Lalitaditua, asked me in a comment “why don’t I follow the Celtic religion?” It is clear from his comments and his blog articles that he does not like Westerners following Sanatana Dharma, which he sees as “turning their backs on their own religion and culture”. At the time I gave the quick response that I am on the path of Shiva, and know that this is the path I am meant to be on. I will expand on this a little more, because in a way I feel that I am following the tradition of my ancestors.
As I wrote previously, there are sites in England that I feel are sacred, places that were venerated by our ancestors. At these places I can feel the Shakti, the holy power. I feel a connection with the line of people who worshiped there for many thousands of years. The short time that they have been left, since the Christianisation of England feels like the blink of an eye. This alignment of Hinduism with the pre-Christian religions worldwide is recognised by David Frawley, who writes in “How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma“:
While I am not specifically doing Celtic practices I have added a Celtic slant on my Hindu practices. One can see Shiva in the Celtic God Cernunos, who is the Lord of the Animals, Pashupati.
Why then do I follow Hinduism rather than the Celtic religion, Wicca, or one of the other neo-Pagan traditions? Apart from the spiritual feeling that I am already on the right path, I feel that Hinduism is at least as close to the original religions of Britain as any of the neo-Pagan traditions. These traditions have all been rewritten from folk tales and writing by Romans. To a large extent this means inventing the philosophy. This is problematic, as it is not clear which are mainstream practices and which are left-hand paths. Many neo-Pagans don’t know what to make of archaeological evidence of Human sacrifice, either ignoring it or saying it is incompatible with modern times.
Different groups have different ideas of what the original beliefs were, the Neo Druids emphasise harmony and nature, taking 18th century idealisations of the Celts as their base, Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans concentrating on more recent archaeological evidence. Some groups are openly influenced by Hinduism, and look for Hindu equivalents of the Celtic Gods.
Now, there is evidence that in ancient times India was seen as a religions centre over large parts of the world. The Irish-Celtic story of Eithne tells of a queen (or goddess in some versions) who does not eat and only drinks milk from a cow from “India, which is the land of righteousness“. The linked version of the story has a Christian ending, with Eithne converting to Christianity, but this is almost certainly a later addition.
Given that the Hindu-like tradition once covered Europe, I think it that it is easier to take Hinduism with its complete and rich philosophy rather than to try to rebuild a tradition from archaeological evidence. The end result could well be closer in spirit to the practice of the Celts than that of the Neo Druids.
So, in a real sense I could answer “Why don’t you follow the Celtic religion?” by saying “I am, as closely as is possible today”.