David frawley how i became a hindu

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The frontiers of our knowledge are receding everyday. The method of science is empirical: it uses experiment to verify or to refute. Science has dispelled miracles from the physical world and it has shown that physical laws are universal. Technology had made astonishing advances and a lot that was the stuff of religious imagination has been brought under the ambit of science. Why should we then be interested in the subject of conversion to Hinduism?

Isn't this the age of questioning old-style religion in the manner of Why I am not a Christian by the great British philosopher, Bertrand Russell, or the more recent Why I am not a Muslimby Ibn Warraq? David Frawley's remarkable spiritual autobiography answers this question and many more.

In a fascinating narrative, he walks us through his own discovery of how the stereotype of Hinduism presented by schoolbooks as a tradition of worship of many gods, social inequity, and meaningless ritual is false. Not that there are not social problems in Hindu 3 How I Became a Hindu - David Frawley society, but these problems are a result of historical processes, India's political and economic vicissitudes of the last few centuries, and not central to the essence of Hinduism. Apart from this and, more ificantly, he provides us a portrait of living Hinduism as mirrored by his own life experience.

Just as there can be only one outer science, so there can be only one inner science of the spirit. One can only speak of levels of knowledge and understanding. The dichotomy of believers and non-believers, where the believers are rewarded in paradise and the non-believers suffer eternal damnation in hell, is naive. Also, since the physical universe itself is a manifestation of the divine, the notion of guilt related to our bodily existence is meaningless.

Modern science, having mastered the outer reality, has reached the frontier of brain and mind. We comprehend the universe by our minds, but what is the nature of the mind? Are our descriptions of the physical world ultimately no more than a convoluted way of describing aspects of the mind -the instrument with which we see the outer world? Why don't the computing circuits of 4 How I Became a Hindu - David Frawley the computer develop self-awareness as happens in the circuitry of the brain?

Why do we have free- will when science assumes that all systems are bound in a chain of cause-effect relationships? Academic science has no answers to these questions and it appears that it never will. On the other hand, Vedic science focuses on precisely these conundrums. And it does so by gracefully reconciling outer science to inner truth. By seeing the physical universe to be a manifestation of the transcendent spirit, Hindus find meditation on any aspect of this reality to be helpful in the acquisition of knowledge.

But Hindus also declare that the notion that the universe consists of just the material reality to be false. Here Hindus are in the company of those scientists who believe that to understand reality one needs recognize consciousness as a principle that complements matter. We cannot study the outer in one pass; we must look at different portions of it and proceed in stages.

Likewise, we cannot know the spirit in one pass; we must look at different manifestations of it and meditate on each to deepen understanding. Hinduism, by its very nature, is a dharma of many paths. Thomas Jefferson would have approved. He once said, "Compulsion in religion is distinguished peculiarly from compulsion in every other thing. I may grow rich by an art I am compelled to follow; I may recover health by medicines I am compelled to take against my own judgment; but I cannot be saved by a worship I disbelieve and abhor.

Yoga is the practical vehicle of Hinduism and certain forms of it, such as Hatha Yoga, have become extremely popular all over the world. This has prepared people to understand the deeper, more spiritual, aspects of Yoga, which lead through Vedanta and the Vedasto the whole Hindu tradition. Hindu ideas were central to the development of transcendentalism in America in the early decades of the 19th century.

That movement played a ificant role in the self -definition of America. Hindu ideas have also permeated to the popular consciousness in the West - albeit without an 6 How I Became a Hindu - David Frawley awareness of the source - through the works of leading writers and poets.

In many ways Americans and other Westerners are already much more Hindu than they care to acknowledge. Consider the modern fascination with spirituality, self-knowledge, environment, multiculturalism; this ground was prepared over the last two hundred years by Hindu ideas. David Frawley is one of the most prominent Hindus of our times. He has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the Vedas; he has also written on Ayurveda and other Vedic sciences.

Most importantly, he has urged a return to the Vedas as a means to unlock the secrets of the scriptures that followed. He has shown how this key can reveal the meaning behind the exuberant imagination of the Puranasand the Agamas. It also unlocks the mysteries of Hindu ritual. Frawley has also been at the forefront of questioning the old colonial paradigm within which Indian history and Hindu religion had been situated by nineteenth century Indologists. He has done this through his writings and lectures all over the world.

His work shows the way not 7 How I Became a Hindu - David Frawley only for the Westerner who wishes to understand Hinduism but also for those Hindus who know their religion only through the interpretations of the Indologists. The Gita says, "Both renunciation of works and also their practice lead to the Supreme.

But of these to act rather than to renounce is the better path. Frawley's work is informed by deep meditation and awareness of larger forces of history. He is a modern rishi in the same spirit as Vivekananda and Aurobindo. Frawley's work has also shown the relevance of the Vedas for the rediscovery of the forgotten past of the Old Religion, pejoratively called paganism.

Ancient Hindus, Greeks, Romans, Celts, and Babylonians knew that their religions were essentially the same. As the sole surviving member of the Old Religion, Hinduism provides us many insights to recognize the universality and perenniality of the spiritual quest. David Frawley's discovery of Hinduism for himself has eased the way for others who want to reach the same goal.

This journey moves from the western world of materialism to the greater universe of consciousness that permeates India and was the basis of her older civilization. As an inner journey it is more pilgrimage to the spiritual heart of India than an outer visit. Yet it is also a story marked by meetings with important people, friends and teachers who connected me with deeper teachings and guided me along the way.

This journey is not only through space but also through time, into the ancient world and its spiritual culture, such as India has maintained better than any country. It is a reencounter with the spiritual roots of humanity that we have long forgotten or denigrated. The book shows how the ancient Vedic world can come alive and touch us today, not only as a relic of the past but as an inspiration for the future. It is a return to the formative stages of humanity, before we directed our energy to the outer world and were still connected with our cosmic origins.

In my books to date I have written little about myself. This book is a departure and is centered on my own life-experience. The book is autobiographical in tone, but it is not so much an of my personal life as about how certain changes occurred in my psyche. It focuses on an inner transformation that fundamentally altered who I am and changed my perception of both self and world. In my case I simply didn't build bridges to the East, I crossed over them and left them far behind.

I immersed my being in the soul of the East so completely that I almost ceased to be a westerner, not only in my thoughts but also in my instincts. I moved from a western intellectual rationality to a deeper cosmic rationality born of Vedic insight, moving from a humanistic to a cosmic logic and sense of cosmic law. I trace these changes in order to make them accessible for others, should they wish to follow a similar direction.

I have recounted my journey and the bridges over which I once traveled, and how I experienced life while I was still on the other side, so that others can take a 11 How I Became a Hindu - David Frawley similar path. I moved through western culture to the yogic culture of India that seemed ever more expansive, enlightened and happy. I sought the source of that tradition in the ancient Vedas, the oldest wisdom teachings of India, which became my spiritual home and in which I found an untapped treasure house of inexhaustible insight.

It was a great adventure with many interesting, if not amazing experiences that transcended my earlier worldview and brought me into a new life and consciousness. But the journey was arduous and quite challenging. I often thought of turning back and actually did so for certain periods of time. I fell down many times but always eventually got up and kept on going.

I had to go beyond not only my own personal and family background but beyond my entire culture and education. This involved breaking with well-entrenched ideas, opinions, habits and feelings. I had to disconnect with the world around me and reconnect with a different world within me.

Sometimes I felt like a stranger in a strange land, but if I did try to go back to the old world, I quickly left, finding it to have lost depth and meaning. I don't view Hinduism with the cold eye of an academician or the starry eyes of a curious and gullible Westerner looking for a new fantasy. I view it as our deepest heritage as human and cosmic beings, as divine souls whose destiny is to bring a higher consciousness in to the world.

I have become a worker in this field and hope that my contribution encourages others to this great cause. For this book I would like to thank my many teachers and friends and the many Hindu organizations that have helped me in this cause. Most are mentioned in the book, but notably B. Vashta, K. The Vedic tradition and Hindu Dharma belong to all.

Those who reject it are still part of it. Those who try to limit it to a particular sect or point of view don't have the full picture. Until we reconnect with such deeper spiritual impulses we must remain immature as a race and have a culture that, however technically advanced, leaves us unhappy and spiritually destitute.

The Vedas and the Rishis are true and their influence can overcome any obstacles personally or collectively. May we honor them once again! In the modern world we are coming to recognize pluralism in religion just as in culture, ethnicity or language. There is no more only one true religion for everyone than there is only one true race, language or way of life. However, going from Christianity to Hinduism is a rarer story, particularly for a westerner, because Hinduism does not aim at conversion. Many people think that Hinduism does not take new members at all.

It is also a more complex tale because Hinduism is not only a religion, but also a culture and, above all, a spiritual path. To enter into Hindu dharma involves much more than a shift of belief or accepting a new prophet. To really understand Hindu dharma requires taking on a new way of life, of which religion is only one aspect.

As a pluralistic system Hinduism does not require that we hold to a single belief or savior or 15 How I Became a Hindu - David Frawley give up an open pursuit of truth. This makes the change into Hinduism less dramatic, overt or disruptive to a person's life and for that reason harder to trace.

One does not need to make a statement of faith to become a Hindu but simply recognize the importance of dharma. In my case it was not a question of a quick conversion like accepting Jesus as one's personal savior or surrendering to Allah.

Nor was it the result of a concerted effort to convert me by religious preachers speaking of sin or redemption, or of religious intellectuals trying to convince me of the ultimacy of their particular philosophy or theology.

David frawley how i became a hindu

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