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Contemporary Hindu Movements

Hinduism is going through an exciting phase or regeneration and reform through the vehicle of several contemporary movements. These movements stress the spiritual science aspects of the Hindu traditions, creating a form that is egalitarian that does not discriminate based on jati, gender, or race. Active Hindu communities are to be found in all parts of the world. In particular, the former Soviet Union countries and Poland have thriving Hindu communities due to the missionary work of the Hare Krishnas.

There are groups in India that are actively engaged in getting women and those from socially disadvantaged jatis to become priests of Vedic ritual.

The new movements look up to Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore,Ramana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Ramatirtha, Narayana Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, and Srila Prabhupada for inspiration. More recently, the work of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Swami Muktananda, Swami Chinmayananda, Dayananda Saraswati, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and Ammachi has inspired millions to create new centers of spiritual development. In the intellectual field, the writings of Ananda Coomaraswamy, Ram Swarup, Sita Ram Goel, Subhash Kak and David Frawley have been influential.

In social work, Mahatma Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave, Pandurang Shastri Athavale, Baba Amte have been most important. Sundarlal Bahuguna created the chipko movement for the preservation of forestlands according to the Hindu ecological ideas.

The increasing popularity of yoga and meditation has helped Hindus to re-discover their roots. The revival of Indian classical arts like dance and sculpture have been influential in instilling pride.

In Indonesia there are several movements to support return to Hinduism in Java. Balinese Hinduism has also witnessed transformation.