By Francis Kokutse
From just two dozen people in the mid 1970s to 3,000 families now, Hinduism is spreading in Ghana and has also made its way into neighbouring Togo.
Hindu worship began to grow in Ghana after African spiritual leader, Essel ji, was initiated by Swami Krishnanda ji Saraswati into the Holy Order of Renunciation in 1976, said Kwesi Anamoah, national president of the African Hindu Temple here.
"Today, there are 2,000 to 3,000 families worshipping all over the country which is a big increase from the 24 people who participated in the first-ever training camp in 1976 to become disciples," Anamoah told IANS.
"We have not achieved this through the winning of souls as other religions do, but have attracted people into the practice of Hinduism simply by the lives we lead," he said, adding: "Our lives shine in the community to attract people."
Christians form nearly 70 percent of the 24 million population of Ghana while the population of six million in Togo includes nearly 30 percent Christians and 20 percent Muslims.
Anamoah said that the practice of Hinduism as a religion and its unique philosophy is helping to change the lives of those who have accepted the faith.
He said the first ever Hindu monastery has been built in Ghana and it is from here that Hinduism is spreading.
"We do not evangelise like other faiths do, but we have attracted people because they see how we live our lives as Hindus and come to make enquiries and then find their way into our folds," Anamoah added.
He said the monastery annually holds six weeks' training for those interested to become devotees.
"It is a religion that cannot be explained in simple terms...we do not go into the streets to talk to people; rather, they are invited to come and understand."
Anamoah said perceptions about the religion has changed with time.
"We have also been able to change initial perception that Hindu worshipping was cultural enslavement...," he added.
(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Indo-Asian News Service)