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How to become a Hindu

How to become a Hindu
March 23, 2010, 07:08:10 PM
Sanatha Dharma is a path so broad, all encompassing, that gathers all human possibilities and their possible symbols towards a transcendental and objective reality.

However, in a historical conception, Hinduism can't be understood outside the society it emerged from, in the sense that its recognition needed both an identity, linked to ethnicity, as Indians, as well as a classification of functions inside such system, as castes.

Being the sensible religion that it is, it is natural that many westerner feel attracted to Hinduism. The opinions regarding conversion are diverse, it depends on the particular orientation or sect of Hinduism the adherent wishes to ascribe to,  through certain mechanisms and interpretation of rules like varna (duty, task, function, job) as a describer of caste. There are modern forms of Hinduism as the Arya Samaj or the Brahmo Samaj which are reformed forms of Hinduism, which are open to receive foreigners, but whose authority as legit forms of Hinduism is questioned by orthodoxy.  So, there are other Hindu teachers that advice to keep with one's original religion (Christianity as the Hinduism of westerns), while studying Hinduism as further knowledge.

I'm not very sure about the full validity of the next, but it is a great reading if you are interested in officially converting to Hinduism:

How to become a Hindu

Re: How to become a Hindu
March 24, 2010, 12:56:05 AM
I would be extremely wary of any Hindu sect that allows the conversion of foreigners.  Hinduism encompasses the whole social order, not just the religious order.  So those born without a caste are not really considered to be Hindus, regardless of their religious beliefs.  Most orthodox Hindus would encourage westerners to look towards their own religion, like you say, and particularly the Orthodox Church given that it still preserves its integral forms.

Re: How to become a Hindu
March 24, 2010, 05:28:44 AM
I would be extremely wary of any Hindu sect that allows the conversion of foreigners.  Hinduism encompasses the whole social order, not just the religious order.  So those born without a caste are not really considered to be Hindus, regardless of their religious beliefs.  Most orthodox Hindus would encourage westerners to look towards their own religion, like you say, and particularly the Orthodox Church given that it still preserves its integral forms.

To become a Hindu it is not necessary to be Indian or belong to a caste. I think you are right about certain Hindu "sects". Some "sects" are modern inventions especially post-1947.

I am not aware as to who are these Hindus who discourage foreigners from becoming Hindu. Although on the other hand, it is possible because firstly when Hindus first let the British explore Hinduism, the British used propaganda to subvert the religion and it's effects can be seen even today on Hindu society. Secondly many Westerners are gullible and follow just about any New Age hippie stuff. Traditional Hinduism is hard to follow in daily life, even most Hindus are not aware of the deeper traditions.

I recommend reading works of Ramana Maharishi, Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Stephen Knapp, Adi Shankara and Sri Ramanujacharya.

I recommend visiting Ramakrishna Mission Ashram(closest we have to traditionalist Hinduism).

http://www.stephen-knapp.com/

http://www.arunachala-ramana.org/

http://www.vivekananda.org/index2.asp

http://belurmath.org/home.htm

http://www.ramanuja.org/

http://www.saranagathi.org/images/ramanuja.jpg

Re: How to become a Hindu
March 25, 2010, 05:08:44 AM
I would be very wary as a Westerner of pretending to be something that you're not. Read the Vedas, meditate and learn, but don't become a windu (white Hindu wannabe). Just follow the religion without the drama

Re: How to become a Hindu
March 27, 2010, 09:54:06 PM
I take ideas from eastern religions particularly Hinduism and Taoism but I do not call myself a complete devotee. Once you're under one "ism" you pretty much have your beliefs told to you rather than actually discovered. Though I try and encourage people to look at Taoism because of its encouragement of a hollistic viewpoint. Both yin and yang are necessary to our existence, rather than just calling everything we don't like "evil" and everything we do like "good" and letting them battle it out. Most indigenous religions are built upon reaction to local environment which is why they seem to often have trancendental wisdom. This doesn't mean you have to start calling yourself a Hindu or worshiping Gods though, just something we should encourage rather than the binary Christian vs Atheist choice that most people in the west seem to go through.

Re: How to become a Hindu
March 27, 2010, 11:56:13 PM
I think it makes most sense to use philosophy as a language that interprets any value or metaphysical systems, including religions.

Transcendental idealism is the root of all Romanticism, Paganism, Hinduism and naturalist beliefs -- basically, all the good stuff.

Your other options are dualism (iNsAnE iN dA mEmBrAnE), materialism (lame), and various forms of pantheism mated with superstition (good for tribal rituals, primitive cultures, killing witch doctors and living in perpetual illiterate poverty).

Re: How to become a Hindu
March 28, 2010, 11:17:26 AM
I think it makes most sense to use philosophy as a language that interprets any value or metaphysical systems, including religions.

Transcendental idealism is the root of all Romanticism, Paganism, Hinduism and naturalist beliefs -- basically, all the good stuff.

Your other options are dualism (iNsAnE iN dA mEmBrAnE), materialism (lame), and various forms of pantheism mated with superstition (good for tribal rituals, primitive cultures, killing witch doctors and living in perpetual illiterate poverty).

This sort of follows here

"The Western mentality has given rise to four metaphysical perspectives which are either perfect or at least satisfactory as the case may be, namely: Platonism, including Neo-Platonism; Aritotelianism; Scholasticism; Palamism.

A question: why was Kierkegaard neither Platonist, nor Aristotelian, nor Scholastic, nor Palamite?  Is it because he was a Vedantist or a Mahayanist?  Certainly not.  Consequence: his doctrine is null and void."  Schuon

Note that two of the above mentioned metaphysical perspectives are rooted in the Christian revelation.  Transcendental idealism is a relatively accurate intuition, however, divorced from tradition it cannot function.  Of the three traditions mentioned only one is legitimate, namely Hinduism.  Romanticism is a reaction against the intellectual failings of the enlightenment, however it does rejoin with traditions founded on the legitimate metaphysical perspectives mentioned above.  Paganism is a term which carries very little meaning, but if it does refer to anything it is the erroneously naturalistic remnants of the Greek and Roman religions which existed immediately prior to the downfall of those civilizations.

It is wrong to compare a real tradition (Hinduism), which possesses a genuine metaphysics founded on intellectual intuition, with the fragmentary concepts of various western 'philosophies' or with the shattered remnants of dead traditions.  if Hinduism can be compared with any Western doctrines it is with those mentioned by Schuon, and even in this case numerous reservations must be made.