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American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  216 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In February 1968 the Beatles went to India for an extended stay with their new guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It may have been the most momentous spiritual retreat since Jesus spent those forty days in the wilderness.

With these words, Philip Goldberg begins his monumental work, American Veda, a fascinating look at India’s remarkable impact on Western culture. This eye-openi
Hardcover, 398 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Crown Archetype (first published January 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 596)
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Ward Hammond
I can't put it down. Explains at lot about me, my love of George Harrison, Aldous Huxley, Emerson and all things Eastern.
This was a fantastic insight into the history of yoga in the west. I also love how Goldberg gets into some of the more practical teachings of indian philosophies in his course the great yogic transmission.
Amazing, awesome book! The kind that made me extra eager for my nighttime reading fix! We met Phil the author at Bhaktifest. He was the MC for a session there about the Beatles influence on bringing Eastern spirituality to the West - with a very cool 4 piece band of yogi rockers doing the Beatles songs. Anyway, we got autographed copy from him there.

Took me a long time to get through the book. It has great depth and no wasted words. It is as thorough and well-researched as it is enlightening an
Aug 26, 2013 Phil rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to Phil by: Numerous people
"American Veda" is an extremely well-researched and well-written exploration of how India's ancient spiritual wisdom seeped into the cultural bloodstream of America. The vast majority of the information in this book was brand-new to me. It was fascinating to learn how Ralph Waldo Emerson, and later Henry David Thoreau and other nineteenth-century writers and poets, were responsible for disseminating the wisdom of the East to the unawakened masses in the West. Then came Swami Vivekananda's moment ...more
Justin Douglas
Very thorough. Too thorough. So much so, in fact, that I didn't finish this veritable encyclopedia of the transcontinental transmission of Vedantic truth. The author gets too caught up in trying to present everything relevant to the subject that after a while it just becomes tedious--and the published edition is a heavily abridged version of the first draft!

Mostly, I was interested in his main idea that America has been receptive to and influenced by Indian thought and spirituality for much long
This should be required reading not only for anyone in a yoga teacher training program, but for any person interested in American intellectual and cultural history. This captivating book covers a huge range of areas where ideas and spiritual practices from India have influenced writers and poets, scholars and scientists, artists and musicians, and thinkers of all types during the last two centuries of American history. Reading Goldberg's overview will expand your mind!
Like a college survey course titled The Influence of Indian Spirituality on American Culture. I found it very readable, and gave me huge lists of people and topics to probe into further. I strongly recommend the spiritually curious to read this book.
Adam Swift
Not badly written, but there is next to no critical analysis separating the important ways Indian spirituality has impacted the West. Basically a list of "hey, Emerson read Vedic texts, and hey this new age goobledegook was influenced by India, and isn't it all equally great!"
B Scott
A very very thorough presentation of the history of the coming of Indian spirituality to (mostly) the US. It absolutely kept my attention from start to finish but assumed that I was more familiar with the many branches and varieties of Indian practices than I actually am.
Heather Pagano
A fun collection of interesting facts about the way Vedantic thought influenced American culture. I went into the book knowing a decent amount about yoga and Hinduism, and still learned about some influences and connections that surprised and delighted me. There's no gripping thesis to this book, no theme that makes it a compelling read. It's mostly a chronological report on the early days of Vedanta in the U.S. with some discussion of influences grouped by topic: scientists, musicians, etc.
Marie Kelleher
A decent starting point, and I enjoyed the chapters on Vivekananda and Yogananda) but the central argument sort of breaks down, and the second half of the book devolves into a guru-per-3-pages format, to the point where it seemed more like a narrative catalog than a monograph. That said, I left the book wanting to read more to fill in the gaps (for example, the ambivalent relationship between yoga and modernity, or cultural commodification) and that's never a bad thing.
Pranada Comtois
Goldberg has done a brilliant job of showing how spirituality has changed since the 19th century through the influence of eastern thought; the pitfalls of the gurus and babas that carried the philosophies and more.

Benjamin Zapata
A fascinating book,...wonderfully comprehensive,positive,and illuminating. Superbly researched,chronicling a revolution in consciousness and India's lasting influence on our culture,from gurus,meditation,yoga,sitar music,and aromatic curries.An influence that started from Emerson to the Beatles to the present,and still going strong!
Very interesting but very fact heavy. There was no way I could digest the amount of info presented in this book, contributors to the movement, sects, etc. in the three weeks I had it out from the library. It gives a very good basis for the development of vedic and yogic teachings in the west as well as their consequent evolution.
While this book had some slow mind numbing moments it was a fascinating read. Anyone, interested in yoga, literature, eastern philosophy, and the Indian culture would enjoy it. I certainly would recommend it but be warned that at times it has a text book feel which makes for a slow read.
A concise history of Eastern spiritual and philosophical influences on the West, especially the U.S., in the 19th and 20th centuries, with brief reference to its lasting effects and contemporary descendents. Interesting.
Heidi DuPree
Thorough, thought-provoking, and eye-opening history of how Eastern spirituality has deeply influenced Western culture, giving a sense of not only where we've been, but where we are headed.
Great book. I had no idea Emerson had such an influence on American when it comes to Indian Sprituality. Worth the read and a great, although brief chapter on how yoga came to the US.
The book was entertaining. Worth looking into. Goldberg shares some good incite and has interesting and thought provoking ideas throughout the book.
An interesting, thorough, useful and well written overview of the influence of Indian spirituality on the American culture. Recommended.
An adequate survey/history of new religious movements America. A good counter-weight to all those creepy and sensational anti-cult books.
Mary Ann
Really enjoyed learning from this book. Fascinating history, opened my eyes about many great leaders in "new" thought.
Hardy Khana
Mar 26, 2013 Hardy Khana marked it as to-read
Veda means knowladge and i think this book is full of real and spiritual knowladge
Highly readable history of the people who spread Vedanta across America.
so wonky, i couldn't get through it.
An interesting read.
John is currently reading it
Nov 20, 2015
Martin Kibui
Martin Kibui marked it as to-read
Nov 19, 2015
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“Emerson used India to formulate his philosophy, and India used Emerson to legitimize its ancient wisdom to the modern mind.” 0 likes
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