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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. Abe

    @EPguy, I agree. Lets live in peace. Its a small world and we need to learn to live together and get a long

    July 10, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  2. chanG

    Somehow I feel this article equates Hindus with Indians. Obviously, it is false. There are people from other countries (such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Burma etc) who are in the states and are Hindu.

    July 10, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  3. PeaceandLove

    this is the most idiotic thing I have ever read. Why are you trying to Americanize it??? There isn't anything special about being American. Either keep it completely intact or do away with it completely. You lose 1000s of years worth of beauty and originality if you try to American it in order to please others.

    July 10, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • IndianNotRelegious

      You either did not read the article or did not understand it.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • JC

      You didn't get the article.

      July 10, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  4. JC

    Good, at least they are updating themselves, not preaching like Islam and Christianity. They usually mind their own business.

    July 10, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  5. Abe

    I think the 3 monotheisitic religions are the violent ones. Hindus are peaceful and don't incite violence. I challenge anyone to produce an occasion in which Hindus incited violence. I can definitely produce a long list where Christianity , Islam, and Judaism have contributed to violence.

    July 10, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Murphy

      If you think there are any organized religions in the world that have not at one point commited violence you have not done much reading. Why do you think that buddisim(Which started in India) was forced to leave the area.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • JC

      True. Majority of Hindus reside in India, they have multiple religions there and many languages. Al least not a violent religion as they don't force conversion and generally don't preach.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • JC

      @murphy – Never heard about Hindu – Buddhist violence in India. Where did you get this from?
      Forgot pills today?

      July 10, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Big Bob

      Well, Hindu history isn't as widely available in the west as the other 3 you mentioned. Hindus have certainly been involved with violence over the centuries, but mostly at the losing end. Millions upon millions were slaughtered by there old friends...wait for it...muslims!

      July 10, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • mhnewyork

      You're an idiot!

      July 10, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • JEFF

      HINDUS BURN CHRISTIAN CONVERTS IN INDIA. IF YOU DARE TO LEAVE HINDUISM, YOU ARE BURNT ALIVE.

      GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT, MY FRIEND.

      THESE PEOPLE ARE MORE VIOLENT THAN ANYONE ELSE.

      July 10, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Witness to IT all

      Hindus are clever and subtle. They talk divine but devil withinn and make scapegoats of others. No such luck, got to see past what you see!

      July 11, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  6. EPguy

    I fail to understand – why is everyone fighting over religion? Guys guys guys..... we all share 99.99% of our genes... we all share a common ancestor who lived on this planet around 90,000yrs ago.... so what if we look different and follow different religious beliefs?!? lets respect each other's beliefs and co-exist!

    We're fortunate to live in a country where everyone is treated equal, everyone shares the same rights, and has FREEDOM!
    lets live in the present times... why fight over whether Jews were banned or not. Slaves were brought in hoards until a few decades ago, but now have we not moved on? This democracy/country is now mature enough to have elected an African American President!

    Live & let live! Go outside... enjoy the lovely summer weather 🙂

    July 10, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • flywithme

      You see that require too much common sense...which many people here are missing...

      July 10, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Big Bob

      Yes! Pink clouds and blue bunny rabbits. Grow up!

      July 10, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  7. The Ultimate Supreme God

    Hey guys, Remember who said the following words or words to that effect? "God is within you"," Search, Thou shalt find" "You are your own witness","Raise your lower self with the higher Self". Was it Buddha, the Ancient Rishis, or Jesus. Does it really matter who said it. God, if you believe there is a person as such, is not out there arguing. He is inside of you. Search for your conscience and discover, then go out do some good to His creation, for Heaven's sake.

    July 10, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • EPguy

      well said! There is only ONE god! all we do here on earth is force our interpretation of God onto each other....
      Jesus/Buddha/Allah/Krishna/Ram/etc etc etc etc.... they're all the same!

      Only if all 7 Billion people believed in this... it would prevent this mad bloodshed around the globe!

      July 10, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Atom Spectre

      Delusional.... for the sake of your mental health, go pick up a science book.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  8. AvdBerg

    Our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca explains how Satan has deceived this whole world as mentioned in Revelation 12:9 and 2 Cor. 11:13-15

    The following is an excerpt of the article Who is God and who is Satan? listed on our website.

    “Religion is his biggest stronghold in this world (his kingdom), including so-called Christianity. While they all preach a bewildering variety of local rites and doctrines in their search for the Universal One, they all fall short and worship in vain, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9).”

    July 10, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • JC

      Shut up....!!

      July 10, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  9. nephin

    Being a Nepali.. 80% population Hindu and living in US.. I do frequently visit Temple... thanks to the people from India who built temples throughout US and North America so that not only people can go and pray in temple but also by making people opportunity to practice meditation and yoga. However, we don't necessary more religious.. rather trying to do sth that good for whole society regardless of race and religion e.g, color festival in the article i.e. commendable.

    July 10, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  10. Lightning and Sun

    Hinduism is pretty in-egalitarian. The caste system was created to preserve the racial "purity" of the lighter skinned Aryan aristocracy. In fact, it is very compatible with NAZI ideology, according to Savitri Devi, a Hindu woman who was an author and a leading figure in the post-WW2 international fascist movement. She believed Hitler was an earthly incarnation of Vishnu.

    http://www.savitridevi.org/

    July 10, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • chanG

      which religion doesn't have their class division? Black Christians couldn't enter the church of white people until a few ago...

      July 10, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • yourdaddy

      Ignorance is bliss for you isnt it? Hinduism is an amalgamated religion of the north (Aryans) and the south (dravidians). The cast system was emphasized by the British who used divide and conquer to rule the indians. In the Ramayana (holy book) it is clearly written that a persons caste is determined by his karma and not his birth. Rama ate, lived among people considered untouchables.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Eric

      Why should I goto savitri devi .org ? She doesnt represent me or many like me..What you read there is garbage , so sink it and look at something more mainstream..Caste system was conceptualized in a book by a social scientist called Manu (the word Man comes from him, go check on webster)..to organize ancient Indian society..It had nothing to do with Hindu philosophy what so ever..Caste system = reality of ancient India lingering..Hindu philosophy is ever evolving , eternal and believe of the same divinity in every living being, be it a man, animal or a plant..Goal is how do you realize it..

      July 10, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  11. Samuel

    The greater threat is them trying to Hindu'ize America! Unfortunately in the name of religious freedom, America is exposing itself to some unwnted cultures and practices. Surprising that a Christian prayer is not allowed in public places but dances and songs (in praise of hindu gods) is promoted in schools and libraries.

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

      It good to learn about others, but Hinduism nor Christianity should be allowed into schools. Hindus aren't into forcing their religion on you or in schools, they chose to believe in it, and they have the right to, and the right to worship they want, as you do.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • EPguy

      No one is trying to Hindu'ize America dude. This article is just about a community who is trying to live & let live!

      July 10, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • fenster

      And who promoted you to American Decider of what is Wanted or Unwanted?

      July 10, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Jack Brady

      @Samuel – You will be surprised to learn – as I was – Hinduism happens to one of the only religions in the wold that grew not by conversion but because its tenets allow for so much freedom of thought. It is so modern yet so simple for anyone to understand. There are no requirements to be Hindu – just the need to understand some very universal concepts just as karma, detachment, soul, ego and maya. If I were you, I would not worry about Indians trying to Hinduize America – if anything it may be a good thing for Americans to learn something from the Hindus. We're too caught up with our material possessions!

      July 10, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Samuel

      For sure, Christianity is the real thing. It is only that we in the Western World have a big lack in Christian praxis.

      For example the whole Koran is an accusation by Muhammad against Jews and Christians , who obviously saw that word and deed of Jews and Christians did not always go together (he draw the wrong conclusion and condemned us, better he had decided to become a model Jew or Christian).

      The best way to keep our traditional culture, is it to really live the Christian life without compromising. People of other religions will appreciate and God will protect us against our enemies (people, who want to kill us, although we live as faithful Christians).

      When we compromise, we will decline one way or another, independent from the influence of other religions.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  12. another minority.....

    Very cool, hope this endeavor succeeds for them, and all sentient beings.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:57 am |
  13. jeff

    HINDUS ARE TRYING TO BLEND IN SO THAT THEY CAN STEAL OUR JOBS EASIER.
    9.2 MILLION AMERICANS JOBLESS.
    AMERICANS ECONOMOY SPUTTERRING.
    ALL THANKS TO OUTSOURCING.
    HINDUS AND INDIA WILL BE OUR DOWNFALL IF WE DONT STOP THIS PARASITIC SPREAD.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • americanfriend

      amen, my friend.
      amen.
      lets cut all ties with india.
      i swear, they are our biggest enemies right now.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Erm

      Well, JEFF, I'm sure though English is their second language, the probably know how to spell better than some (i.e. – you)...they probably also know how to turn off caps lock. What jobs, exactly, do you think they are taking from you? If your atrocious English skills, I doubt you guys are vying for the same careers...

      July 10, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Erm

      WITH, not "if". With your atrocious English skills.
      I'm dyslexic. Sorry.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @jeff

      Our main enemy: TV (it makes as lazy and stupid)

      Foreign people make us rich (they may have outlandish religions, but nevertheless every nationality has its own interesting culture. I like indian food so much.)

      July 10, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • flywithme

      Man you are stupid....America is just too expensive for corporations it's the gov. and corp. fault not Indians. What will lead to your downfall is laziness and arrogance. You aren't qualified to work, or you cost too much. It's all business. Now you know how Indians feel when you try to push your religion and products on India.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Jack Brady

      @Jeff – I hate to tell you that the only people responsible for stealing your jobs is YOU YOURSELF!!!!
      The average American child spends 2 hours a day working on home work and studying for class. The average Asian child spends 5 – 7 hours a day working on home work and studying for class. Their parents emphasize education at a very young age. The reason jobs are headed there is because there is a work force able to handle them competently and for a cheaper price – the sooner we in America learn that – the better it will be for America. We have to beat them at education!!!! We need more Americans going into the maths and sciences.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Guest

      So insecure eh? Why don't you go to college, get a degree so that you as well can have high pay job. But you lazy idiot have no brain and too busy with drugs, s*x, too busy keep shooting hot air from your ugly hips.

      Go get education, idiot.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  14. Nellore S. Venkataraman

    I was born to a progressive a Hindu family, which observed all traditional festivals. But of late, I am closer to being an agnostic. I have made some study of religions, albeit not exhaustively. I believe the basics of all religion are similar to the ten commandments.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Presy

      Except that Hinduism has been existing several thousand years before the religion teaching about the ten commandments came into existence. So why associate that concept to christianity? Maybe for easy reference and nothing else I guess

      July 10, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  15. Uhh

    In response to an earlier post about the infamous 2002 Gujarat violence in which over 1,000 Muslims were killed...

    shri wrote: "Micah – that Gujarat riot was started by Muslims – Muslims perpetreted attacks on Hindus in the past and HIndus of today do not want to sit by idly... That does not make Hindus aggressive – it is a retaliation – aka war on terror that US is undertaking against al Qaeda"

    Sarka003 wrote: "@Micah, What you complain about are the things that were common a couple of centuries back, not any more. Christianity too went through its medival ages, Islam is going through one.
    And about the killing of muslims, you should have verified your facts. It was a revenge attack for unprovoked Muslims burning 55 Hindu pilgrims alive, that was too much to take for the local people reeling from back to back Islamic terrorist attacks. You should also note that the party leading the national government during the riots lost the elections in-spite of giving impressive economic growth, that was the punishment for not controlling the riots. More than 85% of India is Hindu."

    shri and Sarka003: really? You claim Hindus are peaceloving and label your Muslim brethrens as being in their "medieval ages" while conveniently excusing a massacre of innocent Muslims by bl00dthirsty Hindu mobs? You think by claiming that it was "started by Muslims" and that it was OK to massacre INNOCENT men, women and children? Don't you realize all terrorist groups justify their actions by claiming the same, even those oh-so-evil Muslim extremists you claim to dislike so much? The entire world Muslim community gets called out for supposedly sitting idly and coming up with justifications for the actions of the extremists among them, yet here you are conveniently doing the very same thing when the extremists happen to be fellow Hindus. If the situation was reversed (say, western troops occupy Hindu India and have bombed India routinely in the past few decades, would you be coming up with justifications for Hindu terrorists who decide to do some revenge attacks in the west?)

    Ah, the old "55 Hindu pilgrims burnt alive by Muslims" claim. I'm sure you can't cite one DEFINITIVE and non-politicized proof of that, and you also forgot to mention that these "pilgrims" were in fact activist cadres of the right-wing Hindu nationalist party who was in power in Gujarat at the time and ALLOWED the massacre of innocent Muslim men, women and children to happen since they stood to benefit from inciting flames of hatred? I'm sure there was no conflict of interest during the investigation there (sarcasm here). I'm sure that India has the best and safest train system in the world, and that random accidents which kill hundreds at a time never happen and that no convenient scapegoating of vulnerable minorities ever happen there (more sarcasm here).

    July 10, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • ad

      @uhh. dude, let it go. This happened ten years ago. Isolated instances of riots don't predict a trend.
      I am sure you are a Pakistani Muslim. I don't understand why Pakistani Muslims spend their lives worrying(or is it just a false pretense about morality) about Indian Muslims. We are fine here. India is our home.

      Don't you have greater things to worry about?

      July 10, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Uhh

      @ad: nope, nice try but I'm neither Pakistani nor Muslim (I'm agnostic, actually). Stop conveniently excusing all criticism of India as another Pakistani troll post, won't ya? If you scroll further down, you also see that I did not post the original message which started the whole chain about the Gujarat riots.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • chanG

      You should get your facts right, mister. Where are you from? Some Talibani town in Pakistan where they color you with misinformation?

      July 10, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Uhh

      Wow, what is up with Indians vs. Pakistanis? Can't you just "let it go" for once and just reply without mentioning Pakistan? If I made incorrect statements, please, educate me and set me straight. Do note that my posting was mainly a reply to the outrageous and hypocritical (for me anyway) comments that shri and Sarka003 made.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Presy

      Ind and pak rivalry is like Earth vs America war, it will never end.

      July 10, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  16. PD

    To all the people who are commenting without proper instruction about Hinduism: please read Bhagavad Geeta and Vedas, the sources of eternal knowledge. If you don't have one, ask your local ISKCON. Please don't preach about Hinduism without knowing it. Consuming alcohol and meat is one of the many forbidden things in Hinduism. You may be misinformed about Hinduism if you read any books other than Bhagavad Geeta and Vedas. You may also need help to interpret 'slokas' of Bhagavad Geeta. Find a proper authority if you are really interested to explore more. It is a sea of knowledge, which is very pleasing to one's soul.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  17. DJ

    Hindu is not a religion but ancient way of living. Sanatan is a Dharma. It does not have a founder and no one know who, when and where it originated, may be in Indus valley many thousand years ago.The philosophy is one of the most dynamic and tolerent in the world and has gone through so many changes. You don't have to worry about getting your brain blown, if you talk or write in derogatory terms about hinduism. Most peaceful religion in the world, Jainism and Buddhism therefore could emerge out of Hindu philosophy and many hindus therefore do not have issues integrating with Christian ideology.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  18. srao

    Hinduism is not about multiple Gods. Gods in Hinduism are just personification of aspects of nature. It emphasizes the fact that every aspect of nature should respected, worshiped and nothing should be taken for granted. The most important thing in Hinduism is not about worshiping God but about doing your duty. It is not a religion as most westerners love to brand it. It is just a way of life. You can be a Hindu by being a Christian or a Muslim or even an atheist. Food habits are also related to what you are. Contrary to the belief that all Hindus are vegetarians, only 30% are vegetarians. Meat is allowed for certain hard professions which is not understood by most including Hindus. But, meat eating is certainly associated with a guilty feeling and an inferior way of living.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  19. DJ

    Hindu is not a religion but ancient way of living. Sanatan is a Dharma. It does not have a founder and no one know who, when and where it originated, may be in Indus valley many thousand years ago.The philosophy is one of the most dynamic and tolerent in the world and has gone through so many changes. You don't have to worry about getting your brain blown, if you talk or write in derogatory terms about hinduism. Most peaceful religion in the world, Jainism and Buddhism therefore could emerge out of Hindu philosophy. Many hindus therefore do not have issues integrating with Christian ideology.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  20. American

    any real American should read the input from
    -The Truth Hurts-
    he hit the Nail on the head-
    just try to approach and Indian Gate Agent at Dallas Airport (AA) you will see what it is all about.
    I often request at once to see another agent or the supervisor.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • chanG

      Just another hick, yea mate?

      July 10, 2011 at 10:09 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.