It may be that the whole new age movement era will pass as contradictions of the various groups in question come to the fore. One of the main ones is that the ‘new age’ is using the ‘old’ era’s stale and broken cliches with the result that everything is at best a kind of fertilizer dumped on western cultures. The results don’t quite gel and the result is failure to produce real development.
I think that this ‘new/old age’ effect will prove devastating to much of the whole movement. The problem is frustrating: the truly modern culture is losing its real coherence, a good example being scientism, the fraud of darwinism, and a shallow view that no longer reflects the modern enlightenment. Next to this is false attempt to graft the old on the new with a set of results that one after the other ends in nothing much: the proliferation of the former ashrams of former people, now departed. Schopenhauer shows how an unwitting student of modern themes (though no doubt a cynic about much of modernity) unwitting reinvented the whole genre in a new mode. The result, imperfect, nonetheless had a vitality that is intriguing. Then, of course, Nietzche ripped off the whole thing and turned it into a commodity the age of scientism could take up, with a Machiavellian twist.
The moment of the early contact with Indian manuscripts was alive with something that is now lost. After Blavatsky’s cascade of frauds the whole new age movement became lost in confusion, and the tide of vampire dead gurus began. (Gurdjieff is a big DITTO here). It amounts to nothing more than fertilizer. How the whole game will develop from that is not clear.
It is no use speaking of Indian spirituality if the whole game is a commercial imposition on westerners looked on with contempt by the source gurus.
But, in a way, this is not a new problem. It was originally the problem confronting India in the Axial period. A New Age dawned and the world of Mahavir and Gautama set a new tradition in motion. In a way Mahavir represented the ‘older era’ passing the baton to Gautama’s new tradition of buddhism. In this context the disparate proliferation of Indic traditions dawdled in decay, and never really escaped that decay. It was a confusing mix of the ancient tradition, and the false grafting of that tradition onto Indo-European nonsense resulting in such things as the Vedic canon, a phantom of nothing, foreign to the ancient legacy, but sophistically inserted into the tradition in deflection of its basic clarity. There the IE grotesqueness of caste entered the Indian sphere and corrupted everything with its Aryan confusions, even as the creation of a new spiritual medium with Sanskrit gave the emerging medley a new linguistic basis. This is perhaps why the realm of ‘later to be called’ ‘Hinduism’ was so stillborn: it was based on a forgotten set of contradictions, with confusing phantoms like the Vedic pseudo-spirituality. However, there was a huge diversity of outstanding religious elements beyond the intake of the Buddhist Reformation, and this gave the rotting mass of proto-Hinduism a kind of mulched vitality that often aped and even surpassed the somewhat colder and narrow Buddhist experiment attempting to create a reformed platform for the sprawl and degeneration of Indic religion. The author of the recent book Hot Yoga has a sense of this and tries to place yoga in the context of imitation Buddhism, with its eightfold steps an obvious imitation of the Buddhist eightfold way. The tragedy of India was the failure of revolutionary Buddhism to complete its task, even as it began to spread beyond the borders of India in a global expansion. The source world of India then suffered the machinations of neo-brahminism, the world of the Gita and its hidden complot to declare war on buddhism. The tragedy went full circle and the buddhists were forced to create refuge zones, such as Tibet. But the problem with Buddhism was its failure to produce a consistent set of realized men, the last in Tibet being the exotic Milarepa. A world plan of Boddhissatwas is all well and good, but the home world of India in dry rot of decaying ‘Hindu’ forms was actually better able to carry on the line of realized buddhas than buddhism itself. The beginning of the whole distorted mess of realized sages, also Brahmin elite chauvinists was under way. This tradition now is likely to succeed in outliving the now collapsing buddhism, and is becoming a business conglomerate of the era of globalization: consider the profits of the yoga corporations and the point is obvious.
A similar effect is visible in the relative relationships of Israelitism, Christianity, and Judaism, the latter not the same as Israelitism. In the same way Buddhism, proto-Hinduism, and then later Hinduism proceed toward a triad of mutual frustration as Christianity surges, like Buddhism, globally, followed by Islam, and then enters the new era under an ambiguous future, no doubt like buddhism to wane and disappear while, analogously, the original discard Judaism shows a resurgence that will overwhelm and destroy Christianity, and create with Hinduism and its caste a set of monstrosities of an older era. Sooner or later the new era will move to new religions or beyond religion. But the danger is of a kind of Hindu/Judaic chauvinism declaring themselves the sole true spiritual cultures and moving to destroy spiritual equality after the fashion of the old Brahmins. Is this alarmist? Let us hope so. But it is good to make public the complot foreseen by a number of Hindu chauvinists, in some cases joined by obsessive Judaic fanatics of the covenental tradition. I think this threat will fade away as all the religions of the old era begin to disappear.
I think then that the whole new age movement with its focus on Hinduism/yoga and its constellation of traditions from Vedanta onward will into decay next to the falling away of Buddhism/Christianity and leave the field open. But without an original new movement like the emergent buddhism of the Axial Age the field will fall prey as India did to false formations like those of the neo-Brahmins and the old Judaic purveyors of the covenental racism.
My point is that most of what passes for new age spirituality, from sufism, to hinduism, to buddhism and christianity will prove unsustainable and begin to look for its true modern exemplars to come (like the somewhat primordial Schopenhauer still barely able to formulate a real path).
In any case, the destruction of buddhism and the resurgence of the dry rot of Hindu contradictions is likely to haunt the new era for some time to come.
Go to this source http://www.oshoworld.com/e-books/eng_discourses.asp and click on the Beyond Enlightenment link for a classic little known discourse from Osho in the late eighties (I think).
Osho is something of a mystery: if you try to approach him (mostly futile in any case if dead) you encounter not a imge and being of bliss, but a kind of dysfunctional chaos.
The reason is puzzling until you conider the hitory of his public states and appearances. Everything is in the classic Buddha mode until suddenly everything seemed to go haywire. The reason he made clear several years later was his passage ‘beyond enlightenment’.
It is worth reading that sutra to see the way Osho is not always the man you think he is/was, at the end of his own travels. In that sense Osho is for too advanced/obscure/broken to make sense to beginners. I don’t know. But the person is no longer there: it is a void from which mental chaos can enter instead of enlightened bliss.
That sutra is one of the strangest, and I suspect it was related to a whole series of gurus falling apart all of a sudden. A good example was Da Free John who suddenly turned into a monstrosity:he actually declared he would give up enlightenment. You can’t reach enlightenment from such people. They aren’t there in that sense. The point is that enlightenment is still an experience, and that of an experiencer. After that I guess you just float in a fog. If you try to make a guide of that on the path, you end in a ditch drunk, to use Osho’s phrase.
I have been generous with Osho here, and hope I have cleared him of some of the misconceptions that surround him. But all this seems an exercise in futility at this point. In fact Osho warned about dead gurus, and he seems no exception. A dead guru is like a Halloween mask that any tom, dick, and harry (ghost/devil) on the astral plane can use to perpetrate mischief by another name.
But contact with Osho cn often be real. In any case the long years of association with the Osho ‘thing’ (cosa vuestra) has suddenly come to an end for me.
I finalized the deal by taking all my Osho books to the landfill and throwing the lot into the trash dumpter. A good hour of tremendous relief came over ‘me’. The rest will follow, no doubt.
Better that way. We won’t forget we are not friends.
Osho denounced books, so I guess this serves him right.
I wonder how many other fringe followers he has on the backburner, not allowed in, not allowed out, in waiting to try and keep his ashram alive in another life.
sorry, I quit.
A guru can’t do the one unforgivable thing: keep you asleep to serve his ends.
A buddhist somewhere said, if you meet the buddha on the way, kill him. I think that too violent. Did that ancient zany zenist understand what meant. Flip the bird, might be better.
I have read three hundred of Osho’s book three to five times each and suddenly realize I can’t remember a single thing of any of it. Strange.
Meanwhile, the Osho game serves no purpose to me, and never really did. In thirty five years since I first saw a poster of Osho in the East Village I have never been invited to a sannyasin home, save one instance of a gay sannyasin trying to pick me up off the Village streets. Quite a shock when he brought me home and found I was aware of Osho, and not gay. Perhaps I am better off that way, with no contacts. But association is then pointless.
I also did apply via mailorder for sannyas initiation. I received a mala and a sannyas name. When I proudly informed an Indian friend of this development, he gasped, and told me to never use the sannyas (Sanskrit name): it was a double entendre referring to a ‘loose woman’ in Hindi. That was the end of that. Was this delilberate? I think I sent the mala back. My final encounter was a freight train ride to Osho ville in Oregon, a curious told here already. Check the archives
In any case, I have finally gotten the message: not welcome. The closed world of Osho groupies is so idiotic anyway, who cares.
Too ugly to find a tantric sex partner I was never part of the group sentiment with this crowd.
The relation to a ghost guru is a fruitless one, and can be destructive. You can also be stunted in your growth by dead gurus trying to create ‘zombie’ disciples in their next life, to carry out a legacy. Not for me, thank you. To be fair, noone can expend spiritual energy on hostile outsiders. Point taken. Goodbye.
So that is that. Another thirty year waste of time like that with Mr. Gold, who is not yet dead, but almost as deadly.
Here is Prof. Zydenbos’ Refutation of this Absurd Out-of-India Theory :
Indian Express, 12 November 1993, p. 10 (Bangalore edition)
An obscurantist argument
In his article on the Aryan invasion theory (Forum, November 14) Navaratna S. Rajaram, has given a textbook example of the quasi-religious-cum-political obscurantism that is so popular among alienated NRIs. His argument goes like this: the people called Aryans have inhabited India from their very beginning (they came from nowhere); some European scholars claimed otherwise; because those scholars were Europeans, they must have had politically evil motives; any Indian scholar who agrees that the Aryans were migrants, is an unscientific traitor. Since he is out of touch with what serious scholars both in India and abroad hold at present, it seems appropriate to elaborate somewhat on that here.
The linguistic evidence for the Indo-European origin of Sanskrit outside India is overwhelming. And it should be clear that languages do not migrate by themselves: people migrate, and bring languages with them. No scholar seriously believes that there are any ‘ethnically pure’ Aryans in India today (or perhaps anywhere else either). And why should anyone care? Those who called themselves ‘Aryan’ 1000 years ago were already different from the various Aryan tribes that came over 3500 years ago, in appearance, dwellings, language and religion. This too is historical fact. One only needs to learn Sanskrit and read to find this out.
That the Indus Valley people were Dravidians is an unproven hypothesis; but the real, as yet undeciphered writings of that civilization give more support to this hypothesis than to any other (see e.g. K.V. Zvelebil, Dravidian Linguistics: An Introduction, Institute of Linguistics and Culture, 1990). Whether the Aryans destroyed that civilization after a violent invasion is open to debate; that they migrated, is not. The up-to-date view concerning the Aryan migration, and confirming it, can be found in detail in H. Kulke and D. Rothermund, A History of India (Rupa Paperback, 1991), with an extensive bibliography. What D.D. Kosambi wrote in his The Culture and Civilisation of Ancient India in Historical Outline, and Pandit Nehru in The Discovery of India, in essence still holds good. And somehow I think we should not believe that they too have been summarily brainwashed by evil foreigners.
After the migrants had merged with other peoples and had become Indians, the word ‘arya’ became a mere label for caste exclusiveness. And this has nothing to do with Germans, anti-Semitism, Nazis, British colonial policy and all the rest. Friedrich Max Mueller, who is strangely maligned in the article as a mercenary writer of colonialist agitprop (again no proof is given: only conjectures), was precisely an example of the kind of scholar of that generation who was filled with enthusiasm, admiration and deep respect for India.
History as an academic discipline considers societies to be dynamic entities that develop and change in the course of time. For a real historian, time and change are just as real as the people who form those societies. For a fundamentalist, however, history and time do not exist, and he accepts as real only the particular myth that serves his (usually political) goals. This myth can be constructed around a few pages ripped from the Bible or the Quran, or around a still more nebulous idea, like the Vedas as “the wellspring of our existence” on which Indian identity supposedly depends. Too bad for all the Jainas, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Sudras, Harijans, tribals and others who were denied access to the Vedas by the latter-day ‘Aryans’. The author has failed to grasp that ‘Aryan’ too is a dynamic concept, and its original tribal meaning was lost as the Aryans were absorbed as Indians.
It is interesting to speculate whether our author would have been equally incensed if he had known that there is a near consensus among Dravidian scholars that also the Dravidians migrated into the Indian subcontinent from the northwest, still prior to the Aryans (see e.g. the afterword in Zvelebil’s book). They are not motivated by any obscure, anti-historical, quasi-religious sentiments. Romila Thapar does not “obviously refer to Nazi Germany” when she speaks of the fantasy of an ‘Aryan nation’, but to the new Indian tendency among obscurantists towards creating something parallel. This includes the endorsement of blatant racism by certain Indian scholarly personalities. Thus the archæologist S.R. Rao, who also figures in Mr. Rajaram’s article, said at a recent seminar in Mysore in response to a student’s question about the Aryans that we should not listen to what ‘white people’ say. The last words of his article, “it is politics now,” seem to refer more to him than to Thapar or anyone else.
A few interesting questions remain. Why should leading, respected Indian scholars (and even Nehru, who can hardly be accused of being politically naive or a colonial collaborator) accept the idea of the migration, if it is as patently false as our author claims it is? Why does he want to believe in a political conspiracy of foreign scholars and open-minded, critical Indian intellectuals? Why should it be so important that the Aryans, or the extremely remote ancestors of anyone in India for that matter, have been in the subcontinent since all eternity? That would come close to the Blut und Boden ideology of Nazism, with its Aryan rhetoric. Why the xenophobia? Does he really not see the parallel between Nazi attacks on synagogues in the 1930s and what happened in Ayodhya on December 6th? Why does he want to believe that the Indian identity is based on the Vedas, and that nobody ever questioned this?
We can briefly sum up the ‘Aryan problem’ and the interest it creates among certain people as follows. Whatever problem is there, will not be solved by constructing a new bit of mythology on the theme of the evil foreign hand and the Indian academic community that is presumed to have no mind of its own. This has no basis in fact. Only certain people in certain castes who identify themselves strongly with the Aryans and pride themselves on being ‘Aryan’ more than on being Indian, and thereby stress their difference from (and assume superiority to) other Indians, have a problem. As soon as the author, and people of his ilk, make up their minds as to whether they are Indian or not, and whether they want to identify themselves with India and other Indians or not, the problem is solved.
Dr Robert J. Zydenbos
The issue of the Aryan invasion is really a debate with Max Muller. But the real issue is the indigenous character of pre-Hinduism and the antiquity of the basic constructs of its religion, and this in concert with a probable Aryan entry of some kind. The debate with Muller has confused everything: obviously his views were extreme and wrong. The debate is thus mostly on wrong premises
the search strings leads to this essay, among much else.
The essay is flawed from the start. The entry of the Out of Africa peoples into India was millennia earlier, and not relevant to what may have happened in the second millennium. There are many flaws in this essay. Sanskrit is ambiguous, an artificial construct and its Vedic roots are too close to the Homeric case for the time-frames suggested, I would say.
the motivation here is obvious: a unified view of Indian culture beyond old divisions. But that doesn’t settle the confusion.
I think that the Hindu legacy is in deep trouble (but not Indian spiritual traditions as a whole) because it wants to cover over the Aryan recomposition of the earlier tradition in place before the Aryan entry. That means that the Aryans did not create the great Indian spiritual tradition. That’s the scandal that can’t be faced by Hindu traditionalists: the whole of Vedism is crackpot nonsense built out of a pastiche of Indo-European confusions over Indian spirituality. It is not a hard problem to solve, but the solution won’t prove palatable for some time…
The AIT confusion is not solely that of the colonialists. As Danielou points out, there is an older view held by Indians themselves that sees a primordial Indian set of traditions going way way back, perhaps as far as the Neolithic. Primordial Shaivism, and Jainism, and then the later emergence of Buddhism.
Hinduism is a mess, one that will lead to the loss of the great Indian spiritual tradition, in the waning of buddhism, and the commercialization of yoga, to say nothing of the caste law mess. That caste law was an imposition of the Aryan entry phase is the scandal noone wishes to face.
May be time to look at the Aryan Invasion question all over again. The links based on a search string provide a lot of material. A new dogma is emerging on the question, that the Aryan invasion theory is false, now supposedly with DNA evidence.
The question tends to be incoherent on all sides. Much of the argument is over the atrocious colonial brand of the theory, and many other tag-along fallacies that accompany the theory. I can’t see much future in the Out of India theory, which is still another brand of chauvinism in disguise.
We had an extensive series of links by an Indian critic of the OIT here, and I will replay them soon.
But I will reiterate the one bit of hard evidence that the critics of AIT can’t explain away: the parallel case of the Aryan invasions of Greece in about the same time frame as the supposed Aryan entry in India. So many other things attach to this that are prejudicial that it is not surprising that many gag on it. But the reality may be quite different, and not the paranoid nightmare made out of it. The DNA evidence is not particularly convincing, to me.
In any case, the entry of Indo-Europeans tribes into Greece in the second millenium BCE is clearly documented, and it is almost impossible to consider an OIT migration out of India to reach Greece, in the relevant time-frames, and given the clear parallel match of Vedic Sanskrit and Homeric (and Myceanean) Greek. None of the people who discuss this question can grapple with this dataset. It makes life difficult for critics of the AIT.
The inability to find a theory of human evolution stretches to the many new age attempts, which don’t resolve any of the issues.