“There is no unity among Hindus” is a rather an exaggerated statement, though there is an element of truth in it.
By very design, Hinduism has multiple facets, multiple ways to approach God within its overall scope, offers the freedom of choice, freedom of expression, freedom of dissent and so on. Naturally, it gives religious people freedom to compartmentalize themselves, disagree with other sects, argue with them, demean them etc. Hinduism is so widely encompassing that Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says even atheism is a stepping stone to reach God in Hinduism!
This very fabric of Hinduism also paved the way for Hindus generously accepting other religions to flourish in Indian soil.
It can be safely said that the absence of unity in Hinduism is exactly like feuds within brothers and sisters in a family! They may not see eye to eye with each other, have different tastes and agendas in life, may even split from the family and live alone. But the underlying blood connection never goes. When some calamities strike the family, we can see that all family members bury their difference of opinions and come together! In a similar way, there are indeed occasions when Hindus join together burying their differences of opinions and tastes.
Hindus as a society do face problems and differences on account of caste system; but again, history shows that our religion is not rigid, but flexible enough to acknowledge and take corrective actions in the long haul. Where there is lack of unity, it is mostly fueled and nurtured by petty politicians and social reformers who have no deeper knowledge about Hinduism; they bet on their pseudo-secularism to keep dividing Hindu people for their selfish gains.
However, it is an undeniable fact that caste discrimination and the absence of any single strict authority (like the Pope in Christianity) have paved the way for Hindus getting wooed by other religions by conversion.
On top of it all please consider this:
Historically, how much of bloodshed have you seen amidst Hindus fighting within themselves based on their religious differences? Extremely little.
Compare this with the history of other religions: Shiites versus Sunnis; Protestants versus Catholics.
Then the reality will be far clearer.
https://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Hindus-rally.jpg332700C.V.Rajanhttps://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Logo6-Hinduism-Sanatana-dharma-Way-of-life-340-×-140-px-300x124.pngC.V.Rajan2020-01-01 21:51:572020-01-01 21:51:57Why is there no unity among Hindus unlike people of Islam or Christianity? Are not Hindus weakened by their lack of unity and constant internal squabbling leading to religious conversions?
No. It is not true that Hindus are indifferent to other religions. Because Hindus, knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or unconsciously believe that there are other paths through other faiths leading to God, they have a tendency to accept others following their own faiths in their own ways.
The Rig Veda says “Ekam sat, vipra bahuta vadanti” — ‘The truth is one, seers speak of it differently’. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said “yat mat, tat path” –‘as many faiths, so many paths’.
That’s why Hindus never went about doing conversion of people of other religions to Hinduism. That’s why Hindus accepted people of other religions to come and settle in India and gave them freedom to follow their faiths.
Hindus have all along been doing it matter of factly, without the need for pseudo-secularists educating them on it.
That was the strength of Hinduism. Unfortunately, there are indeed certain religions in this world whose spiritual mentality is not designed to be so generous and all encompassing. Those religions seem designed to be arrogant, pushy, greedy, self-serving, adamant and bulldozing.
That’s where the problems for Hindus started in India. There is a saying in Tamil:
இடத்தை கொடுத்தால் மடத்தைப் பிடுங்குவான் ‘Idatthai kodutthaal madatthai pidunguvaan’
Meaning: “If you give him a place to rest in your Math (monastry) he will forcefully grab from you the entire Math!”
There is yet another one:
“ஒண்ட வந்த பிடாரி, ஊர் பிடாரியை விரட்டியதாம்” ‘Onda vantha pidaari, oor pidariyai virattiyathaam’
Meaning: The goddess of the next village begged to stay in the local temple and when permitted, ousted the local goddess!’
Such things started happening widely on account of Hindu elite educated class, marginalized class and the ruling class started neglecting, mocking at and unjustly criticizing Sanata Dharma without any deeper understanding of its greatness. The pseudo-secularists were in the forefront in doing this damage from inside.
Hence, as a consequence, Hindus seem to be becoming increasingly pessimistic about their own innate nature of broadmindedness and started wondering whether they have bent too much to allow others to sit on their backs and ride them.
https://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Muslims-and-Hindus-worshiping.png411709C.V.Rajanhttps://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Logo6-Hinduism-Sanatana-dharma-Way-of-life-340-×-140-px-300x124.pngC.V.Rajan2019-09-03 06:59:432019-09-03 06:59:43Are Hindus indifferent to people of other religions? Why is there no practice of converting others to Hindu religion? Are Hindus indifferent to their own religion?
“All is fair in love and war” – so goes a popular saying. If a Hindu girl falls in love with a Muslim boy and is bent upon marrying him, she can, provided she converts to Islam. Islam prohibits any Muslim boy from marrying a girl from any other religion, until and unless the girl accepts Allah as her only God by way of converting to Islam.
And, if a Hindu girl is bent upon doing it, well, there is quite a good scope for the love coming to an end sooner and a war beginning afterwards!
The war is likely to be extremely damaging and painful if the love affair finally turns out to be a well planned Love Jihad.
Well; there are lots of arguments, proofs, lack of proofs and what not on the matter of whether Love Jihad is a real or imagined issue.
I personally believe there would not have been so much smoke if there is really no fire.
You can search in Quora itself and you will come across many personal real stories and confessions, arguments and counter arguments and so on this matter.
Coming back to the love marriage, irrespective of whether it happened out of Love Jihad or not, the stark reality to be faced is: What is going to be the physical, emotional and cultural status of the woman post marriage.
https://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Love-jihad2.jpg218614C.V.Rajanhttps://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Logo6-Hinduism-Sanatana-dharma-Way-of-life-340-×-140-px-300x124.pngC.V.Rajan2018-05-23 21:42:012018-05-23 21:44:14Can a Hindu woman marry a Muslim man?
This is Part: 2 of the article on Why conversion from Hinduism to other religions is highly discouraged.
In the part 1, some solid and important facts about the relevance of Hinduism has been discussed. Please read it first, before proceeding here.
In this part 2, some frequently asked questions from religion/ spiritual point of view are being answered.
Question 1: How about fake Gurus and God-men of dubious characters who seem to abound Hinduism?
Not every student studying in a class can get distinction. Not every religious aspirant has the qualities of mental purity, sacrifice, unselfishness, grittiness and adherence to austerities. It is always possible that there will be ‘drop-outs’ who, by virtue of their undigested spirituality may start their own spiritual show business and thrive by attracting seekers of dubious qualities.
Not just Hinduism, but every religion has dubious spiritual teachers who misguide people and thrive on a selfish agenda. In God’s scheme of things, it will always be there.
There will also be religious teachers at intermittent levels (Neither fake gurus not fully realized Gurus) who are earnest and sincere in their efforts, limited in their own grasp of religion but nevertheless contributing something for the religion meant for people at lower and middle levels of spiritual or religious progression. They are very much needed for any religion and their role is definitely as good as school and college teachers taking classes at various levels, with their own qualifications being enough to teach and guide pupils of appropriate grade.
Again the point to note is this: Amidst existence of fake Gurus and Gurus of various tiers, sects and subsects and schools of philosophies , it is in Hinduism that great realized saints have been evolving time and again to guide earnest seekers of spirituality with appropriate teachings suited best to the times they arrive at in the society. It is in Hinduism that one can see the constant evolution, adaptation and path correction so that true seekers are properly guided and the society at large is reshaped and guided in the right path for the wellbeing of the society and its cultural traditions.
Question 2: If Great Hindu Masters accept all religions, then what is the problem in converting to any other religion?
If you go to your own town’s market to buy the things of your need and all essential items are very much available in your own market at affordable price, at good quality and without shortage, then what is really the need to go to next town’s market?
If someone thinks that something is amiss in his own market, it is not because it is true; it is because he has not looked around enough to see where it is available. Or it may be that he got hoodwinked by the false propaganda from a marketer from the next town who spreads lies and falsehood; it may be because the marketer from the next town offered him something out of selfish agenda to change his loyalty.
Now, coming to the stand of great spiritual masters of Hinduism accepting all religions, it is only due to their clear understanding of the all pervading nature of Godliness radiating from within themselves. But virtually no spiritual master ever nodded in appreciation of any Hindu converting to any other religion.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is oft quoted for his statement “As many faiths; so many paths”. He was a unique Hindu spiritual master who actually put into practice Christianity and Islam in his own life and within a short time realized the spiritual principle of these religions. He in fact had a vision of Jesus Christ and saw Christ’s form merging into himself.
Michael Madhusudhan Datta was a famous Bengali poet who lived in Kolkotta during Sri Ramakrishna’s period. He was actually a Hindu, who had got converted to Christianity. Once Sri Ramakrishna happened to meet Michael Madhusudhan along with some of his devotees. When someone questioned Michael as to why he had got converted to Christianity, Michael replied something like “It’s all for the sake of the stomach; what else?”
The moment Ramakrishna heard this, he left the spot, not willing to engage in any discussion with Michael, as desired by his devotees. Ramakrishna later said to his devotees: “I felt as though I was dumb folded; Ah! What is there to talk with a person who simply forsakes his own religion and converts to another for the sake of filling his stomach! “
Once a Christian Congregational Bishop by name Stanely Jones came from abroad to meet Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi. He, with lots of missionary zeal, was trying to impress Maharishi about the “Kingdom of Heaven” that could be attained only through the grace of Jesus Christ; he started teasing and challenging Bhagwan about his philosophies and questioning Bhagwan’s credentials but showed least interest or earnestness in listening and absorbing Bhagwan’s responses. After trying to make him see reason for a while, Bhagwan understood that the person was only keen on giving a sermon on the Kingdom of Heaven and how the only facilitator for it was Jesus Christ. Bhagwan kept quiet and the person went on blabbering.
At that time, Bhagwan’s western devotee Major A W Chadwik (Sadhu Arunachala) was in the hall and having got irritated by Stanley’s behavior, Chadvik, (a Christian well versed in Bible), confronted him with pointed arguments. Stanley got shocked by the opposition he faced from a fellow Christian westerner and he opted to pack off and leave. Once he left, Bhagwan laughed and said “You have certainly paid him in his own coin!”
In Swami Vivekananda’s life too there are several instances where he was quite critical of missionaries and their efforts to convert people to Christianity. He was always critical about Islamic rulers of the past who converted gullible common people to Islam at the point of the sword.
Question 3: What about atonement of sin? Hindu religion is fatalistic; they say one has to experience Karma and there is no escape. It looks sinners are doomed if they follow Hinduism, whereas Christianity welcomes sinners with open hands; they say, Jesus has shed blood for all our sins and hence our sins are atoned by God. That’s so much comforting.
If any Hindu says that in Hinduism you are cent percent bound by Karma and there is no escape from sins and if a Christian says Jesus has shed his blood for your sake so that you can enjoy life absolved of all sins and keep doing sins, both are misguided!
While as per karma theory of Hinduism it is true that there will be the effect for every karma — good or bad — that one has got to experience, it is never said that it a rigid law; Karmas are not self-propelling, to give you good and bad effects on their own power. Karma is just jata – inanimate. it is God’s will that decides what effect is to be given to the karma at what time to the doer of karma.
In Hinduism, attempting to understand and breaking one’s head as to what is dharma (righteous act that can bring good effects) and what is adharma (unrighteous acts that can bring bad effects) might get too complicated for comprehension of a commoner. But if one surrenders totally and unconditionally to God’s will without worrying about dharma, then God (Lord Krishna) promises that he will absolve all the sins of the person (Bhagavad Gita 18-66).
Putting it more practically for the consumption of people of this Kali Yuga where dharma will tend to be at the lowest ebb, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa always emphasized that for this Yuga, chanting God’s name with reverence will absolve one from all sins. With a firm belief in the purifying power of God’s name and with a firm resolve not to repeat the sins that one committed, if one chants God’s name again and again with devotion, his sins are absolved — assures Sri Ramakrishna.
Going further, Ramakrishna once said: “Sambu Charan once read out Bible for me for a while; Oh! There is so much of obsession with sins in it! They keep talking about sins again and again. He who says day and night, ‘I am a sinner, I am a sinner’ verily becomes a sinner. Why fear about sins? Should you not have the conviction “I chant Lord’s name; what can sins do on me?”
From the point of total surrender to God, it is indeed true that if a Christian totally surrenders to Jesus Christ with absolute trust and faith, he need not worry about the effects of past sins. But any assertion that Jesus Christ who, by virtue of shedding his blood on the cross, became qualified to be “the sole authorized arbitrator for the wholesale absolution of all Christians’ sins” (including those of converted Christians coming in with a sin-washing agenda) turns out to be too blasphemous a claim!
Continued in —> Part:3 (Final part) . In this part, the problems with love affairs and marriages between religions are discussed.
https://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Conversion-to-Islam.jpg340522C.V.Rajanhttps://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Logo6-Hinduism-Sanatana-dharma-Way-of-life-340-×-140-px-300x124.pngC.V.Rajan2018-03-21 12:50:522018-03-31 22:21:42Why Conversion from Hinduism to any other religion is highly discouraged – Part:2
(Caution: Those who do not like sarcasm need not read this answer!)
Here are the benefits for a Hindu to get converted to Christianity:
You can have a flashy, American/ western sounding name.
Whetever financial, educational or other concessions you get for converting to Christianity are your short term profits; demand and extract as much as possible. These missionaries get plenty of dollars.
If you believe in what the missionaries said , then you can commit sins without fear , because ‘Jesus has already shed his blood for all the sins of His believers’.
Enjoy life. Religious moralists will not be breathing behind your neck to say “Don’t eat beef; don’ t drink liquor; don’t smoke; don’t have girlfriend” and so on
You can save lot of money by not spending on numerous festivals like Deepavali, Shankranti, Navrathri and so on. You can save all and spend just on Christmas only.
You don’t have to salute in front of the countless Hindu temples that throng along all the roads, nooks and corners.
It is enough if you worship just Jesus Christ only. Oh, what a relief!
It is enough if you read just one Holy book — Bible, instread of trying to break your head with Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, Brahma Sutra, Yoga Vasishta, Yoga Sutra, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Srimad Bhagavatam, Vishnu Purana, Siva Purana, Devi Bhagavatam and so on and the various interpratations of them by various masters! Oh, what a relief!
You don’t have to run around spending money, time and enegy to visit holy temples across India, take bath in Ganga, Godhavari, Sethu and so in.
You don’t have to memorize or chant the various stotras that please and glorify various Gods — Vishnu Sahasranama, Lalitha Sahasranama, Various Ashtotra sada Namavalis and so on.
You don’t have to sing bhajans tuned to boring and archaic Carnatic or Hindustani tunes. You can now sing prayers tuned to western music!
You don’ t have to worry at all about your karma, future re-births after death and so on. Either you remain in suspended animation till the day of your judgement or end up in heaven after your death.
If you believe in what the missionaries said, then you don’ t really have to fear hell for 2 reasons: One, you have escaped the punishment of hell for having worshiped Hindu Gods with forms, and two, you have accepted Jesus who has already, sensing your future arrival into his fold with enough load of sins, shed his blood in necessary extra quantity to absolve you of your sins!
https://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Conversion-to-Christianity.jpg350456C.V.Rajanhttps://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Logo6-Hinduism-Sanatana-dharma-Way-of-life-340-×-140-px-300x124.pngC.V.Rajan2018-02-27 07:54:342018-03-24 11:44:06Why do people convert from Hinduism to Christianity? What benefits do they seem to get in doing so?
No single, universally acceptable procedure ever exists for getting converted to Hinduism – this is the basic truth. Why? Hinduism, in absolute reality, is not a religion, but “sanatana Dharma” – the righteous way of living; it encompasses the entire creation; it is not a religion founded by any one messiah.
Hinduism is quite different from Christianity or Islam from the point of view of its vastness in the scope of practice and perception. The concept of one supreme God, who is amenable for worship in multitudes of names and forms, is one major aspect of religion that sets Hinduism apart from other religions. This has resulted in numerous sects and sub-sects in Hinduism. Further, Hinduism as practiced at the grass root level and as comprehended at the elevated spiritual and philosophical level has a vast difference in between.
Thus, Hinduism is a multifaceted religion; it is like a pyramid with multiple faces at the bottom, culminating at a single point at the top. Obviously, there is no “single point of entry” available to the religion which is amenable and acceptable one to all. This being the reality, let us now see how one can “convert” to Hinduism for all practical purposes.
For that, one basic question must be answered. What is the motive of one to adopt Hinduism?
Adopt to Hinduism purely on spiritual motive
For some non-Hindus, Hindu’s way of worshiping a personal God with a name and form and choosing the path of Bhakti (devotion) as a way to God realization may be very appealing. For such of them, the social need of a formal conversion need not exist. For them, nothing can really hinder their choice of the personal God, method of worship, following the traditional Hindu dress codes (like wearing a Sari or Dhoti) wearing kumkum or any such religious marks at the forehead. It is up to them to seek a Guru of the particular sect of their liking and even get a “Mantra Diksha ” of the specific God form (i.e. getting initiation of the sacred name of the God for chanting and Japa).
One bhakti movement of Hinduism very popular amongst westerners is ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness), where Lord Krishna is worshiped as the prime deity.
Westerners singing and dancing the glory of Lord Krishna – ISCKON movement
For some other non-Hindus, the exalted spiritual truths expounded in Upanishad s (Vedanta ), Bhagavat Gita , etc. may be very appealing. At this level, the need for a personal God is non-existent. Great spiritual masters of Hinduism are of the firm opinion that the purpose of human birth is to attain Brahman or realize one’s atman, which are one and the same, viewed from two different perspectives.
This is the ultimate goal to be attained and it is varyingly termed as God realization, self-realization, attaining the knowledge of Brahman, attaining birthlessness/deathlessness (“Moksha”, “Mukthi”, “samadhi”, “nirvana”). It is this class of spiritualism that attracts quite a lot of westerners to Hinduism.
For some others, the Yoga (Kundalini Yoga, Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga) may be attractive.
For such earnest seekers, the best advice is to seek a Guru or rather a Satguru (a guru of the highest order who has attained the truth by self-experience), surrender to him and seek his guidance. Religious organizations like Sri Ramakrishna Math, Vedanta Society (belonging to Ramakrishna Math), Mata Amritanandamyi Math, Divine Life Society, Anandashram, Ramanashramam, etc. can be of help to them.
A typical Hindu Homam (fire ceremony)
Convert to Hinduism based on worldly, social and legal motive
For example, you belong to some other religion (you could be an Indian or a foreign national) but you love a boy or a girl belonging to Hindu religion. Your in-laws are very particular that you should be (become) a Hindu; perhaps you too would love to become a Hindu or at least you have no objections to becoming a Hindu. You want to settle in India along with your spouse; you want to make sure that your religious conversion is perceived as valid, and that your marriage is valid as per laws under the Hindu Marriage Act, so that you won’t have any legal disputes whatsoever related to your marital relationship or the shared properties with your Hindu spouse.
In this case, Arya Samaj, a religious organization founded by Swami Dhayananda Saraswati (1824-1883) could offer help. This organization offers service for procedural conversion to Hinduism. This conversion practice was originally started by the founder as early as in 1877 to bring back such of those Hindus who had been converted to some other religion by choice or by coercion, who were subsequently willing to come back to Hinduism.
The procedure involves a vedic purification ceremony Called “Shuddhi Karma”.
One who wants to convert to Hinduism can approach AryaSamajTemple (existing at several places in India), make a written application along with an affidavit stating that he/she is agreeing for the conversion based on his/her free will, along with proof of age and residence signed by the applicant along with 2 witnesses.
The Shuddhi Karma (purification ceremony) involves conducting a “homam” (a typical Hindu ritual done in front of fire) involving chanting of certain Hymns from the Vedas by the applicant, as guided by a priest. It may take about one to one-and-a-half hours to complete the ceremony. After the purification ceremony, a Certificate of Conversion to Hinduism is issued to the applicant.
It is said that the conversion certificate issued by Arya Samaj is legally valid based on Indian Government Order dated March 19, 1985.
With this certificate in hand, the converted Hindu can marry the Hindu man/woman in Arya SamajTemple as per traditional Hindu marriage rites. For the marriage too, the couple has to give an application with proof of age, place of residence, etc. and an affidavit for consenting for marriage out of free will. The application must be signed and supported by 2/3 witnesses. After completion of marriage ceremony, A certificate of Marriage will be issued by Arya Samaj.
The Marriage certificate from Arya Samaj is a perfect legal document (Arya Samaj Marriage Validation Act, 1937 & Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Sections 2(a) and subsection (c) of the explanation to Section 2).
For the purpose of getting a passport, immigration, Visa. etc. a formal marriage registration with the Registrar Office will be required, which can also be done by submitting the Arya Samaj Marriage Certificate.
A few words of caution
(1) Though “Indian Government Order dated March 19, 1985” is mentioned above, it is based on other sources at Internet. This author has not personally verified the statement, nor could he locate the specific document’s contents or details on this Government Order in other Internet sources. Perhaps it has to be verified outside the web.
(2) In Hindu society, caste system is a practical and sociological reality. Certain castes in Hinduism considered backward get privileged reservation in educational institutions and Government jobs; Arya Samaj Certification will not help in the caste orientation of the converted Hindu.
https://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Homam.jpg269449C.V.Rajanhttps://hinduismwayoflife.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Logo6-Hinduism-Sanatana-dharma-Way-of-life-340-×-140-px-300x124.pngC.V.Rajan2018-02-07 17:07:222018-04-01 12:16:03How to convert to Hinduism – Is there really a way for converting?