List of converts to Hinduism

List of converts to Hinduism

The following is a list of converts to Hinduism from other religions or a non-religious background.

From Abrahamic religions


* Job Charnock - British trade agent who has been controversially described as the founder of Calcutta [ [ Indian Renaissance: British Romantic Art And the Prospect of India] - Hermoine De Almeida]
* Alice Coltrane (raised Baptist but became a follower of Satya Sai Baba)- American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, and composer [,23599,21060365-401,00.html Jazz Musician Alice Coltrane dead at 69] News Australia - January 15, 2007] [ [ Alice Coltrane; Musician, Spiritual Guru] Washington Post - January 15, 2007]
* Bhagavan Das (born Kermit Michael Riggs) - Western Yogi and former born again Christian [ The Hippie And The Beastie - Bhagavan Das - Brief Article] Bnet Research - July 2001]
* Roy Eugene Davis - American Kriya Yoga teacher [ [ Meditate for a healthy living] Times of India - October 13, 2002]
* Krishna Dharma - British author and convert to Gaudiya Vaishnavism under ISKCON [ [ Krishna Dharma Dasa] ISKCON UK]
* David Frawley - author on Hinduism, Yoga and Ayurveda [ [ Religion and ethnicity] The Hindu - May 27, 2003]
* Heather Graham - American Actress, former Catholic, and practitioner of Transcendental Meditation (developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi). [ [ Hinduism Today | Time | January/February/March, 2004 ] ] [ [ Heather Graham Blasts The Catholic Church ] ]
* George Harrison - popular English musician, best known as a member of The Beatles who passed away chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra in the company of monks from ISKCON. [ [ George Harrison Died Amid Chants Of Hare Krishna] ] [ [ George Harrison] «George comes to Los Angeles, with a stop at UCLA Medical Center, for drugs and pain management. Then he departs to Paul’s house on Heather in Beverly Hills, to die. It was 36 hours of George drifting in and out of consciousness, with his wife and son at his side. One outsider allowed was George’s friend Ravi Shankar, who played sitar music. According to Shankar, George positioned two pictures of Hindu gods Krishna and Rama around his bed, and he chanted the Krishna mantra. Two more of George’s close friends from the Krishna faith, Shayam Sundara and Mukunda, were there chanting quietly into their meditation beads, while George passed away at 1:20pm on the 29th of November, 2001».] He is also known for donating Bhaktivedanta Manor, a Hindu temple to the Hare Krishna community in Britain. [ [ Bhaktivedanta Manor] ]
* Christopher Isherwood - Anglo-American novelist [ [ Acclaimed American Author Christopher Isherwood] Adherents]
* Jomol - Malayali actress [* [ Actress accuses her father] Times of India - April 25, 2005]
*Timothy Leary - Harvard professor and American writer and psychologist [ [,9171,835417,00.html Time to Mutate] TIME - April 29, 1966]
* Swami Kriyananda (born J. Donald Walters) - direct disciple of the yogi Paramahansa Yogananda
* Savitri Devi Mukherji (born Maximiani Portas) - French woman who became enamoured with Hinduism and Nazism, trying to synthesise Hinduism with Nazi philosophy and racial ideology
* Sister Nivedita (born Margaret Elizabeth Noble) - Anglo-Irish social worker, author, and teacher [ [ Defying the Hindutva canon] The Hindu - January 30, 2004]
* Swami Sivananda Radha - Canadian author on Hinduism and Hindu writer [ [ Power of the mantra] Trinidad Guardian - 3rd November 2004]
* Leelawathy Ramanathan - Australia-born Hindu writer and activist. Converted upon marrying Ponnambalam Ramanathan [ Lady Ramanathan Passes away] The Hindu - January 31, 1953]
* Han Snel - Dutch painter of Bali"Exhibit reveals Han Snel's undying love for Bali", "Jakarta Post", May 29, 2008]
* Bhakti Tirtha Swami (born John E. Favors) - American Hindu leader and disciple of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada [ [ Official Site] - Bhakti Tirtha Swami]
* Kenneth R. Valpey - Gaudiya Vaishnava Theologian who studied at Oxford University, St. Cross College [ [ Kenneth Valpey] - ISKCON News]


* Bukka I - King of Vijayanagara empire who converted to Islam, then reconverted. The early life of Bukka as well as his brother Hakka (also known as Harihara I) are relatively unknown and most accounts of their early life are based on theories.] Chopra, P.N. T.K. Ravindran and N. Subrahmaniam.History of South India. S. Chand, 2003. ISBN 8121901537]
* Haridas Thakura - Prominent Vaishnavite saint, instrumental in the early appearance and spread of Hare Krishna movement. [ [ Haridasa Thakura] ]
* Harihara I - King of Vijayanagara empire who converted to Islam, then reconverted
* Khushboo Sundar - Tamil movie actress [ [ Southern siren Namitha has a temple] NDTV - July 10, 2008]
* Annapurna Devi - surbahar (bass sitar) player and music teacher in the North Indian classical tradition [ [ Unveiling the mystique of a reclusive artiste] The Hindu - June 28, 2006]
*Asha Gawli - (born Aisha) Wife of Arun Gawli, notorious gangster turned politician from Mumbai, India. [ [ Daddy in jail, Mummy seeks votes for both] - Indian express]
* Aashish Khan (born Ustad Aashish Khan Debsharma) - Indian musician [ [ Indian musician goes back to roots] OneIndia - August 23, 2006]
* Hassan Palakkode - Malayali writer on Islam [ [ Muslim scholar embraces Hinduism] The Tribune, Chandigarh - April 7, 2000]
* Ifa Sudewi - Chief judge for the 2002 Bali bombing trials [ [ Five bombers were prepared to die in Bali - The Sunday Telegraph - Australia - Newstext ] ] [ [ Five bombers were prepared to die] The Australian - May 25, 2003]
*Sarmad - 17th century mystical poet and sufi saint, arrived from Persia to India, beheaded for assumed heresy by the Mughal emperor, Aurungzebe. Sarmad renounced Judaism, briefly converting to Islam and then Hinduism. He later denounced all religions and rejected belief in god. [ [ Sarmad, the mystic poet] ] [ [ Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed: The Naked Sufi Martyr] ]
* Harilal Mohandas Gandhi - son of Mahatma Gandhi. Upon converting to Islam he adopted the name "Abdullah Gandhi", but later again reverted back to Hinduism. [ Watching 'Gandhi my Father' was painful: Tushar] ]


* Krishna Das (born Jeffrey Kagel) - singer who performs Indian chants called kirtans
* Hridayananda Goswami (born Howard J. Resnick) - American spiritual leader of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness [ [ Who is Acaryadeva?] - Acharyadeva]
* Tamal Krishna Goswami (born Thomas G. Herzig) - governing body commissioner of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
* Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert)- syncretist, and follower of the Hindu deity Hanuman. Professor of psychology at Harvard University [ [ Ram Dass - the official interactive Satsang site for author (Be Here Now) and spiritual teacher Ram Dass ] ]
* J. D. Salinger - American author best known for "The Catcher in the Rye" [ [ Affiliation of Writer J. D. Salinger] - Adherents]

From other dharmic religions


*Rajasinghe I - Sri Lankan king who conquered Kandy [ [ Dona Catherina: the last empress of Lanka] Lanka Library]
* Mihirakula a Huna ruler [Thakur, Upendra.The Hunas in India. The Chowkhamba Senskrit, Banaras, 1967. ] .
* Vasudeva I, Kushan king and numismatist [ [ Coins of India] Calcutta : Association Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1922]


*Vishnuvardhana - King of Hoysala empire and prominent temple-builder [ [ Mysore: A Gazetteer Compiled for Government] - Benjamin Lewis Rice]



*Charairongba, Manipuri ruler.
*Pamheiba, Manipuri King [ [ Manipur, The] - Banglapedia]
*Suhungmung - Ahom kingdom ruler who extended Assam up to the Kamarupa Kingdom [Shimray, R.R. Origin and Culture of Nagas. Pamleiphi Shimray, 1985]
*Supangmung - Ahom kingdom ruler who recaptured Guwahati. Converted to Vaishnavism after a killing to make amendsNeog, Maheshwar. Religions of the North-east: Studies in the Formal Religions of North. Munshiram Manoharlal, 1984.]
* Susenghphaa - Ahom king, during his rule the Ahom-Mughal conflicts began [Krishna, Manmohan.Political Consciousness In Indian English Writing: A Study Of Manohar Malgonkar,Naintara Sahgal & Bhabani Bhattacharya.1991, Bahri Publications. ISBN 8170340624]

From non-religious backgrounds

* Annie Besant (former atheist) - Theosophist, orator and feminist [Besant, Annie. The Building of the Kosmos and Other Lectures: Delivered at the Eighteenth. The Path, 1894.]
* John Dobson (former atheist who became a believer in Vedanta)- astronomer and telescope designer [ [ - John Dobson: Amateur Astronomy's Revolutionary ] ] [ [ Wall Street Journal Article about John ] ]
* Sita Ram Goel (former atheist) - Indian commentator, writer and Hindu activistGoel, Sita Ram, [ "How I became a Hindu"] ]

Undetermined former religion

*Agehananda Bharati (born Leopold Fischer) - academic Sanskritist, a prolific author about religious subjects, and a Hindu monk in the Dasanami Sannyasi order [ [ Agehananda Bharati ] ]
* Alain Daniélou (convert to Shaivism) - French historian, intellectual, musicologist, and Indologist [ [ Shiva and the Primordial Tradition] - Inner Traditions]
* Ambarish Das (born Alfred Ford) - American businessman, great-grandson of Henry Ford, and a follower of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (the founder of ISKCON) [ [ Alfred Ford Takes a Turn to the Spiritual] New York Times - November 9, 1981] [ [,curpg-1.cms Alfred Ford: The billionaire bhakt] Times of India - 6 Mar, 2005]
* Urmila Devi Dasi (born Edith E. Best)- senior female ISKCON leader and educator [ [ U] - Srila Prabhupada Disciple Database] [ [ - ISKCON Communications Journal - ICJ ] ]
* Nina Hagen (follower of Haidakhan Babaji) - German singer [ [ Nina Hagen official website] ]
* Aldous Huxley (disciple of Swami Prabhavananda) - English writer who emigrated to the United States, author of "Brave New World" [ Vedanta's Western Poet] Hinduism Today - September 1999]
* Joe Don Looney (follower of Swami Muktananda)- football player [ [ Dozier 152] ]
* John McLaughlin (became a disciple of Sri Chinmoy) - jazz fusion guitar player [ [ John McLaughlin]]
* Shaunaka Rishi Dasa (Irish convert and member of ISKCON)- founder of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies [ [ Ramayana reinvented for alien times and stage] Times of India - 19 Apr, 2001] [ [ The National Council of Hindu Temples (UK) ] ]
* Lex Hixon (syncretist and disciple of Swami Nikhilananda) - poet, philosopher, spiritual practitioner and teacher [ [ Lex ] ]
*Mathias Rust - German daredevil pilot [ [,4273,4173514,00.html German daredevil grounded by court] Guardian Unlimited - April 21, 2001]
* Kelli Williams - American actress who played Lindsay Dole Donnell on the ABC legal drama "The Practice". [ [ Kelli Williams Quotes and Trivia at MovieTome ] ]
* Ricky Williams - Miami Dolphins football player [ [ Although odd, Ricky Williams isn't without his charms] Pro Football Weekly - November 23, 2007] .
* Crispian Mills English rock singer named Krishna Kantha dasa. He wrote a foreword to a book by Bhaktivinoda Thakur titled "Sri Siksastaka".Bhaktivinoda Thakura (1997) "Sri Siksastaka", ISBN 81-86737-06-5 Retrieved on 2008-06-01. "Through the mercy of sri guru and Vaishnavas, we may understand the deeper meaning of Mahaprabhu’s Siksastakam, embrace it in our lives and let it gently melt our hearts. Krishna-kanta dasa (Crispian Mills) Bath, England September 21, 1997." [ Foreword] ]

ee also

* List of people by belief
* List of converts to Christianity
* List of converts to Islam
* List of converts to Buddhism
* List of converts to Judaism
* List of converts to Sikhism


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