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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 • Hinduism • Interfaith issues • Texas

soundoff (2,004 Responses)
  1. frootyme

    Let them get out of their caste system first!.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Jack Brady

      It's funny that you should talk about caste system in a society still plagued by racism!!! LOL. Very fitting.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • flywithme

      Let's see how long ti took America to get out of slavery and discrimination...hmm... and now, hatred towards Muslims, Hindus, and Mexicans.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  2. Paul

    ["America is a Christian country and we don't need any other faiths or religions !"]

    "And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter."

    Yeah, fyi, this just happens to be a quote by the same guy who wrote this thing called The Declaration of Independence. So F U.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Patrick

      The same guy also said that if we let Jews come here that they'll take over, ruin our country, and change our form of government. (It happened)

      July 10, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  3. Frank

    Jesus studied with the Hindus, taught reincarnation and meditation. See "Beyond Belief" at http://www.beyondmefilm.com

    July 10, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  4. Uhh

    I second what ad said. Islam, Christianity and Judaism are pretty much the same religion, no matter how uncomfortable that may sound to our friendly Evangelical friends on this message board. Also, Rainer, you're giving Muhammad too much credit. Muslims see Muhammad as just another prophet, just like Jesus (although Muhammad is the "final" one). In their religion, he has no powers to send anyone to the fires of hell like you wrote above. So yea, do your homework and research the other religions if you ever hope to "save" any one of the poor, misled folks (sarcasm here).

    July 10, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • herbert juarez

      WOW! how is it you know everything about ALL those religions?

      July 10, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  5. Presy

    Ok people, read everyone's comments here. First and foremost America is not a christian nation its based on accepting people of all religion, caste, creed, color, race and even every being. Secondly Hinduism is not about conversions and its about letting people know of its ways and letting people decide for themselves if they want to follow it or not. Next all religions, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jews, Buddhism and so on, they are all about love, peace, care, loyalty to fellowmen and God. Of them Hinduism is the most ancient religion. And all these religions are about peace and love. All religions have jerks among them who act violently, insult each other, make life hell for everyone and so on. So that does not mean the entire religion is wrong. As the bible has gone through so much under so many people, in so many years, each religion has its own additions, many of them being wrong and vile. But that does not again mean the entire religion is wrong. People who choose not to follow any religions have no right to call religious people as fools and believers have no right to call non believers as evil. Some people need religion to guide them, while others might not. Every single one of them must be respected and revered. Not one religion is greater than the other. Nor following no religion is something brilliant. Accept people to what they are, who they are and what they believe in. Every religion has its good and bad, its upto people to realise and understand what is right and what is wrong and what is apt for their lifestyle. But the most important and fundamental thing is, respect, love, care, friendship, unity and the ability to help each other. Peace ppl...

    July 10, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Patrick

      America was never based on accepting everyone, that is revisionism. When we were founded only white males had rights and there was very strict quotas on non-White immigration. Jews were pretty much banned from entering the country by Benjamin Franklin. All of our founding fathers were Christian and our nation was established with Christian and Puritan values.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • herbert juarez

      tell it to general custer look what the indians did to him!

      July 10, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Erm

      Patrick...no they weren't. A lot of them were Deists.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:05 am |
  6. Patrick

    You can't Americanize hindiusm, and I hope Hindus don't try, they should keep their rich culture. Furthermore, you can't Americanize a religion. The only American religion is Christianity. There was never a large amount of Muslims or Jews here and Jews were banned from entering our country until a few decades ago.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • herbert juarez

      you can americanize anything...hey ya want fries with that? (potatoes are vegetarian)

      July 10, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  7. herbert juarez

    over the years there have been many significant contributions to America by the hindus. for an example entertainment comes to mind,who hasn't heard the old popular song swami river? or the wisdom of "yogi" berra.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:40 am |
  8. Maya

    Hinduism is a link to a traditions dating back to the Iron Age. It is unfortunate that Hindus over the years have become hostile to the mantle of polytheism in order to the conform to the arrogant followers of Abrahamic monotheism. Hinduism is inherently polytheistic, and there isn't anything sillier about saying that there are multiple gods than just one.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • SP

      Actually, if you really study the religion, Hindu is essentially a monotheistic religion. They believe there is one God, but aspects of his goodness are represented by different human-formed Gods so that people can conceptualize it better. 1,000 there wasn't a common language in across India, so symbolic interpretations such as these helped spread the message across the country and make it easier for people to understand.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • Jack Brady

      @Maya – While I agree with you in theory – I think monotheism kicks in when in the Bhagvad Gita, Krishna attributes all the different gods and demigods personified as different natures of him. So it's Krishna with different forms of him.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  9. Thinquer

    Hinduism promotes classes of people where the underclass are oppressed, given the worst jobs and dictated that they should not try to improve their situation in life. The Hindu scriptures Bhagavad Gita lays the groundwork for these untruths that are detrimental to humans and the opposite of love. Take time to educate yourselves and don't be afraid to speak out when it's wrong, but do it in the kindest possible way.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • SP

      Actually the caste system was initially established to organize societies so that all aspects of a community were taken care of by its residents. It's only humans who, over time, allowed discrimination to push certain people (usually the darker-skinned of the populace) into the more menial roles. Hinduism did not mandate this.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Ray

      "Hinduism promotes classes of people where the underclass are oppressed..." Sounds like America!

      July 10, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    By using our reason, we realize, we need a Redeemer. The escape of Hinduism is reincarnation (reincarnating people need no Redeemer. Islam has no escape, thus people become desperated, because Muhammed threatens them with hellfire, but provides no Redeemer, who could help them to keep the commandments.

    In contrast to Christianity Hinduism teaches reincarnation. What you become next life, depends on you behaviour in the ongoing life.

    Christianity teaches that there is only one life, and after that Judgement Day.

    I guess, the Hindu doctrine of reincarnation is somewhat dangerous. You can reckon on a second, third, fourth, .... chance. This could cause that you don't take your current life too seriously. Who cares, maybe next life I become a rat (as punishment for my bad current behaviour).

    Christ has specifically commanded to tell people about Judgement Day, when Christ will assess the life of everybody:

    Acts 10: 42: And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God [to be] the Judge of quick and dead.

    Christians of course are not hellfire preachers like Muhammad. It is still a time of grace and you can repent to day and believe in Christ, who wants to give you the power for living a good life. God wants your salvation, not your death!

    July 10, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • ad

      dude, knock it off. Islam/ Christianity/ Judasim are the same religions. All say that if you don't believe in 'their' God, then you are going to hell.
      I wonder what happens to people like Gandhi then. does he go to hell?.. because he sure didn't accept christianity!

      July 10, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Mother Teresa

      Jesus is a carbon copy of Krishna and Buddha - both of whom promise salvation as well. Also, Jesus did teach reincarnation as well and doctors believe in past lives. No one believes that God had to sacrifice himself to himself to save humanity from himself - Christianity is a bane to existence and Islam is even worse. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism are far more civilized religions than the blood-thirsty Abrahamic ones.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Syrni

      Must have no clue of what Christianity is then ..... Bloody funny crab !!!

      July 10, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Uhh

      I second what ad said. Islam, Christianity and Judaism are pretty much the same religion, no matter how uncomfortable that may sound to our friendly Evangelical friends on this message board. Also, Rainer, you're giving Muhammad too much credit. Muslims see Muhammad as just another prophet, just like Jesus (although Muhammad is the "final" one). In their religion, he has no powers to send anyone to the fires of hell like you wrote above. So yea, do your homework and research the other religions if you ever hope to "save" any one of the poor folks.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • matt

      It's amazing when someone forms an ridiculously simplified and idiotic opinion of a religion without ever having lived in it or in the society where it developed. Look into history and you'll find the history of Islam and christianity bloodied by the lives of innocents over the past 1500 years, and you say that the concept of re-incarnation is dangerous. BTW, when are you setting out on the next Crusade or Jihad to save "God", who so desperately seems to need you guys to rescue him.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @ad

      No, Christianity is different. Christianity is the sole religion providing a Redeemer (who gives you the power to keep the commandments). All other religions preach solely the law (commandments) and thus make people becoming desperated, because people fall and fall, although they honestly want to keep the commands. However, they lack in power, because of their weak flesh.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Srini

      Though your point is just focusing on one aspect, I will not call that as narrow minded.
      I take slightly different view:
      1) Hinduism has both pap (sin) and punya (opposite of sin). Any other religion has just one, sin. How narrow view is that, all you do is sin and no way to carry credit for what you do?
      2) Hinduism has three main gods, Brahma (creator), Vishnu (living) and Shiva (destruction). All of them are very important aspect of life, including Shiva. Everything gets destroyed, remember, everything. Buildings, trees, etc,. possibly includes universe itself (we will never know).
      3) I believe that there were many religious movements such as Chrisitianity and even Islam. They just survived test of time, not because they are superior, that just happened. Possibly, the same may be true about Hinduism too, definitely more humanity oriented.
      4) Hinduism believes there is god in every one of us! Do not take literally, I believe the same.
      5) Christianity is very well commercialized and it is probably the best way to "sell" god. This is possibly the only product that does not even exist, but people are sold on it big time.
      6) Islam is on the other hand, too barbaric and 7th century nomadic society mind set. Obviously, I am judging based on the current practice or interpretation. Hinduism was practiced even worse than that, it has changed over period and has lots of flexibility. In Hinduism, you can pray to any god, thousands to choose from! No one ever condoned their practice.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Jack Brady

      @Rainer Braendlein – While I respect your discourse. It's hard to look at the principle of karma and not believe that there is a cycle of birth and death universally. The physical body of a human changes so much just throughout his or her life. Death in Hinduism is merely the point where the soul leaves the current physical body and enters another depending on actions of your past life. There does exist salvation or nirvana – which stops the cycle of birth and death. But to get there, you have to WANT to seek enlightenment – and meditate on the purpose of life, understand where suffering arises from and master your ego, anger.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  11. Wildfawn

    We Americans complain bitterly about how the immigrants, illegal or legal, are taking our jobs. The illegal immigrants take the low-paying, menial jobs that we don't want to do. The educated immigrants such as Chinese and Indians take the jobs we're not educated enough to do. The jobs we wanted were the high-paying jobs that didn't require any previous training or experience, like manufacturing, but those have moved overseas because other people were willing to do it for less.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  12. forreal89

    How come these people are here the have the gall not to attempt to the American way

    July 10, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • laya

      I don't think you know what the "American Way" is. The American way is that you can live any way that you want so long as you are following the law and not disturbing others!

      July 10, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • MakingIndia

      Is THIS the American way?

      Have you read "American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World" by David E. Stannard

      Hindus like everybody else know that America was founded by the Christians AFTER SLAUGHTERING 100 MILLION NATIVE AMERICANS. For four hundred years–from the first Spanish assaults against the Arawak people of Hispaniola in the 1490s to the U.S. Army's massacre of Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in the 1890s–the indigenous inhabitants of North and South America endured an unending firestorm of violence. During that time the native population of the Western Hemisphere declined by as many as 100 million people. Indeed, as historian David E. Stannard argues in this stunning new book, the European and white American destruction of the native peoples of the Americas was the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Kana

      @MakingIndia- Throughout history man has conquered others in order to claim land, this is not an American phenomenon. This has and still occurs around the world. It's only in recent history we call it genocide.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • SP

      Kana: while this is true, most of the invading/conquering country's don't obliterate the conquered populace. Take the Mogul Empire, it took over a large part of India, and yes, lives were lost in the struggles for land, but the people still survived so many years later. The Moguls allowed the people the conquered to live.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  13. EPguy

    If all of us sit down and compare all the religious scriptures which exist in this world, don't all of them preach similar things? They all teach us to live a good, morally correct life! to live & let live.. The religious conflicts which exist around the world are purely due to misinterpretation of these facts by a few members of the society! thats quite unfortunate. It really does not matter how or where you pray! conflicts arise when one person tries to enforce his beliefs onto the other person....

    As for the talk about the Hindu vs. Muslim riots during 1947-48; Has anyone tried to identify the root cause of it? was it just mutual hatred or clash of idealogy?.....NO... it was result of 200yrs of British policy of divide & rule!!! Thats how the British thrived in the Indian subcontinent.. by creating a divide in the country on lines of religion! that was the only way they could have established their rule in the subcontinent.

    Someone mentioned about old generation Indians being more rigid when it comes to their beliefs, etc. Its definitely true that 100yrs ago, the Indian society was divided on lines of the caste. These older beliefs take time to die off. That is true across all countries on this planet. Things have changed beyond imagination now..... That country with people speaking over 15 official dialects with Hinduism being the main religion – was being Governed by a Sikh Prime Minister, along with a Muslim President. The Chairman of the governing political party is an Italian Lady who is now a naturalized citizen of the country! After 1947, no one believed that the country would last... but its the biggest democracy in the world with over 1.2 Billion people!

    Tolerance is an important catalyst for prosperity! look at the US, UK, Singapore and now India.. Its time all of us stop fighting over religion. Lets respect each other's beliefs and live a harmonious life!

    July 10, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  14. Better Peson

    Great Hindu Ancient temple. I would encourage every local person from Houston to visit this temple. You will amaze of creation of this temple and would learn about hindu, BAPS and definitely will make you a better person in life. BAPS Temple makes us proud to be an Hindu and Indian.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  15. Yogafan

    Good for them!!!! I think it is great!! All the naysayers should just go and have their pity party that the world is becoming more connected. Maybe all the unwelcoming people should go live together in a commune where they can be ungreatful, unwelcoming and disapproving together and leave the rest of us alone. These people just want to be happy and live how they want to live, like the rest of us Americans.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  16. Fairfax voter

    I am curious to know how Hinduism's belief in caste (social status and opportunity defined at birth) can be squared with equal opportunity for all as an American ideal? America may fall short of that ideal but at least thar is the goal, which is the opposite of a caste system. I thought this article would be about this topic and was disappointed it was not discussed or clarified. Hindu Americans are so successful that they must have figured out a way to work around their religion's caste issues in our modern multiracial society.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • MakingIndia

      > Hinduism's belief in caste

      That line indicates that you don't know enough about Hinduism; might be because of your local Church.
      http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Caste_System.htm

      July 10, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • AKM

      Caste is as relevant to modern Hindu as the American practice of slavery.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Joe Francis

      India ecomony is booming at a rate of 8% a year for the last 1o years. As a result the middle class has become quite affluent. Cast is no longer a barrier because the kids of today are more focussed on compatibility and sustenance.
      The caste system was prevalent 100s of years ago and today is as current as a dinosaur.
      I would urge you to visit India or start with reading some of the online Inidian newspapers to get a better perspective.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  17. Mike in Chicago

    Corection" "Who depend on me" is who depend on us.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  18. Jenn H

    It's sad to see that by the next few decades... there will be no more white majority in America :/ Asians and Hispanics will take over

    July 10, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • Nicole

      Hundreds of years ago the people from many tribes of "Native Americans" were in the majority but they were over-run by whites from Europe. That's what is sad. The population of this land is always changing.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Tobu

      Few centuries back there were no whites in America. Twenty thousand years back there were no humans in America.Seventy thousand years back there were no humans on this planet. A hundred thousand year hence, there might not be any humans on this planet, at least not as we know them now.
      Let's focus on our individual lives and have fun. The foundations and values of our country are strong and universal. The ideas of liberty and law will still shine long after there is no America.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Erm

      Sad? Are you a skinhead?

      July 10, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  19. mahesh bhalejwala

    BAPS teaches great values to the young and old.See love through a different lens.Live life in a different light.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  20. God

    There are millions of people asking me to find a job for them, or ways to feed their children and yet you guys spending your money and time building these million dollar building to worship me. I never pay attention to you to your practices. I pay attention to the people who takes care of the neighbor.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • SP

      As a practicing Hindu, I actually agree with you.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:05 am |
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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.