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Thread: A year dedicated to Hinduism

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    A year dedicated to Hinduism

    On December 14, I may dedicate myself to a year as a Hindu. Though I know this religion is probably the one that is best for me, its hard letting go of my old religion for many reasons (but I have to face it is making the Divine feel farther away versus closer). I have chosen December 14 because it is a day that is spiritually very significant for me.

    I would like to mark it with some sort of ceremony and some rituals. I am thinking of taking a "spiritual" Hindu name to help me deepen my relationship with Hinduism on a variety of levels. Has anyone else taken a name when they converted?

    I am looking for guidance, ideas and recommendations from among the members of this forum. What are some of the best ways for a beginner to begin living sanatana dharma as a way of life, etc..

    Also, anything you can help me with in terms of daily rituals and objects I might want to purchase, I would appreciate that also. I believe I have read enough on Hinduism to get a basic understand of beliefs, but I am strugglilng to find information on daily rituals. Also are there any good social communities online? I do not have a temple nearby so the internet will be my main source of interacting with others who are practicing Hinduism.

    Namaste! And Peace!
    Heartfull

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    Re: A year dedicated to Hinduism

    Vannakkam: So you can become a Hindu for a year? I didn't realise that was possible.

    Perhaps you mean dedicating one year odf study to Hinduism. For that I would recommend one of Subramuniyaswami's s books in his trilogy which each have 365 daily lessons.

    Where are you again in US? Maybe there is a temple closer than you think.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: A year dedicated to Hinduism

    Also, anything you can help me with in terms of daily rituals and objects I might want to purchase, I would appreciate that also. I believe I have read enough on Hinduism to get a basic understand of beliefs, but I am strugglilng to find information on daily rituals.
    Yes, this is a problem. There are many books on what Hindus believe, but there are very few detailing the practice of the religion in a clear, concise, step-by-step manner. This is possibly because the religious practices are passed on from father to son and mother to daughter. Hindus learn them from their parents and in turn pass them on to their own children.

    However, this is a problem not only for converts, but for those Hindus born into secular or nonreligious families. As I explained in another thread, I'd like to write a book giving detailed step-by-step instructions on Hindu practice - how to set up a home altar, how to offer puja, how to celebrate each festival, how to celebrate the samskaras etc.

    For instructions on Ganesha puja, see the following link:
    http://www.himalayanacademy.com/reso.../lg_ch-12.html

    My wife's grandfather is a religious Saivite, and the puja he does is like this.

    He starts by offering incense and a camphor lamp to the pictures of his departed relatives set on a table on the right-hand side of the prayer room. He then takes the equipment over to the altar, and offers incense, an oil lamp and a camphor lamp to the pictures on the altar (including Sathya Sai Baba) and the picture of Saraswati off to the side of the altar. On Fridays, he breaks a coconut as well and rings the bell when offering the items.

    However, he has some weapons on the left-hand side of the prayer room whose functions I don't understand. That's why I'd like to write a book explaining all these things.

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    Re: A year dedicated to Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottMalaysia View Post
    However, this is a problem not only for converts, but for those Hindus born into secular or nonreligious families.
    Or for those of us who were born in religious families but didn't pay attention. As I said in the other thread, I would very much appreciate if the directives for preparing and performing a puja were recorded in some easily accessible book. Currently I don't feel confident that I could properly perform a puja without significant assistance from someone who knows better than me.

    Regarding Heartfully's original post, may I ask why you're departing from your previous religion to practice Hinduism? Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that you want to learn more about the Hindu religion. But converting from one religion to another usually requires departing from well-established family traditions, and in general it's not something I would recommend. I certainly think you're doing the right thing by taking a year to explore Hinduism before making any permanent decisions (at least that's what I hope you're doing, since Eastern Mind correctly stated that it doesn't make sense to "be" a Hindu for a year). But as Sri Krishna says, salvation is found not in religious practice, but in surrendering oneself fully to God. Just something to think about.

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    Re: A year dedicated to Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkam: So you can become a Hindu for a year? I didn't realise that was possible.

    Perhaps you mean dedicating one year odf study to Hinduism. For that I would recommend one of Subramuniyaswami's s books in his trilogy which each have 365 daily lessons.

    Where are you again in US? Maybe there is a temple closer than you think.

    Aum Namasivaya
    lol, . i understand how confusing and odd this must sound. its better for me to say "practice" it for a year. i would like to commit myself to exploring it for a year and finding out if i am right to leave the religion i am practicing now. i love parts of my current religion, but i also feel "oppressed" by it and unable to be the real me. my current religion is very conservative and hindus seem to be so much more tolerant, creative, concerned more with the inner than the outer ways of practicing a religion.

    i have been confused about what to do with all this. and i think i have to either devote myself to one or the other...not always dipping over from one side to the other. if i didn't feel the need to remain cryptic about my current situation, it would make more sense.

    i will look up that book right now. thanks for recommending it.

    namaste!
    heartfully

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    Re: A year dedicated to Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkam: So you can become a Hindu for a year? I didn't realise that was possible.

    Perhaps you mean dedicating one year odf study to Hinduism. For that I would recommend one of Subramuniyaswami's s books in his trilogy which each have 365 daily lessons.

    Where are you again in US? Maybe there is a temple closer than you think.

    Aum Namasivaya
    Namaste! I did a search at Amazon and I'm not sure which of his books you are referring to. Could you let me know?

    I actually have Dancing With Siva. I purchased recently. Is that one a good book to use to learn from?

    Peace,
    Heartfully

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    Re: A year dedicated to Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottMalaysia View Post
    Yes, this is a problem. There are many books on what Hindus believe, but there are very few detailing the practice of the religion in a clear, concise, step-by-step manner. This is possibly because the religious practices are passed on from father to son and mother to daughter. Hindus learn them from their parents and in turn pass them on to their own children.

    However, this is a problem not only for converts, but for those Hindus born into secular or nonreligious families. As I explained in another thread, I'd like to write a book giving detailed step-by-step instructions on Hindu practice - how to set up a home altar, how to offer puja, how to celebrate each festival, how to celebrate the samskaras etc.

    For instructions on Ganesha puja, see the following link:
    http://www.himalayanacademy.com/reso.../lg_ch-12.html

    My wife's grandfather is a religious Saivite, and the puja he does is like this.

    He starts by offering incense and a camphor lamp to the pictures of his departed relatives set on a table on the right-hand side of the prayer room. He then takes the equipment over to the altar, and offers incense, an oil lamp and a camphor lamp to the pictures on the altar (including Sathya Sai Baba) and the picture of Saraswati off to the side of the altar. On Fridays, he breaks a coconut as well and rings the bell when offering the items.

    However, he has some weapons on the left-hand side of the prayer room whose functions I don't understand. That's why I'd like to write a book explaining all these things.
    namaste! i do think your book would be greatly appreciated by many.

    peace,
    heartfully

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    Re: A year dedicated to Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by sanjaya View Post
    Or for those of us who were born in religious families but didn't pay attention. As I said in the other thread, I would very much appreciate if the directives for preparing and performing a puja were recorded in some easily accessible book. Currently I don't feel confident that I could properly perform a puja without significant assistance from someone who knows better than me.

    Regarding Heartfully's original post, may I ask why you're departing from your previous religion to practice Hinduism? Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that you want to learn more about the Hindu religion. But converting from one religion to another usually requires departing from well-established family traditions, and in general it's not something I would recommend. I certainly think you're doing the right thing by taking a year to explore Hinduism before making any permanent decisions (at least that's what I hope you're doing, since Eastern Mind correctly stated that it doesn't make sense to "be" a Hindu for a year). But as Sri Krishna says, salvation is found not in religious practice, but in surrendering oneself fully to God. Just something to think about.
    namaste! actually, no one in my family (near or distant) practice the religion i practice. it was my choice. it has been a good choice, in some ways, because it forced me to explore what i need from a religion. but it is hard to be myself in the religion i practice now. i'm still confused in some ways, but i am wondering if that is more of a guilt trip i am laying on myself about considering converting. does that make sense?

    today i feel unsure about whether to go through with this or not. it is as if the Divine keeps pulling me back to my current religion which feels like such an awful fit. maybe there is a place for me somewhere and i just don't know it yet?

    i know its confusing. i'm not comfortable sharing more in a public forum.

    peace,
    heartfully

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    Re: A year dedicated to Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by heartfully View Post
    lol, . i understand how confusing and odd this must sound. its better for me to say "practice" it for a year. i would like to commit myself to exploring it for a year and finding out if i am right to leave the religion i am practicing now. i love parts of my current religion, but i also feel "oppressed" by it and unable to be the real me. my current religion is very conservative and hindus seem to be so much more tolerant, creative, concerned more with the inner than the outer ways of practicing a religion.
    May I ask what you mean by "conservative?" It's true that Hinduism doesn't require you to vote for a particular political party, support specific cultural issues, or actively convert others, nor do we believe that anyone is going to hell for practicing the wrong religion. However, Hinduism isn't without its own moral code, most of which is similar to what you'll find in any other religion. I know of people who've started exploring Hinduism with a false belief that it's some sort of a hippie religion (for lack of a better term) only to find out that we have a strict sense of right behavior too. In many ways, India is one of the most conservative countries in the world, as evidenced by the fact that everyone freaks out and threatens criminal charges when two people kiss in public. Yes, some of this is influenced by the British Victorian era. But a lot of it is also because Hinduism teaches us self-discipline.

    I don't mean to suggest that you're looking for a religion that tolerates some sort of immorality, and I'm certainly not trying to dissuade you from looking into our faith. I just want to caution you that like most religions, Hinduism requires its adherants to develop certain personal disciplines. Since I recently began practicing more seriously, I've found that it's not as easy as I thought it would be.

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    Re: A year dedicated to Hinduism

    PS- I wonder if I am too old to begin practicing a new religion. will i spend more time learning than worshiping? that's my concern.

    peace,
    heartfully

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