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 This blog is no longer updated, but Ambaa is still writing The White Hindu every weekday at

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Hindu in U.S. Congress

Andrea M. shared with me an interview with the woman who is likely to become the first Hindu American in Congress. How exciting is that?

Here is a particularly interesting part of the interview...

Your dad is Catholic. Your mom, I believe, is Hindu. So does your Hinduism flow from your mom? How deep is it?I grew up in a multicultural, multi-religious household. My father is of Samoan/Caucasian heritage and he is a deacon in the Catholic church. However, he also likes to practice mantra meditation, including kirtan. My mother is Caucasian and a practicing Hindu.Are you a practicing Hindu?
Yes, I am a practicing Hindu. Some people are Hindus because they were born into a Hindu family, but may not have seriously studied or applied the Vedic teachings and practices. 
In that sense it's very much like many people in America who consider themselves Christians because they were born into a Christian family. But that's not my situation.I fully embraced Sanatan Dharma after serious deliberation and contemplation in my later teens -- it's not because my mother was a Hindu....
It's always interesting for me to find out about other Caucasians who grew up with Hinduism!

{Of course, one should avoid reading the comments. There is someone going nuts in the comments. It kind of illustrates the polarity of white Hinduism. Many embrace it and some become rage-fully angry over it.}

Monday, October 22, 2012

Back from Garba

I had an awesome weekend celebrating Navratri.

A friend invited me to a garba event that her family puts on every year. We came early to help set up and work on food, etc. It allowed me to eat great home made food all weekend long!

My one lengha is not very garba appropriate. I need one with more mirror-work and folk art style. I was also worried about mine being too long, but I managed to dance in it.

I love to dance, so I had a blast. Though I am quite out of shape and had to stop frequently, red-faced and puffing! There was also a beautiful puja and some yummy prasad.

Here are a few pictures...

Sorry they are so blurry! Taken with my iPod instead of my digital camera, which is out of batteries.

My friend got to experience a bit of my frustration. All night people kept saying things like, "Oh, I see they've dressed you up!" with big grins. My friend would say, "No, it's her own outfit" and, of course, no one listened! 

That sort of thing sometimes makes me feel defensive, but these days I more often just shrug and go with it. They don't need to know that I'm no stranger to Indian culture, food, dress, or customs. A lot of people are delighted to see me, excited to welcome me, and explain all the things that I already know. But it makes them happy, so I don't usually fight it anymore.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Working on a New Book

New reader, Suzanne, had a wonderful suggestion in one of the comments. She is new to Hinduism and feeling a little overwhelmed about where to begin this journey. She said she'd like to see some classes for converts. What a brilliant thought!

My mind has been churning on that and I've come up with the idea that I will write a book called A Class for Converts: Beginning Your Journey in Hinduism.

It will, of course, talk about how "convert" is not necessarily the right term for someone becoming a Hindu and how Hinduism is more a way of life and less a religion and about how there is no central authority. But it will also give information about different branches and organizations and options.

Here's the outline that I'm thinking of so far...

Part One
The real basics--principles and ideas
The variety of Hindu beliefs and practices
The three paths and some questions to help you figure out which you are
A good first step depending on the path
How to find a worship community
How to visit a temple for the first time
Setting up a sacred space at home
Do you need to undergo a ritual to be a Hindu?
How to learn more

Part Two
Essays on issues that might be unique to "converts":
-Family issues (talking to your parents or your spouse about this)
-Do I need a caste?
-Some of Hinduism's negative history (I think it's important for people to understand that no religion is perfect and there are people who have behaved badly no matter what religion they claim to follow. Converts should not come to Hinduism because it's "all about love and peace, man. It's not consumerist like the west." People need to see the positive and the negative and make an informed decision).
-What makes Buddhism and Hinduism different?
ETA: -Being a Hindu in the workplace and other social situations (still pondering this one)

Part Three
Debates. I will take sticky issues that I've wrestled with here and provide both sides, an essay for both the yes side and the no side.
-Should you take Indian culture along with an Indian religion?
-Do you need to be a vegetarian to be a Hindu?
-Was Gandhi the perfect man or did he hurt India's future?
-Can you wear Indian clothes?
ETA: -How should I deal with Christmas or other holidays of my native religion?


(Definitely the books from Himalayan Academy)

What other issues would you like to see addressed? (Some of these are extremely emotional issues, so please try not to argue in the comments about them. As I said, I will present both sides. In the end, it's very important for us all to remember that our experience is our own experience and none of us can speak for how every Hindu feels about something).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Excited for Garba!

I'm going to a garba for Navratri this month! So excited.

I'm afraid my only lengha is awfully long on me and it might not be good for dancing. I guess I just have to go shopping, eh?

I'll try to get some pictures to share with you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vedic Prayers

On the Facebook page, Bhismah Arya posted an article about the Gayatri mantra. It reminded me that chanting of the Vedic prayers is a great way to calm the inner turmoil that has been stirred up by the arguing I've been doing lately with the "soulman" commenter.

He can believe if he wants to that I will never be accepted by the Indian community, but that has not been my experience. He can believe that people are just being polite and secretly thinking I'm just playing with my faith. Most of the people at my temple have expressed amazement and joy that I understand Hinduism on the level that I do (more so than most Indians, they often tell me!) But people can go ahead and think that I'm just playing around with this faith if they want. People can think whatever it is they are going to think. I can't control that.

Apparently to be taken seriously he believes I must marry someone random that I don't even like (but I've tried that! I got rejected for marriage by someone in my community as well as by a Hindu Advaita man). So he will continue to believe that my refusal to marry someone only for the sake of being taken seriously in my religion is an inappropriate choice. It's good to know that some people will always think that and I cannot be responsible for anyone's beliefs but my own.

At the same time, only I am responsible for my feelings and my behaviors. So if I'm wrong, then I take the consequences of being wrong. No need to anyone else to get worked up about my spiritual progress.

The fact is, this commenter is making accusations about my character that I don't have to listen to. His comments will no longer be published.

Now, let us all enjoy the beautiful hymns that I grew up listening to. My mother used to sing these to me as lullabies. :)

I also found this girl who appears to be a white convert to Hinduism singing bhajans. She's got a beautiful voice!

This reminds me that all I need to do is commune with the divine and enjoy my unique relationship with the universe. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Life Lessons

I took a break! And I feel much better.

These things clearly do still affect me. I keep thinking that I'm getting to a point where I don't care what others say, but then something will hit me really hard.

The lesson here is that I am learning some of the sanskara that I am in this life to work through.

Clearly not taking the things that other people say so personally is a life lesson that I need to work on!

(And no, for those who keep commenting on this, marrying an Indian is not the solution to my problem. Please see all blogs written by white wives of Indian men. They still have issues like this to deal with. Also, I am in this life to improve ME. Who I am and my progress on my soul is not a job for a husband.)