The following are facts and figures that are relevant to Hindus, India and the United States.
The first Hindu to be identified as a resident in the US was at Salem, Massachusetts in 1790 as recorded by Rev. William Bentley.
The first Hindu Temple of North America was established in San Francisco in 1906 by the American Disciples of Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Vivekananda addressed the Parliament of Religions in 1893 and became an instant celebrity. So powerful was the acceptance of Swamiji’s message, there was not another parliament of religions until 1993 which was organized to commemorate the first one.
The first translation of the Bhagawad Gita in English was completed in 1785 by Charles Wilkins.
Sunita Williams, a Hindu American became the first human to stay in space for the longest period in history in the year 2007.
Bhagat Singh Tikka, the first known Hindu in the United States Army, was declared ineligible for citizenship in 1907 by the Supreme Court of the US because he was not “White”.
Dwight Eisenhower is the first American President to have visited India on December 10, 1959.
Immediately after the first test of an atomic weapon, code named the “Trinity Test”, at the Alamogardo Test Range in the New Mexico Desert, Dr. J. Robert Oppenhiemer, the head of the Manhattan Project and one of the greatest physicists and an avid Sanskrit lover, recited a verse from the Bhagawad Gita.
Albert Einstein, the agnostic, met Swami Nikhilananda in New York and declared that if he were ever to choose a religion, it would be Vedanta.
Christopher Columbus, the Portuguese Explorer who discovered America, was pursuing a new sea route to Calicut, India after the Ottoman Conquest of Constantinople in 1453. When he arrived in America in 1492, he thought he had actually arrived in India.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt publicly pressured Britain to grant independence to India and made it a pre-condition for American involvement in World War 11.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was the first American Intellectual to have embraced the Vedas.
Swami Vivekananda is one of the 25 greatest people to have ever visited the United States of America according to the Smithsonian Institute.
SOME INTERESTING FIGURES AND STATISTICS:
Belief in Rebirth
58 million Americans (20% of the total US population) believe in Rebirth, according to a Gallop Poll (June 16, 2005).
Popularity of Yoga
16.5 million Americans practice Yoga in US, according to ABC News (March 26, 2005).
Practice of Meditation
25 million Americans (9% of the total US population) practice one form of Eastern Meditation Technique, according to a Princeton University/Gallop Poll Survey (1996).
8.4 million Americans (2.8% of the total US population) are Vegetarians and an additional 22.8 million follow a largely vegetarian diet, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group (2003).
American Public Opinion about India
49% of Americans (roughly 143 million) considered India as an ally of the United States, according to a Gallop Poll (March 22, 2000).
Indian Public Opinion about the United States.
71% of Indians (roughly 775 million) had a favorable opinion of the people of the United States according to a Pew Global Attitude Survey of 16 major countries (June 23, 2005).