AMERICAN VEDA ~ From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation—How Indian Spirituality Changed the West
Book review and technical detail AMERICAN VEDA ~ From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation—How Indian Spirituality Changed the West Philip Goldberg
|Technical detail of AMERICAN VEDA ~ From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation—How Indian Spirituality Changed the West|
|Title||AMERICAN VEDA ~ From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation—How Indian Spirituality Changed the West|
|Publishing Date||1st January, 1970|
Of gurus, maharajas, swamis and the added practitioners who accept appear to American shores bringing “India’s arch export”—Hinduism, that is. Practitioner Goldberg (Roadsigns: On the Spiritual Path—Living at the Heart of Paradox, 2006, etc.), one of abounding arresting “Hinjus” (Jewish Hindus) who accept the traditions of South Asia, opens by celebratory that his book is “about Hinduism,” which, almost defined, is “a specific set of precepts and practices acquired from India’s primary religion.” Accustomed that Hinduism is the antecedent of Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism, the added above aboriginal faiths of the subcontinent, the absorption on Hinduism as a adjustment for Indian adoration seems defensible, admitting still apt to abet argument. The columnist blends bookish absorption with immediate experience, but his affirmation that America is thoroughly Veda-ized—since we all use words like guru, karma, yoga, mantra and maybe even namaste—already seems arguable as well, accustomed the improvement of fundamentalist Christianity. Still, Goldberg has a point, and he does a able job of assuming the access Hinduism has had for at atomic the aftermost aeon and a half, alpha with the Transcendentalists and ambagious through the sounds of aloof about any bandage that has anytime acclimated a sitar. The columnist additionally sets his afterimage on high exponents, such as T.S. Eliot, a abutting apprentice of Sanskrit, and J.D. Salinger, whose texts he reads as Vedanta parables. And again there are the Beats, of course. The alignment is a little accidental and the puns (“Maharishi’s little helpers,” “the barrow afore the source,” “living the vida veda”) may be a little too common for some tastes, but Goldberg does agriculturalist account in chronicling the abounding means India has afflicted American—and, by extension, Western—culture, generally actual subtly. For beginning mahatmas, a aces and active introduction, admitting beneath well-written than its abutting Buddhist counterpart, Rick Fields’s How the Swans Came to the Lake (1981).
In February 1968 the Beatles went to India for an extended stay with their new guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It may have been the most momentous spiritual retreat since Jesus spent those forty days in the wilderness. With these words, Philip Goldberg begins his monumental work, American Veda, a fascinating look at India’s remarkable impact on Western culture. This eye-opening popular history shows how the ancient philosophy of Vedanta and the mind-body methods of Yoga have profoundly affected the worldview of millions of Americans and radically altered the religious landscape. What exploded in the 1960s actually began more than two hundred years earlier, when the United States started importing knowledge as well as tangy spices and colorful fabrics from Asia. The first translations of Hindu texts found their way into the libraries of John Adams and Ralph Waldo Emerson. From there the ideas spread to Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and succeeding generations of receptive Americans, who absorbed India’s “science of consciousness” and wove it into the fabric of their lives. Charismatic teachers like Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda came west in waves, prompting leading intellectuals, artists, and scientists such as Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell, Allen Ginsberg, J. D. Salinger, John Coltrane, Dean Ornish, and Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass, to adapt and disseminate what they learned from them. The impact has been enormous, enlarging our current understanding of the mind and body and dramatically changing how we view ourselves and our place in the cosmos. Goldberg paints a compelling picture of this remarkable East-to-West transmission, showing how it accelerated through the decades and eventually moved from the counterculture into our laboratories, libraries, and living rooms. Now physicians and therapists routinely recommend meditation, words like karma and mantra are part of our everyday vocabulary, and Yoga studios are as ubiquitous as Starbuckses. The insights of India’s sages permeate so much of what we think, believe, and do that they have redefined the meaning of life for millions of Americans—and continue to do so every day. Rich in detail and expansive in scope, American Veda shows how we have come to accept and live by the central teaching of Vedic wisdom: “Truth is one, the wise call it by many names.”
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