I really can no longer even pretend to follow a belief where I find so many more questions than plausible explanations
I was asked by several Christians, and even some Hindus, in the US and India why I left Christianity. Christians want specifics, I hope this will help explain.
I started life in a small country town, where church bells rang on Sunday mornings and stores were closed on Sunday by matter of law, not custom, (although laws can arise from customs).
Since just about everyone in that small town went to church each Sunday, it never occurred to me that there was a choice in the matter. It was just what people did. Period. Monday thru Friday people went to work or school. Then on Sunday they went to church. I never analyzed it as just the way of life in The Bible Belt, but then, I was 5 years old.
Fast forward several years, I was starting to wonder about things I had heard in church, things which society enforced, or at least historically embraced because, well, it was in the Bible so it was “God’s will.” Incidentally, these doubts weren’t just in church, but also school. Each morning for my first 9 years of schooling we said a prayer, and in some cases Bible verses, before our academic day began. Some days we would actually discuss a story or two from the Bible prior to classes. In the ninth grade it was a Catholic school which only intensified matters.
He was helpful, but it seemed cautiously so. He would answer questions if asked but not volunteer much information. There were three of them. Two helpers and Him. He didn’t make me uncomfortable, but his presence was great.
It was our first day in Sri Lanka and I had long-awaited the chance to buy some Indian clothing in which to attend the religious services (pujas) during the upcoming two-week yatra*. I wrote in another blog story about “My Kurta Hunt” in which I scoured the Bay area in CA where I lived at the time trying to find appropriate kurta wear for temple and festivals.
I did manage to locate a few but I was really looking forward to finding a variety of outfits that are hard if not impossible to find in the states and that unlike ones I ordered on-line, I could try them on first and know exactly what I was getting.
I was with a friend who was also there to attend the yatra. He too wanted some clothing and we were both glad to be in the midst of so many choices.
My friend, Bill, is a white man of European heritage. I am a black person of African descent. We both embraced Sanatana Dharma several years ago and are affiliated with the Saiva Siddhanta Church headquartered in Kauai Hawaii. It was this temple who organized the yatra and although it was not mandatory, the organizers requested that if possible we wear cultural attire. I noticed during the time there that everyone did.
As we tried on shirts, dhotis* and pajama outfits He just stood by watching. The helpers were the universal salesmen. Running to and fro (successfully I might add), trying in earnest to honor our requisitions. When a salesman informed me they had no shirts of a certain style, HE spoke up and informed him we did. He showed the man where it was and his knowledge paid off, I purchased two of the shirts in different colors.
One of the main lessons I have learned about Hinduism is that proselytizing is a charged word. The Hindu mindset is not to do it, even though it has and is being done to us, sometimes, even by means of chicanery and deceit. Like many other concepts though, the act itself is neither good or bad, but all in the application.
It is safe to say that the early Hindu missionaries to the West were evangelist as well as a proselytizers. At this point I should stipulate that the difference between the two is purely one of perspective. Christians describe their conversion efforts as evangelism. However in a reverse situation, Christians call the messengers proselytizers. I prefer to say that these beautiful souls and others evangelized The West.
Not too long ago I encountered some Americans in the Eastern section of the New Age book store and we began chatting. I asked if they were Hindu, and one responded with “I am not in a religion but I am spiritual.” He spoke about his meditation practice and how it made him more calm. His friend told me how she is trying to get him into yoga. I helped her a bit by saying how I enjoy it and scores of other men. Continue reading “Hindus Proselytize….but Maybe Not Enough”
I owe yoga a remarkable debt. It is the vehicle by which I arrived at my spiritual home. It changed my life both physically and metaphysically, leaving me with a deep sense of gratitude and reverence. Once I began to delve into the subject, I was amazed at its breadth and depth. There are many works available for the seeker who wants to probe beyond the scope of this introduction. Topics include among others, spiritual history, scientific origins, types of practice, and even a new Western fad, “doga”, practicing yoga with one’s dog. (Part one of a series)
A father knows about the birth and life of his son, because he witnesses it. But the birth and childhood of his father are beyond the ken of the son, because they occurred before he was born. Likewise, the devatās (celestial gods) and the ṛiṣhis (sages) cannot comprehend the real nature of the origin of God, who existed before they were even born.
And so, the Rig Veda states: “Who in the world can know clearly? Who can proclaim from where this universe was born? Who can state where this creation has come from? The devatās came after creation. Therefore, who knows from where the universe arose?”
Again, the Īśhopaniṣhad states: (Īśhopaniṣhad 4)[v2]
You may have heard the expression “I know just enough to be dangerous”. It is usually said by someone who has an interest in a certain subject and feels pretty impressed with themselves at the amount of their newly acquired knowledge. Yet occasionally, something will humble them and show them how much they don’t know. Continue reading “The Shiva Egg”
A popular misconception about Hindus is that we have “millions of gods”. Yet we have at our core one God the absolute, formless, only Reality – the Supreme Universal Soul, who is called Brahman.Recently I had a visit from two very nice ladies of a religious order whose mission is to gain converts via door to door proselytizing . They introduced themselves, and one of them gave me a small publication (which she referred to as a magazine). To be polite, I accepted it and after a cursory browse put it where I put other such materials.
Why would a multiple decade Christian become a resolute Hindu? I mean, why not after decades, just stay in my birth religion? A fear on some level that maybe it is true? That maybe Christianity is the only path to God and if I don’t follow exactly what The Bible says, I will burn in Hell forever. Or perhaps passive acceptance, as in I know there is something more but just where is it?