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Re: responses to the conversion question

From: Mohan R Sagar (
Date: Fri Jan 22 1999 - 18:48:14 PST

Srinath Chakravarty wrote:

> ...........Mani
> had mentioned in an earlier posting, that proper explanation of
> Srivaishnava rites and rituals is imperative to ensuring their
> appreciation by the younger generation that has been raised in North
> America.  As someone raised in India until age 18, I wish to say also,
> that I have strongly felt the "void" caused by lack of definition of my
> faith, in the increasingly political/communal society that surrounded
> me.  But it does not surprise me.  I consider the Hindu religion itself,
> to be not well defined in terms of institutionalism, sacred texts, and
> and organized priesthood.  Therefore to some extent, our specific "lack
> of definition" is inherited from the religion which it is part of.

I apologize in advance for my strong views on this topic.

As one who has also been US raised, I can certainly relate to the void
caused by what can be aptly called "lack of definition" in our religion.
But, I do not think that this is a fault of SriVaishnavam or Hinduism but
rather the fault of the general sense of apathy towards religion that has
become prevalent among most Indians, irrespective of whether they were
raised in India or the West.

Our achAryans teach that many, if not all, of the answers to life's most
puzzling questions can be found in vEda.  But, how many "Hindus" of the
world are even attempting to learn what vEda has to say (let us set aside
the issue of who qualifies for this, for now)?  Every person in India who is
not a Muslim, Christian or Buddhist somehow looks upon him/herself as Hindu,
whether or not he/she has even read one sloka of Srimad Bhagavad Geetha or
Srimad Ramayana.  In what I see as a false spirit of secularism, and in an
ever constant hunger for western ideology,  the people of India, many
"Iyengars" included, have put aside all of the ideals of the faiths that
constitute Hinduism in favor of a casual and eclectic form of religion that
seems to provide no sense of solace or strength, let alone
cultural/spiritual identity.

While I would agree that there are some elements of our religion - as with
every religion -  that may need to be corrected or adjusted, I think that we
should be very careful before blaming religious ideals for what are
undoubtedly the fallacies of our human weakness.