The dialogue and cooperation between Hindus and Neopagans that have taken place in the past few years may run into more snags than proponents of either tradition might expect.
In Hinduism Today (September/October), Koenraad Elst writes that the common concerns for polytheism and indigenous spirituality among both Western Neopagans and Hindus has been viewed by leaders of these religions as the basis for a new alliance. Yet differences between these traditions are pronounced enough to jeopardizing such cooperation, he writes. Neopagans are firmly countercultural in lifestyle, with their liberalized sexual ethics clashing sharply with Hindus, particularly those outside India, who value traditional family life and have more in common with the “prudish morality of Christian evangelicals.”
The vegetarianism of Hindus is based around the taboo of touching and eating animal tissue in a state of decomposition — different from the Neopagan health and ecological approach to vegetarianism (and many Neopagans revel in meat-eating and hunting). The absence of beliefs similar to the Hindu teaching of reincarnation and the lack of meditative spirituality in many Neopagan groups are other obstacles that may derail a Hindu-Neopagan alliance.
(Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Rd., Kapaa, HI 96746-9304)