Having my blog here has been a great experience. I’m half way through year two and I’m so grateful for the help and support Patheos gives me as well as the opportunity to spread my wings wider and communicate with more people. Not to mention the amazing other bloggers, many of whom are famous in their faith (or lack of faith) groups. I am in fantastic company!
For the four years previous my little blog got a small trickle of traffic and now the people seeing it has increased seven fold! It’s been wonderful to share to commune with old friends and new. I’m so glad that I have this space where I can share my thoughts and feelings and we can talk about them. It’s been really cool to discover how many other people there are in a similar situation to me. There are more non-Indian Hindus than I realized when I started my White Hindu blog in 2010, when I felt so alone.
Here are some of my own personal favorite posts since I’ve joined Patheos:
It seems I am not the only one who has observed that converts seem to go through some particular phases. It’s a bit like the stages of grief; stages of a convert. And like the stages of grief, one might get caught at one stage for a long time or bounce back and forth between them. It’s helpful to know about this, to see where you might be on the path.
If you don’t want to be westernized, I can definitely respect that. But don’t equate western with strong and independent. Indian women are and have always been strong, smart, thoughtful, loyal, fierce, devoted, and the pillars of society.
I suspect that this is a matter of fitting in. You don’t want to feel like a freak and an outsider because your traditional practices are so different from anything a white Christian American has ever experienced. But I would be wary of sanitizing Hinduism for their consumption.
If you do meet people who attempt to engage you in a conversation for the purpose of converting you to Christianity or Islam, here are suggested responses to some of the statements or questions you might hear.
It’s a really valuable experience to live somewhere where almost no one around you practices the same religion you do. It gives you a very different perspective.
I’m sorry to be saying this. I don’t think it’s my place. But it is really hard to watch people dear to me suffer because their parents refuse to even meet the person they want to marry.
The Sanskrit mantras were created with sacred vibrations in mind. The energy of the sounds is part of what makes them work.
My friends who happen to be ethnically Indian are not there to make me feel better about myself. They are in my life because they’re awesome people and I care about them!
I appreciate that the Hindu way of life supports worldly success and celebrates the balance of wealth and charity and all good things in life. Hinduism supports doing well in every area of life: spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially, etc.
Someone made a comment last week that western Hindus are all about philosophy and not bhakti, which is devotion practices. He has a point.
A lot of times religious people get very upset at the suggestion that figures and stories about their religion might be more mythical than literally and historically true. I’m not sure why this is.
Unlike the heaven/hell concept of afterlife, reincarnation is more organic and motivating. It isn’t that we have this limited amount of time to get everything right and if we screw it up, we’re punished for all eternity.
I hear this dichotamy a lot. This idea that women who have children later did so because they were working on building their career. Now, I find it great that people, that women, find careers that they are passionate about and love. There’s nothing wrong to me about waiting to have children until your career is established. But that isn’t the only way that a delay in family starting happens. I am not one of these women. I sacrificed everything to make having a family a priority. And I failed.
I get comments sometimes along the lines of “You Americans are so lazy” or “You Americans have no morals.” And I look over my right shoulder. Over my left. Who is this person talking to?
I believe that comparing ourselves to others is always a mistake.
Sanatana Dharma is the Eternal Truth. Think about that. It is eternal. It has always been and it will always be. It is the basis of the universe. It cannot be changed or destroyed by the interpretation of human beings.
It is popular in hippie circles to say that we choose our emotions. We might not choose the circumstances of our life (but maybe on some level we do because of karma), but we can definitely control how we respond to those circumstances.
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.
It comes up over and over, people wondering why I’m calling attention to my race. After all, in Hinduism we are all One God. Gender and race don’t give us different amounts of God. Everything is part of that One universal God.
The human embodiment is the most sacred possible birth. It is only human beings who have the self-awareness to attain enlightenment. The stories say that souls wait for very long periods of time to experience the human embodiment. Hindus avoid taking that away from anyone. However, the mother’s life is also precious. It is said that though abortion is wrong, it is worse for a child to kill his mother.