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7 years ago  ::  Jan 23, 2008 - 6:53PM #1
Agnes
Posts: 379
From what I am reading, it seems converts are unwelcome.  True?
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 23, 2008 - 7:03PM #2
gangajal
Posts: 835
Why would you say that? It is true that some Hindus think that it is impossible to convert to Hindu dharma. One can only be born to it. Then there are others think that there is no problem in converting.
Vivekananda says that one can convert to Hindu dharma.

"As to the case of born aliens, did you say? Why, born aliens have been converted in the past by crowds, and the process is still going on.In my own opinion, this statement not only applies to
aboriginal tribes, to outlying nations, and to almost all our conquerors before the Mohammedan conquest, but also to all those ... who find a special origin in the Puranas. I hold that they have been aliens thus adopted. Cermonies of expiation are no doubt suitable in the case of willing converts, returning to their Mother church, as it were; but on those who were alienated by conquest-- as in Kashmir and Nepal -- or on strangers wishing to join us, no penance should be imposed."

- Vivekananda (Complete Works V, p233, interview given in "Prabuddha Bharat", April, 1899)
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 23, 2008 - 7:42PM #3
Maya3
Posts: 928
No converts are welcome, I'm a convert.

Maya
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 23, 2008 - 8:18PM #4
Agnes
Posts: 379
Thank you for your replies.  Absolutely no offense was intended by my question.  Please forgive my clumsy attempt at a query.

"Others view Hinduism as an ethnicity more than as a religion and believe one can only become a Hindu by being born into a Hindu family. Such people tend to assume that only people with Indian ancestry can be Hindus." , Wikepedia. 
I realize there are groups that are open to converts such as ISKCON and ISDL, but are these  the acception and not the rule? 

Thanks for you help.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 23, 2008 - 9:28PM #5
Maya3
Posts: 928
No offense taken, Agnes.

No I don't think that ISCON and ISDL are exceptions.

If you feel that you are Hindu you are, if you belive in the Santana Dharma you are Hindu. You could choose to have ceremony where you take a spiritual name, but it's not neccessarry.

Where have you not felt welcome?

Maya
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 23, 2008 - 11:16PM #6
Agnes
Posts: 379
Hello Maya

  There is no place I have felt unwelcome.  It is reading about Hinduism that I found some hints  that perhaps indicate a westerner may not be accepted.   
  I know I can study and believe what I chose to be true, but I do not wish to walk the path completely alone.  Being a westerner, much of Hinduism seems foreign to me, I feel a bit like the fish out of water.  Yet I have read words that totally describe the beliefs I was born with, if that makes any sense.  How could I not want to embrace that which I was born knowing?

Thanks for your help.

A.
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2008 - 7:03AM #7
silence_speaks
Posts: 568
Hi,
      :) My personal view about converting to another religion is: One need not convert. Please note that it is "one need not" and not "one should not".

Now. Truth is one and is not Christian,Hindu etc. So in search of truth it is not necessary to "belong" to a "Group". in fact, belonging to a group, what ever be the group is more likely to take one away from Truth. Coz, the moment i associate with a group, i start looking at things through the colouring of those particular beliefs. I need to see things as they are. This is important.

Take up all religions and see the truth in them. I can gaurantee you that Hinduism is a direct way to realization. But a warning: if you get involved in ISKCON , you would most likely miss the point! You may decide not to agree... its your choice... but keep you intelligence alive ... Think and Verify everything.

Love!
Silence
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2008 - 7:07AM #8
Maya3
Posts: 928
Hi Agnes,
First, I just checked out your profile, what a beautiful, incredible song you have there. Who is it?

I know excactly how you feel. I'm also a westerner and I found Hinduism to be excactly what I have always believed, only I did not know that there was a religion that matched my thoughts.
Hinduism is an incredible religion and it is the closest thing I have ever read that explaines "the big question".

I also relate to feeling a little like a fish out of water though, Hinduism is interlinked with Indian culture that is very different from our western culture. The traditions and rituals are often linked with mythological stories that can also seem foreign to us.
I'm not sure where you live, but my advice is to see if there is an Ashram near you.
In my experience Ashrams have more of a mix of people and often a lot of westerners.
Try a couple of different ones though (if there are more than one in youre area) they can be radically different I have noticed :)
If there isn't an Ashram near you, see if you can find a yoga studio that teaches more than Hatha (postures), see if you find one that have Satsangs and scripture study.

Good Luck, let me know how it goes and what you find.

Maya
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2008 - 7:22AM #9
Maya3
Posts: 928
Good advice from Silence Speak. (good morning Silence, we are posting at the same time!)

I agree with Silence but I beg to differ slightly.
In principle I agree that yes all religions lead to the same goal so there really is no need to convert.
But a lot of Hindus ask this, because as a Hindu we are taught that all religions are equally valid.

In the west, most people are Christian or Jewish and even if you are not religious yourself, that is usually the religious perspective that you hear about.
If you should feel drawn to God, it is not as easy as it sounds to stay with or embrace your cultural heritage, if you don't feel connected to that theology.
Abrahamic beliefs (though they do get to the same goal eventually) are very, very different from Hindu beliefs and they are often contradictory and based on blind faith. They are not like Hindu belief that encourages scientific study, and meditation to see if you can find God yourself to see if what the scriptures say is correct.
Once you have found Hinduism it is almost impossible to feel that an abrahamic faith is enough, at least for me.
Honestly it feels flat and on the surface comparatelely.

Anyway, I agree with Silence on ISCON, I'm not that comfortable with them, but I'm not an expert.

Maya
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2008 - 9:35AM #10
Jm8
Posts: 784
Silence,

> Take up all religions and see the truth in them. I can gaurantee you that Hinduism is a direct way to realization. But a warning: if you get involved in ISKCON , you would most likely miss the point! You may decide not to agree... its your choice... but keep you intelligence alive ... Think and Verify everything.

can you prove that ISKCON/Gaudiya Vaisnavism is not offering a direct way to God realization?


Agnes,

this body-based discrimination is not based on scriptures, it's just a local tradition in some temples. Some of those priests preventing Western 'converts' to enter due to their skin color like to smoke, eat fish, etc. So much for the ritual purity.

Two of my friends, ISKCON devotees from Czech Republic, were visiting holy places in South India. In one temple some priests prevented them to enter due to their skin color. One of
them laid himself on the ground to pay dandavat pranama to the temple murti (image of God) from the entrance. Some of the priests started to laugh. The other devotee one was at once compelled to speak (by Paramatma, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramatman ).

He told them: "Do you know Mahaprabhu?" (i.e. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caitanya )

They replied: "Oh yes, he was a great saint, who visited this place (etc.)."

He said: "He's a devotee of Mahaprabhu so if you laugh at him, it's like laughing at Mahaprabhu."

Then they both left from the gate, with the speechless priests behind.

Hope this helps. Hare Krishna

"This Krishna Consciousness is a science to understand what is the difference between a dead body and a living body". (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

Your servant, bh. Jan

http://www.vrindavan-dham.com
http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz
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