Hindu Americans Face Challenges, Growth In Following Their Faith

September 20, 2009

Author: Michael Paulson

Source: The Boston Globe


The Hindu Temple of Minnesota is quite a sight - a massive boxy structure surrounding an ornate gray tower with a wedding cake top featuring layer upon layer of sculptured lotuses and icons. In one striking room, lit by a series of skylights, 21 shrines with statues of Hindu deities ring a large open floor area. This temple, in Maple Grove, claims to be the largest in the United States, and survived a horrific act of vandalism in 2006, in which two young men decapitated and dismembered the temple’s icons. Remarkably, the Hindu community then reached out to and befriended the vandals, who are now college students, and even included them in a ceremony at which the destroyed icons were buried.

I moderated a panel discussion on Hinduism in America at the temple last weekend, during a visit by a large group of religion writers. Three speakers, Anantanand Rambachan of St. Olaf College in Minnesota, Khyati Joshi of Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, and Suhag Shukla of the Hindu American Foundation, talked about issues facing the estimated 1.5 million to 2 million Hindus in the United States.