligated! :D Sometimes I feel like I would be so useful to so many different kinds of men that I need to pull a Draupadi and marry several! (Joking)

  18. If you marry a non-Hindu man you will give up much that you could have. I encourage you not to follow the advice of people leading you down that path. Having been in software engineering a long time I've known many Indian Hindu men with white wives. You can get a good Hindu man. No problem. btw - what does your mother think about the possibility of you marrying into a Hindu family?

  19. My family would like for me to marry an Indian man, I think. I believe they see it as the same solution that you do, to give me legitimacy.

    However, I am a Hindu whether I'm married to an Indian or not.

    I don't need to prove myself that way.

    In general, I think it's not a bad idea/plan, but there are issues that make it much more complicated than that.

    I don't know who (if anyone) I will end up marrying. It's a large issue in my life right now with many difficult factors. I could find an Indian Hindu man, but it is not that simple for me.