Friday, December 01, 2006

On Hindu influence in America

In modern times (since the death of Eliot in 1965) the influence of India's spiritual thought in America has taken leaps and bounds. Turbulent peace-seeking days of the sixties and seventies opened the doors for alternative thinking, and Spiritual India was welcomed with open arms. Words like dharma and karma have come to be listed in our English dictionaries, and meditation (of some variety) is practiced, or at least attempted, by millions of Americans.
The list of prominent thinkers over the last twenty years who have been profoundly affected by the spiritual precepts of India is too long to mention. In music, in art and in literature, as well as the political arena, the serenity of transcendental thought quietly expunded in humility from the shores of India has had a greater (although subtle) influence on the Americal public than perhaps any other sincle foreign culture.
Although a slight shift away from spiritual ideals was experienced in the early to mid-eighties, it appears to have been only a momentary hesitation. The now materially-exhausted yuppies are again searching for deeper values, and the New Age spiritualists, most of whom accept reincarnation, karma, meditation, chanting and vegetarianism are filling the spiritual gap. Of course there are unscrupulous persons who seek to flourish materially in the spiritual marketplace, and the New Age community is overrun with imitation. But the precious commodity of the spiritual gems of the Vedas, the Gita and India's other literary jewels continue to shine light on the proper utilization of the modern world of material affluence. With the spiritual eyes of the East and the material legs of the Western world, the lame man and the blind man may once and for all see and walk on the path of freedom from all anxieties. [Reprinted with Permission from Saranagati OnLine Magazine]

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