so it's official now: yoga is not hindu. so then why are the christians and muslims complaining that yoga is a hindu practice?
this is just preparatory to claiming that christians invented yoga, along with everything else.
time for a few protest letters!
Responses to American Yoga Assoc. spreading misinformation about Yoga
There are three letters written to American Yoga Assoc. which are
INDIA AWARENESS FOUNDATION
4500 NORTHSIDE DR., ATLANTA, GA 30327
TEL: 770-664-8779 FAX: 770-664-8780
February 17, 2005
FAX : 2 Pages
Ms. Alice Christensen, Executive Director
American Yoga Association
Dear Ms. Christensen,
We are shocked and appalled to read your website which makes several
untruthful and mischievous statements like "The common belief that
Yoga derives from Hinduism is a misconception. Yoga actually predates
Hinduism by many centuries"' or "There is a common misconception that
yoga is rooted in Hinduism; on the contrary, Hinduism's religious
structures evolved much later and incorporated some of the practices
of Yoga.(Other religions throughout the world have also incorporated
practices and ideas related to yoga)." We strongly protest such gross
distortion of the history and origin of Yoga and Hinduism. There seems
to be a deliberate attempt on the part of your organization to
misinform and mislead the American people.
The following points will clearly establish that Yoga was developed by
the Hindu saints and sages thousands of years ago and that it is an
integral part of Hinduism.
1. The oldest scripture of Hinduism, Rigveda has its origin in the
'Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization or Harappa/Mohan-jo-Daro civilization
(your website calls it Indus Valley) dating back to more than 6,500
BCE. Sarasvati is the greatest river of the Rigvedic hymns. Since it
dried up around 1900 BCE as per geologists, the Rigveda was composed
prior to 1900 BCE. Several archaeological discoveries in the Indian
during the last 50 years supported by science, astronomy, and literary
analysis have clearly established that the Sarasvati region (Indus
valley) was the heartland of the Vedic texts. This means that Hinduism
(also known as Sanatan-(eternal) Dharma as well as Vedic Dharma) is
much older than 6,500 BCE and not what is implied in your website.
2. Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages of the world and most of
Hinduism scriptures like Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagvad Gita are
written in Sanskrit. None of the Semitic religious scriptures are to
be found in Sanskrit. The names of Yoga mentioned in your website like
'Jnana Yoga', 'Bhakti Yoga' and 'Karma Yoga' are all derived from
Sanskrit which is
the language of the Hinduism scriptures.
3. The word Yoga comes from Sanskrit word 'yuj' means to yoke,
harness, union, unite. The philosophy of Yoga is the yoking of
individual consciousness with transcendent or divine consciousness.
The Yoga system is traditionally among the six systems (sad darshans)
of ancient Hindu philosophy. Yoga was codified by Patanjli in his Yoga
Sutra (ca 200 BCE) as the eight limbs (ashtanga) of Raja Yoga.
Patanjli was a Saivite, a
branch of Hinduism.
4. Originally, Yoga was developed in the Hindu system of spiritual
practice to enable man to realize the unity of individual soul
(Jivatman) with the supreme self or supreme reality (Parmatman). In
one of the most revered scriptures of Hinduism, Bhagavad Gita (3000
BCE) Lord Krishna explains the philosophy of Yoga. Though your website
has used the above three types of Yoga, it does not give credit to
Lord Krishna and Hinduism for expounding them in Bhagavad Gita.
5. Finally, among many names given to Lord Krishna, one of them is
'Yogeshwar' which means Lord of Yoga.
We hope that the above brief information will help you to understand
that (a) Hinduism is much older than 3,000 B.C.E; (b) Yoga was
developed by Hindu saints and sages over thousands of years ago and it
is an integral part of Hinduism; and (c) it was in the Indus Valley
(Sarasvati) civilization the great scriptures of Hinduism, Vedas
One of the main requirements of learning true Yoga is practicing truth
all times. Unfortunately, by spreading misinformation and untruth
about Yoga and Hinduism your organization has sacrificed the basic
the great Yogic system developed by Hindu saints and sages. We demand
that you withdraw the untruthful and misleading statements as
mentioned above from your website.
We are willing to provide you more information on the subject as well
as authoritative references in order that your website gives the
truthful and creditable information about Yoga and Hinduism.
Your positive early response will be appreciated.
President- India Awareness Foundation
HICAD - Promoting Diversity, Pluralism and Tolerance
Date: February 10, 2005
To: Alice Christensen, Executive Director,
American Yoga Association
VIA Fax (941) 921-9844
Dear Ms. Christensen,
I am writing to protest the deliberate misinformation your
organizations website is spreading by distorting the history and
origins of Yoga and its relationship to Hinduism. According to well
established facts, Yoga was originated in India by Hindu sages and
saints many thousands of years ago and it has always been an integral
part of Hindu traditions.
During 1960s Maharshi Mahesh Yogi established the scientific veracity
of the positive effects of yoga and transcendental meditation (TM) on
human metabolic characteristics such as heart rate, blood pressure,
oxygen consumption, etc. The testing performed at Harvard Medical
that yoga & TM can produce significant beneficial effects on the human
body. When Beatles followed Maharshi Yogi to India to learn yoga & TM,
wide spread interest in yoga, TM, and Hindu thought was accepted by
many college students as well as intellectuals and the open minded
people in USA. Swami Rama of the Himalayan Institute and other Hindu
yogis and swamis from India further spread this growing interest in
yoga and TM.
Although Buddhism accepted yoga and TM along with many traditions of
Hinduism, none of the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism and
Islam) even knew about yoga and TM before Maharshi Yogi and Swami Rama
and other Hindu swamis made it popular in the west in the nineteen
sixties. As a matter of fact, initially, Christian establishment in
rejected yoga and TM as anti-Christian. The Christian orthodoxy
postulated that meditation is an attempt to empty ones mind while
Christian theology professed that an empty mind is devils workshop.
Therefore meditation is anti-Christian. Only during the last decade,
when Christian establishment realized that yoga & TM were becoming
popular in spite of their efforts to stop it, some Christian groups
have started to divorce yoga and TM from its roots in Hinduism in
order to make it acceptable to devout Christians. They are striving to
spread the misinformation that yoga and TM have been part of all
religious traditions, while as a matter of fact, many Christian
ministers in Europe and Muslim clerics all over the world are
vociferously stating even today that yoga and TM are against
Christianity and Islam (see attachment A).
Your website section on What is Yoga? starts with the following
sentences: The classical techniques of Yoga date back more than 5,000
years. In ancient times, the desire for greater personal freedom,
health and long life, and heightened self-understanding gave birth to
this system of physical and mental exercise which has since spread
throughout the world.
A careful reader will discern that while you mentioned that it has
spread throughout the world, you never mentioned where it originated?
Why are you so shy of admitting that it originated in India by Hindu
saints and sages?
The section on "History of Yoga" in your website states: "There is a
common misconception that Yoga is rooted in Hinduism; on the contrary,
Hinduisms religious structures evolved much later and incorporated
some of the practices of Yoga. (Other religions throughout the world
have also incorporated practices and ideas related to Yoga.)
Again, the well established fact is that Yoga has been an integral
part of Hinduism. And your organization is deliberately trying to
distort the facts and plant a misconception that it is not.
The sections on "Yoga and Religion" in your website states: The common
belief that Yoga derives from Hinduism is a misconception. Yoga
actually predates Hinduism by many centuries. Ancient seals unearthed
in the Indus Valley provide clear evidence of widespread Yoga practice
earlier than 3,000 B.C.E. The techniques of Yoga have been adopted by
as well as by other world religions.
It is intellectually dishonest to try to take away credit from the
Hindu tradition that nurtured Yoga over many thousands of years. Let
me quote from two well respected Hindu religious texts to demonstrate
strong links between Yoga and Hinduism:
1. Your website mentions Patanjalis Yoga Sutras. Let me quote a few
sutras to inform you that Patanjali was a Hindu saint who believed in
Yoga as the union of soul with God.
Patanjalis Yoga Sutra 1.23 in original Sanskrit text: Ishwara
pranidhanad va. Sutra 1-24: Klesha-karma vipakashayair aparamrishtah
purush vishesh Ishwarah.
Translation: Victory over mind can be gained through complete
surrender to Ishwara (Hindu name for God). The unique being that rests
in the body and yet is never touched by afflictions, actions, the
results of actions, and the repository of the subtle impressions of
their fruits, is called Ishwara (God).
Note: Ishwara, as defined in Yoga Sutra 1.24 is the concept of the
Supreme Lord in Hinduism. No other religion refers to the Almighty as
Ishwara. God, Yahweh, Allah (or even Buddha) is not mentioned in Yoga
sutras or other Yoga treatise. So your website is spreading
misinformation by stating that Yoga tradition is not derived from
Patanjalis Yoga Sutra 1.26 in original Sanskrit text: Sa esha
purvesham api guruh kalen an-vacchedat. Sutra 1.27: Tasya Vachakah
Translation: Unlimited by time, God is the teacher of all previous
teachers. The sound Om
(God in the form of sound) denotes that God. Note: The sound of Om is
integral to the Yoga practice. And Om is the Hindu religious sound
syllable that is symbolic of Ishwara.
2. Bhagvad Gita is one of the most sacred scriptures of Hindus (akin
to Bible). Let me quote a few verses about the concept of Yoga spoken
by Lord Krishna and documented in Gita:
Chapter 3, verse 3 in original Sanskrit text: Lokesmin dvividha
nishtha pura prokta maya nagha, jnana yogena samkhyanam karma yogena
yoginam. Translation (by Eknath Easwaran): At the beginning of time, I
declared two paths for the pure of heart: Jnana Yoga, the
contemplative path of spiritual wisdom, and Karma Yoga, the active
path of selfless service.
Chapter 7, verse 1: mayyasakta manah partham yogam yunjan madasrayah,
asamsayam samagram mam yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu. Translation (by
Eknath Easwaran): With your mind intent on me, Arjuna, discipline
yourself with the practice of Yoga. Depend on me completely. Listen,
and I will dispel all your doubts; you will come to know me fully and
be united with me.
Your website also mentions Jnana Yoga: The path of wisdom; considered
the most difficult path; Bhakti Yoga: The practice of extreme devotion
in one-pointed concentration upon ones concept of God; and Karma Yoga:
All movement, all work of any kind is done with the mind centered on a
personal concept of God. Then how can you deny that Yoga is an
integral part of Hindu tradition dating back to thousands of years?
Your website also mentions Tantra yoga and Kashmir Saivism, but
without mentioning that they too are integral to Hinduism. Saivism is
the sect of Hindus who worship Siva, a Hindu name and form of God.
Both Siva and Krishna are known as great Yogis. So how can you
blatantly spread the misinformation that Yoga is not rooted in
HICAD is committed to discouraging the spread of bias and
misinformation about Indic traditions. We demand that your
organization stop spreading misinformation about yoga and Hinduism by
dropping erroneous statements cited above from your website and
providing accurate information from
Patanjalis yoga sutras and Bhagvad Gita, as explained above.
But ofcourse, any one can practice yoga and TM even if they did not
practice or believe in all aspects of Hindu traditions.
I look forward to a positive response at your earliest convenience. If
you need more information regarding yoga or Hinduism, I would be happy
to provide you with authentic and authoritative references on the
Ved P. Chaudhary, Ph.D.
President - HICAD
Egyptian Cleric Says Yoga is Against Islamic Law
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL, September 20, 2004:
The growing enthusiasm for yoga in Egypt has received a setback with a
mufti reportedly issuing an edict declaring it un-Islamic. The edict
signed by mufti Ali Gomoa, considered the highest theological
authority, says that "yoga is an ascetic Hindu practice that is
forbidden for use in any manner -- neither for exercise or for
worship," local media
reported quoting an Al-Hayat report (a Saudi-owned, London-based
newspaper). "It is an aberration," whose practice in any form is
"forbidden under Islamic law," the edict says. Yoga centres are said
to have sprung up at all the tourist resorts in Egypt and are said to
be very popular among Western tourists.
From: "c. alex alexander"
Subject: YOUR MISINFORMARTION CAMPAIGN ABOUT YOGA AND HINDUISM
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 09:22:55 -0500
I am not a Hindu, but an orthodox syrian christian of Indian origin. I
am appalled to hear about your organization's campaign to deny
Hinduism and Indian traditions, their contributions to the origins and
evolution of yoga and its practices. Even in our orthodox christian
faith, we do accept the fact that the Christian hesychasts (monks)
borrowed much from the ancient Hindu and Buddhist traditions in their
practice of mystic christianity. The Essenes were profoundly
influenced by the Indic traditions. Christian scholars of the historic
Jesus have (see the writings of Marcus Borg, Pagels and others) seen
the uncanny resemblances of the traditions of the Essenes and those of
the Indic (Hindu and Budhist) traditions.
In my view, it is a cheap attempt on the part of your organization not
to have the intellectual honesty to accord dure credit to Hinduism for
its original contribution to the development of yogic practices. I
hope that you will have the decency to correct your misinformation
campaign now inscribed on your pages. Thanks.
C. Alex Alexander, M.D.