India has a very strong history of spiritual traditions, schools of various spiritual/philosophical thought, gurus etc and in the present it manifests in the forms of many retreats and workshops. Those across the world who want to explore their spirituality come here.
However, I see more people from the West being genuinely interested in spirituality, spiritual practices and self help gurus than peeps in India. The local Indians, I believe, are not really inclined towards that path.Yoga and meditation have become extremely popular in these western countries. While browsing through the internet, I read more expert blogs, watch videos about meditation and yoga made by people from the west than by Indians. Most of the top yoga teachers and meditation gurus are from the west.
This could be considered ironic because since India is considered to be the land of spirituality, it should be the place filled with spiritual people as well . But I guess the thing is, that it is only the land, not the people of spirituality, for most people who are truly seeking the spiritual path within India, are also not Indian.
Why is that so?
I feel like our personal spirituality has been infiltrated by colonial style hatred toward our own “under developed”/ developing country, regressive institutions like the caste system, rampant classism, etc. There is also a lack of lack of the sentiment of equality and compassion, which are considered fundamentally spiritual values. However, that is not my primary argument.
I feel that the western societies have gone through the process of modernism already. Stress has been, or perhaps still is a common epidemic there, and hence the culture of seeking and adopting a less materialistic philosophy is prevalent. This could be their post-modern phase playing out. They have wealth and basic resources to themselves to think of life’s deeper truths.
Whereas here, our markets have opened up too recently, as compared to the free markets of the U.S or U.K. We don’t have enough wealth or basic resources yet to think about finding our souls. We have reached the stage of modernism very recently. India is in its phase where people are encouraged to be workaholics, and obsessed with growth and prosperity. We haven’t tired out into enough statistics of rising anxiety and depression yet. We will start seeking spirituality after reaching that break down point. Our phase of wanting to reconnect to our roots, true selves, be less materialistic would come after a few decades.
So its not like being spiritual is in the genes of those in the West, but the state of the economy and duration of freedom (from colonial invasions) each of these countries has had explains why at this point there are more people seeking spirituality and even going into careers of personal development in the west than there are in the east.