White Hindu Stereotypes

UPDATE: I’ve caused some offense to my friends and I must apologize.  I didn’t realizehow the tone here comes across. I did not intend to be judgmental or to say that I’m somehow a “better” Hindu than others. My intention was to show that there is variety in us non-Indian Hindu practictioners but I work hard to not judge other people’s spiritual lives. There’s no way to compare! My tone may have been influenced by reading the opinions of Indian American young women who find hippies disengenous and offensive. I guess I felt like I had to show I was different than that. #NotallWhitePeople, right? We all make mistakes and I hope that you’ll all forgive me for this one. Please know that what I’m trying to say in this post is NOT that I am Hindu and this beautiful women I’ve pictured is not, but rather that not all western Hindus fit the same mold (or any mold).

***

It took me a while to realize that when people think of westerners identifying as Hindu, this is what they imagine:

From user Igor Domsac on Flickr, Boom Festival 2008

This girl is lovely and I have nothing against her personally, but she and I are quite different. And this stereotype of what a western Hindu looks like and I are quite different.

Popular Stereotypes:

1. Wears Lululemon Clothes

I just found out about this brand recently because I have a coworker who used to work for them. Apparently they make nice looking sweatpants. People like to wear them to do yoga. I’m sorry to say when I wear sweatpants, they’re from Old Navy or Goodwill. I don’t like to spend money on clothes (or at all, really).

2. Smokes Lots of Pot

Pot/weed/marijuana and hippies apparently just go together. I’ve never tried it. I don’t particularly have anything against it and certainly I have friends who like it, but I don’t like to modify my mind externally. That’s what meditation and Hindu disciplines are for! It’s really important to me to stay fully in control of my mind and intellectual capacities. The mind will run wild if you let it, but there’s a lot of peace to be found in learning to be its master.

3. Does Hatha Yoga

Speaking of yoga and clothes to do it in, I don’t do it. I’m sure yoga is great, lots of people love it (especially in the west!) but I find it difficult to participate in classes where the teachers know little about the religion yoga comes from. (Not true of all teachers, but it can be difficult to find one well versed in Hinduism). I do have friends who participate in a rigerous and authentic tradition (it sounds terrifying, actually, in terms of discipline!) but the run-of-the-mill yoga studios that are all over America just leave me feeling frustrated and annoyed most of the time.

4. Is Flighty

There’s a perception that we western Hindus are searching for something cool and exotic that we’ll dive into for a while and then give up and go on to something else. For some perhaps they only want Hinduism and eastern philosophy to serve as a contrast to the familiar culture they are bored with. Eventually that rebellion will probably die down and they’ll be going to a nice liberal church and a Buddha head statue on the window sill will be the only thing left from their days espousing anti-materialism and the evils of capitalism.

For me personally, I’ve identified as Hindu for ten years now and I’ve been practicing Hindu principles for a lot longer than that. I’d say it’s not just an rebellion against my own culture.

5. Has Om Tattoos 

I don’t have any tattoos. Another thing that I’m not against, but I have little interest in it for myself. In the west tattoos have become very common. It’s probably equal now to people piercing their ears. There used to be a perception of it that only “bad” people would have tattoos, but that attitude has shifted dramatically in the last fifty years.

The only issue I can think of with getting a tattoo as a Hindu is that it wouldn’t be appropriate to get one of the image of a God or Goddess. When we approach the Gods, we do so in a clean state and in a respectful manner. You wouldn’t want the God with you while you were showering, going to the bathroom, or having sex. At least, that’s how I see it.

6. Loves All Things Tibet

“I think that the super-majority of them, this whole Eastern Fetishism is a form of escapism, and therefore, it’s exotic…These hipsters/hippies/eastern escapists romanticize all that is not Judeo-Christian, and they seem to conflate many disparate cultures together. They eschew Christianity, even the very progressive sects like the Unitarians or this new Pope Francis. They love all things Tibetan, and a person’s Tibetness here validates them in all things spiritual, is what I’ve noticed.”Reddit

I can’t say that I know much about the situation in Tibet. I hear bits and pieces about it and I agree that saying “Free Tibet” is an indicator of being one of the cool kids in the west. Politics is something that I don’t feel qualified to speak about and I really have difficulty grasping. I’m glad that there are people who are passionate about politics and how it intersects with human rights. I think the Tibet issue is one that is of more pressing concern to Buddhists and that’s an example of how westerners who “fetishize” eastern religions conflate them all together. (Though human rights should, of course, be a concern to all of us!)

6. Only Knows a Few Gandhi and Gita Quotes

Gandhi and Gita quotes are both awesome, but there’s a lot more to Hindu philosophy. I think I have demonstrated that I have a more in-depth understanding of my religion than that over these last few years!

So that’s a bunch of ways that I’m different from the stereotype, but that doesn’t mean that someone who fits every single stereotype can’t also be a Hindu!

Indian Hindus may always be skeptical of my kind and that’s certainly fair. There are people out there who use our religion to be trendy or feel “exotic.” {See more about that at this Tumblr: YouAreNotDesi} But sometimes those cringe-inducing cultural appropriators are simply taking the first step towards a life that will be devoted to Hinduism. We just don’t know someone else’s spiritual life from the outside.


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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.

  • David Murali Cowan

    I agree there are a lot of ‘hippie’ hindu types out there. I am normal Irish man who follows the hindu marg. I don’t dress differently and i am just like everybody else. The only difference is my sadhana and beliefs. I have a guru and practice rama namah

  • Cassie Jane Perdue

    i find that stereotypes in general are offensive. I feel like people are allowed to be different externally, and if they are hindu and like tattoos or are really seriousl about their love for the gods and goddesses who cares if they smoke a lot of weed. Labeling people is what started partially started intolerance in the first place, I have been a practicing hindu for over 6 years. I know that is not very long but I am only 24 years old and i was seeking truth for a long time until i found it. I am a 100% california girl. I have tattoos, i smoke pot, and I do yoga. I also do kirtan several nights a week and epic puja on mondays, and i do know more than 3 quotes from the Gita. While i agree yuppies are annoying, people can be different and people are allowed to celebrate their relationship with God individually even if it differs from yours. have never struggled with acceptance in the indian community, whenever i live in an area with a large indian community i always become very active in it and they have always been very accepting of me even though i am white with freckles! I I’ve been a fan of your writing for a few years now, but honestly i did find this very offensive.

    • Ambaa

      I didn’t intend for it to say that people who do do these things aren’t “real” Hindus, but I guess that is how it sounds. My apologies. I am in no place to judge someone else’s spirituality, as I said in the last sentence. My intention was to point out that there are varieties and differences Not that I am better

      • murasaki

        There are people who appropriate Hindu or Buddhist culture without wanting to be “real” Hindus or Buddhists in any sense of the word. I have the same tendency you do to question it and look for signs of whether or not they are going to get closer to “real” …which we can’t even know but still look for! There’s something in human nature that makes us want to verify things, when it’s not all verifiable.

        However I am becoming aware of more and more people adopting these Eastern cultural elements in a way that enriches them, and that along with this discussion is changing my view of what it means to say this or that path is “real”. Some things seem totally silly — New Agers making some sort of Native American/Yoga fusion for example and then suddenly they’re talking about their Morrigan meditation — but then you see they’ve built a whole system for themselves, and they’re happy, which is more than I’ve figured out for myself yet. I *want* to judge them *soooo* badly (“Get that pentacle away from the Buddha statue! At once!”) but I see I’ve really got to stop and give them space, and tend to my own wilting garden.

        It comes down to that same principle of adopting the foreign element with respect and good intention. As long as someone is not clearly exploiting someone else (which sadly happens very often and we’ve become oversensitive to it). But I just have to accept I can’t always see these things from the outside and would hate it if someone tried to do that to me.

        Don’t be too hard on yourself, ok? You have only expressed some feelings and thoughts that have crossed some others’ minds, and a good discussion is coming out of it. I am learning a lot from this.

        • Ambaa

          So true! I also need to work on letting go of the rigid definitions and seeing that whatever enriches someone or helps them grow in whatever way makes them happy is good!

        • Loretto Taylor

          Thing is, people have been doing this for millenia. Christianity itself is a fusion of Egyptian religion, Judaism Greek mystery cults and Zoroastrian beliefs. And Judaism is a fusion of Canaaninte, Egyptian, Babylonian and Zoroastrian beliefs. So people when they come in contact with other cultures and beliefs, find elements that work for them and weave them into their existing belief systems. I have a deck of Tarot cards on my Kali altar, my Ganesha altar has a deck of Tarot cards and Norse runes. So, yeah, I use Western divinitory systems because they are familiar and work for me, even though my religious/spiritual practices and beliefs are Hindu.

          • murasaki

            This is a very good point. I have been struggling with this concept myself, probably projecting it on others with my annoyance at the stereotypes like this one. Why am I struggling? I must have been conditioned to think that mixing things makes a mess — which it certainly can, as I’ve seen with some people. But it doesn’t make a mess if you do it mindfully; it’s a practice. I am a Tarot and Rune reader, but I never thought to integrate it into my Eastern spiritual practices. Thank you for showing me that there’s no reason for me to draw boundaries between them.

          • Ambaa

            I love where this conversation is going!

            Why draw boundaries and make rules? We’re all experimenting with different ways to get closer to truth and to moksha!

          • murasaki

            I think people draw boundaries and make rules reflexively…we are taught from a young age to put things into categories, and taught to stress out when they don’t fit there neatly.

            Funny thing is, I have poopooed many an eclectic spiritual seeker as if they were all making that dreaded “mess” (and so what if they were), and championing the virtues of staying in one camp. There is an advantage to the purist method — you explore a single discipline thoroughly and gain good understanding of it. Moreover, if you mix different disciplines the results are anyone’s guess, so why waste time. It’s arguable, anyway.

            However, life happens, and I have lately been finding myself drawing elements from a few different practices because *that is what seems to be called for in order for me to navigate my world*.

            The fact that I am being overly cautious, and unnecessarily feeling guilty about it…does that make me more “pure” or somehow better than the patchwork makers? No. The patchwork makers are doing the EXACT SAME THING, responding to what is being called for at a given moment in their lives. It just took a discussion like this to make me see that.

            I need to let go of my delusions, get OK with my blooming eclecticism (long story), and let the patchwork makers sew their patchwork as they see fit.

            How freeing it is for me to admit all this! So yeah, this discussion is going in an interesting direction, I agree. And I’m sorry for my hypocritical poopooing of others.

          • Ambaa

            I know the feeling. When I was younger I was very rigid and judgmental. The more I’ve experienced life, though, the more I feel like that saying that the best battle plans still don’t make it past day one of the actual battle. Life is messy and people are doing the best they can.

            Now I practice trying to notice when I’m feeling judgmental and look into myself to see what’s causing that feeling to arise.

            Plus I’m pretty sure guilt pretty much never helps! :)

          • Vivek Vikram

            Yoga and pranayama can help people with their judgmental thoughts.

          • Vivek Vikram

            Go with the flow. Don’t be artificial. More knowledge will make you clear. Rules will make you dogmatic.

          • http://www.deafdrummer.org Stephanie Ellison

            This is what I’m referring to. Religion down in Perú is like that among at least some of the Natives there. It’s my understanding that when you are looking to adopt certain characteristics of various faiths, that one looks at the entire thing and not ignore parts that don’t agree with them, but it is hard to do.

          • Ambaa

            It is hard to do! That is one of the ongoing issues for me, figuring out what in Hinduism is for spiritual benefit and what is a cultural issue that isn’t appropriate for me to do.

        • http://www.deafdrummer.org Stephanie Ellison

          Something that caught my eye is the idea that “You have to be very careful about picking and choosing certain things from religions and mixing them together.” I believe that at the time, the person who said this was one who believed that it was all or nothing; you either embrace all there is about Christianity, or you don’t go there at all, and so on. It sounds like (now that I have read nearly all of your blog) the woman from 20 years ago made the statement as a way to try to keep me from creating my own thing that would be far more useful and powerful than anything dreamed up out there, especially if it reflects reality a lot more closely.

          • Ambaa

            Yeah, my thought process on that has shifted over the years. Now I think “cherry picking” or “cafeteria style” is fine.

            The concern I’ve had with that is that you could miss important parts. If you only do what you like, you may not ever get real depth because real depth is hard work.

            Now I think, you’ll get there eventually but everyone starts with where they are ready.

            I’ve never considered that a mash up could be more powerful than an established system.

        • Vivek Vikram

          when a certain culture comes into confluence with another, there is always going to some variations. Take for example today’s Kirtan movement, it is actually chanting. Kirtans in India are full songs. But, like in ancient India, these things are fine. Some of them live , some of them disappear as knowledge grows.

      • Vivek Vikram

        I understood as you were portraying the general stereotype. I have felt that too.

    • murasaki

      Cassie Jane, I appreciate hearing your perspective. I think the difference between someone like yourself and the stereotype, even though you might look very similar, is your respect for what you are adopting. There are definitely people out there who are more shallow and materialistic about it. It’s very hard to tell the difference without knowing the person, though, so it’s not a good idea to jump to conclusions, which may have been Ambaa’s mistake although I think she meant well and was venting some valid frustrations.

      It’s also a good point that, even if someone were shallow and materialistic, something could trigger a change in them at any moment. So I will be more careful about my judgments of them from now on.

      What do you think helped you integrate into the Indian community so smoothly?

  • murasaki

    Oh my gosh, yes, the stereotypical hippie-Buddhist-Hindu is completely exasperating, and it’s hard to get beyond it to why they are doing it. But you make a very good point that these things can be a bridge to something more, and that is maybe the single best reason to maintain an allowing attitude towards it.

    I have been drawn all my life to all things Eastern, stopping short of full-out free-wheeling conspicious cultural materialism. I examined each element of what I was collecting and surrounding myself with, wanting to understand its real origin, spirit and purpose. If that resonated with me, I gave myself license to “appropriate” it with reverence, which I think is a healthy kind of appropriation (and I really do hate to use that word because of the stigma and controversy attached to it). In short, I was allowing myself to get to the bottom of why these things resonated with me…which is really just my soul guiding me along the path that it seeks.

    Along the way, I realised that it was a sort of journey for me that took me through spiritual paths, each one resonating with me more harmoniously than the last. Now I have a much more specific idea of what I am really looking for in my heart. If I had said long ago, “Oh, I better not try wearing bindi, even though I honestly believe it will do something for my energy and focus, because I’m a white chick”, I would have missed out on an in-depth experience of learning about inner consciousness and awareness of one’s body and energy. Which wouldn’t have led me to learn about the spiritual disciplines where that activity is an issue. This is just one example.

    There’s a balance somewhere, and maybe that lovely hippie-chick in the photo is at one extreme, and xenophobic sticks-in-the-mud lay on the other end…hopefully I can stay in the middle somewhere and keep on the path of self-discovery without ruffling too many feathers.

    Good post!

    • Ambaa

      The journey is so important, isn’t it? I hope that we all grow and learn along the way. I don’t know what we’d do in life if we already knew and understood everything!

      I too try to be very conscious of what cultural things I am using and to make sure that I’m understanding them.

      It’s tough. I know there are still people who are offended by me, like in college when I wore a salwar kameez and an Indian classmate was acting really strange about it. I didn’t understand at the time how I might have been upsetting her.

      It was a gift and it was given to me by someone who said, “You had better wear this!” But my classmate didn’t have the context to know that.

      • Vivek Vikram

        probably she was ashamed of wearing it and you did it without any hesitation. i know we had deepavali celebrations in our work place and most non indian ladies came in indian outfit and caught the indian ladies off guard.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram/ A Witch’s Ashram

    I actually find this hilarious. Being white, practicing yoga, and have Hindu devotions. Having lived in Berkeley and now Olympia, I have met so many people like the ones described! But they would never call themselves Hindu. Oh no. They’re ‘spiritual.’

    Me? I can’t afford Lululemon. I do Hatha Yoga, but I do it in my pajamas. Even when I go to a class! Or I have some second hand stretch pants. Which also make great pjs! I have small children so smoking weed is out. I am not flighty. Not in the slightest. I have no tattoos. However, I don’t know any Gita quotes. I’ve only read it maybe 3 times. 😉

    • Ambaa

      :)

      I don’t know the woman in the picture. I suspect she wouldn’t identify as Hindu, but who knows?

  • Amar

    when it comes to in-depth knowledge, Ambaa know a lot, and very much more than most of the born Hindus, most of Hindus do not know how much Smritis are there, how much Upanishads are, forget reading a single one. most of Hindus read either Mahabharat or Ramayan, or some Chalisa or Stotrs, nothing else, and all of them has nothing to do with in-depth knowledge of evolution of beliefs. in that sense Ambaa knows a lot more than most of the Hindus. for the title “best converted Hindu”, it is too early to say anything atleast now.

    • Ambaa

      But the opportunity is there for many of us, right? There are some who are poor and illiterate who would need help to access scripture for themselves. But most of us, we’re heading on the path of learning more and more and more!

      • Amar

        this is the irony ( a twist too), poor or illetrate can access these scriptures, but the so called literate or well to do have no interest in these scriptures, but yes we (the West too) are heading on the apth of learning more and more. I can’t believe, I had ZERO knowledge about the faith in which I was born, less than a decade ago. and most of it I acquired when I came here in USA. even today I have just a few concepts of it- not the full.

        • Ambaa

          Good for you! We’re all learning. Some people are never going to be interested in spiritual matters and that’s okay, maybe next lifetime. But I think you’ve illustrated why I think it’s valuable to live somewhere that you’re the religious minority. It kind of forces you to think about what religion means to you.

        • Vivek Vikram

          Amar, that can be said about myself too. I think moving to west and reading and discussing online has made me a better hindu.

          • Amar

            really, I feel blessed by your reaction, Thanks a lot.

    • Sri

      Ambaa knows a lot more than most of the born Hindus like me. It is good not only for her. But, also for those who wants to learn Hinduism.

    • Loretto Taylor

      Thing is, most people don’t know much about the religions they were born into. Most Fund’ist Christians who believe the Bible is the Inerrant Word of God have never read it. Most “cradle Catholics” know next to nothing about the doctrines and dogmas of the Church. I’ve only been identifying as a Hindu for about six months now. When I was in my twenties, I identified as a Buddhist (well, a Hindo-Shamanistic Buddhist with a twist of Islam). I started with the Bhagavad Gita (actually read the whole thing, hey it’s short). I’ve read most of the Sri Mad Devi Bhagavatam and have long had a decent working knowledge of karma and dharma. I do smoke pot, but I don’t think I’m what you would call a hippie.

      • Amar

        the thing is I-slam and Christianity has only one book, but Hinduism is so vast that most of the folks restrict themself to only a few of scriptures, Upanishad, Shriti, Ved, Vedaang there are so many of it. the religion in which is born is taken as granted, and when something is taken as granted everyone just gives up in that department. it’s natural nothing surprising.

        • Loretto Taylor

          Which actually gives them little excuse. When I was a Christian I read the Bible through four times (and quietly adopted some freaky-ass heretical beliefs to justify in my own mind things like the genocide of the Canaanites). To be fair to the Muslims, the Koran has some difficult phraseology, probably due to the fact that the “acceptable” Koran is in medieval Arabic and the language has changed a lot in the intervening centuries. But still, the Vedas, Gita, Upanishads and your own sect’s Puranas would be enough to keep someone reading for several years

          • Amar

            for most of the Hindus (in india mainly) life is so tough that no one has time or resources to study the hard core books, (another excuse?) another thing is it is discouraged too. everyone will say that these books are for sages not for Grahsth (a person who has responsibility, family, married life, kids etc.).

        • Ambaa

          You guys are so right. I think the enthusiasm of someone who converts, while it might be a little irritating, is valuable. I think we should all examine the religion we grew up in and really dive into it, make sure it’s the right one for us! But then, religion is a huge part of my life.

          • Vivek Vikram

            Ambaa, while you examine and discuss if you find yourself at odds with other hindus on any given topic, please note that it is perfectly normal. Hinduism and its stories doesn’t preach it leaves it to your interpretation. No two interpretations need not be same.

        • Vivek Vikram

          plus there are many hindu scriptures in many Indian languages written by different poets and saints.

          • Amar

            though http://gitapress.org/e-books.htm is a good help, but at the end of the one needs hard work and dedication to know.
            Geeta Press is neither for profit, nor not for profit- it is purely a seva (service, सेवा), and meant to make loss. in the age of this high inflation can anyone imagine such a low price, never.

    • Vivek Vikram

      Well stated Amar. Totally agree. Hinduism has various scripture for that matter. Mahabharatha is not small as we see on TV. it is the largest epic in the world. There are numerous short stories in Mahabharatha.

  • JGP

    Your remarks on Tibet are absolutely astounding, though to be fair, you do claim complete ignorance of the situation there. Here’s a one-word summary for all the non-“cool kids in the west” and “westerners who ‘fetishize’ eastern religions”: genocide. You are correct that human rights should be a concern to all of us.

    • Ambaa

      I went back and forth a lot on what to say for that. I wanted to include the Reddit quote, but it did leave me feeling pretty awful that I know so little about it.

      It reminded me that it is an issue I should learn more about.

      • JGP

        You know what though, a big part of the problem is that you see very little coverage of Tibet in the media in the west (well, America anyway–can’t speak for anything else.) That’s probably why the only people really talking about it seem to be people who’ve become particularly interested in Tibet (as you say, Buddhists).

        I am sorry I jumped on you yesterday. The subject makes me a bit twitchy; I see so many things around the internet . . . people who see a picture of a Tibetan protester lighting himself on fire and they’re like, “Oh, that was in the 70s!” It’s not. It’s right now, and nobody seems to know or care.

        There’s a Free Tibet Facebook page, if anyone is interested. It’s as good a place as any to start. Thanks. :)

        • Ambaa

          I realized too that “free Tibet” was a big thing a few years ago but it doesn’t seem to be present these days. I’m not sure why that is. It’s like it was really cool and trendy to care and now something else is trendy. Which is obviously a problem!

  • http://opportunityseekers20.blogspot.it AndyT

    I think that much of such stereotyping comes from Hinduism being the result of a long-time established cultural environment; I suppose many Indian Hindus see Hinduism as an “Indian thing”, with almost no interest for proselytizing, so they think white Hindus are looking more for something exotic than for a real life-changing experience.

    • Ambaa

      Very true!

      I too have a difficult time finding the line between what is cultural and what is religious. It is very intertwined!

      • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com/ Andrea

        Religion *is* cultural. It’s not a Venn diagram of two separate overlapping circles – it’s the circle of ‘religion/s’ inside the circle of ‘culture/s’ – I think I have said it before that it is difficult to be a ‘solitary’ Hindu in the same sense that Wiccans practice. Community and/or relationship seems sort of required, whether it be familial, ethnocultural, or a guru-shishya relationship. One can be a scholar of Hinduism and still practice a different religion in an experiential way — knowledge and experience are two very different things. I think one can get a lot of the first through reading and scholarship but not as much of the latter, which requires relationship. Does this post make any sense?

        • Loretto Taylor

          I’m a “solitary Hindu” by necessity. I worship Kali, and there isn’t a Kali temple anywhere near me. The nearest Durga temple, which would be about equivalent is more than an hour and a half away using public transportation, and the bus schedules are really weird so there is a good likelihood that I would find myself stranded for great lengths of time waiting for the next bus headed home. And the temple is nearly a mile from the nearest bus stop.

          • Ambaa

            That’s tough. I hope that more and more Hindu temples will be springing up. It annoys me that there are Christian churches every six feet in most places and yet Hindus must travel hours to get to a temple.

          • Amar

            this is how I dealt with obstacles:-
            about a decade ago I wan’t religious at all, but somehow things started getting tougher and tougher for me, I met an astrologer got interested in faith,thereafter whenever I got obstacles I recollected-it’s a test get it head on because when going gets tough, the tough gets going.

  • HARRY

    LOL, Now, I have to find a ganja smoking gori If you are not one. I think the one in the picture looks like the one. :) wink

  • Matt

    I’m a white male, 50 yrs old, N. Carolina native. I don’t identify with my extended family or native regional culture at all (meat eating, deer hunting, pistol carrying Nascar fans—you get the idea). I’m a Vaishnava/Krishna devotee, have a college degree, am a vegan, if anyone needs labels. There are some western Caucasians who say they are a Hindu, but who, IMO, don’t appear to be good examples of Hindu beliefs and lifestyle. However, I can’t judge. What I can say, is that I suffer no “white guilt” because Lord Krishna does not distinguish by race. Besides, I personally never colonized a country or exploited a culture. We are all part and parcel of Lord Krishna. The typical reaction I get at first from India- born Hindus is “courteous caution”, but that once they see I’m sincere, they accept me. I don’t try to “be Indian”, because clearly I’m not, but I always try to learn as much about Hindu culture as possible and have adopted many lifestyle aspects of Hindu culture. Upon first reading and hearing Vedic texts from knowledgeable devotees, I knew these scriptures to be the truth. Sometimes I wonder if, before my current incarnation, it’s as if I “landed at the wrong airport” to be born in Dixie. On the other hand, being a white southern male, I have the opportunity to dispel race/gender/geographic stereotypes. The Hindu community in NC is growing, and I’m glad to be a part of it.

    • Ambaa

      I’m glad that you are there fighting prejudice! I have a lot of family in N.C. and I would like to live there some day, but I always feel nervous of being in a more Christian area. It’s encouraging to me to hear about the Hindu community there growing.


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