The hippie ideal and Indian culture
April 1, 2018
Pic: Goa Gil, an original hippie in India
I have recognised over time, through in-depth reading and study into the Indian culture, but also as a consequence of my travels to India, why those original hippies found such a connection with the Indian continent, to its people, its spirituality and the ideals that shape its very being.
The hippie ideal was one of community, looking after each other and working together to bring harmony and cooperation. Creating a peaceful way of life, whilst looking after every living thing on the planet. The hippies were often spiritual, some through Christianity but most with a more open-minded view of god and a need to explore other religions around the world.
Unfortunately, as time has passed, Western culture’s need for material things has led to an insular society, where individualism rules the day. And this I believe is why the original hippie movement lost its way and fizzled out.
But there were still many who held onto those principles and these hippies were the ones who followed the hippie trail to India. Still today, new age travellers and modern-day hippies continue to travel to the Indian continent in search of spirituality and the ideals of oneness and community. A family that works together to create harmony and cooperation, while at the same time creating a peaceful way of life and a healthy planet (even though these days most travellers prefer airline travel over travelling the now dangerous hippie trail through Afghanistan and Iran).
But why India?
The Indian psyche is different to that of the West, especially so for those of the Hindu faith, but also in general. The Indians believe in the oneness of family and community. They see all other Indians as their family and believe that working as one brings the harmony they seek. The reward for this collaboration of souls is the achieving of dharma and karma (deeds). Hindus believe in reincarnation and each reincarnation is based on the deeds they achieved in their former lives.
“Karma is the Hindu belief that a person’s destiny is determined by their actions while they are alive. If a person lives a life of righteousness then they will live an even better life when they are reborn”.
HINDUISM for Beginners – Shalu Sharma 2016
When you visit India you will experience this feeling of oneness amongst the people and I believe that it is this that attracted the original hippies to this warm and friendly country, and still attracts similar minded people to make that trip today.
“What I mean by ‘the hippie ideal’ is the internal essence of the tribal feeling separate and apart from the external symbols which soon became overused, distorted, co-opted, and thus, understandably satirised. The conceit is that if you subtract long hair, hip language, tie-dyed clothing, beads, buttons, music, demonstrations, and even drugs, there was still a distinctive notion of what it meant to be happy and a good person, and a sense of connection to others was the invisible force behind things. It included the moral imperative to fight for civil rights and against the war, and the spiritual notion that there were deeper values than fame and fortune, peace and love.”
IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD 1967 and the idea – Danny Goldberg ICON books ltd 2017