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There are four Hindu communities with altogether 367 members, but the estimated number of Hindus in Finland is around 6000. Selections of Hindu teachings gained some ground in Finland first through theosophy in the beginning of the 20th century, but Hindu rituals and devotional life only started to receive interest among Finnish people in the 1970s. This happened through new religious movements that had been started in America in the 1960s. Even though these movements had their base in Hindu teachings, their followers did not usually consider themselves Hindus. In the beginning of the 1980s, the Hare Krishna movement (ISKCON) started in Finland, not gaining many official members but, unlike other movements, it also had some Indian Hindus living in Finland as participants. The movement also maintains a Hindu temple that was the only Hindu temple in Finland for a long time. Increased immigration has gradually led to the formation of ethnic Hindu communities. The largest of these is the Finnish Hindus (in Finnish, Suomen hindut) that has a small temple in Helsinki, close to the ISKCON temple. The majority of the Finnish Hindus are Tamils who have moved from Sri Lanka and India. Hindu traditions are found in the background of popular yoga practices, but yoga in Finland is often influenced by many Western traditions as well. Depending on the yoga school, they may involve religious elements like reciting as part of the practice or have Hindu statues or images at the studio. The great majority of yoga practitioners do not consider that their practice has anything to do with religion, not to speak of Hinduism.

D 24 juin 2021    AAnita Sipilä

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