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NEW RELIGIOUS PRACTICES,AND POLITICS IN CONTEMPORARY            INDIA   Nandini Gooptu, University of Oxford              ...
Commonwealth Games 2010, Delhi:    The Opening Ceremony                                  2
3
4
5
Theorising New Spiritualism in the                  West•   Secularisation and “de-traditionalisation”•   Sacralisation of...
Key themes addressed in this paper• Modes of self-making through new  spiritualism in India: How contemporary New  Spiritu...
An interpretation of the politicalsignificance of contemporary forms ofreligious practice requires:•opening up an analytic...
“INDIVIDUALLY TOGETHER”“Learning together to live alone”                                    9
Individually Together; “socialnonmovement” of “noncollective             actors”                                   10
Pranic Healing and Shiv Yog• Cleansing and balancing the aura and chakras• Unity with the higher soul or divine  conscious...
Brahma Kumaris             12
“Awakening with Brahma Kumaris”• counselling, in a therapeutic mode:  interpersonal relationships, stress and anger  manag...
Bharat Soka GakkaiBSG meeting in a Delhi home:     Bharat Soka Gakkai exhibition of the Lotus Sutra,Business Standard, 21 ...
Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG): I• attaining Buddhahood or enlightenment in  this life, through service and prayer and by  nurtu...
Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG): II• “rather than being a prayer to an external  being, chanting … is an expression of the  deter...
Art of Living and Sri Sri Ravishankar• “Hug yourself tightly: The most lovable person on  earth”• A beautiful vision of on...
Art of Living and Sri Sri Ravishankar• Introspection and self-knowledge: “Spirituality  gives you strength, that inner str...
Youth and spiritualism• Brahmakumari’s Youth Empowerment Services  (YES) and International Youth Forum (IYF):  encourage y...
Ramdev         20
Ramdev• Mass support• Political agenda: Nationalist, anti-western,  populist, pro-rural development, anti-corruption• Ramd...
Political implications of New               Spiritualism Self-government and individual mode       of politics in a time o...
New Spirtualism and the complexities of          democracy and politics• The laicization of the esoteric, and people-centr...
Contd..• Sewa -- service-oriented paternalistic, middle class or  elitist voluntarism, acting on the hearts and minds of  ...
Reinforcing traditionalisation, desecularisation   and new modes of politicisation of religion• New spiritualism does not ...
New Spiritualism, religious identity and              the nation• NS helps to valorize the autonomous self-  governed, res...
27
Commodified Spiritualism, enterprise and consumer                       culture• Packaged spiritual self-help, self-manage...
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Transcript of "Ids sussex spiritualism powerpoint"

  1. 1. NEW RELIGIOUS PRACTICES,AND POLITICS IN CONTEMPORARY INDIA Nandini Gooptu, University of Oxford 1
  2. 2. Commonwealth Games 2010, Delhi: The Opening Ceremony 2
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. 4
  5. 5. 5
  6. 6. Theorising New Spiritualism in the West• Secularisation and “de-traditionalisation”• Sacralisation of the self and of quotidian experience• Subjective experience and self-actualisation• Liberation from a socially-conditioned ego and from “the tyrannical hold of the socialized mode of being”.• Emphasis on inner life and the Self• “Subjectification” of social life: the “self-ethic”• Primacy of the autonomous self and individual agency• “Psychologisation” : social reality understood in terms of questions of individual psychology• Therapeutic culture offers technologies of self-regulation and self-management. 6
  7. 7. Key themes addressed in this paper• Modes of self-making through new spiritualism in India: How contemporary New Spiritualism is recasting individual subjectivity• Implications of self-oriented spiritualism for:(a)democratic norms, notions and practices of citizenship, and social contract with the state, in a mature democratic setting(b)religious and national identity in a globalized late post-colony 7
  8. 8. An interpretation of the politicalsignificance of contemporary forms ofreligious practice requires:•opening up an analytical terrain toengage with politics in a personalisedand individualised mode•an analytical focus on the politics ofthe self, rather than the politics of thecollective 8
  9. 9. “INDIVIDUALLY TOGETHER”“Learning together to live alone” 9
  10. 10. Individually Together; “socialnonmovement” of “noncollective actors” 10
  11. 11. Pranic Healing and Shiv Yog• Cleansing and balancing the aura and chakras• Unity with the higher soul or divine consciousness (Atma unites with paramatma)• Goal manifestation: “…harness the power of your thoughts, subtle energies and your auric field to create a life of prosperity and success”• Overcoming the ego and realizing ones true potentials Chakras and Auras 11
  12. 12. Brahma Kumaris 12
  13. 13. “Awakening with Brahma Kumaris”• counselling, in a therapeutic mode: interpersonal relationships, stress and anger management, contentment and happiness, positive thinking, and self-improvement.• “You are what you think”: Harness the “incredible power” and energy of the human mind, and take control of life experiences, and create your own reality. 13
  14. 14. Bharat Soka GakkaiBSG meeting in a Delhi home: Bharat Soka Gakkai exhibition of the Lotus Sutra,Business Standard, 21 May 2011 Kolkata, August 2010 14
  15. 15. Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG): I• attaining Buddhahood or enlightenment in this life, through service and prayer and by nurturing ones Buddha nature or enlightened nature• enlightenment through change in our hearts and minds• changing our lives by spiritually polishing ourselves through chants, prayer, meditation, reflection and social service. 15
  16. 16. Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG): II• “rather than being a prayer to an external being, chanting … is an expression of the determination of the human spirit, seeking to come into rhythm with the reality of the universe. Through continuing in this practice of determined intention we bring forth our highest potential from within our lives.”• Individually, Together 16
  17. 17. Art of Living and Sri Sri Ravishankar• “Hug yourself tightly: The most lovable person on earth”• A beautiful vision of ones inner self 17
  18. 18. Art of Living and Sri Sri Ravishankar• Introspection and self-knowledge: “Spirituality gives you strength, that inner strength to manage difficult situations and to keep ever smiling.”• Sewa and the accumulation of personal virtue• Nurturing national spiritual and cultural heritage• Spiritualism and the alleviation of stress for peace, mitigation of violence and conflict resolution 18
  19. 19. Youth and spiritualism• Brahmakumari’s Youth Empowerment Services (YES) and International Youth Forum (IYF): encourage youth “to take up the challenge of re- creating their inner world”, to ‘see’ things differently; ‘behave’ differently and ‘act’ differently, and to act with integrity and self worth.• Leading from within, You First and ‘When I change, the world changes’ are some of their mottos to help “empower young people to face social and developmental challenges” 19
  20. 20. Ramdev 20
  21. 21. Ramdev• Mass support• Political agenda: Nationalist, anti-western, populist, pro-rural development, anti-corruption• Ramdev’s biographer notes that he “has initiated among his followers a process of self-discovery geared towards a wider cultural and spiritual self- confidence and [national] assertion.”• Each individual Indian, awakened and energized through the power of yoga, and ready to act, will be imbued with self-knowledge, self-pride and animated with a national purpose 21
  22. 22. Political implications of New Spiritualism Self-government and individual mode of politics in a time of fluxNew Spiritualism provides a uniquely indigenous and culturally familiar formula of survival and self- advancement, as Indians, especially the middleclasses, face the unknown and seek to exert control over their changing lives “In the past, I used to pray to the guru to helpme, now I pray to gain the strength to help myself”. 22
  23. 23. New Spirtualism and the complexities of democracy and politics• The laicization of the esoteric, and people-centric spiritual practices, consonant with the normative ascendance of the idea of citizen’s power: Peoples’ religion, suitable for a modern democratic nation• The individual as the focus of social action and public activism: Solution to social and political problems sought through internal self-polishing• Societal problems interpreted through the lens of personal or individual failings and deficit• Psychologisation and somaticisation of politics; social problems addressed through the cultivation of a healthy and balanced mind, body and spirit• Intuitive and experiential understanding of reality breeds an anti-intellectual, non-analytical and uncritical approach and thwarts critical social enquiry and breeds political quietism 23
  24. 24. Contd..• Sewa -- service-oriented paternalistic, middle class or elitist voluntarism, acting on the hearts and minds of those seen as the deprived – devising entrepreneurial solutions to the problems of poverty and deprivation -- anti-politics• Personalised and individualised “lived” and “self- actualised” form of political expression through volunteerism and social service• Personal duty and responsibility for welfare provision and reformed social contract with the state 24
  25. 25. Reinforcing traditionalisation, desecularisation and new modes of politicisation of religion• New spiritualism does not imply the erosion of religious identity, but signals deep personal rooting and internalisation of a religiously defined spiritual ethic and value system• Pervasive sacralisation and desecularisation of ever more aspects of life through the idiom of traditional religion, mainly Hinduism, and cognate ideas from Buddhism 25
  26. 26. New Spiritualism, religious identity and the nation• NS helps to valorize the autonomous self- governed, responsible enterprising self as the protagonist of a modern and modernising nation• A spiritually enriched or spiritually literate self-sufficient citizen, enhancing his or her own personal well-being, is to contribute to the highest common good – the good of the nation. 26
  27. 27. 27
  28. 28. Commodified Spiritualism, enterprise and consumer culture• Packaged spiritual self-help, self-management and life-style tools are offered to help cope with the demands of contemporary transformation, including stress and competition• Facilitates acceptance and endurance of contemporary conditions, and engenders political quietism and complicity with social ills• NS helps to create a sense of entitlement to success, prosperity and happiness, as well as a firm belief in the possibility of achieving these through the sheer force of will and the energy of inner spirit• Spiritualism in the corporate milieu: Spirtual and emotional intelligence; Human resource management; tool for the global manager; infusion of meaning and purpose and source of values in corporate practice 28
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