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  1. Hello: 5/13/6 I went to the Hindu temple I have been frequenting and was very lucky; it was very busy and prayer and activities were all around. I took the opportunity to join fellow worshippers in prayer, I admit I prayed to myself in English and am only beginning to remember basic mantras...I watched devotees (all Indian I appear to be the only caucasian at the temple) during a ceremony we lined up, were given each a sip of water in the right hand, an almond again taken in the right hand then eaten, then each had a large brass cap-like item held over the head as the priest blessed us individually (I assume). We then each placed dots of red on our forehead and departed. I was exhilrated and very pleased feeling energized by my participation. I am learning what each step meant but am unable to find out what the symbolic crowning with the brass object meant. I will admit I do not feel welcome but do not feel unwelcome yet- and no one there has made any effort to talk to me about what each ritual means. This is primarily a Rama temple (Sanatana Dharma) and a follower there told me "we worship all the Gods". Unfortunately for me, I don't know yet how to get under the guidance of a guru. What is the meaning of the capping? Do any of you have suggestions to make this transition of mine smoother? Is there anything else I can do at this point? I have books and websites galore bookmarked, I listen to mantras and study them and their meanings daily. I perform prayers daily and am practicing meditation as directed by a temple priest. Thank you for your support!
  2. Thank you all! In retrospect I don't see the difference between demigods and "saints", as I as I learn about Hinduism through practice and learning (I unfortunately have no guru and have no idea how to find one) I see there truly is little difference; belief in God, however it's done or felt or experienced is the same. This young Indian woman was merely doing what she has been taught to do through her upbringing as Christian the same as my son's rabidly Southern Baptist caucasian girlfriend did.
  3. Namastie: While shopping today I went into a "remainder" bookstore; the "left-over-or-100-copies-published" kind of bookstore an lo, a young Indian woman was the clerk. Moderately constrained, I asked if they had any books on "Hinduism" and she pointed me at a table of books loaded with Christian books, Jewish books and Bhuddist books all of which looked extremely interesting, some more so than others (I am a voracious reader and seeker of knowledge). That being, there was one small paperback book titled "The Upanishad" I opened in and it looked like it was written in novel form; I put that one down. This fine young woman then approached me and we began a discussion to which she stated she was brought up in India and is Christian by faith. I explained my new direction and she quite openly told me Hinduism has " a lot of deities" and all that I need to search for is in the Bible. I appreciated her perspective and we chatted quite some time, she was openly disappointed I declare myself "Hindu", asking me why I strayed from a Christian path. I never had one I explained. As a small child (I am now 50) I was enchanted and intrigued by India, its culture and incredible richness of intellect, through books and television. I was following the path that is right for me. "God is God" I said. This young lady explained she has read the Mahabarata, Ramayana, and then stated in the Bhagavad Gita it says that God will be found "from wood" or that the true path to God is the man from wood. I shrugged my shoulders, not enough of a Gita scholar- nay, nowhere near that, to refute her statement. Having read the aforementioned I have never seen that remark anywhere. Does this comment exist?
  4. Hello and thank you all for your fantastic support and interest in my question! First let me say that I know that "hindu" is not a correct term for this great and wonderous religious path we have chosen to walk. But, for a lack of a better term I chose ""Hindu". While talking to one of the Indian women at the temple I asked her if they (meaning all attendees) prayed at either or both the Rama and or Shiva temple. The woman gave me the most beautiful of answers: she said "we pray to all the Gods". Yes! Absolutely! The Divine Ganesha is present! Krishna! Shiva! Unfortunately, the books the priest wanted me to read are all in Tamil or Sanskrit (they have Sanskrit classes there) or some other language; however, my fine lady told me they have English books in the library. I thought long and hard about ISKCON; I frequent many ISKCON websites and I read The Bhagavad Gita as It Is as well as other publications at work and at home. I am not interested in joining an organized group at this time. Thank you all again for your support! ThusArtThou
  5. Hello: I went to the local Shiva/Rama temple yesterday to ask for guidance in my quest or conversion to the Hindu faith. I waited quietly for the priest to finish a puja and then asked for assistance. He nonchalantly told me to "get some books" and just come to temple and "do it"! I was surprised at his attitude, not sure if it was real or if it was because I am female and caucasian. Is this how I am supposed to follow my new faith? By just doing it? Also: Is it a fact that to fully convert I will have to have my name legally changed to a Hindu name as given by a priest and ceremony? Please I'd appreciate your experience and guidance, not flaming or ridicule. This is a serious endeavor for me and I will do what I have to to embrace this new faith. thanx ThusArtThou:ponder:
  6. Hello: As a spiritual seeker and a new devotee to to-to what? I don't know what I am a devotee to; Is Krishna conciousnessness merely a cult? Is it different from "conventional Hinduism"? Can Krishna be worshiped not as "Hare Krishna's" and the ISKON following? Can I go to the local temple and worship with "ethnic" Hindus? am I welcome? Please forgive me, I know I must sound and seem foolish but I am trying not to be disrespectful or foolish, I am lost and confused. I want to pursue the sense of spiritual growth and satisfaction I feel when I read the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads---moving soul-shifting words: ...From his light all these give light, and his radiance illumines all creation... What is truth? What is cult? does Hinduism break into "religions" such as Catholicism, Protestanism, Lutheran? I Think you understand what my question is...
  7. Hello: I am a Chicagoan (white) very very interested in converting to Hinduism; I've considered myself atheist since the tender age of eleven...I am now 50. I am actively attempting to learn as much as possible, I feel a conversion taking place...can whites convert to Hinduism? Are white converts accepted and freely allowed to worship in temples? I'm not a "new-ager", not some middle-aged front-room-yoga-granola-munching white suburbanite looking for a curiosity, I am very serious here. I have no spiritual center and am seriously seeking. Thank you ThusArt
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