Hinduism and the West essay sample

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Hinduism and the West

Currently, ideas of Indian philosophy occupy a firm place in the culture of the West. The integration of ideas of Hinduism in Western culture is a complex process that requires adaptation of these ideas to understand the world in a different cultural context. The process of penetration of the ideas of Indian philosophy has been so intense that there was even a special term used to describe this phenomenon - "Western Hinduism".In the focus of Western culture were the following ideas of Indian philosophy: the idea of recognition of ultimate reality, called in different religious traditions, God, the Absolute, the Self, and so on; the idea of achieving spirituality, understanding as the search for individual union with the god; the idea of gaining freedom is possible only in the Spirit, to overcome the idea of his own egoistic "I" in the name of the higher 'I', which is part of a higher reality.

Ideas of Hinduism proved to be adapted in the literary works of Western writers and poets, in philosophy, in the works of the representatives of transpersonal psychology, finally, in the preaching of spiritual teachers - gurus, the founders of new religious communities.

Formation of Western Hinduism began among the highly educated representatives of Western society. Acquaintance with the philosophical ideas of India for many representatives of Western culture in the late XIX-early XX centuries was the impetus for rethinking the problems of their own culture, which allowed entering into the higher realms of knowledge, in another life, and with it the return to the origins of European civilization. At this time, the idea of Indian culture functioned mainly in the elite, theoretical level and gained popularity among people interested in philosophy, art and literature. Western thinkers believed that the use of the ideas of Indian philosophy will lead to overcoming the crisis and stalemate traditional classical European rationalist metaphysics and ideology of one-sided positivism, heuristic will result in overcoming the difficulties faced by the West.

The ability to adapt the ideas of Hinduism in a different cultural environment lies in itself. Hinduism includes different types of symbolic systems: mythos-ritual system and religious ideology is the result of scientific reinterpretation produced in accordance with the new features. Understanding the new features in the Hindu society matured gradually, as its recognition in the West. Negativism with respect to their own values, reaching the most dynamic part of society, the formation of post-classical picture of the world, empirical sensations and feelings that occur in altered states of consciousness under the influence of LSD, as well as the beginning of their studies, made fashionable ideas of Indian philosophy, and this contributed to their penetration in the mass consciousness of the West and allowed to adapt to the demands of different social strata.

Swami Vivekananda (Narendra Nath Datta, 1863-1902) was born in Calcutta in a family of well-known lawyer from the caste kayastha that in Bengal is considered Kshatriya. Since his 10 he studied in a Christian missionary college. He was …

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