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Bhakti " A VERY TINY PERCENTAGE" ? Current Statistics

Jan 26, 2003 05:09 PM
by Bhakti Ananda Goswami

To: Bhakti Ananda E.O.H.N. 
Sent: Sunday, January 26, 2003 5:01 PM
Subject: Bhakti Traditions " A VERY TINY PERCENTAGE" ? Current Statistics


Jerry S. said...

"But the "Sattvic Bhakti Traditions" represent a very tiny 
percentage of Hindu and Buddhist schools where such blinds and 
secrecy is commonplace, and psychologically and socially necessary."

The Bhakti salvific devotional traditions have ALWAYS been the dominant ones. The tending-towards-sattvic Eastern Bhakti Traditions like Vaishnavism,Theistic Shaivism and Mahayana Buddhism, proclaim Godhead's great love forall humanity, and that God is eager to reveal Himself to humanity. God's law and highest truths are not hidden from His children. God is honest withus, and we are expected to be honest (humble) with Him, ourselves and eachother. Thus these exoteric traditions share an ideal of morality that prizes equality, openness and honesty. Among Vaishnavas, Godhead is considered full in ALL spiritual and material opulences, and CHIEF among His spiritual opulences IS HIS HUMILITY. God is the MOST HUMBLE and RENOUNCED of all beings. He alone both 'has it all' and is able to renounce it all. Thus as in the Catholic Mystery of the Cross, the 'highest' wills Himself to becomethe 'lowest' for the redemption of all beings in the saha world. In the same way Avalokiteshvara, the 'Second Person' of Amitabha Adi Buddha becomesthe Bodhisattva of infinite compassion Whose Cosmic Sacrifice redeems the beings of the saha worlds. Lokeshavara even descends into the hells, and stays in every saha world until the "last hungry ghost" is saved ! 

Looking at the statistic for Mahayana Buddhism below, consider how many Chinese there are, and that Pure Land Buddhism was their dominant tradition, (nearly all Confucianists also practiced Mahayana)for much more than a thousand years ! Despite the effort of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, who are a small minority of the Chinese People, faith in Mother Kuan Yin and theBuddha is still alive in the hearts of both the educated and the peasantry. I have known refugees and missioners from China, and they all say the same thing. Every form of faith is flourishing there in the underground temples or 'house churches', despite the worst vicious persecution. The faith and religiosity of the Chinese people is like a sealed kettle about to explode. It almost took down the government at Tiananmen Square but was violentlysuppressed. However it cannot stay pent-up forever. Even though Pure Land(Mahayana)Buddhism has been suppressed in China and North Korea, as per the chart below, it is still the dominant form practiced ! In the Chart below please note the totals...

Catholic Christianity 1,030,000,000 
Sunni Islam 940,000,000 
Vaishnavites Hinduism 580,000,000 
Orthodox/Eastern Christian Christianity 240,000,000 
Shaivites Hinduism 220,000,000 

Vaishnavas are not Mayavadis, and those who identify as Shaivites are not atheistic Advaiti Mayavadis either ! Those who self-identify as Shaivites practice Bhakti Yoga devoted to Shiva as Param Ishvara. So where are the atheistic or if one prefers, the non-theistic Hindus in this ranking ?

They are principally in the iconoclastic Advaiti Neo-Hindu and Hindu reformmovements like the Arya Samaja and Vedanta Society. Because of their bhakti or devotion, Vaishnavites and Shaivites prefer to identify themselves as such, instead of using the word 'Hindu'. Otherwise it would be impossible for anyone to come up with statistics like this ! As opposed to "Vaishnavites' 580,000,000 and "Shaivites" 220,000,000, there are only 22,000,000 who are self-identified as "Hindu". 

and reform Hindus Hinduism 22,000,000 

So much for statement by Jerry S. that the "...the "Sattvic Bhakti Traditions" represent a very tiny percentage of Hindu and Buddhist schools..."

Buddhism: World estimates for Buddhism vary between 230 and 500 million, with most around 350 million. More. 
Major Branches of Buddhism Branch Number of Adherents 
Mahayana 185,000,000 
Theravada 124,000,000 
Lamaism (Vajrayana/Tibetan/Tantric) 20,000,000 

Hinduism: The highest figure we've seen for Hinduism (1.4 billion, Clarke, Peter B., editor), The Religions of the World: Understanding the Living Faiths, Marshall Editions Limited: USA (1993); pg. 125.) is actually higher than the highest figure we've seen for Islam. But this is an abberation. World Hinduism adherent figures are usually between 850 million and one billion. More.

Major Branches of Hinduism Branch Number of Adherents 
Vaishnavites 580,000,000 
Shaivites 220,000,000 
neo-Hindus and reform Hindus 22,000,000 
Veerashaivas (Lingayats) 10,000,000 

Christianity: 2 billion

1.. Islam: 1.3 billion

2.. Hinduism: 900 million

3.. Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 850 million

4.. Buddhism: 360 million

5.. Chinese traditional religion: 225 million

6.. primal-indigenous: 150 million

7.. African Traditional & Diasporic: 95 million

8.. Sikhism: 23 million

9.. Juche: 19 million

10.. Spiritism: 14 million

11.. Judaism: 14 million

12.. Baha'i: 6 million

13.. Jainism: 4 million

14.. Shinto: 4 million

15.. Cao Dai: 3 million

16.. Tenrikyo: 2.4 million

17.. Neo-Paganism: 1 million

18.. Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand

19.. Rastafarianism: 700 thousand

20.. Scientology: 600 thousand

21.. Zoroastrianism: 150 thousand

Branch Number of Adherents 
Catholic 1,030,000,000 
Orthodox/Eastern Christian 240,000,000 
Conservative Protestant 200,000,000 
Liberal Protestant * 150,000,000 
African indigenous sects (AICs) 110,000,000 
Pentecostal 105,000,000 
Anglican * 73,000,000 
Jehovah's Witnesses 14,800,000 
Latter Day Saints 11,200,000 
New Thought (Unity, Christian Science, etc.) 1,500,000 
Friends (Quakers)* 300,000 

Branch Religion Number of Adherents 
Catholic Christianity 1,030,000,000 
Sunni Islam 940,000,000 
Vaishnavites Hinduism 580,000,000 
Orthodox/Eastern Christian Christianity 240,000,000 
Shaivites Hinduism 220,000,000 
Conservative Protestant Christianity 200,000,000 
Mahayana Buddhism 185,000,000 
Liberal Protestant Christianity 150,000,000 
Theravada Buddhism 124,000,000 
Shiite Islam 120,000,000 
African indigenous sects (AICs) Christianity 110,000,000 
Pentecostal Christianity 105,000,000 
Anglican Christianity 73,000,000 
Sikhism Sikhism 23,000,000 
and reform Hindus Hinduism 22,000,000 
(Vajrayana/Tibetan, etc.) Buddhism 20,000,000 
Jehovah's Witnesses Christianity 14,800,000 
Latter Day Saints Christianity 11,200,000 
Ahmadiyya Islam 10,000,000 
Veerashaivas (Lingayats) Hinduism 10,000,000 
Baha'i World Faith Baha'i Faiths 6,000,000 
Conservative Judaism 4,500,000 
Unaffiliated and Secular Judaism 4,500,000 
Svetambara Jainism 4,000,000 
Reform Judaism 3,750,000 
Seicho-No-Ie New Japanese 3,200,000 
Shinto all branches Shinto 3,000,000 
Tenrikyo New Japanese 2,800,000 
PL Kyodan New Japanese 2,600,000 
Orthodox Judaism 2,000,000 
New Thought
(Unity, Christian Science, etc.) Christianity 1,500,000 
Sekai Kyuseikyo New Japanese 800,000 
Sthanakavasis Jainism 750,000 
Zenrinkai New Japanese 600,000 
Druze Islam 450,000 
Tensho Kotai Jingukyo New Japanese 400,000 
Friends (Quakers) Christianity 300,000 
Ennokyo New Japanese 300,000 
Digambaras Jainism 155,000 
Reconstructionist Judaism 150,000 
Parsis Zoroastrianism 110,000 
Gabars Zoroastrianism 20,000 

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