The Rastafari in Pinnacle had developed a way of life, a livity, which consisted primarily of a theology or worldview, language (though most of Iyaric would develop post-Pinnacle), the smoking of ganga, diet, the wearing of beards and later locked hair or “dreadlocks,” symbols, and music (with Reggae also developing in the post-Pinnacle period).
Rastafari maintains that since their original Afrikan language was taken away during enslavement, and that English is an imposed colonial language, they have created a modified vocabulary and dialect known as "Iyaric," which reflects their desire to “take language forward” and to confront “Babylon.” One of the most distinctive changes in Iyaric is the use of "I and I" for the first person as well as other pronouns. As "I and I" also refers to us, them, or even you, it is used as a practical linguistic rejection of the separation of the individual from the larger Rastafari community, and Jah himself. Other examples of Iyaric include: “Overstanding," which replaces "understanding" to denote an enlightenment which places one in a better position; "Irie" (pronounced "eye-ree"), a term used to denote acceptance, positive feelings, or to describe something that is good; "Upfulness," a positive term for being helpful.
An important part of Rastafari livity is the smoking of ganga, which is seen as a spiritual act, and is often accompanied by Bible reading. They consider it a sacrament, which cleans the mind and body, elevates consciousness, facilitates tranquility, heals the soul, brings enjoyment, supports meditation, and brings one closer to the Most High. Thus, while Garvey believed the smoking of ganga was un-Christian, Rastafari uses the Bible to justify its use. Among biblical verses, they cite the following: Genesis 1:11, Genesis 1:29, Genesis 3:18, Psalm 104:14, Proverbs 15:17, and Revelation 22:2.
Rastafari’s diet is called Ital, the word is derived from the English word "vital,” minus the first letter, “v.” Those who adhere to it abstain from all flesh, such as the Nyabinghi, who assert, “To touch meat is to touch death,” and is hence a violation of the Nazirite law. Some Rastafari, however, eat limited types of meat in accordance with the Old Testament dietary laws. Then there are those that are pescatarians, who are primarily vegetarian but make a special exception allowing fish. In general, alcohol consumption is considered unhealthy; for one, it is seen as a tool of Babylon used to confuse people, and two, many Rastafari shuns foods that are pickled and/or fermented.
Though the wearing of locks was neither required, universal, nor exclusive to its followers, the relationship between dreadlocks and Rastafari is so intimately linked that the two are sometimes believed to be synonymous. Howell and the early Rastafari did not lock their hair, however. Yet today, Rastafari justify the wearing of locks using biblical verses and especially the Nazirite law.61 Further they state that the length of one’s locks is a measure of knowledge, wisdom, and maturity, in that it can indicate one’s age, but also his/her time as Rastafari. Rastafari state that dreadlocks also represent a lion’s mane, with the lion being a prominent symbol, representing the conquering Lion of Judah, a title for Haile Selassie I. For Rastafari, the razor, scissors and the comb are either Babylonian or Roman inventions.
The music of Rastafari is called Nyabinghi.62 Rastafari’s music had gone through a number of iterations though. At first, the music at Pinnacle was based on the Sankey Hymnal, which Rastafari adapted creating chants that contained themes like Black redemption, repatriation, or used lyrics from anthems written by the UNIA composer Arnold Ford. Later, in its second iteration, Kumina style drumming was added to the chants. Then in the late 1950s, due to the influences of Count Ossie, Burru drumming, another Afrikan-derived drumming style, became standard. (This was technically the birth of Nyabinghi, today considered the traditional music of Rastafari.) In the late 1950s, Jamaica would experience a musical revolution. Musicians blended traditional Jamaican folk music with Jazz and R&B, and created Ska. Ska developed into Rocksteady, and in the late 1960s, Reggae would evolve from Rocksteady. Then in the late 1970s, largely due to the success of Bob Marley, who actively and devoutly preached Rastafari, Rastafari’s footprint expanded as Reggae gained an international audience.
The Rastafari symbols and the colors green, gold and red (sometimes also including black) are very commonly displayed on their flag, icons, badges, posters, etc. The green, gold and red are the colors of the Ethiopian flag and show the loyalty Rastafari feel toward Ethiopia. The red, black and green were the colors used to represent the UNIA and ACL by Garvey. The author has already highlighted, the significance of the lion, which is one the most prominent symbols of Rastafari. The Star of David is another one of their symbols.
Lastly, there are a number of ceremonies and celebrations that are essential to Rastafari. Reasoning is a simple event where Rastafari gather, smoke ganga and discuss. The person honored by being allowed to light the herb, says a short blessing beforehand, and the ganja is passed in a clockwise fashion except in times of war when it is passed counterclockwise. Ganga is used to reason with Jah (God). Groundation/grounation or "binghi" is a holy day. Binghis are marked by dancing, singing, feasting, and the smoking of ganja, and can last for a number of days. There are also public prayers.
61 Numbers 6:5, "All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow."
62 Lee believes that although a female anti-colonialist secret society named Nyabinghi once existed, that it first came into the popular imagination as a propaganda tool of the Italian fascists. According to the Italian journalist who was behind the hoax, Haile Selassie was the head of this secret organization of twenty million men whose goal was to rid the world of the white race. This propaganda, rather than build international enmity against Selassie, instead galvanized Rastafari, as suddenly every Rasta wanted to join the Nyabinghi. See Lee, pp. 90-93.
63 Howell’s biographer, Lee, states the he acquired the name “Gong” while incarcerated. His prison converts gave him the name, meaning “tough guy.” The rest of the name is Hindi. Lee, p. 60. Perhaps Howell’s fascination with Indian culture continued with his admiration for Mahatma Gandhi and him fathering children by an Indian woman.
The author has taken the time to discuss the livity of Rastafari because recently several Indian scholars have highlighted that elements of Rastafari’s livity have been borrowed from the Hindus. A recently watched documentary produced and directed by Linda Ainouche, called “Dreadlocks Story,” echoed this theme. Unaware that any connection between Rastafari and the Hindus existed, after watching Ainouche’s film, it was obvious there was a link. The author was also unaware that Professor Ajai Mansingh, who taught at the University of the West Indies (Mona campus), had written about the connection between Hindus and Rastafari more than two decades ago. He argued that Indian influences are responsible for Rastafari’s vegetarianism, hairstyle, and ritualize smoking of ganga in chiliums—none of which he argued are primary features of West Afrikan culture. This latter point is essential and the strongest argument for Hindu influences in Rastafari’s livity. That is, that these elements of Rastafari’s livity cannot be traced to Afrikan survivals. True, they can be historically linked to the Bible (and one can find an Afrikan heritage there), but we can more immediately trace these elements to the Hindus in Jamaica.
Hindu influence is believed to have been there from the start, as Howell, as a youth growing up in Clarendon, which had an Indian population, was exposed to Hindu culture. Howell incorporated many Hindu elements into Rastafari. In fact, when Howell wrote The Promise Key, he used an Indian pseudonym, G.G. Maragh (Gangunguru, or Gong63 Guru), which is derived from Hindi words meaning "teacher of famed wisdom." Howell would continue to use this name until his death. Before Howell established Pinnacle, he became friends with an Indian man named Laloo, 64 who served as his bodyguard for a time in the 1930s. Laloo is credited with giving Howell his Hindi name, and familiarizing him with Hindu ideas.65 Hibbert also acknowledged Howell’s Hindu influence, in an interview with Howell’s biographer. Hibbert, who was another one of Howell’s early lieutenants, stated to her: “After learning about the Hindu God incarnates Rama, Krishna and Buddha, Howell was convinced that every nation had their own God.” When Ras Tafari was crowned, Hibbert continued, Afrikans realized that “his title, given him by the whole world, makes him God, just like Ashoka, Buddha, Rama, Krishna….” This would mean that Hindu thought, along with the ideas in The Royal Parchment, as well as the Christian example of Jesus the Christ, and Garvey’s pronouncement, all facilitated Howell’s proclamation of the divinity of Haile Selassie I. It was a convergence of ideas, and for Howell, perhaps, a divine revelation.
The question can be asked how might Indian influences have contributed in other areas of Rastafari livity? Presumably, there might be Hindu elements syncretize throughout it. We will now revisit Rastafari livity giving special attention to those elements that ostensibly have Indian or Hindu influences. To begin with, the idea of Rastafari as a way of life, a livity, and not a religion, is similar to Hinduism’s assertion that it is not a religion but a way of life.
Iyaric is a “language” developed by Rastafari to challenge the meaning of old words and express their livity without many of the connotations and assumption of meanings inherited from the language of enslavement, in this case English. Iyaric’s vocabulary consists largely of these created words. Yet the Rastafari vocabulary also consist of words like kali, ganga, chillium, gong, etc., all of which are Hindi words. Another example of a Hindi inspired word and ritual behavior is perhaps the shouting of “Jah, Rastafari.” Rastafari will say Jah is a contraction of Jehovah, and this is likely true; but Jah may also be associated with the Hindi Jai (meaning “victory”); perhaps it is an Anglicizing or mispronunciation of it. In Hinduism, it is common to shout “Jai Bhagwan,” “Jai Rama,” “Jai Krishna,” “Jai Kali,” etc., (meaning victory to Bhagwan/Rama/Krishna/Kali). It is possible that Rastafari adopted and adapted this practice resulting in the shouting of “Jah Rastafari” (victory to Rastafari?). Even Iyaric’s most distinctive modification "I and I," which many Rastafari associated with the I in Selassie’s title. (The so-called ‘I” in his title is actually the Roman numeral 1, and not the alphabetical letter at all.) But again this may be related to the Hindi greeting, “Namaste” or “Namaskar,” which means, the divine in me acknowledge the divine in you. “I and I” in most explanations refers to Selassie or Jah; therefore, it too acknowledges the divine within the individuals similar to Namaste. Meaning the I/Jah in me, honors/acknowledges the I/Jah in you.
At one point, the wearing of locks became a definite sign of being Rastafari, but initially Howellites were “beardsmen” not “locksmen.” Horace Campbell has suggested that the first “Rasta” locks were copied from the feared Mau Mau, who wore them during the Kenyan independence struggle in the early 1950s. In 1953, when their images appeared in newsreels and other publications that reached Jamaica, it inspired Rastafari. However, a more recent study by Barry Chevannes has traced the first dreadlocked Rastafari to a subgroup known as Youth Black Faith, who first appeared in 1949, two years before the Mau Mau rebellion.
The wearing of locks has a long history within Afrikan and other cultures. Generally, in traditional Afrika locks are worn ritually during the transformation/liminal stage of various rites of passage. Other spiritual specialists will regularly wear them. There have been ascetic groups within a variety of world faiths that have at times worn “locks.” Besides the sadhus, some sects of Sufis, notably the Baye Fall of Mourides, some Ethiopian Orthodox monks, as well as the Nazirites, whom the Rastafarians cite as their inspiration, wear locks. For example, according to the Church Fathers Eusebius and Jerome, Hegesippus describes James the Just, “brother of Jesus” and first bishop of Jerusalem, as a Nazirite who never once cut his hair. This author believes Rastafari’s initial exposure to the hairstyle, was the sadhus. (There is a 1910 photograph of a sadhu in Jamaica wearing dreadlocks.) However, the timing of the first wearing of locks raises questions about the extent of sadhu influence. Given the Hindus had been in Jamaica since the 1840s, and Rastafari since the 1930s, why does the hairstyle only appear in Pinnacle in 1953? Here Campbell’s explanation might serve us well. Perhaps the Mau Mau revolutionaries triggered the widespread adoption of locks amongst Rastafari, though people were familiar with the hairstyle earlier.
Indians brought ganga to Jamaica when they arrived as indentured servants in the 1840s. By the late 1800s, it had become widespread throughout the Jamaican countryside, and widely used by Indians and Afrikans alike.  This may explain why some people who practiced Kumina also used marijuana to communicate with the ancestors. Perhaps it could have come into Rastafari’s livity directly from exposure to Kumina. In addition, there were revivalist elements in Bedwardism and many early Rastafari were former Bedwardites, so it is possible that its use could have migrated into Rastafari by way of them. The use of ganga as a sacrament, however, is prominent among the sadhus, who often pray to Shiva before consuming it. Rastafari’s belief that ganga is a sacrament, is identical to these Indian holy men, and therefore suggests an Indian influence. Howell had already been associated with ganga before he became the “First Rasta,” when he sold ganja-bhang in 1929; therefore, it is highly probable that he introduced the use of ganga to his followers.
At official state banquets, Haile Selassie would encourage guests to "eat and drink in your own way." There is no hint of vegetarianism in this statement. And while fasting and the temporary avoidance of foods, including meats, occurs within Afrikan culture, it is never sustained as a way of life. As a way of life, vegetarianism is alien to traditional Afrikan life. (Historically, we can argue that vegetarianism was first introduced to the world through an Afrikan, the Kemetic ruler Akhenaten.) So how does it find its way into the livity of Rastafari? According to Rastafari, their diet is based on the Nazirite law or the dietary code of the Old Testament, but was this always the rationale? First, Rastafari cannot use the Bible in general, to justify vegetarianism because though Genesis 1:29-30 establishes vegetarianism for all creatures, God in Genesis 9:1-3 expands the diet of creatures to include meat, fish, etc. Next, the Nazirite law prohibits its adherents from touching things associated with death. However, why only identify meat with death or dead things, when plant life once detached from its organic source becomes equally as dead as meat. A more likely source for Rastafari’s vegetarianism is the sadhus. It would be highly coincidental that Rastafari living in the mountains, a place where one can find sadhus, who wear locks, smoke sacramental ganga, and are vegetarians, that Rastafari just happen to be vegetarians. We must conclude that in the case of diet, as in other areas of Rastafari livity, the early Howellites also borrowed their dietary code from these Hindu mendicants.
In music, symbols, colors, and ceremonies,  Hinduism shows little to no influence on Rastafari.
64 Lee, p. 100
65 Mansingh, Ajai and Laxmi. “The Impact of East Indians on Jamaican Religious Thoughts and Expressions,” Caribbean Journal of Religious Studies, pp. 47-49.
 Ibid, p.119.
 Ansley Hamid, The Ganja Complex: Rastafari and Marijuana (United States: Lexington Books, 2010), p. xlii.
 It has been argued that the offering of ceremonial prayers before the smoking of ganga, by Rastafari, has been influenced by the practice of sadhus, who pray and bless their ganga before smoking it.