Hindu Population in World
Surveys reveal that Hinduism is the third most popular religion in the world after Christianity and Islam. A majority of Hindus live in India, where there are greater than 800 million adherents. Countries such as the U.S.A., Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Malaysia also have significant Hindu members. It has been estimated that Hinduism’s growth rate around the world is about 1.5% annually.
Hinduism in India
Though a majority of Indians are Hindus, yet they would not like to define themselves stringently under this term. This is because Hinduism comprises of diverse cultures, languages, traditions, deities and regional beliefs. However, the religion in India is bound by certain common roots and understanding.
Hinduism’s Spread Outside India
Hinduism has spread its wings in Australia, the rest of Asia, North America and Europe. Many Hindu gurus such as Osho, Paramahamsa Yogananda and others have traveled to the West to spread the hoary message of Hinduism. This has kindled interest in Hindu philosophy and belief among westerners. There is also growing interest in yoga and meditation. The Western world through scientific research has discovered many practical uses of yoga and meditation for today’s stressed out society.
Pull of Hindu Practices
Scientific research has conclusively proved that yoga and meditation benefit mind and body. Consistent practice of various forms of hatha yoga increases our flexibility and body strength. Yoga meditation helps us overcome tension, stress and anxiety. Such tangible benefits have led to a surge in popularity about Hindu practices not only in the West, but among Hindus as well. Many Hindus who had been turned off by empty rituals and overcrowded temples, now have started delving deeper into the spiritual and practical aspects of their ancient religion.