[Advaita-l] How to become a Hindu?
ahudli at gmail.com
Tue Aug 24 10:49:00 CDT 2010
>2. What is a simple ceremony that we can suggest - that he should do,
>in order for him to feel that he has converted to (or even converted
>back to) Hinduism.
Dear Sri Sadananda-ji,
The tANDya brAhmaNa, and dharma shAstra texts as well, mention the ritual of
vrAtyastoma to bring back vrAtyas into the fold of varNAshrama dharma. These
vrAtyas were groups of people in ancient times who followed a quite
unorthodox lifestyle, with few restrictions regarding food.
Nor did they have an upanayana and study the Vedas. The vrAtyastoma, which
is a set of four rituals, is performed to bring the vrAtyas into the fold of
varNAshrama dharma. For example, the kAtyAyana shrauta sUtra states,
"व्रात्यस्तोमेनेष्ट्वा व्रात्यभावाद्विरमेयुः । व्यवहार्या भवन्ति ।", by
performing the vrAtyastoma, the vrAtyas lose their vrAtya status and become
eligible for social life with (followers of varNAshrama dharma). The
Apastamba shrauta sUtra also deals with the vrAtyastoma ritual. There is
also a work exclusively devoted to such "conversion" called the
vArtyatA-shuddhi-saMgraha, published by Chaukhamba. The vrAtyastoma is
performed in the laukika-agni.
In modern times, some "innovations" to accomplish conversions or
re-conversions have been used. I found one such ritual in a Marathi book
titled "शास्त्र असे सांगते" (the shAstra says thus), which discusses how a
person from another religion can become a Hindu. Some steps in this ritual
are Panchagavya prAshana, Achamana, sankalpa, discarding the old name and
taking up a new (Hindu) name, Ganesha-VaruNa pUjA, karNa vedha (piercing the
ears), puNyAhavAchana, mangala nIrAjana, panchAyatana pUjA, gItA paThana,
abhiSheka of the person with water from the Ganga and other rivers and the
water from the Kalasha, dakShiNA dAna to the purohita, (dvir)Achamana,
AshIrvAda-grahaNa from elders, and sahabhojana, eating with all the
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