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Hindu ashrams in usa

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Hindus landed in America for the first time in the latter part of the 19th century. There are only limited records of early Hindu immigrants. One Hindu catching the attention of America was Swami Vivekananda. Hailed in the Hindu World as the father of the Modern Hindu Renaissance, Swami Vivekananda, came to America to attend the World Parliament of Religions in 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago. For the first time in the history of religion, representatives of various religious traditions from around the world had come together to share the fundamental tenets of their individual traditions with an audience of scholars, religious figures, and prominent socialites from all over the United States.

Swamiji (as he is respectfully addressed by Hindus), spoke at the Parliament on September 11, 1893. On that historic day, he called upon the major religions of the world to promote tolerance and mutual understanding and renounce narrow sectarianism, fanaticism, fundamentalism, and religious hatred. The address that began with five words (“Brothers and sisters of America”) lasted for five minutes. After concluding, he received a standing ovation for his brilliant presentation and its universal message. Newspaper after newspaper reported the speeches of the Hindu monk, and America realized for the first time that the word ‘Hindu’ represented a world vastly different from what they had been told through different sources in that era (e.g. the print media, the church, and various scholars). When America heard what Hindus represented first-hand, their fascination knew no bounds. Thus began a new era for Hindus and Hindu Dharma in America.

The positive experiences and impressions Swamiji carried with him after his tour of America laid the foundation for the future migration of Hindus to America. Many other prominent Hindu religious leaders visited America in the early part of the 20th century. While Hindus came mainly from India, a large number also hailed from other countries such as Trinidad, Guyana, Surinam, Fiji, United Kingdom, Nepal, Bangladesh and various African countries. There were even Hindus from Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. The years following the turbulent 60’s also witnessed a large number of American-born Christians and Jews accepting the Hindu way of life. Although Hindus do not believe in religious conversions, they have accepted those willing to embrace the Hindu way of life with open arms.

Today, more than 100 Hindu ashrams operate throughout the US. In the last three decades, Hindus have also built several hundred places of worship and assembly in the form of Temples, Gurdwaras, and cultural centers throughout America. Since Hindus accept all paths towards God as valid and legitimate, they have a rich and bewildering variety of spiritual practices, ideas, forms of worship, customs, traditions and scriptures. This inherent diversity of beliefs and traditions shows the basic outlook of all Hindus – Acceptance of All Paths, Unity in Diversity, and Freedom.

I have visited the following Ashrams.

Yogaville – Yoga Teacher Training: Yoga Retreats and Programs | Yogaville | Satchidananda Ashram
Arshavidya - Vedanta, Yoga, Astrology, Ayurveda & Vedic Heritage Classes
Kauai's Hindu Monastery
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