How to Become a Hindu




HOW TO BECOME A HINDU, A GUIDE FOR SEEKERS AND BORN HINDUS WAS DESIGNED AND ILLUSTRATED BY THE SWĀMĪS OF THE ŚAIVA Siddhānta Yoga Order at Kauai’s Hindu Monastery on the Garden Island in Hawaii. This first edition was edited and produced using QuarkXPress on a Fast Ethernet network of Apple Power Macintosh G4 computers. The book was built on the foundation of Śaivite Names, published by the author in 1989 to serve the needs of his congregation and those interested in adopting the Hindu faith in a formal way. At the turn of the millennium, the author did his editing and additions on a wireless Ethernet-based series of Apple iBooks using Farallon’s Timbuktu at an oceanside field office. The text is set in Adobe’s Minion family of fonts: 11.5-point medium with 13.5-point linespacing for the body of the book and 9 on 11 for the glossary and index. For Devanāgarī and Tamil, we used fonts created by Ecological Linguistics in Washington, D.C., and by Śrīkṛishṇa Patel of Cupertino, California. Pages were output to film and printed by offset press on 60# Finch Opaque paper by Sheridan Books in Fredericksburg, Virginia.§

The cover art is a watercolor by Tiru S. Rajam, 81, of Chennai, India, commissioned for this book in 2000. The painting on the title page is by the same artist, a venerable national treasure of South India, musical composer and traditional Tamil Śaivite artist whose work is permanently exhibited in the British Museum in London. The vivid oil portrait of Gurudeva on the back cover was a gift by India’s renowned artist and national treasure, Sri Indra Sharma, 73, during his sojourn on Kauai in late 1997. He was also commissioned to execute the portrait of Jñānaguru Yogaswāmī on page iv, a painting described to be “just like he looked,” said Śrīla Śrī Śivaratnapuri Tiruchiswāmīgal of Bangalore, who knew him well. Illustrations and patterns are by Tiru A. Manivelu and his son, M. Arumugam, of Chennai, India, commissioned in 2000. §

The cover design and Himālayan Academy logo were created by San Francisco artist John Kuzich. Multi-level indexing and comprehensive proofreading were accomplished by Tirumati Chamundi Sabanathan of Santa Rosa, California, Selvan Erasenthiran Poonjolai of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the monks at Kauai’s Hindu Monastery. Sanskrit translations of the chapter titles and other expertise was provided by Mrs. Sudha P. Kulkarni of Mumbai. §

Dozens of devotees and authors came forward to share intimate stories of their conversion to Hinduism. Their testimonies lend credence to the worldwide relevance of Hinduism and importance of ethical religious conversion in this modern age. Indeed, their own recognition of their Hinduness brought them ever closer to their soul and their spiritual destiny, a true unfoldment on the path that all souls eventually attain.§

For all these noble, talented and selfless contributions, we offer our heartfelt appreciation. May many blessings come to each one who contributed to this great documentary. We conclude How to Become a Hindu with abundant praise to all the author’s devotees who stayed the course through the years, slowly and gently adopting Hindu culture, setting the example for hundreds more souls who will find their roots in Hinduism for generations to come.§