The White Hindu has moved

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 This blog is no longer updated, but Ambaa is still writing The White Hindu every weekday at

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review: The Jedi and the Lotus

This book was not what I was expecting.

I have long been telling people that the religious aspects of the Star Wars movies (as least the original ones) are based on Hindu philosophy. I point out the direct quotes from the Gita that Yoda spouts. I vaguely try to explain how the force is very much related to the Hindu idea of all things being connected by energy.

When I was sent this book, The Jedi and the Lotus, to review, I expected to find a few more tidbits to support my assertions at parties. I thought it would support a fun little preoccupation, but it is so much more than that.

This little book is much denser and more heavily researched than I anticipated. It is packed with fascinating information. More than just showing how Star Wars was influenced by Hinduism, it takes beliefs and experiences from Eastern philosophy and shows how both Star Wars and Hinduism support them. It goes into tremendous depth.

There is an introduction about Joseph Campbell and his connection to the making of Star Wars and there are quotes from George Lucus, but it is also full of footnotes and research and information about some of the most advanced and mystical of the Hindu practices.

Chapters are subtitled: "Star Wars and Brahman," "Nature in Hinduism and in Star Wars," "Spaceships and the Vedic Literature" and more.

This book is a really fascinating read and I definitely recommend it. It is much bigger than it appears at first!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Religious Compatibility

I've been noticing ever since I started dating ten years ago that I have the most successful dates and relationships with atheist men. According to the research at OkCupid, that appears to be the most successful match for Hindu women in general! I never would have guessed that.

In fact, from their study, there is mutual dislike between Hindu males and Hindu females! I don't know much about statistics and getting meaning out of data like this, but I wonder if its source has something to do with that. Perhaps traditional Hindus are highly unlikely to be on OkCupid looking for a match!

Apparently this might also mean that Hindu men are much more difficult to please, have stricter requirements for dates (and apparently Muslim men and women as well). That's what I gathered from OkCupid's own analysis.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

End Times

I don't know if this was advertised heavily around the world, but in America, some very vocal people had the idea that "the rapture" was going to take place last night. For those who don't know, the Rapture is a Christian concept that towards the end of the world the good Christians will be taken up into heaven in their bodies and the "sinners" will be left behind in a world of horrible disaster for several months until the whole world destroys itself. People have been trying to predict when this end time will be ever since a few years after the death of Christ. People in Paul's time actually believed the world would end in their lifetimes. 2,000 years later the world hasn't ended yet.

I was at a party last night. Several Jewish and atheist friends, so when 6:00 came, we checked online to see if there were any reports of people floating into the air, since certainly none of us were going to be raptured! It seems it didn't happen. Either that or there isn't a single worthy person on the entire planet.

I was pretty relaxed, considering that Hindu mythology also predicts an end of the world and we have several thousand more years to go. Also, Hindu time works in circles, so the end of the world is simply the beginning of a period of rest and then the creation will spring forth again in the golden age.

There are some striking similarities between Hindu myths about the end times and Christian myths. In Hinduism, when things in the Kali Yuga (the final age) get as bad as they can get, it is an avatar of Vishnu who will appear, known as Kalki.

"When the practices taught in the Vedas and institutes of law have nearly ceased, and the close of the Kali age shall be nigh, a portion of that divine being who exists of His own spiritual nature, and who is the beginning and end, and who comprehends all things, shall descend upon earth. He will be born in the family of Vishnuyasha, an eminent brahmana of Shambhala village, as Kalki, endowed with eight superhuman faculties. By His irresistible might he will destroy all the mlecchas (Barbarians) and thieves, and all whose minds are devoted to iniquity. He will reestablish righteousness upon earth, and the minds of those who live at the end of the Kali age shall be awakened, and shall be as clear as crystal. The men who are thus changed by virtue of that peculiar time shall be as the seeds of human beings, and shall give birth to a race who will follow the laws of the Krita age or Satya Yuga, the age of purity. As it is said, 'When the sun and moon, and the lunar asterism Tishya, and the planet Jupiter, are in one mansion, the Krita age shall return.'" (Vishnu Purana, Book Four, Chapter 24)

As with some Christian sects, there are Hindus trying to predict the exact time of the end of the Kali Yuga and they do a lot of cross referencing of ancient texts. Personally, I don't think it's important. I will continue to live as dharmically as I can and knowing when the end of the world is will not change much for me, I don't think.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Looking for Signs

I have a bad habit of trying to find a deeper meaning to random little occurrences. I think this is a natural human tendency, our brains like to find patterns. Also, it's so difficult to not be in control of life, so we assign meanings to things to make us feel like everything is operating as it should and something in the universe has our best interests at heart. At least, I do that.

I do believe in karmic consequence, everything happens for a reason, all that stuff. But is it a sign from God if you, for example, get a good parking space? Is there a deeper meaning to finding the color placemat you were hoping for at Home Goods?

An example of how this thinking has gotten me into trouble:

A few years ago I was over at a new guy's house for the first time and I felt incredibly nervous, I realized very suddenly that I was in over my head and I had gone too far too fast with him. But then a song that I love came on the radio. I felt more relaxed immediately and every time I felt panic in that relationship, I thought of that song unexpectedly playing and convinced myself that it had been a sign. That relationship was very bad and never should have gone past the first date.

When I meet a new guy, I look for stupid, weird things that we have in common rather than the important things to have in common! Maybe it's from reading too many romantic stories, but I put too much weight on something like we have names that start with the same letter or we have the same color car. (Those are not real examples, but that's the idea).

I'm trying not to look for signs in everything, not to think that little coincidences are God trying to tell me something!

A Facebook friend recently wrote: Is there really such a thing as "signs"??

Several people made jokes about street signs, but I said: Every time I think something is a "sign" from the universe, I end up making a really bad decision based on it.

I can't live my life based on what I think are "signs." Maybe there really are signs, but my ability to correctly interpret them is clearly broken!

What do you think?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Blogger Meetup!

HappyGoth of Also Hindu and I met up this weekend!

She and I are both knitters as well as non-Indian Hindus and we stopped in at the giant Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

It was so much fun to get to see HappyGoth in person and get a sense for what she's really like beyond the computer screen. I've met people from the Internet several times and it's always interesting to see how they are the same and different from what you expect.

HappyGoth, it was great getting to meet you! I hope to talk to you again soon :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May the Fourth

If I had realized that today was Star Wars day, I would have hurried up on my Jedi and the Lotus review! Darn, I had no idea until Facebook told me this morning.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Respect and Empathy

[Well, I didn't go to the Ganga-ji talk. Sorry, guys. I was exhausted. Lately I've had things I need to do every night of the week. I keep trying to cut back, but something always seems to come up to fill the blank spaces.]

I got an email recently from someone reading my episode about Glee and it's portrayal of religion and atheism. This person is an atheist and said that when he first saw the post he was afraid that it was just going to complain about the lack of Hinduism on Glee. He was surprised by the respect I have for atheism as a valid choice in life and asked why I am not an atheist if I hold such a view.

I thought that was a very interesting question.

First because I think it is sad that people do not expect respect or empathy from religious people. People expect me to think only of my personal interest, my own religion, and leave everyone else to fend for themselves for respect.

Second is the idea that if we understand something, would we become it?

I am definitely not an atheist. I respect many atheists for reasons that they probably would not be comfortable with! To some extent one can only see the world in his or her particular way, and so we find strategies to help us try to understand they way the people around us see it.

I have dear friends who are atheists and I've found them to be moral people, with a strong sense of dharma that comes from within. To my mind, they are close to Truth because they feel the divinity of the universe within themselves rather than without. They might be highly offended by that view!

People who are invested in the idea of Christianity being the only truth sometimes see my religious behavior and justify to themselves how I seem to be a moral person on a good track by thinking that worshiping Krishna is just another name for worshiping Jesus (it's not, but I know people who have used that logic in order to accept me).

Even if atheism is not at all similar to how I see it, I still believe that people who choose it deserve respect. Something along the lines of: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." --Evelyn Beatrice Hall, on Voltaire's philosophy. It might not be my philosophy, but everyone has the right to find and practice his own philosophy. I would not want that taken away from anyone for the simple reason that my right could then be taken away from me.

I guess in terms of proselytizing I look at it like the airplane announcement about the oxygen masks. Put your own mask on first before attempting to help others. I will work on my own life, work on freeing my own soul and then I will be able to see more clearly how I can help others.