Future of Hinduism
A Rich and Strange Metamorphosis: Glocal Hinduism
In some sense, the trace of Hinduism as it moves across the globe in the future is as a kind of meme, a conceptual and evolutionary hypothesis. As such, it proposes a restructuring of our old habits of thought. It functions as a representative of what the West with its Cartesian mastery of the world lacks. As meme, this spread of Hindu conceptual tenets augurs a more healing and soulful alternative to the mechanization of our lives, our bodies, our minds. It promises a relief from the heavy burden of a soulless capitalism, to what we find in classical Hindu philosophical texts described as the "Law of Fishes" (matsya nyaya), a cutthroat and unsatisfied material competition in the world.
Besides this, Hinduism as de-nominalized meme of our future is a prelude to a future that Hinduism is already comfortable with. Our own increasingly plural world might take some solace, find a steady ease in the Hindu comfort with the multiple -- multiple Gods, multiple practices, and simultaneous multiple ontological structures of monotheisms, monisms, polytheisms, and panentheisms. In this sense, the future of Hinduism suggests a kind of opening to a global world in a way that sidesteps the vision of a one-world government or one-world ideology. It proposes instead a world model without hegemonic center, linked by a thread of cosmology, multiplicity instanced as network, a seamless interconnectivity that echoes a conceptual cosmology from Hinduism's past into our own global and glocal future.
Loriliai Biernacki is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She teaches and researches the religious traditions of India, especially Hinduism, Tantra, and the 11th-century Indian philosopher Abhinavagupta. Her research interests particularly address issues of gender and critical theory. Her research also deals with contemporary representations of Hinduism, including Hindu diaspora movements and Hindu syncretist movements in the U.S. She is the author of Renowned Goddess of Desire: Women, Sex and Speech in Tantra (Oxford, 2007).