Item Details

Negotiating Contemporary Hindu Beliefs and Practices in the United States

Issue: Vol 12 No. 1 (2018)

Journal: Religions of South Asia

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Buddhist Studies Islamic Studies

DOI: 10.1558/rosa.37512


Major religions maintain adherence to the guiding force of a literary canon in shaping morality and ethical behaviour in the believer. Hinduism's various strains of orthodoxy and orthopraxy create a pluralistic confusion for the casual onlooker attempting to systematize a code of conduct for practising Hindus. Doctrinal beliefs such as samsara, karma, reincarnation, moksha, and practices of various meditations, yogas, or dietary restrictions, are recognizable features of Hinduism in popular culture. However, the variation in religious ideology among believing individuals should be assessed in light of contemporary philosophy and social science. The purpose of this article is to investigate, through qualitative interviews, the contemporary negotiation of religious beliefs and practices in two Hindu communities in order to provide a context to a dialogue of what it means to be Hindu in the United States.

Author: Frank R. Chappell

View Original Web Page

References :

Adams, Kathleen. 1997. ‘Ethnic Tourism and the Renegotiation of Tradition in Tana Toraja (Sulawesi, Indonesia).’ Ethnology 64 (4): 309–20.

Allerton, Catherine. 2003. ‘Authentic Housing, Authentic Culture? Transforming a Village into a “Tourist Site” in Manggarai, Eastern Indonesia.’ Indonesia and the Malay World (31) 89: 119–28.

Asthana, Abhaya, and Sanjay Mehta. 2011. Hindu Dharma Essentials. Houston: World Hindu Council of America.

Chappell, Frank. 2009. ‘The Conceptualization of Gods in Hindu Communities and Universal Aspects of the Divine.’ Journal of Indian Philosophy and Religion 14 (October): 145–68.

Chinmayananda, Swami. 2013. Isavasya Upanishad: God in and as Everything. Mumbai: Central Chinmaya Mission Trust.

Chorneau, Tom. 2014. ‘Brown Shoots down History Curriculum Update.’ K-12 Daily. Online: (accessed 16 March 2018).

Cross, Stephen. 1994. Way of Hinduism. London: Thorsons.

Dallapiccola, Anna L. 2004. Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend. London: Thames & Hudson.

Eck, Diana L. 2000. ‘Negotiating Hindu Identities in the U.S.’ In Harold Coward, John R. Hinnells and Raymond Brady Williams (eds.), The South Asian Religious Diaspora in Britain, Canada, and the United States: 219–37. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Gharekhan, Chinmaya R. 2014 ‘To be a Fundamentalist Hindu: That’s the Only Way to Fight Hindu Fundamentalists.’ The Indian Express. Online: (accessed 16 March 2017).

Hitchcock, Michael K., (with Victor T. King and Michael J. G. Parnwell). 1993. ‘Introduction: “Tourism in Southeast Asia” Revisited.’ In Hitchcock, et al. 1993: 1–31.

Hitchcock, Michael, Victor T. King and Michael J. G. Parnwell (eds.) 1993. Tourism in Southeast Asia. New York: Routledge.

Jones, Jonathan. 2006. ‘Hindu Group’s Motion to Block Texts Denied.’ East Bay Times. Online: (accessed 19 March 2018).

Koller, John M., and Patricia Koller. 1991. A Sourcebook in Asian Philosophy. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

Kauai’s Hindu Monastery. 2017. Basics of Hinduism: Nine Beliefs of Hinduism. Himalayan Academy. Online: (accessed 12 November 2017).

Larson, Gerald James. 2009. ‘Hinduism in India and in America.’ In Jacob Neusner (ed.), World Religions in America: 179–98. 4th edn. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press.

LaSpina, James Andrew. 2007. ‘A Clash of Chariots: The Hindu American Challenge to California’s 6th Grade World History Textbooks.’ Social Studies Review 47 (1): 46–49.

Mahadevan, T. M. P. 1984 [1956]. Outlines of Hinduism. Bombay: Chetana.

McKean, Philip F. 1989. ‘Towards a Theoretical Analysis of Tourism: Economic Dualism and Cultural Involution in Bali.’ In Valene L. Smith (ed.), Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism: 119–38. 2nd edn. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Picard, Michel. 2003. ‘Touristification and Balinization in a Time of Reformasi.’ Indonesia and the Malay World (31) 89: 108–18.

Purzycki, B. G. (with J. Henrich, C. Apicella, Q. D. Atkinson, A. Baimel, E. Cohen, R. A. McNamara, A. K. Willard, Dimitris Xygalatas, and A. Norenzayan). 2017. ‘The Evolution of Religion and Morality: A Synthesis of Ethnographic and Experimental Evidence from Eight Societies.’ Religion, Brain & Behavior.

Press Trust of India. 2016. ‘“India” Will Not be Replaced with “South Asia” in California Textbooks: Commission.’ IndiaWest. Online: (accessed 16 March 2018).

Rama Rao Pappu, S. S. 2004. Hindu Ethics.’ In Robin Rinehart (ed.), Contemporary Hinduism, Ritual, Culture, and Practice: 155–77. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Inc.

Rediff News. 2007. ‘Hindu Body, California Educ Board Reach Agreement over Textbooks.’ Rediff News. Online: (accessed 19 March 2018).

Smith, Huston. 1991. The World’s Religions. New York: HarperCollins.

Williams, Raymond Brady. 1988. Religions of Immigrants from India and Pakistan: New Threads in the American Tapestry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wood, Robert E. 1993. ‘Tourism, Culture, and the Sociology of Development.’ In Hitchcock, et al. 1993: 49–70.