Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do Yoga Without Losing Your Dignity

If you have the root of Hinduism, then the stem is Hinduism, and the flower is Hinduism.
-- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, Hinduism Today

Yoga is a gift to humanity from Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). Thanks to technology, the world is learning about this scientific method of curing mind and body without any side effects.

Coming to the main point, recently I have come across "Christian Yoga" and "Muslim Yoga'. When I dig deep into it, I could not believe how religious organizations have exploited the ignorance of people. After reading several articles and opinions of the people, I felt that it is started in the West and now some Asians are also doing the same.

New Names to Yoga Postures:
The issue is, every Yoga posture has a Sanskrit name as it is originated from Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). But people are not willing to accept Yoga if the original Sanskrit names are used while practicing the postures. It is not the issue of difficulty to pronounce these original names but it is the issue of religion. The name of the Yoga posture must be changed to something that does NOT sound like Hindu and only then people can practice Yoga without hurting their religious beliefs and personal pride.

First, Christians said that Yoga posters are demonic and cannot be practiced by "true" christian. Then they published Christian Yoga books with the same Yoga postures but different names. Now comes the Muslims. They first issued "Yoga Fatwa" banning muslims from practicing Yoga. Now they have released Muslim Yoga books suggesting the same techniques with different muslim fitting names. It is clear that they are trying to fool someone, but the question is whom they are trying to fool?

Here is my suggestion to those people. You could simply say "I practice yoga and heck with Hindus". Even your enemy would respect it as you are at least frank about it. But I don't think even your mom can support this self inflicting business of name changing. If you were to be right, eating at a Hindu restaurant should break your religious sentiments in a single bite.

Yoga in Secular Institutes:
As if that is not enough, even some schools are following the same habits. If the original Sanskrit names of the Yoga postures are pronounced in the school premises, it makes the school non-secular. But changing the name and doing the same Yoga posture some how justifies it. I don't know what kind of message the kids get from this justification. School is not the entire world. When those kids come into society, they will realize how twisted the school administration was OR the parents who forced the school to do it.

Adulteration of Yoga:
While we are in the context, I want to mention one more point about twisting Yoga to fit your ego. I have noticed that people are not happy with chanting AUM as prescribed by Yoga but instead they want to chant a sound that is religiously acceptable. If you are in that twisted mindset, you are the best candidate to be a future terrorist. The sound AUM is an integral part of Yoga and when practiced as suggested, it stimulates your body especially the brain.

As if that is not enough, some Hindu groups are even responding to these queries and giving conflicting responses without realizing that they are falling into the Western trap. Yoga has been practiced by other beliefs like Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism in its original form. But why these Christians and Muslims are finding it difficult to practice Yoga as it is? Why some of these Hindu groups are trying to convince Christians and Muslims as if Yoga cannot survive without them?

It is clearly stated in the Pathanjali Yoga Sutras that one should say AUM. But some prominent Hindu institutions are encouraging non-Hindus to use other religiously acceptable sounds like Amen or Allah instead of AUM. On what authority these Hindu organizations are making these changes? If the book says AUM you preach AUM. The only reason these Hindu organizations are making such blunders is to impress their non-Hindu followers. If that is not true, then I would like to hear what you got to say!

Religions or Spiritual Practice:
Now, here comes some “intellectuals” who try to conclude whether Yoga is Religions or Spiritual practice. The only reason why some religious groups in the West are trying to create this thought in the public is to separate Yoga from its roots. This deliberate action is needed for them in order to accommodate their non-Hindu followers without hurting their religious sentiments. Publishing the “Christian Yoga” and “Muslim Yoga” books is the proof. Now Western media joined the bandwagon and has been publishing numerous articles on whether Yoga is Religious or Spiritual practice without even mentioning the word Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma.

If you are one of those who is trying to figure out whether Yoga is Religion or Spiritual, please read this short story and figure out where you stand. The question is, are you knowledgeable enough to discuss whether Yoga is Religious or Spiritual practice? Do you know the whole picture on this subject? If you are new to Hinduism and your primary source of information on this subject is your local religious head, then your dog has more information to tell you.

In conclusion, you are most welcome to practice Yoga as it is but changing its Name or Form to fit your ignorance does not hurt anybody but yourself.