By Lola Williamson
Yoga, karma, meditation, guru—these phrases, as soon as vague, at the moment are part of the yankee lexicon. Combining Hinduism with Western innovations and values, a brand new hybrid type of faith has built within the usa during the last century. In Transcendent in America, Lola Williamson lines the historical past of varied Hindu-inspired routine in the USA, and argues that jointly they represent a discrete type of non secular perform, a different and identifiable type of new religion.
Williamson offers an outline of the emergence of those hobbies via studying exchanges among Indian Hindus and American intellectuals comparable to Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and illuminates how Protestant traditions of internal event cleared the path for Hindu-style hobbies’ reputation within the West.
Williamson specializes in 3 movements—Self-Realization Fellowship, Transcendental Meditation, and Siddha Yoga—as consultant of the bigger of phenomenon of Hindu-inspired meditation routine. She presents a window into the ideals and practices of fans of those hobbies by means of supplying concrete examples from their phrases and reports that make clear their international view, way of life, and courting with their authorities. Drawing on scholarly examine, quite a few interviews, and a long time of non-public adventure with Hindu-style practices, Williamson makes a resounding case that Hindu-inspired meditation activities are detailed from either immigrant Hinduism and different kinds of Asian-influenced or “New Age” groups.