How to become a Hindu

Gurudeva answers a question concerning conversion where one of a couple is Hindu and the other is not and how some who come to Hinduism, for the first time in their lives, become religious. Gurudeva describes how culture comes from religion.

Unedited Transcript:

Today at Kauai Aadheenam. December 5th.

Beautiful fire puja today invoking the Gods to build the foundation of Iraivan Temple, to bring all the mighty stones to Kauai from Bangalore, India.

It is a windy and rainy day, bringing our cool, rainy season. We have three seasons here on this Garden Island of Kauai. The cool, rainy season which we are entering right now. Then we move into the warm, rainy season. Then we move into the hot, rainy season, which is slightly warmer than the warm, rainy season. Each season varies from 5 to 7 degrees. We have the least rain in June and July. That is when we have our big festival of Satguru Purnima. We hope that those of you who become Himalayan Academy students will join us. 1999, our fiftieth Anniversary of Satguru Purnima!

We experienced Sivalaya Deepam during our retreat, Siva turning into a pillar of light. Another wonderful fire ceremony with all the devotees who live on the island here, came and chanted, sang and prayed for a better life, a better world and the many tomorrows to come. Then we paraded around and danced around the foundation of Iraivan Temple. You may see some pictures of this on the Internet.

Here again in cyberspace we have a question from Singapore. "I am a Hindu, my wife is a Sikh. Gurudeva, should she go through a process of conversion?"

Conversion is a very intimate process to go through. It takes much prayer and soul searching.

Traditionally, in every religion, it is preferable that the wife become the religion of her husband. It is much easier for a Sikh to become a Hindu than say, a Catholic or a Jew to become a Hindu, because Sikhism is an outgrowth of the Sanatana Dharma. I would say, if it pleases her to do so, yes. But, follow all the steps outlined in conversion in the latter chapters of 'Loving Ganesa' very, very carefully, so that a full conversion takes place. There is nothing worse than a partial conversion when we half accept the new tradition, but not fully subconsciously. I hope this answers your question and thank you very much for communicating with us from Singapore.

Another thought about conversion is that it must be carefully considered because a legal name change is very, very important. It could affect inheritances, family harmony, the children's lives. There are many implications. Ask yourself, "Are you ready for this?" Or, just be very religious in the religion that you are.

Often people come to Hinduism and for the first time in their lives become religious. They meet a Guru, they meet the Swamis. They hear things that they have never heard before. They attend festivals and sing with abandonment, and then when they go back to their own religion, they are religious within the religion.

Why did they leave their religion in the first place? Nothing wrong with their religion. It is just that they were not religious.

Out of religion comes culture. Out of worship in the temple comes the Hindu culture. For we learn to treat each other as we approach and treat the Deity and the Deity within the temple treats us. When the temples are abandoned, the culture slowly goes away. Can it be retrieved? Yes it can, by building the temples again. A true Hindu will always build a temple in the local community wherever he lives. He will start by building one within his own home, a sacred shrine room.

Well, I will be seeing you tomorrow, the next day, the next day and the next day. We will be together for five days and then were off on another retreat for two days to reflect on the past and on the future days to come. Take time to reflect.

Nice to see you in cyberspace. We'll see you tomorrow, December 6th.