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Follow the migration of mankind from East to West along the suns course and along the track of the worlds magnetic currents observe its long voyage from Asia to Europe from India to FranceAt its starting point in India the birthplace of races and religions the womb of the world - Jules Michelet 1789-1874 French writer From the beginning of her history India has adored and idealized not soldiers and statesmen not men of science and leaders of industry not even poets and philosophers who influence the world by their deeds or by their words but those rarer and more chastened spirits whose greatness lies in what they are and not in what they do men who have stamped infinity on the thought and life of the country To a world given over to the pursuit of power and pleasure wealth and glory they declared the reality of the unseen world and the call of the spiritual life This ideal had dominated the Indian religious landscape for over forty centuries Hinduism known as Sanatana Dharma or everlasting religion to its followers differs from Christianity and other Western religions in that it does not have a single founder a specific theological system a single system of morality or a central religious organization It consists of thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since 1500 BCE 1 Hinduism has grown to become the worlds third largest religion after Christianity and Islam 1 It claims about 762 million followers - 13 of the worlds population 7 It is the dominant religion in India and Nepal and among the Tamils in Sri Lanka According to the Yearbook of American Canadian Churches there are about 11 million Hindus in the US 5 However the American Religious Identification Survey is believed to be more accurate with a smaller estimated number of 766000 American Hindus in 2001 Still this is a very significant increase from 227000 in 1990
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