I am afraid that some of my friends will not like this post at all, like many things that I comment in others. But this is my view and part of my swadharma to write on it. I respect everybody, but it is my view that as a Sanathan Dharmi, one has to be critical on the things that threaten Dharma, and to comply with Sat (Truth) as much as possible. And New Age movements are one of the many threats for Dharma, and it is even more dangerous when these distorted understandings have already got reimported in India and appreciated by some colonial indian mindsets as “something good because it is coming from the West”.They don´t realize that New Age movements have altered so much the original knowledge that the result has become fully asat (untrue) and misguiding as a means of spiritual advancement.
There is a tendency among the westerners, after the deception that they have suffered from Christianity, to put all religions in the same bag and say that “they want to go beyond all religions”. So they become prey of the numerous New Age movements that started to develop in the 50´s or 60´s in the West and keep growing in number and in wierds varieties.
I don´t mind that people choose their own “spiritual paths”. In fact I encourage everybody to seek by themselves. What I am concerned for is the part of anything that harms Hinduism.
New age movements are a melting pot of elements from several traditions, including western, that expect for a new age to come, the age of Aquarius, in which the general level of spirituality will raise for all the population. Many alternative therapies and new psychologies in the West have stemed from these movements. And the tendency in the last many years is to mix up everything, taking apparently the best from ayurveda, chinese medicine, some western elements, indigenous american indian medicine, reiki, distorted yoga, etc, but truly, missing the depth of the traditional cultures.
INFLUENCES OF THE DHARMIC TRADITIONS IN THE ORIGIN OF THE NEW AGE MOVEMENTS
Madame Blavatsky and her Theosophical Society, is traced back as the most important origin of these movements, in the 19th century. She made first use of the term “New Age” in her 1888 book The Secret Doctrine, in reference to an upcoming era when the world would become a place of understanding and cooperation, free from wars, diseases and greed. (magazine Hinduism Today). She studied the Dharmic traditions and mixed them up with occultism of her own (UFO staff, ascended Masters, etc) and with western occultism, and spreaded it as ultimate truths. Alice Bailey was her succesor.
What is Theosophy? According to amazingdiscoveries.org, it combines Buddhism with Hindu Mysticism and was directly dictated by New Age “Masters”. These New Age Masters allegedly look over the world´s events and intercept as necessary to prevent the world´s destruction. The information is obtained through “channeling”. Channeling is obtaining messages from spirits in the form of occult practices involving a seance.
Take this words by Madame Blavatsky and judge by yourself:
“…Lucifer is divine and terrestrial light, the “Holy Ghost” and “Satan,” at one and the same time… And now it stands proven that Satan, or the Red Fiery Dragon… and Lucifer, or “Light-Bearer,” is in us: it is our Mind—our tempter and Redeemer, our intelligent liberator and Saviour from pure animalism.”
— Helena Blavatsky. The Secret Doctrine. Vol. II, Pp. 513.
Alice Bailey, formed Lucis Trust, (a non-governmental organization within the United Nations) which was formally named Lucifer Trust. The site states that Alice Bailey may have chosen the name Lucifer Trust because of the sacrifice, that the fallen angel had made.
“The Baileys’ reasons for choosing the original name are not known to us, but we can only surmise that they, like the great teacher H.P. Blavatsky, for whom they had enormous respect, sought to elicit a deeper understanding of the sacrifice made by Lucifer. Alice and Foster Bailey were serious students and teachers of Theosophy, a spiritual tradition which views Lucifer as one of the solar Angels, those advanced Beings Who Theosophy says descended (thus “the fall”) from Venus to our planet eons ago to bring the principle of mind to what was then animal-man. In the theosophical perspective, the descent of these solar Angels was not a fall into sin or disgrace but rather an act of great sacrifice, as is suggested in the name “Lucifer” which means light-bearer.” (-Lucis Trust)
(SOURCE. http://rainsanmartin.hubpages.com/hub/Alice-Bailey-and-The-New-World-Order) (True that this source talks of Jesus as the only salvation, but this is objective information given in this website).
Does it now become clear that the origins of the New Age are far from Real Light and more from Darkness only? Lucifer represents the darkest of the forces operating in the universe. While in the dharmic perspective both sides dark and light are the natural dual outcome of the Maya, be aware, dear new ager, that by following the New Age you are worshipping only the dark forces. What can be the destiny if the origin of the movement is so?
I have had much contact with different people belonging to different of these groups, because though they never convinced me fully as an spiritual path, they occupied some time of my transition period mostly as an spectator of their activities, ideas, some flirting with their fantastic world of imagination and certain effectiveness on the therapies based on it, and in some cases certain siddhis (powers) of clairvoyance etc, that can really trap, till I fully came to consider myself hindu with no way back. 🙂
The motto of these groups is precisely that one: to go beyond all religions and to seek the common among all human beings and all religions.
This, that apparently sounds so good, it is highly dangerous. I will try to explain my view here:
a) TO GO BEYOND ALL RELIGIONS
First of all: to go beyond all religions, you should know at least the basics of all the religions you want to trascend. I have not come across one single person who knows the basics of more than one of them (and many times, not even one): the one that they have been deceived by, that it has been in all cases an abrahamic religion, mostly Christianity and sometimes Judaism. Many even integrate Jesus in their “meditations” or visions, because they cannot transcend too much their own conditioning since birth.
My dear new agers….if you knew a little bit about the other “religions” then you would not put them all in the same bag: the Dharmic traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikkhism) have nothing to do with the concept of religion that you are used to, dogmatic blind beliefs. That is why we say that Dharmic traditions are not religions as such: they point to the human intellect and experience to discover by oneself the Truth, rather than beeing spoon fed by blind beliefs which leads to misconceptions and confusion.
To go beyond “religions” as you call them all in the same bag, it could be valid if you are talking of dogmatic religions. But to live without a guideline, following your usual lifestyle as a westerner, and denying the Dharmic traditions, at the same time that taking advantage of them, you are simply denying to yourself your own intellect and capacity to evolve by yourself.
In my view, only an enlightened person is really the one who can trascend everything, and drop everything including the path itself that took him/her there for finally discovering that there was no path and that everything is there right here and right now. One thing is theorising, but the vast majority of us needs a track and a train to ourselves. All the rest who claim that religions have to be trascended are simply slaves of their own boosted ego that leads them to think too high of themselves and of their abilities to progress without guidelines. A humble ego would seek for guidance, and what better guidance could be than a person who has proven to be more evolved (a real Guru) and or, at least, the scriptures that have proven to be truth, being the proof that whatever statement we find in them, can eventually be verified by ourselves.
b) TO SEEK THE COMMON BETWEEN ALL HUMANS AND ALL RELIGIONS
Why this aspect is so dangerous? Very simple: what they call common between the religions is “the Light” plus “the angels” plus ” the intergalactic brotherhood” plus “the ascended Masters” plus “chakras” plus “karma” plus “reincarnation” plus a quite curious concept in the way they treat it: the “higher self”. This higher self is treated as some kind of entity that lives inside the body, and they do “meditations” (visualizations, mostly induced) in which they have interesting conversations with their superior self and then they travel to the stars and the highest experience is to see “the Light”. I have not come accross one single person who, after any of this visions, their life has become better. After some time of feeling good for the vision, everything comes to be the same as before: I don´t find them happier, truly, not to say that I have not seen any spiritual evolution in them.
Still moving around in the binary dual world of the western mind, there is a “I” in the New Age followers, who is and continues to be the body-mind-sense complex, that includes a higher self somewhere there and this I (the materiality of the person) relates to a “you” that is both the higher self inside and the Light outside….outside in the sense one has to “travel” (even innerly) to the stars to find the Light. In the moment of the visualization, they visualize a connection among all, but going out of the visualization, after the hangover is over, everything remains the same in them. Then everything is coloured with the chakras, the aura, the karma and the reincarnation: my dear friends: you are feeding and reinforcing the christian idea of all of us being separate souls. We don´t HAVE a soul, we ARE the Atman, Brahman, the Divine, the Light according to your expression, and if you are taking truths, among other traditions, from Hinduism:
a) take them properly understood
b) if you are taking them, you should never reject to acknowledge the source of your knowledge.
That this is a common in all religions, you say? Where can one find even a mention to reincarnation in the Christianity nowadays? Or in Islam?
For instance, the concept of karma is much more complex than the simple Bible statement “as you sow, so you will reap”. It is full of nuances much more beautiful than your twisted interpretation of karma as “punishment”. On the contrary, it is not punitive, but reformative. Karma is a law that brings us experiences that, taken in the right spirit, help us in our spiritual advancement.
This is a difficult topic, because most of them are very nice people who talk much about Love and Light (they don´t want to mention “God” or even “the Divine” because this reminds them of the religion they have been deceived with). When challenged intellectualy, they remain floating in their pink world of love and light and stubborn in their cloud “beyond religions”. Even when scratching a bit more, there is a rejection of the opposition and a self-protection to….not open the eyes.
Everyone has a right to follow their own path. But a path has to lead somewhere, to You and to discovering who you are. I have not seen any new age follower with that insight. May be there is some good that I cannot see, and of course they have a right to choose their (no) path and I am nobody to criticise it, because everybody is where they have to be. But I have pointed to certain features that one has to keep in mind also regarding these movements. Because no one has a right to threaten other´s spiritual life. If New Age theories advance they will dilute Hinduism in their short and shallow understanding and stealing of Hindu and Dharmic concepts.
“The academic Ward Churchill criticized the New Age movement as an instrument of cultural imperialism that is exploitative of indigenous cultures by reducing them to a commodity to be traded. In Fantasies of the Master Race, he criticized the cultural appropriation of Native American culture and symbols in not only the New Age movement, but also in art and popular culture. “
Source of this quote: WIKIPEDIA
Still in India there are few who, through New Age magazines, acknoweledge the Hindu sources of their knowledge:
“Pandit R.K. Sharma, an astrologer, is the main figure behind (the magazine) The Eternal Solutions (…) “Though New Age publications are using a lot of ideas from Hinduism,” Sharma points out, “they do not give due credit to it. In our case, what I write is based on what the spiritual masters and scriptures of my tradition have said. The rishis created it all. That has been the foundation of my learning; how could I deny that?”” (magazine Hinduism Today)
Will this ever happen in the West?
By “going beyond religions” they do not realize that they have done of the New Age movement another dogmatic religion itself, that only aims to destroy the others “religions” because having them stolen the chakras, the karma and the reincarnation, the Light and the misunderstood Self, who needs Dharmic traditions afterwards?. It is a wolf in a sheep´s clothing, and for this reason we have to be especially cautious towards the spreading of these theories/cults. And I know most of the followers don´t even realise what they are doing. Information is power, and following blindly something, including New Age, is slavery. Sorry to say: New Age movements are nothing but dark cults in disguise of “love and peace” stuff. Open your eyes and be free.