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American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation--How Indian Spirituality Changed the West Paperback – 1 May 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 398 pages
  • Publisher: Image Books (1 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385521359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385521352
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"American Veda is an illuminating, gracefully written and remarkably thorough account of India s spectacular impact on Western religion and spirituality."
Deepak Chopra
"American Veda shows us how we got to where we are.It chronicles a revolution in consciousness and describes India s lasting influence on our culture, from gurus, meditation, and yoga to sitar music and aromatic curries.Savor it."
Michael Bernard Beckwith, author of "Spiritual Liberation: Fulfilling Your Soul s Potential"
"This book demonstrates the far reach of Indian thought into the American psyche and sense of spiritual self.A well written, superbly researched book, it should beread by all the15 million Americanspracticing meditation and yoga!"
Christopher Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology, Loyola Marymount University
"Wonderfully comprehensive, positive, tremendously insightful, and illuminating. For anyone interested in the deep influence of yoga philosophy in American culture, I highly recommended this masterful book."
John Friend, Founder of Anusara Yoga
"Immensely smart, wise and brilliantly written.This book should be required reading for everyone interested in ecumenical spirituality which is the one hope for the survival of the human race, and India s great gift to us in our crisis."
Andrew Harvey, author of "The Hope: The Guide to Social Activism" and "The Sun at Midnight"
"In this important and engaging book, Philip Goldberg chronicles the long neglected history of Hinduism's encounter with the US. He astutely examines how Hinduism has been constructed and consumed within the larger American spiritual landscape. A must read for those interested in Hinduism and its transmission."
- Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California
"American Veda documents an important cultural change and is an impressive book: informed and informative, well researched and readable."
Roger Walsh MD, Ph.D., University of California Medical School, author of "Essential Spirituality: The Seven Central Practices"
"Intriguing reading, fascinating profiles and great storytelling of Yoga luminaries adapting the teachings to fit modern American life. This book inspires us to continue to deepen in our body, mind, and spiritual journey."
Lilias Folan, PBS Host and author "Lilias! Yoga Gets Better with Age"
"Goldberg weaves a tale as only a true storyteller can, drawing the reader into this Vedic web that has no weaver, providing us with a fresh view of how Vedic strands have woven their way into the daily fabric of every American. He masterfully unfolds this ancient play of spiritual unfolding that is just now beginning to emerge into early adolescence in America."
Richard Miller, PhD, author of "Yoga Nidra: A Meditative Practice for Deep Relaxation and Healing," co-founder of the International Association of Yoga Therapy and the founding president of the Integrative Restoration Institute.
"A breathtaking trek across time, American Veda shows us something extraordinary, surprising, and precious about where we come from, who we are at this moment, and what we may yet become."
Chip Hartranft, author of "The Yoga-Sutra Of Patanjali" a new translation with commentary
"In a delightful, compelling way, "American Veda" shows how India s ancient wisdom has permeated our lives, including many of the self-improvement teachings that have benefited millions. I loved reading this book."
Marci Shimoff, "NY Times" bestselling author, "Happy for No Reason" and "Chicken Soup for the Woman s Soul
Nothing short of remarkable. Within the pages of this fairly short volume, Goldberg manages to cover every major figure, movement, and idea that originatedin India s spiritual terrain and arrived on our shores to forever alter the landscapeof our thought and culture .Writing with empathy and discernment, he covershighly controversial issues regarding the impact of the transmission of Indianspiritual culture in a way that inspires deeper understanding. American Vedais an insightful guide to the fascinating history of a phenomenon that willbe seen in the future as one of the watershed moments of American history.
Rita D. Sherma, Ph.D., Executive Director, School of Philosophy & ReligiousStudies, Taksha University
American Veda is a bright light on the historical path to enlightenment in America. Philip Goldberg is an acharya of words and research. Highly recommended.
Larry Payne Ph.D., coauthor, "Yoga for Dummies, Yoga Rx "and" The Business of Teaching Yoga
""We imagine the United States as a Christian island far from the exotic teachings of India. We imagine wrong. As Phil Goldberg's masterful American Veda shows we have been under the sway of Hindu spiritual thought for centuries. If you want to understand American spirituality today, and get a glimpse into its future, read this book."
Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of" Recovery, the Sacred Art
""This book, American Veda is a landmark! Easy to read it shines a light of understanding on the American Vedic Hindu path which started with the transference of knowledge from India, and equally important by its acceptance by the Americans of western orientation. It is a path on which now, the immigrant Vedic Hindu community and its progeny are grafting on to and traveling along with many in the mainstream community, resulting in, we hope increased understanding. The integrated approach of this book helps fill in the gaps of this historical journey, especially for those of us who see ourselves as fellow travelers working to bridge the east-west divide."
Anju Bhargava, Management Consultant and Founder of Hindu American Seva Charities"

About the Author

PHILIP GOLDBERG is the author or coauthor of nineteen books, including "Roadsigns: On the Spiritual Path "and "The Intuitive Edge. "Based in Los Angeles, he is an ordained interfaith minister, a public speaker and seminar leader, and the founder of Spiritual Wellness and Healing Associates. He is director of outreach for SpiritualCitizens.net and blogs regularly on religion for the Huffington Post.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reccomended reading if you are at all interested in Hinduism or culture surrounding aspects of related spiritualism, superb footnotes, and reading list ,films ,etc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally the story is told! 10 Nov. 2010
By dana sawyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In 1963 the United States opened the door to immigrants from Asia,and when they did, lots of gurus, swamis, lamas and roshis poured through to share their cultures' various wisdoms. Some of them had integrity and some of them didn't, but they all changed the way we look at the world and helped shape our present worldview. After nearly fifty years of experimenting with the mystic East, Americans are wiser in many ways; unfortunately, they sometimes fell prey to charlatans, but that was all part of the growth curve. Phil Goldberg's book is an exceptional introduction to the journey into Hindu traditions that many have taken, through meditation, yoga, and other techniques of consciousness expansion. The book is filled with extraordinary stories and entertaining analysis. It is a book for everyone who has studied with an Indian teacher, or thought about it. It is simultaneously a warning and an enticement. His humor and insight make this a wonderful ride, and an accurate telling of what went down. It is certainly the best book today on the subject.
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and a Great Read 16 Nov. 2010
By Jack Forem - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
All of Philip Goldberg's 19 books, from his earliest (The Intuitive Edge, Natural Sleep) through his collaborations with prominent psychotherapists (Making Peace With Your Past, Get Out Of Your Own Way) up to his latest (Roadsigns on the Spiritual Path) have contributed something useful to the community. But American Veda is his crowning achievement. It is the fascinating story of how Indian philosophy and Indian teachers have literally transformed American life, starting with the New England Transcendentalist writers (Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman) who discovered Vedanta in a handful of books, through the arrival on our shores of Swami Vivekenanda, Paramahansa Yogananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and other prominent gurus, to the present-day crop of teachers - both Indian and American-born - who have been influenced by these visionary pioneers.

We are living at a time of a profound awakening of consciousness that is changing the world. Much of that awakening is due to the influence of Indian spirituality and its practical applications. If you are one of the estimated 20 million Americans who practice Yoga, if you meditate or enjoy kirtan chanting, if you have been turned on to the spiritual path by Autobiography of a Yogi or Be Here Now, read books by Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, J. D. Salinger or Joseph Campbell, or followed the healthcare advice of Dr. Dean Ornish, Indian teachers and teachings are a part of your life. As Huston Smith, the highly-esteemed scholar of world religions, said in his Foreword to Goldberg's book, "Vedanta quietly surfaces in the daily lives of Americans. Yoga, karma, meditation, enlightenment are now household words. How that came about needed to be documented, and Philip Goldberg has done just that." And he has done it with a novelist's gift for story-telling and a palpable love for many of the men and women who either brought the teachings from India or discovered it here and made it their own. I knew quite a lot of this story, yet Goldberg's scholarship - he tells us that he read hundreds of books and conducted over 300 interviews - and masterful writing brought it to life.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book 6 Jan. 2011
By Thomas Egenes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Phil Goldberg's American Veda is a survey of India's profound influence on America over the last century. Goldberg has done a substantial amount of research, interviewing the people who have brought India to America in the form of music, film, literature, art, science, and especially philosophy (namely Vedanta) and practice (namely Yoga). He offers lots of stimulating quotes, like this one from Peter Russell, "When science sees consciousness to be a fundamental quality of reality, and religion takes God to be the light of consciousness shining within us all, the two worldviews start to converge." I appreciate that insight, and there's plenty more in American Veda.

Goldberg is balanced in presenting people and ideas, and doesn't rush to conclusions, allowing the reader to consider. Still, Goldberg demonstrates that these programs are very different from one another. For me, the central question he leaves the reader with is this: "Which of the diverse Yoga and meditation programs brought to American shores from India is the most effective for living an engaged life?" Perhaps the best answer to that question comes from science, which is objective, like a level playing field.

As Goldberg points out, there has been research suggesting programs are effective against hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and ADHD. Other research by Fred Travis and Jonathan Shear, published in Consciousness and Cognition, reviewed the various EEG patterns of different meditation techniques, showing that different meditation techniques produce very different brain activity. This type of research seems to me to offer a conclusion to Goldberg's book, which is that some programs are more effective. Perhaps, as Goldberg suggests, those will be the programs that remain closest to their own source, the Veda.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must book for all spiritual aspirants 27 Dec. 2010
By Neale Lundgren, Ph.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
American Veda is a thorough, comprehensive,balanced and informative report of the tremendous influence of Vedic thought in the United States; from the most obvious literary filters that came through in the 19th century and early 20th centuries (fine treatment of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman) to the more subtle reformation of key Vedic concepts into "Americanese" by the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The author provides a good taste of the deeper esoteric models of mystical experience, without overwhelming the beginner reader who may be still lingering at lower stages of integration. Yet, for the more advanced learner the author gives plenty of historical material that is fascinating and helps thread the missing pieces of fabric.

There is no doubt in my mind that any serious student of American spirituality should have this book on their shelf. As well, aspirants who are beginning their journey beyond the spiritual kindergarten of religion should read this book before venturing too far out beyond the shore.

The author's comments on "fallen gurus" never come across as judgmental or biased. Now this is exceptional reporting at its best.

Goldberg's chronicles of more recent integrations of science (i.e. quantum theory) and eastern structures of consciousness/reality are superb. I have been impressed by some of the more recent dialogue which is learning more about the limits of the brain; i.e. that this organ is not a creator but a transmitter/processer of thought. The author's use of the metaphor of the "tv. set" to describe the primary function of the brain is useful and accessible to the layperson.

I appreciated Goldberg's consistent commitment to objective reporting; naming the controversy between the more programmatic schools of Vedic teaching (for example, TM ) and the popular "self-help" books that foster entry level techniques; such as those promoting meditation-as-relaxation, foregoing the more arduous path of transcendental awareness (for example, Herbert Benson's Relaxation Response). Both have their uses and strengths.

Again, I applaud Philip Goldberg for a fine read and congratulations on providing the spiritual aspirant with an excellent learning and discerning tool as they begin or as they advance their experiential studies in integrative awareness.

Neale Lundgren, Ph.D.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Detached Insider 19 Dec. 2010
By Constant reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As in his many other books, Goldberg addresses the topic at hand with intelligence, wit, the patience to do exhaustive research, and the judgment to select from all that research just the material that will be most useful (and fascinating) to the reader. What he especially brings to this tale -- the long, strange trip of Americans encountering the wisdom teachings of India -- is the finely nuanced insight of an insider who took that trip himself, tempered by fair-minded detachment. Clearly, he has taken many years to talk with hundreds of fellow pilgrims and to reflect deeply on what our involvement with yoga, meditation, kirtan, gurus, etc., was (and is) all about. Particularly impressive is Goldberg's even-handedness and compassion in presenting the many scandals and controversies that punctuate this story; steering clear of both sensationalism and excuse-making, he understands that this is a tale of perfect wisdom transmitted by imperfect people.
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