Is Widow Burning (Sati) Part of Hinduism? (Criticisms of Hinduism Series)

"Bazaar art, from the earlier 1900's, with two co-wives shown as satis" by Unknown - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -,_from_the_earlier_1900%27s,_with_two_co-wives_shown_as_satis.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bazaar_art,_from_the_earlier_1900%27s,_with_two_co-wives_shown_as_satis.jpg

Sati is the name given to a disturbing practice of Hindu women being so devoted to their husbands that when the husband died, the widow was so overcome with grief that she would leap onto the funeral pyre and burn herself alive. It seems that after a few cases of this it became, for some, a cultural tradition and there are rumors of women being forced onto their husband's funeral pyres in historic Hinduism. So is this practice a part of our religion? Is it condoned by our holy stories?The … [Read more...]

Can I Convert to Hinduism [Google Questions Answered]


"Conversion" is a very charged word for Hindus.It is exclusively associated with the predatory behavior of Abrahamic religions (Islam and Christianity) as they work to convert Hindus by any means necessary (including bribery, withholding medicine, tricks, and other coercion). For many Hindus it is only religions that teach exclusive access to Truth that need the concept of conversion. Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma is the original term for the faith) is a way of life and it doesn't put the Truth … [Read more...]

Why Ritual Matters (Criticisms of Hinduism Series)


It is amazing to me that people could complain that Hinduism has too many rituals. Apparently these days rituals are out of vogue and and non-religious people scoff at the "superstition" of ritual while religious people emphasize spontaneous prayer.There is a time for spontaneous prayer, certainly, but there's also a time for ritual prayer.To start off with I'd like to address this idea that believing in ritual makes you superstitious. The truth is, we are all superstitious. It's a … [Read more...]

Idol Worship (Criticisms of Hinduism Series)

From a favorite online retailer: Dolls of India

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about reclaiming this phrase "idol worship." I still think that if it's something people accuse us of, it's fair to say: "So what? What's it to you?" However, it turns out that I struck a nerve and a lot of Hindus are very upset at our murti being called idols.They pointed out to me that when someone says idol worship, they mean literally bowing down to the brass, plastic, plaster, or marble that the statue is made from. And for the vast majority of … [Read more...]

False Gurus & Godmen (Criticisms of Hinduism Series)

Some of my fellow Hindus feel it is important to give reverence and respect to all Hindu holy men, gurus, saddhus, priests, etc. My experience has led me to a different approach.I haven't historically been bothered by portrayals in the media of Hindu "holy" men who are frauds and con men. Because it does happen. But I'm starting to understand now that the portrayals are rather one-sided. In the glee to tear down religion, stories are always focused on the "bad apples."The truth is that … [Read more...]

The Truth About Caste & Hinduism

The role of caste is a very big issue in Hinduism. It is the number one thing that non-Hindus use to criticize Hinduism. Lower caste Hindus are often converted away from Hinduism with promises of equality (whether or not that equality actually happens is questionable). The Hindu American Foundation has written a detailed essay on why it might be a mistake to align caste and Hinduism.From my own perspective the way caste discrimination is practiced is a problem...but do I think that because … [Read more...]

Another White Hindu Story

I saw this video posted on Facebook and I loved the story.It's amazing the different ways that people find themselves involved in Hinduism. You never know where life is taking you!  … [Read more...]

Using White Privilege for Good

View of Arunachala from temple in Tiruvannamalai

In the last few years I have been fortunate enough to be connected with many people who are exploring the ideas of racism and racial privilege. I had a lot of learning to do and it's an ongoing process as I learn to set aside my own opinions to really listen to the opinions of those whose voices are not as easily heard as mine. (Here are some great essays and cartoons to get you started if this is a new concept for you too!)Even when I'm not being racist myself and even though I'm not per … [Read more...]

The Bindi and the Job Interview

No, this isn't me at work. I have a uniform!

Over the summer I quit my office job to write full time. It turns out that I was a little premature in that decision and our budget is stretched far too tight for comfort right now. So I started looking for a part time job near our home to supplement my writing income. It had to be part time and it had to be close enough to our house for me to walk because my husband and I share one car.As I put in applications at Target, Subway, Game Stop, and grocery stores I started to wonder about my … [Read more...]