Over time, the appeal of Hinduism has gone global with a sizeable population thriving in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Canada, United States and even predominantly Islamic Malaysia
New Delhi: Hinduism is one of the world’s major religions with a global following of over 1.032 billion people. The religion that has its roots in India, is believed to be the oldest in the world. But over time, the appeal of this ancient religion has gone global with a sizeable population thriving in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Canada, United States and even predominantly Islamic Malaysia.
Many Hollywood stars, top honchos of foreign companies are getting attracted to sanatan dharma
The Facebook founder has confessed that he was frustrated with his life. It is then that he went on a personal tour of Uttarakhand in India where he met Karoli Baba, who is believed to be an avatar of Lord Hanuman. After he came in close contact with the Baba, his life changed for the good. He founded Facebook upon his return and the rest is history.
The entire world knows Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. He died in 2011. He was also deeply influenced by Indian mysticism. It is Jobs who advised Zuckerberg to visit Karoli Baba. Jobs himself was a follower of Karoli Baba and used to practice ancient Indian rituals.
Julia Roberts’ smile may be infectious but the attraction of Hinduism is no less infectious. When she came to India to shoot Eat, Pray, Love, she came in close contact with this oldest surviving religion, that thoroughly impressed her. Roberts, who grew up with a Catholic mother and Baptist father, reportedly became interested in Hinduism after seeing a picture of the deity, Hanuman. In fact, she decided to convert. And ever since, there was no looking back. Even till date, Roberts practices Hinduism actively. She confessed that this makes her more compassionate and a more loving person. Does she still practice it? Well as late as this Diwali, Roberts was quoted saying, “Diwali should be celebrated unanimously throughout the world as a gesture of goodwill”.
The star who is famous for his role in Rambo, has a very unique story. He lost his son four years ago, and ever since, he could sense his son’s spirit around him. After being very disturbed, he contacted a priest who advised him to do pind daan of his son, a ritual for the dead person to attain moksha. After that, Stalone’s entire family - brother Michael Stallone, his wife Michel, Russian movie star Alexi and his wife Olga conducted the pind daan at Sati Ghat in Kankhal, near Haridwar. After this incident, Stallone’s faith in Hinduism has been rock solid.
Russell Brand, the famous comedian and actor got initiated to Hinduism through transcendental meditation. Brand actively follows Hinduism. If the proof of one’s religious belief gets reflected through the customs one follows in their wedding, Brand couldn’t be a better example. He not only chose India, the birthplace of the religion he so admires, as his wedding venue but his beliefs in the religion are so deep that he had a Hindu wedding with Katy Perry in Rajasthan. Well, there was a Hindu priest who made them perform all rituals before tying the knot.
Jackman may be Wolverine for the world, but for his own self, he is deeply soaked in Hinduism. In many interviews, he has accepted that mysticism attracts him. He dedicatedly follows the Upanishads and Bhagwad Gita, scriptures that are fundamental to Hinduism. In an interview he said, “The scriptures that we follow are a mixture between the West and the East and would be from Socrates to the Upanishads, to the Bhagavad Gita, to a number of different texts..”. The star, who was born a Christian, also has a Sanskrit inscription engraved wedding ring which reads “Om paramar mainamar” that means, “We pledge our union to a higher source.”
A substantial number of holly stars took up Buddhism as well. Buddhism itself is a branch the has come up from Hinduism.
The famous Hollywood star adopted a child called Maddox who is a Buddhist. Since then, Jolie got involved in Buddhist traditions. She accepts Buddhist learnings as an integral part of her life.
Robert Downey Jr
Yes, he converted into Buddhism but is a strong follower of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement. The Iron Man star was born a Jew but now personally promotes both Buddhism and the ideology of Hare Krishna, that stems from Lord Krishna.
Pop queen Madonna is a symbol of the Western civilisation. But now, she is way too influenced by Hinduism. Generally, she loves to dress like Hindu women and takes part in aarti.
This seasoned actor met Dalai Lama during his Nepal tour and converted into Buddhism. He keeps coming to Dharamshala in India to meet the Dalai Lama.
Miley Cyrus may be a pop rage that the world adores, but if she adores something that’s an ancient belief system - Hinduism. Cyrus is a pop singer and actress, who is infamous for many of her controversial works. But probably to change that unsettled inner being, she realised that practicing Hinduism can be the ideal thing for her. The world knows Cyrus as a pop sensation with racy lyrics, but those in her inner circle know her as an avid Hindu worshipper. In fact, not long ago, she shared a picture of Lakshmi Pooja in her house for better finances. She shared the picture of the whole setup on her Instagram account. The 24-year-old songstress captioned the picture with "#FruitBowl over Super... #offering".
Famous Hollywood actor Brad Pitt is a follower of Buddhism as well. He got converted to it along with his wife Angelina Jolie.
Famous western rapper MIA is actually Matangi Maya Arulpragsham. She is a Tamil of Sri Lankan descent. She wears a saffron cloth and lives a regular life like that of a sadhvi or a follower. She actively uses symbolism related to the sanatan dharma or ancient religion. She keeps coming to India.
The famous American soccer player has a deep interest in yoga and meditation. He also respects Hindu rituals.
This German supermodel and singer was born in Poland but always keeps a Ganesha along with her. She was born into a Catholic family. But when she came to India, she started reading about Vedic scriptures and studying astrology. She has worked in many Hindi movies as well.
Famous model and actress Uma Thurman is also a Buddhist. She got introduced to the religion by her father, who interestingly, was the first person from the West who became a Tibetan Lama. In an interview, she said, “Buddhism is my religion because I was raised in such Buddhist spiritual atmosphere”.
This famous actor from Hong Kong and a martial arts expert is also deeply influenced by the sanatan dharma. He once recollected that he came to Chennai in India around five years back where he took a stroll around a Shiva temple. According to him, he felt a very positive vibe around that place that kept infiltrating his body. He said it was a different Jackie after that surreal experience. Ever since his outlook towards life stands changed completely.
If a Sudevi is the Chief Justice of Indonesia. She was a born Muslim. She became a Judge in 1990. In 2002 Islamic terrorists attacked the country with explosives. She gave death sentence to all the terror convicts. One of the convicts was even an Imam. After spelling out her judgement, she started studying ancient scriptures. Once she understood the meaning of it, she decided to convert to Hinduism.
Kanjen Raden Mahendrani
She is the princess of Java, the capital of Indonesia. She too was born and brought up in a Muslim family, to a Muslim parent. But very recently, she decided to convert to hinduism. She later confessed, before converting, she used to visit Hind temple o offer prayers.
Apart from all these men and women of eminence, the list of celebs who now practice Sanatan dharma, leaving their original faith is fairly long. They are something like this:
From Christianity to Hinduism:
Allen Chaster is a popular singer from Venezuela who converted to Hinduism from Islam.
Alice Coltrane, American Jazz pianist
Michael Chremo, Communist and Editor
Elizabeth Gilbert, Author, Eat, pray and love
George Harrison, famous British Singer and member of Beatles: Even during his death, he had ‘Hare Krishna’ prayers on his lips
Ilayaraja, Tamil lyricist
Christofer Asherwood, Ango-American Director
From Islam to Hinduism:
Anwar Sheikh, British Author
Ashish Khan, Musician
Hasan Palakkod, Islamic scholar and Malayali author
Khushbu Sundar, Tamil actress
Naira Mirza: Miss India finalist in 1967. Later she became Nalini Patel.
Apart from all these personalities, there are people in lakhs who are getting influenced by this ancient religion and its teachings of ‘Vasudeva Kumbakam’ or ‘The whole world sone family’.They are either converting to hinduism or Buddhism and in recent time, the trend has rapidly caught up.
Last Updated 1:50 PM IST