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Vivekananda @nytimes #annlouisebardach

How Yoga Won the West

 

Vivekananda @nytimes #annlouisebardach
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“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”

 

Ann Louise Bardach is a writer at large for Newsweek. She is working on a biography of Vivekananda.

If you’re annoyed that your local gas station is now a yogastudio, you might blame Vivekananda for having introduced “yoga” into the national conversation — though an exercise cult with expensive accessories was hardly what he had in mind.

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.

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