I have seen many things on Tumblr posted that denounce all non-Indians/Desis that claim to be Hindu simply cannot be due to scripture. There are claims that you cannot convert to Hinduism; you must be born into it, and it is not open to foreigners.
I would like to take this time to completely disclose that rumor and let everyone know from a strictly Hindu scripture-based view, coming from a devout Hindu, that this claim is utterly and completely false.
Firstly, the post that keeps coming up is referenced from this entry by Swami Balendu. He claims that you cannot convert to Hinduism because there are no formal rites written in Hindu scripture that talks about conversion.
When these ancient scriptures were written, there weren’t any people who weren’t Hindu; so nobody to convert. When the Vedas were written, ‘Hinduism’ wasn’t even a term, and it certainly wasn’t thought of as a ‘religion’. It was simply a way of life to everyone who lived around its ideology. You cannot be converted to an ideology, you can only either believe it or reject it.
Secondly, this man speaks so openly about being unaccepting of foreigners despite the fact that he is married to a white, western woman named Ramona. How would he explain how it is impossible for one to become Hindu yet it is possible for one to marry a non-Hindu? There isn’t anything in scripture about that fact either, yet he considers it valid.
So, to those devoted, faithful non-Indian or Desi Hindus who were discouraged, hurt or angered by anything said on Tumblr about Hinduism, remember that it was due to one ignorant man’s words and a few ignorant blogger’s comments. Take a look instead, at these many non-Indian or Desi Hindus around the world who are considered no more or less devoted than the Desi ones, who love Bhagvan no more or less than their Indian counterparts, and who, despite being ruled out by the majority culture of their respective countries, have made a connection to Sanatana Dharma and have chosen this path to follow in their lives.
And a word to those who are interested in Hinduism that may have been put off by others’ hateful or ignorant words: By all means, Hinduism is the all-incompassing religion and is available to anyone. It is the all-pervading way of life that is meant to enrich your body, mind and spiritual outlook on how you treat yourself, others around you and the Earth. Read the scriptures, go to mandirs, study the history, respect the meanings and utilize the Dharma to realize that we are all a part of God. Vegetarianism, kindness without judgement, good treatment of your health, honest prayer and devotion to Bhagvan is not selective to your race, creed, country or language of origin.
Swami Sivananda said: "He who thinks ‘I am the body, this body is mine, she is my wife, he is my son, I am a brahmin, I am fat, I am black, I am a pundit’ is an ignorant man. He is bound."
Photos counterclockwise down: Uganda, China, Thailand, Uganda, Michigan (USA), Hawaii (USA).