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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2648

Growing interest of Hinduism in America

Reno (Nevada, USA), 12 September, ( In view of the expanding interest in Hinduism, India and Yoga among Americans, Hinduism classes are being offered at local Truckee Meadows Community College, one of the prestigious institutions of Nevada, USA, in November and December next.

To be taught by prominent Hindu chaplain Rajan Zed, who read the first historical Hindu opening prayer in United States Senate in July last, these include "Hinduism" and "Hindu Gods and Goddesses".

In the coming months, this College will also offer classes on "Bhagavad-Gita" (most widely read Hindu religious text in the western world); "The Life, Experiments and Philosophy of Gandhi" (messiah of peace and non-violence); and "History and philosophy of Yoga" (one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy)—all to be taught by Rajan Zed.

Currently, there are about 800 Hindu religious centers in the United States of America (USA), concentrated in California, New York, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey. From 1700 people in 1900, the Hindu population of India origin in America grew to an estimated about two million now, in addition to about one million practicing Hindu-Americans of non-India origin.

Interest in Hinduism in North America began in 1830s with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau studying Hindu scriptures like Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita.

Swami Vivekananda made a strong impression at World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. Vedanta Society built the first Hindu Temple in USA in San Francisco in 1906. In 1886, a certain Mr. Joshee lectured before Theosophical societies in America, the first Hindu teacher on record. First Hindu students arrived in 1901 and Theosophical Society was founded in New York in 1877. In 1886, Emma Curtis Hopkins helped form the New Thought Movement, partly inspired by Hindu teachings. Protap Chunder Mozoomdar of Brahmo Samaj delivered his first American address on September 02, 1883 in the parlor of the widow of Ralph Waldo Emerson in Concord, Massachusetts. Ram Mohan Roy's first book, The Percepts of Jesus (1820), reprinted in America in 1825, aroused a great deal of controversy but found some acceptance among early Unitarians.

Third largest religion of the world, Hinduism has no founder, no one authoritative figure, no one deity worshipped by all, no datable beginning, and no single creed or prophet or holy book. Oldest religion in the world, it dates back to around 3,000 BCE. Its oldest sacred literature, the Rig-Veda, dated from around 1,500 BCE and composed over several hundred years, is the oldest holy book still in common use in the world. Another scripture, Mahabharata, is the longest poem ever written, comprising of over 100,000 couplets.

- Asian Tribune -

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