After the abolition of Slavery, in 1838 the first ship of Indian labourors were migrated to caribbean Island by British empire. From 1845 to 1917 about 38000 Indians were transported to Jamaica as bonded labour. Indians with their complex cast, culture and skill backgrounds, started to make the Island their home. The monumental impact that Indian immigrants spiritual culture had on the spiritual climate of Jamaica, changed their whole dynamics. It was through these labourers the Hinduism and Indian mystical traditions were introduced to Jamaica, creating a cross cultural intermingling that would come to have a profound influence on the development of new religions movements on the island called Rastafarai.
The Afro-Jamaicans demonstrated a great deal of respect for the Indian immigrants for their culture and traditional values. There were priests and sadhus and among the laborers, and they would often lead the nightly readings. Reading scriptures after a day working on the plantation, or during festivals, was a primary component of the Indians’ familial, social, and spiritual life in Jamaica. Although these celebrations were initially only attended by Indians, the Indian’s barracks on the plantation were close to those of the Jamaicans. As relationships began to form between the two cultures, Afro-Jamaicans began to participate in the celebrations at various levels of Hindus.
At regular intervals the Indians began to secretly perform Kali pujas and Bajans. Certain practitioners would go off to a secluded spot near the plantation and loudly chant sacred mantras invoking the goddess Kali.
Rastafarianism is a combination of many long standing myths, rituals, and discursive mechanisms which were pre-existing in Jamaica, and Hinduism. Rastafarians believe that Haile Selassie the emperor of Ethiopia is the Messiah and God incarnate, who has appeared in order to redeem all Black people living in the world of white oppression.
The principal actors in the founding of Rastafarianism were Joseph Hibbert, Archibald Dunkley, Robert Hinds, and Leonard P Howell, who became the leading figure in the development of the Rastafari movement.
The creation of Pinnacle, was the Rasta’s first withdrawal from normative society into the hill camps, and represents both the literal and spiritual distance that they seek to put between themselves and the establishment. The Rastafarains regarded Haile Selassie as a God incarnate similar to Rama, Krishna, and other Buddha etc.
Hinduism had been present in Jamaica for almost an entire century prior to the coronation of Haile Selassie. In an interview, Joseph Hibbert recounted to Ajai Mansingh how, in 1921, he had acquired books to learn about the Indian deities Rama, Krishna, and Buddha, and the influential ruler Ashoka. After learning about the God incarnates, Hibbert came to believe that every nation, every race, had their own God. As a result, when Haile Selassie was crowned Emperor, and given his auspicious titles, Hibbert and others viewed him as God incarnate, the God of Africa.
Leonard P Howell the founder of Rastafari mystic name was Gang Guru Maharaj that means Gyanguru Maharaj.