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Between tradition and change: appropriation dynamics and integration processes of Hinduism in Argentina

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Abstract

Hinduism has been defined from different perspectives as a belief system, a collection of philosophies and practices, and an umbrella term for a mosaic of religious traditions. Native to India, it has a strong historic tradition and a dynamic and expanding present. In this article, the author explores the process of appropriation of Hinduism in Argentina, pointing out that beyond its frequent association with the New Age movement, the arrival of the Hindu world-view dates back to the beginnings of the 20th century. It connected to spiritual searches of elite groups and would later spread to a larger and more diverse part of the population. At present, the notions of Hinduism support some of the most chosen disciplines of the current alternative field, which is a result of the advent of the New Age movement, the process of globalization, and a new perspective about health and well-being in Western societies.

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Notes

  1. For further development of this aspect, read Pennington (2005) and Halbfass (2013).

  2. Personal communication of Mercedes Güiraldes.

  3. As Puglisi notes (2016 p. 199) during a visit to India, Adelina del Carril—Güiraldes’s wife—had an interview with Sai Baba in 1948 in Puttaparthi. She was working on translate to Spanish some sacred Hindu texts while his husband learned about spiritual practices.

  4. In a general way, asanas are the most known aspect of the practice of yoga. Asanas are corporal positions combined with a different kind of breathing and performed in individual use or series. Their names are associated morphologically to animal behavior, objects, elements of nature, and moments of the human life cycle.

  5. For a deeper analysis of New Age in Argentina and its developments, see Carozzi (2001).

  6. As a reviewer suggested, it would be necessary pointing out the development and importance of Hare Krishna movement in Argentina. By the moment, there is not a specialized investigation about it in Argentina, but in the region, there are some impressive contributions, such as Bahamondes González and Alarcón (2015) in Chile and Da Silva and Silva da Silveira (2015) in Brazil.

  7. During fieldwork, I interviewed some practitioners who revealed a perspective that was a little bit different. In these cases, the effectivity of the Art of Living method was related to the belief in energy, as in Power (van deer Leeuw 1964). This energy is possible to manipulate and makes it possible to transform emotions, thoughts, and even natural states from negative to positive, i.e., from harmful and causing illnesses to healing. The energy, which can change from positive to negative and vice versa, is manipulated during the practices of rhythmic breathing and bodily movements, enabling the preservation and recovery of good health and quality of life to those who continue to practice.

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Saizar, M. Between tradition and change: appropriation dynamics and integration processes of Hinduism in Argentina. Int J Lat Am Relig 2, 72–85 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41603-018-0042-9

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