Garbhadhana: The Ritual of Conception

In Hinduism there are 16 major life rituals called Samskars or Sanskars (संस्कार) and one of them relates to a husband and wife conceiving a child. My husband and I want to have children and so this is the perfect opportunity to fulfill a samskar (although, I think the samskar counts as part of the child’s life!) When I was in India I picked up a copy of this book… It has a lot of long-winded essays about why more… Read more

Vishnu: Everything You Need To Know

Vishnu (Vish-nuu or Wish-nuu) is another member of the Hindu trinity. It is Vishnu who represents preservation. He maintains the world and so he is very popular for woship. A branch of Hinduism views Vishnu as the ultimate Lord of all. That branch is called Vaishnava. Many people who follow Vishnu in particular are highly devotional, hence the people that you’ll encounter who lose themselves in singing Hare Krishna; Hare Rama! Those are manifestations of Vishnu, the God who comes… Read more

Having a House

Perhaps home ownership is part of the “American dream.” Maybe there are places where owning your own home is not of that much import. To me, there’s really something about that sense of having your own tiny corner of the world that’s all yours. The idea of owning a home makes me think of security and having a place in this world, both literally and figuratively. Recently there was a conversation on A Practical Wedding about how many people my… Read more

Book Club: How To Become a Hindu (Chapter One)

The well respected Himalayan Academy and their guru Subramuniyaswami put out a book several years ago called How To Become a Hindu. Over the next few weeks I’ll be reading the chapters and discussing each one individually. Today we’re looking at the first chapter: Personal Encounters with Hinduism. I’m not sure why they chose to put this as the first chapter. It’s a lot of personal stories from people who went through Subramuniyaswami’s “ethical conversion” and how it helped them… Read more

Happy July 4th!

Today is the day that we Americans celebrate our independence and becoming our own country (I say that as though I were there in the 1770s, but growing up in the birthplace of the Revolutionary War will do that to you). You know, it strikes me as interesting that so many places have an independence day and that day is nearly always independence from British rule. Europe in general did a pretty stellar job taking over the planet. But all… Read more

Moral Relativism

Something you’ve probably noticed about me and that I get accused of a lot is moral relativism. And I realize that it is absolutely an issue for me. I have a lot of trouble declaring anything as definitively right or wrong. Most people have a boundary between dharmic and adharmic things and it’s a pretty clear line. I’m sure for different people there are varying degrees of clearness. I find myself often afraid to put myself entirely on one side… Read more

Fighting Fair

I’ve noticed something in comment debates on Facebook and here that has me concerned. Sometimes someone makes a statement that sounds really…different…from what you usually hear and accusations start that this person is not a “real” Hindu. They must be a Muslim trying to stir up trouble. I’m sure that can happen. That someone creates a fake account and claims to be a Hindu when he is not. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to assume that that’s… Read more

Shiva: Everything You Need To Know

Shiva (pronounced Sheeva or Sheewa) is a very important God in modern Hinduism. He is one of the three Gods of the Hindu trinity, who represent Creation, Preservation, and Destruction. Shiva is the destroyer. Not only the destroyer of creation when the time comes, but also the destroyer of ignorance and the destroyer of misery. There is an entire branch of Hinduism who puts Shiva as the One True God (Shivites/Shivaism). Why Worship Shiva * Stories * Symbolism * Holidays * How He Is Worshiped * Mantras and Bhajans  … Read more

Create a Pocket Altar

Take your deity with you to bring you peace wherever you travel! Even though I always know I have God in my heart, I really like having a small shrine  with me wherever I go. I can see it in my purse and instantly feel a calm joy come over me. I can take it out when staying with relatives or at a hotel and quietly perform a puja. This project is simple and easy to complete. You can also… Read more

Book Club: How To Become a Hindu (Introduction)

Other than this blog, the other really big resource for new Hindus is the Himalayan Academy and their books, magazine, and website. I have huge respect for them and I love their books. I’ve had How To Become a Hindu for many years. There are places where my approach differs from Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, but only a few. I think it will be very instructive for us to explore this handbook for born Hindus and new Hindus and discuss the… Read more

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