Hinduism Doesn’t Need Me

Sometimes on my Facebook page I post quotes about Hinduism, particularly quotes from western people who are praising Hinduism.

I think a lot of people enjoy seeing non-Hindus acknowledge Hinduism’s best qualities.

Every so often though, someone will make the point that Indian Hindus shouldn’t need praise from the West to believe in Hinduism.

For example this comment on a picture shared by Resurging Hinduism on FB:

Ashwin Kumar: we Hindus are in a pathetic stage that some one from western country should certify our religious books,then only we belive in it. But we still proud to be Hindus

And I think he is absolutely right.

Indians do not need western people to validate Hinduism for them and I hope that those who feel like they want the support of westerners will come to realize that they don’t need it.

But that doesn’t mean it is bad for westerners to praise Hinduism!

I praise Hinduism not because I think Hinduism needs my praise. I praise it because I love it and I feel lucky to have it in my life. I think most of the time when western people admire Hinduism they don’t mean to say “I am giving my blessing to this lovely, quaint practice. You may now continue to exist because I, a white person, have approved it.” I think they are meaning to say, “I wish I had known about this wonderful religion sooner, but I’m so glad that now I have discovered it.”

Indians made Hinduism what it is and I am endlessly grateful. I want to say thank you for the philosophies and beliefs.

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.

  • http://twitter.com/sudarshan_v1 BharataBhagyaVidhata

    Nice write up. Thank you.

    Interestingly, Hindu scriptures don’t mention the word “Hindu” anywhere. The word ‘Hindu’ was coined by outsiders to describe the Indic peoples. The Indics in their native tongue call “Hinduism” the “Sanaatan Dharma” (stands for ‘eternal way’).

    I’m a born Sanaatani. Am only now trying to learn Sanskrit. Am awed by what the Israelis achieved with Hebrew – resuscitated a dead language and have made it their a vibrant, everyday tongue. Someday, I hope Sanskrit will undergo the same resurrection.

    SV

    • harshal

      Good to hear that you are born into Dharma. There are thousands of Sanskrit learning centers in India that outnumber Sanskrit centers in the West. Also there are a few villages that speak Sanskrit only. Also, Varanasi and Kashi are a few remaining locations where Vedic Sanskrit is fluently taught. Sanskrit does need a resurrection. Like how math and science classes and studies are extremely valued, Sanskrit courses should be valued equally. Even if learning Sanskrit doesn’t help you in getting a job, it should be a major indicator of identity for Desis through the educational system. Two to three years of Sanskrit is never enough. An Indian learns a state language, as well as the national language; included also should be the Indian language of Sanskrit. This would automatically make a person fluent in three languages. If a law passed where three languages (including Sanskrit) are to be mastered . . . this would be a great accomplishment in the educational and social field of India. One language to speak in the state of where you are from (Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, etc). One to speak across states for business (Hindi). And Sanskrit in order to be more acquainted with our Bharatiya past. Even Indian muslims should learn Sanskrit since they are in the minority and the majority are Hindus. Vice Versa. If the majority were Muslim, Arabic ought to be learned to be fair and rational. But, THANK THE ALL GODS (Vishve Devah) THAT THE HINDUS ARE THE MAJORITY!!!!

      JSK (Jai Shree Krishna).

  • harshal

    Letting Europeans have access to our Hindu scriptures and the Sanskrit texts was a big mistake. Hopefully in the future there will be a law that states non-Indian Hindus cannot have access to our Hindu libraries and they are not allowed to enter our temples and holy places. And Hinduism doesn’t need you. An Indian needs Hinduism and Hinduism needs Indians as a reaction needs a catalyst.

    • Ambaa

      I couldn’t disagree with you more.

      Hinduism is the eternal truth for all people in all time. I don’t know what I would do without it.

      I do believe that I was an Indian in a previous life. That may sound dumb to you, but I absolutely believe it and I’m glad that you aren’t in charge of Hinduism.

    • Jeramy Hansen

      So,

      a) “They” can make a silly law saying that non-Indians can’t
      have access to Hindu libraries until they’re blue in the face, but the
      glory of the Internet makes it such that I will now ALWAYS have access
      to those materials.

      b) You’re a racist.

      • harshal

        You can access and view and read those materials through the internet, sure. But, you lack an authority that will guide you through those scriptures. The greatest of these authorities with the greatest knowledge on those scriptures are in Bharat Ganarajya. What is accessible online is mostly written and analyzed by either colonialists from the 1800s or white nationalists. Mr. Hansen, it would behoove you to traverse into your pre-Christian origins; immerse yourself in the celtic or hellenic or norse or roman or slavic or baltic religions of pre-christian Europe. Don’t you think you can find those to be interesting? Your ancestors before they were forcibly converted through genocide were noble people. But, Friend turned on friend. Brother turned on brother. It was an infestation of a foreign religion from the inside. Let us that are Desi keep what we have left for it is our inherited identity from ancient times. Unlike the majority of your ancestors, we have stayed strong and have not converted majority wise. 900 million strong, we are. We outnumber the population of many countries and continents. We take pride in this for it shows our resolve and our desire to give this religion to our children and them to do so as well. Why were our scriptures falsely scrutinized to divide north brother from the south brother? Why were our scriptures used against us to create a divide in our own country? What kind of a noble act is that? Why rob our country of precious jewels and diamonds and gold? What did Bharat Country ever do to Europe? We never came to Europe and misread your religious scriptures and propose out of this world fallacies…we had so much problems with the Muslimans already, and then the Europeans came because they saw themselves as rulers of the world. Rulers of what, I ask? Did they take pride in being rulers of a disgruntled public? Did they take pride in ruling over a nation that did not want them to be the rulers? Did they take pride in oppressing natives and exploiting to the highest degree? Where is the honor in that? Where is the nobility in those actions? Where is the justice for stealing our scriptures and rewriting them to suit your intentions? We will forgive if you cast yourself from Christianity and become pre-Christian pagans once again and go back to fighting amongst yourselves. Let us be. And, no. You can’t be Hindu proper. What would it look like if I chose to be a Norse pagan? Or a a Celtic follower? I would stand out like a lamb amidst the wolves. It would be insulting to native Celts and Norse descendants. Thus, please do yourself a favor and realize that you will gain nothing from becoming a Hindu and only acquire confusion and a large sense of unwontedness as well as exclusion from the majority of the Hindu public: the 900 million strong. Take pride in Odin or Zeus like we take pride in Shiva or Indra. Take care.

        • TritsuBharata

          Guest, you need to understand they want to be Hindu. There is nothing wrong with that. Please be warm and welcoming. New converts are guests. And in Hinduism you treat the guest as a god. The mantra should be: the world united under the flag of Hinduism.

          • Ambaa

            Thank you :)

        • Ambaa

          So I have a guru who helps me interpret scriptures. What’s so wrong about that? I come to Hinduism to learn, not to explain it.

          I really cannot understand the “us v.s. them” mentality. You and I are the same divine material. There is no difference between us.

          I worried about being offensive to native Hindus when I first started identifying as Hindu, but then I found that 99% of them have been very welcoming and delighted to have me studying alongside them. I’m very sorry that you have so much anger that you feel this need to protect yourself against me.

        • Jeramy Hansen

          I find ALL mythology interesting. We are all, after all, inherently human, so the various and sundry viewpoints of all humans throughout our evolutionary development shed light on the human condition. How different cultures view what they think of as divinity helps us all, irrespective of cultural origins, understand facets of ourselves. Really, though, the elements of my personal morality that can be seen as in common with Christianity can ALSO be seen as in common with the Druids, or the Norse, or Hindus, or Muslims, or Secular Humanists, or etc., since those elements are UNIVERSAL to the sound functioning of a just society.

          I in no way disagree that the history of Christianity along with many aspects of it’s current state of affairs are fraught with contradiction and, in my view, selfishness and a touch of malevolence. My ancestors were indeed brutally subjugated into following Christian thought. You know what, though? It sucks when a more technologically advanced civilization comes in contact with a less technologically advanced one, because time and again, either through outright war or simple out-competition, the more technologically advanced civilization tends to dominate and eliminate the less advanced one. As much as it sucks, though, welcome to an object lesson in natural selection.

          In my view, you are free to follow any religion you’d like, or none at all if you’re so inclined. As long as you’re not hurting people I care about, I strongly endorse you doing what makes you happy. It so happens, though, that the White Hindu is a dear friend of mine in real life, and your insular view of Hinduism harms her. You may not view her as a real Hindu, and perhaps you have some guru or some subset of gurus that preach the sort of intolerance that you’ve seemed to espouse, but it’s certainly not ALL gurus that see things as you do, and, in the same way that you’ve embraced a rather isolationist view of Hinduism, I embrace the views of the gurus that would welcome and HAVE welcomed the White Hindu with open arms.

          Suffice it to say, you and your guru(s) can go fuck themselves.

    • http://twitter.com/Yoga108Mind Daniel M

      That’s hilllllarrrious…. Because most white people I have meant(myself included) know more about your scriptures than Indians. Its also funny at ashrams and temples when the Indians come in rudely, just stay for Prasad and then leave, not staying for satsang or to do seva.
      Great comment

      • TritsuBharata

        Haha. Daniel has a point. Well not about the white stuff. But the point that many Indians today are not very religious.

        “Guest”, Hinduism doesn’t need India, it needs the world. The words of Devtas must reach all the four corners. This will lead to peace. Plus the suicide bombings will finally stop.

        Please, stop this racist stuff. Your making us Indians look bad. There are no barriers in true Dharma of the Santaan. One religion. Billions of Hindus. That is the goal. ;)

  • G S

    Christian missionaries have targeted India for quite some time to convert the Indians to Christianity. Millions of dollars are flowing through every year. Google 10-40 window and their agenda.

    • harshal

      A Dharmayuddh must be prepared to counter their crusades and jihads. This is dharam. This is Hindu. This is righteousness. We can never fully accept a foreign religion into our lands. We have already allowed Islam. Look at what is happening now.

      Furthermore, “If someone has come to kill you, it is proper to kill him in defense.” – Manu Smriti

      Please be advised that “come to kill you” in this scenario can apply to Christianity trying to kill off and wipe out Hinduism. To save Hinduism from destruction, it is appropriate to fight and defend our culture and religion from this firangee Christianity. Once a Hindu converts to another faith (except Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism), trying to come back to Hinduism will be disastrous. You can leave Dharma. But never come back to it. It is privileged.

      • Ambaa

        I do not believe that it is possible for Christianity to kill of Hinduism. I believe that no matter what they try, no matter what underhanded techniques and lies, Hinduism will always remain. It is Truth, it cannot be destroyed.

      • Pratheesh

        You cant be a true follower of Sanatana Dharma with this kind of attitude.anybody can come to the fold of Hinduism and are always welcome

  • harshal

    A non Desi cannot be a full fledged Hindu. It is obscure how Southeast Asia adopted Hinduism, but conversion didn’t happen. It was more about how they appreciated our wonderful and powerful Gods and the culturo-mythology and social construct. But, many ended up converting to Buddhism and Islam so it is irrelevant now due to the Hindu god worshippers in Southeast Asia being a minority. Furthermore, being a student of Sanatana Dharma would be clouding the issue. I admire Shintoism and read thoroughly through its many scriptures. But, calling myself a student of Shintoism would be an insult to Shinto culture. I can’t be part of something that is not meant for me. Vice versa. I can only admire it from a distance.

    • http://twitter.com/Yoga108Mind Daniel M

      Really? Sanatana Dharma means eternal law? If everything in existence is Brahman/Paramshiva/Paramaheswara’s Shakti, a reflection of Gods greatness and us as humans not separate from That is just Shiva consciously knowing His own greatness, than how can the Sanatana Dharma be only for those born in India? So Nepalese Hindus aren’t Hindus, or is it ok because they are adjacent to India and once part of the great Bharat? How about Indian born Americans? Because they have the blood that once dwelled in india than its ok? Basically we all came from the same place once upon a time, ummm the great singularity, so basically we’re all the same. Didn’t the Vedas also come from outside of India, or was that just due to the Indo-Aryan invasion theory? I guess if it wasn’t for those Aryans you’d all be Dravidians. I say that in jest of course.

      • TritsuBharata

        Dharma is for everybody. We need more converts, “Guest”. The more the better. Daniel, when did you convert?

        • http://twitter.com/Yoga108Mind Daniel M

          I never formally converted as per ritual. About 15 yrs ago I began to study Buddhism. Philosophically it didn’t make sense to me, I then read some books by Vivekananda and Ramakrishna and I was hooked. About 12 years ago my guru and I had met by strange chance ;-) and I was initiated into his guru’s lineage via deeksha and the dawning of shaktipat. He is a master of the Trika and I am a young tantra yogin. That reminds me, I think i’ll write a blog post on what tantra really is and not what the west thinks it is :-p
          Namaste!

          • Ambaa

            That’s a great idea for a post! I look forward to seeing it.

          • TritsuBharata

            Cool cool. Just be careful with the whole Vivekananda thing….. it is understandable how he can be attractive to the western mind (no pun intended)….. but take it from me: the neo-hinduism that he and ramakrishna profess is not favored by conservative hindus and is seen actually as a blot or corruption of our faith (ex. jesus being krishna and outlandish stuff like that)……

            Daniel: go to hindu dharma forums . com if you can – it is the most reliable forum on these matters – many scholars and devotees that are legit ;)

            ps – what is your belief in yagya? i as a hindu would go to temples but i prefer a yagya underneath an open sky and i am not too kinky with the notion of one brahman even though it’s a popular concept; one brahman, yes….but many gods is why i am proud to be hindu :)

  • TritsuBharata

    Awesome blog, btw.

    • Ambaa

      I appreciate it! I need to hear this once in a while because there are definitely days when I want to give up and just do my worship quietly without the scrutiny of the Internet!


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