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Connecting their selves: The discourse of Karma, calling, and surrendering among western spiritual practitioners in India
Published in Oxford University Press
Volume: 86
Issue: 4
Pages: 1014 - 1045
This article explores the ways in which long-term western spiritual practitioners settled in Puducherry, India reconstruct their selves as "connected" to the divine, the guru, and India through notions of "karma," "calling," and "surrendering." Current work on spirituality takes an either/or approach to spirituality and the self-either the self-oriented quest for metaphysical meaning-making is seen to be consumerist and individualistic, or it is seen to be experiential and ethical. Further, scholars on either side of the divide agree that contemporary spiritualities are primarily self-oriented, with one camp arguing that such self-orientation is consumerist and selfish versus the other arguing that such self-orientation challenges modern consumerism and can be an ethical alternative to consumerism. By contrast, I argue that contemporary spiritualities demonstrate the ways in which individualist, self-oriented experimentation with, and even consumption of, other religious ideas and practices is intertwined with attempts to go beyond the atomistic self. © 2018 The Author(s).
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