Three things

1. a happy belated Diwali to everybody! I hope yours was lovely; mine started out frustrating but ended up awesome, complete with dosai, kids with sparklers, a pandit chanting Ramanama, and a grumpy older gent scolding people for shooting off bottle rockets. It culminated in filling the house with the smell of burning ghee and the light of about a dozen diyas. I also managed to drape a sari pretty darn well for a white lady (I’ve been practicing). Didn’t work up the courage to take a blessing from the priest with everyone else, but I’m going back to the same temple on Sunday, so there you go.

2. Happy New Year/Annakut! Today marks roughly one year of me publicly acknowledging that I am a follower of sanatana dharma, and while it’s had its ups and downs, I’m pretty proud of myself for making it this far. (Let’s not talk about the pseudo-temper-tantrum I threw last night when my initial plans fell through; it wasn’t pretty, and I’ve still got a long way to go with this whole maya thing.)

3. Today, as is fitting for a new year, new beginnings, etc, I did something big and very new for me. I went to temple by myself.

No, really. I did.

I was supposed to meet a friend at the BAPS mandir, and then he said meet his friend (or his wife), neither of whom showed up. Much to my surprise (and mostly because I was out of the car already), I decided to go ahead and go on in, and took darshan of the lovely arrangements of sweets and foods. I did some meditation, I thanked Rama and Shiva both (and all the gurus and Krishna – this was a big step for me) for giving me the courage to overcome my insecurities and go ahead with it, and felt pretty good about things. And then I wandered outside, seeing a small group of people around a set of styrofoam containers. I stopped a woman and asked her what was going on and then suddenly my arms were full of sabzi and sweets. I have a big tray of rasmalai in the fridge. While she went and fetched dish after dish, I chatted with her mother in my broken Hindi, and between that and her broken English, we had a lovely conversation. I left them with a “Jai Swaminarayan!” and went back to work. Their names were Nitu and Jaya. I had a short conversation with Jaya about Jaya Bachchan. I’m feeling very proud of this.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY (so far, it’s had a pretty darned auspicious beginning)!

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About HappyGoth

By day, I'm a graphic designer. By night, I'm a knitter. I'm doing my part to keep Hotlanta stylish. I imagine that if you don't already understand the title of the blog, you're probably confused and perhaps slightly annoyed, but never fear - I do have a reason (and it's a good one). Having gone to hear Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and then having been inspired to blog about knitting, I found myself wondering what to call the blog. I recalled a conversation I had with Mouse and the Chicken Goddess about why it is a Bad Idea to anger knitters - this conversation was following SPM, aka the Yarn Harlot telling the assembled throng about Those Who Do Not Understand Knitting and Therefore Belittle It Much to the Chagrin of Others, or TWDNUKTBMCO, which is not the acronym she used but is the one I'm using because I forgot hers - that is, we are numerous and we all have very pointy sticks, easily transforming into an angry mob. Therefore, knitters = angry mob.
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16 Responses to Three things

  1. Ambaa says:

    I am SO PROUD of you!

  2. surya says:

    good to know you finally ventured all by yourself and entered a mandir. Visit other mandirs as well. New year day coincides with Deepavali only for Gujaratis. Others celebrate on different days. Like Telugus, Marathis, Kannadigas, Tamils, Punjabis in March and April for example. Diversity is painted all over hinduism as you might fathom so well. If saree wrapping is tiresome as my wife complains then just be content with a chudidaar.Congrats on successfully completing one year journey and tryst with SD.

    • surya says:

      meant to write triumph in place of typo tryst. apologies.

    • HappyGoth says:

      🙂 Thanks!

      Actually, the temple I went to on Deepavali proper is a South Indian one (the compound houses a Venkateshwara temple and a Shiva temple, and festivities were celebrated at both). I don’t know as much about South India, since most of the Indian people i’ve known personally have been Gujarati, but I’m trying to learn more! I am hoping to be brave enough to go for Mahashivratri this year, or at the very least Holi.

      I find the diversity of Hinduism (and India in general) to be very exciting; I can live this entire lifetime and never run short of new things to learn and experience. It does make it a little tricky to explain it to someone who asks “so, tell me about Hinduism”; I’m still working on a good summing-up answer for that!

  3. Sarojini says:

    Hurray! You went to mandir!
    It seems you were much more prepared than I was for it, which is great! LOL 😀

    • HappyGoth says:

      Honestly, I was totally thrown into it, which seems to be the way that these things work best for me. If I think about it too much, I’ll back out. If it sort of sneaks up on me and tricks me, I end up enjoying myself a lot.

  4. surya says:

    How one can explain Hinduism in nutshell, hmm, a tall order for anyone indeed. I will try but I know my take is not perfect , it goes this way. The core doctrines remain same no matter which way one looks at it: Dharma or righteous action, Karma or fruits of action, rebirth or reincarnation of atman, and moksha which is salvation for atma. Arha (work and earning) and Kama ( sexual purity/ celibacy within a matrimony and not becoming a philanderer) are components of the dharmic llife.
    Our body and mind stop journey at death but atma transcends and takes up a new body manytimes just as we discard old clothes and go for new ones. (dead)Body is not as precious as for the Abrahamics who count on ascending to heaven with it. Cremation is the norm.
    There is no permanent heaven or hell for hindus (or nonhindus). Which means hindus will not condemn Christians or muslims to hell if they don’t convert to Hinduism. On the other hand both muslims and Christians condemn hindus to hell for not converting.
    The ONE god for hindus is BRAHMAN who has no form or gender. Who has no beginning no death or origin. Brahman is what is all there both manifest and unmanifest. This is where moksha lets atman to merge with. The gods or deities are all sacred representations (with human forms, genders etc) of Brahman in many forms. The idols don’t have gods sitting in them. Those idols are made of stone as is obvious, but just like some symbols are sacred in other faiths (cross, Mary etc), hindus treat them sacred. These idols may be simple conduits to meditate (pray) on or some devotees may view tnem lot more seriously. When hindus say Brahman is everywhere then how can only a small stone form confines brahman in finite form, doesn’t sound right.
    Vegetarianism is highly encouraged as an extension of ahimsa, but meat eaters are NOT viewed as unhindu by any measure. There are many hindus who eat meat, but teaching goes one must be detached to these pleasure as Alsohindu said in her blog. Meditation/yoga is a strong integral part of hindu practice.
    Shastras didn’t shy away from addressing the nature of cosmos and unverse. The cosmos is infinite and there is advaita doctrine that defines everthing as one infinite unit. Both the creator and the created. The cosmic dissolutions and reformations were explained. Huge timescales are defined as Brahma’s day and night.
    Hinduism is not just philosophy it is a religion complemented with rituals and practices to guide one to accomplish religious salvation. Mingling with fellow hindus and attending mandirs are encouraged. Questions are welcome and gurus always answer.
    Rebirth over and over isn’t a must, if one is steadfast in dharmic way, then in one janma on can achieve moksha. But how many of us are that strong willed, not too many understandably. Bad actions lead to bad karma. You make your karma, if you take a step out of freewill; however you wont earn bad karma if the wrong step was not from your own well thoughtout course (say an accident).
    Vedas, Upanishads, Itihasas and Panchatantras make core hindu texts. AdiShankaracharya propagated advaita philosophy which is over 10k yrs old. Personally my POV is that it is the nondualism that will keep religion viable for all future generations, cause it cant be bettered anytime ever. Hinduism is a path to self realization, it wont serve a transportation to heaven.

    • surya says:

      this would serve a working model and editing and modifications are very welcome.

    • HappyGoth says:

      I need to carry this around on a little card so I don’t forget some of these points when asked this question in the future! Especially this one: “When hindus say Brahman is everywhere then how can only a small stone form confines brahman in finite form?” And also “The ONE god for hindus is BRAHMAN who has no form or gender… The gods or deities are all sacred representations (with human forms, genders etc) of Brahman in many forms.” I think that if I start with those two points, the rest falls into place nicely.

      Thanks for the summary. It is VERY useful!

  5. surya says:

    Hindu by birth and action
    One can be a Hindu by his actions (karma) or birth (Janma).
    Karma Hindu -> is a Hindu by his deeds and qualities or spiritual components
    Janma Hindu -> is a Hindu by birth.
    Since to be a Hindu is an attitude, a Karma Hindu is a true Hindu. He is Hindu by action and thought, a follower of Dharma and spreads Dharma, which is a sāttvik or spiritually pure way of life.

    the above i is a quote from another forum.

    • HappyGoth says:

      This is another thing I think I need to carry with me, for those times when I ask myself “is this my dharma, or am I just fooling myself?” Mostly that thought comes out of a self-consciousness about not having been born into a Hindu family. It’s good to remember that there’s more than one way to be Hindu.

  6. Nirvana says:

    Hi,

    I stumbled across your blog and it has made great reading. I am an Indian and from a Hindu background. I too blog on various matters including spirituality at http://nirvana73.blogspot.com/

    Would be great if you can have a look and leave your comment

    Regards

    Nirvana

    • HappyGoth says:

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far! I admit that I’ve been a lax blogger as of late. Please do keep checking back, as I will keep posting, however infrequently.

      I look forward to working my way through your blog. I enjoy poetry very much and am not at all sure where to find good Indian poetry, so I have a feeling I will be a happy, frequent visitor!

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