Hinduism in Sri Lanka

Most Hindus in Sri Lanka are Shaivist.

Hinduism has a long tradition in Sri Lanka. Hindus currently make up 12.60%[1] of the Sri Lankan population, and are almost exclusively Tamils apart from small immigrant communities from India and Pakistan such as the Sindhis, Telugus and Malayalees. In the 1915 census they made up almost 25% of the population, which included the indentured labourers the British had brought. Due to assimilation and emigration (over 1 million Sri Lankan Tamils have left the country since independence), today they are still a small minority. Hinduism is dominant in the Northeastern province, where there is a significant number of Tamil people. Hinduism is also practised in the central regions (where there are significant numbers of people of Indian Tamil descent) as well as in the capital, Colombo. According to the government census of 2012, there are 2,554,606 Hindus in Sri Lanka. During the Sri Lankan Civil War, many Tamils fled to other countries. There are Hindu temples abroad which were built by the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora to maintain their religion and culture.

The majority of Sri Lankan Hindus follow the teaching of Shaiva Siddhanta. Sri Lanka is home to the five abodes of Shiva, which are known as Pancha Ishwarams. Sri Murugan is one of the most popular Hindu deities in Sri Lanka. He is not only venerated by the Hindu Tamils but also by Buddhist Sinhalese and aboriginal Veddas.[2]

A significant Hindu religious figure in Sri Lankan modern history is Satguru Siva Yogaswami of Jaffna. One of the mystics of the 20th century, Yogaswami was the official satguru and counseling sage of Lanka's several million Tamil Hindu population. The Ramakrishna Mission is somewhat active in the Amparai and Batticaloa districts while the Shaiva Siddhanta school of philosophy of Shaivism sect of hinduism is prevalent in the North of Srilanka .[3] Yogaswami belonged to the Shaiva Siddhanta and he was 161st head of the Nandinatha Sampradaya. The next person in the line of succession after Yogaswami was Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.[4]

  1. ^ http://www.statistics.gov.lk/PopHouSat/CPH2011/index.php?fileName=pop43&gp=Activities&tpl=3
  2. ^ Walking to Kataragama, Sunil Goonasekera, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, 2007, p. 520.
  3. ^ Lion of lanka. 
  4. ^ "Shivaya subramaniam". himalayanacademy. 

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