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Olympian Rajeev Ram shares how Hinduism helped him with tennis.

Even as the descendants of Chinese immigrants to America have achieved great feats by being part of the American team to Rio in this year’s Olympics, the Indian immigrants are not too far behind. Indian-origin Rajeev Ram is one such athlete who is helping America win her medals.

A number of athletes have already come out speaking about how their respective faiths have helped them come so far in the Olympics. Ram is one of the first athlete from America to come out and speak about his Hindu faith. For Ram, the core Hindu concepts of self-control and self-mastery are what helped him gain so much for the nation.

Ram says that Hinduism is basically about controlling our own mind, emotions and sense. Ritualistic practices aside, Hinduism is more about a disciplined way of life that seeks to align the practitioner’s mental faculties with his physical faculties. Needless to say, disciplines such as Yoga go a long way in bringing people to a point where they can learn to control their inner self rather than get controlled by it.

Ram believes that if he is strongly rooted in the Hindu faith, it is because of his parents, who are active members in the local Hindu community of his place. He says that his parents never placed pressure on him wining a competition. Rather, they taught him to focus on how to control his temper and how to channel his negative emotions more positively. As a result, he learned the bigger lesson from this kind of training: it is mastering his emotions and feelings that is important, not a crazy ambition to win everything. He says that applying this lesson on the court helped him gain a lot of success.

Hinduism is a highly ritualistic way of life. As it is a diverse collection of faiths rather than an institutional religion, Hinduism is complicated to understand due to its openness to all kinds of ways of life. It has elements of monotheism, polytheism, animism, pantheism and many more. The one common factor that underlies the Hindu way of thought is the stress on controlling the mind. While not all Hindus practice this skill, for athletes like Ram, this concept is one that has greatly helped him in his sport.

With ATP Doubles (Association of Tennis Professionals) titles to his credit in his career, he is currently ranked 105 in the singles list and 20 in the doubles. He recently won silver in the Rio Olympics together with Venus Williams.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and are not necessarily those of World Religion News.