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Gods in AmericaReligious Pluralism in the United States$
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Charles L. Cohen and Ronald L. Numbers

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199931903

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199931903.001.0001

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Beyond Pluralism: Global Gurus and the Third Stream of American Religiosity

Beyond Pluralism: Global Gurus and the Third Stream of American Religiosity

(p.228) Chapter 9 Beyond Pluralism: Global Gurus and the Third Stream of American Religiosity
Gods in America

Joanne Punzo Waghorne

Oxford University Press

Beyond the two ordinarily identified modes of the globalization of Hinduism within the American context—the “liberal” mode of Hindu-heritage citizens identifying as “Hindus” within the generalized system of American religious pluralism, and the “conservative” mode of Hindus equating their Hinduness with an ethnic identity derived from India as the Motherland—lies a “third stream” focused on the “spiritual” mode of Hindu consciousness and yogic practices as open to worldwide participation, usually via a guru and a guru-centered organization. This third stream marks the once dominant mode and also the most enduring mark of Hinduness on the broader public consciousness of the United States. Its “shared eclectic religious sensibilities” were pronounced at the First World Parliament of Religions by Vivekananda, whose presentation of Hinduism as the model for a new religious universalism remains perhaps the most famous, contentious, most problematic challenge to the normative American ideal of liberal pluralism.

Keywords:   Hinduism, Vivekenanda, World's Parliament of Religions, gurus, yoga

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