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#73018 - 08/14/06 01:58 AM A Question
The Little Mermaid Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 2
Namaste.

I have a situation of which I seek your guidance, if you would be so kind as to lend it. I was born to a Hindu father and Catholic mother. I was brought up with touches of both cultures but have not completed any significant rituals in either faith - no naamkaran or baptism in Christianity's case - in order to keep an equal balance between them until I was of age to make an informed decision concerning my spirituality. Or so I was told, at least! I hear that this is common in inter-faith marriages.

In any case, two years ago during sophmore year in high-school my father passed away and I was left with my mother who fell into a deep depression. It was during that time which I began to think more seriously concerning faith as she questioned hers. It was through that experience as well as many other shaping events recently of which I will not bore you with the details of that I found my heart in Hinduism where I feel it has been all my life.

I want to go on pilgrimage in India sometime in the near future but fear not being able to enter Hindu-only ceremonial establishments due to my handicap. I question whether or not I can call myself a Hindu at all. Would the Vratyastoma be appropriate in my case or would I need to undergo formal conversion, if there is such a thing? What really makes one a Hindu?

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#73019 - 02/19/07 10:25 AM Re: A Question [Re: The Little Mermaid]
Prashna Offline
stranger

Registered: 11/12/06
Posts: 13
Loc: UK
Quote:

Namaste.

1. I have a situation of which I seek your guidance, if you would be so kind as to lend it.

2. ...to keep an equal balance between them until I was of age to make an informed decision concerning my spirituality.

3. two years ago during sophmore year in high-school my father passed away and I was left with my mother who fell into a deep depression.

4. I want to go on pilgrimage in India sometime in the near future but fear not being able to enter Hindu-only ceremonial establishments due to my handicap.

5. I question whether or not I can call myself a Hindu at all.

6. Would the Vratyastoma be appropriate in my case or would I need to undergo formal conversion, if there is such a thing? What really makes one a Hindu?




Blessed Mermaid,

You may be young in age but you are mature in wisdom. I hope I can be as humble as you; always.

I shall try to answer your query:

3. May I first extend my deepest sympathy and condolences for yourself and your Mother. I am sure you know this already, but in Sanatana Dharma, a soul is never born and can never die.

Your father has simply left his earthly body and all the limitations that go with it. His soul is eternal and will merge with the Infinite. That is certain.

1. I am an advaitin; it is a privilege for me to be able to help, even though I know so little.

2. How very wise and far-sighted of both your parents. Please convey my sincere appreciation and pranAm to your Mother.

4. No need even to think that you are handicapped in any way, shape or form. It is what is in your heart that matters, not the external rituals. I was born and brought up in India, am a Brahmin and a dvija; I know this for certain.

Sometime ago, I did take a friend and ex-colleague (English) on a journey across India and had no problem at any temple except one. At Varanasi, at the Biswanath Temple he could not enter the innermost sanctum, but could see the outer rooms. I regretted that very much but did go in for a brief while, to inform my friend. He had not missed much and frankly I would not like to go in again.

But in the overwhelming majority of temples, you would have no problem at all and indeed would be welcomed. e.g. The Birla temples in New Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata and elsewhere, the Dakshineswar temples of Ramakrishna/Vivekananda and many, many others. Any good travel guidebook should tell you, which temples you can go in without problems.

As for any ceremonies, I would have no hesitation in welcoming you personally in any that I conduct. I am sure most Brahmins in India would feel the same.

5. Do not even begin to question that. You do not, I repeat, do not need any conversion ceremony. All you need to do is feel in your own heart a genuine love for all creatures great and small. If you do that, you ARE a Hindu.

6 The greatest exponent of Sanatana Dharma in living memory was the great seer Ramakrishna Paramahansa. He said
"whoever loves a living being, serves God"
There is nothing I can add to that. If you truly love all living beings, you ARE a Hindu. period.

Hope this helps.

Prashna
_________________________
The good of the many outweighs the good of the few; Or the one.

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