white people CANNOT join hinduism. in order to practice hinduism, you have to be born Hindi.
Huh? Erm, yeah okay let’s talk about this. Indian Hindu girl here with a depth of knowledge of Hinduism (philosophical and daily practice.)
A) It’s HindU, not Hindi. Hindi is a language, and is not even the language of Hinduism, which is Sanskrit. (By this I mean the language the Vedas and other ancient texts are written in. In South India, prayers can be said in Tamil, Kannada, Telugu etc so it doesn’t mean you can’t pray in your language.)
B) Technically, yes you can’t convert. There is a reason for this. It’s not cos we be mean. It’s cos in Hinduism there is a concept of Dharma, and part of that concept is the idea that everyone has a duty to do, a role to play. To convert someone, either forcibly or through preaching, is to take them away from their Dharma. When they come to a religion on their own, that is their Dharma. It is not up to us to preach to people about religion. That’s why Hinduism has no concept of proselytizing or conversion. There is no conversion process.
Now you’re asking “what about all those White people who convert to Hinduism?” Okay, ISKCON, or Krishna Consciousness, is what most White people convert too. ISKCON tries to pass itself off as part of Hinduism because that gives it legitimacy (and Hindus being kinda whatever about what other people believe as long as you don’t kill us for it tend to just let it be). But ISKCON’s beliefs are not in line with what Hindus believe. ISKCON appeals to White people because of it’s exotification of Asian religion which is then mixed with Protestant culture. Hence, with ISKCON, you get concepts like going to heaven (which Hindus don’t believe in) and conversion. So yes White people can’t join Hinduism, but really it’s cos when you define it the way you do other religions no one can.
C) Does this mean no matter how much you love Hinduism and believe in it you will never be Hindu cos u can’t convert? No, actually it does not. See, Hinduism is both practice and a way of life. Philosophically, a belief that we are all God or have the God particle in us, that all life forms are connected to Brahman or a universal energy, and that our actions or karma leads to rebirth is quite enough to be Hindu. The Vedas tell you the traditions and customs you need to live this life, but the Upanishads than make a philosophical critique of what has come before. The Upanishads understand that people need the rituals and the forms of god with human faces and characteristics because that is the God many of us can relate to and love, but God in its truest form is oneness inside all of us, that connects all of us, and when we realize this, we don’t need to see God in other forms because we see him (it) in us and everyone, all around us.
You do not need to convert to realize this. You do not need to know a word of Sanskrit to realize this. You do not need to utter the mantras or sing to him (it) to realize this. Not being able to do all this doesn’t make you any less of a Hindu. You do not even need to necessarily identify as Hindu to be Hindu. (We’re perfectly okay with this. No issues at all. Your identity is yours and yours alone.)
You do not need some priest, holy water and a conversion process for you to join some sect or group in order to understand and realize you are a part of God. You already are. How can you convert into something which is already you?
And this is why you can’t convert to Hinduism.
I actually really like this explanation. Take special note of the ISKCON explanation - it’s spot on.