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Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 17:00 UK
My Faith: Hinduism

By Shri Sadhu Dharmavira
BBC North Yorkshire Contributor

Shri Sadhu Dharmavira
Sadhu has been on a long journey of religious discovery

My journey to finally becoming a Yogi or monk in the 'Sanatana Dharma' (Hindu) tradition, commenced late in 1968, when I started attending classes in Buddhist meditation and philosophy in London.

I went on to train with various teachers in the Buddhist tradition, spending a short time as a samanera or novice monk in the Thai Buddhist tradition, and finally, in 1983, ordaining as a monk in the Zen tradition.

All through my practice and training, there had always been something missing, although I couldn't put my finger on it. Then by chance, while on retreat in Darjeeling, in 2001, I picked up a copy of the Hindu text, the Bhagavad-Gita. Reading this changed everything, as I discovered what had been missing in my personal spiritual practice.

I went on to investigate the various schools of thought within the Hindu tradition, and also made another six trips to India, until finally in 2006, after much deliberation, decided to formally embrace the Hindu tradition.

I approached Hindu priest, Acharya Krishan Kant, who was most supportive and, in a private ceremony in 2006, performed the 'Namakarana' Hindu naming ceremony for me. The following year I also had the "Upanayana" ceremony performed for me by Pandit Gautamji, at the Newcastle Hindu temple.

During that ceremony I was given the 'Yajnopavita' Hindu sacred thread and initiated into the use of the Gayatri Mantra, the most profound of Hindu mantras. This ceremony was also a re-affirming of my vow of celibacy.

For a short time, I was involved in both the Buddhist and Hindu traditions, but now focus purely on my life as a Hind yogi, and have finally hung up my Zen robes. I practise and teach in the Hindu tradition known as Advaita (non-dualism), working with the four yogas, Raja (meditation), Jnana (knowledge), Bhakti (devotion) and Karma (action). My whole life now revolves around a life of Vairagya (renunciation) and a 100% focus on the goal of Moksha or liberation.

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