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    31. Surely There's No Harm in YOGA - or is There?

    1. Surely there's no harm in doing Yoga just for exercise?

    To understand Yoga, it is first necessary to understand its overall aim. The aim of Yoga is LIBERATION from the normal human condition. This is thought to be achieved by mutilating the normal human state of consciousness and by replacing it with an abnormal state of consciousness in which the yogin [the one practicing Yoga] sees himself as essentially "divine" or "god" [1].

    2. But surely this is the aim only of certain kinds of Yoga. How can this apply to Yoga-exercises?

    The physical type of Yoga most commonly taught in the West is known to yogins as Hatha Yoga. The aim of all types of Yoga, including Hathayoga, is the same. Indeed, the classical Hathayoga texts all describe Hathayoga as a "ladder" to Raja Yoga [2]. Rajayoga (Royal Yoga) involves the deliberate cultivation of advanced trance-states.

    3. But Hathayoga is only a system of physical exercise. How can the aim of it be "liberation from the human condition"?

    Your assumption that Hathayoga is no more than physical exercise is false. Each exercise in Hathayoga is designed with the aim of speeding up the yogin's progress to "liberation" or "enlightenment". This can be seen easily from the classical Hathayoga texts [3].

    4. All right. This may apply to a yogin. He has been initiated and put himself under the spell of a GURU. But can't the exercise be beneficial in a purely physical way to outsiders?

    No part of Yoga can be separated from the whole [4]. The practice Yoga-exercises without guidance can be dangerous both physically and psychologically, to say nothing of the spiritual hazards [5]. Yogic breathing can result in physical blindness [6]. And it has been known even for non-initiated persons to experience so called "astral travel" following the practice pf certain Yoga-exercises [7].

    5. What kind of guidance would I need in order to make Yoga safe?

    To reduce the physical and psychological risks of Yoga you would need to put yourself under a Guru who really knows what he is doing. Then you would have a real problem to find such a Guru. But even this would not altogether eliminate the risks. Disciples have been known to be driven insane even under the guidance of competent gurus. However, although this may reduce certain physical risks, it will in any case drastically increase the spiritual risks involved.

    6. What do you mean by"spiritual risks"?

    The aim of Yoga is to let a supposed "latent element" within man shine out as "god" [8]. The yogin sees himself as "god". But what is there in himself which he can see as "god"? There is nothing. So what the yogin does is open himself up progressively to invasion by demonic beings. This is achieved through mental passivity, the use of the Mantra, the power which uses the guru as its medium, and so forth [9]. Many of the postures themselves are actually prayers in the sense of calling upon invisible powers or "deities". Once these demonic spirits are residing in the body of the yogin, he will view these as evidence that"god" is within him. These become what he thinks is his "true self". It is their powers which are the real source of the siddis or "miraculous powers", commonly associated with a Yoga-adept (siddha) [10].

    7. But ou are here speaking of demon-possession. Surely we can't believe in that today?

    Some people find it hard to accept the fact of demon-possession. This is, however, usually because of the materialist or psychological indoctrination to which we are constantly subjected in present-day western culture. Most cultures in the world, other than western culture, accept the possibility of demon-possession. But more important than all this is the fact that Jesus Christ (Yah'shua haMashiach) accepted the demonization of certain human beings as a reality and dealt with them accordingly [11]. He also distinguished between demonization and other causes of psychological problems and physical illness [12]. 8. What then do you think of the many Yoga courses which are springing up all over the country?

    The teachers in the U.K. institutes where Yoga is taught are usually the disciples of Indian gurus, although this is not at first made clear. The courses are generally advertised on the grounds that they help with physical fitness or relaxation. For instance, the courses at the Mary Ward Centre in London are run by followers of the Albion Yoga Movement, and the course at the Marylebone Institute is run run by disciples of B.K.S.Iyengar, presently residing in Puna, India. Their ultimate object is to gain disciples for the guru, who incidentally is viewed as a manifestation of "god" [13].

    9. What would you say then to the person who says that he or she feels tense and is thinking of taking up Yoga to help him relax?

    I agree that many features of our Western lifestyle are stress-producing. But although Yoga may seem to aid relaxation, in the long term it merely substitutes one form of bondage for another much worse bondage.

    10. What alternatives are there?

    Looking at our way of life from a purely practical standpoint, I would suggest that with a little careful experimentation it is possible to build for ourselves a less stressful pattern of life. perhaps a change of diet or taking a less ambitious job may be necessary. Perhaps taking up an extra activity as a challenge. However, it has been my experience that many problems arise not from accepting Yahweh-God's will in our life. If we seek God and submit to His will for our life, we will find that His yoke is easy and His burden light, even though we may be called to a task which is beyond normal endurance.


    Footnotes

    [1]

  • (a) Gheranda-samita 7:17-23
  • (b) Yoga: Immortality and freedom: Prof. Mircea Eliade (Princeton University, 1970), pp.3-46
  • (c) Myths, Dreams and Mysteries: Prof. Mircea Eliade (Fontana, 1968, pp.90-91)
    [2]
  • (a) Hathayoga-pradipika 1:2-3,66-67; 2:76
  • (b) Gheranda-samhita 1:1; 7:6
  • (c) Siva-samhita 5:181
  • (d) Goraksa-samhita 1-2
  • (e) Yoga: the method of re-integration: Alan Danielou (Christopher Johnson), p.29 (1973 ed.), p.17 (1949 ed.)
  • (f) Yoga: James Hewitt (Teach Yourself Books, 1960), p.30 [3]
  • (a) The three key-texts for the study of Hathayoga are the Hathayoga-pradipika, the Gheranda-samhita, ann the Siva-samhita
  • (b) The effects of the Yoga asanas (postures) and pranayama (yogic breathing-exercises) are also referred to in TM wants you!: David Haddon and Vail Hamilton (Baker, 1976), pp.57-58
    [4]
  • Death of a Guru: Rabindranath R. Maharaj (Hodder, 1978), p.224
    [5]
  • (a) The Essence of Yoga: Georg Feuerstein, in A Reappraisal of Yoga: essays in Indian philosophy: Georg Feuerstain & Jeanine Miller (Rider, 1971), p.28
  • (b) Aphorisms of Yoga: Shree Purohit Swami (3rd ed., Faber, 1957), pp.56-57
  • (c) Teaching Asanas: an Ananda Marga manual for teachers (AMRIT Publications, A'nanda Mar'ga, 1973), pp.43-44: "Indeed from the practice of Hatha Yoga, without proper effort to discipline of the mind...mental and spiritual degeneration may ultimately occur".
  • (d) Bandhas, Mudras and Pranayama: Swami Satyananda Saraswati, pp.12-13, quot. in Yogic meditation and action: Johannes Aagaard, in Up-date (Vol.2, No.2 - 4/1978), p.12: "Pranayama exercises are performed in order to expand the vital power in the human system. Prana is like a wild elephant, - if it is trained well it can be of great help, if the opposite happens it brings decay and death."
  • (e) Heaven lies within us: Theos Bernard LI.B., M.A., Ph.D. (Rider, 1940), pp.18, 244
  • (f) Yoga, in The Devil's Alphabet: Dr. Kurt E. Koch (4th enlarged ed., Eveangelization Publishers, c.1970), p.123
    [6]
  • Yoga: Ernest Wood (Penguin, 1962), p.92
    [7]
  • What Christians should know about Yoga: Diasozo Trust, 68 Elm Road, Slade Green, Erith, Kent DA8 2NW, U.K. (early 1978), p.3
    [8]
  • (a) Yoga Psychology: Prof. Haridas Chaudhuri, in Transpersonal Psychologies: ed. Dr. Charles T. Tart (Harper & Row, 1975), p.240
  • (b) The Science of Yoga: I.K.Taimni (Theosophical Publishing House, 1967), p.10
    [9]
  • See note on mantra in Death of a Guru: Rabindranath R. Maharaj (Hodder, 1978), p.219. The mantra is a deliberate invitation for demonic spirits to enter the yogin and assist his progress in Yoga. On the mediumship of Yoga, see also Godmen of India: Peter Brent (Penguin, 1973), esp. p.278
    [10]
    On the spiritual risks of Yoga, see the following:
  • (a) Non au Yoga: Maurice Ray (3rd ed., Ligue pour la lacture de la Bible; 1979)
  • (b) Eyes opened to Satan's subtlety: Emile Kremer (English trans. of Les Yeux Ouverts, 1st Englisg ed., Raven, 4/1969), p.63
  • (c) Yoga in The Devil's Alphabet: Dr. Kurt E. Koch (4th ed., Evengelization Publishers, c.1970), pp.123-127
  • (d) A Manual of Demonology and the Occult: Kent A. Philpott (Zondervan, 1973), pp.44-45, 139, 163-164
  • (e) My search: Gene Aven (Life Messengers, early 1974), pp.16-17)
  • (f) Yoga, in Every Wind of Doctrine: Hobart E. Freeman, Th.D. (Faith Ministries Publications, 1974), pp.257-9, esp. p.258
  • (g) Christians and Yoga?: M. Basilea Schlink (Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, 1975)
  • (h) Yoga: David S. Fetcho (SCP Newsletter, 4-5/76)
  • (i) The Mystical Maze: Pat Means (Campus Crusade for Christ, late 1976), pp.118-125
  • (j) Death of a Guru: Rabindranath M. Maharaj (Hodder, 1978)
  • (k) What Christians Should Know About Yoga: Diasozo Trust, 68 Elm Road, Slade Green, Erith, Kent DA8 2NW, U.K. (early 1978)
    [11]
    Matthew 8:28-34 & 12:43-45 for example. A good general book on demonology is A Manual of Demonology and the Occult: kent A. Philpott (zondervan, 1973)
    [12]
    Matthew 8:16; 10:8; Luke 6:17-18; 9:1 and elsewhere. In Matthew 4:24, "lunacy" is listed separately from "demonization". In one passage, "luncay" is attributed to demonic causes (Mt.17). So "lunacy" may be either psychogenic (psychologically caused) or demonogenic (demonially causes). The term "lunacy" is used to describe a syndrome without reference to etiology (causation). Furthermore, not all demonized persons are necessarily "lunatic".
    [13]
    See note on guru in Death of a Guru: Rabindranath R. Maharaj (Hodder, 1978), p.216. See Godmen of India: Peter Brent (Penguin, 1973).


    This article is produced that the reader may know the truth and not be led astray. Jesus said: "and then if anyone says to you 'look here is the Christ,' or 'look there he is', do not believe it. False Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray..." (Mark 13:21). Also: "The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy, but I am come that you might have life in all its fullness" (John 10:10).


    Copies of this tract may be purchased from:

    Diasozo Trust
    68 Elm Road
    Erith
    Kent DA8 2 NW
    United Kingdom

    Other Diasozo Trust pamphlets:

    • The Occult: Good or Bad, God or Satan
    • What Christians Should Know about Yoga
    • The Tarot
    • 7 Reasons Why Freemasonry is Not of God
    • The Moonies or Unification Church - a Christian Warning
    • Transcendental Meditation is Dangerous
    • Martial Arts - Are They Harmless?
    • Should a Christian be a Mason? (E.M.Storms)
    • War on the Saints (unabridged version) (Jessie Penn Lewis)
    • Pigs in the Parlour (Frank Hammond)
    • Eight keys to Physical and Spiritual Health (Frank Marzullo)
    • Ministering to Abortions's Aftermath (Bill & Sue Banks)


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