…samyag akhyate

Namaskar,

I was born and grew up in Indiana, in the USA. My current life began in 1980, but by most folks’ accounts I look like I was born closer to 1990. I’m educated. I’m gay. I’m usually bossy, but it’s for your own good. I’m almost addicted to chocolate and I am definitely addicted to playing in rivers. I used to be a hairdresser and have also been a clinical medical professional. Currently, my position is in IT for a medical clearinghouse. My biggest fears are heights, suffocating, and disappointing my parents. I make strong efforts at avoiding each of those things. I can read palms with a decent degree of accuracy and my favorite thing to learn about, all spirituality aside, is language. I’m often very direct in my speech and try always to be equally honest. I typically loathe numbers, but adore those who are skilled in them. I think because that’s something for which my brain seems to have no room. I’m a boddhisattva at my core (which is why I’m bossy and it’s for YOUR good, not mine). This sometimes gets me into trouble – if not from my own occasionally misguided efforts, then because of other people’s egos.

To some I’m a sage, but mostly I just try to be a friend. I’m a non-indian Hindu now, but was once a Protestant Christian, and was baptized Catholic as an infant. I was born into a non-theistic / agnostic household and raised by parents who love me muchly. During my teens and very early adult life I became a devout Christian; an era of my life that ended in two pretty distinct phases: The first was when I was tossed out of my church for being gay. The second was the final nail in my christian coffin and happened more gradually, but occured after a very brief discussion with a very liberal (and gay) pastor on what form God takes to those who believe.

In the early years of this century I began learning about Hindu dharma (Sanatana Dharma). The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. The more I continue to want to learn, the clearer it becomes that Hinduism is where my home has always been. On that note, I often feel like I’m the only white Hindu in the state of Indiana. It’s technically not true, but it sure feels like it most of the time. As hodge-podgey as this is going to sound, my current spiritual life exists in a rather triune state.

  1. I attend worship at my local temple on a monthly basis. Occassionally, I’ll go more than once a month to various pujas or aartis, but mostly my visits are once a month during the busiest service of the month called Gita Mandal.
  2. A little more specifically, I direct my devotion primarily between the Gurus / Masters of the Sahaj Marg. In this way, I pursue Raja/Jnana Yoga through the method established by The Sahaj Marg. We’re not an expansionist sect by any means, but for those who are curious, additional information on Sahaj Marg can be found here, here, and here.
  3. Finally and most generally, I maintain a temple in my home wherein Ganesha is the Mahadev and is my Ishtadevata. He is accompanied by murtis of Lakshmidevi, and Shiva Nataraj (and a lingam), as well as Hanuman, Brahma, Nrsimha, and framed murtis of Amma ParaShakti and Shri Shubh Dhrishti Ganapati. The Bhagavad Gita is my Bible, although I am more often reading from the works of the aforementioned guru-jis or earlier sages like Patanjali. Overall, I’m more of a Smrta with strong saiva/ganapatya inclinations.

Truth be told, I often desire a formal conversion to Hinduism as it feels like a logical “next step” after learning about / following / living the Hindu dharma for over a decade already. I haven’t taken that leap yet, though, and I’m not sure I ever really will. Until I can ascertain the actual and ultimate purpose of such an act (and expense!), I’m unlikely to go for it – my current beliefs make me inclined to see the whole thing as a type of reinforcement of externality, which life already comes with in no short supply.

I created this space for a number purposes (Many of which are mentioned in the very first post, if you care to dig that out. You should care to.). It’s my sincerest goal that something I include here would benefit you. I’m sharing my life experiences and my views on things for the purpose of challenging the box I’ve stuck myself in as well as the one you’ve imposed on yourself. I’m very open to debate if it’ll get you (and me!) thinking and growing. I hope you’ll enjoy my place here, I hope you’ll come back often, and I hope you’ll share with me as I do with you.

With warm regards from my heart and all the grace that is be mine to give,

– Joshua

12 responses to “…samyag akhyate

  1. Hello,
    I landed on this page by chance and read through it. I think, ‘conversion’ is not the right word. You do not need to get converted to Hinduism. Just live your life with a strong mind and a kind heart. Hinduism, as you must have heard, is not a religion. It is a way of life.
    I am, in no way, an expert on Hinduism (though I am one myself), but I am proud to be a Hindu, as it gives me so much freedom, yet it tells me how to conduct my life properly. It tells me what is right and what is not (dharma and adharma) and many other things.

    So good luck, and happy seeking the eternal.

    Like

    • PNJ,

      Thank you for finding me and for your contribution here. I agree with you, that those walking the Hindu path do not “need” converted. The proof is in the pudding, right?

      A huge part of why Sanatana Dharma is so terrific is that it’s a religion that is a way of life. Many religions claim that true adherance to their dogmas will lead to a change. In Hinduism, this so-called change is experienced as a kind of (in)fusion. The religion truly permeates and fuses with every aspect of life, and becomes a way of living.

      Still, while I can rest in knowing that formal conversion isn’t necessary, I feel there’s no harm in anything official, per se.

      Thanks again for following and keep sharing your thoughts here!

      Om Shanti

      Like

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  5. hi joshua, i’m guy. i found your (very enjoyable) blog by fortuitous surfing for sahaj marg info. i had a not so great experience recently. i went for 3 sittings and was told i needed to come back for a fourth and not to even begin to sit yet. the woman i sat with was not pleasant towards me and i think it had to do with questions i raised from the beginning about how sahaj marg views homosexuality and some comments i read about attributed to chariji condemning same–sex marriage. well, i was unable to go back the next day (i am a caregiver for a family member and had a crisis) and following that the precept was unable to see me because it was a retreat weekend and later noone bothered to contact me or answer me. i went to great lengths to sit 3 days in a row…. driving over 2 hours each way each day and finding a sitter for my granddad. i am in the dark about where i stand with them and what to do next and if i even want to pursue this. if you have anything to share with me i would appreciate it. you may contact me privately and i would appreciate it if you would delete this comment so as not to antagonize anyone in the organization. to be fair someone who referred me to this center and precept did answer my inquiry but without specifics and hasn’t gotten back to me even though i responded. i don’t have a good feeling about it which is a shame because i have been drawn to it for years and finally plunged in. homophobia in sahaj marg? enjoyed all that you have shared and i hope you are recovering or not too put out by the eye thingy! all the best to you!
    guy

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    • Guy,

      Thank you for coming to Sthapati. Feel free to follow/subscribe so that you’re alerted of upcoming posts! Please allow me to address some of what you mentioned.

      The initial three sittings, as I understand from reading I’ve done on my own, are the minimum required in our “initiation.” I feel like this is something Babuji said, otherwise perhaps something I read from Chariji – who often quotes Babuji. If I were you, then I wouldn’t be too discouraged that more than three sittings were advised before starting the practice – I’m certain many abhyasis have been advised that more than three sittings would be needed prior to beginning. I do find it odd and even a little rude that you were advised of the need for an additional sitting only to essentially be dodged by the prefect – retreat or none, that shouldn’t have happened.

      Depending on where you start reading in Sthapati you’ll find that I’ve had my own struggles, but none quite like yours: Mine were mostly internal, although I have also noticed that if you’re looking for people within the community to keep you involved (similar to the way Christian churches suck you in and make sure you come back), you’ll likely be disappointed. Our marg is one where the responsibility falls on the abhyasi. If you’re not a self-starter, so to speak, then the Marg may not be for you. (In any legit spiritual path the onus falls – or should fall – on the aspirant.)

      I’ve completely read more than 15 of the Marg’s various books and publications and often surf for any videos I can lay my eyes on…. And have yet to encounter even one vague mention of anything homophobic. Most of my Sahaj Marg education has been through either Babuji’s material or Chariji’s (To be fair, there isn’t much written, published material from Lalaji). A few other sources of information and inspiration, which can be emailed to abhyasis at least once daily, have also regularly been read by myself and again there has never once been mention of anything homophobic. With that in mind, and with the knowledge that my own prefects/preceptors are 100% aware of my sexuality (and even know of my husband!) and haven’t ever flinched, I’d like to ask you to be more exact in what you were referencing when you brought this us. Is there some specific source, aside from your interaction with the unfriendly prefect/preceptor?

      I approved your comment, and if it’s okay with you I’ll leave it up on this page until you’re able to see my response here AND until I’m able to contact you privately, which I intend to do as soon as I am able. Please don’t be concerned about your words being perceived as antagonizing or critical. You haven’t said, and couldn’t possibly say, anything more critical than might come from myself! 🙂

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    • Guy,

      I’m afraid if you want me to contact you privately then you’ll need to provide me the means for doing so. I’ve tried accessing your profile for that information, but I’m taken to a page that says the profile isn’t available.

      If you’re so inclined, you may leave a new comment here with that information. My settings are such that I must approve all comments. Once I receive notice that you have commented and left your contact information, I’ll make a note of that information and then delete the comment without approving it…so your contact information will remain private and only for me to view.

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