By Nithin Sridhar
Hinduism in US: Present and Future: Part 3
In this third installment of the “Hinduism in US: Present and Future” series, NewsGram continues to explore the status of Hinduism in the US and how it may evolve in the future.
A PEW survey has shown that the share of Hindus in the US population has increased from 0.4% in 2007 to 0.7% in 2014, with the 2014 Hindu population in absolute terms being approximately 2.23 million. But, Hinduism Today magazine had estimated in 2008 itself that there were around 2.3 million Hindus in the US at that time itself. So, the Hindu community as well as Hindu religion is growing slowly in US.
In order to have a better understanding about the Hindu American community, NewsGram spoke to Acharya Arumuganatha Swami, the Managing Editor at Hinduism Today magazine.
Nithin Sridhar: What values and tenets do the Hindu Americans consider as being core to their religious practice and everyday life?
Acharya Arumuganathaswami: Existence of God everywhere and in all things, a belief in the law of karma (actions) and the principles of dharma (duty and righteousness), and a respectful attitude toward all religions.
NS: Do Hindu Americans identify more with the core tenets of dharma, or do they only have nominal affiliation to the outer forms that define identity like dress codes, using sindhur (red dot on the forehead), etc.?
AA: I think they have both—those that hold strongly to the Hindu principles and those that don’t give much thought to the religion, but maintain an ethnic identity as an Indian.
NS: What role do you see for various temples and spiritual organizations in the survival and propagation of Hinduism to the young generation in the US?
AA: The temples serve for the ritual worship, for cultural events such as music and dance, for celebrating festivals, and for the sense of community. Spiritual organizations and the larger temples provide teaching centers for the youth.
NS: What initiatives or practices should the Hindu parents adopt to impart Hindu values to their children?
AA: Most important is that parents themselves start living a dharmic life and thus start modeling the Hindu lifestyle and values for their children to follow. Further, a better systematic presentation of Hindu practices and beliefs should be adopted.
NS: There is a growing interest among non-Hindu Americans towards Yoga, Ayurveda, and other spiritual aspects of Hinduism. Do you see these interests translating into their formal adoption of Hindu religion in near future?
AA: Many in our organization, which does bring people formally into the Hindu religion, have come through their initial interest in yoga and meditation.
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