Gurudeva discusses conversion to Hinduism giving the Saivite view and the view of Smartism and the other Hindu denominations, continuing yesterday's talk. Gurudeva expands on the 6 steps of conversion as outlined in Loving Ganesha. Ipso facto excommunication from the previous religion is inherent. This is a soul searching, subconscious adjusting process and one should have a mentor to do this yet conversion to Hinduism is a "do it yourself" process. These 6 steps give you the path and the assistance to make it happen.
Today at Kauai Aadheenam. November 30th.
Well, today we send 'Hinduism Today', the February issue which is very interesting. A lot of white faces this time. Very interesting.
The subject that we are going to discuss today, comes from a question. "What do you mean by 'conversion to Hinduism'? I was told that Hindus do not allow conversion."
Well, Lord Siva's world is a different world, than in the other denominations of Hinduism. The denominations are Saivism, Saktism, Vaishnavism, and Smartism.
Smartism is a Brahmin, caste-oriented. Though liberal to a certain extent in its philosophy, trying to encompass the world of Vedanta, it does not allow conversion into Hinduism. Their four or five pontiffs even go so far as to say, that you have to be born in India, an Indian, to be a Hindu. But if you were born in India, and you are an Indian citizen and you are white, you can't be a Hindu. They even infer that if you are born in Sri Lanka or in Fiji or any other country. Sri Lankans are not Indian and haven't been for a thousand years or more, that they can't be Hindu's.
Why is this? Because they feel you have to be born into a caste, one of the four castes, to become a Hindu. You cannot convert into the castes, which are the sudra - the workers, the vaishya - the business people, the kshatriya - the politicians and rulers, and the Brahmins - the priestly caste.
They are very firm in this and most Indian Swamis are from the Smarta sampradaya or this particular denomination. Therefore, they freely give Hindu first names to Western people, but that's it. They don't take them any further because they do not have an overall riding permission from their Paramacharyas. The founder of the Smarta sampradaya, Shankaracharya, let four or five people carry on his lineage. Therefore, they do not have permission to even give the name-giving ceremony, which is the entrance into Hinduism. Nor do the priests who follow this particular denomination.
But all is not lost. The denomination called Shakta, freely brings in people into Hinduism. So does the Saiva denomination and the Vaishnava denomination.
Then the question comes up: how do you become a Hindu?
Well, it is explained in the beautiful little book, 'Loving Ganesha, Hinduism's endearing elephant-faced God'. That's the God that drank up all the milk in various cities throughout Europe and India in the milk-drinking miracle. You can read about it in the book.
First one must join an Hindu community. The best way is to go to the local Hindu temple and blend with the population there and get to know them, their customs and their feelings about worship. Worship is a very big part of Hinduism, especially for the beginner.
Secondly, we must ... and I am paraphrasing from page 548. There are six steps. The first step is joining a Hindu community. The second step is making a point-counterpoint of your beliefs, whether they be Jewish or Christian or Islamic. Compare them to Sanatana Dharma's basic beliefs of karma, reincarnation, dharma, and the existence of God everywhere. If you accept these four beliefs, which are contrary to the Abrahamic religions I just mentioned, you are by default, a Hindu. But, it must be clear to your subconscious mind. So, make a point-counterpoint and write down why you rejected the former beliefs and accepted your new ones. Then show this to a Hindu elder in the temple that you are attending, for his review and comment.
Next is ethical severance from former mentors, letting them know. If you are born Jewish, that means from a Jewish mother, you should go to the rabbi and let him know, because he will then tell everyone else that you are leaving the fold. But first, he will tell you that it is impossible for a Jew to leave the religion. This is not true. A Catholic priest will also say the same, as will a Protestant minister. This is also not true. We have letters from Catholic priests and Archbishops, and we have converted Jews into Hinduism, and a few Muslims also. It is an ipso-facto situation. Ipso-facto means 'automatic'. You are automatically excommunicated if you accept contrary beliefs to those that you were raised with or taught in Sunday school.Many people go to college and get converted without them knowing it and become existentialists. Even the New Age movement has its own beliefs. So, this is soul searching, adjusting the subconscious. It has to be methodical and you should have a mentor to help you do this.
Then, adopting a Hindu name - first name, last name, making it legal, getting a passport, credit card, library cards, bank account, driver's licence.All that impresses not only you, but all those about you, that you've made a difference.This is not a difficult thing to do. Women do it all the time when they get married. They change their name.
After the Namakarana Samskara given by a Shakta priest, a Saivite priest, or a Vaishnavite priest, you will have a beautiful ceremony. Not a Smarta priest because they will say know, they cannot do that. A certificate is signed, and there is a certificate on page 551. Then publish in the newspaper that you have changed your name. Tell all of your family and friends and insist that they use your name. If they really, really love you, they will pull along with you. If you've had contention in your home and your mother or father is saying, "I named you Janie, and you'll always be Janie to me." Or, "I named you John, and you shall always be John to me. What is this culture going into anyway!?"
Well, conversion to Hinduism is a do-it-yourself system. When eternal truths are realized, that cannot be changed on the inside of you. No one can change your realization. They can't do that because realization is permanent. Realization is permanent. So, if you are what we call an 'ardha-Hindu', that means 'half-Hindu'. Ardha means 'half'. If you are an ardha-Hindu and have accepted in your heart and soul, the eternal truth of karma, reincarnation, and the existence of God everywhere, and the dharma of the Vedas, then take the six steps and convert yourself. No one can do it for you. This is your internal process. But these six steps give you the path and the system to make it happen.
Well, it has been wonderful talking to you all in cyberspace and we need more questions to investigate into conversion. Send them in. Push that little button, the little box will come up, and you'll write your question down and send it in. It should be a serious question, though. We'll be seeing you in cyberspace tomorrow.