Hindu & Judaic Influences on the Rastafari Movement

Hinduism, Judaism, and the Rastafari movement of Jamaica may seem on the surface to have nothing in common with each other. But if we take a closer look there are things that the three spiritual traditions have in common. These commonalities grew out the colonial experience of Jamaicans.

The Hinduism connection to the Rastafari movement came by way of Indians coming over to Jamaica through the British coolie trade; bringing with them their Hindu traditions. In this case the Hindu Sadhu (Indian holy men) came into contact with Afro-Jamaicans who picked up on the Sadhu’s lifestyle of wearing mated hair (dreadlocks), vegetarianism (Ital food), and marijuana smoking (brought over by Indian coolies, Ganja is a Sanskrit word for marijuana). These things later found their way into the Rastafari movement. The first Rasta, Leonard Howell, a follower of Marcus Garvey, is also known by the name Gong Guru Marajh. Let’s break...

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