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Can one convert to Hinduism?

Discussion in 'Hinduism DIR' started by Goon, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. तत्त्वप्रह्व

    तत्त्वप्रह्व स्वभावस्थं निरावेशम्

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    Dharma is based on the vedas, which being apauruṣeya and nitya, makes dharma sanātana (more of an adj.). However, dharma is used in a much broader sense than it used to be.

    "Hindu" is geo-socio-cultural denomination and includes a wide variety of beliefs from absolute monotheism to pantheism to panentheism to atheism. Though there were some commonly held beliefs like karma, rebirth, samsāra, and mokṣa, their functional conception varied. Well, it may be labelled saffron, but technically Indian muslims and christians too would be hindus. There are vaidik-theists, vaidik-atheists, avaidik-theists, avaidik-atheists, vaidik-agnostics, etc, all of them still 'hindus'. Vaidik monotheism and even avaidik-monotheism cannot be identified with fundamentalism arising out of abrahamic-monotheism because the epistemology and ontology of 'hindu' monotheism is very different. I don't think one can readily equate a supreme-immanent-transcendent-with diverse forms conception of monotheism with the supreme-aloof-believe-me-else-go-to-hell monotheism.
    With ISCKON (don't know about Swaminarayan), i don't think it is a problem with the philosophy as it might be with the challenges that arise out of institutionalization. Nevertheless, belief in one-supreme-god and guru-parampara are as old as the vedas. Some might be outraged with idea of dialectics that forms part of various traditions, but it is this very tradition that kept ingenuity and inclusiveness alive within hindu traditions. If Buddhists could challenge popular conceptions prevailing at their time and establish theirs with credibility it was sheerly due to dialectics. I have yet to come across say, an ISCKONite, who is prepared to kill those that don't believe in his doctrine, so i feel labelling them as those with 'fundamentalist tendencies' would be inappropriate.

    श्रीकृष्णार्पणमस्तु ।
     
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  2. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    हिरण्यगर्भः समवर्तताग्रे भूतस्य जातः पतिरेकासीत l
    स दाधार पर्थिवीं दयामुतेमां कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम ll
    "Hiraṇyagharbhaḥ samavartatāghre bhūtasya jātaḥ patirekaāsīt l
    sa dādhāra pṛthivīṃ dyāmutemāṃ kasmai devāyahaviṣā vidhema ll

    IN the beginning rose Hiranyagarbha, born Only Lord of all created beings.
    He fixed and holdeth up this earth and heaven. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
    Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 10: HYMN CXXI. Ka.
    I do not find it irresolute. But then, it is one of the beliefs in Hinduism. Other Hindus are entitled to believe in a thousand Gods and Goddesses.
     
  3. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Wow, Ratiben, I never came across anything so beautifully described. My hearty applause. Yes, becoming Hindu is not a ceremony, it is a process.
     
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  4. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I am an atheist, Vinayaka is a Kenotheist ( or Henotheist, One main along with others), Poeticus is a polytheist. We have all different God beliefs. Being humane and fulfilling our duties (i.e., following our 'dharma', what we should do) does not require us all to hold one belief.
     
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  5. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

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    I have often wondered about the true meaning of the eternal nature of the soul and the relationship of the soul to the supreme. The self is perishable in terms of our biology and I do not believe in the theory of a Consciousness being the organiser of the universe in terms of our interconnectedness to various components of Nature. Yet when we live we do acquire a 'soul force' into our nervous system and a 'life force' into the rest of our bodies from the guna consciousness energy of the universe. The soul force interacts with other components of the mind to give us our character and memories and is in union but separate to the Paramatma as given by acintya bhed abheda tatwa. This information about our lives does not go anywhere after our deaths but is remembered by Sri Krishna and stored in his heart which is Brahmaloka. That is the relationship of the jiva to the supreme in relation to how the individual becomes eternal.
     
  6. Vishvavajra

    Vishvavajra Active Member

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    If there's one thing ancient Indians knew how to do without needing any outside help, it was organizing and systematizing things to an impressive degree, almost as if they enjoyed it for its own sake.
     
  7. Kalibhakta

    Kalibhakta Jai Maha Kali Ma!

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    One could say the same of Tibetian Buddhism, which is a mixture of Mahayana Buddhism, Bon, and Shakti/Shiva Tantra. It's a beautiful thing really.
     
  8. ShivaFan

    ShivaFan Satyameva Jayate
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    I found out there is a person out there who wants to say "I am a Hindu". You know who you are.

    No problem.
    I declare YOU a HINDU!
    (I actually have these powers, but rarely use them).

    Welcome! ... and go to a temple!
     
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  9. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    And let me add, Buddha was excellent in it. Later Buddhist scholars went a bit too far into it to make Buddhism unintelligible for a common Indian man. IMHO, one of the reasons why Buddhism lost out in India.
     
  10. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    ^^ "Almost certainly the product of the monastery-university system, where for centuries you had Buddhist thinkers living in one place with little to do but refine and systematize every imaginable thing." Each trying to do better than his Acharya.
     
  11. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Can one convert to Hinduism? Why, there are only 3 answers.

    Yes, yes, and yes.

    I see people with tremendous admiration for our Sanatana Dharma, even so much that they adapt many of our concepts to their own, altering them slightly, or going about finding similarities. My question is ... if you like us so darn much and keep trying to assimilate our teachings into your own, why not just convert? What's stopping you?
     
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  12. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I was just trying to get the thread back on topic from the discussion of Buddhism it had veered off into. Nothing more, nothing less. In threads like this, I wish the original questioner would come back and give us feedback as to whether or not his questions were satisfactorily answered.

    You don't really need to explain Hinduism to Hindus. Most of us would know everything you said already.
     
  13. Vishvavajra

    Vishvavajra Active Member

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    Yeah, I wasn't responding to you specifically so much as just musing on the original topic. The original poster may never return, but other people with similar questions might see the thread and learn something useful. And this is one of those questions that is likely to come up again at some point, as it has in the past.
     
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  14. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Very true, and as you can see by the 'similar threads' list that pops up, we have indeed discussed the conversion things several times. I honestly can't think of anything new that we could add to it. But people do have a psychological need to ask their own question, even if it's word for word what someone else previously asked. It gives them a sense of ownership. So, for the most part, we tolerate that.
    .
     
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  15. NurseGuy

    NurseGuy Member

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    When I look at the writings put out by the Himalayan Academy, it seems as if they advocate a process where the convert goes through a formal name change. Do people actually do this? For me, I feel like adopting a Hindu mindset and Hindu practices is enough, though I guess Western minds often wonder about formal rituals to mark their new life.
     
  16. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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  17. Kalibhakta

    Kalibhakta Jai Maha Kali Ma!

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    May I message you in private? I have a question about Tibetan Buddhism
     
  18. Vishvavajra

    Vishvavajra Active Member

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    Me? Sure, I just hope I'll be able to answer it (if not, I can try to find someone who can).
     
  19. NurseGuy

    NurseGuy Member

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    Thanks, that was very helpful. And yes, it does look like you're the odd duck :).

    So does having the namakarana samskara involve actually changing one's name? Interesting that you compare it to baptism. So does that mean that this ritual is one's entrance into Hinduism?
     
  20. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Yes, in my sampradaya that's what it means. However, we're the only sampradaya that does that, as far as I know. I changed my name in the middle of a school year when I taught. As one might expect, my students thought it was cool, while the colleagues thought it was weird. I still love youth for such reasons. On here it's so nice to talk to young seekers like you instead of some elderly folks who are set in their ways. it's refreshing.

    Mystically, and this sampradaya is mystic ... very much so, personal (guardian) devas are assigned at that time, so it's actually quite the event, probably 10 times as many things happen in the inner worlds than in the external worlds. I'm sure those same devas are hanging out in my shrine room to this day. Of course most Hindus don't operate on that level at all.

    A few other folks who've been influenced by Subramuniyswami's writings have gone out and done it on their own with the help of a friendly priest.

    So the legal name change came about two weeks after the namakarana, and it was a relatively simple process. The namakarana was the bigger event, by far. Lots of people change their names. In Islam, it's incredibly common. But also for many other reasons like pronouncability, vulgar sounding in the new language, etc.

    It's a constant reminder. This morning while picking up a few groceries, for example, I met a Tamil friend doing the same. When he says. "Hi, _____ " there is always this connection, and confirmation. I'm a Hindu. Hindus have Hindu names.

    But again, I don't recommend it ... only if you REALLY know.
     
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