GEMS FROM THE OCEAN OF HINDU THOUGHT

VISION AND PRACTICE

 

BEACH 10: HINDUISM FOR THE NEXT GENERATION

 

 

Wave 8: Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q.2: Does Hinduism admit conversions into it from members of other religions? Could I (a non-Hindu) become a Hindu? Should I?

 

No. Traditional Hinduism has no set procedures of converting anybody into Hinduism. But the reformist movement of the 19th century, called the Arya Samaj, which has a large following, has certain procedures streamlined, by which a non-Hindu may be converted to Hinduism.

Traditional Hinduism never worried about conversions from another religion into Hinduism because the religion was never missionary in that sense. However, there are stories, certainly, in the history of Hinduism, where somebody born of Hindu parents went over to another religion, and then, was reconverted to Hinduism.

The above is the answer to the question: Could I become a Hindu? But to the question: Should I become a Hindu?, the answer could be more emphatic.

First of all, why should one become a Hindu? What is there so great in Hinduism, which Jesus did not preach or Prophet Mohammed did not propagate or the Buddha was not convinced of? Hinduism says: If you are a Christian, be a good Christian. By being a good Christian, you are more of a good Hindu than one who has been born in the religion of Hinduism, and does not have the right attitude to other ways of believing in God. Hinduism is a question of attitudes (See: Attitudes, not Rituals) rather than any physical or formal belonging. In fact this is the main reason why Hinduism never cared about conversions into it from other religions.

 

Probably you like the idea of getting more chances than just one life for improving your opportunities to climb the spiritual ascent. Hinduism believes that, whether you are a Hindu or not, you will get these several lives according to your karma. In other words, karma theory works irrespective of your professing or not professing a religion. It is universally applicable.

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Copyright V. Krishnamurthy July 2, 2002