[INDOLOGY] bhakti

patrick mccartney psdmccartney at gmail.com
Fri Nov 11 03:59:34 UTC 2016

I guess the question for me specifically regarding Vedic astrology is
exactly the point Valerie and Luis raise. It could be called by the
astrologers 'Indian Astrology', and perhaps it is a better representation,
however they have settled on the use of Vedic to qualify their predictive
system. Although, it's possible that someone out there might think that
'South Asian astrology' is a better term because all this knowledge
developed prior to the birth of the Indian nation.

What intrigues me is how this nomenclature sits with the practitioners of
Vedic astrology, especially the ones who know the historicity but feel
stuck using a term they are uncomfortable with. I have only interacted with
a handful of astrologers online. Most whom I've contacted do not respond.
The ones that have and have engaged with me, add to my current, anecdotal
yet growing data set.

While I'm interested in the historical development of many things, it is
the contemporaneous usages of the adjective 'Vedic' by various groups that
interests me the most.

Probably the most intriguing expression for me at least is the utopian
aspiration to "re-establish a Vedic India" http://www.
vedicindiafoundation.org, the centre of which is considered to be
Brahmasthanam, which is at Bijauri in nth east MP
https://vedicpandits.org This is a Maharishi enterprise.

How this is enmeshed in also, possibly, creating a Hindu nation and the way
modern yoga practitioners are possibly recruited into supporting this
aspiration through an 'eco-dharmic' / religious-environmentalist
perspective intrigues me. Combined with the way the Indian state uses it's
cultural capital and soft power through the multitrillion-dollar
wellness/spiritual tourism industry is quite pertinent to my query and the
logic of this induction process through the Sanskrit episteme. This is
especially the case when considering particular manifestations like the
'yoga nationalism' of Ramdev and how western yoga practitioners are
casually/naïvely recruited into a variety of yoga-inflected dispositions.

For instance, yesterday a prominent yoga teacher in Sydney was shocked to
know that there are Muslims in India! India, to this person, is a Hindu
land full of 'spiritual people' who are all vegetarian and everyone does
yoga. There are also 'some Buddhists'. Obviously this person has never been
to India. Interestingly, they have no desire to either. This is not the
first time I have come across people with these types of ideas.

So, for some yoga practitioners, including professional, long-term
teachers, India is a type of 'Vedic/Sanskrit *wonderland*'. It is how this
term and allied practices is infused through the social
imaginary-yoga/consumption-scape that interests me the most, and what the
social, political, environmental consequences might be.

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