MA Social and Cultural Anthropology
To the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)
Research Topic: Heritage as a new global common: transnational transmitting of spirituality in India
My name is Anna and I am a student of social and cultural anthropology at the University of Cologne. For my master’s thesis I am currently exploring the vast field of spirituality, especially in Rishikesh and Tiruvannamalai, India.
Every year the fast-growing spiritual tourism sector brings increasing numbers of religiously and spiritually motivated travelers to India to worship deities, practice yoga, and / or visit their gurus or spiritual leaders. Especially today's "New Agers" who gather in Rishikesh and Tiruvannamalai to receive the wisdom of their gurus and to connect with the spiritual field. In doing so heritage teachings are passed on which, depending on the interpretation, describe the dissolution of ego and the recognition of unity.
But who defines the idea of spirituality? Is the idea carried through tourism to the spiritual centers, or are travelers carrying their idea of spirituality “made in India” into their country of origin? What happens in these trans-national encounters of Indian teachings and Indian / non-Indian ideas of spirituality? How is the transmitting of heritage knowledge determined by global change in the time of social network and media presence?