Julia Roberts is Hindu: Is America ready for a Hindu sweetheart?

By Elizabeth Tenety Julia Roberts has long been called America’s sweetheart. But is America ready for a Hindu sweetheart? The … Continued

By Elizabeth Tenety

Julia Roberts has long been called America’s sweetheart.

But is America ready for a Hindu sweetheart?

The star of the upcoming movie Eat, Pray, Love revealed in an interview in Elle magazine that she, along with her family, is a practicing Hindu.

From a People excerpt of the Elle interview:

“You make these people and you love them and you want them around for a thousand years,” she says about her three kids – 3-year-old Henry and 5-year-old twins Phinnaeus and Hazel – with cameraman Danny Moder. “And you want to be there for them for a thousand years.”

The entire Roberts-Moder family, she reveals, goes to temple together to “chant and pray and celebrate. I’m definitely a practicing Hindu,” says Roberts, who grew up with a Catholic mother and Baptist father.

And since in Hindu cosmology souls can be reincarnated in other bodies, where does she see herself in the next life? “Golly, I’ve been so spoiled with my friends and family in this life,” she says. “Next time I want to be just something quiet and supporting.”

(Learn more about what Hindus believe at Patheos.com)

Roberts’ embrace of the faith that inspired the enlightenment of Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert puts her far outside the American mainstream in terms of religious affiliation: 78 percent of Americans identify as Christian; only .4 percent define themselves as Hindu. But Roberts’ seek-and-ye-shall-find spirituality is actually quite reflective of American religious practice: 44 percent of Americans currently identify with a different religious tradition than the one in which they were raised.

Still, recent events indicate that Americans may not be ready to fully embrace the Hinduism already in their midst.

Aseem Shukla, On Faith Panelist and co-founder of the Hindu-American Foundation, pointed in a recent post to the examples of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley (both converts to Christianity –Jindal from Hinduism, Haley from Sikhism) as evidence that association with Dharma traditions is a public liability.

“Haley endured ludicrous, unsubstantiated allegations of infidelity, and she and Jindal both faced down racial slurs and epithets on their road to victory. But listen to the buzz around Haley’s improbable rise and Jindal’s electoral success, and what is abundantly clear is that a politically post-racial America does not mean that a pluralistic America has emerged.”

“In their public remonstrations of their parent’s faiths, Jindal and Haley tell well over three million Hindu and Sikh Americans that their time has not yet come as people of faith.”

What do you think? Is America ready to embrace Hinduism? Why or why not?

Elizabeth Tenety
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  • hemisphere

    don’t blow it out of proportion, its not about about America, Julia doesnt represent America, its about her personal choice and belief. dont try to create a story where there is none.

  • ZZim

    “The star of the upcoming movie Eat, Pray, Love revealed in an interview in Elle magazine that she, along with her family, is a practicing Hindu.”I can’t imagine what caring about this might feel like. This story has no meaning. Your attempt to insist that I care simply annoys me..

  • woodstock-41

    O’ YE/YO: Taste Sweet Sweet America’s: ‘………………………………. (;G-D (if any) Bless U.S.A., RUSSIA, INDIA, ISRAEL & FREUNDS!

  • txarlie

    Dear Elizabeth Tenety-When did personal religious choices became an issue to others than Sarah Palin. You should be in the Perez Hilton staff (hint: that wasn’t a compliment)

  • GSch216

    I think this is fantastic. Yet another reason for me to love her. However being non-Indian and practicing Hinduism is by no means a new thing despite the fact that there are only .4% in America. My own mother drifted away from Christianity when she was in her twenties and discovered Hinduism. She still practices and has raised her entire family Hindu as well (that being my sister, three brothers and I). I have blonde hair and green eyes, so I certainly don’t look like the traditional Hindu but that proves how appearances can be decieving. I still practice my faith (and am now the same age my miter was when she began) and I commend Julia for being so open about it. While I’ve never had any issues from any ignorant individuals or prejudice tossed my way, being in the spotlight is a different story. I just hope no one feels unecessarily “threatened” by her choice of religion or decision to no longer follow Christianity. After all, whether we choose to admit it pr not, at the heart of each faith there are similarities. I was taught to accept everyone no matter which they follow. Go Julia! …Maybe I’ll run into her at a temple sometime lol ;)

  • PSolus

    Didn’t Lennon and the lads go through something similar, with “Sexy Sadie”?

  • woolrichwascool

    Another ‘star’ fiddles with Hinduism. So what? Seems like the Beatles tried this as well. This same culture embraced a vicious caste system, suttee (burning widows on the husband’s funeral pyre, and refused to kill rats because they are living creatures. And there seems to be a real connection with Hinduism and poverty, not that wealthy Roberts would recognize it. But thanks for the non-story.

  • editor4tonio

    To continue enhancing your career in Holywood and/or keep your job there, you must deny or hide your Christian faith! Thus, a number of scared(coward) actors/actresses claim to have adopted this or that non-Christian “religion”! The Israeli “Moguls” who control Holywood will be very upset if you openly embrace Christianity!

  • shovandas

    Dear Julia,You are an embodiment of Hindu philosophy and culture. Non-violent, non-oppressive without any demands of daily prayers and the like, Hinduism is a way of life that respects all forms of life. May your tribe grow.

  • ahmeds027

    Hindu means to be someone who comes from india or hindustan and it is a indian thing, more like it is for you to be a Israeli to be Christian as jesus said : i was send only to the lost sheep of Israel but today i guess anything/ everything is ok peace

  • ak1967

    People are free to change their religion. That is what America is all about. Going forward, the Asian religion will have lot of appeal. Two of the major religions Hinduism and Buddhism are based on self realization, meditation, and non-violence. They do not actively convert people. Now that the world is becoming more civilized, these religion will have a lot of appeal. In any religion, there are always issues to be dealt with, and these religions are modernizing and will do well going forward.

  • garrafa10

    Yet another celebrity extolling the “spirituality” of India and opting for Hinduism light. Did dear Julia bother to notice that for most Indians, eating and finding potable water is a daily struggle with precious little spirituality?

  • ak1967

    And there seems to be a real connection with Hinduism and poverty, not that wealthy Roberts would recognize it. But thanks for the non-story.

  • michele79

    Sorry if I find it hard to take her conversion seriously. Maybe if her announcing this did not coincide with a movie, I would find it more credible.It strikes me as an attempt to appear unique and get attention.

  • centerglobal

    Hinduism is immensely rich religion. The Upanishads and Gita are the ultimate in human intellectualism. To those who try to belittle Hinduism by citing Caste and Satee fail to understand that these do not reflect the soul of Hinduism. Sate system developed during Islamic rule when women were brutally taken after their husbands’ death in the battlefield. Sattee was the only way they could avoid degradation of mass rape. Please try to compare any other holy book with Gita, you will see the difference. I was borne Christian and married a Muslim woman before converting to Hinduism. We find ourselves so much at peace and tranquility.

  • PSolus

    Also, could this simply be a variation of the “Jerusalem Effect”?

  • garrafa10

    “Until 1600′s, India had the largest GDP in the world, and China and India had 2/3 of the GDP, until these countries got occupied by others by force. Going forward, things will change. That is the history of humanity.POSTED BY: AK1967″ Where did you get these figures? There is no GDP data for France or England until the 19th century.

  • pgr88

    My God has more arms than your God!

  • Roism007

    Hinduism is THE oldest religion known to man.Going back to your roots is a good thing

  • manbearpig32

    To woolrichwascool:

  • vickistired

    I find it rather ironic that several people claim that this is a non-story, that they couldn’t care less, that WashPost should stop reporting on such things….yes these people clearly all took the time to read the story and then comment. I put it to those folks: Do you typically choose to waste so much of your time on things you care little about and think are unimportant?

  • wkristol

    This discussion is just plain sad. You know, back in the 70s, Americans had no problem whatsoever supporting and revering Muhammed Ali despite that fact that he was not Christian or Jewish — which you seem to be implying are the only “acceptable” religions in America. And are you really insinuating that Ms. Roberts should choose a different religion, even if it goes against her true beliefs, to satisfy the American public?That sounds like a rather anti-religious, cynical viewpoint to me — unworthy of a column that is supposed to be about faith.

  • mars11

    I am less concerned over Julia Roberts spiritualism and character, and more about that of my owm. If only we were more interested in the opinions of ourselves, and less of others, we would better ourselves. I am trying for an Aurelius quote.

  • anonymous81

    To woolrichwascool:

  • DebChatterjee

    This is a slow break from traditional religious focus in USA: Christianity. However Christ’s message and Christian religion are different if you look closely. The Christian religion was founded by Emperor Constantin, who used to throw the early followers of Christ to lions. However the organized religion that culminated into Christianity has a very corrupt history. Bribery and manipulation was used to decide the Divinity or appropriateness of the gospels. If the other gospels were included in the mainstream Christian religion, we would get a totally different picture: gnosticism as opposed to fundamentalist version of Jesus Christ’s message of compassion, love and peace.In contrast, Hinduism is not formally an organized religion. It has been viewed by many as a “elite” belief system that at its core is staunchly monotheist. However the very belief that many gods exist, which is the primary source of irritation of the Abrahamic faiths, has its origins in the “old world” of rituals, beliefs and other practices. Ancient Greeks, to whom our modern western civilization owes much of its legacy, was actually pagan. Romans, whose contribution to the western society is the form of governance (secularism), were also pagans.But, despite all the hostility that Hindus have faced over the millenia from many assaults and particularly from Muslims and Mongols, Hinduism’s core beliefs have survived. Its holy texts (Vedas, Bhagawad Gita, Upanishads, Brahmasutras, etc.) still have a lot resonance in the modern world. Adi Shankaracharya revived Hindu belief when the entire India was swept by the wave of Buddhist influences. (By the way, Buddhism is essentially an atheist doctrine – at least it started that way under Lord Gautama Buddha, aka Siddharta.)The concept of reincarnation (rebirth) is the core of Hindu belief and was first introduced/revealed in the Bhagawad Gita (chapter 2). Will Hinduism stay here in USA ? Perhaps. However I do anticipate hostility towards Hindus(like the dot-busters in New Jersey) who would attack Hindu women for their outfits. Or like Joel Stein whose discriminatory attitude towards Indians (Hindus) was vividly depicted in Time magazine article “My Little India”. To know about Hindu culture and India, I recommend the following book:Arthur Llewellyn Basham, THE WONDER THAT WAS INDIA: A SURVEY OF THE CULTURE OF THE INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT BEFORE THE COMING OF MUSLIMS.(Available on Amazon.)

  • sa08366

    @garrafa10 There are many places you can find the fact about India’s and China’s GDP including Paul kennedy’s book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.A correction based on what I remember – it was until the 1800s and not 1600s and it was china that had one of the highest GDP (about 19%) followed by India (between 10-15% I think)

  • sperrico

    Sharon Stone, Richard Gere, Oliver Stone are Buddhists.

  • mhr614

    Liberals imagine themselves to be among the best and brightest of the United States, the best educated and well-read of us all. Then how can they be so interested in what some ditsy movie actress does in her spare time? And cover her “story” in liberal newspapers? Really rational people simply do not care.

  • rupal96

    I think everybody is missing the point. Hinduism is about first do no harm… Meaning leave the world as good as when you came into it… or as better than you come into it… I think all religions say that… Heaven and hell is here on earth that god created to teach us how to become god so to speak… your good deeds and bad deeds follow your soul not your body that is karma… in each life your soul learns something, you come into this world wanting to learn that skill you have not perfected… (patience, honesty, empathy, compassion…) to figure out what you were meant learn in this life is the purpose of our life and it is as simple and complex as that… what is your life circumstances trying to teach you? no need for hindu, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and so forth labels… so why all the wars over my god is better than your god.

  • zukermand

    “But is America ready for a Hindu sweetheart?”People like Ms Tenety make me sick.

  • Meepo

    Haley and Jindal are jerks. I live in SC and lived all my life in the Southeast. I don’t have to touch on their spirituality, which is a private thing that I hold in high regard. Jindal is a neo-old-school republican huckster and Haley VERY often says one thing and does quite the opposite. For the latter, I encourage people to look at her voting record in the State House. This gubernatorial candidate actually sponsored a voting reform bill BUT DID NOT SHOW UP TO VOTE FOR IT.

  • mars11

    Hinduism is THE oldest religion known to man.Maybe, and it depebds upon your way of looking religion. Druids worshipped Nature and hugged trees I believe. They were dispersed in varios areas throughout Europe and Eurasia ~ 5,000 BC. They were wandering Celtic tribes. Respect for Nature is good, and is also embraced by Hinduism. Christians simply reject polytheism and false idol worhip. The discussion ends there.

  • libertyWLOVE

    AMERICA CAN NEVER ACCEPT HINDUISM,AS CHRISTIANITY IS THE RELIGION OF book.it has a pragmatic and rational basis with a definite history.It attests JUDAISM and is attested and confirmed by ISLAM.THE three religions together form the entirety of GOD’S MESSAGE TO MANKIND.Nothing more is required.JULIA’S strange act is only an expression of her desire to live long to be always with her children through whatever conceivable processes .YOU can just give a thought to her saying for her children IN the context of her conversion”AND YOU WANT TO BE THERE FOR THEM FOR A THOUSAND YEARS”.THIS she wishes to achieve through the Hindu concept of TRANSmigration of soul.I WILL APPRECIATE IF IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF MANKIND SHE FINDS ONE TRUE EXAMPLE.PLEASE DON’T EVEN TALK OF AMERICA!

  • DebChatterjee

    MARS11 wrote:”Christians simply reject polytheism and false idol worhip. The discussion ends there.”Well… That’s none of your damn business in the first place. The discussion ends by noting that what Hindus practice inside their homes and if that does not violate any law of the land, it should be fine. And, Islam also rejects polytheism and false idol worship. So, why does Christians and Muslims fight each other overf the centuries ? Is it like Islam’s monotheism is more muscular than Christianity and hence the two beat each other for jollies ?

  • ommmm-aummm-ameen-2010

    O’ YE/YO, O’ YiN/Yag; BEHOLD! Taste Sweet Sweet America’s ‘G-D (if any) Bless U.S.A., RUSSIA, INDIA, ISRAEL & FREUNDS!

  • mars11

    Hinduism is the oldest religion, maybe. It depends upon how that is defined. Celtic Druid tribes amassed all over Western and Central Europe practiced a sort of Nture worship.Christianity is not polytheistic and rejects idolatory, are main variations. We relate too the Lord as man in Jesus, the Holly Spirit in the mysteries of Nature, the unknown and The ONE, father.

  • shovandas

    Mr. Deb Chatterjee, The anti-Hindu posts are a reflection of the facts that you have written.CeenterGlobal – You are a remarkable person. I would be amazed to know who you are !

  • mars11

    Debcharee, no you correct, none of my business. Just feel for lost souls who worship cows, parading the streets so gayfully. As for Muslim-Christian conflict, you understand the root cauuse. You of all people since you have the bloodiest war torn conflicts with Muslims and still to this day in Kashmir!

  • VasuGokaraju

    If this news is not so important, why do people waste their time posting their comments here :).Untouchability, Burning windows are the dark side of some Cultures that partially follow Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) teachings. There are hundreds of cultures in India and they fully or partially follow Sanatana Dharma teachings. Some cultures went little extreme and people erroneously think that Sanatana Dharma promotes those extremes.Why “secular” Indian government has been forcing the old caste system on people is different story. But after you are done bashing Caste system of Hinduism, find out which caste you belong to in this Great All Freedom Society of America.Super rich peopleWhether you like it or not, you are part of modern caste system. You just need to stop watching TV and let your brain do some critical thinking to realize it. I hope I am not asking too much.Well, Congratulations Julia. Welcome to the family.

  • racerdoc

    Sharon Stone, Richard Gere, Oliver Stone are Buddhists.As opposed to all you Christian types who use your religion to further your careers and judge people.In fact most American Christian are about as Unchristian as you can get. Sad really, because true belief in a faith is a wonderful thing.And don’t forget that many people around the world believe that belief in an imaginary sky daddy and his virgin born child are very weird concepts. So don’t go calling things weird without some self-reflection. We learn those things in Hinduisn and Buddhism. OBviously you don’t in Christianity.

  • Miovski

    Ms. Tenety,The good people of America who have considered Julia Roberts to be “America’s sweetheart” will continue to consider Julia Roberts to be “America’s sweetheart” even after hearing of her conversion to Hinduism. The good people of America aren’t religiously intollerant.What about you? Your very question is a religiously intollerant one and designed to generate religiously-intollerant responses. Why do you, and why does the Washington Post, consider that to be okay?

  • wkristol

    When you say “Is America ready for a Hindu sweetheart?”…what you’re really saying is “Are bigoted Born Again Christians ready for a Hindu sweetheart?” right? And I’m not being facetious. That’s who you’re talking about, right…not “Americans” but a minority of Americans?

  • Cal_Lanier

    Oh, come now. Does anyone think of this as anything other than a movie star’s current whim? I love Julia Roberts as much as anyone, but in four years, she’ll be talking about Buddhism or Dhimmism or whatever else.

  • caseyfrank

    I spent decades in a Zen Buddhist Community and as far as most see it, Buddhism is not essentially or partially an atheist doctrine. An atheist believes that there is no God. When Buddha was asked “are you a god?” he replied “I am awake.” Buddhism does not consider the question of God to be a religious question in its purview. Not atheist.

  • patmatthews

    As a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, I have been subjected to unequal treatment in the workplace and other public settings. america does not respect any religion other than their own personla faith, as can be seen by some of the posters that have NO knowledge of Hinduism or any other form of Non-Christian faith. They only have disparaging remarks, not respect.If the teaching is respectworthy, so is the practitioner, as observed by their acts base don faith alone.The Lotus Sutra teaches of the Equality of life through the acts of Boddhisattva Never Disparaging.I observed how some posters note they do not worship idols, ytetr you find idols all other the church, mary, jesus, etc, all idols being worshiped.Every religion has a different GOD and messenger and they all claim to be the same GOD but each GOD has different children/messenger and yet they all fight claiming ONE GOD when each fights the other over THEIR GOD. NOT ONE GOD but MANY GODS. Christian God with Jesus, Jewish God with Moses, and Muslim God or Allah with Mohammed. Interesting and the Christian/Catholic/Jewish group claims Buddhist worship idols and many GODS. hmm.

  • mars11

    Out of here, thank the Lord. Ironically, what I have encountered is so much less spiritualism, peace and tranquility from those that might espouse the way of life. The commentary is politically burdened, and I understand is a cultural phenomema. In the USA we are taught early the value of intellectual critical thought and the merits of arguement and deate. If anyone mentions, for example, historical facts: the Caste system or marital relations, defenses and denial goes up. Also, caution you may be labelled Hostile and anti-Hindu. What a weak call and discussion …

  • feslop

    Ha. Name a single major Hollywood star who IS a serious, practicing Christian. Convicted pedophiles have a warmer welcome in Hollywood than devout Christians (“Free Polanski.”) And ‘devout’ does not have to mean holier-than-thou, smug or judgemental, but in tinseltown currency, that is the dominant acceptable description. Active Christian moviegoers, those of weak minds who (in the words of a classic POST article) are “easy to command,” willingly patronize movies they like even when the stars have rejected the personal faith of the patron…provided the movie itself is not openly contemptuous of their faith.

  • PanhandleWilly

    Yet another reason why actors and actresses should never utter anything in public unless they’re reciting lines written for them.

  • HarshK

    Good for her, but I am not sure why Americans should be obsessed with a movie star’s religion. Now if she had converted to Islam, I would have questioned her sanity.

  • HarshK

    India and Hindus do suffer from caste system, sati and extreme poverty but the good thing is that Hindus do not go telling people that theirs is the only and best way to live life like Christians and Muslims (through violence) do.Also India has suffered from British invasion and imperialism and is still suffering from Islamic terrorism and crusades since 10 th centure AD.

  • anonymous81

    “If anyone mentions, for example, historical facts: the Caste system or marital relations, defenses and denial goes up. Also, caution you may be labelled Hostile and anti-Hindu. What a weak call and discussion”I wonder what you would teach your kids: “Shhhh…thay are stupid Hindus that worship the tasty cow, but don’t say that loud, else you will be called anti-Hindu”

  • garrafa10

    “@garrafa10There are many places you can find the fact about India’s and China’s GDP including Paul kennedy’s book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.A correction based on what I remember – it was until the 1800s and not 1600s and it was china that had one of the highest GDP (about 19%) followed by India (between 10-15% I think)POSTED BY: SA08366″I think you are correct and the previous poster meant to say 1800′s and not 1600′s. I was asking because I have not seen any reliable GDP figures prior to the 19th century and was intrigued to see if there were any data series for 16th and 17th century India and China and how they arrived at the figures.

  • ninnafaye

    ms. roberts and her religious beliefs are of no consequence to me and my life.

  • mars11

    Infinitus, the Nation may be actually adding to its cultural richness from new immigrant groups. From the dominant Christian core, we need to reassess and re embrace good traditional spiritual values. Kathleen Townsend Kennedy wrote: Failing America’s Faithful: How Today’s Churches Are Mixing God and Politics and Losing Their Way. Instead,of the focus on Julia and oher irrelevancies, we must examine ourselves, our Church.

  • DebChatterjee

    MARS11 writes:”In the USA we are taught early the value of intellectual critical thought and the merits of arguement and deate.”No that’s pure rubbish. What you are taught is that you are the superior amongst all others, whether you have any intrinsic merits or not. Probably because you are white and Christian (of the Club 700 garden variety) you shall be saved no matter how many crimes you do. That’s pure racism, plain and simple.That’s the reason we see Catholic church spending millions on compensating for child abuse by priests and church fathers, who are supposed to be imparting sense of virtue and righteousness to their parish. Dumb followers of this brand of religion accuse others … What a joke !

  • blert

    Why does liking Julia Roberts as an actress have anything to do with embracing Hinduism? I mean, people have liked Tom Cruise for years despite his wacky Scientology beliefs, and Hollywood celebs are typically given a lot of latitude in their beliefs and behaviors. With Cruise, it was only when his celebrity and Scientology started to spill over to each other in some nutty, disturbing ways that people began to recoil.If Roberts wants to be a practicing Hindu, nobody is going to care. If she starts using her celebrity to push Hinduism onto her fans, then she will probably begin to see some of her fans slip away. That’s as it should be–believe what you will, but don’t expect people to love you when you’re trying to push your beliefs on them.

  • dkp01

    It’s cool if she’s Hindu, and people will be okay with Julia Roberts doing pretty much anything as long as she’s not killing puppies or the like, but I’m not sure you can extrapolate anything from the political culture in one section of the country, and in particular two states, creating an environment where a couple of conservative Desi politicians may have felt they needed to change their religions and adopt westernized nicknames in order to get ahead. I mean, you can extrapolate stuff about those two states, maybe, or possibly just the more conservative sectors of the GOP in those two states, but the nation as a whole? Not so much.I agree that people who are visibly of Indian or South Asian descent get treated differently than people of European descent for doing the same things (like if someone saw a white lady walking down the street in a sari, and an Indian lady walking down the street dressed the same, the reactions/assumptions would likely be different). But this blog post seems to be reaching pretty badly.

  • GWGOLDB

    Those of us who were raised in the Abrahamic (Judaism, Chrisitianity, and Islam) relgions were taught that idol worship was pagan and wrong. Good luck with Hinduism overcoming that

  • ravitchn

    Celebs think being Catholic, Jewish or Baptist is common and boring; so they look for something exotic, like degenerate Hindus or Muaslims. Give them the contempt they deserve.

  • areyousaying

    CHRISTIANITY IS THE RELIGION OF book.it has a pragmatic and rational basis with a definite history.It attests JUDAISM and is attested and confirmed by ISLAM.THE three religions together form the entirety of GOD’S MESSAGE TO MANKINDlibertywlove—————————–Which supports my point – look what Abraham hath wrought. Is GOD’S MESSAGE TO MANKIND:- violent, bloody scriptures telling us to bash our children against rocks and to kill all infidels?- endless war in the name of religion?- stonings and capital punishment as a manifestation of God’s “love”?- a my-way-or-the-highway demand for obedience to intolerance and exclusion?- torture?- sexual and physical abuse of women and children?- genital mutilation of both females and males?Some God you got there…Now go primp, pray, pretend, pimp and pose with your own on Saturday or Sunday and leave Julia alone.

  • mars11

    Thank you Pat Mathews.

  • croaker69

    This might have provoked an interesting discussion if she wasn’t a complete flake who no one takes seriously outside of the cineplex. She’ll be on to something else shortly.

  • sugarstreet

    My first reaction? “I’m a practicing Hindu for the duration of the promotion of this movie.” Period. I honestly did not believe her.Second: “I’d like to be a more supporting person” my next life, she says. Uh, yeah. I mean, really. What?

  • mars11

    DebChatterjee spews:Probably because you are white and Christian (of the Club 700 garden variety) you shall be saved no matter how many crimes you do. That’s pure racism, plain and simple.More racism, and religious bigotry from her peaceful land of india. Is this Hindu you’re practicing? Have to learn this.That’s the reason we see Catholic church spending millions on compensating for child abuse by priests and church fathers, who are supposed to be imparting sense of virtue and righteousness to their parish. Make certain to add an attack on the Chuch. This builds your credibility and strengthens the arguement. How pathetic!

  • anonymous81

    It really amazes me that people develop strong ideas from half-baked knowledge.

  • mars11

    Everyone in blogosphere, i apologize for the peevious post. I even stated to leave the poster session; since, it seems to be deteriorated. I make mistake to respond to a child.

  • klausdmk

    Encourage Julia Roberts with her popularity to consider influencing the Islam cleric who wants to build a Mosque near NY WTC 9/11 attack cite to include a Hindu section within the Islam Mosque to worship Allah. Tell the American people more about opponents of the Mosque location and why they are calling for an investigation into the shadowy funding and motives of the group behind a $100 million Islamic cultural center and mosque slated near the site of the 9/11 attacks. The decision by a New York City landmarks panel allowing the project to move forward also has triggered a lawsuit. Consider City landmarks in Hiroshima to include a U.S. edifice of President Truman and the Manhattan Project.

  • Astitva

    @woolrichwascool: Thanks for pointing out the flaws with Hinduism; would have been great if you had a) pointed out the positives and b) displayed some cognizance of the problems associated with other religious traditions. To help you brush up on some modern history, here are some factoids: Although you castigate Hinduism as being responsible for the caste system, suttee and virtually all the ills that exist on the planet, India (a pluralistic nation with a Hindu majority) instituted laws mandating equal treatment of all castes and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of caste decades before the United States (a Christian majority country) did so for race. Segregation and blatant discrimination on the basis of race was not only prevalent but actually legal in several parts of the US until the landmark civil rights legislation in the 1960s. India has also an affirmative action system that is far more radical than anywhere else in the world, which is seeking to compensate for caste-based discrimination over the millenniums. All of this is due to the progressive elements in Hinduism that you chose to ignore.

  • mars11

    I am not so interested in a movie, and my comments were also poorly chosen.I believe, however, that certain indviduals are not listening well, and became dfensive. True, some insensitive post were made, but others expressed what we Christians mistakingly see in our Nation as change of religion as a whim or caprice, the new product for novelty; otherwise, the majority of log participants seem open-mided and tolerant.That is all I have other than to paraphrase Aurelius: If we spend more on the opinions of ourselves, and less on those of others we make ourselves better

  • magnifco1000

    Religion is a personal choice. If Christian Evangelicals end up making converts in Eastern countries like Korea or Japan, why should anyone be surprised when some people in the West become Buddhists or Hindus? However, especially with Buddhism, evangelical converting is heavily frowned upon and not part of the religion; this is something people come to on their own. In fact, in the entire history of Buddhism, the sword has never been raised to “convert the heathen.” The same is generally true of Hinduism. A remarkable achievement.

  • DebChatterjee

    Looks like the racist bug has smitten many white (Abrahamic) folks, of which the Christian variety is showing its colors by contrasting and demeaning Hindu religious beliefs and practices based on Judaeo-Christian values. That doesn’t bother me because I know that First Amendment formally allows freedom of religion in USA. The dismay expressed by many bloggers, who are probably going to see a shrink knowing that Julia Roberts is a converted Hindu, allows one to speculate that these folks, who claim to represent majority USA, are basically unhappy with that First Amendment when it applies to minority non-Christian/non-Abrahamic denominations.The silly and characteristically ignorant hatred shown by these bloggers are reflected when we see equating caste-system and (completely outlawed) sati system with part of the Hindu culture.It reminds us that “white” racism still can bear its ugly fangs while claiming equality for all. For example, if Hindu culture system is primarily polytheist, evil casteism, meek and perverted, I would wonder what about Christanity and USA ? From all that I have read on Washington Post, the horrid details of child molestation by priests, church fathers and subsequent failed denials/cover ups by the Vatican, gives an impression that Christianity in USA is that primarily priests sexually abusing teenage boys. Similarly when Utah was forced to join the Union in 1896, the Mormons had to abandon polygamy. However many Mormons still practice polygamy till today. So, an outsider can fairly conclude that USA condones polygamy even when it is outlawed ?

  • Bethesdan

    All religions are probably lacking in one way or another, and I don’t really care what people believe as long as it doesn’t affect my ability to live, practice, and believe. That said, what you’ve got to love about Hinduism is that it does not have a proselytizing character, has never sent out missionaries, and doesn’t spiritually ‘damn’ anyone who doesn’t believe in its teachings. Also, is it better to revere a cow or the almighty dollar, I wonder?

  • manfredostrowski

    I wonder whether Julia Roberts got enchanted by Hindu gods and religious

  • DebChatterjee

    Brother Manfredostrowski:You please see a shrink quickly. You have rtectal-cranial inversion.Om Shanti Om !

  • Bethesdan

    Satish2 — not really helping your cause, if you’re trying to defend your faith. At least try using the spell checker.

  • Navin1

    I really don’t care if JR converts to Hinduism or not in name. I am always concerned about conversion. It is innately a rejection of one’s own familial heritage. But it is what she has choosen as her path to spiritual fulfillment. The fact that she has joined a religion that I joined has to place caution in my agreement or disagreement with her acts. I can only hope that she is able to work with the blessings of her family. Naturally, I have many a times opposed the christo-islamists ideological books of hate. I certainly feel people should abandon such dogma of hate and the doctrine of obedience to a hateful god. But abandoning a primitive religion as christianity is different than joining another religion. And here is my conflict, for JR.On the other hand, this article is interesting in its focus. It does not discuss the ideological constructs that attracted JR, it does not discuss the moral conflicts that presented themselves to her, not her journey from christian to Hindu. It simply suggests that she is an oddball for doing so. The article makes JR look like a thoughtless convert (and as writers are aware of what they are writing and leaving out – I believe this is on purpose). Perhaps the reader is supposed to be so outraged that they go out and read the full article – an advertising gimmick. perhaps we are to see all actions of movie stars as superficially as we see their movies. It makes it so easy to categorize people when you don’t have to see them as complex wholes.How can christians who ignore the systematic, church condoned sodomy of their children even come to grasp less biased reasoning. How can the libertarians who espouse individual liberties while their own “individual” liberties were purchased by the oppression of indigenous populations see that they are just repeating the charges that their indoctrination makes them make. How can the Indian that never seriously studied religion see that the difference in doctrine and history are overwhelmingly against christo-islamic-marxist doctrine.hariaum

  • Navin1

    Sorry, got interruptedJR has embraced a religion. I also embraced the same religion, growing up secular and atheist, because of its teaching, history, and openess to personal relationships with God. Beginning from the standpoint that all religions are one, as one is taught both as a Hindu and a secularist, reading the scriptures and looking for the Huston Smith, “happy happy” approach to religion and the history of hatred based on religion, one evolves to a deeper understanding of the dependence of ego on cultural norms v the dependence of ego on God. But none of those types of issues are brought out in this article. The article could care less about the journey of an individual. Oh look, a movie star that we can put up as just another member of a flake society. Even though I think Tom Cruise seems a bit of a nut with his religion, I am pretty certain the Mel Gibson is a bit of a nut about his religion, and Malcolm X was off base as to his ancestral religion, I believe each of these people are (were) on a genuine journey. Though movie stars certainly want their name as front and center, perhaps an article in “on faith” would be on their faith. Then, after the article discusses what it means to be Hindu for JR, it can ask the question, is America ready for a Hindu sweetheart.hariaum

  • Navin1

    btwchristians and muslims each have one idol and a duotheology. Christians worship the idol of jesus as represented by the finite book/church as the incarnation of god. Muslims bow to the kabaa as the stone of god. They both believe that two great spiritual forces are battling (god and satan). They just call themselves monotheists and anti-idolators to make themselves feel superior. (neither can give up satan nor their idols) hariaum

  • Kingofkings1

    I would have to raise some concerns about the history of burning brides after their husbands die and sometimes for not bringing enough dowry while the husband is alive, the long history of cononed abuse thru religion by the caste system, and the prevalence of corruption in the indian society as accepted norm for something as simple as renewing your drivers license, As for the rich and famous, it can be a source of fleeting peace.

  • KrautKiller

    Vomit!

  • Navin1

    koksure, bring up criticisms. Hindus are open to that and are reforming the culture of India faster than the christian rulers and muslims before them even bothered. In 50 years of unyoking Hindu power from the christo-islamic strangle hold, more reform has happened in India than perhaps any other nation (though I suppose China, after killing the second borns may have oficcially had faster reforms) India has a long way to go, but the Hinduness of India (compare to the muslimness of Pakistan – same genes, same culture, different predominant religion) has been the blessing that is trying to actually end the very things you are criticizing. In the mean time do raise concerns for biblical hate of the Egyptian first borns, “god’s” (more accurately – satan’s) alliance with Cain, the god sanctioned genocide of Canaan, and then the hateful/wrathful god that created eternal damnation in the first place, the ridiculously easy “suffering” of jesus as a proxy human sacrifice to an evil god… But you may find, though these christo-islamic doctrines are not any longer practiced, they are doctrinal by the “word” of “god” that certainly must be seen as the curse of a demon. Now, please to quote where in the Hindu scriptures does God say it is ok to burn brides, believe in rigid caste, and to be corrupt government workers – unless you are just stereotyping for rhetoric’s sake. Of course the most corrupt nations are christian Africa (where they keep killing each other for belonging to the wrong church) or the middle east (say Pakistan) where they keep killing each other for belonging to the wrong mosque.hariaum

  • Navin1

    perhaps we need to bring up concerns for religiously condoned rape of african women in christian africa while we are at it. Sure, its not burning, but you know, then circumcision, then disfigurement, Or the destruction of culture after culture from Ireland, the Americas, to India, to China… by the enlightened soulfull christians of europe. Let me see, christian genocide of muslims was, that’s right so many a 20 years ago in enlighened christian europe. Such lovely persons these christians, they do do their doctrine well – remember wipe out the canaanites, every man, woman, and child, or the king of kings will punish you, says that thing they call their god. hariaum

  • DebChatterjee

    Navin1:Thanks for your thoughtful articles. I am just wondering if I could, reading the hate-filled, ignorant rantings of the Christians, repeat Christ’s last words, “O, Father forgive them for they do not know what they have done !”.But I cannot, I am a ordinary human being and not Jesus Christ. So, I refrain here out of respect for Christ.Hari Om Tat Sat !

  • sperrico

    This actress has to grab on to something. Her divorce from Butch Cassidy, philandering fool, probably addled her mind.

  • gurudev16

    Is America ready for Hinduism? As an African American familiar with a particular branch of the faith (Vaisnavism) and aware of contemporary India and the history of the caste system. I can only say I hope our country will never be ready for or interested in racist and bigoted Hinduism.Ahimsa yes, Love of GodHead yes, respect for all life yes. But to paraphrase Gandhi in what he said about the West. Real East Indians who actually practice these values and respect all other peoples,” Well that would be a good idea.”

  • DebChatterjee

    Gurudev16:”Bigoted” Hinduism, huh ?! Ever heard of “scandalous Christianity”, sans the message of Jesus Christ ?Christianity entering its phase of moral bankruptcy may have prompted Julia Roberts, Richard Gere and likes to seek spiritual comfort in the Hindu/Buddhist way of life.

  • nickmukherjee

    I read a lot of ranting and ignorance here. Hinduism, called ‘Dharma’ in ancient India before foreign religions were brought to India by Invaders, is the collective name for hundreds of different faiths that have evolved within the borders of ancient Indian sub-continent (from Afghanistan to Assam, Nepal to Sri Lanka). Julia has adapted is probably adapted Vaishnavism. Readers must know that Buddha was a Hindu too, and what he preached is the Sankhya philosophy of Hinduism which was first taught by Rishi Kapila, in 800BCE, 250 years before Buddha. Terms like Moksha, Nirvana, Sanyas, Yoga (Meditation) are more than 5000 years old from the Vedas. Therefore Buddhists are also Hindus (followers of Indian religion)- they follow the ‘Dharma’ as preached by Gautama Buddha. Therefore Hinduism has the largest following in the world- 2.6 Billion. 85 % of India and 80% of China alone adds up to nearly 2.2 Billion. Add 90 to 96 % of Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and 10 to 20 % in many other countries and also Jainism and Sikhism. Christianity is followed by 2.1 Billion and Islam by 1.57 billion only. Now wake up to the realization that Julia Roberts has just joined the largest Club in the world- the followers of Indian religions.

  • nickmukherjee

    There is ample evidence that Jesus was also a Buddhist n0n-violent monk.There are many preaching’s oh his which seem to be straight out of Hindu philosophy- when he preaches that his followers who have given away all their possession will achieve salvation (moksha), and the rich will find it as difficult to achieve salvation as a camel through the eye of a needle, he is preaching Hinduism/ Buddhism. In Mathew 10 he tells his followers to go to Galilee with no money or possession. That is the life style of Hindu/Buddhist monks who go about preaching Dharma. There are thousands of more similarities in Christianity to Hinduism, which are very different from Judaism. Buddha also preached against rituals, and promised his disciples the Kingdom of God (Nirvana) by leading an austere life style. Read about the Ebionites, and Essenes of Israel. They were connected to Jesus.

  • nickmukherjee

    FromTheSubContinent (Pakistani?)Worst atrocities have been done by the Romans and the Greek in Europe against slaves. Even Jesus or Paul did not try to ban slavery. Slaves were servants, and you could not do without them. Nor did they try to free them from bondage, like Muhammad did when they accepted his faith. Although Muslims were allowed to have as many ‘women their right hand possessed’ (sex-slaves) as they could afford. All defeated people- their women and children became slave of the Muslims. Most of the Pakistani/Indian Muslims must have been descendants of slaves of the few thousand invaders of India from Midle-East or poor people who wanted to support the foreigners for food,money or their life.It was only a recently that slavery was banned in the west. India Buddha, Mahavira and countless Hindu preachers tried to ban slavery-caste system 2500 years ago. There was no caste system during the Vedic time- or at least it was not rigid.Today caste-discrimination is punishable with stiff sentences. The Brahmins- the highest caste in India are some of the poorest people in India.Keep reading and enlightening the world.

  • arunag

    Hinduism teaches the Absolute Truth and Universal laws that transcends all forms of consciousness including that of non-living things. Hence Hinduism existed even before the Universe was created. It is based on the “Experience of the Truth” rather than a mere Belief. The “Spiritual Journey” towards this Experience could be many, but the final destination of the Experience is the same. Hence there are many paths to truth and each chooses one that is most suitable as per his spiritual evolution at that point of time. Those who know this reality are fortunate and those who fully understand it are blessed. Julia Roberts is blessed and her decision is another step in her spiritual evolution. Only 1 in a million make that step.Welcome Julia to Hinduism – Sanathana Dharma (The Eternal Religion)

  • nickmukherjee

    DebChatterjee, sorry I wrote debbhattacharjee. But I am sure you won’t mind much.

  • DOBRYDN

    Why should her religious beliefs matter to anyone except herself? Some things should be, and are, private.

  • jailkkhosla

    I am a practicing Hindu and I have no issues with Julia Roberts embracing Hinduism if she did it of her own volition and no Hindu suggested she convert.We Hindus are against proselytizing because that would mean we look down upon someone’s else path to God. When Lord Krishna, God Incarnate, came down to earth He told us in no uncertain terms that all paths, if sincerely followed, lead to Him, the Supreme Lord.Hindus should not stoop to the levels of some other faiths that are forever trying to convert others to their faith and in doing so only demean their faith.

  • arunag

    The universality of Hinduism comes from the fact that Hinduism speaks to the entire humanity, it sees the entire humanity as one family. “Vasudeva Kutumbukam: Rig Veda” meaning the whole world is one family……There are many messengers of God who deliver the Truth in varied ways depending on the place and time and the people to whom it is being delivered. This is the same way a Professor of Physics while speaking about the Theory of Relativity will use a different language depending upon to whom he is explaining to – Kindergarten, primary, high school, univeristy or PhD students in Physics.Hinduism is the most rational philosophy so much so that many great western philosophers like Schopenhauer, Kent, Einstein etc had the highest regard and respect for it.

  • ak1967

    As the world becomes more and more democratic and civilized, they will be attracted to Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. These religions have been around 500 to 3000 BC. They do not preach violence, do not aggressively convert people, believe in self realization, meditation, yoga and peace. Like any religion, there are some issues with these religions and they are modernizing themselves.

  • mikeghouse

    If we can learn to respect the otherness of other and accept the God given uniquenesss of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.1. No religion preaches violence, it is not in the text books, you do hear from hearsay to hearsay. 2. All religions are beautiful, practioners tend to be wrong, and they are in every religion.The discussion is about is America Ready for Hinduism, it is indeed ready. where do you come up with all the other things that has no bearing to the topic?Mike Ghouse

  • Kingofkings1

    The postings by some right-wing hindus on this board is a serious cause of concern. Brushing aside sati and caste system encouraged by religious dictates will not make it go away. Better to acknowledge one’s deficiencies and move on rather than ignore it or vilify others – and instead, saying “the devil made me do it”, worse to say, “my neighbor made me do it”. Think outside of the box, I believe that’s what Julia is trying to do – even though it may not lead her to the desired destination.

  • calm1

    I am a US citizen, born Hindu in India.When I was a kid my parents taught me many shlokas(Hindu prayers). They believed it would calm my mind and help me develop my powers of concentration and memory.But in my teens India’s college system was torturing me mentally. I would study through the night to prepare for the exams and do well, but was being humiliated continously by the Hindus operating the system. My health was also poor since my asthma was out of control. Now I know that the problem was with them(the university officials), not me. Their education system was very poor in quality,with a lot of mindless rote learning and useless learning material. But the experience turned into a non-believer. There could not be a God in a world with so much mental and physical suffering. I immigrated to the US almost three decades ago. I read Einstein’s book ‘The World as I see it’ and did not feel alone as a non-believer any more. I have been an agnostic for many years now. Work in America is complex and I don’t have the mental space for nonsensical and arbitrary religious concepts. Julia may be trying to get publicity to promote her latest movie,shot in India though.Though I am agnostic, Hindu society has a scholarly,inellectual and peaceful tradition that is adapting to modern society which values both education and yoga. I support those in my family and friends circle who are strong believers. I also wish my Christian and Muslim friends and colleagues well.To thine own self be true.

  • lokatya

    first of all hindusim is not a religion..and so thier is no conversion..conversions are only in man made religions..so abhrahmic faiths converts not us..infact ‘Hindu’ word was given to Indians by invaders..our ancient books don’t have a word called ‘Hindu’..maybe Julia just like the exoticness like many americans & westerners..If anyone has free thoughts and rationalism he/ she is a so called Hindu…I’ll just give one example the longest epic ‘the MAHABHARAT’is the best form of human rationalism..from 5000 BC onwards, their r no commandmants etc. it’s all rationalism..pls read the book (The Difficulty of Being Good : On the Subtle Art of Dharma by Gurcharan Das)Someone mentiones Hindus represent poverty..that was very kiddish..not only we ruled the world till 16-17 century in trade..but inspite been occupied by Muslim forces for 800 yrs and then by Christian forces for 300 yrs..we did not lose our rationalism and integrity. For example the eastern rome (the byzantine) was under muslim occupation 1450 onwards and today its a muslim country. The south & north americans natives civilisation was destroyed by the church and now they are christian countries.And someone talked about castism and widow burning etc. I can only say that if u read books of history to find those isolated incidents..you’re probably living in denial. No one mentioned the technological advancment we discovred 1000 yrs before any european could..infact all the free thinkers in europe was condemed by the church and men & women were burned alive just because they challeged the bible..But Julia Roberts, I don’t know how long her so called Hindu phase last..

  • calm1

    Is America ready to embrace Hinduism ?No it is not. America is Christian and wary of other religions. It is all very evident in the politics surrounding abortion and the comments in the media calling Hindus names. Joel Stein ridiculed Hindus in TIME recently, in effect calling Indians morons for believing in an Elephant God. Hindu temples have been vandalized by haters. Anti-immigrant feeling in America is very strong and anti-Hinduism and Anti-Indianism is part of it.America has a mix of xenophobia, paranoia, anti-Hinduism and anti-Indianism and they are indistinguishable from one another. Religious freedom and freedom for immigrants has a long way to go in America. Hindus in America are just treated like ‘hippies’ and shunned by society.

  • Secular

    This blog has been an amusing reading. All the christian zealots have come out in droves with their criticisms and their views of “TRUTHINESS” of chritianity(Borrowed from that philospher Steven Colber”. All the hindhu zealots have come out in praise of their religion its superiority. As far as I a concerned she has just trade one set of skydaddy myths for another set of skydaddys’ (given the plethora of skydaddys in hinduism) myths. Does not impress me none, still delude by different skydadies, that all. There is also lot of talk about evolution of the religions. This troubles me all regions make the claim that their values are eternal and moral. Why then a need need for them to evolve? This is an utter contradiction, as evolution by definition means it is not eternal. In the process of evolution, there ought to be some redaction, and some additions. Consequently the redactions are certainly not eternal and likewise the additions are not either. How then one claim their religions are eternal.Conceding that religion evolves is tantamount to accepting the secular argument that ethics and morality evolve and i generally a consensual outcome of a society at large.

  • DebChatterjee

    KingofKings1 wrote;”Brushing aside sati and caste system encouraged by religious dictates will not make it go away. “Nobody is brushing it aside. Sati and caste system are a part of Hindu society, and has nothing to do with religion.And, FYI, 1. Sati was legally banned by the British in late 1700′s with the initiation by a Bengali Hindu king from Bengal, Raja Rammohun Roy. However people don’t care even if it is banned; some backward caste people even practice it with its attendant perversions. If it were a formal part of a “Hindu religion”, it could not have been banned. (Just as you cannot ban Navaratri, Holi or Durga Puja festivals. They are religious ones.)2. Caste system, unfortunately still exists and most political parties take advantage out of it. It is an evil that does appear to survive with much stubborness. It has withstood many assaults. However because it [evil] exists for thousands of years, does not mean its practice of discrimination is right. However to quip: which society does not have its own ills and evils ? Doesn’t the Christian society in USA and in the West have rampant problems of sexual infidelity, homosexuality, fetus killing [abortion], child molestation by priests, extreme selfishness, and the champions of western “virtue” [?] always make it a point to denigrate the Eastern cultures/religions ? Hypocritical as it may appear, these self-appointed stalwarts (such as the right-wing politicians in USA, waving the virtue flag) often get caught with their pants down. [Mark Sanford of South Carolina is an example.] Often these virtuous hypocrites forget that “people in glasshouses should not throw stones”. Amen !

  • DebChatterjee

    Secular:Evolution is eternal. Knowledge evolves. Spirituality is knowledge. Religion is a man-made codification of what humans collectively think is right about a particular strand of spirituality. Thus, religion [meaning religious practices] change because humans over time improve/adapt the practices/rituals based on acquiring improved knowledge. So, yes religion evolves and the formal process of its evolution is thus pretty normal.

  • thebump

    Oh, sure. She’s not really just another celebrity airhead — she’s theologically deep!

  • thebump

    Ninety-nine percent of Westerners who claim to follow some Eastern tradition or other are idiots. Roberts would fall in that category.

  • DebChatterjee

    Thebump:You have any independently verifiable proof that the eastern tradition-following westerners are idiots ? Or is this another redneck bamboozlement ?

  • mhadrick

    when you don’t respect “Mother Earth”, how can you get into Hinduism. “Mother Earth” is real.

  • DwightCollins

    what part of hinduism allow baby girls to be killed at birth…

  • nickmukherjee

    I would like to remind all readers that Julia Roberts is not the first celebrity to adopt Hinduism (Indian religion). Many years back George Harrison (Beatles fame) joined the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), also known as the ‘Hare Krishna movement’, who are spread all over the world, except Islamic countries. His huge country estate near London is today a sprawling farm and Temple. After his death he was cremated and his ashes were taken to the Ganges River, according to his wishes.I would like to quote Mr Hu Shih, former Ambassador of China to USA: “India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border. … There are perhaps very few nations in the world with the enormous variety that India has to offer. …”Now also let me remind readers that Buddhist monks preached Hindu (Indian) spirituality in East and the West through non-violence, unlike Spanish Conquistadors French and English Crusaders. In Southern France 20,000 innocent Cathars were slaughtered under orders from Pope Innocent in a single day, during the Middle Ages. The Cathars believed in a theology similar to Hindu/ Buddhists. Then there were the Manichaeans who believed Buddha and Jesus were both ‘enlightened ones’. There was time when Manichaeanism was wide-spread all over the Middle East, Egypt and Europe. St Augustine belonged to that faith. Regarding the spread of Islam in the world, Pope Benedict was spot on when he said that Islam was spread by the sword. Incidentally, even after 1000 years of alien rule in India there are still 85% Hindus. Our fore fathers persevered through tremendous odds, to maintain such a high percentage, keeping in mind that countries like Egypt, Iraq, Persia, and Turkey are predominantly Muslim today. We must thank our forefathers for their sacrifices against inhuman Barbarian invaders who tried to destroy our culture.

  • nickmukherjee

    I would love it if Stevan Seagal would kindly catch THEBUMP by his frigging neck and kick his arse for insulting him by calling all 99% admireres of Eastern religions, idiots. I hope THEBUMP now, afraid of his arse getting battered does not say that Steven Seagal is in the 1% exception.Steven Seagal was my absolute hero. I wonder why no new films of his is being released. I hope his health is fine.

  • nickmukherjee

    And one more thought occured to me. Christianity is also an Eastern religion that was actually hijacked by the Romans from the Judaeo Christians. So THEBUMP get your facts right before opening our trap, mate!

  • DCObserver1

    POSTED BY: CENTERGLOBAL | AUGUST 6, 2010 2:03 PM Sate system developed during Islamic rule when women were brutally taken after their husbands’ death in the battlefield. Sattee was the only way they could avoid degradation of mass rape. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Where did you read this garbage? Aristobulus of Alexandria, who traveled in Alexander’s army to India, wrote about Sati. It was very common in North India for centuries before Islam began. For that matter, the two rulers before the British who tried to ban Sati were Akbar and Aurangzeb, rather definitely Muslim.

  • Secular

    Deb Chatterjee, you wrote, “Evolution is eternal. Knowledge evolves. Spirituality is knowledge. Religion is a man-made codification of what humans collectively think is right about a particular strand of spirituality. Thus, religion [meaning religious practices] change because humans over time improve/adapt the practices/rituals based on acquiring improved knowledge. So, yes religion evolves and the formal process of its evolution is thus pretty normal”. 1) I don’t mean to be too knit picking, but knowledge does not always evolve. Often it throws out the whole kit caboodle and starts from scratch.2) I don’t know what spirituality is. If you are going by the etymology of the word spirit, then it is all delusion. So i cannot agree to your equating knowledge to spirituality. Knowledge is wht you find in books of mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc, etc.3) I agree with you that religion is man made, wholeheartedly. I was critiquing the claims of religionists that theirs is eternal, god given, etc, etc. I was showing the contradiction in their claim.4) I agree with you that religions evolve and perhaps improve. That improvement has nothing to do with the delusion called dog. The evolution for the better is mainly die the zeitgeist engendered by the secular humanist world.5) That said there is on balance more harm done by them than good, due the delusion believed by the adherents and feel compelled to do harm.

  • mikeghouse

    The comments on this article are not reflective of the majority of Christians. Except the right wingers who are abusing religion and patriotism, you’ll find right wingers among Muslims, Hindus, Jews and others act the same. However, an overwhelming majority of Americans are moving away from exclusive claims to God and accommodating different systems of beliefs including Hinduism. If one looks beyond the rituals, Hinduism is as divine and beautiful as any other religion. You have to have an open mind to see it.A survey is definitely warranted.America is indeed getting ready to embrace Hinduism; it does not mean every one will become Hindu, as not every one will become a Baha’i, Muslim or a Buddhist. Mike Ghouse

  • Kingofkings1

    Calm 1 Wrote:—————————————–

  • jadapema

    Just another stunt to increase sales? The so-called cultural elite has tried it before. Even the hippies did. To do something outrageous, and thus increase the profile, they emrace a seemingly “benign” religion like Hinduism. The curious ones will be advised to use some caution. Ask the non-Hindu minorities living in India, like Christians, Sikhs, and Muslims. Read about the anti-Sikh riots of Delhi, the destruction of Babri mosque, or the mass killing of Muslims in Gujrat in which the Hindu police participated. Read an unbiased view about the human rights abuses in Kashmir. Even do a search about the twenty first century untouchables, infanticide of female fetuses, and the killing of those who try to cross the centuries old barriers of caste by marrying into the wrong caste. Good luck Julia!

  • jadapema

    Just another stunt to increase sales? The so-called cultural elite has tried it before. Even the hippies did. To do something outrageous, and thus increase the profile, they emrace a seemingly “benign” religion like Hinduism. The curious ones will be advised to use some caution. Ask the non-Hindu minorities living in India, like Christians, Sikhs, and Muslims. Read about the anti-Sikh riots of Delhi, the destruction of Babri mosque, or the mass killing of Muslims in Gujrat in which the Hindu police participated. Read an unbiased view about the human rights abuses in Kashmir. Even do a search about the twenty first century untouchables, infanticide of female fetuses, and the killing of those who try to cross the centuries old barriers of caste by marrying into the wrong caste. Good luck Julia!

  • areyousaying

    isn’t the whole concept of religion and aren’t the religious here delightful?

  • areyousaying

    mind your own business….go primp, pray, pretend, pose and pimp with your own on Saturday and Sunday and leave Julia and the rest of us alone…you’re religiosity is annoying, arrogant and intrusive…

  • DoTheRightThing

    As long as she’s not a follower of Kali (who likes human sacrifices), she’s at least not an atheist. God willing and with her cooperation, she will be drawn by the Holy Spirit to have eternal-life-giving faith in the Way, the Truth, and the Life: Jesus Christ.

  • DebChatterjee

    Jadapema:These facts are for your bigotry:1. India is the only country that practices equality. The highest levels of political levers currently are controlled by minorities: a female president who is a successor to a Muslim president, a Sikh Prime Minister, a female Christian leader of the majority party. Now would even the most emancipated, human-rights obsessed USA have got all the three ? (We are seeing the disdain from a section of the American because after the slavery was abolished a black has been elected as a president.)2. Regarding Kashmir’s human rights abuses, I would say that you are ignorant as a primate who makes such assertions. If Kashmir is a problem, then in theory Texas is also a problem. Lyndon Johnson is on record saying that Texas was forcibly stolen from Mexico. The call for human rights abuses is quite clamorous when it comes to Muslims; nobody raises a voice about the 250,000 Kashmiri Hindu Pandits who were butchered in the hands of Muslim militants funded and morally supported by Pakistan. Also, Muslim leaders in India have rejected the secession of Kashmir from India because they have stated that Muslims are far better off in India than in Pakistan. Azad Kashmir (PoK) wants to merge with India. Recent elections have shown that Muslims in Kashmir want to stay with India. Now if the LeT-backed Jihadists are fomenting trouble by threatening the Muslims in Kashmir it is a separate issue.3. India should, in all senses, hate Pakistan and should have bombed that country of rascals back to the stone age. This is in remembrance of the November 26, 2008 scenario when armed Muslim militants supported by the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba of Pakistan and whose spiritual leader Hafez Saeed blessed them to initiate mindlessly bloody pogrom in Mumbai. If it had been USA and say found out that Mexican government was sending terrorists inside USA, USA would have bombed Mexico. India has shown tremendous restraint (interpreted as cowardice) in refraining from doing so.The above has nothing to do with Hinduism or Julia Roberts being a Hindu. I just wanted to set the facts straight so that you can benefit by increasing your knowledge and climb down the tree of ignorance back to earth. Get a life !

  • DebChatterjee

    Christianity is becoming a bankrupt religion. Europe has rejected Christianity almost wholly. The percentage of practicing Christians is diminishing. In USA Reverend Pat Robertson, Franlin Graham, Jerry Falwell and others have tried their best to uphold Christianity by mud slinging at other faiths. Hinduism has received its share of hatred and bigotry from the fundamentalist American preachers and proselytizers. Some years ago the Southern Baptist church issued a statement that they want to bring the lost souls of the Hindus back to the light. Well, such insulting statements show the reverse: indeed Christianity is a bankrupt religion. Most organized religions are morally bankrupt. So, to stay in business these religious leaders have taken it upon themselves to flex muscle by condeming other religions and societies. Christianity in USA is now mostly about sexual abuse of boys by priests. It is thriving on hatred of others and have abandoned the path of compassion and love shown by Jesus Christ two thousand years ago. Thus, this present brand of Christianity as in USA shall eventually evaporate because of the departure from the path of the righteous.

  • Religulosity

    Anything that reduces the Christian Taliban’s domination of America is a good development.

  • KingPorus

    *****Where did you get these figures? There is no GDP data for France or England until the 19th century.*****Watch PBS documentary “The Story of India” by Michael Woods. He told the same. A reputed source like PBS would not broadcast something which was not well-researched. He says that India was the second largest economy in the world till late 18th century.India remained economic powerhouse till the advent of the British. You should also not lose sight of the fact that India was constant target of foreign invasion precisely because of riches. The phrase “riches of India” was a common buzzword in Alexander’s time, when Hinduism was at its best. Go read the ancient works of Arrian, the Greek historian. Also do not forget it was attracted by the riches of India that Columbus set out to discover it and ended by discovering America instead.Obviously the link between Hinduism and poverty is the desperate ploy of aggressive Christian evangelists who want to prevent objective scrutiny of this great faith in America. They want to keep Hinduism in the doghouse of stereotypes and vicious propaganda which was started by their imperialist allies in era of colonialism.In Hinduism , the pursuit of wealth is not considered evil but it is sublimated by making yoked with the idea of Dharma (sacred duty). The righteous accumulation of wealth , ie. “Artha” is one of the 4 cornerstone values of Hindu ethics. Other three are Kama, Dharma , Moksha. Moksha (spirituality ) is on top and Kama (physical pleaures) is at the bottom. All of Hinduism’s great avatars were philosopher kings leading a life of spiritual and material fulfilment. Krishna, Rama, Janaka, etc were all kings and had positive attitude toward righteous accumulation of wealth.If somebody is interested in reading how British raped this great civilization econimically, they are called on to read the book by famous historian Will Durant called “A Case for India.” This book was written in 1930s and was banned by British colonialists because it exposed, employing hard economic data, how Great Britain turned this economic powershouse into a slum by systematic transfer of wealth to England and destruction of the local industry in India.India has been free for only 60 odd years. It will take it sometime to recover from economic legacy of colonial rule.

  • drsam24183

    I request all comment writers… please don’t be a extremist. I accept only one religion in this world..We all are Human Beings. No any religion is best or worst. We all are human beings and we all are best. I love all religions. I support Julia Robert since I’m of opinion that we should try to acquire whatever best others have. Don’t think it is from Hindu religion or from Christian. As I’m Hindu, I love christian religion whatever best they have and I’m ready to acquire it. Never looking by religion point of view.From

  • matrikmr1

    Though it is hardly matter what Julia or Lindsay does in their private life. But just to clarify: Is not American public school system doing same what Caste System in India has been doing? It keeps the children of poor people in ‘bad schools’ to make it hard for them to leave the trap of poverty or the professions their parents are in. Sati is missionary’s most favored word to describe Hinduism, but Sati started when Moslem from west (around 700 AD) were invading India. After the death of male members of the family, women and children of ruling families were forced either to be members of big Haram (herd of mistresses and wives; young men were made impotent to keep just eye on these women ) and slaves or to die. Most of westerners or even Indians are ignorant, they think Taj Mahal is a symbol of love, But Mumtaj was only one among 1000s of mistresses of Shahjahan, the men who got killed his brothers and imprisoned his father to be king.

  • Kingofkings1

    Yes, we all are surprised. It is based on data published by some famous economic historians – you may like to refer to BBC. Is is said that 20% of the richest Indians were richer than the richest Europeans. However, Hindu Brahmins led a pious and impoverished life in their single-minded pursuit of knowledge. Abject poverty in India is a post-Muslim, post-British legacy.—————————————-Interesting observation about the brahmins – they were the creme de la creme of the traditional hindu society; their presence necessary for performing prayers, rituals, and weddings, funerals, etc. and brahmins received their legitimacy to benefit from the “lower” castes in society from the dogmas of hindu religion: if you behave and work diligently as a member of your caste, you have the possibility of being re-incarnated in the higher caste after you die. Among other productive sources of incomes, the brahmins obtained additional income from the jewelry of the the widows who were burned with their husbands’ corpse. The current hindu traditions differ from the earlier hindu traditions, but if I were a brahmin, I would sure miss the good old days. As for Julia Roberts, she is going in as a higher caste member from the start; what could she hope to be reincarnated as in the next life?

  • arkns

    Deb Chatterjee:Nice to see your posts once again. I have changed the sign off name from Dave to ARKNS (ends in Namah Sivaya)!The defense of Hinduism is factual but I think some of them are needlessly negative on Christianity. A good defense on Hinduism can be mounted without negative references to Christianity. On the contrary, I think there are a lot of common meeting points between Christianity and Hinduism. I harbor no negatives about it. But I agree that the Christian right in this country as elsewhere are very poor representatives of Christianity and gives that religion a bad name.

  • DebChatterjee

    NICKMUKHERJEE:Thanks for your posts. One error I noticed in your first post:1. Rishi Kapila did not live around 250 BC. His name figures in the Bhagavad Gita. The war of Mahabharata was fought around 3102 BC, and thus Kapila predates before that time. Why was 3102 BC chosen ? It was not my calculation. But recent findings based on archaeo-astronomy results in that date. Some books by Richard L. Thompson (MYSTERIES OF THE SACRED UNIVERSE/ THE COSMOLOGY OF THE BHAGAVAD PURANA) also make that point more elaborate.2. I must appreciate your right-minded defense against the fundamentalist Christians on this blog. Regarding whether Jesus Christ was a non-violent Buddhist monk, you could have done better by producing the source which makes very compelling speculations. The name of the book is:Holger Kersten, JESUS LIVED IN INDIA: HIS UNKNOWN LIFE BEFORE AND AFTER CRUCIFIXION. Penguin, December 31, 2001. Thanks anyway for your spirited defense of Hinduism.

  • FromTheSubContinent

    I think she found a religion that classifies people into untouchables and touchables, divided them into castes levels so that higher castes can basically rule the lower castes, that hates its neighbouring country for its religion, that still shows deep rooted intolerance for people of other faiths, attactive than the one she has originally known. I think she should consider meditating in some Himalayan cave to get closer to God!

  • ShArQ1

    I feel annoyed when people talk about Hinduism as if only caste system defines it. You people are so wrong. Of course caste system in the middle ages was used to show more power amongst the upper classes, but the real reason for the caste system was division of labor amongst people with proper balance. For example, once a farmer, was always a farmer, once a blacksmith, was always a blacksmith. People would not allow a farmer to become a blacksmith because if he did, there would be 1 less farmer and 1 more blacksmith, which would create imbalance in the society. See what is happening in India now? It seems everyone wants to go to call centers now, by ignoring what their fathers and forefathers did for a living. That is why you see so many people with bachelor degrees driving auto-rickshaws now. I feel pity for them. So, as wrong it might seem, caste system isn’t too bad. It is bad now because people used it to get more power amongst society.

  • nickmukherjee

    Those who want to know how Buddhism spread to Europe and the Middle-East 250 years before Jesus must read about the Indo-Greek kings, Ashoka the Great of India, and the Thirteenth Rock Edict of Ashoka The Great of India, who spread Buddhism to Europe, Egypt, Persia, Sri Lanka, Far-East etc around 250BCE. The Word Monk-monachos-muni (Sanskrit)and Gnosis- Gyan(Sanskrit) are further close to the Indian connection. Also Europeans must remember up to 9000 years ago there was ice-age in Europe for 25,000 years. Lookup Mehrgarh where the Sindhu(Indus/Indica/ India/Hindu/Hindustan)-Saraswati River Valley Civilization flourished in 7000 BCE, 9000 years ago. After Ice started melting people from the Sindhu-Saraswati valley may have gradually moved north to Central Asia and onwards to Europe, giving rise to the Indo-European languages. Another clue of Indian influence is the Vedic/ Sanskrit names of a large number of countries in Asia and central Asia- ‘sthan’ (means land in Sanskrit

  • nickmukherjee

    DebBhattacharjee,Good to hear from you! Regarding your comments:1. I wrote Kapila lived around 800BCE according to some scholars. He lived 250 years BEFORE Buddha, who lived in 550 BCE approx. Now he may hve lived earlier, possibly. Buddha’s Capital city was named after him- Kapila Vastu (Kapil’s Town).2. I don’t know whether Jesus travelled East. It is quite possible- because one of the greatest Indo-Greek Universities was situated in Taxila- present day Pakistan. He may have travelled there for ‘world class education’. On the other hand Buddhism may have travelled to him. The life style of Essenes is almost identical to Buddhist monks and monasteries. The 13th rock edict of Ashoka clearly mentions that the ‘Dharma was spread to those regions by him, and in fact his daughter Sanghamitra.

  • ggjey123

    Julia Roberts joining Hinduism? who cares? Anyway it is better than joining Scientology or kabbalah.

  • rohit57

    Dear Julia,You are talking about a country which exists only in your imagination.So bash that country of your imagination if you like, but if you want to bash the actual country, you need to find out a few facts. Not all the facts are good – there is a lot of poverty. Yet, fully 50% of Indians have access to cell phones.

  • csintala79

    This is a difficult question with no easy answer. Hinduism is not like other major religions. The only western taxonomic term we have for it, a cultural system, is inadequate. We westerners want to fit everything into a neat pigeon hole, but Hinduism defies this attempt. Hindus share a certain ethos among themselves but no definite creed or dogma. Julia is deluding herself if she thinks the masses of Hindus accept her “conversion”. Westernized middle class Hindus would humor her, but the vast majority of Hindus (exactly what percentage of the billion plus population of India has inculcated western norms?) would consider her a fool. For the cultural and economic elite, the caste system is dead. It is doubtful that the average Indian knows this. In Hindu society, one born outside the caste system, i.e., to a non-Hindu, is casteless: an untouchable. This was the joke that the British were too dense to get during their tenure. Julia would be more correct to say she is an adherent of Vedanta movement, which is based on the Hindu Vedas or scriptures, but is basically free of the pantheism and animistic practices and ceremonies of popular Hinduism, i.e., it is an elitist, intellectual movement founded by the son of a poor Brahmin or priest, Sri Ramakrishna, and popularized in the West by the son of Westernized Indian (an attorney), Swami Vivekanada. This perspective on the traditions of Hinduism (it is not truly Hinduism) might make inroads in the U.S., but since it has been around for over 100 years with little impact on Americans other than intellectuals, it is doubtful. Americans want something more concrete and offering more pat answers than is provided by a pantheistic religion (or cultural system) such as Hinduism; we want a guy in the sky that answers the phone.

  • rohit57

    In one of the earlier posts I read that the practice of Sati (burning the wife in the funeral pyre of husband) came into existence during Islamic rule. Not it was there right from the time of Mahabharata, when King Pandu’s three wives committed it.A sati really is a female saint, and a woman can become a sati by doing saintly things which have nothing to do with self-immolation. Sati Savitri is an example, because she saved her husband’s life by posing the god of death a riddle which he could not solve.He said, “I cannot spare your husband’s life because his time has come.” She said, “Fine, but I want a hundred children.” When he said OK, she pointed out that her husband would have to live for that to happen.The custom of Sati is now illegal in India, but it was never part of the notion of sati that force should be used – you cannot be forced to become a saint. A family motivated by hubris may force a woman to immolate herself, but she is not then a genuine sati.In the Christian tradition, suicide is a mortal sin. But this is not the case with other cultures. Whether it be the kamikaze pilots of Japan, or the Buddhist priests who immolated themselves and brought down Diem’s government, suicide has often been seen as an appropriate gesture in non-Christian cultures.BTW, suicide is more common in the US, especially among elderly white men and white male teenagers than it is in most countries.

  • ggjey123

    I fail to understand what is this practising Hindu mean? Going to the temple to worship some god, including elephant god or monkey god?

  • DrSubtle

    @woolrichwascool who wrote, “This same culture embraced a vicious caste system, suttee …”What ignorant tripe! Why not associate Christianity then with the Third Reich (90% of Nazis where baptized Lutherans), the genocides of Native Americans in North and South Americas, slavery, and the current systematic persecution of African Americans (1 in every three AAs under 30 is in jail and denied access to equal housing, jobs, education, and so on)?”Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

  • DrSubtle

    @SD71, who said, “when christians and muslims bad mouth hinduism and other religions we know where the problem is. it is religious intolerance. too many societies try to create good muslims and christians,filling minds with useless nonsense.”I agree except that I do think the few insecure Christians and Muslims who look at other religions as being inferior do NOT represent Christianity and Islam at large. These morons who like to find fault with Hinduism, Buddhism, Native American and African religions, etc. forget to look in the mirror about the atrocities committed by their own religions in the past and the present.Way to go, Julia! Each person should find one’s own way without listening to the drivel of the Christian and Muslim Taleban (IMO Pat Robertson should be made an honorary Mullah or Ayatollah:)

  • arancia12

    For Heaven’s sake. I thought Sandra Bullock was America’s Sweetheart.People have already embraced Hinduism. It does not take a washed up celeb like Roberts to bring Hinduism to the US. Some people will be Hindu, some Jewish, some Christian, some Muslim, and some Wiccan.Be careful though, I would hate to see Americans switch their loathing from Islam to Hindi.

  • mike85

    I would much rather have a Hindu sweetheart than an Islamic president.

  • DrSubtle

    @PerryNeuhem who wrote, “Now, is she headed to India to bathe in one of those fetid, fecal-filled “holy” rivers?”It’s better than heading to Galveston, TX and bathing in the toxic, polluted ocean waters that we call our own but belong to corporations. I wish we called our waters holy so that we wouldn’t allow BP to pollute them.

  • DrSubtle

    @RAVITCHIN, “If she marries a Hindu and he dies she would be burned alive on his funeral pyre. Marrying even a Muslim would be better. Let’s face it, anything but Christianity or Judaism will be chosen by these celebrity idiots.”Yep, let’s take an ancient practice that was in use for a small fraction of a religion and generalize! Like all Christians burn crosses on people’s lawns and lynch African Americans by the thousands! Like all Muslims turn themselves into suicide bombs. Please grow up. All religions have their good and bad points. Some have them in their past and some in their present. Let people choose their faith based on their own needs, not based on your false interpretations of other religions.

  • rohit57

    ROHIT57 also wrote:But there is no such definition. For instance people do not even all believe that Allah and God are the same. In Malaysia, Christians are not allowed to refer to God as Allah. So does that mean that a person who believes in Allah but not God is an atheist?What about the Force as in Star Wars? Can an atheist say, “There is no God, but the Force does exist”? Someone who believes in the Force, is that person an atheist or a theist?If people believe that there is no God but have not asked themselves what that means, then I would say that they are confused. Generally, such people are taking the Jewish-Christian notion of God as the standard and denying it. But I do not see why it is a standard.So the question is open, not only in terms of true/false, but also in terms of “What does the question mean?”

  • KrautKiller

    Who Cares!! She should go and live in India.

  • Naren1

    India has thousands of churches and christians. It is shocking to see the hatred spewing out of lots of americans against hinduisim. It almost seems christians can convert millions but one actor converting to hinduism is not tolerable. What a shame!!!

  • joesmithdefend

    Perhaps Hollywood has taken notice: Americans have begun to boycott the ridiculous tripe that it calls “entertainment” and to chalk up extreme acts by actors as simply his or her inability to accept that they are MORTAL and when they die…they will rot just like the dog in the street.Who cares what this flake believes?

  • drlatham22

    While Julia converts to Hinduism, the GOP candidate for governor in SC makes every effort to emphasize she’s not a Hindu.

  • HIMALAYAN

    sweet surprise…she remains the same for us…a sweet and talented actress.

  • DebChatterjee

    Krautkiller wrote:”Who Cares!! She should go and live in India.”Agreed that her conversion should not be of anyone’s concern, but WashPost made it a big issue and unwittingly revealed the ignorance of Ms. Tenety about Hinduism. For your likes, you need to grow up and stop thinking that the likes of your lynch-happy ancestors do not rule the world. Julia Roberts should be free to do whatever she wants, even if she decided one fine morning to revert back to her own ancestral faith (Christianity). She does not need your permission, and neither from anyone of us bloggers.

  • DebChatterjee

    DrLatham22:Niki Haley was NOT a Hindu. She was a Sikh by birth and converted to Christianity before her marriage. FYI.

  • jamesk84

    It’s amazing how much religious prejudice is found in these comments. Hinduism is not associated with poverty–the poverty came courtesy of British colonialism. India was extremely wealthy prior to the British coming and strip mining their wealth and resources. Furthermore it is a shame that Haley and Jindal have to change their religion for the sake of their careers. Hinduisim and Sikhism are great, world religions, and their adherents should be proud, not embarrassed. And since we see so many articles every day about people embracing their Christian faith, there certainly should be no problem seeing that someone embraces Hinduisim, or any other religion. It was a good article.

  • calm1

    religion has been screwing up the whole planet,causing bloodshed and creating divisions among people for centuries now.it is arbitrary and illogical. God did not die for us. God did not heal any lepers. God did not speak to anybody in a cave. Nobody got enlightened sitting under a tree. The ‘soul’ does not get reborn. It’s all humbug. All religion is based on fear. All the collective brain cells that get wasted on this nonsense could be put to much better use. wash a few dirty dishes, read a book,learn a new and useful skill.

  • fasm7700

    As far as I am aware, one has to be born a Hindu. A person who is not a Hindu by birth may embrace the tenets of Hinduism but cannot convert to being a Hindu.

  • calm1

    we all deal with difficult problems in our lives everyday. religion is pure escapism.it gives people temporary mental peace but the problems never go away till you either do something about them or just accept them when nothing can be done about it. there are lots of interesting things around us that keep our mind occupied and help us put our brain cells to work while getting us to our goals,or giving us some chance of getting to them.

  • MaruAngarita

    While Julia Roberts may not represent America we all should take a break from the fast pace lives we live. It seems that people are so wrapped up to get more power, more money, more sex that their lives have fallen into amoral behavior. Some have fallen into deeper amoral to the point of depravation, and total carelessness towards others.Personally, as a rarely going to church Catholic, I find that trying to enhance our lives with meditation, and caring for others helps to feel more spiritual. Hinduism or other spiritual healthy practices should make us better persons. We should be aggresive on our daily work, but enjoy spirituality on our time off. If we do not have enough time off, then something must be done to better organize our lives into a healthier life style.

  • libertyWLOVE

    Julia must by now HAVE REALIZED THE BLUNDER MADE BY HER IF SHE COULD ONLY READ THE COMMENTS OF MEN FROM SELFSTYLED MORAL,ETHICAL,CULTURED,CIVILIZED,UNIVERSAL ETC ETC ETC RELIGION IN THIS BLOG ESPECIALLY FROM SOME “AREYOUSAYING’ OR CONCOCTS FROM DEBCHATTERJI’s.they are all reps.of Gujrat culture shaped by narendera modi’s. WASHINGTONPOST.COM MUST TAKE EXCEPTION TO THE UTTERANCES OF ID”AREYOUSAYING” AND BAN HIS/HER ACCOUNT.IT IS UNETHICAL.

  • HIMALAYAN

    sweet surprise…she remains the same for us…a sweet and talented actress.

  • DebChatterjee

    Calm1 wrote:”All religion is based on fear.”Religions yes. Spirituality NO. Read Sam Harris’s book END OF FAITH ..Hinduism is NOT a religion. It’s emphasis is only on spirituality.Also, you seem to be stating stuff out of your own personal bias. Soul does not exist ? How do you know ? I am saying “reincarnation” (a core principle of the Hindu faith) makes maximum sense and is logical. You are refuting that notion. What proof you have to state that you are right and I am wrong ?

  • rohit57

    As far as I am aware, one has to be born a Hindu. A person who is not a Hindu by birth may embrace the tenets of Hinduism but cannot convert to being a Hindu. Your impression may come from the fact that most traditional Hindus belong to some caste or another, and they avoid marrying a Hindu from another caste. Presumably they might also avoid marrying someone who converted to Hinduism. But my point is that such people would also avoid marrying a natural born Hindus from a different caste, so it is not Hindu vs non-Hindu, but “my caste” vs “another caste”.

  • rohit57

    India has thousands of churches and christians. It is shocking to see the hatred spewing out of lots of americans against hinduisim. It almost seems christians can convert millions but one actor converting to hinduism is not tolerable. What a shame!!!From the Wikipedia: “it is generally agreed that Christianity in India is almost as old as Christianity itself and spread in India even before it spread in many, predominantly Christian, nations of europe.”While India does not have anything specific against Christians or Christianity, there is some feeling of unease because too many Christians believe that Indians are heathens who will go to hell.But this is a minor phenomenon. I once knew well a professor of statistics who was a Christian, but also an authority on Hindu temples.

  • rohit57

    I think the question of will America embrace Hinduism is silly. Embrace? Tolerate or accept, sure. But “embrace”? Why is it so trendy now for us all to “embrace” everything?I have never found that Christians are particularly averse to hugging people who are not Christian…—–I don’t know how many people know the word “Buju”. It refers to someone who is born Jewish, becomes a Buddhist, but continues with their Jewish observances.It is not uncommon for Buddhist meditation groups to observe Jewish holidays and a very large proportion of Buddhism in the US are Jewish women like Ayya Khema or Sharon Salzberg or Sandra Weinberg or….So have these people “embraced” Buddhism? Perhaps but AFAIK they are still Jewish.

  • rohit57

    we all deal with difficult problems in our lives everyday. religion is pure escapism.it gives people temporary mental peace but the problems never go away till you either do something about them or just accept them when nothing can be done about it. Posted by: calm1

  • silencedogoodreturns

    Who cares what she is? She’s a typcial actor/actress who, living in a pampered cocoon, has trouble with reality and so is constantly trying out new fads to “find” herself. Not much more to it.Has Cat Stevens tried Hindu yet?

  • calm1

    ‘But actually a lot of religions teach just that. Do something about your problems if you can, and accept only if you cannot. So why is religion escapism in that case?’we don’t need a religion to tell us that.

  • calm1

    the notion of reincarnation of the soul is total rubbish. it makes no logical sense. it is a pure figment of human imagination.

  • calm1

    ‘Also, you seem to be stating stuff out of your own personal bias. Soul does not exist ? How do you know ? I am saying “reincarnation” (a core principle of the Hindu faith) makes maximum sense and is logical. You are refuting that notion. What proof you have to state that you are right and I am wrong ? ‘and i say the concept of ‘soul’ and ‘reincarnation’ is purely arbitrary. if a cop stops you for speeding are you going to tell him ‘prove to me that i don’t have license’ or will you just show it to him. i suggest the latter unless you want to land in jail.

  • Aeschylus

    So logical. If you want to be born again, become a Hindu. If it’s Heaven you want the there are many options for that too. Neat if you can get it. Is there any ‘money back’ policy? Can one buy insurance, from AIG for example, for the case where results disappoint? Maybe a straddle bet?

  • Aeschylus

    This is fun! Now the Hindus are getting it from the hillbilly wing. As a Moslem I thought we were Chosen to get insulted in the Western media. About time They picked on someone else. Advice to my Hindu friends : Don’t respond and they will eventually go away and pick on some other unfortunate. It is the Viking mentality.

  • calm1

    ‘Hinduism is NOT a religion. It’s emphasis is only on spirituality’it is a religion. religions are based on both morality and fear. there is a lot of both in every major religion. religion is total arbitrariness. there isn’t a god who punishes anybody for bad deeds or rewards people for the good ones. nobody struck me down the day(decades ago) when i decided there is no God. if reincarnation and soul exist, prove it to me. you can’t prove it.

  • calm1

    there is a lot of fear and authoritarianism in islam. it bullies it’s followers into believing that somebody had a revelation in a cave. questioning it is blasphemous, off with your head.there is no room for reasoning.i have been into a few caves and a ‘God’ never spoke to me. I refuse to believe that a ‘God’ spoke to somebody else. If others want to believe it or are scared ‘God’ will punish them for questioning the idea, it is their choice.

  • jontomus

    Hah! Try to imagine the christians putting up with all the gods the hindus believe in. I mean, there’s only 3 gods, right? And possibly Mary is a goddess, depending on how catholic you are.

  • B2O2

    Always hilarious to watch the defensive Christians lash out as someone turns their back on their chosen form of superstition. What? There is a world beyond the Megachurch next to the Tastee Freeze? I’m terrified! Momieeeee!

  • MPatalinjug

    Yonkers, New YorkA swallow, even a pretty swallow like Julia Roberts, doesn’t make a summer.So what if she converts to Hinduism? She is perfectly free to do that. Any American is free to convert from Catholicism to Hinduism, or to Buddhism, or to Shintoism–or to any other religious “ism” for that matter.Or even from any of the above to atheism–of which there are now some 42 million in the United States.That’s the beauty of these United States with its freedom of religion, or non-religion.If later on Julia Roberts decides to convert to, say, Shintoism, she is of course free to do so. No sweat!Mariano Patalinjug

  • calm1

    the idea of a formless God is also nonsense. and Christ claimed he was God. If anybody did that today we would call him a lunatic. I don’t believe anybody ever had mystical healing powers. all that is mumbo jumbo. To Julia, all I would ask is why do hindus,christians,muslims and buddhists flock to america ? it is because there is logical analysis and reasoning in america. swami vivekananda may have brought yoga to america and it is a multibillion dollar industry today. but what is it’s real value ? does yoga benefit us physically and mentally or is it just snake oil ?.we don’t need idiots like the bikram yoga guru(a fraud) telling americans that their minds and bodies are broken because we are all doing drugs, and he is going to fix it. it is insulting and nonsensical. is physical exercise better ? if yoga is useful, can the benefits be quantified in scientific terms ?. the process is no different from developing a new drug or medical procedure and studying the effects. if it works then it is widely accepted.

  • rohit57

    ‘But actually a lot of religions teach just that. Do something about your problems if you can, and accept only if you cannot. So why is religion escapism in that case?’

  • jbk60391

    Reading all these comments about the founding of various religions and the violence embedded in all them, at one point or another, and the violence practiced even in these times, perhaps it best to avoid all religions. Love one another, admire the beauty of nature, do as much good as one can among those who are suffering, and trust in your own judgments as one walks through life…

  • calm1

    i have hindu,muslim, christian and half sikh relatives and friends. what happened to each of them ?the hindu-hindu couples(the majority) remained hindus and brought up their kids as hindus.the hindu-christian couple gave their kids christian names.he remains a hindu, she a christian. she calls the kids by their christian names and he by their hindu names. one of the kids married a hindu and their kids have hindu names.the hindu-muslim couple gave their kids muslim names.he converted to islam(to the shock of his religiously conservative hindu parents) because she married him on the condition that he would convert to islam.the half-sikh/half hindu-hindu couple gave their kids north indian hindu names.the half sikh, like me is agnostic.

  • ExPatYankee

    Big Deal! Julia Roberts lost any credibility years ago. Besides, Richard Gere is a Buddhist, Cruise and Travolta are Scientologists, Shirley McClain is into spiritual channeling, etc, ad nauseum. It’s all been done before, remember the Beatles and the Maharishi?

  • roberto3

    If the Hindus are idolators and pagans, I wonder all those crosses, stars of david and the cresent moons and the green flags represent!Hindus are open enough to welcome all these symbols into their life along with a multitude of other ‘sacred’ symbols that the Abrahaminic faiths detest!Unlike the Abrahaminic faiths that say “There is but One God”, Hindus say “There is ONLY GOD”.

  • Capn0ok

    I wonder what motivates a person who, having dispensed with one invisible friend running the world, decides to people their world with other invisible friends.

  • shoma1

    All these comments reflect one thing and one thing only: How the people and the editors of this paper are close minded, bigoted and a bunch of lunatics. At the end of our lives, it does not matter whether we are Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Zorastrians…..we will be judged by the deeds we have done! One last comment: Could not give a rat’s ass about Julia Roberts and her personal choices!

  • spolina

    @woolrichwascool and others who like to comment without knowing the facts. Sati (burning of widows) is a practice by some communities in India and it’s not a Hinduism belief. It is believed it could have started because women in those days never married once widowed and they started to practice ‘Sati’ to avoid being sexually abused or bear other social troubles.

  • vballboy60

    American Christians are often upset when other Americans choose to change religions away from Christianity. Unfortunately those who are angry at such religious change are more racist or bigotted then they care to admit. Who cares what religion anyone is? Don’t founding American documents require no preference based on Race, creed, etc.? American Christians must get their fellow congregants to stop worrying about religion of others. We all have the “freedom of faith” but “freedom to practice” is allowed as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. Shame that those few Christians don;t see religious favortism in wanting the Ten Commandments in public parks but also feel threatened (why?) is the Bhagavita or Koranic verses were also required to be publically displayed with the same affection and understanding?Enough dividing people and nation-states over religious issues. Jesus taught loving your neighbor so please try and practice that ideal. Love is the answer, not war and hatred and distrust of others.

  • vballboy60

    God (Yahweh, Allah, or other reference name to your deity of choice)…bless the whole world, NO EXCEPTIONS!

  • ak1967

    As the world becomes more and more democratic and civilized, the Eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism etc are going to become more and more popular. These religions do not convert people aggressively, and believe in self realization, meditation, yoga, peace and non-violence. Of course like any religion, these religions also have their own issues and problems, but with time they will modernize themselves and become more progressive which is already happening.What Julia Robert does is a personal matter.

  • VastRightWingConspirator

    I honestly think that the Hindus have it figured out.

  • perryneheum

    Just another ill-educated, bored Hollywooder looking to find some meaningful meaning to her life besides collecting and spending million$ on clothes and surgery.Now, is she headed to India to bathe in one of those fetid, fecal-filled “holy” rivers?

  • Elisa2

    Modest practicing Hindus do not kiss in public or on screen do they?

  • Maya2

    One of the most illogical comment thread in modern history. Hinduism is not a religion, it is set of philosophical beliefs based on observations of the Universe. The beauty of the writings is that, once one picks up one of the ancient books written 5,000 years ago and passed down for 10,000 years and start critically thinking about it, it will fascinates you and you want to read more and more. They are all universal truths. People misunderstand Hinduism based without understanding. ” Religion without philosophy is ritualism and philosophy without religion is mental speculations” – Bhagavad Gita. Something to reflect on for next few minutes and after that you may go back to you narrow views of left, right, and what not!

  • HarshK

    About a year ago, Newsweek had an article which said many Americans practise Hindu traditions- such as cremating, believing in Karma and reincarnation….

  • katrodiya

    Human is one of many animals on this universe. What differentiate human from rest of the animals is it’s logical capabilities.Religion and myth are product of the human’s logical capability. Religions are human creations and is backed by myth, religions are not natural phenomenon.No two human brains can think same and hence not to have same behavior or outcome. Myth behind religions came to existence is to keep two human on same platform for to have same behavior for sake of better life and man kind.It’s that simple.

  • jagan2

    The notion that hindus worship idols is wrong. Idols are a medium, or rather one of the media, for hindus to communicate with Almighty. When we talk over the phone, we don’t talk TO the phone but THROUGH the phone to the other person. The person on the other side is significant, not the phone. To a blind observer, it appears that we are talking to the phone. Similarly, we use idols or various other symbols to reach out to the higher power. Idols themselves are not significant. So we have many idols, but only ONE God.

  • avishekhkumarjha

    Who the hell is GGJEY123?

  • ThisIsReality

    Hollywood Hindus are to religion as G.I. Joe dolls are to soldiers.

  • avishekhkumarjha

    Julia Robert was exploited by her fellow people that’s why she chose to become Hindu. NO HINDU priest or religious group persuaded her to adopt Hinduism, so please stop debating over this now.

  • calm1

    ‘The notion that hindus worship idols is wrong. Idols are a medium, or rather one of the media, for hindus to communicate with Almighty. When we talk over the phone, we don’t talk TO the phone but THROUGH the phone to the other person. The person on the other side is significant, not the phone. To a blind observer, it appears that we are talking to the phone. Similarly, we use idols or various other symbols to reach out to the higher power. Idols themselves are not significant. So we have many idols, but only ONE God.’good point. the hindus talk on many different phones to the guy at the other end. christians speak on one phone and the muslims go without a handset.these people all claim that theirs is the best way to reach the other guy and try to brainwash us.i say there is nobody at the other end. these guys are wasting their whole lives arguing about a guy at the other end who is unreachable because he does not exist.

  • avishekhkumarjha

    Hinduism is nothing more than a myth and it’s really funny to believe humans can be this brain dead.The roots of the diverse set of religious beliefs, traditions and philosophy of Hindus were laid during the Vedic age which originated in India between 2000 and 1500 BC.[24] The ancient Vedic religion is considered by most scholars as the predecessor of the modern religion of Hindus[25] and it has had a profound impact on India’s history, culture and philosophy. The Vedas are the oldest sacred books of Hinduism and lay the foundation of several schools of Hindu thought.[26] The Upanishads refers to those scriptures which form the core teachings of the Vedānta philosophy.[27] Adi Shankara’s commentaries on the Upanishads led to the rise of Advaita Vedanta, the most influential sub-school of Vedanta.Hinduism, its religious doctrines, traditions and observances are very typical and inextricably linked to the culture and demographics of India. Hinduism has one of the most ethnically diverse bodies of adherents in the world. It is hard to classify Hinduism as a religion because the framework, symbols, leaders and books of reference that make up a typical religion are not uniquely identified in the case of Hinduism. Hinduism is almost 4,000 years old. Most commonly it can be seen as a “way of life” which gives rise to many other civilized forms of religions.Large tribes and communities indigenous to India are closely linked to the synthesis and formation of Hindu civilization. People of East Asian roots living in the states of north eastern India and Nepal were also a part of the earliest Hindu civilization. Immigration and settlement of people from Central Asia and people of Indo-Greek heritage have brought their own influence on Hindu society.The roots of Hinduism in southern India, and amongst tribal and indigenous communities is just as ancient and fundamentally contributive to the foundations of the religious and philosophical system.Ancient Hindu kingdoms arose and spread the religion and traditions across South East Asia, particularly Thailand, Nepal, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, and what is now central Vietnam. A form of Hinduism particularly different from Indian roots and traditions is practiced in Bali, Indonesia, where Hindus form 90% of the population. Indian migrants have taken Hinduism and Hindu culture to South Africa, Fiji, Mauritius and other countries in and around the Indian Ocean, and in the nations of the West Indies and the Caribbean.

  • calm1

    islam was founded by an uneducated,illiterate guy who lived among sheep,goats and camels. he was mentally sick and had delusions in a desert cave.the rest of the mental retards around him fared no better and the whole thing spread like cancer.

  • calm1

    ‘Hindu never subjugates anyone to adopt their religion. We have firm respect for all religion’true. julia roberts,america’s hindu sweetheart,won’t knock on peoples door with a bhagvad gita in hand, to try and convert them to hinduism. and hindus won’t frame a christian on claims of defiling the gita(blasphemy) and kill them,like muslims.but hindus like all others will try to brainwash the rest of us

  • HookedOnThePost

    Taking religion out of the 10 commandments, there should be only commandments: 1. thou shalt not steal (unless thou art hungry); 2. thou shalt not commit adultery (unless your spouse has left you); 3. thou shalt not lie (except when the wife asks if she looks fat); 4. thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods (unless he is selling them on craigslist); 5. honor thy father and mother (while accepting that they aren’t perfect); 6. thou shalt not murder except to defend your or your loved ones’ lives, not “your way of life.”

  • jaxas70

    The truly odd thing about Christians–and Americans in general–is that they will scoff at such notions as reincarnation while blindly accepting all manner of patently absurd Christian notions–ie, that a man was crucified and his body essentially ripped and tortured before he died, then magically arose from the dead three days later. That notion seems far more worthy of ridicule than reincarnation and Karma, which makes infinitely more sense out of the crazy unjust world we live in.

  • sknyluv

    I would also like to add, as another commentator pointed out, that Hinduism is not a religion, per say … it is a lifestyle. It is a way of life. It is something you are, not something you follow.

  • shovandas

    To all those who blogged, thank you for enlightening me. As a practicing Hindu ( whatever it stands for ), I am enriched by the information. Hope it makes me a better person – and yes, I don’t carry it on my sleeve. As Calm1 stated ” To thine own self be true.”

  • doyouktt

    the difference is that people actually were martyred and murdered because of their relentless declaration of the proof of the ressurection. and these were JEWS!!! and if you think that in that age some Jewish folks from all walks of life are going to be killed for a lie you are carazy. Remember, “follow a dead savior and you will end up just like him”. We can all be wrong but we cannot all be right. I will put my money on the only resurrected man in history. you take Sai Baba, a hug from Amma, and the possibility of returning as a Giraffe and i’ll take Jesus.

  • eagle2roost

    Clearly this is Obama’s fault. Just kidding- can’t believe no one has said that yet.

  • US-conscience

    Your right JAXA570 – that does make more sense to us humans, thats why all man made religions ( hinduism, buddhism, Islam, Catholicism, mormonism…etc.) all believe essentially the same thing …that you have to work your way to nirvana, or the next level or paradise or a better next life. Christianity is the only faith that says you cant “earn” your way to heaven, there is no one that is good, all have broken Gods moral laws and deserve justice and only through repentance and faith in Jesus can you be saved. Not only that Jesus in the only faith leader who claimed to be God in flesh and had the authority to forgive sins. Pretty unique !Deepak Chopra once said in a conference “All belief systems are a cover-up for insecurites” – an attendee asked Deepak if he believed that ? Deepak said yes, the questioner said ‘thank you’ (everyone in the audience laughed )

  • orthodoxheathen

    “Hinduism is THE oldest religion known to man.Then please join me in embracing atheism, which is older than every religion mentioned in this discussion.

  • judithclaire1939

    The good news is that if just one American decides to learn something about Hinduism…that is one more better educated American. Also, if just one American Christian…takes another look…and does not pass the Christian test…one more better educated American. After all, Ignorance may not be Bliss.

  • mosthind

    Freedom of religion.Freedom from religion.I’ll take the second option and am most thankful it is available in the United States.

  • ltsypkin

    Julia Roberts rules. She has a house in Venice Beach,CA. Maybe she has one in Spain too and knows where my Freshman Spanish teacher from Pacific Grove High School,Ellen Martin lives. I left my senior will to her in the Class of 2001 Pacific Grove High School Senior Paper.

  • sknyluv

    You can’t just become Hindu. You can practice hinduism, but you can’t convert to Hinduism. You are either born a Hindu or not. Sorry Julia.

  • senbilboredux

    As a devout Christian and Republican, I say it will be fun watching you nonbelievers suffer the torment of eternal damnation as I sit at the right hand of our Lord.

  • shalshah

    Hinduism is a private faith. Not a proselytizing one. A story based on her faith should not be disseminated in the media. Please remove this article. People who choose to seek the truth will find it. Good job Julia.

  • akhtarman

    Hinduism may have a spiritual side but it is essentially a bunch of outdated superstitions. The elephant is powerful, therefore a God. The rat is resourceful, so a God. The cow, why not. What about amoeba etc.I have lived in India and found the poverty, violent pogroms (inc. anti-Muslim, Sikh and Christian riots not to mention the Untouchables), greed, backstabbing, Caste discrimination (against dark-skinned, lower castes etc.) disguisting. Indians are shown as peaceful meditators when in fact they riot like crazy and lose their temper like nothing.Actually, go to ANY country with a large Hindu population (India, Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad, etc.) and you will find high levels of poverty, crime and backwardness.Roberts, another flakey Hollywood star joining a new thing- this joins Kabbalaism, Scientology, crazy Jesus freaks (e.g. Stephen Baldwin), etc. Pathetic!!!

  • ThishowIseeit

    SHALSHAH, we have freedom of speech. Elizabeth Tenety’s article and questions are very interesting. If Julia Roberts’ faith is not private any more is her fault.

  • DCresident99

    I like some of these movie stars too but at the end of the day they are not rocket scientists and probably find it difficult to navigate the complicated worlds in which they find themselves. Not surprising that they go off on various tangents. And Hinduism is not a bad one, though I wonder how deeply JR can understand the mindset and perspective, really really.

  • calm1

    the islamists are the worst.they teach their kids that to blow themselves up is a blessing.

  • calm1

    even moderate muslims in pakistan say that islamic countries like pakistan just create muslims in their schools. the kids are taught to hate non-muslims and even other muslim sects(ahmadis and shias) who are being persecuted. the 5 percent religious minority in pakistan(which includes christians) feel very insecure according to the new york times.and these guys criticize every other relegion.hinduism included.

  • ggjey123

    The fiunny thing is that more than 100 million Dalits (lower caste) in India are waiting to leave Hinduism, a relgion that made them sub-human. (Racism was mostly born of economic reasons and superiority feelings. They used passages in the Bible to justify it too)

  • rprieto

    “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life..No man comes to the Father but by me”. John 14:6

  • ak1967

    It is good to see faiths based on basically non-violence and non-agressive conversion take prominence. It is high time, the world is becoming more and more civilized, the terrorism, forced or devious conversion notwithstanding. Of course, Hinduism, like any other religion, has its issues and problems, but it seems they are making progress. And that is a good sign. Self realization, meditation, yoga, non-violence, peace and respect for all religions are good traits.

  • BurtReynolds

    Well. I guess since Julia Roberts thinks Hinduism is the way to go, we should get ready for the wave of people converting across America. The Beatles didn’t get millions of people to start following Hinduism and Hare Krishna (at least for more than a few weeks), and they were many times more popular than Julia Roberts. Maybe Brad Pitt will convert to Islam and we can get ready for America to become the next Iran. That is if Ken Cuccinelli and Co. don’t establish the Christian version of Sharia law first.

  • Desertdiva1

    Namaste Julia. Other than announcing it as her personal religious choice I can’t find much newsworthy in this article. Must be a slow news day.

  • calm1

    ‘the hindu-muslim couple gave their kids muslim names.he converted to islam(to the shock of his religiously conservative hindu parents) because she married him on the condition that he would convert to islam’he must have been physically attracted to her.that’s one way it can happen.the other day an evangelist,a lady, knocked on my door. she was very pretty. that’s one way to convert people.send seductive women to their doors.

  • rohit57

    The strength of Hinduism is its strength and tolerance. Even though the Buddha was a radical challenger of traditional Hinduism, he has been deified by Hindus as the 9th incarnation of Vishnu. The first time I saw a picture of Jesus it was in the house of a Hindu.Ultimately we do not know – or at least most of us do not know what religious truths, if any, there are. Atheists are telling us as dogma something which they do not know for a fact (as are most religious people).But if we want to come to the question with an open mind, we can do that best as Hindus. Hinduism, despite some of its less palatable customs, has always regarded religious questions to be addressed by inquiry and not by dogma.BTW, I am not myself a Hindu, but have much respect for that religion.

  • akhtarman

    A Muslim suicide bomber is usually one or two people. In India, e.g. Gujurat and Bombay, the riots are done by tens of thousands of people. This include Hindu seniors, women, teens and men who all joined in. They kill hundreds or thousands and the Indian police/military overlook everything.The Indian army does nothing. The government does nothing. Where is the justice for the tens of thousands of Sikhs killed by Hindu mob fanatics after Ghandi’s assasination. Where is the punishment of the Hindu mob fanatics who killed tens of thousands of Muslims in Gujurat? However, when minorities set off a bomb and kills a few Hindu people, the Hindu Indian Government has to fight them in bring them to ‘justice’ in the name of fighting terror! Fascist Hypocrites.

  • rohit57

    In one of the earlier posts I read that the practice of Sati (burning the wife in the funeral pyre of husband) came into existence during Islamic rule. Not it was there right from the time of Mahabharata, when King Pandu’s three wives committed it.A sati really is a female saint, and a woman can become a sati by doing brave things which have nothing to do with self-immolation. Sati Savitri is an example, because she saved her husband’s life by posing the god of death a riddle which he could not solve.He said, “I cannot spare your husband’s life because his time has come. But ask me any other favor” She said, “Fine, I want a hundred children.” When he said OK, she pointed out that her husband would have to live for that to happen.The custom of Sati is now illegal in India, but it was never part of the notion of sati that force should be used – you cannot be forced to become a saint. A family motivated by hubris may force a woman to immolate herself, but she is not then a genuine sati.In the Christian tradition, suicide is a mortal sin. But this is not the case with other cultures. Whether it be the kamikaze pilots of Japan, or the Buddhist priests in Vietnam who immolated themselves and brought down Diem’s government, suicide has often been seen as an appropriate gesture in non-Christian cultures.BTW, suicide is more common in the US, especially among elderly white men and white male teenagers than it is in most countries.

  • rohit57

    Well. I guess since Julia Roberts thinks Hinduism is the way to go, we should get ready for the wave of people converting across America. And as for fundamentalism, there have been no marches in India against teaching Darwin. Indeed, many Hindus believe that the ten incarnations of Vishnu, starting from the earliest one which is a fish, to a turtle, all the way to the Buddha, are evidence of evolution.It is true that some Hindu practices are harmful. But since Hinduism is a mixture of religion and social norms, these practices have more to do with Hindu customs than with the religion.In the Gita, the most popular Hindu scripture, Krishna says explicitly that the wise do not see any difference between a dog, a lower caste person who eats dog, an elephant, a cow, and a literate Brahmin. They are all the same.This is rather like the view of a physicist who will tell you that we are all made of the same elementary particles.So Hinduism has much that is bad and much that is good. It is a little like Indian restaurants where the food is delicious, and inexpensive, but the toilet definitely is a place where you do not want to linger! :)It is out of Hindu reverance for life that you see peacocks and monkeys moving around freely and with little fear in streets in India.I suspect that JR has chosen to take the good from Hinduism, and reject the worse customs. All power to her!!

  • samwoods77

    It would have been nice if the author explored how Hinduism only works well for those born into the right caste. How can a religion condone those who are born so “low” as to require others to never lay eyes on them, those born into certain groups that are the only ones who may become lawyers or doctors, etc. Or how about the treatment of women? Marrying 10 year old girls to 90 year old men to get a dowry, then the girl child is disowned and on her own once she is widowed at the ripe age of 12 or 13. Take a look at the girl widows begging for food down by the Ganges. Let’s not romanticize this culture or religion just because Julia Roberts now adheres to it.

  • dataflunky

    The media makes too much of celebrity’s private lives, including their religions.

  • rohit57

    You can’t just become Hindu. You can practice hinduism, but you can’t convert to Hinduism. You are either born a Hindu or not. Sorry Julia.In fact Hindus have often claimed that Sikhs and Jains are also Hindus. Sikhs and Jains, who value their separateness have argued to be regarded as distinct religions and they have succeeded.Nonetheless, many Sikhs do regard themselves as Hindu and Jain weddings are typically performed by Hindu priests even though Jains are actually an atheistic religion emphasizing non-violence.Hindus do not have dogmas, so it is difficult to exclude something bad, but also easy to include something good. Hinduism has had more trouble with Islam and Christianity, because Muslims and Christians would resent Hindus saying, “You too are a sort of Hindu.” However, crown prince Dara Shikoh, the great grandson of emperor Akbar, did write a book with the theme that Hinduism and Islam were the same religion, and that some eastern scriptures referred to by Muhammad were in fact the Upanishads.Note that Gandhi, who was a Hindu, routinely read from the Koran and the Bible at his prayer meetings.He also called one of his communities Tolstoy farm after Leo Tolstoy who was a devout Christian. The two saw no reason to quarrel.

  • joncsmith3

    I’m not surprised given the speed with which America has accepted the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and its epic gospel, The Pastafarian Quatrains. Alas, as is the case for many Pastafarians, embraced faith is easily worn on the sleeve, or around the neck like circus jewelry.

  • DebChatterjee

    SENBILBORDEUX wrote:”As a devout Christian and Republican, I say it will be fun watching you nonbelievers suffer the torment of eternal damnation as I sit at the right hand of our Lord.”Your thinking about Lord’s justice is only delusional that was taught to you by some stupid child-molesting priest. Lord is just and will not tolerate you in His presence because he knows that you are basically a white racist pig. You deserve hell and I am sure that Lord in His infinite wisdom shall cast you into the lap of Lucifer and into eternal inferno.You are disgrace to the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson. I am a Hindu and foreign-born who came here legally and is now a proud US citizen. I am a registered Republican voter. I voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin last time. However, I don’t personally harbor hatred or derive any divine pleasure against others because they follow a different faith. I judge doctrine and people for what they are. It’s good that Julia Roberts is shunning company of people like you. BTW, if Julia Roberts reverts back I shall have nothing against her at all.Shame on you. It is because of people like you that USA, once the bastion of hope around the world is now a subject of ridicule. Get a f$%@#ng like !

  • Carole_

    This column on “faith” is a big joke. You have some of the most ridiculous stories and the fact that Sally Quinn is a contributor makes it a bigger joke! I read it to get a laugh!

  • bendan2000

    All religion is pure and utter BS.

  • rohit57

    It would have been nice if the author explored how Hinduism only works well for those born into the right caste. How can a religion condone those who are born so “low” as to require others to never lay eyes on them, those born into certain groups that are the only ones who may become lawyers or doctors, etc. Or how about the treatment of women? Marrying 10 year old girls to 90 year old men to get a dowry, then the girl child is disowned and on her own once she is widowed at the ripe age of 12 or 13. Take a look at the girl widows begging for food down by the Ganges. Let’s not romanticize this culture or religion just because Julia Roberts now adheres to it.I agree that some Hindu practices have been terrible for low caste people. But as for low status of women – when I was a college student in Mumbai in the early fifties, about 40% of the professors were women. After I transferred to Harvard I did not have a single woman professor. So women CAN be treated badly, but they also have more opportunities than in the West.And note that America imprisons its men at 30 times the rate at which India imprisons its population. Shall we say then that America oppresses men? Perhaps it does.Hinduism is a complex reality, with much that is bad and much that is noble. I suspect JR has the intelligence to take what is good and leave aside what is not.

  • fcs25

    Hinduism is nothing more than a myth and it’s really funny to believe humans can be this brain dead.

  • Chasmosaur1

    First, to those criticizing the story…this is the “On Faith” blog. Of course something of this nature is covered here.Second, I’m sorry – Ms. Roberts is an actress with a movie to promote. You’ll have to permit me a lack of faith that she has converted her family to Hinduism.It’s not a criticism against Hinduism in the least, just a rather cynical take on both Ms. Roberts’ sincerity and commitment. If her next project takes her to Japan for some reason, will she become Shinto?

  • incant2001

    My understanding: one has to be born a Hindu. you cannot convert.

  • rohit57

    SENBILBORDEUX wrote:Just how many right hands does God have? You might be sitting TO THE right of God, but there might be 50 million people between you and God, might there not? :) So then you won’t be AT the right hand of God. You will need binoculars to see him. I would suggest taking along Bausch and Lomb…But seriously, if watching other people suffer is “fun” for you, then you are not actually a Christian. Read the actual words of Jesus and ignore the rest of the nonsense….

  • ravitchn

    If she marries a Hindu and he dies she would be burned alive on his funeral pyre. Marrying even a Muslim would be better. Let’s face it, anything but Christianity or Judaism will be chosen by these celebrity idiots.

  • rohit57

    My understanding: one has to be born a Hindu. you cannot convert.There is no standard practice. Most Hindu temples welcome everyone, but a very few will only allow “Hindu looking” people, which means that an Indian Muslim would be allowed in, but a westerner who is actually devout might be turned away.My own wife who was born Catholic has been to hundreds of Hindu temples and the priests have always been friendly. She was turned away exactly once from a very orthodox temple. But typically, Hindu priests care about what you do and not how you were born.I repeat – it is not a club, and there is no doorman to keep you out.

  • rohit57

    If she marries a Hindu and he dies she would be burned alive on his funeral pyre. Marrying even a Muslim would be better. Let’s face it, anything but Christianity or Judaism will be chosen by these celebrity idiots.Maybe you need to check some facts??

  • motherof3

    I think the question of will America embrace Hinduism is silly. Embrace? Tolerate or accept, sure. But “embrace”? Why is it so trendy now for us all to “embrace” everything?

  • Davidd1

    Most people are of a particular religion due to indoctrination as children. However, leaving one’s particular irrational and indoctrinated superstitious belief in order to embrace someone else’s unreason is somewhat akin to ceasing to believe in “step on a crack, break your mother’s back” in order to embrace “don’t walk under a ladder.”

  • sd71

    when christians and muslims bad mouth hinduism and other religions we know where the problem is. it is religious intolerance. too many societies try to create good muslims and christians,filling minds with useless nonsense.

  • DebChatterjee

    Yep, thanks Jihadist for sharing your positive views about anti-Islamists like me.Female muslim suicide bombers shall wreck havoc in 2012, a corollary that follows from Nostradamus’s dire predictions.Good to see that you are still there under the burqa/hijab. Allah Hafiz !

  • DebChatterjee

    “all this is all not a convincing argument.just more arbitrariness that obfuscates the whole question.”Perhaps you are unaware or unable to follow that in modern physics such arbitrariness in postulates and theory is commonplace, and most scientists live with it. It maybe uncomfortable, but as the present day situation shows that complexities of the problems in modern physics allow quite a fair degree of arbitrariness even in their respective mathematical formalisms. My point is why would metaphysics (which is closer to spirituality and other forms transcendentalism in search for soul or reincarnation etc.) be any different ? Going by the questions in physics and the answers that are posed, I believe that it is quite childish to expect a foolproof closed answer on such ill-defined issues.

  • APaganplace

    Anyway, the point of all that is, that maybe arguing about what’s ‘proof,’ especially compared to people talking about books. I’ve had all the proof I need, and proof enough to know that maybe finding the people you most would want to see in the world isn’t *about* ‘proving’ anything or convincing anyone of anything, …just maybe, even, seeing they’re OK, smiling, and letting them go. I think that’s why we tend to forget in the first place. It’s just a fact to me. What people make of it is… Too much about preconceptions. People are taught to react with fear and feel that if people have souls, their own are in peril somehow, cause ‘souls’ are supposed to be manufactured and shunted away to a Heaven or Hell. (Or for that matter, one caste or another) Ain’t so. It’s cooler than that. Cooler than the grandiosity of many New Agers, too. Maybe acting ‘once-born’ all the time really isn’t helping our world. Maybe, recognizing we’ve been here before in one shape or another, and are likely to be again, is better than treating Earth like a prep school you’d like to blow up on graduation day. Just sayin. :)

  • DebChatterjee

    Apaganplace:We do not know how the mind works. Neuroscientists are trying their best, but so far have failed to get any clue. BTW, because the neuroscientists have failed, does not mean that we should abandon science. It would be similar to that of the Christian fundamentalists who have equated intelligent design as science. Teaching intelligent desin a school curiculum is OK with me, but specifically not in a science class.Can our brain remember the past or can it see the future ? I do not know for sure, but examples/incidents exist that have been verified by some curious Joe and they have not been dismissed as hogwash. Some of the claims are, but those that were not could not be explained by the laws/perceptions defining the boundaries of modern science.Thus, if you do observe some incident and on a fairly repeated basis, and, cannot explain it to the best of your abilities based on the existing body of knowledge, then what can it be said ? A more mundane example is astrology. Yes, it is not a part of the natural sciences like physics or chemistry. But why ? Predicting events in future or telling your past and present is what the star gazers do. However it is my experience that while many astrologers are crooks, many could accurately predict events in past, present and future that are astounding. The problem with scientists is that they have NOT discovered any natural laws that can help explain why these astrologers can predict what they predict.Astrology is a statistical phenomenon with However we live in a deterministic world; we are comfortable if we can determine a-priori what the issue is. But if we cannot determine what the nature is, we feel threatened about our mental faculties. Therein dwells the demon of fundamentalism. That’s something as a Hindu I shall continue to abhor. “Seek and ye shall find” – Jesus Christ.

  • Jihadist

    Female muslim suicide bombers shall wreck havoc in 2012, a corollary that follows from Nostradamus’s dire predictions.Good to see that you are still there under the burqa/hijab. Allah Hafiz !Posted by: Deb Chatterjee *******************************************Thanks for the prediction Deb. I’m sure it will be 100% accurate as you believe it. My burqa/hijab/niqab will keep off all the fallout dust of Armageddon in 2012. ^_^

  • virat_86

    what all we are fighting for, I believe the most important religion in this world is humanity, love and effection no matter if you are christian, hindu or muslim.

  • ajha06

    what all we are fighting for, I believe the most important religion in this world is humanity, love and effection no matter if you are christian, hindu or muslim.——————————————-who the hell is this?

  • virat_86

    Go ask your mother…

  • virat_86

    No I am peanuts…

  • virat_86

    Jihadist… What kind of name is this ? Are you a hardliner ?

  • ajha06

    Posted by: Jihadist | August 9, 2010 1:40 PM ——————————————-I am sure you are al qaeda or Laskar-e-toiba agent….. pathetic man.

  • Jihadist

    Jihadist… What kind of name is this ? Are you a hardliner ?Posted by: virat_86 *******************************************A “name” taken on as a dare by a friend who told me about “On Faith” and seeing all those effusive, excitable self-designated, self style “anti-jihadists”, anti-Islamists” etc in “On Faith. *_-

  • virat_86

    No, This name is used by extremists to kill people and to carry out unwanted extremist activities.

  • Jihadist

    I am sure you are al qaeda or Laskar-e-toiba agent….. pathetic man.Posted by: ajha06 *******************************************Nahhhhh….I’m a Muslim agent of the ultra Hindu-Indian chauvinistic-nationalistic wing of the BJP. I’m also also a member of the Flat Earth group and an honorary member of the Flying Spaghetti Monster adherents. (+_+)

  • ajha06

    Hi Jihadist.You may be a nice person but you shouldn’t use the word ‘Jihadist’ in this global blog site. I am a Hindu, but it does not mean that I hate Muslims or others. I love Islam religion, but I just hate some people from your communities who claim them selves to be ‘JIHADI’.

  • Afraid4USA

    I can’t understand why anyone would give a tinker’s damn about what any actor or actress thinks about religion or politics. She’s an airhead and her career is tanking. Maybe this is a publicity stunt.

  • DebChatterjee

    Apaganplace:If I knew who my loved ones from my past life were in the present life, I would go and check it out with them for verification. I root for science and its progress. And, as a Hindu, I believe that God loves those who pursue science. :-)

  • csintala79

    Do any of the commentators carping about this article being trite and trivial appreciate the irony of their statement, i.e., “Who cares what a movie star believes?” If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t bother to comment. It is obvious that they care and are bothered by a well known celebrity dissing their cherished faith or lack of faith. They are taking a not very convincing passive aggressive tactic, feigning disdain.

  • jykmoy

    Most Americans are secular humanists. They could probably care less about Hinduism. At least julia has faith in something…

  • DebChatterjee

    Calm1 wrote:”if reincarnation and soul exist, prove it to me. you can’t prove it.”I cannot offer a mathematical proof. But I can only speculate with whatever cranial powers I claim to have.On reincarnation my speculation goes thus, and that speculation assumes there is a supernatural power (whom Hindus call “Bhagwan” or God), and that power is just and wise.So, consider the reality that two babies are born at the same time in two distinct houses – one is extremely affluent and the other is in abject poverty. The two babies shall most likely undergo a chasm of differences in their future lifestyle and hence survival under normal circumstances.One would speculate if a just and a loving God (Almighty) existed why would He punish one baby with such poverty and reward the other with so much affluence ? What crimes have one of the babies (nascent) done being just born into the world ? If we assume that God knows everything then He must know something that we cannot fathom about this mystery. This is my speculation about reincarnation. (Again this is not a mathematically deductive proof; it is a speculation, and assumes existence of a superpower called “God”.)Regarding soul’s existence, I suggest reading An Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yoganananda. The author speculates on the existence of the soul based on Einstein’s theory. (But I read it long ago, and hence cannot remember the details.)However I have an afterthought: it is only in the Hindu culture that atheism is recognized. But that atheism does not debate whether God exists or not. Instead it emphasizes that the world is material and it is humans are embossed in this materialistic society. So, surviving well in such a material world should be the motto of humans. Thinking about philosophical thoughts are fine, but to the detriment of one’s own material development. So, if you are an atheist Hindu culture can provide you with a home, even if you are a half-sikh.

  • DebChatterjee

    Calm1 wrote:”islam was founded by an uneducated,illiterate guy who lived among sheep,goats and camels. he was mentally sick and had delusions in a desert cave.the rest of the mental retards around him fared no better and the whole thing spread like cancer.”Yeah, true. But his followers (chamchas) are winning and killing …winning and killing … History is written by winners … Right ?

  • calm1

    ‘Yeah, true. But his followers (chamchas) are winning and killing …winning and killing … History is written by winners … Right ?’what have they won ? nothing.

  • DebChatterjee

    Calm1 wrote:”i have been into a few caves and a ‘God’ never spoke to me.”Because you did not go to the actual cave where a God was relaxing … Or, maybe you did not have some seductive lady with you in that cave…

  • calm1

    islamists have given their religion,and religion in general, a poor image with suicide bombings,violence both sectarian and against non-muslims, terrorist attacks around the world and persecution of minorities. other religions create social divisions too.christianity tries to imposes it’s belief system over america as well and there is a constant social conflict over gay rights and abortion,and church versus state.the middle east(israel and palestine) is screwed up by religion,as are afghanistan and the indian subcontinent.agnosticism is the best for all societies. without religion there would be one less cause for violence and divisiveness in the world.and as i said,to thine own self be true. don’t care about what religions say

  • calm1

    ‘Because you did not go to the actual cave where a God was relaxing … Or, maybe you did not have some seductive lady with you in that cave’let’s not get personal here.besides you are missing the whole point.religions use human sexuality to convert people.

  • calm1

    ‘Because you did not go to the actual cave where a God was relaxing …’No. God is just a delusion of the mind. “God” does not exist.

  • APaganplace

    To my experience, people asking, “Is America Ready For A….” is the same thing as saying, “Become un-ready for this, America!” “Is America ready for Pagans in interfaith discussions?” implies there both ought to be a ‘debate’ and that it’s up to someone with a problem. Maybe it’d be a different discussion if it was phrased like, “‘America’s Sweetheart’ Is Revealed to be Hindu, Who’s Going To Develop A Problem, Now.” Or “Will Undefined People Start Freaking Out On Behalf Of Other Undefined People About A Black/Interracial President?” Or “Does Rock Hudson Turning Out To Have Been Gay Mean Something About Hollywood?”

  • DebChatterjee

    Proving that soul and reincarnation exist to a human bound by senses of this world is futile. It is like telling that the room in which you are sitting and watching a TV can also be invaded by dinosaurs. However the latter is possible if you admit that a infinite-multidimensional universe with parallels exist. Dr. Michio Kaku, a renowned physicist at NASA has mathematically speculated that such a multidimensional universe can indeed exist. Mathematicians do not rule out the possibility and counter-argue that just as a Higgs boson has yet not been experimentally verified, so also even if tofday the multidimensional world has not been experimentally verified, it is mathematically possible. Dr. Kaku argues that we humans are limited by our narrow perceptions. This narrowness in perception is a reason to believe that the atheists are asking for tangible proof because to them “seeing is believing”. Unfortunately in this age of quantum physics, relativity etc., progress is not made on the availability of tangible proof. If available, excellent ! If not, speculate. That’s the trend of the scientific logic (particle physics) these days. So, asking for proof all the time sounds somewhat infantile given the complexity of such problems. I recommend the following books that maybe helpful in drawing ideas from physics to appreciate eastern mysticism which is connected to the Hindu way of thinking. 1. Michio Kaku, PARALLEL WORLDS: A JOURNEY THROUGH CREATION, HIGHER DIMENSIONS AND THE FUTURE OF COSMOS. (2006)2. Fritjof Capra, THE TAO OF PHYSICS: AN EXPLORATION OF PARALLELS BETWEEN MODERN PHYSICS AND EASTERN MYSTICISM. (2000).Of course the books and their contents are for those having a healthy skepticism. They are not for the stubborn. I also feel a discussion on the twio books would take us too far away from the mainstream of the discussion.

  • calm1

    ‘On reincarnation my speculation goes thus…’this is pure arbitrariness.

  • DebChatterjee

    “islamists have given their religion..”That’s a wrong statement. Read the Quran (English translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali). Sam Harris makes it very emphatic in his book about what the Quran says. It’s the doctrine of the Quran that explicitly espouses violence against those who are non-Muslims and will not convert. The goal of Islam is to Islamize the entire planet by active persuasion or by use of force if necessary.Exaltation at suicide bombings by Muslim radicals finds its support in the Quran (004:095). Read the English translation and find it out for yourself. It is NOT like Muslims are intentionally doing it. It’s their religion that wants them to use violence to further the goal of Islam.

  • DebChatterjee

    “this is pure arbitrariness.”Stating that soul and reincarnation does not exist, is also arbitrary. There is nothing shining about being dismissive.

  • DebChatterjee

    “what have they won ? nothing.”No they did. They have earned the disrespect and that Islam (radical) version is well-known to all Americans, who are normally ignorant about anything beyond their counties.Everybody knows the violence that can be unleashed by radical Muslims, through beheadings, bombings and mindless killings. They have not earned anything constructive; but indeed Islam for good and bad reasons is a factor in all global political decision making. Everybody knows that Muslims can pose a serious threat if their demands are not met. (Probably that’s why the mosque at ground zero is getting built.)

  • calm1

    ‘Proving that soul and reincarnation exist to a human bound by senses of this world is futile. It ..’all this is all not a convincing argument.just more arbitrariness that obfuscates the whole question.

  • calm1

    ‘Everybody knows that Muslims can pose a serious threat if their demands are not met. (Probably that’s why the mosque at ground zero is getting built.) ‘maybe it’s because it happened in new york. nobody cares in new york. they’ll vote for gay rights and building a mosque on ground zero.if 9/11 had happened in the bible belt, they would have not allowed a mosque on the spot.who knows ? but islam has the worst world image among all religions in the non-muslim world. radical hindus and jews do not try to blow up times square.

  • nickmukherjee

    We are truly proud that an extremely intelligent, talented and woman, has found the wisdom and values in Indian religion worth adopting. It is in stark contrast to the poor uneducated villagers who are bribed into converting to Christianity in remote interiors of India, where shamefully, development has been slow. Knowledge about Indian traditions has become irrelevant in front of poverty and hunger to those poor folks. Money from the west is buying them into Christianity. There is no death threat in India, obviously, and there are millions of Christians to welcome them. Islam is a one way street where guys can become a Muslim but find it almost impossible to leave. Converting a Muslim means death penalty in Islam! Not in Hinduism. So let this give and take continue! Give us the Hollywood icons, and you can help our poor folks in the name of Jesus. Hopefully one day they will revert back to their old faith! Wait till I prove that Jesus himself taught Indian non-violence, AHIMSHA, MOKSHA, NIRVANA, TAPASHYA, etc.

  • sabsmessenger

    Oh, please. Since when do we start making decisions about our spirituality based on what celebrities do or do not do? I don’t know what’s worse this ridiculous article or Anne Rice’s “announcement” that she’s quitting Christianity! I’m becoming Eastern Orthodox…when will the Post come to my door and interview me?

  • spidermean2

    “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me”If there is somebody who can walk on water or turn water into wine other than Jesus, then probably Julia’s conversion has sense.But there is nobody who can exceed or equal what Christ did so it only means that her conversion is a product of STUPIDITY.

  • spidermean2

    Julia should live in India so she can experience first hand what this religion has done to their believers. Dalits or slaves are legalize upon the prodding of their religion.Holy cow! They even give food to monkeys in a temple thinking they are some kind of god and forget about giving food to Dalits.

  • ediptllc

    To spidermean2:On this count, you ARE correct. Certainly,

  • calm1

    religion and philosophy defy all meaningful analysis and reason. good for julia though.

  • spidermean2

    calm1 wrote “religion and philosophy defy all meaningful analysis and reason.”Sure, coming from a man of “reason”. I bet you can’t even define what it means. True and false religions exists. If you can’t distinguish the difference between the two, you are way out of reason.

  • ediptllc

    Roberts, it seems, has no problems with it. Americans, however, seem to have many problems with Hinduism. Let’s see if we can remedy that. First, regarding the correlations between Hinduism itself and the ethno- and social conditions, this arises from a condition from which all faiths suffer. When first articulated, faiths arise, clean, clear, and pristine. As time passes, they suffer pollution (and eventually, they die. Rather like humans, they are born and acquire bodies – in this case, temples, mosques, churches, etc. – and inhabiting those bodies, souls – the congregation of the faithful. Eventually, however, the souls of religions die and all that remains are ruins – the same remains that human bodies likewise leave behind: broken bones, broken stones). Buddha attempted to reform Hinduism as it was already by then – ca. 600BC – polluted, rather in the same manner that Mohammad attempted to reform the Abramic faiths [and yes, that's quite correct to say; not "Abrahamic," but instead, "Abramic." Any philologist will quickly explain why.] But the stale-and-vicious charge that Hindus were EVER polytheists can only be hurled by individuals who never availed themselves of Rig Veda or the Upanishads. From Svetasvatara Upanishad, we learn this: “The One who, himself without color, by manifold application of His power, distributes many colors in his hidden purpose…He is God! May he endow us with clear intellect.” In point of fact, there has never existed a polytheistic society. Rather, the error – if at all – arose (with regard specifically to Hinduism) from British Orientalists who first translated the Sanskrit. Hinduism is no more polytheism than the faith of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, or Hypatia. Finally, regarding pollution of religions, we Christians (I am Catholic, but have traced every faith to its origins, from Inuit to Maori to Zend and so forth) are in error ourselves, for by doctrinaire, we have erroenously paid honors of a God to a man (a glorious, enlightened, superb man whose doctrine was once pure and clean, as was Rig Veda for the Hindus). For Roberts’ part, should she keep as her rudder Rig Veda and the Upanishads, she cannot commit error, for the truths there found are exactly the same truths uttered in all faiths [when at once they are young and not-yet-polluted]. Finally, Hinduism is remarkable enough to have absorbed all faiths that visited India and remained un-errant. The ancient Indians stamped coins for both Pythagoras and Jesus, and applied to each special names. That alone should be sufficient proof of their inviolate doctrine. True it is that over aeons, the caste system imposed physically the same misunderstandings that theologically issued about both dharma and karma, but that is by no fault of Hinduism’s founders. The Vedanta gradually because poisoned in this manner. Americans ought occasionally crack a book.

  • spidermean2

    Catholicism is NOT Christianity. No Christian would burn a Bible but Catholicism has been the worst destroyers of Bibles.They even burned Bibles in Afghanistan.

  • ediptllc

    To spidermean2:Catholicism is the spring from whence all Christianity flows (save that which Mother Church sought to suppress, contained in the jar discovered in Egypt in the 1940s. In that jar, there are Gospels Mother Church cannot ever embrace, for there, we find Philip’s extensive and angry letter about the false and absurd assertions regarding resurrection, misapplication of the term “prostitution,” and finally, 110-some-odd statements recorded as “Words of the Living Jesus.” Statements such as, when interrogated by the multitude about the Mosaic law of circumcision, Jesus reportedly replies that “If man was meant to be this way, he would issue that way from his mother.” Or in other words, “That defies logic and nature. Next case.”) Save the Church itself, Christianity would not today exist. Hence, that is a curious statement, indeed. To which may be added, Christians owe the Catholic Church an immeasurable debt for not merely preserving important materials, but also erecting universities and other such institutions. Put another way, it’s difficult to find another establishment that can say “Serving Christians everywhere since 329 AD.” Whatever Bible you read, you must at least admit this: but for Jerome – however bad his translations were – you would not be holding that Bible in your hand. And whilst we’re at it, Christmas is most assuredly NOT “the reason for the season.” This was enacted by the Church to coincide with Natalis Solis Invicti, the very same ritual that the Egyptians applied to Osiris returning (and thus, the Greeks did likewise, re Pluto and Persephone). The fact is, many modern American Protestants owe their existing doctrine to either a) Henry VIII’s desire to dump Catherine; or b) Luther recognizing that indulgences was a degenerate practice. But in either case, absent the Church proper, Christianity would have died long ago.

  • bloommarko4

    You call this news? Who gives a hoot what religion Julia Roberts practices? She is a lovely woman and a fine actress. That’s quite enough for me.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    An inspired article, Ms. Tenety, albeit not so inspiriting as the picture of Roberts, whose color choice for her Hindu attire shows exquisite sensitivity to her current hair tint and complexion.I shall study to imitate.

  • spidermean2

    If there was no Catholicism, Christianity would have been in a much favorable state than how it’s viewed for centuries by other religions.The world only prospered when the Bible began to be reproduced to be read by the masses. Prior to this Catholicism has been very effective in shutting out the Bible beyond the reach of the masses.Catholicsm even officially supports Darwinian Evolution which is the devil’s “science”.

  • 108108

    http://www.equalsouls.orgI would like to address certain linguistic and philosophical similarities common to both Jews and Hindus, which may open up a broader discussion.1. Names of God,b, From a Vedic (Hindu) view point, Kana is also an affectionate name of Krishna, The pronunciation used above “KRE ShTN” is very similar to2. Abraham and Brahma: Very few know that there are two Abrahams in Jewish philosophyb. In the First Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, there is a long description of how Brahma created the planets, stars etc. It is well know that the Brahma

  • unarayanadas1

    I think ‘woolrichwascool’ has not understood Hinduism in the proper context or has unwittingly believed malicious propaganda. The caste system was originally a division of labour; ‘sati’ originated in the wake of Mohemmaden invasions and both were contextual. ‘Sati’ does not exist anymore. In fact it is a crime under India’s present penal code either to indulge in or encourage its practice.The ‘caste-system’ does exist but more as a part of Indian democratic practices to empower the weaker sections of society, similar to the ‘affirmative action’ practised in the United States.The correspondent’s beliefs that Hindus ‘refused to kill rats because they are living creatures’ and that there is ‘real connection with Hinduism and poverty’ are as rational as believing in the image of India as a land of Sadhus and snake charmers! It would be as correct as an Indian believing that ‘segregation laws’ still exist in the United States or that all African-Americans are destitute.