Site Meter

Monday, June 27, 2011

Western Converts are well...ugh!

EDIT: Apparently not clearly defining what a "convert" is in the context of this article has upset folks. I truly apologize if I somehow sent across the message that I meant all "Western Hindus". I did not. By convert, I mean a person who has completely deracinated himself/herself, completely shed all traces of past culture, religion and ethnicity, insulted and humiliated his past culture, religion and ancestors and sings paens of new adopted religion as if it were cure for every ill on the earth and has delivered him/her from all the ills brought about by the previous religion/culture. For all those nice people who have come here and courteously informed me of my hurting their feelings, I apologize profusely!

Westerner Hindu "converts" make me feel sick! Well, I should be happy that they have turned towards Hinduism and all but their completely abandoning their earlier culture and faith goes exactly against Hinduism's true essence. Here in Indic Race we have always ridiculed those brand of converts who abandon their past identities and turn upon their own ancestors, culture and religion. Why is that a westerner who was born and brought up in his own culture have to "convert" to Hinduism and then change his name and attire? Many of these folks actually go on to criticize Christianity and Judaism and speak ill of other westerners as well. Isn't this an anti-thesis to what Hinduism is all about? Its perfectly normal for a westerner to retain his western name, his food habits, his clothing, his religion and traditions and STILL BE A HINDU! They can appreciate the greatness of Hinduism and enjoy the inner peace that it offers without attacking Xtianity or Judaism. I am sure Lord Krishna would be more happy with such folks than the Hindu aping Western converts!

Arent these the same people who abandoned their indigenous religions and converted en masse to Xtianity? They then went on to brand their ancestors "pagans". Shame! Now they run to Hinduism!

All westerns are welcome to Hinduism! But not at the cost of your western culture, religion, traditions and values!

With regards,
Indic Race team


-----------------------------------------------

My comment reply to the gentlemen who commented earlier is veryyyyy long and the formatting got messed up. I am posting that inline here with the write-up


-----------------------------------------

At the outset, I want to clarify that I meant Western "converts" and not the Western folks who do not shed their past culture completely or speak ill of their ancestors and their traditions. Check the edit I made to the article and my clear definition on the word "convert". I welcome Westerners to have a open mind to all pagan religions, not Hinduism alone and not give up on their past traditions, culture and EVEN religion. Whilst I encourage Western Hindus (folks who have experienced its glory and believe in its values), I am sickened by the converts. There is a saying in India, it goes like "The most recent convert shouts Allah the loudest". When western converts to Hinduism engage in tirades against their past cultures and religion, now THAT sickens me. So you can see there is no contradiction when I say that I welcome Western Hindus but not the Western converts! Now Tandava ji, I bet you are no "convert". I do not want to go into what you are because, you would agree with me, it's none of my business! Your write-up made for very interesting reading. But in some points I disagree with you completely. They are, as below,

In all your justifications for some of the things you feel, I kept getting reminded of my conversation with converts of many hues and shades and also some of the literature on the internet on "transformation" and "awakening" to other religions. Not that you meant it that way but I just want to highlight the fact that "conversion" and beleiving that "this religion is the best way out there" all reek of Abrahammic overtones and not the truly Sanatana spirit of universal acceptance and acknowleding that there is more than one path and the truth is known by different names (Ekam Sath Vipraa Bahudaa Vadaanti, RV). For example you say, you were "awakened" by Sanatana Dharma. Most of the Christian converts I meet say that they were "called" or "awakened' by Jesus into realizing that he is the only way to salvation and God's kingdom. Your statement on everyone being born a Hindu but whether they are awakened or not is oft used by Islamists who say that everyone is born a Muslim and only the ones who realize that "Allah is the ONLY God and that Mohammed is his last prophet" are saved from the hell fire and on judgement day. Interesting analogies, aren't they? A Western convert may have felt impressed by the ideals and teachings of Hinduism but that is no reason to abandon their past culture and religion correct? I am sure Neelakantha would not be upset if a Christian would pray to him and still feel inspired by Jesus's teachings? Shiva sure is no jealous God is he? Now there are many Hindus out there who would pounce on me and say it is this thought lines from Hindus which weakens us from within and leads to conversion of Hindus to other religions for weren't they the same people who say that all religions are the same? Sure they are the same, thats the reason why I follow Buddha's teachings in my life. I did not abandon Hinduism just because I felt inspired by Buddha did I? When it comes to Westerns I see them as liberals and possessing the intellectual capabilities to be free of fanaticism (of
course the missionaries are always an exception). Hindus can confidently speak of their belief of universality and oneness of religions without fear of being to convert to Christianity or Islam since Hindus claim they are all the same!

How does changing a name or attire change anything you ask? How is it a slight towards one's ancestors you ask? Good question, here comes the answer. If you see Abrahammic faiths, they also double up as political theories and are essentially a means to achieve destruction and subversion of other cultures and proudly proclaim that the "true" religion's message has been spread. Here in India we see converts fake a cheap western accent, play western instruments and eat western junk food. That many people who have not converted also do this is another matter but I do condemn that as well, for their deracination will only weaken the culture and their inherent mindset that everything western is cool! I digressed a bit there. A Christian lady in India will readily pick up a guitar but will flatly refuse to play the indigenous instrument Veena. In Veena she sees the Devil but in Guitar she sees nothing wrong. Do you now see how even the most secular of objects have cultural acceptance quotients to them? That the Indian Christian lady refuses to play the Veena is a victory of a alien faith in destroying the local culture, customs and traditions. That the local Mosque Mullah insists only on Arabic names for Indian or British Muslim children is proof that the local naming practices is treaded upon and the customs of the alien faith are given priority. I do my daily Sandhyavandanam and before me my ancestors have been doing it in a lineage going back thousands of years to our Gothra Guru Shri Kutsav. I drag my lazy butt day in and day out to do Sandhyavandanam in a disciplined manner because in following their examples, traditions and values I let them know of my respect and allegiance to the way of our people. Just imagine if I wear a full suit and go sit in a Church. wouldnt it amount to a slap on the face of my ancestors? Who am I trying to fool?

And frankly, ji, I have never heard of Sattvic clothing. I have heard of food and colours that bring out the best Sattvic Guna in you but never Sattvic clothes. The only clothes which have a Hindu religios connection I know is the complete saffron clothing which is a sign of complete reununciation and liberation from kama and vyamoha. Not sure if you have heard of this, but in India many customs differ between various Hindu groups. It is explained that this is because that based on region the Dharma has subtle differences to it. It is not difficult to see why this is so. A thick clothing is very helpful in the UK but it would boil you to no end here in South India. A man marrying 4 wives in Arabia where frenzied fanatical men were busy killing each other and depleting the male sex population so much that it was but only natural that one man married 4 women ensured some amount of social order. If an Indian or British Muslim man lustfully marries 4 women citing this precedent then it is in bad taste. Will Shiva feel agitated if you wear a shirt and trouser in Saffron colour, after all it is a Sattvic colour, right? You speak of your Guru giving you a name? If your Guru will not be in good terms with you just because you refuse to give up the name you had for a really long time and which contains your family name then your Guru is no sincere man. Is Richard Gere less of a Buddhist just because he is not named Nirvananda? Just assume, if all of UK converts to Hinduism or Islam and name their children with Sanskrit or Arabic names what will happen to the British names, culture and traditions? It will die a natural death. This sir, is what I am dead against, death of cultures, religions and traditions! You say traditions should be preserved it they are Sattvic. That's aking to a Mullah saying everything Unislamic is haraam and should be discontinued. Your ancestors and forefathers had their own vision and understanding of righteousness based on circumstances and societal setup around them and they devised things in a manner which catered to that righteousness. Saying that those traditions and values will be discontinued as they do not cater to the norms set by a religion founded half way around the world is not right! To that end the English language, the western food and even bedtime stories need to be given up as they are not "Sattvic enough.

Sanjeev said that the Celtic religion was just a carbon copy of Hinduism if not Hinduism in itself. I am sorry, but I am reminded of Zakir Naik here. That dude went around saying that Islam is a lot like Hinduism and hence all Hindus must convert to Islam. I know, its a crude analogy but trying to appropriate Celtic religion into Hindu fold by highlighting a few superficial similarities is equally crude in itself, I must say with regret. And the rationale that since a good part of scriptures were lost in Christian frenzy is reason enough to abandon pagan European religions holds very little water. No offence in any of my statements meant Tandava ji, I hope you take in right spirit. But let me explain why, I am sure you know the Balinese Hindus. their traditions and practices of what is also considered Hinduism is very different from the ones mentioned in the various Puranas. But they are still Hindu arent they and no Hindu ever complained that they werent "Hindu" enough. The Sandhyavandanam I do daily is quite different from the one done by a Vaishnavite. Several thousand years ago there was just on Sandhyavandanam. It is Hinduism's greatness that it has evolved with time and region and Dharma being relevant to the people and region without compromising on righteousness. So do I give up on my rituals because they do not match exactly with what was originally done and in its exact form? I am constantly learning new things on the European religions and hope to imbibe many of their teachings in my daily life.

I do criticize local Indian converts from Hinduism to other religions. I view them with great scorn and have criticized them quite often in my blog as sell outs. And then there are people like Jesudas and Gurram Joshua who can be as Hindu as can be even though they were Christians. I agree with you 100% that Hinduism cannot be confined to the Indian subcontinent and I never claimed it to be so. I hope I have replied in a manner which is not hurting in any manner. Any offence felt is unintentional and I apologize profusely for the same.

17 comments:

  1. all western christians are converts to christianity on account of propagation of this religion by a Roman emperor. before christianity europeans used to cremate their dead on a funeral pyre. Christianity is a middle eastern religion that spread to europe. the earlier religion or religions of europeans were similar, at least on the surface, to hinduism but had nothing in common with christianity. so if the western people give up christianity and take up hinduism which is the only survviving religion that bears some resemblance to the religion of their ancestors then there is nothing wrong in that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Sanjeev
    Which brings us to the question, if it appears to be similar, feels similar, tastes similar and smells similar to the indigenous European religions why not also follow that apart from Hinduism?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Indic Race:

    I agree with you fully, yet couldn't disagree more. It seems you are confusing nationalism with something that transcends borders, cultures and pervades the universe and every atom in creation.

    As a westerner that makes you sick, please allow me a moment to make a few clarifications so as I may broaden your understanding of this “phenomena” of Westerners coming to Hinduism. To start we need to revert some of this vocabulary to their original meanings, and address some misappropriated words before we proceed.

    First thing, the term Hinduism. Am I a Hindu? Yes and NO! This is one of many double edge swords I will address in this response to your post. As you may know “Hindu” is from the Persian, denoting a person from India, specifically those from the North of India. In this definition, unequivocally and resoundingly NO, I am not a Hindu. This definition has morphed to mean a person adhering to to the religion of the Hindu's thus Hinduism. From this definition, yes I am Hindu, but knowing the etymology of these terms I shudder when I say it, unfortunately it is the most simple and widely accepted term for Sanatana Dharma. Thus in mixed or western company it is the easiest as if you say things like Sanatana Dharma or Vedanta their eyes glaze over and you have to say Hindu anyway.

    Secondly, One CANNOT “convert” to Sanatana Dharma! This view may sound odd coming from a Westerner, but it is true. Sanatana Dharma is eternal, transcends and pervades each and every living soul. With this in mind, it is my theory that those westerners who truly and with all their hearts take up the mantle of Sanatana Dharma only do so as their jiva's were awakened, through the grace of God. With this awakening we instantly become aware of our place in the universe or at least the fire kindled to seek out our place and God. Simply, you are born a Hindu, whether or not your Jiva is awakened to this fact is another matter.

    Thirdly, the term “Abandon”. This is applied fairly harshly and without knowing the historical background and impetus for such action and the actions taken to this end, it is a little assumptive on your part and a little insulting. To begin, this happened a 1000+ years ago, so safe to assume this is not in anyone’s living memory. There is much to say about the conversion of Europe to Christianity, but it boils down into two base reasons, Politics and Control. I do find it a little amusing how you point the finger and state boldly in an accusative tone how we abandoned something 1000+ years ago, in most cases at sword point, whereas everyday hundreds of native Hindu's convert for just a few rupees.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You start stating how Western “converts” sicken you and then you proceed to state by the end that “All westerns are welcome to Hinduism”. Do you see the contradiction? Yes you are right, we should not forget our culture and ancestors, but you are wrong about religion. Christianity is as foreign to us as it is to you. Sanjeev rightly states “the earlier religion or religions of Europeans were similar, at least on the surface, to Hinduism”. I will go one-step further and state through new academic findings, not only by European scholars but Indian as well, there may not have been as much difference as we may think. You do bring up the very valid point “if it appears to be similar, feels similar, tastes similar and smells similar to the indigenous European religions why not also follow that”. Simply, when we start trying to rekindle our native beliefs, we hit a brick wall due to the “folkloric” rewrite of much of our spiritual past and the fragmentary evidence in existence simply is not enough to proceed. Many many many books were burned and a lot of the oral traditions morphed to folk legends. While we have more than enough to compare original European spirituality to Vedic beliefs, there simply is not enough to make it a viable spiritual path. There are some reconstructionalist trying to proceed, but with the incomplete systems they have melded various folk traditions to fill in the blanks giving a somewhat muddled mess. A mess without any spiritual depth in my opinion. So these options are dead. Not to be cliché, but why reinvent the wheel when our religion NEVER died, but instead continued to evolve in India. Anyway, this paragraph is superfluous and in the true spirit of Hinduism as you call it, all this does not matter. Any person that has even briefly skimmed through the Bhagavad Gita will realize this does not matter and is reducing something so vast and cosmic to nationalistic borders tries to defeat what Krishna says many times, from him all are born. Simple enough eh?

    So while I agree with you that we should not forget our culture and ancestral memory, how does changing a name or wearing clothes change this? Look at it this way, we have been reawaken to our shared ancestral past, once our jiva's become aware and accept Sanatana Dharma this becomes a part of our culture. Yes, a name is a reflection of our roots, but how many Indian Hindu's upon taking Diksha or Sannyasin change their name? You talk smack about westerners adopting the dhoti or sari, yet aren’t these clothes considered Sattvic? Aren’t we supposed to live our lives as sattvic as possible? In a little over two months I will receive my Pancha Samskaram into the Sri Sampradaya. I have been requested and expected to wear dhoti and shawl, do I wear my kilt anyway? When we get to the Nama Samskaram section of the Diksha, and my Swamiji looks at me and gives me a name do I politely refuse him? You see, these things are not as cut and dry as you make them.

    In the end, to answer your statement “at the cost of your western culture, religion, traditions and values!”. No, we should not forget our culture and ancestors. As for religion? You ask us to embrace a religion as foreign to us as it is to you, a religion that is tamas in its very essence, I think not. Traditions, should be maintained as long as they are sattvic and do not go against the Vedas, and as far as western values go, remember we are in Kaliyuga :D I can not speak for others, but as a kilt wearing gaelic speaking Scot, that has awakened and embraced Sanatana Dharma, I do not play at being Indian. I AM a devotee of the Lord and will maintain a sattvic life as best I can, even if that means forsaking a small part of my culture, as once this body is dead and burned, the borders, culture and nationalism will mean nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. At the outset, I want to clarify that I meant Western "converts" and not the Western folks who do not shed their past culture completely or speak ill of

    their ancestors and their traditions. Check the edit I made to the article and my clear definition on the word "convert". I welcome Westerners to have a open

    mind to all pagan religions, not Hinduism alone and not give up on their past traditions, culture and EVEN religion. Whilst I encourage Western Hindus (folks

    who have experienced its glory and believe in its values), I am sickened by the converts. There is a saying in India, it goes like "The most recent convert

    shouts Allah the loudest". When western converts to Hinduism engage in tirades against their past cultures and religion, now THAT sickens me. So you can see

    there is no contradiction when I say that I welcome Western Hindus but not the Western converts! Now Tandava ji, I bet you are no "convert". I do not want to

    go into what you are because, you would agree with me, it's none of my business! Your write-up made for very interesting reading. But in some points I

    disagree with you completely. They are, as below,

    In all your justifications for some of the things you feel, I kept getting reminded of my conversation with converts of many hues and shades and also some of

    the literature on the internet on "transformation" and "awakening" to other religions. Not that you meant it that way but I just want to highlight the fact that "conversion" and beleiving that "this religion is the best way out there" all reek of Abrahammic overtones and not the truly Sanatana spirit of universal acceptance and acknowleding that there is more than one path and the truth is known by different names (Ekam Sath Vipraa Bahudaa Vadaanti, RV). For example you say, you were "awakened" by Sanatana Dharma. Most of the Christian converts I meet say that they were "called" or "awakened' by Jesus into realizing that he is the only way to salvation and God's kingdom. Your statement on everyone being born a Hindu but whether they are awakened or not is oft used by Islamists who say that everyone is born a Muslim and only the ones who realize that "Allah is the ONLY God and that Mohammed is his last prophet" are saved from the hell fire and on judgement day. Interesting analogies, aren't they? A Western convert may have felt impressed by the ideals and teachings of

    Hinduism but that is no reason to abandon their past culture and religion correct? I am sure Neelakantha would not be upset if a Christian would pray to him

    and still feel inspired by Jesus's teachings? Shiva sure is no jealous God is he? Now there are many Hindus out there who would pounce on me and say it is

    this thought lines from Hindus which weakens us from within and leads to conversion of Hindus to other religions for weren't they the same people who say

    that all religions are the same? Sure they are the same, thats the reason why I follow Buddha's teachings in my life. I did not abandon Hinduism just because

    I felt inspired by Buddha did I? When it comes to Westerns I see them as liberals and possessing the intellectual capabilities to be free of fanaticism (of

    course the missionaries are always an exception). Hindus can confidently speak of their belief of universality and oneness of religions without fear of being

    to convert to Christianity or Islam since Hindus claim they are all the same!

    ReplyDelete
  6. How does changing a name or attire change anything you ask? How is it a slight towards one's ancestors you ask? Good question, here comes the answer. If you see Abrahammic faiths, they also double up as political theories and are essentially a means to achieve destruction and subversion of other cultures and proudly proclaim that the "true" religion's message has been spread. Here in India we see converts fake a cheap western accent, play western instruments and eat western junk food. That many people who have not converted also do this is another matter but I do condemn that as well, for their deracination will only weaken the culture and their inherent mindset that everything western is cool! I digressed a bit there. A Christian lady in India will readily pick up a guitar but will flatly refuse to play the indigenous instrument Veena. In Veena she sees the Devil but in Guitar she sees nothing wrong. Do you now see how even the most secular of objects have cultural acceptance quotients to them? That the Indian Christian lady refuses to play the Veena is a victory of a alien faith in destroying the local culture, customs and traditions. That the local Mosque Mullah insists only on Arabic names for Indian or British Muslim children is proof that the local naming practices is treaded upon and the customs of the alien faith are given priority. I do my daily Sandhyavandanam and before me my ancestors have been doing it in a lineage going back thousands of years to our Gothra Guru Shri Kutsav. I drag my lazy butt day in and day out to do Sandhyavandanam in a disciplined manner because in following their examples, traditions and values I let them know of my respect and allegiance to the way of our people. Just imagine if I wear a full suit and go sit in a Church. wouldnt it amount to a slap on the face of my ancestors? Who am I trying to fool?

    ReplyDelete
  7. And frankly, ji, I have never heard of Sattvic clothing. I have heard of food and colours that bring out the best Sattvic Guna in you but never Sattvic

    clothes. The only clothes which have a Hindu religios connection I know is the complete saffron clothing which is a sign of complete reununciation and

    liberation from kama and vyamoha. Not sure if you have heard of this, but in India many customs differ between various Hindu groups. It is explained that

    this is because that based on region the Dharma has subtle differences to it. It is not difficult to see why this is so. A thick clothing is very helpful in

    the UK but it would boil you to no end here in South India. A man marrying 4 wives in Arabia where frenzied fanatical men were busy killing each other and

    depleting the male sex population so much that it was but only natural that one man married 4 women ensured some amount of social order. If an Indian or

    British Muslim man lustfully marries 4 women citing this precedent then it is in bad taste. Will Shiva feel agitated if you wear a shirt and trouser in

    Saffron colour, after all it is a Sattvic colour, right? You speak of your Guru giving you a name? If your Guru will not be in good terms with you just

    because you refuse to give up the name you had for a really long time and which contains your family name then your Guru is no sincere man. Is Richard Gere

    less of a Buddhist just because he is not named Nirvananda? Just assume, if all of UK converts to Hinduism or Islam and name their children with Sanskrit or

    Arabic names what will happen to the British names, culture and traditions? It will die a natural death. This sir, is what I am dead against, death of

    cultures, religions and traditions! You say traditions should be preserved it they are Sattvic. That's aking to a Mullah saying everything Unislamic is

    haraam and should be discontinued. Your ancestors and forefathers had their own vision and understanding of righteousness based on circumstances and societal

    setup around them and they devised things in a manner which catered to that righteousness. Saying that those traditions and values will be discontinued as

    they do not cater to the norms set by a religion founded half way around the world is not right! To that end the English language, the western food and even

    bedtime stories need to be given up as they are not "Sattvic enough.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sanjeev said that the Celtic religion was just a carbon copy of Hinduism if not Hinduism in itself. I am sorry, but I am reminded of Zakir Naik here. That dude went around saying that Islam is a lot like Hinduism and hence all Hindus must convert to Islam. I know, its a crude analogy but trying to appropriate Celtic religion into Hindu fold by highlighting a few superficial similarities is equally crude in itself, I must say with regret. And the rationale that since a good part of scriptures were lost in Christian frenzy is reason enough to abandon Pagan European religions holds very little water. No offence in any of my statements meant Tandava ji, I hope you take in right spirit. But let me explain why, I am sure you know the Balinese Hindus. their traditions and practices of what is also considered Hinduism is very different from the ones mentioned in the various Puranas. But they are still Hindu arent they and no Hindu ever complained that they werent "Hindu" enough. The Sandhyavandanam I do daily is quite different from the one done by a Vaishnavite. Several thousand years ago there was just on Sandhyavandanam. It is Hinduism's greatness that it has evolved with time and region and Dharma being relevant to the people and region without compromising on righteousness. So do I give up on my rituals because they do not match exactly with what was originally done and in its exact form? I am constantly learning new things on the European religions and hope to imbibe many of their teachings in my daily life.

    And pray please tell me sir where I said that I do not criticize local Indian converts from Hinduism to other religions. I view them with great scorn and have criticized them quite often in my blog as sell outs. And then there are people like Jesudas and Gurram Joshua who can be as Hindu as can be even though they were Christians. I agree with you 100% that Hinduism cannot be confined to the Indian subcontinent and I never claimed it to be so. I hope I have replied in a manner which is not hurting in any manner. Any offence felt is unintentional and I apologize profusely for the same.

    ReplyDelete
  9. http://alsohindu.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/resolution/
    what you have done ,see this,

    நமக்கு நாமே குழிபறித்துக்கொள்ளவேண்டாம்.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tamilan sir, I hope you would have read my reply on that blog, thanks for bringing this to my notice,

    hi HappyGoth,

    I really wish I am not that blogger you mentioned who made you think about some things and in the process seems to have hurt your feelings and caused anguish to you. If I am indeed that blogger, I beg your pardon for having hurt your feelings and I do not want have it on my conscience that I hurt a fellow world citizen who wanted to learn more about Dharma. Once again, I apologize, mostly I am not a jerk and I absolutely hate hurting other person’s feelings.

    Your being proud about your heritage and American culture makes you the perfect candidate to start exploring Dharma and other philosophies of the world. Taoism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism, Jainism, Sikhism etc all have an in built message of Dharma to them. These are religions which do not demand that you belong to a particular race, ethnicity or sect to be able to follow the religion or appreciate their essence. You need not be bound by man made thin lines of nationalism, regionalism and geographical boundaries in your search for truth and Dharma. Indeed as Kodanda wisely said above, these should not dissuade anyone. I am a Hindu who is influenced by wise teachings of other non-fanatical and non-Abrahamic religions.

    However, what you need to safeguard is that you do no insult your inherited wealth, that is culture, heritage and traditions in your exploration of Dharma. You need not suddenly claim that you are a lost tribe of the original Indians and hence Hinduism is the right fit for you. You need not suddenly start wearing a saree and claim you feel more Hindu by wearing it. You need not say that your Christian ancestors were in the wrong path to Jesus while you have found the right path in Buddha or Ganesha or Rama. You need not say that Krishna is the only God who will give you salvation and following Jesus will get you into hell fire. Hinduism DOES NOT mean abandoning your past culture, traditions and heritage. The more you value your ancestors and respect them the more appealing will be Hinduism to you for in Hindus you will see people still performing rites for ancestors 3-4 generations backwards, I do! Just as we need to ensure that Hinduism and other such wonderful religions around the world do not die, we also need to ensure that the ways and traditions of our ancestors and forefathers are not lost. Krishna or Rama or Ganesha would absolutely hate you were you to do that. After all, isnt that the hallmark of the radical Islamists and evangelicals who want their religion to grow on the grave of other religions? Muslim converts and Christian converts want to act all Arab and White literally disowning their dead ancestors.

    You can be every bit American wearing your jeans and your denim top and still follow the principles of Dharma along with those of your present religion and other religions from around the world which essentially are our collective wealth handed down to us by our ancestors from time immemorial. You can be every bit patriotic about America and owe your allegiance only to it and none else. I am extremely happy to see you being proud of your ancestry, heritage and traditions. You will make for a great Hindu. What Hinduism needs is quality converts, not quantity converts. Once again, I apologize for any hurt I may have caused.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I sometimes get angry with the internet, because words on a webpage lose so much of the nuance that face-to-face communication carries.

    I guess my frustration with the saree is people telling me that I'm disrespectful for wearing it at all, not necessarily for wearing it to feel more Hindu (reading Indian fashion blogs for several years now has corrected that idea; how "holy" can a mass-produced, $4,000 Manish Malhotra saree be when worn on the red carpet of a film premiere, no offense to Mr. Malhotra?). I might wear one to a temple (I did last Diwali), but that occasion called for it. Sometimes I wear them to dress up, because I feel more feminine in them than I do ill-fitting off-the-rack Western dresses (though I do wear those, too). I'm also just as likely to wear a dress I bought at Target or a pretty skirt and top. My clothes do not make me who I am.

    Not all people feel that way, though, and I won't knock them for their opinions. Everyone's entitled to theirs.

    I also feel that Christianity is a path to enlightenment (I tend to avoid the term "salvation," as I believe that's not really the point since we're all part of the same perfect God), as are Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and any other religion that at its core holds kindness and peace towards humanity in the highest regard. Hinduism just happens to have the right philosophy for me.

    (I realize this ended up sounding a lot like an argument, but is totally a brain dump, because your comments got me thinking. Again, thanks for engaging in conversation!)

    ReplyDelete
  12. No, it does not sound like an argument at all and I agree with you when you reading something typed does not send across the correct message at times. I perfectly understand what you are trying to say. Its great that you wear a saree when you feel like wearing it and not to be more Hindu. It is just like when I occasionally make Pasta for my wife who loves it.

    As I said, given what you have said, you will make a very good Hindu and your comments on other religions makes you all the more so. Now why should it matter what anyone on the internet (like me) says, since you are firm in your resolve and your direction is correct, go for it! May lord Ganesha's blessings be with you always.

    I really hope you can forget whatever it is that offended you from my earlier post, which I am afraid was ambiguous in the definition of "convert". Here in India I run into a lot of Muslim and Christian converts who either try to behave like Arabs or like Britishers, they have completely disowned their ancestors. like for example, http://www.haindavakeralam.com/HKPage.aspx?PageID=14178&SKIN=C

    It is these people and some westerners who ape Indians that I call converts.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lalitaditya ji

    Namaste, you said you welcomed westerner who become Hindu, but you don't appreciate this at the cost of their own culture, traditions, values. I want to know what kind of all this you talking about? modernity, freeness (without realization who it affect society, parents, families, culture). the culture, values, traditions all what we see at this time, were not same in past there, as you can see modern culture of India is different even opposite of ancient India/old India. As much i read about ancient western culture, i fell it was same in many kind as Indian culture. So, if they accept & follow Hindu culture, traditions, values, you must understand it is like back to home. like modern metro cultured Indian come back to old Indian/Hindu culture.

    And as we all know Hinduism is not a religion like Christianity or islam are but a Dharm: a way of life, a complete civilization. So how can one divide/separate Hindu way of life from Hinduism? If you r Hindu a true Hindu you must follow that way of life. without this how can you be a Hindu?

    I also want to share one more thing that prior to islam whole arabia was Hindu & Jews mix land. read following hadith from

    Muslim:Book 024, Number 5173:
    'Abdullah b. 'Amr b. al-As reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) saw me wearing two clothes dyed in saffron. whereupon he said: These are the clothes (usually worn by) the non-believers, so do not wear them.

    Book 024, Number 5175:
    'Abdullah b. 'Amr reported: Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) saw me in two clothes dyed in saffron, whereupon he said: Has your mother ordered you to do so? And I said: I will wash them. He said: But burn them.

    Book 024, Number 5177:
    Ali b. Abu Talib reported: Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) forbade me to recite the Qur'an while I am in ruku; and the wearing of gold and clothes dyed in saffron.

    Book 024, Number 5178:
    'Ali b. Abu Talib reported: Allah's Meisenger (may peace be upon him) forbade me to use gold rings. to wear silk clothes and to recite the Qur'an in ruku' and sajda (prostration), and to wear yellow garments.

    http://muslimshareef.blogspot.com/2008/03/book-24-book-pertaining-to-clothes-and.html

    Har har Mahadev

    Raj.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Understood that your frustration stems from the perceived abandonment of culture. But a question for you: what if (and this is hypothetical, but a very real case for so many people) the

    I am an Indian Hindu, born-and-raised, myself - yet ironically I was in this very position. My "parents" - coming from a long ancestral tradition, dating back at least several hundred years traceably (within my family) - very firmly believed that only they, and a handful lucky few other so-called "chosen" ones who were lucky to always have been born in Hindu families and (supposedly) were always pure and never led a sinful life in any life time, only could cultivate proper devotional knowledge and become liberation. This was determined by soul classification - as in Bhagavad Gita, every item and action is Sattvika, Rajasika, or Tamasika, so each soul was perceived to be in each class. Thus only Sattvika souls would have perfect births and eventually be liberated - they were Sattvika from the start. Rajasika souls would be reincarnated eternally, and Tamasika souls would eventually fall into hell and stay there forever. It was in herent and eternal, and you couldn't change it - just as lying is always sin and that never changes, so your soul position was also fixed. This did NOT resonate well with me - how could any God be so cruel to do this? I did further research and the meaning of Sanskrit Shastric verses used to justify this nonsense clearly did NOT match what my tradition taught it meant, and I knew it had to be wrong. So I had to leave. I did more Shastra study to understand the truth. I'm in a new Hindu sect now and much happier to be following what is more truthful.

    My shift was not so dramatic as that of say a Christian Westerner becoming a Hindu thru ISKCON or otherwise. But in a sense my problem was just the same - as in fact many Westerners go thru this same "faith crisis" with their own beliefs. The very fact is that the Bible, Qu'ran, etc. are so full of flaws, contradictions (google "bible contradictions" and see what you find!), misconceptions, errors, and huge omissions that many who practiced these faiths and studied these scriptures realise, as I did, that something is not right with what they believe. If they then come to Hindu Shastras and find the truth, are they supposed to reject it just because it's not their "culture"??

    We change political beliefs many times. We change food preferences many times. We do what we like, what suits us, and what makes us happy. We do what resonates with us and seems right. Even if it wasn't what we were born with - do Indians only eat Indian food, for example? No, we eat pizza and pasta, falafel, veggie burgers, tacos, everything, even Western food. But that's not a problem for anybody. Why should religion also not be like that?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sorry, original question got cut off - should read "But a question for you: what if (and this is hypothetical, but a very real case for so many people) the very faith you were raised in was glaringly wrong, and not what you could ever want to believe?

    What if your 'culture' or birth religion raised questions in your mind, practised sinful activities like human sacrifice, or even something simpler like exclusivism or racism that's still very wrong? Should you not reject it although it's your "culture" because you know it's wrong?"

    ReplyDelete
  16. Its a personal choice, whether someone wants to convert to Hinduism or not...I dont think you reaaly have a say in it. And using terms like 'it sickens me'??? I dont think that is appropriate!

    Even people who migrate to other nations like the US and the UK from India are abandoning their culture to a certain extent, but that is a personal choice and I dont think it is right to criticise such choices!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hindus should n't be upset because when the dark lord vishnu comes back to kill all the imbiciles, there should not be any real vedic followers because if everyone followed vedic religion then the kalki avatar makes no sense ha ha.

    ReplyDelete