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Thread: Family dilemma connected to difference in religion

  1. #1

    Family dilemma connected to difference in religion

    Namaste everyone.

    I haven't posted here in a long time. But right now I'm in a middle of a dilemma and would appreciate your help and guidance.

    My aunt and uncle are coming over this weekend. They're both Christians. They pray everyday and go to church. I have a deep respect for their faith. I visited them last summer and had a blast. I always let them talk to me about Jesus because I love to hear stories from people who are strong in their faith. The problem is...they don't know I'm a Hindu and for now, I don't want them to know. Here's why.

    Few years ago I dated a guy who was Christian. I talked to him about my Hindu beliefs and how much I enjoy reading Bhagavad Gita. He listened to me carefully, and after that he stated as-a-matter-of-factly that "Hinduism came from Satan and Jesus is the only and true way to salvation". I respected his point of view, but was kinda disappointed that he was so narrow-minded. His statment hurt me a little.
    The thing is... I respect all religions. I also have deep respect for all people who believe in God and practice what they preach. What I don't respect is other people disrespecting all religions other than theirs.

    So, back to my aunt and uncle coming over... I have installed altar in my room. It has pictures of Ganesha, Krishna, Sri Chaitanya and Sathya Sai Baba on it. This is also where I keep my japa-mala and all sacred Hindu books I own. Since I don't want to have a falling out with my family, I decided that I will remove all the sacred items from my altar and replace them with something neutral, like flowers or something. Will this offend Krishna? This question keeps haunting me, even though a part of me tells me that Krishna understands my heart and reasons behind why I do what I do. I'm curious, will this create bad karma?

    I love my family, and have no preconcieved notion about people of other religions in general. But all (and I mean, ALL) Christians I've ever met were not friendly when other religions would be mentioned. Last year, when I visited my uncle and aunt, they spoke about how they pray to Jesus regularly and this is why they're so healthy and happy. I have tried to pray to Jesus more than once, I felt nothing. I tried to read Bible, again, nothing. But when I give my honest desires to Krishna, magic happens. It's not just about fulfilling desires, it's much more than that.

    Please, let me know what you think. Is it okay if I "hide" my altar for two days, in order to stay away from a possibility of someone offending Krishna? I know there will come a day when I won't be able to hide it anymore, but right now, I'm not ready for it.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: Family dilemma connected to difference in religion

    namaste,
    Yes, you may remove items from the altar and place them back later. It is the most practical thing to do. Most Indians have their altar setup in a closet (literally) so when their western friends come over, they just close the doors of the closet. That said, many hindus have dedicated room or altar in their house right in the open; which is the way it should be. It's a personal preference though. Best to do what's most practical for you. Don't worry about 'offending' Krishna. Think of him as your eternal friend who doesn't get offended; only wants a simple leaf for food and lots of love, shrdha (confidence/faith/trust).
    satay

  3. #3
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    Re: Family dilemma connected to difference in religion

    Hello Bhaktina,

    That is a difficult situation you mention... Yet if you present your Hindu faith from an honest and spiritual state of being and also with reasonable words if or when needed, then those who do not accept you for that are trapped in some form of fanaticism and not you. Thus I'd say you have to make a hard choice about how much you may offend yourself if not holding true to yourself...Btw. you might use Mahatma Gandhi as an example for "westerners" to try understand part of Hinduism; also talking about the precepts of yama and niyama if someone is interested in hearing at least that much, if they are not then you can not force them to understand where you are coming from, yet you can still get along on other common ground such as at work where religion should remain private. Lastly with family members if they really love you they will not reject you for your Hindu faith, I also suggest you embrace the rich Hindu culture and its people as much as possible which is supposed to go hand in hand as help and support of its religious ways. There is zero Hindu culture or religion where I live (except for westernized hatha yoga which is close to zero) thus it is almost impossible for me to be involved in a cultural way, besides the fact that I was raised with a little bit of Christianty and years later came into some contact but in a key with Hinduism in my twenties, yet I never embraced either that much...thus my situation has also found me caught in some the ways you bring up.

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