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Thread: I'm Definitely A Hindu in Real Life

  1. #1
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    I'm Definitely A Hindu in Real Life

    Namaste HDF,

    One thing that's taken me a long time to realize is how I don't have to have people on the internet criticize my "Hindu-ness" or whether I'm truly Hindu or not. This is because in real life, I know I am one, whether people on the internet agree with me or not.

    This is because in real life I have Hindu friends who trust me. At the local temple I'm welcomed, and people drive me there when I can't get there otherwise (which is good because I don't have a car). The priest is very friendly towards me. And people genuinely respect my desire to be Hindu out in the real world. Oftentimes other Hindus ask why I want to be one, but it's always out of curiosity and not criticism.

    I'm not saying the internet has no place in my Hindu real life. I can certainly use it to keep in touch with those Hindus I've met in real life but have become separated from me for whatever reason (mostly because of moving out of the city I lived in with them). But overall...I found that if I keep my focus on the real rather than the virtual, my life as a Hindu is far more satisfying.

    I'm not making this post to criticize, condemn, or complain about HDF. I'm just saying it's ironic that it's my internet experiences that bring me down when it comes to Hinduism, instead of my real life ones. On the internet, if I bring up my Hindu faith to random strangers, then suddenly things like my skin color, nation of birth, and upbringing become a lot more relevant. If I mention that I'm a white male American citizen trying to be Hindu to random strangers on the internet, that's sure to not please anyone (either the loudmouthed whites who think I'm "worshiping the Devil" or the hardcore internet-using Hindus who take offense that I'd dare defile their religion).

    People of all stripes of humanity, be they white, black, brown, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, etc. all get explosive when it comes to internet civility:


    It's almost like the internet is dividing us further based on skin color, nationality, and religion. Funny, I thought it was supposed to unite us and make us a global village.

    Again, I apologize in advance if this thread seems snide, condescending or otherwise offensive. I'm just posting this to say when it comes to Hinduism, I get far more encouragement on my path interacting with real people than I do with anonymous strangers.

  2. #2
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    Re: I'm Definitely A Hindu in Real Life

    Namaste again,

    I was trying to ask a question in the midst of my rant here, and that question is if anyone has had the same kind of experience I have had when it comes to being Hindu. And it's probably a different experience altogether if you're a born Hindu as opposed to a convert. I'm just interested in hearing about how the big ol' internet has affected your Hindu experience, if at all.

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    Re: I'm Definitely A Hindu in Real Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Webimpulse View Post
    Namaste again,

    I was trying to ask a question in the midst of my rant here, and that question is if anyone has had the same kind of experience I have had when it comes to being Hindu. And it's probably a different experience altogether if you're a born Hindu as opposed to a convert. I'm just interested in hearing about how the big ol' internet has affected your Hindu experience, if at all.
    Namaste Webimpulse,

    Before participating in online forums, I used to be a truly polytheistic hindu. (I am born a Vaishnava). I used to make many modak for the temple homa for Ganesh chaturthi, recite Shiva stotras, pray to Murugan and visit all temples along with daily prayers to Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar, and mother Mahalakshmi. After participating in online forums, I realize Vaishnavas stay strict Vaishnavas and Shaivas strict Shaivas, (and only Smartas pray to all devatas like I did) and this was a wake-up call for me. Since then I have become a true Vaishnava, praying to Vaishnava devatas. I do not intend to say polytheism is bad, however I learnt that sadhana and spiritual practices yield plentifold results and spiritual growth if you remain faithful to the practices of your chosen sect.

    Not that only Hindus online who practice religion the right way, but I think internet is a powerful medium to get exposed to the broader perspective on any subject.

    Regards.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: I'm Definitely A Hindu in Real Life

    Vannakkam: The number of Hindus who come on-line regularly to participate in discussion groups, forums, etc. is an extremely tiny fraction of all Hindus. But the ability to say something at all where it is likely that someone else will read it is confidence-building, etc. It's importance for the individual far exceeds how important it is. The condition of anonymity distorts this importance of 'words on a screen' unrealistically. So it should all be seen more realistically ... not very important. Only a stranger's thoughts from some faraway place.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: I'm Definitely A Hindu in Real Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Viraja View Post
    Namaste Webimpulse,

    Before participating in online forums, I used to be a truly polytheistic hindu. (I am born a Vaishnava). I used to make many modak for the temple homa for Ganesh chaturthi, recite Shiva stotras, pray to Murugan and visit all temples along with daily prayers to Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar, and mother Mahalakshmi. After participating in online forums, I realize Vaishnavas stay strict Vaishnavas and Shaivas strict Shaivas, (and only Smartas pray to all devatas like I did) and this was a wake-up call for me. Since then I have become a true Vaishnava, praying to Vaishnava devatas. I do not intend to say polytheism is bad, however I learnt that sadhana and spiritual practices yield plentifold results and spiritual growth if you remain faithful to the practices of your chosen sect.

    Not that only Hindus online who practice religion the right way, but I think internet is a powerful medium to get exposed to the broader perspective on any subject.

    Regards.
    Namaste,

    I am feeling sad after reading Viraja Ji's words.Based on what was said,I'm thinking that I am not a very good Shaiva.I agree that one should follow one Sampradaya/system and it is good to do so.But I never felt that I should boycott Vaishnava Devatas/temples just because they are Vaishnava.
    Even now I worship
    Lord Vishnu,visit Vaishnava temples and read the Ramayanam,hmm so I should stop all that now!I am not a fan of ISKCON but I attend Jagannatha Ratha Yatra which they conduct every year,maybe I should not go to Ratha Yatra from this year.

    Viraja Ji,was it easy for to you avoid praying to the gods you worshiped once?
    He dances in the golden hall of Chidambaram, Let us worship His rosy anklet girt Feet.

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    Re: I'm Definitely A Hindu in Real Life

    Ram ji,

    No, I find it very hard to remain faithful to Sri Vaishnavam. I used to frequent one Vinayaka temple as a youth every single day. For this reason and for the reason I like Lord Shiva very much, I still hold on to my affinity for them. My puja still has a small Ganapathi picture and though I am not reciting stotras anymore for Lord Shiva, I still recite a very small Ganapathi stotra before commencing my prayers and offer naivedyam to both Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva. I am not able to stop this practice even if I tell myself I have to practice monotheism like many devoted friends I look up to, do.

    Cheers,

    Viraja
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: I'm Definitely A Hindu in Real Life

    Namaste,

    The thread is veering off-course, but that happens a lot. Back to your experience about acceptance into the Hindu fold, both in real life and in virtual life,
    Quote Originally Posted by Webimpulse View Post
    But overall...I found that if I keep my focus on the real rather than the virtual, my life as a Hindu is far more satisfying.
    I would say that it is a question of ownership. As long as you feel that you are on the inside of the Hindu camp, that you are an owner and protector of Hindu ideas/culture/philosophy/way of life, nothing will shake you, no matter what they say in the digital world. But if you are shaky in your commitment, then every time you are challenged, it will rankle you. Since internet makes everything anonymous, more people like to take pot shots at others, even born Hindus going after one another. And that happens in this forum too. I notice that every once in a while a new member comes in and wants to know if there are adoptees in the forum and when the answer is yes, they leave as they cannot accept non-born-Hindus. Also, many times when I tried to chase out obvious trolls from the forum, my own brotheren, the born Hindus, turned against me and chastised me for being intolerant and blah, blah, blah. So, yes, under the darkness of anonymity people tend to behave differently than at physical personal level. But if you are firm in your convictions about your chosen path, then any negativity/criticism coming your way does not disturb you to the same degree. As EM says, the internet postings are "Only a stranger's thoughts from some faraway place" and not worthy of much attention. Be committed, ignore the negativity coming your way over the internet and march on the spiritual path. That is your only salvation.

    Pranam.
    Last edited by Believer; 16 May 2015 at 11:26 AM. Reason: Added EM's quotation

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    Re: I'm Definitely A Hindu in Real Life

    Vannakkam: I think it's a matter of degree of focus. I, being a Saivite, have no problem going to Vaishnava temples. We're all in this together after all. But given two temples side by side, or acrosss the road from each other, we'll just naturally go to the one of our sect. That's where we would be drawn, even subconsciously, without thinking. So 90% is sectarian and quite hard-core, and the other 10% is being courteous, curious, friendly, etc.

    But I don't have Vaishnava Gods in my shrine room.

    BTW, we're well off topic here.

    Aum Namasivaya

  9. #9

    Re: I'm Definitely A Hindu in Real Life

    Namaste Webimpulse,

    I understand the Hindu reaction since in the past there have been people who defined themselves as Hindus and then decided to turn back to the religion of their origin. There are many Americans who have done this, and the reason is this, they were not taught the clear distinctions between their own religion and Hinduism. This is the reason why some Hindus can become suspicious of your intentions. Hence I would like to outline some points here.


    1.Since you mentioned that you are a white American Male, I am guessing that you were born as a Christian, hence I will give the distinctions from this assumptions.

    2. If you are a Hindu then you must completely give up the notion of original sin. You are not an original sinner you are originally divine, hence you problem is the manifestation of your own divinity not to be free from original sin.

    3.There is a lot of difference between Avidya and original sin, Original Sin is a condition that was acquired due to an act against God and has consequences like eternal hell. The only way to absolve this is through an external agency like Jesus. Where as Avidya is merely a perception in error nothing more. This Avidya is corrected through right knowledge.

    4.The way to know divinity is through embodied knowing, this means that you use your mind to explore the workings of your body and mind. Since the whole model of the cosmos is suppose to be inherent within you. Hence you fine tune your own mind cleanse it and use it as an instrument to explore your body and mind. As divinity is inherent you discover divinity not only within but in the cosmos itself. This is your connection with God. Where as in the Christian faith you can only have connection with God through Jesus Christ or the church. Jesus occurs only once not many times. But in Hinduism rishis and even Avataras occur many times.

    5.Finally you will need to completely reject the Nicene Creed.

    If you accept all of the 5 points above then yes, I consider you to be a proper Hindu. This is the require for you, ofcourse this is based on the 1st assumption.

  10. #10
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    Re: I'm Definitely A Hindu in Real Life

    Vannakkam: I agree wholeheartedly with Believer. The questions in the mirror of "Am I looking at SD from the inside out?" or "Am I looking at SD from the outside in?" One easy way to figure this out (not just for Hinduism, but any group with an identity, be it political, economic class, etc.) and that is to watch the common pronouns you naturally use. If you use 'they' you're on the outside looking in. If you use 'we' than you're on the inside looking out.

    Of course there are also in-between states of confusion, where you are something, but you feel uncomfortable being there. For example, I've know temple board members who refer to the board as 'they' as if he (the individual talking) wasn't part of it.

    Sorry to digress. I just hope all this has been helpful.

    Aum Namasivaya

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