American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West
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by Philip Goldberg (426 pages)
What exploded in the 1960s, following the Beatles trip to India for an extended stay with their new guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, actually began more than two hundred years earlier, when the United States started importing knowledge--as well as tangy spices and colorful fabrics--from Asia. The first translations of Hindu texts found their way into the libraries of John Adams and Ralph Waldo Emerson. From there the ideas spread to Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and succeeding generations of receptive Americans, who absorbed India’s “science of consciousness” and wove it into the fabric of their lives. Charismatic teachers like Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda came west in waves, prompting leading intellectuals, artists, and scientists such as Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell, Allen Ginsberg, J. D. Salinger, John Coltrane, Dean Ornish, and Richard Alpert, ak...