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Philip Goldberg
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Philip Goldberg is a spiritual counselor, public speaker, and author or coauthor of numerous books. His latest publication is American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West. His websites are and

Entries by Philip Goldberg

Veda MeLA Comes to Benares West

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2015 | 5:38 PM

In 1925, when Paramahansa Yogananda made Los Angeles his home and international headquarters, he compared the town to Benares (now Varanasi). Since nothing like the Ganges flows through LA, we presume he compared it to India's holiest city because he sensed the City of Angels was an ideal...

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Happy 100th to Three Icons: Watts, Merton, Holiday

(0) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 11:32 AM

I recently discovered that this year marks the 100th birthday of three cultural icons who influenced my life deeply in the late 1960s, when I first set foot on the spiritual path that would define my future. This is my homage to them.


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Full-Spectrum Yoga in LA

(1) Comments | Posted July 4, 2015 | 1:11 PM

The International Day of Yoga on June 21 demonstrated at least two important things: 1) Yoga is universal. That events were held everywhere from Shanghai to Seychelles illustrates that the principles and practices of Yoga are analogous to the discoveries and applications of biology, physics and other scientific disciplines; they...

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What Would Edward Sagarin Think? Or Donald Webster Cory?

(0) Comments | Posted June 29, 2015 | 3:16 PM


The last time I saw Edward Sagarin was nearly 50 years ago in a diner on East 23rd Street, a short walk from the Empire State Building whose iconic tower was lit in rainbow colors this weekend in honor of the Gay Pride...

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Don Draper and the Nones

(8) Comments | Posted May 22, 2015 | 10:49 AM

Sunday's final episode of Mad Men gave us an entirely unanticipated last look at Don Draper: sitting cross-legged with his eyes closed on a clifftop lawn at the Esalen Institute, chanting "Om," the primordial sound of the universe that was described eons ago in the Upanishads...

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Interview With Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

(2) Comments | Posted May 15, 2015 | 12:59 PM


Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is an internationally known spiritual teacher whose Art of Living programs and humanitarian efforts have affected millions of lives. I had the opportunity to interview him during his recent visit to Los Angeles. Here are excerpts from that interview....

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The Gita and Me

(12) Comments | Posted April 28, 2015 | 5:49 PM

Recently, I was invited to speak at an international conference on the Bhagavad Gita in the Bay Area. For the occasion, I was asked to write a personal essay on the subject. This is an edited version of that piece.

I first became aware of the Bhagavad...

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January 12: A Double Guru Birthday Fest

(14) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 2:30 PM


January 12 is celebrated throughout India, and in countries with large Hindu populations, as the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. A national hero, Vivekananda is revered for updating the wisdom of India's ancient sages and bringing those teachings to the West, in 1893. By...

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The Woodstock Guru's Centennial

(3) Comments | Posted December 16, 2014 | 5:35 PM


Of all the iconic images of the 1969 Woodstock festival -- writhing mud-soaked bodies; impassioned performers like Jimi Hendrix; ecstatic faces and strung-out faces -- the one that best captures the era's zeitgeist is that of Swami Satchidananda addressing the multitude. It's a...

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The Light of Yoga

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 8:02 PM

Last fall, I had the honor of meeting with B.K.S. Iyengar, who died this week, at his yoga institute in Pune, India. Dressed in a crisp white kurta, a perfect match for his snowy hair and famously majestic eyebrows,...

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Take a Hindu to Lunch

(0) Comments | Posted July 31, 2014 | 4:32 PM


In a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 3,217 Americans were asked to rate religious groups on a 0-100 "feeling thermometer," with 0 representing the coldest and 100 the warmest. Hindus received a lukewarm rating of 50.

There are...

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Three Books: Gurus, God and One Amazing Life

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 4:57 PM

Books on spirituality and religion come across my desk on a regular basis. I don't have time to read most of them, but three recently arrived in close proximity, and since they were authored by scholars I know and trust, I cracked them open. All three were intriguing, illuminating and...

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Remembering Andy Kaufman 30 Years on

(7) Comments | Posted May 15, 2014 | 3:03 PM

Andy Kaufman died almost exactly thirty years ago. Yes, I know some people believe he faked his own death, but if he did he has lost his brilliant sense of comedic timing; three decades is a tad too long to...

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Revisiting Time's 'Is God Dead?' Cover

(18) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 3:53 PM

Forty-eight years ago this month, April 8, 1966, to be exact, Time magazine published what may be the most famous cover in its celebrated history. It consisted of a plain three-word question, printed in a bright blood red on an all-black background: Is...
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Spiritual But Not Religious: 3 Important Questions

(27) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 5:22 PM

Recently, I was one of five panelists for a discussion called "Spiritual But Not Religious: What Exactly Does That Mean?" It was cosponsored by the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World Religions and All Paths Divinity School, and the format was this: panelists were given three questions...

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Take My Book...Please: Further Thoughts on the Doniger Controversy

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2014 | 5:17 PM

As an author, my reaction to Penguin's decision to withdraw the Indian edition of Wendy Doniger's The Hindus: An Alternative History and destroy all remaining copies was:

Take my book, please!

Won't someone out there try to ban American Veda? I want my sales...

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Alan Watts: Reborn in Her

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 4:07 PM


It's not very often that you're watching a feature film and hear the name Alan Watts. But there it is, not in some obscure indie flick, but in Spike Jonze's Her, which is nominated for five Academy Awards, and has already...

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Let's Be Mindful About Mindfulness

(2) Comments | Posted February 9, 2014 | 9:02 PM


When I saw the recent Time magazine cover story, "The Mindful Revolution," it was déjà vu all over again. For one thing, Time alone has done at least two previous cover stories about the value of mental practices derived from Eastern...

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Yoga at the Smithsonian

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2014 | 3:20 PM

Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Museum of Asian art

You have about two weeks to get to Washington, D.C., to view the magnificent exhibit, "Yoga: The Art of Transformation." Mounted at the Smithsonian Institution's Sackler Gallery, the show's stated purpose is to...

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Missionaries in India: Conversion or Coercion?

(24) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 7:48 AM

Imagine you're poor and living in a rural area. Your child gets sick. You manage to transport her to a hospital or clinic. To your relief, the condition is treatable. But the cost of treatment is not just beyond your means, it's beyond your imagining. However, says the kindly health...

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