Folks have talked about Julia Roberts’ waistline expanding while making “Eat, Pray, Love.” But it appears the film has influenced Julia’s religion as well. Julia Roberts now practices Hinduism.
In an interview with Elle magazine, Julia Roberts said she, her husband Danny Moder, and her three children go to temple to “chant and pray and celebrate.” Roberts says she is “definitely a practicing Hindu,” according to CNN.
Julia Roberts’ Hinduism puts her in the company of George Harrison, J.D. Salinger, and NFL star Ricky Williams as celebrities who adopted the faith, which originates in India. Julia Roberts had been raised as a Christian. Her mother is Roman Catholic and her father is a Baptist.
How are Hindus Reacting to Julia Roberts’ Hinduism?
Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, welcomed Julia Roberts to Hinduism with open arms. He said in part, “[Julia Roberts] will appreciate the rich, diverse, and long tradition of Hindu philosophy and its interpretation of the nature of reality,” according to Taragana.
Zed further said that if Roberts desires help in exploring Hinduism more deeply, he or other Hindu scholars would be happy to help.
Is Zed’s Reaction to Julia Roberts’ Hinduism Normal or Celebrity-Driven?
Hinduism appears to be a religion that can welcome converts but for the most part does not actively seek them out. Due to running into a lot of evangelism from other religious traditions, Hinduism considers conversion to be a process more to be avoided than sought.
Julia Roberts converting to Hinduism will not please all Hindus, but not because of her celebrity. There are many Hindus who consider conversion to be acceptable. Others feel one should be born to the religion as part of one’s native culture.
So What is it About Hinduism?
One thing about Hinduism that can be both attractive and daunting is the diversity under that label. People who have studied Hinduism have split it into six types as a rough set of divisions. Covering those alone takes several books’ worth of time. The rough explanation of the range in Hinduism is that Hinduism varies from folk rituals that predate the written material to traditionalist practices focused on some of the texts and beyond into focused devotion to specific deities.
Hinduism does not have a specific creed because of this diversity. The truth behind theÂ belief held by many that all Hindu practice vegetarianism is an example of this diversity. Some are strict vegetarians. Others merely avoid cow meat.
Hinduism is more of a cultural set of traditions and way of life than what most Westerners think of as a religion. That blend of habit, belief, and philosophy could prove very attractive to someone seeking answers they haven’t found elsewhere. Hinduism also lacks the concepts of heresy, apostasy and blasphemy. What one Hindu does can vary wildly from what another Hindu does and both are still Hindu in each person’s mind.
To someone raised in a household with two different Christian traditions such as Julia Roberts, Hinduism’s pluralism may have been a big draw. The nature of the rituals and the sheer weight of tradition behind Hinduism, which predates Christianity by thousands of years, could also be a very attractive thing.
Hinduism contains strong encouragements to think, explore, and respect others. With Julia Roberts’ history of socially conscious roles and charity work, Hinduism would fit her temperament very readily.
It may be strange to many Westerners to think of a religious tradition that rejects blasphemy and embraces hundreds of gods and god forms. But as people look beyond their childhood faiths, ones that seek a more welcoming and diverse tradition will be a focus. It’s qualities such as those that have helped Hinduism to become the third most popular religion in the world. And Julia Roberts adopting Hinduism allows people to think about the possibilities. This will hopefully lead to at least better respect across various traditions.
Facts about Hinduism drawn from Wikipedia
Article Â©2010 Brenda Daverin for Gather.com. All rights reserved.