Namaste everyone, and welcome back to Project Conversion. It’s hard to believe that we are in the final week of Project Conversion’s first month! As stated in the “About” page, each week of every month is split into the following categories:
Week One: Religious Practices, Worship, and Ritual
Week Two: Culture and Art
Week Three: Social Issues/Conflicts
Week Four: Personal Reflection on the Month
In week one I showed everyone how I lived day-to-day religiously as a Hindu, which includes vegetarianism, recitation (japa) of Shiva’s name, mantras, puja (ritual worship), reading of scripture (Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, etc.), and yoga. Week two was all about different artistic and cultural aspects of the faith. This was shown with interviews of yoga instructor/writer/musician Meeta Gajjar Parker, as well as articles on the use of sacred markings called tilak and artistic expressions of Shiva through paintings and sculpture. In week three we explored a few of the social issues challenging the Hindu community today. Professor Bharat Gajjar was kind enough to offer his experience and insight into the world of religious conflict in the form of competitive and epidemic conversions within India and abroad. We also talked about the controversial caste system.
Week four (which begins today) is where I soak in everything I’ve experienced and learned throughout the month and reflect upon the results. What have I learned? What new perspectives have I gained? Is there anything I would change if I could start over? What are my impressions of the faith now compared to the beginning of the month? What (if anything) will I take from the faith into the next month, or even the rest of my life?
These are questions that I will explore over the next few days as we wrap up our month on Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma). The answers to those questions will come toward the beginning of the week, followed a few days later by a short film I’ve compiled with interesting footage and images I’ve gathered during my journey into this ancient, colorful, and dynamic religious/philosophical tradition.
As always, I encourage all of you to express your views, comments, questions, and suggestions along the way. This isn’t just my journey, but one for all of us.
Namaste and I’ll see you soon!