There tends to be a struggle when you’re different from others. I, for one, can sing that song very well. I’ve been there — got the T-shirt and even sent a postcard!
I’m split between two cultures, both of which show me how much I do not fit in. I’m an American and I’m Hindu.
I was born and raised under the stars and stripes as a “white” American. However, it isn’t easy when you’re at a good old bar-be-cue trying to explain why I don’t eat meat or why I don’t have plans for Easter. Even in my own homeland. I feel most unaccepted by my own American culture. To some “normal” Americans, I’m just not a “real” American. I just don’t fit in.
The question remains, if I don’t fit in here will I fit in somewhere else?
And then there’s the other side of my life: the Hindu side. My fate was sealed at birth to have this lifestyle and belief system. I have spent seventeen years under the influence of Hindu philosophy and culture. I feel that I am as much of a Hindu as I am an American.
My family has been attending service at Radha Madhav Dham since the ashram was a mere plot of land in the middle of nowhere. I’ve spent years at holy festivals at the temple and countless hours listening to lectures. I was completely immersed into Hinduism since the day I entered this world.
Yet the reality at hand is disturbing. Sometimes, I’m just a “privileged white girl who will never have access to Hinduism as [Indians] do”. At times, I am accused of “cultural appropriation” and I will always be below them because I am “white”. So I don’t fit in quite well from this angle either.
On my quest to self discovery, I had began to realize that it was none other than the sacred grounds of Radha Madhav Dham that offers me complete bliss and safety. Growing up with me have been Indian Hindu children who have not cared that I was different. Nor does my color seem to bother them. Other white families come there and also are treated much the same way as the Indians are – it is as if we have no color.
God is believed to be blind and we treated each other as if we were too.
Here, differences are set a side for spiritual development, for we all have one thing in common: our Spiritual Goal to attain the love and grace of God and Guru.
No matter who we were or where we came from, Radha Madhav Dham we all have a place to call home. The soil of Radha Madhav Dham welcomes those no matter where their from or who they are.
Only upon this very soil do I find refuge and a place where I fit in just right!
Written By – Bina Perino, 18, Student, Austin Texas.