The West turns to Hinduism

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FROM THE DECCAN CHRONICLE. Decades ago photographs of the kurta-clad Beatles wearing marigold garlands at a Rishikesh ashram were splashed across the world’s press. And now, Julia Roberts’ recent statement that she’s a practising Hindu has refocused the limelight on the ancient religion.

The Hollywood sweetheart said that she goes to the temple to “chant, pray and celebrate.” Many westerners on a soul search are now looking beyond joss sticks, Om tattoos and the stereotypical image of a pantheon of a thousand gods to discover the spiritual core of Hinduism.

The Orient always wore the crown of mysticism. But Hinduism is now finding takers in the West as a religion that can provide solutions to contemporary problems of a stressed and distressed life.

Alexander Perevervev, a research scholar at the Dept of Sanskrit in Delhi University, who came to India from post-cold war Russia, after developing an interest in the religion, says that Hinduism provides a totally new world view for people who fail to find answers within their own culture.

“The modern experience of the Western world is very fragmented and people find a need to reconnect. They feel uprooted and are looking for something grounding, that would perhaps make their lives more meaningful,” he says.

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