How I became a Hindu – part three

Continued from How I became a Hindu – part two which follows How I became a Hindu – part one.

Lord Shiva

Nataraja, Shiva the cosmic dancer.

Nataraja, Shiva the cosmic dancer.

One day, when surfing the Internet I came across a Nataraja, the image of Shiva as the cosmic dancer on eBay. Almost on impulse I purchased it. I found myself impelled to read up on the symbolism. The symbolism of the dance of creation, preservation and destruction struck a chord with me and immediately felt right.

I found that whenever I passed the Nataraja I could see that this image represented God, and I felt compelled to thank God for all that exists.

I live near to a Hindu temple, and I decided to visit. At first I was very nervous about just turning up, but I was made very welcome and the Pandit explained many things to me. I also bought and studied many books on Hinduism, as I knew that I had been called to this path. One of the books I bought was “How to become a Hindu”, which is published by the Himalayan Academy and available online. This book answered many of the questions: can a Westerner become a Hindu, What is Hinduism, and so on. A little later I decided to follow a more structured study.

Further Study, the Chinmaya Mission

Chinmaya e-vedanta

Chinmaya e-vedanta

The obvious choice might have been the Himalayan Academy Master Course. This was my first instinct, but instead I followed the Chinmaya Mission e-vedanta course. I think that the reasons I chose this were twofold.

Firstly because I was prejudiced against the Himalayan Academy being based in Hawaii. I did not feel that an American-based organisation could really be an authentic Hindu organisation. It seemed that an India-based one would have a better “badge of authenticity”.

Secondly, I knew that Chinmaya was a Smarta organisation. I understood this as meaning that they saw many images of God as valid, and I think I still had not understood the problems with universalism.

The course was excellent, and I have no regrets about taking it. I learned a lot about Hindu concepts and established a regular practice of puja. I have written more about this in a previous post. In the end I decided that I would not continue this course past foundation level. I had discovered that their philosophy is impersonalist, believing that God is ultimately impersonal and that the manifestations as Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha, etc. are just higher levels of illusion. Whereas there are some people for whom this is a genuine path, I feel that the ultimate reality is not the  impersonal Brahman but Lord Shiva as a personal God. Also, I was getting greater feelings of spirituality from my bhakti (devotion) than from the study and contemplation.

After the year’s study I found that I was still thumbing through the Himalayan Academy’s “How to Become a Hindu”, and getting more from it on each re-reading. I now count myself as a Hindu, but I acknowledge that past a certain point it is necessary to proceed within a certain lineage or school. I decided to go back to what I first instinctively felt to be right, now confirmed by more informed knowledge, and study the Himalayan Academy Master Course.

The Himalayan Academy

The Himalayan Academy master Course Books

The Himalayan Academy Master Course is available free online, but I decided to follow it formally and purchase the books. As I mentioned in my post about the first impressions of the course, I was impressed by the physical quality of the books, as well as the content.

I have also discovered that my prejudice against a Hawaiian-based sampradaya was unfounded. The Saiva Siddhanta Church is part of a genuine lineage, and many of the students and members are of Indian origin. The master course certainly does not teach a Westernised version of Hinduism, but traditional teachings on the Nandinatha Sampradaya, a true Saiva lineage of Sanatana Dharma (the eternal way, Hinduism).

As I continue the course I get more and more spiritually from the clear and inspiring writing of Gurudeva than I had got from my previous course. The direct and simple style, full of devotion suits me better than the rather academic style of the Chinmeya course. Also, there is an online group for people who are officially taking the master course. This makes me feel as though I am part of the organisation, and it is very helpful to discuss lessons with fellow students. There is a real feeling of shared devotion to Lord Shiva, that we are on a spiritual path together.

The Mandir

Our Mandir

Our Mandir

Part of Hindu practice involves regular trips to the mandir. Having attended for some time, my wife and I applied to become official members and were accepted. Since first attending, the old Mandir has been replaced with a new one, and I feel that we are now fully accepted.

I find that I am beginning to get more spiritually from visiting the Mandir. I think that my regular spiritual practice tunes me in to the presence of the Devas in the mandir, and the general holiness of the place. I also intend to make visiting other Mandirs a part of my spiritual practice.

The Future

Aum represents past, present and future

Aum represents many things; past, present and future and more

Who knows what my future path will be? I think that it is extremely likely that I will continue with the Saiva Siddhanta church and when ready become a full member. I do know that I am guided by Shiva, helped by Ganesha and Murugan. I feel that I may also be guided by gurus beyond the physical word, as I describe in my “books, leaves and Gurus” post.

I am reading Loving Ganesha, by Gurudeva Subramuniyaswami. This excellent book has helped me realise that Lord Ganesha can help with day to day problems. Sometimes the asking for help is all that you need to realise that what appeared to be a problem is no problem at all.

Whatever the future path has in store I am certain that I will increase my understanding, spiritual awareness and become closer to Lord Shiva and his great Devas, Ganesha and Murugan.

Aum Shivarpanamastu

54 responses to “How I became a Hindu – part three

  1. Pingback: How I became a Hindu - part two « Western Hindu

  2. Chris,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I am a Hindu by birth and these are my comments on your postings.

    Hindu way of living (Sanatana Dharma/Hinduism) is not tightly associated with Hindu culture/tradition. My point here is to see the Hindu Message and Hindu Culture as two different things.

    For example, temple going is more of a Hindu Culture than Hindu Message (Hindu way of living).

    Also, some Hindu practices like “banning some people from entering temples” is a bad Hindu practice which did a great damage to Hindu Message.

    Just like any other culture in the world, the Hindu Culture has changed according to the time but luckily the Hindu Message remained intact.

    So, try to emphasize on the Hindu Message and go easy with Hindu Culture.

    Thank you,
    Vasu

  3. Chris,

    Youve really touched me with this story. Ive recently become a Hindu. I feel like our stories are very simmilair in that I was raised in an extremley Christan household in a tiny town in Ohio. I am currently going to University in Cincinnati where I have met most of my very best and closest friends who a good percentage are from India. I started out with a slight curiosity of the religion and started asking questions as I was also given false and half truths of the religion. Now though, Ive become the groups Puajri, lol. I have never before experienced such love of god as I have before though growing up I was always religious but now I can truthfully say that everything just feels right.

    Thank you for your absolutely wonderful tale I really enjoyed hearing of a case so similair to mine.

    John

    • Am also a hindu soul suffered so much bcoz of christianity … THEY ARE PSYCHIC AND BRAINWASHED …

  4. Hi Chris

    Looks like you have been really searching for God in a lot of places. I am glad to know that you are not an atheist after your search.

    Can I suggest a simpler way to God? In fact you can take it as a challenge.

    Here is what you should do.

    1. List out all the Gods, Gurus and abstract things such as consciousness, self etc. you have ever heard of

    2. Put the name of Jesus at the end of the list

    3. Choose a praying room where there are absolutely no religious symbols.

    4. When you are alone in this room and have time for prayer, kneel down and think of the all mighty things that God (whoever he is) has done in this universe and in your life.

    4. Pray (loud enough for you to hear) to each of these Gods and Gurus one by one a prayer that could be as follows. Let the prayer come from your heart.

    Dear God the creator of everything

    You know I’ve been searching for you for a long long time. I have been through a lot of experiences but I have never really asked you directly. If God your name is (name in the list) please let me know now.

    Let this prayer come from your heart. Just say it the way you want to say it.

    5. Wait for a few minutes before proceeding with the next name on the list. Give each God the same amount of time.

    Having spent so much time in search of God I am sure you will be able to spare an hour or two for this challenge.

    Do let me know if you find anything.

    May God have grace on you

    Edison

    • Of course this type of post comes from the Christian-Islamic view that there is only one way. I will do it though if you will too, just to satisfy your curiosity. I will limit the list however as “all the Gods, Gurus and abstract things such as consciousness, self etc. I have ever heard of” would take a long time and include many obscure and largely irrelevant gurus ans avatars.

    • Well, I have done now. It was not at all surprising that when I prayed to Lord Shiva I could feel his power, and knew that he is everything, even my own soul. I could feel his love and care, and magnificence behind every atom in the universe. I could see him as the source and destination. I was also not surprised that Lord Ganesh gave me the feeling of a spiritual friend and supporter. From Lord Murugan I felt a mysterious remoteness, but knew that he would help me some day.

      I was rather surprised from the strong response I felt praying to Ma Durga; I felt almost a rebuke for not following my path. I could feel the power to destroy evil, and knew that if I followed Lord Shiva I would not need her help. I was also surprised that when I prayed to Sariswati I had a feeling of golden light and that I was playing a stringed instrument (which I don’t play in this life). Krishna gave me less of a reaction than I might have supposed, just a playful smile.

      What surprised me most was when I prayed to Gurus. Though I know that they can sometimes carry on being a guru from beyond the grave I did not expect any response. Praying to Guru Nanak I had the feeling that he was saying “whatever path you follow be steadfast”. When I prayed to Jesus I had an image of him taking be by the hand and leading me to a Mandir, saying “this is where you belong in this life, you have another guru to follow”.

      I definitely got the impression that this was something to do only once, to satisfy the curiosity of Christians.The purpose being served to do so again would be to deviate from my path. Out of interest did you try it yourself Edison?

    • hope u get the point

      “I became a Christian and i found God
      Then i became a Muslim and i found God
      Next i became a Buddhist and that time too i found God
      this went on…till i tried all “religions” and found God
      So i decided to become Hindu again as it was Sanathana Dharma only which said ” All paths lead to the Lord”

      -Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa

      So is it the “religion” or the Individual responsible for reaching the Almighty?

      • It is both. The purpose of religion is to provide a guiding path to reach Him, but it is the individual’s responsibility to seek the best path and follow it.

    • @ Edison,

      Clever trick that, putting the name of Jesus at the end of the list and not in the middle or indeed at the beginning. Just so that the focus on Jesus lingers in the mind.
      Somehow tricks and deviousness does not always succeed. Gets found out.

      Can anyone be certain the Jesus who spoke to Tandava was not the true one?

  5. Dear Chris ,It was nice reading your post,especially,the part where you described the Experiment.Thanks to true Hindu ,too,for giving us what Sri Ramakrishna said.It is very true,too.
    About the Chinmaya Mission;I am glad you also learnt the first step through them.Many Hindu children in my generation learnt our prayers ,bhajans,and mainly the Bhagavad Gita ,through Chinmaya’s Balavihar.It gave us such a mooring that its effects is present even now,when we have become adults.
    The Chinmaya mission’s work at a time when most schools were run by Christian Missionaries was invaluable in strengthenning Sanatana Dharma. I don’t know if you have come across Sri Adi Shankara’s Bhaja Govindam Slokam.While it has a lot from the Advaitic Philosophy,it also speaks of Bhakthi to as a path to Salvation.He says “what/How will grammer [meaning intellectual pursuits]help you,when you have not surrendered to the Almighty{in the sloka,’Govinda’.}
    I learnt this and many other slokas[on various Devatas like Sri Ganesha,Lord Shiva,Sri Krishna,etc. from Chinmaya Mission as a child in Balavihar,and even today,it is evergreen in my memory.
    I am happy that you too,have had them helping you in the beginning.

    • Thank you Sita,
      I learned a lot from the Chinmaya course, and the Bhaja Govindam was one of the texts that we studied – in fact the one we studied in most detail. I am grateful to them for giving me both a foundation of knowledge and for starting me in a regular Sadhana. It is really good that they are doing so much in India. I think that the past few decades and the next few will be key to Hinduism in India. Missionaries are making a large push now to convert as many people as possible using promises of wealth. I think that in another half century or maybe sooner India will be as much of an economic power as many Western nations, and they won’t be able to use their comparative wealth either as an inducement or to point to the “rewards” for being Christian (when they do this they always point to the United States, which is 78% Christian rather than Guatemala that is 99.9% Christian).

      Though Christianity is still growing they know a lot of its fate in the future will depend on their success in India and China. They would like these countries to be financing Christian missionaries in the future.

  6. Hi Chris

    Thanks for trying out my suggestion.

    Honestly, I haven’t tried that ‘experiment’ myself. But I do not believe that there is any need for me to do that as Jesus has already told me that he is the only way to follow – No, not as written in the Bible but the way he told me personally.

    But I did suggest it to you since you believe that all paths lead to God. So, it would not be wrong for you to try that prayer.

    Of course, I am not asking you to repeat that experiment again. I do not know how God plans things to be. But I do know that the Jesus you have mentioned is not the Jesus I know.

    Thanks again Chris

    Edison

    • I can see that you require people of other faiths to put theirs to a test that you will not put your own to. This is not surprising to me, I find that a lot of Christians are not prepared to test their own faith. So often its based on fear, and that foundation only lasts as long as the followers are afraid to contemplate even the possibility of anything else. By the way, I believe that I could take one of many roads if I was going to drive to London, but that does not mean that I should set out in a random direction or that they all will take me the whole way or as quickly. Some may need backtracking.

  7. Well said Chris.
    Chris,have you come across Sivanandalahiri,Siva panchakshara Slokam and Suvarnamala stuti?These were also written by Adi Shankara On Shiva.They are beautiful.
    Another point,If I may,is that when you worship Shiva,you also worship Ambal,likewise when She is worshipped ,Shiva is also worshipped.[the Ardhanaari Concept]
    hope you don’t mind me telling this,but I thought it would help you on your Journey.

  8. Hi Chris,

    Very glad that you have found the right path. May GOD Bless you.

    Wish I can personally meet and speak to you but I am located in South East Asia.

    Take care.

    Regards,
    Ravi

  9. a Video gift for you Chris :)

    Its Rudrastakam with english translations sung by Pujaniye Shri Rameshbhai Ojha

    [Tandava: inline video changed to link] http://goo.gl/s2lX7

  10. Once you’ve found Himalayan Academy, you need nothing more. I remember meeting Gurudeva, Subramuniyaswami some some 38 years ago, and knowing then and there my search was over. Lucky you.

  11. Dear Chris, Thanks for sharing your personal search to the world. I am from India and belong to a Smarta Brahmin lineage. Our hearty welcome to you and your wife to explore the Self through the Sanatana Dharma teachings. I am not an expert in Hinduism but am very interested in the spiritual aspect of our existence. You may visit our website. I shall be delighted to correspond with you on topics in this regard. Wishes, KK

  12. Hi Chris.

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story, it is most interesting and I think that a lot of people will be able to gain something personal from it.

    I did find it quite amusing when Edison tried to convert you, it is almost as if he didn’t even read your article.

    Anton.

  13. Every hindu has to read the life story of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and his experiments with the religion.

  14. I somehow found ‘eternal hell’ to be totally disgusting, that too when it was imposed on people who lived before christ’s time. At the same time i do not accept ‘radial universalism’ also. There is a right path definitely, but if someone does not follow it then they will not go to hell but get a chane in the next birth. It is surprising how not even one school in the west thought about reincarnation, while the east is based on that entirely.

    Youir post on your ‘journey’ was very interesting to read.

  15. Sorry, i meant ‘radical universalism’ in the above comment.
    also ‘chance’ instead of ‘chane’ .(my ‘c’ key is apparently stubborn)

  16. Pingback: My Hindu Name, Tandava « Western Hindu

  17. surya, chicago

    friends, please explore and learn the doctrine of non-dualism (advaita). i was paralysed with fear when i suddenly understood the concept after some initial difficulty. soonafter all my doubts vanished permanently.now am blissful indeed.

    i love http://www.himalayanacademy.com

  18. surya, chicago

    also, google, david frawley, aizonaand frank morales, nebraska. these are other caucasian hindus spreading the faith as hindu gurus. they have their own ashrams and you can visit them on the web..truth prevails..aum..

  19. Im so glad im a hindu.

    Despite being a Bhramin, my parents never stopped me from praying in a church, mosque or a gurudwara…. My best bud is a “dalit” and i still have food at his home and go out with him….. They never told me which god to follow and which one to leave.

    im so glad i atleast have true “religious freedom”… i like the way it is.. free, primitive, timeless and grand! Like the sun, the stars, mother earth and oceans. and i will HATE IT if Hinduism ever became a managed enterprise like christianity where someone will tell me how and who to pray.

    @ Chris, go to the Himalayas mate, when you get the chance – specially by the river ganges during the evening prayer at haridwar/rishikesh. Your soul will become free.

    @ Edison.. try as a tourist mate…. visiting the place, maybe your soul will become free too. And hey, Christianity isnt wrong… your proclamation thats its the only way – thats wrong.

  20. Thank you for this blog, I was brought up an atheist but have always had nagging feelings of being removed from something of great importance. I first encountered Hindu culture at university where the majority of my fellow students were either Hindu or Muslim (it was a maths course – not very popular with westerners!) and later on I was privileged to travel to both Nepal and Sri Lanka where I learned a little more. I was led to believe that what I know as Hinduism was only for people born to Indian ancestry so I have always skated around the edges; yoga, meditation and so on while essentially practising Buddhism or Western Paganism. I still retained an interest in Hinduism and so I don’t believe it was entirely by accident that I found your blog. I now have some serious thinking and reading to do but thank you for giving me hope again.

  21. I enjoy hearing the stories of how others discovered Hinduism. I’ve been on this path for about seven years, five years with my Satguru Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. You can read how I met Her on my myspace link. I’ve had a very similiar journey to yours. I too was brought up Christian and did not “feel” God in that religion. I then went through an atheist/agnostic phase, but was always curious to understand the world that I lived in. I wanted it to make sense to me and knew that the answers were out there for me to seek out. I also believed in love of all and had always followed my heart trusting love. I deciphered that anything that stemmed out of fear was not Truth. I wanted to understand myself and in the process of trying to answer “Who am I?” I ended up finding God.

    There were two key points on my journey that drew me to Hinduism. I can’t remember which happened first. One was a paperback at a booksale that caught my interest. It “Swami Satchidananda”, an autobiography about him. I read it and fell in love with the Hindu philosophy and was hungry to read more. I ended up reading “An Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda. That became one of my all time favorite spiritual books. That cinched it. I felt like I had come home, found my way.

    The other turning point was when Mother Kali came to me through a psychic and told me that She was my Mother and is always with me. It was totally unexpected and so out of the blue! I didn’t even know who she was, nor did the psychic either (She was Buddhist.). I at the time knew nothing of the Hindu religion and was only vaguely familiar with few dieties such as Krishna, Ganesha and Shiva, but that’s pretty much it. I had yet to read anything about Hinduism at that time. I had to Google “Kali” to find out if she was for real or what she was all about. When I read up on this Goddess, Kali felt very familiar to me, like someone I already knew. Once I chanted her mantra “om kali ma”, I felt my heart go deeper, aching for her more. I then felt like she was this beautiful, smiling, radiant Indian woman that is always with me. A few years later, I think it was 3 years, I met Mother Kali incarnate Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. Here she was this smiling, radiant Indian woman. :D Everyday is a miracle since I knew my Satguru.

  22. pandiarajan

    Dear sir,
    I am sorry to say “Perhaps,you are all mistaken who believe that How I became a Hindu,as you can not,unless God SHIVA is pleased with you.IT IS GOD SHIVA WHO IDENTIFIED YOU TO BESTOW HIS BLISS.

  23. Pingback: Western Hindu

  24. Hi Chris, nice to read your story toward the path of liberation. Regards from indonesia.

  25. Pingback: Two Western Hindus following Vaishnava path | Western Hindu

  26. please read the following what swamy vivekananda said

    The following story is one which he related recentl regarding the practice of fault – finding among creeds: “A frog lived in a well. It had lived there for a long time. It was born there and brought up there, and yet was a little, small frog. Of course the evolutionists were not there to tell us whether the frog lost its eyes or not, but, for our story’s sake, we must take it for granted that it had eyes, and that it every day cleansed the waters of all the worms and bacilli that lived in it, with an energy that would give credit to our modern bacteriologists. In this way it went on and became a little sleek and fat — perhaps as much so as myself. Well, one day another frog that lived in the sea, came and fell into the well. “`Whence are you from?’
    “`I am from the sea.’
    “`The sea? How big is that? Is it as big as my well?’ and he took a leap from one side of the well to the other. “`My friend,’ says the frog of the sea, `how do you compare the sea with your little well?’ “`Then the frog took another leap and asked; `Is your sea so big?’ “`What nonsense you speak to compare the sea with your well.’ “`Well, then,’ said the frog of the well, `nothing can be bigger than my well; there can be nothing bigger than this; this fellow is a liar, so turn him out.’ “That has been the difficulty all the while.
    “I am a Hindu. I am sitting in my own little well, and thinking that the world is my well. The Christian sits in his little well and the whole world is his well. The Mohammedan sits in his well and thinks the whole world that. I have to thank you of America for the great attempt you are making to break down the barriers of this little world of ours, and hope that, in the future, the Lord will help you to accomplish that purpose.”

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_7/Conversations_And_Dialogues/XXXIV

  27. Thanks for sharing your story, Chris.
    The place I go to in South India is one of the most important Shaivite centres in all of India. In fact, the holy mountain Arunachala is by legend a form of Shiva himself; whereasr Mount Kailas is the abode of Shiva, Arunachala IS Shiva.
    I wish you much blessings for your path; may you find what your heart craves. And Happy New Year!
    (I shall be mentioning this blog and a couple others which have mentioned mine over the coming days.)

  28. Now its its time to learn some sanskrit.It will help u to understand the original text rather than reading someone else’s translation

  29. i coincidentally came to this blog read all conversations and feel proud that people all over world are trying to understand universalism aspect of Hinduism. I live in Himachal pradesh of india. here the Hinduism is of traditional type. We mostly see that all gods deities of villages have strong influence relations with the local residents people. Like As ( amma’s child) experience this thing is very common here. People talk face to face with deities gods by trans. In villages deities, god, goddesses are called for finding solutions of local problems. priest control the process they call and depart the gods goddesses.Some times gods goddesses suddenly come while in a prayer kirtan etc.

  30. cant’t people still be christian & adopt some hindu values which u like.mahabharat & ramayan are part of indian hindu culture but u westerners may not like & understand many things in it.because if westerners convert to Hinduism they should be under the guidance of some great teacher or some devout
    hindu person because u don’t have any back up from the family like typical hindu indian family has . independent of good teachers or influential hindu person around independent practitioner of hinduism may get lost after sometime.

    –im not a christian or muslim & also no malicious agenda involved.

    • In Intial Phase everyone face these hardships…now that will further depend..how they impart hindu education to their childrens… For Be a Christian and worshipping Lord Shiva…or following Hinduism.principles is Nothing more than fooling yourself….and life is too short for that and it is certainly Not Recommended for someone..If one has natural inclination toward Sanatan Dharma..one should embrace it..I am here in USA and I can say that with the growing NUmber of temples and Great Gathering at the Temples. of both westeners and Asiansn.and the Hinduislm related classes happening at temple ..I can say certainly Gone are the days when people feel in such way….Now Hinduism related Information is just a click away….Dear Sanatan Dharma is Bound to expand again ..many centuries ago it was practiced till Europe,Iran, Afganistan etc…By the way there are Good Number of Hindus in Guana,Malasia,Bali and in Nepal too..So never underestimate these people…They are more knowledgeable then a born Hindu do..So I believe and Confident enough there Children’s were also good hindu….. My Neighbor is an western Hindu..you will be surprised to know that her daughter who is 6 yr old..knows Gayatri Mantra…and they do have temple at home where they do pooja daily..and they also celebrate main hindu festivals..

      • no offense but
        in Nepal Thailand Hinduism is part of their culture. in fact all the countries east of India have Hinduism & Buddhism as part of their culture somehow. even in Vietnam we have ancient Shiva temples.Vietnamese ,Chinese ,Japanese etc cultures are very close to Hindu-Buddhist culture

        also just wanted to ask, can Ur western Hindu neighbor pronounce mantras in right way , as pronunciation is important while chanting mantras.because most of the western Hindus liberally mispronounce Sanskrit words.

        • Dear Do the Asian Christians ..pronounce the english in a way the Western people do…Nor the Muslims of India Pronounce the their Arabic prayer in the same tone as Arabs do..so your accent is bound to change..however the most important thing is practice..Even to recite a Sanskrit Mantra properly a Hindi Knowing person need to do practice… .so it is applicable to everyone.. and it is applicable universally…The Main thing you need to understand the Mantra…

          The Issue on Other hand is there is an overwhelming number of born Indian Hindus whom do I know they can’t even pronounce sanskrit correctly nor do they have knowledge of basic philosophy of Hinduism..they seems to be only Ritualistic Hindus…on the other hand here I have meet many Western hindus who have good Understanding ….And they have inspired many other Hindus to take their path seriously..

  31. Hi Chris,

    Am ashamed very much of not being true to my Hindhu upbringing. Though you are a westerner you have taken the steps to find out god and how he can been experienced. I have come through many miracles in my life which lord shiva did am the laziest one of not worshipping and not performing my work sincerely. When you find time to comedown to India please visit Chidambaram Lord Nataraja Temple. I feel inequality is there among all the religions but I think it was god’s wish to make the mankind investigate it and accept all path leads to him and all are equal.

    On shivaaya namaha,
    Amarnath

  32. Dear wwert,
    “can Ur western Hindu neighbor pronounce mantras in right way , as pronunciation is important while chanting mantras”. Ask your friends and relatives to pronounce sanskrit verses and chances are that a majority will fail the test.My people , most of them, dont know how to pronouce the sanskrit words the right way. A born hindu on AN AVERAGE is less well informed about the philosophy, doctrines and sadhana rituals than an converted one. A convert makes an effort to gain insights in to the faith, a born one lives under the delusion he/she knows it all. Yes, i know a small percentage of born ones are well versed witht the faith, iam talking about the majority, an average Joe, here. My point is that a convert will be a better devout hindu than a born one.

    • r u saying u can pronounce (sound) mantras in anyway u want just beause every1 around u mispronounces.
      “a convert will be a better devout hindu than a born one” thats just ur opinion. i have met enough “born devout hindus” after all born hindus r teachers to the converted. are u saying white or any other convert (many of those who disillusioned after sometime becoz of not getting right guidance or not having enough bhakti bhav) is more devout than 1000s of devout sants, & mahatmas who r living & lived in india

  33. links on how missionaries work in india this is from a white american lady who lives in indian punjab it gives us some insights on how missionary sell christianity to mostly illeterate & naive people. hindu life is summarised by missionaries as –> You Live Like a Dog, Die Like a Dog and Then You Come Back As a Dog

    http://americanpunjabanpi.blogspot.in/2012/11/you-live-like-dog-die-like-dog-and-then.html

    http://americanpunjabanpi.blogspot.in/2012/11/sniffing-out-curry-indias-anti-outsider.html

    http://americanpunjabanpi.blogspot.in/2012/11/30-years-and-4-sons-later.html

    • Haha this americanpunjabanpi posts remind me about a lecture from Rajiv Malhotra at IIC Delhi

      This is 2 hour long presentation. It’s very very inciteful lecture and I would recommend the readers to watch it when they get the time.

      [Tandava: Inline video changed to link ]

  34. I know that this might not be helpful as books but i think that you should at least have a look.Its serial that aired in India on Lord Shiva…beautifully described lord shiva him …I have added link..if you ever got time..please do look at it.
    starting episode : [ Tandava: inline video replacd by link: http://goo.gl/QESFR ]
    The instrument that lord shiva uses..rudra veena …very few people there are who has that vidya..video related
    [ Tandava: inline video replacd by link: http://goo.gl/7IvmW ]
    opening of third eye
    [ Tandava: inline video replacd by link: http://goo.gl/Ijw8W ]
    try them in HD quality…
    Sorry if mistaken somewhere…

  35. Hinduism is against forced conversion .As it is indeed a vast subject one needs to know this religion deeper.I suggest my new friends to read vedas and other basic texts of hinduism.It is bound in mysteries and the tantras share common notion with that of buddhists and jews.I hope you will read this and find the similarities,you will find that it is not a pagan religion and see it still survives in this modern world.how many of its counterparts survive? you will find the list to be too heavy to remember.Anyway i hope that you will get what you are looking for.

  36. thiru arivaaTTaaya naayanaar gurupoosai.

    Synopsis: The Saiva Agriculturalist Who offered a ripe mango, along with other foods, to Sivaperumaan on a daily basis as His ThoNDu (Uninterrupted Service/Duty to Lord Sivan). He stood as an example of how ThoNDu is to be performed. To teach this and reveal the Greatness of Him and His wife to the world, Sivaperumaan took Him to a point where He believed that He had failed in His Duty, at which, without hesitation, He drew a knife and began cutting His throat.

    Starts 24th January at 07:06
    Ends 25th January at 09:29

    Month: Thai
    Star: Thiruvaadhirai

    History: http://www.shaivam.org/naarivat.html

    •thiru arivaaTTaaya naayanaar is mentioned in the 6th line of the 2nd verse of thillaivaaZH andhaNar (thiruthoNDar thogai) as sung by thiru sundharamoorthi naayanaar in His thiru paaTTu (thirumuRai 7).

    In saivam, Sivan is referred to aadhiraiyan as, it is on this star, during the month of maargaZHi that He manifested as thillai koothan (Nadaraaja Perumaan) in thillai (sidhambaram). Therefore, prayer performed during the thiruvaadhirai star will result in a greater benefit as compared to other times.

  37. Hey,
    I was impressed by your story which is vaguely similar to mine though I’m not a ‘westerner’.
    People here are telling you to read different prayers which are no doubt beautiful but not exactly what you may be looking for if you want to explore the deeper meaning of Hinduism.
    If posible try learning sanskrit because there are a lot of amazing texts that have not yet been translated that will interest you.

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