Aromas confronted me as I walked in the door. Masalas—or spices—like curry, cumin and cinnamon each contributed. I sat on the edge of my chair—eager like a child on Christmas. I wanted to experience these exotic spices. They were delicious and fiery, yet flavorful.
This is not the first time I desired something new. I yearn for knowledge and enrichment. If I hear something I don’t know much about, I look it up. A new technique, style, movie, or crisis—my desire for understanding and knowledge ranges.
This time, the Indian food caught me in its trap. I needed not only the flavor—but also the culture. I needed to know more. I needed to understand. This is how I came across Hinduism.
I saw the fascinating three-like symbol, the Om, before and I had looked it up. I knew it was Hindi. But my eyes were blind to Indian culture and religion.
Enthralled by the beauty of the symbol and the delicious food, I started my research online. Then, I turned to books. One about Hinduism. An India travel guide about customs. And lastly, The Bhagavad Gita—a book essential to Hindus. I started with basics and grew.
I learned that the cow is sacred and therefore, beef is not eaten and cows not slaughtered. This was something I found fascinating. Beef is vital in America. A good steak, special and expensive. But in Hinduism, the cow is a symbol of life and honored.
I was drawn in by the open-mindedness towards other religions. Hindus believe that religion is the same just named differently. This appealed to me because religion is about loving and accepting and in Hinduism this is true.
Hinduism is diverse, allowing its own followers to believe in a variety of things. Religion tends to be strict, and the diversity and variety in Hinduism made it appealing.
The travel guide explained Hinduism is a way of life and is reflected in the customs. The Bhagavad Gita gave me insight and helped me learn from the same text that a Hindu would learn from.
All this new information made me think in ways I hadn’t before, pose questions and challenge my beliefs. Did I still believe the religious foundation built around me? I wasn’t sure.
“Aren’t you a Hindu or something?” asked my brother. I knew this question was coming, but I still didn’t have an answer.
“I’m not sure.” Before claiming it, I want to fully understand. And I am still working towards that.
I may adapt to this religion, I may not. But it doesn’t matter. This search is about understanding and delving into the intriguing unknown.
The Indian food caught me. Forever I will recall my first meal at Tandoori Nights a year ago and what stemmed from it. What will catch me next?
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