A Book For Learning Pujas and Prayers

I discovered this book browsing Amazon and last week I ordered it to see what it's like...I have to tell you, this is a really cool book!It's designed to teach children puja steps and prayers to various Gods, so it is clear and bright and easy to read. Unfortunately, in the Amazon version it does not come with the audio CD for hearing the pronunciation of the Sanskrit. Another version is available from their website.There is lots of detail about pujas and how to perform each … [Read more...]


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Personal Stories of Hindu Gurus

A tradition that encourages complete devotion and worship of a human teacher is ripe for exploitation.I believe in gurus, but I also believe in always keeping your eyes open to make sure that you aren't being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous one. [Hindu-blog.com has an excellent post on avoiding fake swamis]When we think we have found the answers, or found someone who has the answers, it can be easy to dismiss things we are uncomfortable with. I believe in spiritual teachers, but I … [Read more...]


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White Hindu Conversations: Part Four

The office where I work doesn't have a lot of diversity mostly because it's so tiny. There are about ten full time people and occasional contractors. I'm the only woman in this branch. The only person of color is a co-worker who is half Indian and half Irish.In a money-saving effort, I don't usually go out to lunch with the guys, so I don't get to have very meaningful conversations with them.A while back, though, I did decide to go with them to lunch. I was in the car with four boys and … [Read more...]


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White Hindu Conversations: Part Three

Car broke down Tuesday night. We got it pulled into a parking lot and I went into the Subway restaurant to wait for a tow. (It was a long wait, the weather here has been a bit intense, though it's much worse in other parts of the US).I ordered a veggie sub and then an Indian woman came out of the back. She wasn't directly serving me, but stood next to the girl who was and we kept smiling at each other. Finally when I was paying she got the courage to ask, "Are you Indian?""No," I said, … [Read more...]


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What To Wear to a Hindu Temple

Whenever I talk about clothes, someone always mentions that Indian clothes are not the same as Hindu clothes. You don't have to wear a sari or a dhoti to be a Hindu. Which is true, of course.But it gets a little more complicated than that.Because Hinduism is so closely tied to India and became what it is within the backdrop of Indian culture, Indian clothes are pretty ubiquitous at temples. My experience has been that if I don't wear Indian clothes for worship, I feel like a tourist and … [Read more...]


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Non-Desi Hindu: What I Look Like to Others

Our friend Andrea noticed an interesting thread on Reddit a while back and pointed it out to me. It's a group for American born Desis (people of south Asian heritage) and they are discussing how they feel about non-Desi Hindus (or other Indian religions).http://www.reddit.com/r/ABCDesis/comments/1tfva0/nondesis_practicing_desi_religions/I've said before, I feel like my experience most closely mirrors the experiences of American born Desis. I relate to them. I think they and I are working … [Read more...]


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Reading the Upanishads: Kena Chapter Three

We are doing a scripture study together: reading along through some scriptures and discussing the passages. Today is the third post on the Kena Upanishad. The previous scripture was the Isha Upanishad (find all Scripture posts here)Here are a few different translations of the third section of the Kena Upanishad... Chapter III 1 Brahman, according to the story, obtained a victory for the gods; and by that victory of Brahman the gods became elated. They said to themselves: “Verily, this v … [Read more...]


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Why Do Hindu Beliefs Vary Widely? [Google Questions Answered]

Curious to know what people were wondering about Hindus and Hinduism, I went to Google and entered some prompts. For example, I typed "Why do Hindus" and then paused to see what questions would come up. Today's Question is...Why Do Hindu Beliefs Vary Widely?Many religions have a clear history that's easy to trace. Many are founded by one person or inspired by one person. Hinduism is not like that.In ancient times there were simply beliefs and practices. The people in what is now … [Read more...]


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I Am Not a Statistic

I'm just me. A single human being trying to make sense of the world that I find myself in.I can't speak for other Hindus or even other Advaitans. I have my understanding that makes sense to me, but all I can know is my own heart.There are times when I feel like groups want to claim me for their side, want me to espouse their philosophy, want to add me to their ledger book. But I'm not just a non-Indian Hindu. I'm one person who lives a Hindu life to the best of her ability.Even as I … [Read more...]


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