Finding a Community

I’m all about planning ahead. I like to have a project to work on. My fiance says it’s in my astrological nature.

So as I plan my wedding, I’m also definitely thinking about the step that comes next: having kids. We really want to start a family right away.

As we start to prepare and think about bringing a child into our family, the biggest concern to me is having a Hindu community around us. I want other people in my children’s lives giving them Hindu ideas and beliefs. I don’t want it to be just from me. I’m afraid it would turn into “just that weird thing mom does.”

There are a bunch of Hindu temples clustered in one town, but it is a 45 minute drive away from us. I know we’re only going to end up going down there for special occasions. The Chinmaya organization is down there. I love their services and their teaching, but the wonderful kids classes fill up really quickly.

So the other day we were riding our bikes down to the lake near our house and we passed an Interfaith Center. I saw a sign on it for a¬†Unitarian¬†Universalist community and a Methodist community. Not all that Interfaith, I thought. But it got us talking about where we could find community to bring our children into. The UUs are Christian, but they’re so open minded that it might be okay to go there. We certainly like how they help young people become good citizens and help them learn to make good and kind choices.

We decided to give their service a try. But when I went to the website for the Interfaith Center I discovered some more communities using it. Including one organization based on the teachings of Sai Baba.

A Hindu community so close!

I know nothing about Sai Baba, though I’ve heard the name and I recognized his picture immediately.

So this week I am going to learn more about this organization and try to get in touch with the congregation to see if we can join in there. It’s likely to be more what I was hoping for than the UU church!

I’m off to do some research and tomorrow my Meet a Guru segment will be on Sai Baba. Let me know what you’ve heard, what you know about his teachings! I’ll let you know next week how it goes.

How do you go about finding a worship community? What criteria do you have?

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About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • Mitchell Porter

    I have remembered an anecdote from a book about U.G. Krishnamurti, where someone mentions Sai Baba performing materializations, and U.G. says it’s nonsense, claiming that Sai Baba used to materialize Swiss watches, then one day the Indian government imposed an import duty, and after that he began to materialize Indian watches instead.

    • Agni Ashwin

      There are two famous “Sai Baba”s. Sathya Sai Baba is the one famous for doing materializations of ash (and watches); he died recently.

      The other Sai Baba is Sai Baba of Shirdi (d. 1918).

      • Ambaa

        True! I just discovered that I was doing research for tomorrow’s post!

    • Ambaa

      Hahahaha. Wow, that is really funny!

    • Pratheesh

      U G Krishnamoorti is a communist and his only job is to thrash Hindus and Hinduism whenever and wherever is possible.He is actually a crypto christian.

  • Andrea Mandal

    I have found in my experience that the UU church is less a “Christian church” (it does not subscribe to the traditional dogmas of Christianity) and more a fantastic place to get – and to give kids – a firm foundation in religious studies and secular humanism.

    A lot of neo-pagans and Wiccans I know go to (and send their kids to) the UU church for a larger sense of religious community. I think it really depends on the community you belong to; some may be more comfortable with only relying on Western scriptures; others incorporate items from other religions and philosophies on a regular basis.

    • Ambaa

      That’s exactly how Brad feels about it. He thinks it’s good for a larger sense of community. We’ll have to give it a chance, I think.

    • Derek_anny

      There’s a whole sub-chapter of UU for pagans. CUUPS. I think of UU as a gathering of “Spiritual not Religious” people, who occasionally want some religious trappings. And yeah, there’s a lot of finding the right community that makes up a particular UU church.

  • Kivrin Engle

    Glad you found a Hindu community in your area that could be a good fit
    for your family! I hope you don’t mind if I speak up about the UUs
    though, as someone who went to UU “Sunday School” as a non-Christian
    kid, I wouldn’t categorize them as Christian at all. Historically, UU
    did begin as a Christian church but the basis for modern UUs is just the
    “seven principles” which are rather non-religious. So there might be
    Christian UUs, but not all UUs are Christian (In fact, I’d bet most of
    them do not consider themselves Christian)

    As a kid at the UU
    church, we learned about many different religions, spending a few weeks
    on each one. I remember learning about Hinduism, as well as Buddhism,
    Christianity, Wicca, Judaism, Native American religion, and usually the lessons
    were taught by people in the congregation who followed that particular
    faith. Never did I feel “proselytized” at by any of the lessons or
    people there, and I was wary of that as a kid after being on the
    receiving end of some Christian proselytizing at school.

    So it
    would certainly be possible, I would think, to attend a UU church as a
    Hindu, but hopefully that won’t be the only option, I don’t blame you
    for being excited to find other Hindus!

    • Ambaa

      You do give me hope! I like UUs as people a lot. And I figure they wouldn’t mind letting me teach some Hinduism classes to the kids. One of the things I really like is the realistic and positive-focused sex education, actually. I will probably still try out their services. But I’ll be wearing a sari :)

  • Ambaa

    :) I do indeed plan ahead! I even have a baby hope chest.

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