That’s Racist

As I’ve expanded my Youtube channel I have come into contact with a new audience. The majority of my viewers are in India and the second most viewers are in the UAE. So through the comments I’m getting a much closer look at the way Muslims and other non-Hindus in India view Hinduism. I must admit I find it quite shocking.

The challenges facing Hindus in the U.S. are very different from those facing Hindus in India. Here in America Hindus make up less than 4% of the population so not much is known about Hinduism. Many people either don’t know any Hindus or don’t realize that they do. Since Hindus don’t proselytize, even those with Hindu friends may not know much about its philosophy and practice. Still, educated liberals tend to view Hinduism favorably, recognizing that it is a religion with a long history of peace and kindness. Those who are not attached to the idea of the “one true path” usually like and respect Hinduism

But what I hear from non-Hindus in areas where Hinduism is well entrenched? That it is uncivilized, tribal, barbaric, uncouth. One Muslim told me that he respects every religion on Earth…except Hinduism. Here’s another example:

racist thumbnail

I am so stunned and saddened to see this prejudice. (Also Swami Vivekananda was Hindu and said many wonderful things about Hindu practices. I don’t believe for a second that he ever said that)

Hinduism has some of the most elegant philosophy ever put forward by any human in history. It has philosophies and practices that the West has been recognizing for a few centuries as having tremendous value. Westerners such as Ram Das have seen Hinduism’s greatness and helped bring its gifts to a wider audience.

For the very basics you’ve got the concept of karma, meditation, yoga, the knowledge that we are all connected, more personal responsibility than any other religion, the value placed on self-control and controlling one’s mind and emotions, the power of the present moment. It also values diversity and encourages new thought, exploration, and discoveries. without Hinduism many of the world’s most beloved spiritual practices would not exist.

hindu
By Vinoth Chandar from Chennai, India (PRAYER) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Yet it is dismissed, it’s practitioners made fun of and in many cases harassed until they abandon it for an Abrahamic faith.

No wonder Hindus in India are struggling with a lack of pride and young people not learning and continuing traditions. Being one of the oldest (perhaps the oldest) religion in the world is an amazing feat to me, but many people now want modern everything. It seems many don’t know how Hinduism grows and expands to continue to keep up with everything we learn in the world.

I hope that the awe with which the West has seen Hinduism will be reflected back to the East. I hope that Hinduism can gain the respect that it richly deserves.

The Abrahamic religions have set up a zero-sum game.

They have declared that there is only one correct path (which one it is they cannot agree on, of course). In order to maintain that worldview followers of Abrahamic faiths have to discredit and smear Hinduism. They have to lie about it and prevent people from discovering its greatness.

It doesn’t have to be that way. The world is not as people in Abrahamic religions want us to believe it is. It is not a world of “my way or the highway.” It is not a world of “bow down to this one petty, jealous God or else you’ll be beaten, burned, and punished for all eternity.” It is not a world of “don’t you dare question anything, that’s what faith is for.”

Hinduism can help the world grow.

It encourages peace, interconnectedness, and respecting diversity. We need more of the Hindu worldview. It is time for people to set aside the racist cliches and assumptions they have about Hinduism and allow themselves to see its beauty and greatness.

How do Hindus view other religions? We respect them and all we want in return is to be given that same respect back.

New to Hinduism? Learn more here:

What Do Hindus Believe?

Can I Convert to Hinduism?

Your First Visit to a Hindu Temple

Super Simple Daily Puja

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Brian Hanechak

Amit Agarwal

(views expressed here are mine alone and do not reflect opinions of my supporters. Links within the text may be affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something I get a small commission for recommending it. I only recommend things I truly believe in)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Seeker

    What an enlightening article. I find it sad but that statement is not too different from what I grew up hearing from Christians about all other religions. Not all of them of course but enough that I was not all that shocked to read that comment.

  • https://www.facebook.com/mick.goodman.98 Ramji Goodman

    It is sad that others see Hinduism that way, especially since most Hindus are not just tolerant, they accept other paths as valid ways to God. Hinduism is rich with beautiful traditions, wonderful stories and deeply profound philosophy.
    Excellent article, Ambaa.

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  • Amod Das

    Every man has an opinion but very few think. The “faithfuls” of all kinds find all other faiths strange, illogical, inconsistent, incomprehensible and what not. Nobody puts his own :faith: to the same tests as he / she does to other. So, no big deal what is said.

  • saroj

    Every religion started off with tribalism, and changed,because human beings started their journey of social evolution as such.
    Hindusim’s philosophy has developed and the Vedas involve the ideas of karma, the ideas of “cause and effect” in karma, and the idea of right/wrong from dharma, and many ther forms of ethics/norms encompassed in them, and it has given the world prodound thinkers and matheamticians, artisans,warriors, physicians and astronomers(infact, ours is one of the greatest legacies of mathematics/astronomy and medicine) and architects/engineers.
    While, Islam maintains its tribal gang mentality, of “kill the guy fro the other gang”. and,”kill him if he leaves our gang”-thats tribal barbarism.Not ours.

  • Agni Ashwin

    In the U.S., Hindus make up 1% of the population.

  • Pratim Gupta

    We face persecution at the hands of everyone, but that only makes us stronger

  • Pratim Gupta

    Christians and Islam are becoming desperate, they are at constantly war with each other, many Christians are leaving and becoming Atheists or some Pagan, they desperately need followers, what they forget is that this is 2017, their Sky-father doesn’t matter anymore

  • HARRY

    I don’t know why you are surprised by this kind of remarks, I’ve had to face this sort of thing all the time. And saying this many other native Hindus have to same.

  • https://www.szybkapaka.pl/ tanikurier

    I hate racist !
    Tani kurier

  • jas

    This post is very timely as I was recently reflecting upon comments that Muslim Indian “friends” have made about Hinduism in the past when I was not familiar with my own religion (I am Indian American) so could not stand up for my beliefs. A few incidences include: when in Spanish class my friend was referred to as a Hindu (the Spanish word for Indian) and she responded “I’m no Hindu!” and in world religions and class when the teacher was explaining Hinduism a Muslim “friends” response was “Hinduism is so weird” in a disgusted tone. I want to feel like everyone is allowed to believe what they want but it is hard to do when their very beliefs are that you are scum. It is very hurtful. Now I am able to stand up for Hinduism because I have studied it (unfortunately many Hindus don’t know anything real about Hinduism). How do you handle this?

    • phillyaggie

      Handle it with quiet self-confidence. I have gone through the same issues. Forget the past. Going forward, do not let anyone be so pejorative about your faith-tradition and let them get away with it. That’s a start. Other things would be to do outreach to fellow Hindus (the ones less educated about their own traditions) as well as to “agnostic” or “liberal” Christians and Muslims and Jews– see how truly liberal they are, or whether they spout forth completely illeberal attitudes towards Hinduism…that would be your clue about who are wolves in sheep’s clothing among your circle. The ones who appreciate you will know that you and your sense of self includes the beauty of Hinduism thought and knowledge… the “sanskaars” and will respect your faith.

  • Bei Dawei

    In India, Hindus (or some of them) do proselytize–often through unruly bands of extremists led by religious figures. In NE India they target the Adivasi, while elsewhere they go after Indian Christians and Muslims, who are assumed to have “originally” been Hindu. India’s new anti-proselytization laws somehow completely overlook the number one offenders, right-wing Hindus.

  • morris98

    Hinduism Is the only religion that makes sense in to day’s world. It is a spiritual and religious democracy in action. It is an umbrella religion within which all religions are acceptable and Hindus do not have any problem accepting other religions as true. .It is truly a secular religion at its core values and Hindus do not need a law to believe in seuclarism. And that is why it appears chaotic and disorderly. And perhaps that is why a Hindu majority country accepted readily the modern democracy.
    No one has seen God. Each one should be free to believe in a God that he/she accepts. That is why there are millions of different perception of Gods in Hinduism. Once again you are free to worship the God you choose.

    Bhagwat Geeta may be frequently quoted as the one describing the essence of the religion, there are hundreds of other scriptures for the seekers to probe. It does not claim to have revealed the final truth. And therefore, it is not a dogmatic religion and it is not institutionalized. There are a numerous gurus going around the world teaching its philosophy without using the word Hinduism. .