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.

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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 • Hinduism • Interfaith issues • Texas

soundoff (2,004 Responses)
  1. themomentman

    why should they...its hinduisim not imperialism...This is just a story about how the american wont the west ....bla bla bla ...was up with that... trying to police the world. There should be more articles of how to improve the us and bring down unemployment instead of this trash

    July 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • maude

      Its all interrelated brother– peace!

      July 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  2. Rubin Safaya

    regarding some of the earlier comments made by Swin and others bashing immigrants: I find it amusing when people accuse immigrants of taking their jobs. The median household income of Asian Indians is $90,000... $40,000 above that of non-immigrant Americans. We're not stealing your jobs. We're taking the ones you're not qualified for because your undergrad rate is 28% compared to our 71%.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • VENGPE

      Well said !!

      July 10, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  3. AHindu

    Regarding americanizin their faith .. its a tough ask from a 1000ands of year old faith .. the faith will automatically americanize if americans have better knowledge about it .. americans of all shades , black or white or browns ..hinduism has about 2 main flavours .. north and south ..20 main languges .. two classical ancient languages (sanskrit/north and tamil/south) .. three main gods brahma the creator, vishnu the preserver, shiva the destroyer .. rama and krishna are most important avatars of vishnu historically .. krishna happeed 5100 years back to fight for dharma .. after going aay of krishna human beings stopped to live pure lives based on dharma .. and became greedy, warlike, unrighteous .. forgetting god given righteous principles ..
    so dharma is destroyed in kaliyug – vishnu is protector of dharma ..

    dharma means -
    pure living so you dont have to take birth again.
    respect parents.
    respesct all life and nature.
    respect and conduct ur duties towards ur familial
    ties .. true freinds .. society .. with selflessness ..without greed attachment or
    sense of profit .. and many more .. good honest living can call for ..

    July 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • AHindu

      modern hindus are mostly materialistic .. like their counterparts in wet .. even when they observe dharma by being vegetarians .. they cant let go of desire for wealth .. fame and much more desires ..

      July 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • AHindu

      wet = west

      July 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Chicago

      Mr. A hindu was taking notes sitting right next krishna and arjuna, 5100 yrs back now he published in 2011 at CNN blog

      July 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • AHindu

      Dear Mr Chicago .. i dont know what you mean .. this a well know hindu understanding that age of kaliyug started after krishna departed to his abode vaikuntha .. after mahabharat .. war .. sure according to western scholars .. vedas are 2000 years old, but according to hindus vedas are apurusheya (not given by man) .. whose age is ageless .. given by brahma .. hindu creator god .. at the beginning of creation .. for all humanity .. and mahabharat war happened around 5100 years back .. abd buddha happened around 300 year bc ..

      July 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  4. Sam

    This is not a peaceful cult what so ever, maybe to the cows and rats they worship!!

    July 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • frank

      Worshipping a rapist ghost's inherently better for some reason?

      July 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Chicago

      Actually in Indian cult, a women can marry 5 men, or can have 5 kids from different gods it all happened in " Mahabharata" ask any Indian guy... this should rope in at least 93% american women 🙂

      July 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • maude

      What about dancing with rattlesnakes in the mid west? What about drinking posion kool-aid believing you are going to heaven? There are fools and nut jobs in every soceity.

      July 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  5. Wow

    @Mangesh-out of all the information in the article, the only thing you comment on is food...twice. My guess is you are indeed an equal opportunity eater. Your life revolves around food, doesn't it? Ick. Sounds like you might worship Ronald McDonald. @swin-your comments are unbelievably ignorant. And typical of ultra conservative Christians...rubbing your hands gleefully in anticipation for the day witch hunts and burning people at the stake comes in vogue again.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  6. Paul NYC

    I would just be satisfied if the architecture wasn't so gaudy.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Peter Texas

      Yes, much prefer the butt-ugly faith-based warehouses.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  7. Geep

    Huh? And what exactly is wrong with being polythestic? The Abrahamic faiths owe a lot of their intolerance to the monotheistic aspect of these faiths. One and only one God is analogous to a dictatorship. Hinduism although a stupid religion in many ways (just like the Abrahamic faiths) at least tends to be accommodative of other gods because of its polytheistic philosophy which deems that there are other paths to attaining nirvana. In this age that is something we should be grateful for – we don't really need another monotheistic faith (with a billion adherents) competing with Islam or Christianity for world dominance.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Praneeth

      Bible was accessible to all common people in different languages. But Hindu scripts were considered sacred and were accessible to only upper class & rulers. there was a great deal of misconception among Hindus (illiteracy is a major problem in India even now) . History has traces of many bloody communal riots between worshippers of Shiva & Vishnu (its a political warfare leveraging religion). So, yes Hindus do believe in Polyeistic concept. But actually Vedas always taught 'ONE GOD' concept. Caste system is a major embarrassment in Hinduism. Yes we are ashamed of it.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Praneeth

      Bible is accessible to all common people in different languages. But Hindu scripts were considered sacred & were accessible to only upper class & rulers. there was a great deal of misconception among Hindus (illiteracy is a major problem in India even now) . History has traces of many bloody communal riots between worshippers of Shiva & Vishnu (its a political warfare leveraging religion). So, yes Hindus do believe in Polyeistic concept. But actually Vedas always taught 'ONE GOD' concept. Caste system is a major embarrassment in Hinduism. Yes we are ashamed of it.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • maude

      Hindu Scripts were accessible to everyone. " Caste system" is simply a list of employment one could hold based on qualifications and apprenticeship. Less qualification and training you have the worse employment one would hold. Overtime the undereducated and the underqualified were mistreated. This still applies to most of the world even by todays standard. The Bible is now accessbile to all common people in different languages. If you were colored in the US and walk into a Church back in the day – you'd be beaten with a stick and strung up on the Church tree. Praneeth is not a Hindu name I suspect you are a fat American are u not?

      July 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Roy

      The bible was in Latin for many centuries. Translating it to common European languages came much much later and from Protestants. Conflict between Catholics and Protestants lasted centuries and was very bloody. So according to your logic Christians because of the conflict between sects have a polytheistic concept.

      July 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  8. KJ

    Why do we have to argue about a pure thing like religion. And also why should religion be even americanized, are we talking about sports and world championships again. America is a beautiful country built on the hard work of immigrants and thankfully religion was a core foundation in it's growth in early 1900's, leave all religions alone because the all talk about accepting the divine faith and doing good to others. It is us humans who misinterpret and make it dirty.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      there is nothing wrong with americanizing hinduism.make that temple out of glass and televise that suckerweekly,we'll make millions!

      July 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  9. CanadianDrinker

    We have a huge Indian population in Canada and it brought us our only major terrorist attack "The air India bombing" We are a country of immigrants but no German, Irish, Swedes, or Poles..... have ever caused us these problems....

    July 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Newyorker

      What are you talking about? Are you perhaps confusing Indians with Pakistanis?

      July 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • navi

      You have no idea what are you talking about? I am surprised some time how people can be so much ignorant. terrorist attack on airline in Canada was not done by Hindus but Sikhs. Living in Canada and you don't know who Sikhs are? Sikhs are in large number in Canada and they are different from Hindus.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • ReligiousGuy

      What has that got to do with Hinduism – the topic of the article. Also, were Hindus behind the attack? You people do not know your own history or religion and speak about others.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • flywithme

      hm...seems like you are a drinker....the air India bombing was done by RADICAL SIKHS... for you're info they aren't Hindus. When you say India you are talking about Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Muslims...

      July 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Niles

      Never thought of Canadians as this ignorant but then you are a drinker... 🙂

      July 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      what do you call a polish terrorist?

      July 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  10. Newyorker

    Of course we all know that all Hindus will go to Hell regardless of how peace-loving (i.e. Jesus-like) they are, unless they actually accept Jesus Christ as their savior, and that if you are a fundy f8ckhead Christian zealot, God loves you regardless of your sanctimonious BS, and latent racism.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • ReligiousGuy

      You mean to say that like Hindus, Jews and Muslims and Sikhs and others who are not Christ followers will go to Hell?

      July 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • sam

      In Order to go to Heaven which you don't even know exist , why are you making earth hell ? I would prefer to be in hell and try making it like heaven rather then be in heaven with people like you .

      July 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      did you come up with that doctrine all by yourself or did you have help?

      July 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  11. raj

    Ideology of Hinduism is derived from the vedas, that are historically linked to the old testament "Bramha" Abraham. Vedas were mostly brought by Aryan race. I would consider the likes of Hinduism, which is not a religion, more of a tradition with similarities to the old testament (just like other religions). All I can add is unlike Islam or even to that extent X'tians, Hindus are peaceful and mind their own business.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Sam

      Hinduism is a BS, you call cow and rat worshiping a religion and peaceful..

      July 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I'm curious about the origin of the name "Abraham," where did you get this information about it being derived from, or linked to, "Bramha"?
      Because, although it is not a primary source it is usually a good starting point, wikipedia has the following:

      Abraham first appears as Abram in the book of Genesis until he is renamed by God in Genesis 17:5. The narrative indicates that abraham means “the father of a multi.tude" (Hebrew: ʼaḇ-hămôn goyim).[14] However, scholars do not accept the narrative's definition to be the etymology of Abraham because, though "ab-" means "father", "-hamon" is not the second element, and "-Raham" is not a word in Hebrew. The word in Hebrew for "multi.tude" is rabim. Johann Friedrich Karl Keil suggested that there was once a word raham (רָהָם) in Hebrew that meant "multi.tude", on analogy with the Arabic ruhâm which does have this meaning, but there is no evidence to support this;[15] another possibility is that the first element should be abr-, which means "chief", but this yields a meaningless second element, "-aham". David Rohl suggests the name comes from the Akkadian "the father loves",[16] but scholars would prefer an origin based on Hebrew.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • flywithme

      @Sam – sad, racist, ignorant redneck...go back to you're bucket of KFC.Hinduism is the oldest major monotheistic system in the world. To say it is polytheistic is like saying that Christianity is polytheistic because there's a trinity. All the demigods of Hinduism are merely manifestations of the same one god, and that there is one god, Brahman, is repeated throughout Hindu scripture as often as it is repeated throughout the Bible. So if Hinduism is not monotheistic, then neither is Christianity.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      are these the same peaceful hindus that kick muslim butt or are there other hindus ?

      July 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      are those the same peaceful hindus that kick muslim butt or are there other hindus ?

      July 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Roy

      Right how bloody and violent has Christianity been through the centuries? How have they treated people different from them and those who follow different religions? Crusades – was that just Christians giving Muslims a big hug? How welcome do Muslims feel today in America thanks to Christians?

      July 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Roy

      Raj – Arya is a Sanskrit word that means noble. It is a character trait not a race.

      July 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  12. ASingh

    I hope the hindus in US remain tolerant and non-violent. Back in India, they stood by these principles till political parties brought religion into center-stage and played havoc with the religous fabric on the country. Minorities were killed in thousands. Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, all were butchered for different reasons by Hindu extremists. I hope the brand of Hinduism brought to American shores is more tolerant and scientific in their beliefs.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Niles

      Yet another blanket statement with no basis. Let me remind you – given India's size and given the fact Hindu's make 85% of the population, it is a relative peacful country. The two states that have seen excessive violence happen to be Kashmir (Muslim majority) and Punjab (almost a Sikh majority). Also another reminder – India's Prime Minister is Sikh (Sikhs make about 2% of India's population) and India's ex-president was Muslim (Muslim's make about 13 % of the population). Which other country in the World apart from America which now has a half black President is that open minded.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "The two states that have seen excessive violence happen to be Kashmir (Muslim majority) and Punjab (almost a Sikh majority)."

      I'm not an expert by any definition, but Wiki mentions 5 major incidents of religious violence, none of which are in the two states you indicated.
      "In more recent times, tensions between Hindu and Muslim communities in India have risen[92] and has led to several major incidences of religious violence such as Hashimpura massacre (1987), Bombay riots, 1993 Bombay bombings, Godhra Train Burning, and 2002 Gujarat violence."

      July 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Nonimus

      p.s. I do not agree with ASingh. I'm just saying that Hindus are just like everyone else and can have extremist too.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Niles

      @Nonimus – All examples you mentioned are incidents. I am talking about continous violence that lasted years is still ongoing. Got it?

      July 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "All examples you mentioned are incidents. I am talking about continous violence that lasted years is still ongoing. Got it?"
      No, not really. Are you trying to say Hindus are inherently less violent than other religions? I'm not sure what the duration has to do with it, whether continuous or sporadic, it's still violence. Also, haven't Hindus and Muslims been fighting since independence in India?

      July 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  13. DRN

    Before Abraham(Birth name Bram) married to Sara(Birth name Saraswati) got his call there was only one religion.
    The people of the book or Vedas.
    Abrahams father made and sold Idols.Abraham broke all of them except the big black stone.
    His marriage to his half sister was not approved by his community. He left and started his own religion.
    At that time Middle east was ruled by Indo-Europeans. With names like Indrarutha and other Khuru Princess ruled Surya(Syria)
    He left a town called UR which was the name of most tons in Asia which the British changed to ore(Singapur Singapore Bangalore etc)
    The popular names for the God were ALLISHIO later Germany was called Allemand(Home of Alle) Alexander also called Ishkandar(Slave of the lord)
    Ish also represented by a big black stone present in many sacred and powerful places like in temples and also under the british throne.
    The word Hara was used for the Lord shortened to Ar hence all the kings were his slaves Cesar,Kaiser.Czar etc.
    This was repeated during King Henry the viii to take another wife and another Major split came in Relion causing many other unnecessary war.
    As history later shows us thousands of Hindu temples were ransacked and destroyed..
    Since we did not know actually how much was stolen we do know that the Afghan Raider Ghazni had to make several trips to steal the gold from Somnath which also has a big black stone.
    Last week’s news tells us how much gold was in the ancient temples. 20 BILLION $

    July 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Jacob

      Good post. Thanks for the info

      July 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • raj

      This sounds Jewish, Judiasm was older than the vedas. Vedas were mostly "old testament" brought in by Aryans into India.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • ReligiousGuy

      @raj: What is the basis of your "theory".....your fantasy I guess. Before Aryans reached India, the Dravidians also had a religion....if it was not Hinduism then what was it?

      July 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Roy

      Judaism is not older than Sanatana Dharma. Arya is a Sanskrit word meaning noble. A character trait not a race. The AIT theory is long been debunked. Everything about the Vedas speaks of locations within India itself. The Vedas is indigenous to India.

      July 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  14. James

    What's up with CNN and out sourcing their web site to Indian??? Americans don't give a sh__ about Hinduism or India.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Newyorker

      You don't give a sh8t about the country millions of American jobs are being shipped to? Go back under the rock.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • DJ

      Then why did you read it? Did your Nintendo run out of batteries?

      July 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Jacob

      I'm sure you speak for all Americans Jimmy....Just like your namesake Carter..

      July 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Takeit

      Speak for yourself, you id.ot! Indians have a lot to give to us Americans. No doubt you will be cared for by an Indian consultant next time you visit your hospital.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • flywithme

      Better start to, China and India are growing, and are going to challenge the US. You can make fun of them call them 3rd world nations, but people like you will only realize when they pass us. India is going to be a important partner, to counter China....but you know you can go back to your bag of potato chips, and watch FOX NEWS, and swear at those "god-damn liberals".

      July 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • ReligiousGuy

      James says "Americans don't give a sh__ about Hinduism or India.".....who are these Americans – the Natives (original Americans) + Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs .... James, go and get your histroy about America right. I am an American and like me, millions of other Americans have no problem with Hinduism. Hindism will thrive in America and its not just Christians who make America the America we know.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • JohnLI

      I'm sure Ted Turner doesn't give a sheet about them either, but they probably own lots of CNN shares. Only on CNN would see you this kind of tripe. Indians go home and keep screwing each other, maybe soon you'll be standing in each other shat piles.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • ReligiousGuy

      @JohnLI: I guess you are one of the uneducated Christians who drag this great country America into mud. Learn to spell and then post comments here. Why don't you go home (out of this great country) and learn English.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  15. Alex


    July 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • flywithme

      What are you talking about? America's culture is the culture of everyone who migrated here. Maybe you should go home too, Natives would love to help you pack...

      July 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Newyorker

      First get a brain, then get an education, and then we'll talk. What a stupyd azzhole.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • PRA

      I'm enjoying the American culture. I mean after all, I am American. A football loving Southerner at that. Interesting isn't it? All types of people are able to enjoy all types of culture.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Niles

      OK. Here's the deal. Let's all go back from where we came from and leave the country to those it belongs to – Native Americans 🙂

      July 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • ReligiousGuy

      If all Americans of Indian origin go back to India, America will soon be ins the second great dpression. Its bcause of Indians and Chinese and Latinos that America has not yet fallen into another great depression. Again for your kind information, Americans of Indian origin are as American as Americans of Caucasian origins.....both are from foreign lands and not natives. The difference is that Americans of Indian origin work to make America great again unlike people like you who claim to be American but want to drag the great counrty into mud.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Roy

      Unless you are 100% Native America, you can go back to where your people came from. The Founding Fathers of the US welcomed Hindus:

      Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

      -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

      July 10, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  16. qazar

    why are these comment sections always filled with christian fundamentalists condoning other faiths and atheists condoning religion in general. These two groups have much more in common than either would like to admit. Stop shoving your views down other peoples throat.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I assume you mean 'condemn', since condone means to approve of.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  17. ib42

    Hindus are also capable of the same hate and violence as any other religious people.. In a mob frenzy, no religion has ever stopped riots, murder and mayhem because the problem is not religion but human beings.
    By and large, the article is fair, but the excesses committed by pompous and glittery temples, mosques and churches show the real reason to have them. It is egotistical, and the rivalry between members of all religions is plain to see in these elaborate structures.
    Why have them at all, except to trumpet their differences?

    July 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  18. AHindu

    Let me tell you .. the faiths of the eatrh based on two categories .. faith based on dharma (According to hinduism, buddhism, sikhism, jainism – all follow and uses the word dharma – meaning divine law) and abrahmic faiths (are jews/xtians/muslims),
    they believe in the same god, they are all ok with taking life for their own survival, and all are warlike ..

    July 10, 2011 at 6:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
    There is also Christianity, the only TRUE faith, which you seem to accidently on purpose leave out.

    i didnot forget christians , if youread carefully , i wrote Xtian = meaning X(cross + tian) = christian .. so jews/christian and muslim are all true abrahmic faiths .. each claim about their onlyness .. hinduism doesnot make any such claim .. it only says one should live his life intune with dharma .. never to be reborn .. again .. on earth and be with almighty ..

    July 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  19. Uma

    The question posed is wrong – " Can Hindus Americanize their faith?". There is nothing to Americanize. Hinduism should not be seen as the cornucopia of different Gods and elaborate temples. These are just means to the end. Hinduism talks about the divine in all, it is fiercely personal and it provides its followers numerous choices to see God. It does not prosletyze because it is ancient and confident in its truth. There is no need to ask for acceptance or tell others that it is the ONLY way.
    In the land of choice and individual freedom, Hinduism, when practiced as a way of life, away from the cult-like rituals, is a natural fit. It is inherently American.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  20. Agastus

    Hinduism is a joke like all religions..... Did CNN out source this website to India??? Because there is nothing American about Hinduism it a 3rd world religion.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • ReligiousGuy

      Yeah....I guess thats why we had the German & English scientists and scholars studying more about India & Hinduism and having only praise for the great religion. Keep in mind that German scientists have a hand in American science.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Roy

      The Founding Fathers of the US welcomed people of all faiths including Hindus.

      Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

      -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

      July 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.