They are a part of a much broader movement from within the political mobilization of an aggressive Hindu nationalism within India that aims to silence any critique of the nation-state or its dominant religion of Hinduism. Paul Vitello, “Hindu Group Stirs Debate over Yoga’s Soul,” November 27, 2010. Brian Pennington argues convincingly that “the historical role of the colonizer was not to invent Hinduism either by blunder or design, but to introduce an economy of concepts and power relations that dramatically enhanced the value of such identity markers.”3 While the provenance of Hinduism is still a contested issue among scholars, there is no question that Hindus (and their practices and beliefs) have thrived on the subcontinent since the Vedic period. Theosophy and the Suffering Body” and “The Ordinary Business of Occultism” (among others), Gary Lachman’s Madame Blavatsky, and several chapters in Smriti Srinivas’s book A Place for Utopia.39 Turning to the World’s Parliament of Religions, Richard Seager’s Dawn of Religious Pluralism (1999) and The World’s Parliament of Religions (2009) are the primary references. When Vivekananda took the stage, newspapers reported how he was “dashing” with the “superb carriage of the Hindustanis” and how the audience was filled with “ladies ladies everywhere.”14 Introducing Hinduism, he explained the singular, omnipotent, formless God who resided at the heart of the most ancient Vedic tradition. Read the story of two worlds that converge: one of Hindu immigrants to America who want to preserve their traditions and pass them on to their children in a new and foreign land, and one of American spiritual seekers who find that the … Religion is a complex component of our lives and it encompasses much more than our own particular traditions or personal experiences. Prominent transcendentalist writers and thinkers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, were also … In some cases, non-Indian Americans have even taken over the helms of their movements after the gurus left their physical bodies. There Swami Vivekananda spoke on behalf of Hinduism, as did Pratap Mazumdar, the representative of the Brahmo Samaj. This theological reasoning is an adaptation of Upaniṣadic (Vedantic) ideas from centuries earlier. Leaders of the Brahmo Samaj (Madras: G. A. Natesan, 1926), 16. In the early years of ISKCON, many devotees were encouraged to adopt the lives of celibate renouncers, but over time the organization has accommodated devotees who wish to pursue the life of the Hindu householder, with marriage and children. Yoga is an Indic cultural product that draws its roots from Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Tantra. Unlike the external critiques against guru movements of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries, many of these cases stemmed from internal accusations. Alan D. Hodder, “‘Ex Oriente Lux’,” 430–438; Russell Goodman, “East-West Philosophy in Nineteenth-Century America: Emerson and Hinduism,” Journal of the History of Ideas 51.4 (1990): 625; and Arthur Versluis, American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). There are roughly 24 thousand Hindus in present day Brooklyn and about 2.23 million in … Hinduism came to the United States first in the American imagination and only second with emissaries and immigrants from India. Shree Ma, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Shirdi Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Baba, Muktananda, Nithyananda, and many other gurus have established centers across the North American landscape, which have contributed to the increasing institutionalization of Hindu-inspired, guru-led religions in the United States. 25. 19. Founded in 2003, HAF's work impacts a range of issues — from the portrayal of Hinduism in K-12 textbooks to civil and human rights to addressing contemporary problems, such as environmental protection and inter-religious conflict, by applying Hindu philosophy. But, it seems to me, such efforts are doomed to fail. Eberhard Müller (Tübingen, Germany: Attempto, 1988), 123–153; Hermann Kulke and Gunther-Dietz Sontheimer, eds., Hinduism Reconsidered (New Delhi: Manohar, 2001); Richard King, Orientalism and Religion: Post-Colonial Theory, India, and “The Mystic East” (New York: Routledge, 1999), 96–117; Frits Staal, Rules without Meaning: Ritual, Mantra and the Human Sciences (New York: Peter Lang, 1989); Wilfred Cantwell Smith, The Meaning and End of Religion: A Revolutionary Approach to the Great Religious Traditions (1962; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991); and Will Sweetman, “Unity and Plurality: Hinduism and the Religions of India in Early European Scholarship,” Religion 31 (2001): 209–224. Gurus who derive their teachings from Hinduism have drawn Americans to their feet ever since they arrived in the United States. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details.”18 With regard to practice, he also began instructing his followers in the daily breathing and meditation exercises of yoga.19 In general, however, Vivekananda distained the postural practices of Hatha yoga as inferior and did not advocate for them in his discourses. In fact, it was likely in correspondence between British Protestant missionaries in the late 18th century that the term Hinduism was first used. Outside traditional forms of home altars, temple worship, and festivals, there are many ways in which Hinduism has influenced American culture. So few … Through these connections, he was invited to become the chair of a position in metaphysics at Harvard University, which he declined, and he established himself among the elites and literati of New England society. Traveling yogis exhibited their gymnophysical prowess to American audiences, often operating within and exaggerating orientalist tropes for their own profit. BAPS Swaminarayan Hinduism provided the temple infrastructure and opulence that many Hindus in the United States were lacking. Apart from the 1906 Vedanta Society temple in San Francisco, the oldest traditional Hindu temple in the United States is the Shiva Murugan Temple in Concord, California, which was established in 1957. Often their membership networks overlap significantly. Nitasha Tamar Sharma’s insightful book Hip Hop Desis: South Asians, Blackness, and Global Race Consciousness (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010); Ajay Nair and Murali Balaji, eds., Desi Rap: Hip Hop and South Asian America (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2008); and Erika Lee, The Making of Asian America: A History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2015). 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