Religion in Society

Priest Gives Julia Roberts' Kids Hindu Names

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So I realize that this has probably been on your radar for a couple of days now, but I simply could NOT resist sharing it anyway, because I love celebrity gossip and I’m not afraid to say it. I doubt it’s a coincidence that this statement is released the same week as the highly anticipated Eat, Pray, Love in which she stars, but nonetheless, it’s fantastic.


Perhaps we should add some words to Julia Roberts’ new movie title and make it Eat, Pray, Love, Chant, Pose.

In her September Elle magazine cover story, Roberts anounces that since her film-making sojourn in India, 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.”

Roberts, who was brought up Christian, has already named her production company Red Om Films,” drawing on the mystical syllable Hindus say encompasses the universe.

Evidently, you don’t convert to Hinduism the way people adopt Judeo Christian faiths — by taking on a set of sanctioned teachings and practices. You take on Hinduism Nike-style — Just do it.

According to a 2009 Associated Press story relying on The Times of India newspaper, Roberts’ children have been given Hindu names. It quoted a Hindu priest, Swami Dharam Dev, as saying:

“I have named her twins Hazel and Phinnaeus as Laxmi and Ganesh, while Henry will be called Krishna Balram.”

David Gibson atDisputations asked Suhag Shukla, managing director of the Hindu American Foundation who explains:

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.

And there you have it – keep an eye out in the weeks and months to come for more Celebrity Hindus, as this is sure to start a trend