Glocal Hinduism

USA, September 1, 2010 (By Loriliai Biernacki): As we move into the 21st century, with a shrinking world, an entangled economy, and instantaneous communications with the other side of the planet, religious life is changing as well. Religious groups are able to meet the needs of adherents far away and minister to communities separated spatially from each other. For Hinduism, this has meant especially that a diasporic community has been able to reconnect with its roots far away. An engineer living in Denver, Colorado in the U.S. can offer a puja online at the famous temple for Venkateshwara and receive his or her prasad by mail from the temple in Tirupati. Hinduism is becoming global.

Hinduism’s philosophical underpinnings — the ideas of karma and rebirth, notably — are increasingly pervading American consciousness, and this spread of ideas will increase in the future.

In some sense, the trace of Hinduism as it moves across the globe in the future is as a kind of meme (an idea that spreads like a virus and affects, to some degree, the minds of those who get in touch with it), a conceptual and evolutionary hypothesis. As meme, this spread of Hindu conceptual tenets augurs a more healing and soulful alternative to the mechanization of our lives, our bodies, our minds.

The future of Hinduism suggests a kind of opening to a global world in a way that sidesteps the vision of a one-world government or one-world ideology. It proposes instead a world model without hegemonic center, linked by a thread of cosmology, multiplicity instanced as network, a seamless interconnectivity that echoes a conceptual cosmology from Hinduism’s past into our own global and glocal future.


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