I’m Allowed to Like Hymns

I’m really big on respecting every individual’s choice to practice the religion that makes him happy. Hinduism is my home and it is the religion that I love, but I am well aware that my experience of life is far from average. I’m more than a bit odd. So I have lots of practice in knowing that what works for me, and what is good for me is not what is going to work for everyone.

There are many, many people who feel fulfilled by Christianity or by Islam or by another religion. I don’t begrudge them that. I respect their right to worship in a way that makes them happy and I hope that they will do the same for me (certainly there are mixed results on that one).

But it makes me sad when people act as though when you pick one religion, you cannot appreciate and enjoy things from others.

What I mean is that as deeply ingrained in Hinduism as I am, there are some beautiful poems written by Sufis like Rumi and there are amazing hymns written by Christians. I don’t see my loyalty to Hinduism meaning that I cannot enjoy, respect, and admire these contributions of art and worship from other perspectives. They are all pointing towards the same Truth and the same God, if you ask me.

One of the great beauties of the Hindu idea that there are “many paths up the mountain” is that we can enjoy spiritual advice, actions, and ideas from different sources and see them as ways of helping people up that mountain towards samadhi.

There is no need to become so militant that one can only find value in things from one’s own religion.

I see the same thing in Christians who won’t do yoga. There are so many yoga classes that are almost, if not completely, devoid of spirituality. Many have nothing more than some deep breathing and calming/centering practices. It’s hard for me to understand how participating in this practice that came from another religion endangers your relationship with your own.

I hope that we as Hindus don’t become that way. I hope that we can see the beauty and value in practices or prayers that come from other religions and to feel the presence of the Atman within us when we interact with them.


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About Ambaa Choate

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://www.deafdrummer.org Stephanie Ellison

    “One of the great beauties of the Hindu idea that there are “many paths
    up the mountain” is that we can enjoy spiritual advice, actions, and
    ideas from different sources and see them as ways of helping people up
    that mountain towards samadhi.”

    One thing I have heard from others, notably traditionals, is that there isn’t that one same mountain that everyone is trying to go up to. There are many different mountains, one for each religion. They are really all different, logically speaking.

    Consider this PDF… It gave me a clearer picture of what it is that I am not looking for. Because of these differences that traditional SD acknowledges, it is indeed quite an experience to see things you never considered before, that you might even like even though you are not part of that religion, which is exactly what you strive to show in this post. Dhanyavaad!

    http://www.vmission.org.in/files/pdf/radical-universalism.pdf

    • Ambaa

      Being an advaitsit, I do still see the goal of life being the same for everyone. Unity is kind of our thing.

      But where I see the differences is that to me a lot of the path has been lost in many traditions. They head towards the wrong goals, express the wrong goals, etc. But in my tradition, we still consider everyone to be supposed to be gaining the same thing and that you can find the truth in the other religions, it just might be a lot harder to see clearly since there are centuries of misdirection.

      Not everyone believes that, of course, but that’s the perspective of my branch and so that is the one that I give.


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