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Julia Roberts Turns Hindu

Those of you who are wondering whether the new Julia Roberts movie, Eat Pray Love, has anything positive to say about Christianity may want to learn from her lessons - she became Hindu after filming the movie. The just-released movie received a thumbs-down from the U.S. Bishops who gave it an "L" rating (limited adult audience) because of it's "complex religious themes, acceptability of divorce, nonmarital and premarital situations, rear nudity and some sexual humor" as just some of the reasons why Catholics might want to avoid the film. It is based on the story of middle-aged woman who goes through a mid-life crisis, divorces her husband, and takes off on a global search for "enlightenment and self-fulfillment." Her escapades take her to Rome where she does nothing but eat in the city's famous restaurants while giving its equally famous churches a pass (which implies a complete lack of interest in anything Catholic as far as her spiritual enlightenment is concerned). From Rome, she heads to India and the religious establishment run by her new lover's guru where viewers are treated to an "unhealthy atmosphere of semi-idolatrous worship," the Bishops state. This seems to be where Roberts was personally "enlightened." In an interview with Elle magazine set to debut next month, she announces that ever since filming scenes in India for Eat Pray Love, she has become a practicing Hindu. Roberts, who was raised Catholic, says she and her family now worship as Hindus and go together to a temple to "chant and pray and celebrate. I'm definitely a practicing Hindu." Apparently, she not only named her production company "Red Om Films" but also allowed a Hindu priest to rename her children. The Times of India newspaper reported last fall that Swami Dharam Dev claims to have given Roberts' three children the names of Hindu gods. He told the Associated Press: "I have named her twins Hazel and Phinnaeus as Laxmi and Ganesh, while Henry will be called Krishna Balram." Catherine Lynn Grossman of USA Today's Religion and Faith page, while reporting on the "Hindu lite" craze that seems to be sweeping America, says that Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism recommended to Julia and her fans that if they really wanted to practice Hinduism, they should read the Ancient Hindu scripture, Katha Upanishan, "(which) points out that when the wise realize the Self, they go beyond sorrow. Self is supreme, and those who meditate on Self are freed from the cycle of birth and death. When one realizes Self, there is nothing else to be known."  (Does this sound like navel-gazing on steroids to you, or is it just me?) Grossman also quotes Suhag Shukla, managing director of the Hindu American Foundation, who reassures us that Hinduism is non-proselytizing. "As a non-proselytizing, pluralistic faith, Hinduism does not seek converts nor does anyone need to 'convert' formally to become a practicing Hindu. (There are) countless examples of prominent people in the West who have drawn inspiration from Hindu philosophy, converted formally or for all intents and purposes could be considered practicing Hindus." However in my booklet on Yoga in the Learn to Discern series (See "New Age Resources" on the navigation bar above) there is evidence to the contrary. For instance, in the January 1991 issue of Hinduism Today, Swami Sivasiva Palana writes about , “A small army of yoga missionaries . . . beautifully trained in the last 10 years, is about to set upon the western world. They may not call themselves Hindu, but Hindu knows where yoga came from and where it goes.” His statement clarifies what took place in 1979 during a meeting of the World Congress on Hinduism in Allahabad, India which was attended by more than 60,000 delegates from around the world. During this conference, one of the speakers proclaimed: “Our mission in the West has been crowned with fantastic success. Hinduism is becoming the dominant world religion and the end of Christianity has come near.” Kinda makes yoga appear a lot less innocent, doesn't it? As we all know, yoga is the most common way that Hinduism is making its way into our faith and culture and is leading many Christians into the worship of false gods.   

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