home
RSS
Houston's growing Hindu community
July 10th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

In Texas, young Hindus want to Americanize ancient faith

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Houston, Texas (CNN) – In many ways, 29-year-old Rishi Bhutada is a traditional Hindu, not so different from his Indian-born parents.

An officer at his dad’s pipefitting company, Texas-born Bhutada had an arranged marriage in India three years ago and then brought his wife back to his hometown, where they recently welcomed a son.

Bhutada is a strict vegetarian and avoids alcohol, as do many observant Hindus.

Complete coverage: Defining America

And the dashboard of his Toyota Prius is adorned with a small metal statue of Ganesh, an elephant-headed Hindu god known as the remover of obstacles. Bhutada prays to it each morning before leaving his driveway.

And yet Bhutada is a different kind of Hindu than his mom and dad.

His parents were part of a major wave of Indians who arrived in the U.S. in the 1960s and ’70s and focused their religious lives on building a community of believers and temples around Houston, which was then a Hindu wilderness.

Bhutada, by contrast, wants his religion to step out from that now-well-established Hindu hive to engage the broader culture.

Surprising origins of "Don't Mess with Texas"

Driving to lunch recently at a strip mall Indian buffet, he spoke of trying to forge a distinctly American Hindu identity that’s more tightly woven into the national fabric.

“The immigrant generation is focused on India, on the home country,” he said, noting that the TV in his parents’ house is often turned to a Hindi-language channel beamed in from the subcontinent. “I’m focused on the United States, which is my home country.”

That helps explain why a national group he’s involved with, the Hindu American Foundation, recently launched a Take Back Yoga campaign, aimed at raising awareness about the practice’s Hindu roots and values among non-Hindus.

And it's why Bhutada testified at the Capitol in Austin last year against a statewide school curriculum that calls Hinduism a polytheistic religion, a characterization many Hindus reject.

And it's why one area temple has begun placing copies of the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture, in thousands of Texas hotel rooms, right next to the Gideon Bible.

The developments speak to a new, publicly assertive stance that’s shared by many first-generation American Hindus across Houston, home to one of the country’s largest and fastest growing Indian enclaves, and by many young Hindus across the nation.

“Our parents had to build everything from scratch to make a united Hindu community in this country,” said Tejas N. Dave, 17, a high school junior who volunteers with a project bringing yoga to unprivileged Americans.

“Now we’re trying to reintegrate it back into society,” he said, “to make people realize that Hinduism is a religion and a way of life and a philosophy that’s not too different from what a lot of others believe. We’re all trying to make a better society.”

Some young Hindus are envious of the attention that American Muslims and Mormons have received in recent years – even if not all of the attention has been positive – and are trying to raise Hinduism’s national profile.

The impulse is not about winning converts. Hinduism, the world’s third-largest religion, doesn’t proselytize.

Rather, many young Hindus say, it’s about making their faith less exotic to others while making it more meaningful to their own modern American lives.

When their parents arrived from India a few decades ago, it was hard enough just being Hindu.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, which overhauled the U.S. immigration system by eliminating biases toward European immigrants, among other things, opened American doors to millions of Asian immigrants, including Indians.

Those first arrivals struggled to recreate ethnic and religious networks from back home. When Bhutada’s father, Ramesh Bhutada, arrived in the U.S. in 1968, Houston played host to a single Hindu temple, which had opened earlier that year.

It was a stark change from India, where Hindus can stop into seemingly ubiquitous temples every day for brief visits, helping explain why so many Indians say “Hinduism is a way of life.”

There were more prosaic struggles, too. Many Hindus believe that vegetarianism denotes religious purity and a commitment to nonviolence, but they struggled to maintain that tradition in what was then a very meat-centric American diet.

“There was not even anything like a vegetable burger in those days,” Ramesh Bhutada said.

In those early years, new Hindu arrivals turned their homes into makeshift temples, holding religious education classes for their American-born children.

“There would be kids’ activities in one bedroom and adults in another,” said Dhruval Amin, 28, a Houston-based project manager at an international consulting firm, recalling childhood visits to such homes.

Today, Amin worships at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a sprawling, snow-white temple carved from Italian marble and Turkish limestone that sits on 22 manicured acres in Stafford, just south of Houston.

Opened in 2004, the temple is a proud symbol of the local Hindu community’s growth and prosperity, though it’s a story that’s hardly confined to Houston.

The U.S. Census does not track the number of Hindu Americans; the Census doesn’t ask about religion, period. But data from the 2010 Census show that Texas’ Asian Indian population nearly doubled in size in the past decade, to around 250,000.

Now, for the first time, Indians represent the largest Asian community in the state. Many were drawn by lucrative jobs in Texas’s booming oil, technology and medical sectors.

“A lot of the doctors in small metro markets across Texas are first- or second-generation Indians,” said Ray Perryman, who heads an economic research firm in Waco, Texas. “And the top two or three students in every high school tend to be from some part of Asia.”

Similar trends have emerged in other parts of the country. Nationally, Indian growth has surged by 60% in the past 10 years, according to the Census, with 2.8 million Asian Indians living in the U.S. today.

Indians now represent the country’s second-largest Asian group, after the Chinese.

They’re also among the nation’s most successful ethnic groups, with 71% of Asian Indians earning bachelor’s degrees or higher, compared with 28% of all Americans, according to data from the U.S. Census’s 2009 American Community Survey.

The survey reported that Asian Indians have median household incomes of more than $90,000, compared with $50,000 for all Americans.

Not everyone from that community is Hindu. India’s Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Jain minorities are also represented in the United States.

At a recent yoga class at Houston’s India House, a community center, the instructor was Hindu, and most participants were Indian, but half were Catholic, Methodist or another kind of Christian.

When the instructor, Sarika Phalak, leads open and closing prayers that reference God, she invites participants to speak the name of their own deity. Many say “Jesus.”

Still, Hindu growth around Houston has exploded in recent years, with 19 temples now scattered across the sprawling metropolitan area, most built just in the past decade.

Temple-based Hindu youth camps long ago replaced home-based classes. And several national Hindu organizations now call Houston home.

The city’s Hindu onslaught put Charu Krishna Thammavaram, 28, in closer touch with her religion when she relocated from Lafayette, Louisiana, three years ago.

“I feel like a born-again Hindu now,” said Thammavaram, who works for an India-focused humanitarian group called Ekal Vidyalaya, which is headquartered in Houston.

In Louisiana, the lone “nearby” temple was an hour’s drive from Thammavaram’s home. Here, she had her choice of temples and settled on a Hare Krishna temple after shopping around, just as many Americans of other faiths do.

For many young Hindus, tweaking their religious heritage to make it more relevant has become an important project.

“My parents were just immersed in Hinduism, starting every day with prayer and accepting it without question,” said Kavita Pallod, a native Houstonian and first-generation American who recently graduated college. “But I don’t start my days with prayer. And Hinduism is something I’ve questioned and debated with friends.”

Yet Pallod, 23, has spent a good deal of time thinking about how to apply her faith to her life. “I believe that karma is the principal that guides the universe,” she said, referring to the Hindu concept of cosmic justice. “It’s one of the reasons I joined Teach for America.”

Pallod, who’s training for the teaching program this summer, was speaking at Star Pipe Products, the pipefitting distributor where Rishi Bhutada works and that his father, Ramesh, founded in 1982.

Situated at the end of a bland industrial drive on the city’s west end, the company doubles as a meeting place for local Hindus.

Among its warren of warehouse and offices spaces is a community center where a mural of Swami Vivekananda, a famous 19th-century spiritual leader who introduced the faith to the United States, fills the back wall.

But like the younger Bhutada, Pallod is intent on taking her religion outside officially Hindu spaces. As the president of the Hindus Student Association at the University of Texas at Austin until her graduation in May, she focused on introducing Hinduism to non-Hindu students.

Last spring, her group went all out to get non-Hindus to participate in Holi, a Hindu festival that involves throwing colored powder and water – often at other people – in a playful, rainbow-like spectacle.

“We wanted them to actually experience it themselves as opposed to just sitting there passively,” Pallod said of the event. “We wanted to teach that the colors are all about eliminating differences by making everyone look the same.”

The festival drew about 2,000 people, with many enthusiastically throwing colored powder at one another in the shadow the state Capitol. It was the kind of scene that Indian immigrant parents could have never imagined.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Content Partner • Defining America • Hinduism • Interfaith issues • Texas

soundoff (2,004 Responses)
  1. Jake

    @please go back – no early white person, came here legally...

    July 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  2. Vijay

    Every religion has three parts: A core philosophy, Mythology (stories of folks who examplified that philosophy) and Rituals.
    Philosophy is hard to comprehend for most. Those with lesser intellect take help from Mythology and bird heads are given to follow only Rituals. Most fall in 3rd and 2nd category and tend to seem like representing that religion.
    But bird heads of one religion are not much different from bird heads of another religion, and they are not capable of a debate anyways. All they can do is to inflict insults on anyone or anything that is different.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  3. lavakava

    there are so many white people that contribute NOTHING to society. all of you who said only europeans contributed, open your ignorant eyes and read about famous indian american pioneers, amar bose, sanjay mehrotra, vinod dham, indra nooyi, chandrashekar (chandra xray observatory in NASA), vinod khosla, sabeer bhatia, pranav mistry (PRANAV MISTRY created the 6th sense technology at MIT), jawed karim...the list is endless.
    decent white people, indians, israelis, blacks, etc who contributed to society, i salute you. to the inbred racists on crack, i spite on you.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • oblomov

      Odd, you seem to be the most outspoken racist in this forum at the moment.

      July 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Ramsekhar

      @lavakava

      Wow! you gotta give rest to your fingers. Your comments are presumptious enough to be nauseating.

      Wisdom lies in understanding that achievements are possible by anyone who sets out on focus.

      July 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Hindu

      Lavakava,
      You sound more like a Pakistani than an Indian..lol

      September 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  4. lavabavajava

    I guess lavakava,, is in some mental shock... He should relax and carry his stinking hindu a** to India. He is so very full of him, he is in US, earning what he would never earn in INdia, and still has guts to compalin about US. what culture he is compalining about in US,, people here if you are true americans(regardless of immigrated americans) inorder to maintain our diginity in US where every person is accepted with open arms, we need to stop replying and reading LAVAKAVA's comment ...lets collect penny from each so he can buy ticket back to INDIA forever..Thank you sir for helping US so far now please help India,Hindus and yourself

    July 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • lavakava

      i guess you haven't been reading the racism by inbred whites towards indians,hispanics, arabs, blacks and jews online. tsk tsk.

      i am proud to be an american, but not in a jim crow segregated, redneck america full of so-called 'christians' who don't realize that jesus was a brown arab sandneyger jew from ancient israel lol...thats what cracks me up...the racist white people's god is a brown lol.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Roger

      I am christian from India. The only thing I can say is, Hindus go out of India to various countires, and mostly Muslim and Christian Countries. THese hindus live peacfully in all the countries They earn great, they do great and progress in life. But then this Hindus collect money send to India, and they support killing Christiand and Muslims in India... What is this?? could any smart Hindu can explain this?? Does anyone have answer why thousands of Christians were killed in recent years,, why churches are burtn by bible are destroyed...Why you cant answer those things rather than complaining about the countries where you are UNINVITED GUESTS...infact unforced guests...

      July 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  5. lavakava

    i am an indian christian and i must say you white animals make christianity look bad. jesus was a brown guy, so your god is brown lol.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • lavakava

      not all white people, just the racist animals. i have many white friends and coworkers and i love them like family.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • oblomov

      I'd think that for any true Christian, the hue of their savior's skin should be most irrelevant.

      But alas, the world is indeed full of divisive fools. Check to see if you are not one of them, yourself.

      July 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Sarah

      @ lavakava – this has got to be one of the most brainless, and pointless, posts in reply to this article!

      July 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  6. please go back

    how can someone manage to worship so many stones??? I mean do they really exist what some trillions of GOD...and wow the good thing is each are greatest of all...I think isnt the culture same as those Primitives and Ape Mens, who would even cosider a falling leaf, as GOD, or the rolling stone was GOD then, yeah yeah I got it Hindus are still living as Primitives, the educated learned and COMPUTER primitives...hmmmm

    July 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Learner

      first you go back where you came from

      July 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • lavakava

      please go back to greece? yes do so you barbarian. but i must warn you greece has a financial crisis lol.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • karthiq

      Its not stones, its statues of gods, juts like statues of jesus in your churches.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Jake

      Great...you can leave too...I'm sure the natives will help you pack...

      July 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Roger

      @learner: so what you learning btw cleaning toilets or roads..

      July 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Roger

      @karthiq...oh yes so true, but fortunately we have only one god but how come yo uhave some trillions BROTHER...you sure, that the digit is correct I mean I hope you Hindu have not missed counting some few god like mobile god or like train god or let say chewing gum god LOL..you funny people...I like you guys.. you can have anyone as GOD... Hey I dont mind to be god either

      July 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • oops sorry I am Hindu!!!! please give me job in Toilets

      I know I know I am hindu and I visit stones of some crores of GOD,, I am sorry but I cant help myself cheating and working illegal ways to go and work in Christiand and Muslim Countries. I am so sorry that I come from khajurao where lesbians and gays were already on top...I am sorry I no nothing about Manner but thanks the white countries I and my people are getting better. Thank you North America,Europe, Oceaina,, that we Hindus get some shleter and some good and some education and some money otherwise Indian population, poverty, dirty, filthy, and courrpted people would have killed us... OH so very thank you that there are WHITE people to give us respet...otherwise,, in India no one would even respect us if we didnt earn.... Oh so sorry that we create mess on roads and we junk the garbage at any plafce and yes sorry too for spitting on the roads,, we Hindus are used to it..and we will surely and slowly improve ourself and Americanize ourself to become GOOD HUMAN,,

      July 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • mahi

      its not about stones, its about faith. Hindus-am teach kindness and respect for all humans, animal and trees on earth. Hindusam recognize value of life thus teaches peace. In Hindus-am even hurting animal is considered bad hence the vegetarians diet. You should be thankful that hindus are peaceful and loving people focused on improving peace and standard of life. God Bless America, the greatest nation on earth.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  7. Lycidas

    Regardless of how I may disagree with their faith, I have to admit..they have some beautiful architecture.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  8. please go back

    if anyone things Hindu is best and Christians are bad, then plz all Hindus, run back to your home country from all different christian countries you are residing. Please stop cleaning restrooms airports motels and start cleaning India, that will help India to progress even after having casteism, fakism, rapism,killism,,idolism...LOL LOL you all morons if you think white are racits then why you are still residing in white countries,, oh perhaps the toilets in India are not clean enough so you stay outside India to clean the more cleaner and tidy toilets...Hindus sorry oops,,I did it again.. I spoke the truth out and frustrated Hindus

    July 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • please go back to school

      I think that say's it all.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • lavakava

      christians are not bad, american white racists are bad. jesus was a sand nigg er in case you didn't know it. lol. and now please please stop that divorce in your household and having se x with your relatives for cash is not a good idea. learn some good indian family values that are more in line with christian values than your pagan greco-roman drunken-org ies values.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Guruji

      You are from Pakistan. That says it all.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Mahjong

      lol...so where did all the white people come from? I hope you realize that these Western countries you speak of are actually the Aboriginals' countries. :-p Why did this article incite such hate? I don't get it.

      July 18, 2011 at 6:34 am |
  9. Flora

    I would far rather have Hindus for neighbors tha mormenz. Hindus don't prostelitize and don't want to turn this country into a theocracy. They just want to practice their beliefs in peace. While I have problems with offshoring to India, I don't really have problems with LEGAL (! note- Indians come here LEGALLY) immigrants who assimilate. Indian women who wear saris or salwars are not the security risk muzleem women are in burqas or niqabs. And I happen to be a pagan myself, of a polytheistic religion. I do see Hinduism as polytheistic, and that is not a bad thing. As a woman, I approve of worshiping goddesses as well as gods. Nothing wrong with not being 'people of the book'. Freedom of religion means ANY religion.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • please go back

      that is wrong totally, NOT ;note; NOT all indians come legally

      July 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • karthiq

      i agree!!

      July 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • GodPot

      If you believe Hinduism is polytheistic then you should also believe Christianity is polytheistic. Christians worship God the Father, God the Son & The Holy Spirit, supposedly three distinct ent ity's within one God, along with many praying to other "divine" figures such as Mary or the Saints. Hindu's pray to Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva or Shakti who are the different personalities of their one God Brahman. So really it's a Trinity vs Quadity, but you are either both monotheistic or both polytheistic.

      July 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  10. JDJ

    One of the funniest things in the article is the woman who said she felt like a born-again Hindu. I think by definition most Hindus would consider themselves born again since they believe in reincarnation.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  11. lavakava

    i am an indian, making 6 figure, an enclosure engineer for an airport security systems company. i have made far more contributions to this country than you whiney, disgruntled, drug addicted racists with small minds. i know why you are frustrated: probably your parents are divorced, you are now married/cohabiting with your 5th partner, and you received no love, thus the low self esteem.

    besides technology, another good thing the indians can contribute to america is to improve the lack of culture here...learn some indian family values – low divorce, virtually no teenage pregnancies. women don't smoke/drink too much, actually dress up decently, not wear shorts that show the butt cheeks.
    i am not talking about indians who are trying to be white, but rather indians with a brain on their head.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tina

      I am sorry, but this is way to over the line. I am indian and even though I was born in the states, I got all my values growing up here, like respect for example, which you clearly dont have. The truth is, if this country and the companies here didnt give you a job you would be no where. All indians want to come to America to earn a living and then they complain about the culture here. Please! Have some respect for the people who pay you because there are a lot of well educated Americans waiting for the same job you do. You are not smarter, your just so full of yourself. If you have a problem with the culture here then why dont you quit and go home. Also, it is a known observable fact that the Indian kids born and brought up here have many more values and are more cultural than the kids in the India. All the kids in India just want to become westernized, whats up with that? We have a higher ratio of girls learning barathnatyum in American than the entire India combined! So why dont you take your disrespectful self home and think about how you are such a big hypocrite because now you are being racist against us Americans!

      July 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • AEukaryote

      Also, statements like your are just as bad as the inane drivel all the sky-wizard–and-son-worshipers are spewing about Hindus – such as yourself – being some kind of idol worshiping devil people.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • lavakava

      tina, don't lie about you being indian. i know you are a hillbilly. i have nothing against western culture. but only when you start calling us 'turd worlders' etc thats when i reciprocate. if you leave me alone, i will leave you alone.

      and trust me, passing an interview has nothing to do with skin color or facial features, it has everything to do with ability, so i will assert my boasting rights here and you can't take it away from me!

      July 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • AEukaryote

      *Brags about awesome, six-figure salary job on the internet*

      *Probably works at Burger King*

      July 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • GodPot

      "you whiney, disgruntled, drug addicted racists with small minds."

      You forgot "and small penises"...

      July 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Anshul

      Yes Correct , lets follow good from each other :-)

      July 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Anshul

      Tina -> few questions

      1. what is divorce rate in US ?

      Secondly , we all know America is greatest national of the world & so as other countries
      Lets not jump on each & also not a point where to live & where not to live

      Simple theory learn from mistakes and exchange good values from each other

      July 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Sharad Joshi

      @Tina

      The higher ratio of people in cultural pursuits is prevalent amongst any immigrant community. Glad Indian americans are doing that too. Your father/mother had the opportunity and were fortunate enough to make use of it too. Good for you all.

      With that in the context, you conveniently discount the scores of opportunity available to American desis. The number of opportunities available for most Indians back home is far lower.

      I heard comments like yours from people I know very well. They don't ring accurate.

      July 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • sue

      Guys this isn't about money or opportunity. This is way off topic and nothing to do with anything. Stop degrading each other. Lets just be grateful for what we have and leave each other alone. I think some of you have forgotten what life is like in India, and some of you don't know what life is like in India.

      Forget about all of that. We are supposed to be a nonviolent, love everyone, show the other cheek types of people. Where has all that gone in this thread? Just chill out!

      July 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  12. Byrd

    The Question: Can Hindus Americanize their faith?

    The Answer: Hindus. Run fast and run far. Very far, very fast, and don't look back.

    Sincerely,
    Byrd

    July 11, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • lavakava

      hey sonny robert byrd? back from the grave for your kkk meeting? LOLOLOL

      July 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  13. John Schmitt

    Americans are too dumb to understand Hinduism, Jainism, etc. Hinduism is the world's oldest religion... and has a LOT of similarities with the Jewish religion. It's truly monotheistic and NOT 'idol worship' but since Americans are too stupid and egotistic to READ anything about it we have a bunch of idiots making brainless comments here.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • lavakava

      agreed, john. some americans also dont have brains to realize that christianity is a mideastern religion, not an american religion lol.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • JB

      Do you actually know the meaning of "monotheistic"? It means worshipping only 1 god. They (Hindus) have millions and any Hindu will tell you that. Even this guy prays to a different god than other Hindus.

      And it's not the oldest...who do you think Abel and Noah worshipped? Not a Hindu god.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • oblomov

      You do realize that this article is about Americans, right? American Hindus. I suspect that they understand their own faith quite well. I know you are probably some childish troll, but if in fact you are just blindly angry at a staggeringly diverse nation of 320,000,000 people, at least think a little bit about what you actually want to express before you vomit your words into this public forum.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Sarah

      The ONLY similarity hindiusm has with judaism is, arguably, the concept of the one almighty God – aka Brahma – who is an energy source, and not of human shape or resemblance. Other than that, they're different on ALL accounts – hindus believe in reincarnation, Jews don't. Hindus believe in the manifestation of God's powers through other deities like shiva, etc. Jews don't. Hindus worship nature to its core (ganesh, the elephant headed God, Hanuman, the monkey God), Jews don't. Hindus believe in burning their head, and consider fire holy, Jews consider this a desecration of the dead and the concept of the "holy fire" or "holy sun" is in its essence anti-Judaism and anti-monotheism... etc. etc. etc.

      July 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Sharad Joshi

      @lavakava

      Dude you are taking it too far. I also read some of your other comments and they are way over the top.

      July 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  14. Ejaz

    LA ILLA HA IL ALLAH HU – MUHAMMAD-R-ASOOL ALLAH HOO

    Nothing to offend anyone but my contribution to reflect my faith.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Sarah

      You're an idiot -
      1. As a muslim myself, I can confidently say that you cannot even get the proclamation of our faith right (it's "...Muhammad-u-Rasool'Allah"
      2. I utterly fail to see what point you're trying to make here, given that this is an article about growing hindu temples and one man's journey to combine his eastern values with a western lifestyle?

      July 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  15. Charles

    "This is a pagan religion, that id totally different to christians, jews and islam. They use Idols as their gods and they have many of them"

    What? So the Virgin Mary, Saints, Peter, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God are NOT pagan symbols. Get over yourself.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Sarah

      Jesus, Virgin Mary, etc are not "pagan symbols" – for he preached monotheism to its core (of there being only one supreme God... and this God wasn't exactly he himself).

      Christmas, the symbolism of the Christmas tree, the halo over Jesus's head that we see in so many midcentury churches, on the other hand, ARE pagan symbols.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • sue

      Yeah I am a Hindu it is not a pagan religion. Its been around for thousands of years and it is supposed to be a monotheistic religion unlike how it is represented today by mainstream media. Educate yourselves! We only have one God. You guys have the holy trinity, Mary, and saints. We have similar things that people have interpreted as being different Gods.

      July 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  16. LOVE_FACTS

    Those complaining about Indians taking over US jobs- I have actually worked for a US company that hired 5K people last year (i've since moved on to my own biz)- though they hired a few in the US, they had to hire the rest from India, not because of cheap labor, but because 'they are smarter people!' CNN even mentioned it in one of the reports- it was on that Zakaria show. I think US needs to overhaul its education system as it has really dumbed down this society! It didnt become this dumb in one generation, and cannot be fixed overnight, but the work must start asap! Compared to 1960s, number of students getting higher ed degrees, and grades of A's and B's has increased tremendously, but their level of ignorance and intolerance has also increased! That pretty much defeats the purpose of education.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Katya

      Smarter? Have you never been in the customer service hell from India? They are not smarter but they absolutely deliberately screw with Westerners who call for technical help.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • lavakava

      i like white people in general. my boss is white, hes not a racist. he hired me over 100 other applicants because of my qualifications as an engineer. i make a lot of unique designs that is a boon to the company, end of story. now racists who are unemployed, shine my shoe!

      July 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • lavakava

      katya, you are a fool. comparing indians in india to indians in the US is like comparing nazi germans to german-americans who are pro-israeli.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Vishnu sucks!

      lavakava ...what is with dot heads and feet?..."shine my shoes" ..Your white boss hired you because to import you from India and set you behind a desk in the USA still costs a third of what it does to hire some white kid from a US college. You are a bargain sale engineer....but that's also why your boss goes over all your work so dilegently and teams you up with white guys on projects....you are still only 1/3 of a worker and they know it.....now who is at someones feet lavakava?

      July 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Sarah

      They're not smarter, they're just more hard-working :o)

      ...every human has (a God-given) intelligence, and is no less or more than another... except for those who actually use theirs.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  17. lavakava

    indians are the richest ethnic minority and for a reason. a lot of 'american' technology comes not from white people but from others: EBAY (founder: omidyar from iran), HOTMAIL (founder: sabeer bhatia from india, bill gates bought it from him), SUN MICROSYSTEMS (vinod khosla from india), PENTIUM (vinod dham from india), INSTANT MESSENGER (aol bought it from mirabilis, which is an israeli company), SANDISK (inventor of compact flash created by SANjay mehrotra and eli harari – indian and israeli)...if you numb skull nazis think indians didn't contribute...it starts with everything in life...go to the gym...the dumbbells were first created by india, the number system used in all the machines from india... 1234567890 . sanskrit is the mother of all european languages.
    and btw india is south asia, not middle east lol lol lol ... these nit wits do make me laugh.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • lavakava

      jawed karim – bengali – wrote most of the technology for paypal and cofounded YOUTUBE. Ajay BHATT – he should be more famous than frickin steve jobs. he invented USB, PCI, AGP for all computers.

      the only reason why you don't see these guys is because of media racism. but in the end, you reap what you sow.

      whenever i see online racists use ebay, hotmail, youtube, etc i laugh because these were created by indians/etc. hahahaha

      just because you guys think youare white you keep kissing british as s. lol. william and the who re kate. seriously. the brits hate you too lol.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • raj

      And to your surprise, each and every invention starting from smallest needle to GIANT SPACE SHUTTEL, majority were invented by europeans.And MR so called "self proclaimed GENIUS", those all inventions, needed all the basic necessities and technologies which were only and only invented by Erupeans,,,you googled only half information brother....if you learn something then learn completely, and 0 0 0 ....well could you please go again and check exactly where and how was 0 discvered....please help your self.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Vishnu sucks!

      Tina....Go slaugter a helpless family of carrots and chill...Go Omnivore!

      July 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  18. peek a boo where are you

    Thou shall make Idols and worship me all day... but I am not there.....

    July 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Peek a boo, I'm everywhere

      You do realize that god is everywhere, they worship idols, you worship a woodcarving of a guy nailed to a cross. Not everyone has to agree with you're version of "god".

      July 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • grace

      If you are still looking for him on the Cross he is not there, he has Risen!!!,
      welcome to AD!!!!!

      July 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • mili

      Roman Catholic churches are completely filled with 'idols' of Christ, Mary, Joseph and other saints. It's before these statues, that you pray – so why is Hinduism any different?
      If, in fact, people try to realize that Hinduism is the oldest religion of the world – this is a fact! – you will realize that all religious must have stemmed from Hinduism. The trinity in Christianity – Father, Son, Holy Ghost/Spirit – came from the Hindu trinity, Brahma (the creator – i.e. Father), Vishu (the preserver – i.e. Christ, sent to earth to preserve the people's faith and the religion) – and Shiva (the destroyer, which is what the Holy Ghost was said to do, destroy evil in Bibical times). Beofre making sarcastic remarks, why don't you look into the history of where your religion originated from!

      July 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  19. R

    I hardly saw western media talk about Hindus. Suddenly, i saw plenty of articles videos. I wonder why ? After some digging...I found why. Its money they found under a temple....:). Does any one know that some Hindu philosophies are Atheist ? For example Carvaka, Samkhya etc. They deny existence of any superpower and also deny in believing anything without evidence. There plenty of different point of views in Hinduism. clear definition of Hinduism do not exist.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  20. LOVE_FACTS

    Completely! I am a proud Hindu and love US! btw, though mostly been good, whites (esp those 40+ and older) will need to make adjustments as well. They need to stop thinking that Hindus, just because they come from a foreign land, must always feel obliged! It's sickening to see some oldies expect excessive/regressive politeness and spineless behaviors from foreigners (even after they have become citizens!) Get over it!

    July 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.