Sunday, February 23, 2014

To Whom am I a Disciple?

Namaste readers!

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of formal conversion lately. I know many say formal conversion is not necessary to become a Hindu, while others say it's extremely necessary.

These thoughts have entered my mind recently because I was thinking a formal conversion might be to my benefit - if anyone questions my sincerity, I can look to my conversion and say, "it doesn't get more sincere than that!" I just don't know which groups are willing to accept me beyond the Art of Living.

This conundrum reminds me of the Hindu saying "it is not the disciple who chooses the guru, it is the guru who chooses the disciple." But it's not like a guru will suddenly appear out of the blue and say I am his disciple. Still, how do I search for a guru if I can't make the decision myself?

I need some advice on the situation - should I formally convert, and to which Hindu group? It's a rather personal question, I know, but I honestly don't know what to think.


  1. May I recommend that you pray to Lord Ganesha, The Remover of Obstacles, to help you with this decision. Sometimes, for decisions such as these, we need the help of a Power greater greater than us.

  2. I randomly ran into your blog, I don't know if this will help you but here goes... :)

    A "formal conversion" is not necessary, because there really is no such thing. I think what people refer to when they talk about a "formal conversion", is becoming what they call in english a twice born. This is done by the ceremony Upanayana.

    Your physical birth is your first birth, and the "initiation" into the Gayatri and sacred knowledge is the second birth. With this there is a ceremony, they would shave your head, and you would receive a sacred thread called a janeu that you would be required to wear at all times. For alot of us, we don't receive upanayana, because there's no one to do the ceremony living in foreign lands, so we're given the Gayatri Mantra by our mothers or some elders, but we are still Hindu...what else would we be?

    In the ancient times, men who did not have a teacher or guru, would consider Surya dev (the sun God) to be their Guru. By doing so they would offer Gayatri Mantra, which is the mother of all mantras and the vedas and the most important. I don't know if you believe in the epics or not like the Mahabharata and Ramayana, but there are good examples of individuals who did not have a guru, but by accepting a guru (who was not physically there), they were able to reach what they intended. People like Eklavya, who accepted Drona as his Guru even though Drona did not accept him. Eklavya turned out to be the foremost of archers. Karna had formally accepted the sun god initially as his guru because he could not find a guru, until he found Parshurama.

    Generally, people feel they need a formal conversion, because they need a specific path or a guru/group to follow. This is not the same as a conversion. By being initiated into a path you're given a structure by which to live by. It's a little harder in the west to find a proper group, because the actual Guru isn't present and most things are done through hearsay. In India you would be required to serve the Guru personally, and over time (years) he would impart to you knowledge from the school, and he would initiate you into a mantra that he was taught and has perfected.

    But the choice should come with a great amount of introspection. No path is wrong, what it comes down to is what path/group speaks to you the most. By following a path that speaks to you the most, you won't make the mistake of leaving the path and wasting years of effort. Trust me when I say it could take any amount of time to find a path (days, months, years). It's hard to find a Guru, because it's supposed to be hard. But it does not mean that you are doing anything wrong. It is a form of penance, and a test of will to search. Give up quickly and that means it was just a passing fancy.

    I've seen people who have had dreams of Gurus telling them to come visit them. So from my experience it is true when they say that the Guru chooses the disciple.

    Personally, your situation remind me of the following shlokh in the Gita...

    Sarva-dharman parityagya mam ekam saranam vraja aham tva sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah

    Translates to... Abandoning dependence on all Dharmas (paths, or human efforts at spiritual upliftment). Come to me as the only refuge. Grieve not; I will deliver you from all sins.

  3. may be u should ask Tandava from the site

  4. In Hinduism, the highest philosophy is Advaita Philosophy - The Philosophy of Non-Duality. Guru Adi Shankara has propounded the philosophy. The recent and well known proponent of this philosophy is Ramana Maharshi.

    Suggest you read about Ramana Maharshi and his teachings.