the native traditions Hinduism, which integrates the indigenous
religions of Southeast Asia, is the largest, the most organized and
the best preserved. Therefore Hinduism provides the key to these
organic religions and can show us their relevance as part of a
universal tradition and global spirituality. Today, with a new interest
in mythology and shamanism, we are rediscovering the validity of
native religions and their spiritual practices. We are discovering
in the native religions of Africa and America much psychological
sophistication and a greater connection with Nature that we all need
in this ecological age.
Unfortunately most of these
native cultures have been overrun if not destroyed, particularly by
the conversion efforts of belief-oriented religions, and those few
which are left are fighting for their lives. Christianity
and Islam spread mainly by converting people from their indigenous
beliefs, teaching them that their indigenous religions, and the
culture on which they are based, were wrong, inferior or evil.
Hinduism, on the contrary, teaches people to preserve their
indigenous beliefs, to cherish their native heritages.
Hindus are seeking to help
such indigenous cultures and spiritual traditions revive themselves
and flourish in the modern world. Those following such native
traditions should examine Hinduism and form a common alliance with
it. Those seeking to preserve the religious and spiritual heritage
of humanity contained in these native beliefs will find a common
cause with the Hindus.