Is New Faith Delicate?

Sometimes it seems like people feel like my faith is delicate and needs to be protected.

I can understand that. One might be worried that I’ve seen and liked the peace and love hippie 70s version of Hinduism in the west and that when I get exposed to more variety of Hinduism, that I will be disappointed and give up on it (Hint: I’ve already seen many, many, many sides to Hinduism and Hindus).

I suppose in the beginning for a convert, your faith is kind of delicate like that. You’re learning and exploring, soaking things in, but not everything is going to make sense to you and not everything is going to seem right. Part of that is probably that you still have growth to do to deepen your understanding and part of it is probably because human beings don’t always behave ideally. You think you’ve found this perfect religion, but then another member of it does something that just seems so wrong! It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that people who grew up with Hinduism or have studied it longer automatically are perfect people. Because Hinduism helps us grow towards perfection. But everyone is going through their own karma/sanskara and working through their own issues. Very, very few are already perfected.

Maybe all that new information that can seem contradictory at times is why many of the new schools and cults shield their new members from getting too much information that would overwhelm and confuse them. I’m not sure if that’s the right way to go about it, but I can see why the leaders might be worried.

Also, the convert tends to be extremely enthusiastic and over the top in trying to do and learn everything at once. That excitement could certainly burn bright and die quickly!

I would say that for me, I knew instantly that Hinduism was the right fit for me. More than that, I knew Advaita Vedanta was the right fit for me. I think others spend time trying out different things and switching around. Personally I think that’s okay too. It’s your journey to take. You might not be going the most efficient route, but you’ll get to where you need to go eventually.

Apparently I also sometimes come across as insecure. I’m not sure why that is! I love to ask questions and explore philosophies and ideas, but questioning doesn’t mean that I’m not completely secure and content in my faith. I’m fascinated by philosophical questions and I just want to explore the different angles of them, but from the secure seat of my love of Hinduism.

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.

  • HARRY

    @ Ambaa
    I liked the way you made this statement,

    ” I would say that for me, I knew instantly that Hinduism was the right fit for me. More than that, I knew Advaita Vedanta was the right fit for me. ”

    But my question is this, Have you tried any different schools of Hinduism first in order to say what you just said above?

    I have only asked you this question because most born Hindus find this school difficult to follow because originally Sankar chariya design this path for Sanyasi’s who has given up Sansar to follow this path but I am surprised that it made it to west and there are people like you who follow it. For me being born Hindu this is same as teaching egg how to fly, if you see my point. This is the main reason why it has less following by the main streams born Hindus. I am just surprised by your choice.

    HARRY

    • Ambaa

      Advaita was what I was raised with, so I think that’s one of the reasons why it really clicks for me. I had Advaitic teachings since the time I was an infant, it is very deeply ingrained in me. That said, others who were raised with me have not necessarily taken to Advaita.

      A close second would be Shivaism. I’m curious to learn more about Shaktism, as I’m just now starting to develop a sense of feminism. Vaishnavism is definitely not the path for me!

      I really like the intellectual approach of Advaita. It is more about coming to understand one’s self than it is about worshiping a deity. Worshiping something outside my Self doesn’t make sense to me.

      • HARRY

        @ Ambaa

        I am amused at what you just said above in the reply. I am happy that you have chosen the path that you were raised with but you seem to see all these schools as separate when they are technically not. It’s like rainbow, you can’t say that you only like the green part of the rainbow. It’s one.

        There are few things that I need to tell you that only a born hindu who follows Hinduism for what it is only knows about.

        Vaishnavism is found and recognise through Shiva who was a first enlighten soul, who gave us Vaishnavism. Without this part there would not be Shivaism either. It’s same as you would not be here if it wasn’t for your mum or dad following the path of Advaita.

        Birth of Advaita Vedanta was originally from Vaishnavism. All the old Vedic texts only addresses Vaishnava path to truth. Without this there would not be Advaita. It’s bit like you saying that I like lemons but not the tree, that is same as this,When you said that you don’t like the concept of Vaishnavism.

        All the old Hindu text and concepts are based on Guru Bhakti. When you discard this, then this is same as having a cheque with all the zeros and no number in front. it’s worth nothing.

        ” Guru Bramha, Guru Vishnu, Guru devo Maheshava ( another name of Shiva ) Guru Shakat Shakat Par a Bramuha, Tas me he Guru he num ha. ” What this means is that, guru is a Bramha, Guru is a Vishnu, Guru is a Shiva, Guru is that very god in it’s own right and without that one cannot ever find that truth. Even Adi Shankra said that without a guru one cannot realise ones own divinity. Therefore this is a very important aspect of every hindu path one must accept but you seem not to accept this issue as very important ( Sitting on fence issue). I have never been to Texas and without somebody pointing it to me I will never know it exist let alone finding it.

        Like you said Advaita path is ingrained in you and without your parent you would not be here and without Vaishnavism the Advaita would not be here. I think I’ve made my point here. So how can I round this up. To my understanding you are following mish mash Hinduism, that’s fine, but you still need to know what fits where.

        One has to accept milk for what it is. As soon as you say that You don’t like white milk, Then the same milk doesn’t remain milk and if one has to benefit from what milk has to offer then one has to take the milk as it is without changing it. Hinduism is same as this, one can only benefit if they take it as whole rather then as parts. The day you understand this is the day you will be happier and richer in heart.

        I have been candid with you not cruel.

        HARRY

        PS We will talk more when you get back.

        • Ambaa

          I certainly realize that all the branches are connected and feed off one another as all are part of Hinduism. I didn’t mean to say that I dislike Vaishnavism, just that its approach is not the right fit for me. I respect it, but it’s way of understanding the divine is starkly different from Advaita. It is a great path for many people, but I do not see it as the trunk of the tree of which Advaita is a leaf. I see much similarity between all the branches of Hinduism, but in their subtle differences are the reasons why one would identify with a particular branch or school.

  • TruthSeeker

    Hi,

    I want to explore Advaita philosophy. There are numerous links on net but unable to decide which one to follow.

    @Amba : can you suggest some good linksbook to for novice like me.

    • Ambaa

      Oh gosh, let me think about that one!


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