SAC presents: Lola Williamson
341 Eggers Hall
Hindu Gurus in an American Context Hinduism entered America in two ways: through immigrant Hindus and through missionary gurus. The Hinduism created by the first group is family-centered and attempts to preserve traditional values and practices; the latter form of Hinduism breaks with tradition to create something appealing to a western clientele. Yet even with these innovations, American followers of Hindu gurus inherit aspects of Hinduism that are inimical to a modern western lifestyle. They find themselves caught in an irreconcilable tension between asceticism and worldly goals; between ideals of submission to a guru and a western emphasis on self-reliance; between the value of equanimity and an imperative to express their feelings. This presentation examines how American disciples of Hindu gurus reconcile this tension and speculates about an emerging wave of Hindu practice that might be called American Tantra.
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