Hinduism Influences U.S. Culture, Customs

May 13, 2006

Source: The Express News


On May 13, 2006 The Express News reported, "Hinduism has more influence in American culture than its relatively small membership would suggest, said an American-born swami who visited San Antonio's Hindu temple last week. 'It's more widespread than you'd think,' said Satguru Bodinatha Veylanswami, 63, publisher of Hinduism Today magazine and head of 20 monks at a monastery on Kauai, Hawaii. 'Martin Luther King's strategy of nonviolence is a good example of how Hindu principles have been used effectively in the West. King visited some of Mahatma Gandhi's followers in India to understand it better,' the swami said. 'Since Sept. 11, there's been broader interest in teaching nonviolence,' Veylanswami said. 'We have a wonderful opportunity to share our belief in the importance of raising children with prejudice-free consciences.' Hinduism also influenced the vegetarian movement, yoga meditation, and alternative medical treatments that have become popular in the United States. An estimated 25 percent of Americans believe in reincarnation, he said. Veylanswami, a Berkeley, Calif., native, spoke here last week at ceremonies to reconsecrate several temple statues. The ceremonies are conducted every 12 years as a way of 'recharging' statues with spiritual energy, the swami said. The Hindu American Foundation estimates that the foreign-born Hindu population in the United States has grown from 387,000 in 1980 to nearly 2 million. About 1 million Hindus have been born in the United States to immigrant Hindu parents, Veylanswami said."