I came across a thread in Orkut discussing Westerners converting to Hinduism. One of the posters said that there was a danger in taking pride in Westerners converting, because it confirmed a “colonial mindset”, and an opinion that a Westerner being interested somehow validated Hindu beliefs. I can see that pride for this reason is a bad thing, but I don’t think it has to be for this reason. Here is an edited reply that I left on the thread:
In my opinion it is not necessarily bad to feel pleased that a Westerner converts. I agree with Shetty that it can be a bad thing if it is seen as giving some stamp of approval (which Hinduism definitely does not need) but it doesn’t have to mean that. Look at Christians, when they convert people they are not looking for approval. If anything they have the attitude that they have the best religion and are bringing it to people who need civilizing!
Actually, I think many Indians are surprised at how much the West needs civilizing. To quote from a blog entry by an Indian who came to the West and was surprised at how degenerate Britain is:
Been there, done it. I have aped the West to my hearts content.
Till I arrived in the west, and realise how stupid I was aping the first world apes. The West in so many ways, is more empty than Mother Hubbard’s cupboards.
There is more about this in the comments following the blog entry. I have heard other Hindus in the west say that they expected much more in Britain. Whereas there are some good things in the west it is hardly a utopia, and spirituality is something particularly lacking. Much religion in the West is cultural. Sign up as a Christian and carry on as usual – thats it you’re saved.
So if you feel proud that Hinduism has brought spirituality to some people in the West then I think it’s fine. Also feel happy for those who have found a path towards God, and began to detach from empty materialism and stagnation.