Navigating Religious Conversion to Hinduism
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Of the many religions that exist in the world, Hinduism is one without a clear and distinct conversion process. As a convert to Hinduism from Lutheranism, I have found it necessary to tell the story of how I became Hindu in order to clarify the processes involved in converting to Hinduism. With converts being relatively rare to Hindu practice, there is a lack of visible literature in what such a conversion entails and the challenges involved in the forming of identity. In addition, I will also incorporate my experiences in understanding the relation between my Lutheran past with my Hindu identity. Conversion entails many shifting narratives, with one’s relationship to their body, family, cosmology, and the world at large experiencing fundamental change. The goal of this project is to illuminate the changing dynamics entailed in converting from Lutheranism to Hinduism, as there is no formal process nor formal marker that distinguishes oneself as finally being Hindu. This paper hopes to explain the internal and external changes involved in the conversion to Hinduism, as well as to portray the relationship I have had with identity and using the signifier “Hindu” to describe myself. Furthermore, I will also discuss the shifting comfortability and insecurity that can come with being a convert to a religion with no formal conversion process. As Hinduism refers to a variety of practices lumped under one religious category, I will be discussing conversion to the Shakta (Goddess-centric) sect of Hinduism.