How to Become a Hindu




IN CONCLUSION, WE CAN SPEAK FRANKLY ABOUT THE SUBJECT OF CONVERSION, ADOPTION AND BEING BORN INTO A RELIGION. During the time of the intense conversions of my followers—who then joined Śaiva Siddhānta Church and are to this day loyal, mature members, having raised their children, and now their children are raising their children, a third generation is emerging—what impressed me was the attitude of ownership that each priest, minister and rabbi had when approached by a former parishioner. This attitude does not exist in Sanātana Dharma. It never has and never will. §

During this time, and much less in conversions that followed in the late 80’s and 90’s, the clergy of the various religions read and reread their own Jewish laws, Catholic canon, Protestant books of discipline and Mormon doctrines in regard to apostasy. In short, these texts all state in one way or another that any follower is automatically excommunicated who, through study or personal inner experience, has accepted the beliefs and follows the ways of another religion. It is as simple as that. We could have at that point said to would-be converts that it is really not necessary to go back to your archbishop, priest, minister or elder, since you are already an apostate. §

The only problem was that was on the human level it was simply not polite, good manners, to drift way, never facing up to the serious matter of severance and beginning a new life in a new religion. And it was simply not ethical. There was and still is another factor, that of strengthening the would-be convert in his new-found religion and its beliefs, culture and new-found friends. This was done by sending him back to his former pastor, congregation, relatives, friends and their surrounding community, to take part in their ceremonies and give them a fair chance to bring him back into the fold by talking him out of his apostate views. This was then, and still is, an ethical procedure. §

Yes, that is all true, you may think but inwardly ask, “Has anyone who underwent this return ever turned around and decided to stay in their born religion?’’ The answer is frankly, yes. We have experienced this a few times and were glad for it. This proved to us the ethicality of our approach to conversion from one religion or ism to another. §

Adoptives and born Hindus with little prior religious commitments have it easier, but they are generally subconsciously programmed with various ism’s, such as communism, existentialism, atheism, materialism, scientism and secular humanism. To effect the same level of reconciliation, we required them to approach college and university professors as well as other mentors to hear their views and argue out the turn of events in their lives giving them a chance to turn the prospective Hindu back to their teachings. §

We have in our midst the New Age movement. It has made a difference in the Western world, but the unfortunate truth is that it offers little or nothing for the children. New Age parents have no heritage to pass on to the next generation. To New Age groups visiting our ashram on this Garden Island in the mid-Pacific I give a simple analogy. I explain that there are many paths to the top of the mountain, some lead to the top and others half way up. But the New Age approach is to take none of these, but instead to go around and around the base of the mountain, sampling the most basic out-front teaching and disciplines each faith puts forward. This, I point out, is a nonproductive procedure. §

My postulation generally has had little impact on New Age seekers who were and still are totally committed to being noncommitted in any way. No matter. It has become an open secret that the movement called the New Age is, in fact, nothing more and nothing less than a modern discovery of the venerable, age-old Sanātana Dharma, which in today’s world is imbedded in many languages, as Hinduism in English, Indu Samayam in Tamil, Hindutva in Sanskrit, Hindouisme in French, Hinduismo in Spanish, Religione Hindú in Italian, Hinduismus in German and more. §

Why do we call it do-it-yourself conversion? Because if you really want to accelerate the natural spiritual, evolutionary laws of the soul, which slowly bring the realizations of the essence of the Sanātana Dharma, the eternal truths inherent in every soul, you have to do it yourself. §

There are millions of Hindus out there, born to a Hindu mother and father, who due to modern and powerful influences have diverted to other ways. One of our goals in this book is to welcome them back to the religion of their birth. One of our broader goals is to teach them about their grandfather’s path in words that make sense to them, with a style that is comfortable to them. For this, we at Himālayan Academy have developed many tools, including children’s books for their kids and grand-kids. Many don’t take religion seriously until they see the result of their attitudes of indifference and worldliness in their own offspring. §

Then there is our international magazine, HINDUISM TODAY, which speaks of their religion’s place in this contemporary world; as well as our books on meditation and personal spiritual experience; books on philosophy and theology and the Vedas; books on culture and lifestyle; and books on Lord Gaṇeśa and vegetarianism. And now the book you hold in your hands: a book on how anyone, born-Hindu or born-Nothing, can join the the eternal path, which has no equal, the ancient path which has none older than it, the innermost path which is the straightest way to God. §