I know a lot of my posts here in Light Club can be filed under the "fluff" category, not having very much substance to them. I've made some posts on here that I consider to be substantial, but I admit it's not much. Well, I aim to increase the substance-filled posts in this blog by one post today, but...it will involve me saying something that some people might consider controversial.
What could I say that would be of a controversial nature on this blog, that might actually add to this blog's quality and usefulness? Well, how about this: I personally believe that commercialization has, in some ways, been of benefit to yoga and Hinduism.
Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking: how could I as a white American and a semi-outsider to Hinduism have any right to say that? I ask that you hear me out for just a few paragraphs so I can clarify that statement. I also ask that you keep in mind that I'm not endorsing or condoning the commercialization of yoga and Hinduism, but rather that I'm pointing out that there is a silver lining to it.
What is this supposed silver lining to the commercialization of yoga and Hinduism that has so rightly been criticized as having done damage to the core beliefs of this faith? It's one that many in their rush to criticize can easily overlook: it's exposed more Westerners to the faith than ever before. Yes, it's exposed Westerners to a shallow version, but with the amount of Westerners that have been exposed via commercialization, there are an increased amount of Westerners who are willing to look beyond the commercial version and actually do some research on the real version.
It's a simple law of averages: the more people you expose, the more you'll find who are genuinely interested. But while for every Westerner with a genuine interest there are probably two pop-star singers with false intentions (I'm looking at you, Madonna and Alanis Morisette), there are still seeds planted - seeds which foster more respect for the culture of origin. I know these seeds of more respect don't take root in the aforementioned people with false intentions - it just mutates their disrespect and ignorance - but they do take root in the form of those with genuine interest wanting to spread their genuine respect and interest to those who have their deluded perceptions.
Perhaps the best thing that commercialization does for Hinduism and yoga is that it opens a door for dialogue. Sure, it's a dialogue saying how many Westerners who embrace the commercialized form of Hinduism and yoga have cheapened the faith and perverted it, but that's only the start of dialogue, and it can go from there to genuine healing and education.
I don't know if I was clear with this post...hopefully I'm clear enough that I won't be flamed off the Internet. But if you have questions, objections, constructive criticism or whatever, you know what to do. :-)