The New Age movement, which distilled Eastern and occult teachings with human potential techniques for Western audiences, has “returned home” to India, finding wide popularity among Indians for a more individualized spirituality, reports Hinduism Today (April/May/June).
Although the New Age movement has shed much of its Eastern religious baggage and focused on holistic health in the U.S., it is a different story in India. New Age books and magazines in the latter country are seen more as an extension of Hinduism than creating a generic spirituality. In India’s New Age shops and among New Age publishers, there is an offering of various spiritual practices and teachings, such as Reiki, Tai Chi and even Islamic mysticism.
Most of the people interviewed said that they value New Age literature and books because these texts make spiritual teachings easier to understand than the Hindu religious texts. Indian New Age magazines are similar in style and content to their counterparts in the U.S., celebrating “success, harmony and consumerism.” The two main differences are that in India these publications’ Hindu thrust is on display and they have both male and female readerships.
The article makes much of the way American New Age magazines and culture have become “feminized,” reaching mainly women and offering a non-offensive and consumeristic secular spirituality. But even these publications see their role as bridging the gap between the older and younger generations. For instance, one newcomer to the market is the magazine Soul Curry, which presents itself as a voice of those who wish to be “free from the clutches of religion, dogma and societal conditioning.”
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