Why am I a Hindu

I have been a Hindu since 1997. Actually I don't like to label myself, but since I mostly like to worship Hindu Gods and Goddesses, others may prefer the label Hindu.

Initially I became a Hindu out of curiosity, I must admit. But then I grew fond of the teachings and traditions of Hindu culture and Indian culture through being with my Indian friends in US, and having that strengthened while living in India. The interesting part of my life in India, was that I studied and lived in a Christian College, so many times people did not like how I worshipped. I often visited temples, infrequently went to churches. I would not say I have 'converted' as Hinduism is not a religion one converts into like Christianity or Islam, but one which is assimilated. This is because Indian life and culture are very intermixed with Hindu faith, or way of life.

I am a Hindu because I believe in that philosophy ALL GOD IS ONE. I also like Indian culture and traditions, as stated earlier are very interlinked with Hindu philosophies.

Hindu faith is very encompassing, it accepts all other religions, that is why there is no 'conversion' and one won't see or meet any 'Hindu missionaries'. Hinduism is known to be of India, or when one thinks of Hinduism, they think INDIA, but Hinduism is practiced very widely in other Asian countries, with special reference to Cambodia (IE ANGKOR WAT), Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Nepal are the most widely known, but there are also Hindus in China, Japan, South East Asia, Mauritius, South Africa, Europe and Americas.

Along a similar token, I must state that India is NOT ONLY HINDUS. India has all religions- Muslims, Christians, Buddhist, Jains, and Jews, among others. To learn more about the myths of India.

There are certian symbols one thinks of when hearing the word HINDU. 1. The dot worn on the forehead or bindi in Hindi or Pottu in Tamil. Women wear this. Usually it is a sticker, or it is kum kum (red powder). It is NOT a tatoo. Many westerners who don't know about bindis think they are tatoos, they are not tattoos (even I used to think this)! 2. A line of white powder on the forehead. This is burned cow dung ash, termed viboodhi in Tamil. People pray then dab this on the forehead then eat the rest (a small amount). The significance of this is to show your humbleness to God. It is also from the sacred cow. 3. The sacred or Holy cow (the phrase comes from India) is known as Nandi and Nandi is the vehicle of Shiva, the father of the most famous God, Ganesha, the elephant headed God.

4. The AUM or OM sign. This is on the border of the top and the bottom of this page. The most common drawing of AUM looks like a number 3 with a curved line coming out of the middle of the right side, and a dot above the curved line. There are other drawings of the AUM in different Indian languages. The '3' drawing originates in Sanskrit, the ancient language of Hinduism. This is similiar to the Christian "Amen", it is used at the beginning or end of prayers and also as a 'mantra' to chant again and again. It is said repeating AUM again and again has a healing vibration. Additionally, many have a misconception that all Hindus are vegetarians- this is untrue. Yes, it is true that there are many Hindus that are vegetarians. I fall in this category. I actally became a vegetarian before claiming Hindu faith. I came to be a vegetarian originally for health and environmental reasons- however after adopting Hinduism- for the principles of ahisma or non-violence. It is stated that even the mere act of eating meat goes against this principle as it condones the actual killing of that animal so that you may enjoy it through eating. Being born into a non-vegetarian family poses problems as I do have to eat separately- but neither do I feel left out or that I am missing anything by not indulging in the flesh of once born animals of the earth. I would like to refer you to an article written by CS Kishore on elimination of desires- practiced widely not only in Hinduism, but also Buddhism and Jainism.

I am not sure how adequately I have explained my reasons for being Hindu, as this is more like a free form essay, if you would like to ask me any questions directly, please do so by contacting me. I humbly request that you do not e-mail me to condemn my religious views or try to 'convert' me as I have received such e-mail in the past. I can honestly and openly discuss with you beliefs, but I can not be swayed from my beliefs.

This article has been appreciated by George Thaliath, who has reprinted this article on his Monday Mail of 15 September 2003.

If you are interested in the details of Hinduism or question if you could be a Hindu or not, please read the book "AM I A HINDU" BY ED VISHWANATHAN. You can view his book at this URL.

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This page has been updated in April 2002 and has been visited times since it's inception in October 2001. Updated December 2005.

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