p eople ask
S IG H
all art by a. manivel
… and ten terrific answers!
Of Conduct: the
Yamas & Niyamas
Lord Vishnu stands with the vast
ocean of truth behind Him. In the
sky above, ten birds—symbolizing
persistent misconceptions about
Hinduism—take ﬂight as we tackle tencommon questions about our faith.
© 2004 by Himalayan Academy, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, Hawaii 96746
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Similar resources on the web include “Four Facts of Hinduism,” “Nine Beliefs of Hinduism” and “How to
Win an Argument with a Meat-Eater.” You can access these at www.himalayanacademy.com/basics.
PART 1:TEN QUESTIONS
Humanity’s most profound faith is now a global phenomenon. Students, teachers,
neighbors and friends are full of questions. Misconceptions run rampant.
Here are ten thoughtful answers you can use to set the record straight.
ave you ever been put on the spot with a provocative may not know that one out of every six people in the world is
question about Hinduism, evenone that really shouldn’t a Hindu.” 2) “Many people have asked me about my tradition. I
be so hard to answer? If so, you are not alone. It takes don’t know everything, but I will try to answer your question.”
some good preparation and a little attitude adjustment 3) “First, you should know that in Hinduism, it is not only beto conﬁdently ﬁeld queries on your faith—be they from lief andintellectual understanding that is important. Hindus
friendly co-workers, students, passersby or especially from Chris- place the greatest value on experiencing each of these truths
tian evangelists. Back in the spring of 1990, a group of teens personally.” 4) The fourth type of prologue is to repeat the quesfrom the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, Lemont, sent a re- tion to see if the person hasactually stated what he wants to
quest to HINDUISM TODAY for “ofﬁcial answers” to nine questions know. Repeat the question in your own words and ask if you
they were commonly asked by their peers. These questions had have understood his query correctly. If it’s a complicated question,
perplexed the Hindu youth themselves; and their parents had you might begin by saying, “Philosophers have spentlifetimes
discussing and pondering questions such
no convincing answers. Satguru Sivaya Subas this, but I will do my best to explain.”
ramuniyaswami took up the challenge and
Have courage. Speak from your inner
provided the following answers to the nine
mind. Sanatana Dharma is an experiential
questions. Perusing the list for this edition of
path, not a dogma, so your experience in
themagazine, we thought it crucial to add a
answering questions will help your own
tenth dialog on caste, since that is the most
spiritual unfoldment. You will learn from
relentless criticism Hinduism faces today.
your answers if you listen to your inner
Let’s begin with advice on the attitudes
mind speak. This can actually be a lot of
to hold when responding. First, ask yourself,
fun. Theattentive teacher always learns
“Who is asking the question?” Millions of peomore than the student.
ple are sincerely interested in Hinduism and
After the prologue, address the question
the many Asian religions. So, when asked
without hesitation. If the person is sincere,
about Hinduism, don’t be defensive, even if
you can ask, “Do you have any other questhe questioner seems confrontational.Instead,
tions?” If he wants to know more, then
assume that the person really wants to learn.
elaborate as best you can. Use easy, evOf course, some only want to harass, badger
eryday examples. Share what enlightened
and turn you to their view. If you sense this
souls and scriptures of Hinduism have said
is the case, feel free to smile and courteouson the subject. Remember, we must not asly...