A couple of years ago, I had invited my best friend Jenene, to attend an Indian wedding. I thought it might be fun for her to experience the different foods, clothing, personalities, and religious beliefs that were particular to my culture. Later on that evening she had pulled me to the side and told me that the culture that she was raised in was completely different from mine. She was raised in New York all of her life and she had never experienced such a distinct culture. At that time I told her that she did not know half the story! As time went on, she attended more and more Indian functions and realized that the main differences between the western and Indian cultures were religion, marriage, and social interaction.
The western culture is predominantly of the Christian faith praying to one God. Growing up in the Hindu faith, I always wondered why my mother used to pray to many Gods. As I became older, I built up the courage to ask a Pandit (Indian Priest) why we believed in many Gods whereas all the others believed only in one. He had informed me that we only believe in one God, Lord Shiva. It may appear that we are praying to many Gods, but in fact we are praying to the many forms that he appeared to us on earth.
The Hindu and the Christian religious beliefs are predominantly very similar in that they teach individuals to be good and giving people. The main difference between the two religions is our belief in the after-life. Christians believe that after we die, we wait to be judged (Judgement Day) and until that time, your soul remains in an everlasting sleep (purgatory). After Judgement Day Christians believe that they answer for the wrongs that they committed upon the earth. This determines whether they go to Heaven or Hell.
Hindus believe in reincarnation, which is life after death. We believe that after you die, your soul is transferred into another body or form. Depending on your dharma (behavior) in your previous life will determine your karma (actions that will affect your next life). If you were a good and giving person, your soul will be transferred into a human, the highest life form. If you were bad, your soul will be transferred into an insect, animal, or a lower life form. In any case, both the Christian and Hindu religion teach good values, beliefs and morals which constitute an ideal individual.
The topic of marr...
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...ne is born into. For example if your parents are born Vaishya, then you are automatically a Vaishya for life.
The reason for my parents’ migration to the United States was to break out of the caste system. The western society has a type of class system that indicates whether you are upper, middle or lower class depending on your income. This fortunately varies from generation to generation and is not something you are born into. Therefore an individual decides what class they want to fall into.
As time goes on more similarities will be seen between the Indian and western cultures. All will reflect the changes that are occurring through assimilation. Indians, who were once thought to be backwards, more like traditionalists, are slowly adapting to the western societies and customs. Some changes can be seen today in the United States where Indians are choosing their own mates, altering their lifestyle from communal to associational, and shifting their classification from Vaishya to upper working class. All areas of life and social interaction are showing a change from traditional to non-traditional while maintaining all the values, beliefs and customs of their old respected ways.
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