August 11, 2010

Julia Roberts Converts to Hinduism, Further Complicates Yoga and Hinduism Debate

Did Julia Roberts just launch the next biggest trend in Hollywood since Scientology and Kabbalah?

Julia Roberts went to India and all she got was a little ‘Pray’ action for her starring role in a surefire summer blockbuster and a conversion to Hinduism! What? In the same interview for the September Elle magazine where America’s sweetheart eschews botox because she wants her kids to recognize her happy vs mad face, Ms. Roberts reveals that her entire family has embraced the Hindu religion and “chant and pray and celebrate” together at the temple, adding that she is “definitely a practicing Hindu.” News to us! Or is it? We got a clue last year when The Times of India reported that before shooting for Eat, Pray, Love in Delhi, Swami Daram Dev of Ashram Hari Mandir gave Julia’s three kidlets new names after Hindu Gods: twins Hazel and Phinnaeus as Laxmi and Ganesh, Henry as Krishna Balram. He also gave his blessing for the flick.

Are we yogis all destined to be Hindu converts? Let’s discuss.

EPL author Liz Gilbert (Julia’s role) goes to India and spends time meditating in an Ashram (in the Siddha Yoga tradition). Does this mean if you go to India as a person on a spiritual journey, or playing one in a movie, you’ll automatically go Hindu? No. Does this mean you have to buy into the Hindu religion to practice yoga? No. Will this throw a cloud of confusion over the already convoluted ‘yoga and Hinduism’ debate? You betcha! Somebody call Ganesh.

Surely, Hindu devas and devis tend to pop up in yoga class, especially in big poppa John Friend‘s Anusara style. Kali, Shiva, Durga, Vishnu, etc, are leading characters on the yoga stage, and also happen to be Hindu deities. Confusing? You tell us.

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