This past week, a caller told us that she was shocked when she learned that a large number of women at a BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) meeting admitted they did Yoga.
A number of years ago, after finishing as a guest on a radio talk show (Drew Marshall show-May 31, 2006), (Drew Marshall removed the link for this program from his site) a listener called in and said she was a former Hindu. She was very upset at Lighthouse Trails and said that Hinduism had stolen mantra meditation from Christianity, and now (through contemplative) we were just taking it back.
As we have watched in dismay and shock as one Christian leader after the next succumbs to promoting contemplative, and as more and more churches, seminaries, and organizations incorporate icons, candles, yoga, labyrinths and mantric chanting, we often wondered why Christian leaders aren’t shouting a warning from the rooftops.
One day, after that radio show, I read an article by a Hindu professor (of Hindu University of America) titled Yoga Renamed is Still Hindu. In the article, Professor Subhas Tiwari stated:
The simple, immutable fact is that yoga originated from the Vedic or Hindu culture. Its techniques were not adopted by Hinduism, but originated from it…. Efforts to separate yoga from its spiritual center reveal ignorance of the goal of yoga…. If this attempt to co-opt yoga into their (Christians) own tradition continues, in several decades of incessantly spinning the untruth as truth through re-labelings such as “Christian yoga,” who will know that yoga is–or was–part of Hindu culture?
After reading this article, I e-mailed Dr. Tiwari and received a response from him. With his permission, I am sharing portions with you:
Hello and Namaste Deborah,
Namaste is a universal Hindu greeting which recognizes and bows to that Divinity within you.
Mantra and its practice is a core component in Hinduism. The language of Sanskrit which predates any and all languages known to humanity, and which hasn’t evolved and became something other than what it has been from its inception, forms the oldest mantra, the first cosmic sound of OM (aum). One of the four sacred spiritual scriptures the Vedas, the Sama Veda is written in chants. The written forms of the Veda are pegged at 3500 to 5000+ BCE. (They are recited all over the world among Hindus exactly as they have been handed down)….
Hinduism and its offshoot spiritual traditions, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikkhism, have never chosen the path which states that we are superior to everyone else and therefore deserve to engage in crusades and conversionism on global scale. That would be incongruent to our core belief tenets which holds all creatures are part of the Divine creation, and equal in the eyes of that divine parent. The moment we lose sight or consciously choose to believe and behave otherwise means we are acting from a place of limitation, superiority, arrogance and according to Vedanta, from a place of individual and global ignorance, avidya. Imagine any religious or spiritual tradition which defines its strength based on converting that which is already divine in nature, and the audacity to claim that they are doing the work of that Divine? There is only one Divine.
We thank Professor Tiwari for setting the record straight. There is no such thing as “Christian” Yoga, even though a fast growing number of Christian’s, especially Christian women, are involved in “Christian Yoga” classes.
CHRISTIAN YOGA: Rooted in Hindu Occultism by Chris Lawson