Ever since Julia Roberts “converted” to Hinduism publicly and announced that she is now a practicing Hindu, interest in non-Indian Hindus has grown.
The entire Roberts-Moder family, she reveals, goes to temple together to “chant and pray and celebrate. I’m definitely a practicing Hindu,” says Roberts, who grew up with a Catholic mother and Baptist father.
This piece of news has been both welcomed and criticized by different people for different reasons. Moreover, people find the picture of a non-Indian Hindu a bit strange. But can you have a Blonde or a Black or a Latino Hindu?
A commenter (GSCH216) on this article writes emphatically:
My own mother drifted away from Christianity when she was in her twenties and discovered Hinduism. She still practices and has raised her entire family Hindu as well (that being my sister, three brothers and I). I have blonde hair and green eyes, so I certainly don’t look like the traditional Hindu but that proves how appearances can be decieving. I still practice my faith (and am now the same age my miter was when she began) and I commend Julia for being so open about it. While I’ve never had any issues from any ignorant individuals or prejudice tossed my way, being in the spotlight is a different story. I just hope no one feels unecessarily “threatened” by her choice of religion or decision to no longer follow Christianity. After all, whether we choose to admit it pr not, at the heart of each faith there are similarities. I was taught to accept everyone no matter which they follow.
Some point out that Hindu is a geographical or a cultural term. Therefore, only Indians can be Hindus. I differ with that interpretation. To me, Hindu is a Spiritual distinction.
One who has opened up the Spiritual Pursuits and has no intention of closing off on the influences that may come in, has no intention to stop any experimentation / expression to the quest and longing for Liberation from all conditioning and all limitations – is a Hindu.
Honestly, anyone who has any interest in closing the doors of his Spiritual house is not even Spiritual. A Hindu is a Hindu not because he wanted to be distinct and created a room and put a door around him. But, because others started constructing walls everywhere, and at some point of time, the Hindu found that the walls other constructed somehow became his boundaries as well.
Hindus may have no issues including Jesus in their pantheon if it weren’t for the Christians and how they have used Jesus to convert gullible Hindus to their version of narrow, aggressive and exclusive ideological mess.
So, I consider anyone who is walking the Spiritual path sans any ideology and belief to be a Hindu. Hinduism is not a religion, because religion is the lowest concept that man has come up with in terms of his well being. Hinduism is Dharma. Dharma is the Cosmic Law. Now, Hinduism did not “create” the Cosmic Law, nor can we say that we are the only ones who can “be” the Cosmic law. The reason why Hinduism is Dharma is because no other set of people went about understanding Cosmos and Creation with as open a mind and sans any interpretations as the Hindus.
That is why there are so many hues to Hindus. One who worships 10 Gods and Goddesses every morning and throughout the day – is a Hindu. One who says there is no God but only Conscious Intelligence – is a Hindu. One who swears by Shiva is a Hindu. One who is besotted by Krishna is a Hindu.
Since Creator’s hand is in every atom of Creation, one who looks at the stone and marvels at the creator’s ingenuity and worships the rock – is a Hindu. One who looks at his parents and feels they are God-like, is a Hindu as well. One who wants to have nothing to do with prayers is a Hindu as well.
Anyone who has a longing to know the Truth of his own life and Creation is a Hindu. One who has found solace in some make-believe story has certainly found a religion, but cannot remain a Hindu for very long. Before long, someone with a more interesting story with more frills and music and performance will come and wean him/her away.
If your soul longs for liberation, you will have no option but to be open and unbounded. There is no reason to go and convert of go through a ritual. Simply find your path and what works for you comfortably and get to your liberated state.
In that sense, I found it interesting when I came across lots of blogs by non-Indian Hindus yesterday. Please do check them out.
- Western Hindu
- The Accidental Hindu
- The Shatkona
- Adorations to Amma by Stacy
- American Shakta
- Western Sanatan Dharma
- My journey to Sanatan Dharma
- Anglo Hindu
- Daniel’s theyuha (has another blog – Papal Mass – to correct wrong teachings on Hinduism in Catholic Churches)
- The White Hindu
- Western Sri Vaishanava
The perspectives in these blogs are interesting and very different. They have looked at what it means to be a “Hindu” in their own way. Whether you agree with someone or not, it is important that we learn how others are thinking. The writings are very enriching indeed.
If you have anymore links of other blogs by non-Indian Hindus, please do share them below in the comments.