There has always been a pervasive but undocumented feeling that Indian philosophy, as manifest in Vedanta on the intellectual plain and yoga on the physical plain, has very significantly influenced the West in general and America in particular. That feeling now finds a meticulously constructed scholastic endorsement in the form of an important new book.
Author Philip Goldberg’s ‘American Veda – From Emerson to the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West’ (Harmony Books, 398 pages, $26) [available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk] offers a comprehensive account of the inroads made by Indian philosophy since the early 19th century.
‘The combination of Vedanta and Yoga was a perfect match for certain … Read more »
Faye Wright was an unassuming Mormon teen in Salt Lake City until Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian mystic, came to town in 1931, preaching a combination of yoga meditation, Hindu principles and Christian ethics.
Dazzled by what she saw as divine love, Wright, the descendant of handcart pioneers and granddaughter of an architect of Salt Lake City’s Mormon Tabernacle, gave up everything familiar to follow him to Los Angeles, where he changed her name to Sri Daya Mata. Three years after Yogananda’s death in 1952, Daya Mata succeeded him as president of Self-Realization Fellowship, an unusually important post for a woman at the time and one she held for the next 5½ decades.
Daya Mata died … Read more »
Sri Daya Mata, who for more than five decades was the leader of one of the most influential Hindu groups in the United States and an ardent advocate of the healing power of meditation, died on Tuesday at the group’s retreat for nuns in Los Angeles. She was 96.
Her death was confirmed by Lauren Landress, a spokeswoman for the group, the Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, which is based in what once was an elegant hotel on Mount Washington in Los Angeles.
From 1955 until her death, Sri Daya Mata — her name means “true mother of compassion” in Sanskrit — was the society’s president and spiritual leader. In her flowing ocher sari, … Read more »
When I was a boy in Tibet, I felt that my own Buddhist religion must be the best — and that other faiths were somehow inferior. Now I see how naïve I was, and how dangerous the extremes of religious intolerance can be today.
Though intolerance may be as old as religion itself, we still see vigorous signs of its virulence. In Europe, there are intense debates about newcomers wearing veils or wanting to erect minarets and episodes of violence against Muslim immigrants. Radical atheists issue blanket condemnations of those who hold to religious beliefs. In the Middle East, the flames of war are fanned by hatred of those who adhere to a different faith.… Read more »
Practitioners of kirtan, a Hindu call-and-response ritual, find it both soothing and uplifting
On a Friday evening, a few dozen people gather in the multi-purpose room of the Westminster Housing Co-op in Winnipeg’s West End. They’ve brought yoga mats and meditation cushions, but they’re not here to work on their backbends or to sit cross-legged in silence.
They’ve come to dip into the same spiritual stream that spawned both those practices, only this time they’ll be doing it by singing in a language that none of them speaks.
At the front of the room, candles flicker and plumes of incense smoke curl toward the ceiling. There is a simple melody, the gentle strumming of a … Read more »