Panel: Honoring or Appropriation?

My friend Andrea is often my consultant when it comes to issues of cultural mis-appropriation. She and my husband were the first to teach me about these issues. I have learned so much from both of them about racism and how what I do could be seen as inappropriate or stealing. I am so grateful for their input!Andrea found this wonderful podcast and sent it to me. It is a panel discussion among Pagans of various traditions (and a white devotee of Kali!) about cultural misappropriation. This is … [Read more...]


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Best of The White Hindu

Because there are some new readers I wanted to highlight a few of the posts that I'm most proud of. I know there's a ton of material here since I write a LOT, so this may help you sort through the chaos a bit...How To Explain HinduismReincarnation: The Truth About Past Lives and More Myths About ReincarnationWhat Makes Me A Hindu? And Why I Am A HinduBeware GurusKrishna is a Myth; Jesus is a MythCan I Convert to Hinduism?Your First Visit To A Hindu TempleNo, I Am N … [Read more...]


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Flashback: Asking Permission

This is a post from my blog before it became a Patheos blog..  Thursday, May 10, 2012Asking PermissionWhen starting to practice a religion that is not your native one, it is natural to look to natives for insight. You want to learn how to behave and how best not to stick out as you master new practices.There is also a tendency to see ones self as lower than the "real" people of the religion. It feels as though we need the permission of a native practicer for every thing … [Read more...]


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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...]


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Sringeri Week: The Guru Knows My Name!

A big change is coming up in my life!When we arrived at Sringeri (location of my guru, His Holiness Sri Bharati Tirtha) some of the people who were helping coordinate our stay called me Ambaa. It must have been my new friend Sundar who told them about my Hindu name. In real life only one or two people call me that.I've debated internally for years about my name and whether I should officially change it. After all, it is pretty standard practice when converting to any religion to take on … [Read more...]


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Casting Call: New Hindus Ages 16-24

I got a message on my Facebook page from a casting director who is working on a show about religious conversion. I'm sure they won't have much trouble finding people to talk about joining Judaism, or Christianity, or Islam, but it might be more challenging to find people who can talk about becoming Hindu.I really want us to be represented!So if you are new to Hinduism or fairly new and between ages 16 and 24, I hope you'll consider getting in touch with the casting director. I'm not sure … [Read more...]


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Which Is It?

You may have noticed that I talk about how long I've been a Hindu in different ways at different times. Was I born Hindu or did I convert? As with many things, it depends a lot on how you look at it and so I shift how I talk about it depending on context.I like to use the word "convert" because it expresses the unique challenges that come up for people who have cultural or racial barriers to the religion they are practicing. It's true, of course, that most Hindu sects don't have a … [Read more...]


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Conditional Hinduism

There are times when it feels like I'm only "allowed" to be a Hindu as long as I agree with a particular person/guru/philosophy. It's as though some people are happy to count me as a Hindu just so long as I never say anything that contradicts what they believe. Then suddenly I'm just the "ignorant American" trying to oppress others (as is my nature, apparently).Is it racist of me to think that my understanding of something could be just as valid as an Indian Hindu's understanding? Am I not … [Read more...]


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Book Club: How to Become a Hindu (Chapter Ten)

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 tenth chapter: Nine Questions About Hinduism(Book can also be downloaded free here: http://www.himalayanacademy.com/view/how-to-become-a-hindu)This chapter is the FAQs of Hinduism, basically. The story goes that a group of teenagers sent in … [Read more...]


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