Swami Vivekananda was a very charismatic representative for Hinduism in America. Even though he died only a few years after first coming to America, he was able to establish many societies dedicated to Advaita Vedanta, which is based on the teachings of Ramakrishna, an Indian saint. These various societies developed into several formal movements including the Self-realization Fellowship and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, more commonly known as the "Hare Krishnas".
As immigration from India has increased over the years, Hindu temples have added to the varied architectural landscape of America. These temples are constructed in the style of temples from northern and southern India. They are blessed by Hindu priests and offer a safe have for believers to escape the materialistic impulses that rule so much of American life. Hindu temples stand as a symbol of cultural acceptance and tolerance, adding to the cultural mosaic that makes up America. Orthodox Hindus, those conducting serious investigations of the Hindu religion with an eye on converting, as well as the simply curious are all welcome to visit the temple. This reality shows that in some ways, Hinduism and American culture are a good fit.
Hinduisms tolerance for other religions has also affected culture in America. Aside from influencing authors and artists, Adivaita Vedantas universalism has affected certain liberal leaning Christian churches. The "New Age " movement also can link directly to the tenets of Hinduism in regards to acceptance of other religious beliefs, the belief in a plurality of paths to enlightenment and a commitment to non-violence and pacifism.
While Hinduism has not grown to be a major religion in America in numbers of actual adherents, it has nonetheless had substantial influence. From art to architecture to the melding of