Not too long ago, Vivekananda, a household name in his homeland, was famous here as well, as the first missionary from the East to the West,” writes Ann Louise Bardach in the Sunday Review of The New York Times.
The Indian monk, born Narendranath Datta to an aristocratic Calcutta family, alighted in Chicago in 1893 in ochre robes and turban, with little money after a daunting two-month trek from Bombay. Notwithstanding the fact that he had spent the previous night sleeping in a boxcar, the young mystic made an electrifying appearance at the opening of the august Parliament of Religions that Sept. 11.
Yet precious few of the estimated 16 million supple, spandex-clad yoginis in the United States, who sustain an annual $6 billion industry, seem to have a clue that they owe their yoga mats to Vivekananda. Enriching this irony was Vivekananda’s utter lack of interest in physical exertions beyond marathon sitting meditations and pilgrimages to holy sites.
The Indian Monks have made such a positive impact on the West. The healing aspects of yoga and meditation are boundless! A few “gurus” have tried to capitalize on the generous and selfless contributions of the Indian Monks. If you read my blog thoroughly, you will find out who they are.