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The Vedic Influence in The West | Phillip Goldberg #098

The #1 most common thing I see in my clinic are those planning to conceive or those experiencing infertility.
Preconception, pregnancy & postpartum  happen to be my greatest passions in health.
But unfortunately, the knowledge and guidance on how to thrive during pregnancy and have an empowered birth is not easily available.
Plus it is important that as communities we discuss and share experiences, practices and teachings within various circles during potentially challenging, overwhelming and transformative times.
On this Vital Veda Podcast episode me and my friend & best-selling author, Melissa Ambrosini, dive into some of the best-kept secrets of supercharging your fertility, thriving during pregnancy & having your dream birth.


Philip Goldberg is the author or co-author of numerous books; a public speaker and workshop leader; a spiritual counselor, meditation teacher and ordained Interfaith Minister. He cohosts the Spirit Matters podcast, leads American Veda India Tours, conducts online courses and workshops, and blogs regularly.

Table of Contents

The Countries That Were Mostly Influenced By Vedic Culture

Every country in the world has been influenced to some degree by Vedic Culture. 
But countries like the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and other northern European countries that were historically not under an extremely strong influence by the Catholic Church.

What Are The “Vedas” & How Did They Influence The West?

Veda means “knowledge”
The “Vedas” is a term that’s applied to what we think of as the world’s oldest sacred texts. Their exact dating is debated to date. 
“Vedanta” is the system of philosophy that emerged at the end of the Vedic period. “Vedanta” literally means “The end of the Veda”. 
The three main texts that make up the core of Vedanta philosophy are:
  • The Upanishads
  • The Bhagavad Gita
  • The Brahma Sutras

How Did The Vedic Teachings First Reach The West

The Vedas per se hardly made an impact in the Western World, only when the texts that make up Vedanta philosophy were translated was it that the West turned to Indian philosophy and culture. 
  • These books started to find their way to the USA, UK and Germany. 
This philosophical literature reached the romantic poets, the idealists, the american transcendentalists in the XIX Century. 
When communications improved this process became accelerated, until the point where the famous Gurus from India physically came to the West and they themselves created a cumulative impact. 
During the 60s and 70s it was that a cultural explosion occurred.

What Caused The Exponential Widespread of Vedic Teachings In The Last Decade

The explosion of interest in Hatha Yoga & the appearance of Yoga studios in almost every street corner. 
The tremendous growth and assimilation of people of Indian descent in Western countries, especially USA & UK, and the impact that their presence, the building of temples & educational outreach has done. 
The effects of social media in terms of accessibility of information. 
The two downsides being that now:
  • Almost anyone can become an “online teacher” without necessarily having the proper training or credentials. 
  • Given that there are so many teachers and options flooding the ‘market’, it is harder for individuals to “make it” and have a solid following, no matter how diserving they are.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi & The Beatles: A Cultural Phenomenon

The Beatles, at the height of their career, adopted the teachings of the Indian Guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. 
  • This meant Maharishi’s name and some of his teachings featured in the front page of newspaper articles, magazine covers, T.V. interviews, etc. 
  • The Beatles were sharing their own experiences following the Vedic teachings not only with the media but they embedded them into their own lyrics.

How Most Famous Gurus Introduced Vedic Tradition to The West

All these Gurus that came to the West with outreach as their main mission took advantage of whatever the technology was at that time. 
  • In the 1890s Swami Vivekananda addressed the World’s Parliament of Religions & traveled around the USA lecturing and doing public speaking events. 
  • In the 1920s Paramahamsa Yogananda used the radio, which at the time was the newest most popular form of mass communication, and created a correspondence course in the USA. 
  • In the 60s & 70s cassettes were being made with the recordings of the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi & Swami Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada.

Keeping The Traditional Vedic Teachings Authentic in Modern Times

The modern trend where many teachers over-dilute their teachings in an attempt to reach a broader audience.
The importance of assuring the authenticity of the teachings, making sure the essence stays intact as it was handed down in the Guru parampara (lineages) for thousands of years. 
There needs to be a balance between the way in which the teachings are marketed or advertised in the pursuit to appeal to a wide audience of people, and the way in which these teachings are later taught (keeping the authenticity in which they were taught to us).

“Autobiography of A Yogi” by Paramahamsa Yogananda

One of the most, if not the most, influential spiritual texts of the 20th Century – followed closely by “Be Here Now” written by Ram Dass (who was heavily inspired to undertake his spiritual journey by Paramahamsa Yogananda). 

The Rich Diversity That Exists Within Vedic Tradition

There are countless different philosophies and religions that are rooted in Vedic tradition. Each with its own world view and rites, and they own recommended “pathway” to reach ‘liberation’ or self-realisation. 
There often are arguments of which path is the better, but it is important to realise that they ultimately all lead to the same destination, so there is no need to compare – each person will find the path that best suits them during their current lifetime.

Modern Day "Celebrity" Gurus

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Sri Sri Ravi Sankar & Amritanandamayi Devi (Ammachi)
How all these modern day celebrity Gurus started very small & their gradual increase in notoriety & following. 

Best Places To Visit in India

Places mentioned:
  • Rishikesh
  • Varanasi
  • Rameshwaram
  • Mathurai
  • Thirupati
  • Aeroville
  • Pondicheri

The Indian Youth Embracing Their Own Tradition When Taught By Westerners

For many they have felt like the Vedic culture always was “Grandma’s religion” – something superstitious that they couldn’t relate or resonate with. 
Indian youth has instead turned to the West & started to emulate Western culture. 
Nowadays, the youth of India is learning from Western scholars & masters in a very pragmatic fashion, how following the Vedic principles & practices allow them to enhance their lives. 
  • The West is shedding light (in a manner that is relevant to them) on the fact that the Vedic teachings have immense value in the modern world.

Please leave me a comment below (I love to read every single one).


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Special thanks to Rudolf Steiner and Jiddu Krishnamurti for providing content.

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