hinduism and new age


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Can someone please answer this post, to explain how close these two are?

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Namasté Chucky,

Thank you for your e-mail, and also for that website. I didn't know about it but it seems very interesting.

Hinduism and New Age are very similar, simply because both paths consider all spiritual traditions as valid paths to God. These two paths also consider the soul to be timeless, which implies that reincarnation is also a common aspect.

There are also, however, a few differences that should be noted. Hinduism relies heavily on a caste system, where one's duty is predestined, and that if one performs his or her duties well in this lifetime, he or she will be rewarded by being born in a higher caste in the next life. New Age theology suggests that a soul chooses the life experiences before incarnating in this world, and that "bad" deeds won't result in punishment in a subsequent incarnation. Rather, the experiences we all go through in life are there to teach us more about ourselves and others, and are there so that we may grow.

I hope this answers your questions--if you have more questions I'll be happy to answer them as best as I can.
Dear Chucky

A lot of 'New Age' teachings have originated from Theosophy and a lady called 'Helena Blavatsky'. It is reported that she spent some time in India. Her influence on modern day spirituality have been immense and it goes across a wide spectrum of beliefs within the new age field of consciousness worldwide. This is an interesting article.

The Blavatsky/Tibet and Stanzas of Dzyan Connection.

By Grigor V. Ananikian


Caste system as it is commonly understood today, is a crudely disfigured form of Varnashrama dharma. Caste system is a product of the society.

Take, for example, nuclear energy. Nuclear energy can be used for both creative and destructive purposes.

Throughout ancient Indian history, there have been numerous occasions of people jumping from one caste to another, which clearly shows in its ideal state Varnashrama dharma it is based on an individual's guna(or tendency) rather than birth.

Only an English Professor can teach English, not a janitor. But once the Prof starts to feel superior about himself because of his station in life, decay sets in. The janitor can also become a professor one day if he applies himself to becoming one.

The concept of reincarnation is like a game of poker. Your chip count at the start of every round is a direct result of how well you played your cards that you were dealt in the previous round. You are not going to get more winnable cards every round. You got to play what you're dealt. But more chips mean more probability of winning.
chucky said:
Can someone please answer this post, to explain how close these two are?
Admittedly individual opinion comes in on this one to some extent, but looking back it's possible to trace the threads of the New Age to a large extent. There are also two or three books doing this as well as a few modules on some university MA taught courses. Very roughly, the origins of the New Age seem to be:

Two strands, one from the East (the introduction of Hinduism and Buddhism to the West), and what had been the Western occult underground (the Golden Dawn, and the whole general Western esoteric tradition 'coming out').

The Eastern strand, it's basically agreed, came mainly to the West in the late 19th century from both Theosophy (as Sacredstar says above) and Vivekananda, the first major Swami to journey to the West and make major public appearances (he'd barely arrived before he was in front of thousands for the first time in his life at a World Religions Congress in the USA, where he caused a sensation).

Theosophy was really a new thing, or 'it's own' thing. But in order to convey all its concepts to Western minds who were new to it all, Buddhist and Hindu terminology was used. Thus the West first got introduced in a major way to such concepts as karma, reincarnation, and deeper Eastern ideas.

Out of these two Eastern strands, and the emergent Western tradition(s), a significant minority of people in the West became interested in the whole esoteric scene, and things went on from there. It's fairly easy to trace what led to what up to about 1980, but since then there's been so much divergence and so many sub-branches.

As said above, the New Age is far too diverse to be able to exactly say what it is, and as we all know it varies from the sublime to the ridiculous. I realise I haven't actually given my opinion on the exact thread question! That, to be honest, is quite a big subject and would, for me, take some deep thought. Because there's a lot that's admirable in Hinduism which often isn't found in the New Age - such as Guru-disciple lineages, teaching for the sake of helping others and not for monetary gain, the focus upon real spirituality and Brahman/God (which is often not found in the New Age.

The New Age, by comparison, as a quick thumb-nail sketch, tends often to be more about 'healing' than God. Much of what goes on in New Age groups (not all of course) isn't spiritual in the sense of being a quest for the divine. It's more along the lines of developing lower powers or Hinduism's siddhis (which Patanjali actually warns against!). There's also a disconcerting reliance by so many to use their New Age groups or books or meetings for personal monetary gain.

That latter point is an interesting topic in itself. I've discussed it often with Hindu friends. On the one hand, charges may be necessary to pay for overheads even if the meeting is run by a charity. And perhaps it is helpful to the world for someone to be free to teach full-time, and so make a living out of it all. Mostly, though, it seems to me that the requirement to make money from teaching what are essentially spiritual or psychic subjects leads people to seek their own unique 'territory' within the field. They therefore prostitute themselves, so to speak, in teaching new 'sexy' subjects they dream up, rather than sticking to what may be the tried-and-true Truth (where the income has dried up when the field is saturated with teachers!).

On a personal note, the New Age should, I'd say, rethink it's whole attitude toward making money as so many (not all) do from their activities. That's a major difference to most Hinduism, in which advice and teaching is given for free and out of love. (Of course, a Swami in the mountains, living in a cave doesn't need to pay the bills, so maybe the West has to be different...) All I know is that if I pay to get into a workshop in the back of my mind somewhere I'm thinking that the motivation of that person may primarily be to make money, and they'll alter what they do or say considerably if it increases their income. So their motives are questionable. On the other hand, when I go to learn from someone who asks for nothing, there's a big sigh of inner relief: what they teach may be true or not, but at least their motives are likely to be pure. Hinduism isn't generally commercial like this. The New Age wasn't either until roughly about 1980 when people started to think, "Ah, this hobby I love so much in my spare time could be my livelihood!" Sometimes I'd prefer for them to have kept their day jobs and to have practised for free out of love.

Those are really some thoughts on the similarities or differences and I'm sure it could actually make a whole article....