New age spirituality

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 1 Comments

PICTURE the innocent lamb following the footsteps of the Shepherd, the obedient cow pursuing the soulful tunes of the Cowherd. Now, if you keenly observe the youngsters of today, you will find that they are 'lambs' and 'cows' in the guise of young men and women. The only missing pieces in the picture would be the Shepherd and the Cowherd. But wait, these missing entities, however, have their representatives in the form of spiritual Gurus, who claim to be carrying on the 'divine proposition' and having a herd of followers.

Meet the spiritual Gen X, that is blessed with a horde of new outlets to seek refuge in and find answers to life's enigmatic twists and turns. There are several organisations spread across the City attempting at giving a definite direction to this stressed and confused lot. 'Art of living' programmes by Shri Ravishankar, other personality development courses and counselling sessions such as those conducted by Swami Sukhabodhananda's Prasanna Trust, Vipassana, Mata Amritanandamayi, ISKCON, etc are some such projecting noble goals.

What are the parameters that define the expression 'new age spirituality'? How does one differentiate this from the traditional notions of religion and spirituality? While there are people who believe in drawing a definite line of demarcation between the two concepts, a substantial section claims that the so-called 'new religion' actually reflects an age-old spirituality, one that is compatible with the traditional,time-honoured religions of the world. Moreover, it is deliberately unorganised, diffused, and a mix-and-match of diverse religious and spiritual beliefs and practices. In fact, most 'new-agers'prefer the term 'spirituality' to 'religion' as they do not wish to establish lasting institutions like temples and churches.

Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that the emphasis is on the 'self'. The 'new age spiritual movement' believes that only self-transformation can result in societal transformation, and that we as individuals have the power in us to move the world.

1 comment :

  1. The movement away from organized religion really should come as no surprise. It has been abuse of the power of these institutions and the dogmatic and fundamentalist applications that have rendered the environment sterile.I think what we are seeing is a people who operate with more desire to experience spiritual truth rather than simply here about it.My mind wanders back to days of sitting in a Church pew where I witnessed a preacher stamping his foot, pointing the finger condeming anyone who got an abortion (something I don't believe in because I love children so much, but wrong approach in my humble opinion none the less) while less than a year later he was dismissed for having an affair with the choir director.You see, when spiritual leaders lack the courage of their convictions it begins to disarm the religion into nothing more than words. It is the words of our religions in action, consistently that brings them and keeps them breathing.While I see the perils in many of these derivative and emerging "new age" philosophies, I think the desire for direct spiritual experience is something to be applauded. It is a clear sign that materialistic attitudes are beginning to ease and that people are wanting to be in touch with the divine.I have clung to my Christian upbringing but quit attentding church. I pray fervently throughout the day and in the course of my 30 years exploring world religions and philosopies, have found it a certainty that when you reach out in sincere faith to God, or the Universe.....he/it will reach back.The more persistent and aware you are, the more you begin to see synchronicity appearing in your life, the guiding hand that leads you along your personal journey.

    All the best!

    Bill White

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