Dear Mr. Cotter,
Thank you profusely for your masterful piece on the Vishnu exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. I was impressed with your understanding about the essence of Vishnu, and your overall command of the complex topic of Vishnu within Hinduism.
I have read much about Vaishnavism and am always surprised that even Western scholars do not understand it.
No wonder you received a Pulitzer Prize. You went for deep meanings and context and you got it right!
I wanted to share with you some thoughts about a trend within the 15-million-American yoga community. Perhaps this will be fun for you to give pause about.
Here’s an interesting coincidence:
The United States has curated its first major museum exhibit on Vishnu.
Bhakti-yoga (Vaishnavism, heart yoga, or devotional acts of love) is becoming known and practiced by large numbers of yoga followers in America. This trend has been occurring for about three, maybe four, years.
Take a moment to think of the implications.
Yoga has been in a century-long process of transplantation and assimilation into the fiber of America, as documented by Philip Goldberg in his monumental work published last year, American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West.
Throughout this century-long experience of India’s yogas, participants and onlookers have experienced, almost solely, only these three of India’s four yogas: selfless action (karma yoga), mind control and physical exercise (raja and asthanga yogas), and psychological/intellectual pursuits (jnana yoga).
For some reason, India’s forth yoga, Bhakti, is just now being uncovered as the untapped yoga frontier.
Fun fodder for thought, isn’t it?
I hope our Western scholars take note. Are you familiar with Karen Armstrong’s amazing contributions? You might find interesting a recent letter exchange I had with her on the subject of Vaishnavism as a major world monotheism that has been largely overlooked. It is published here.
Thank you so much for your contribution, astute thinking, beautiful words, and gentleness of spirit,