It seems that many indologists still question whether Yoga comes from Hinduism or not. My friend A. helped me to see clearly that there is no scope for any doubt on this issue.
Yoga was originated in India. And it is Hindu, whether the world likes it or not. For the simple reason that it is one of the six darshanas that form Hinduism. Darshanas are the philosophical schools of thought based on the Veda (s) and, as such, is purely Hindu: the six or the Shat-Darshanas are: the NYAYA, founded by Gautama Rishi, the VAISESHIKA by Kanada Rishi, the SANKHYA by Kapila Muni, the YOGA by Patanjali Maharshi, the PURVA MIMAMSA by Jaimini, and the UTTARA MIMAMSA or VEDANTA by Badarayana or Vyasa. (Source: Swami Sivananda).
The distortions made in the West and sadly reimported as Yoga, and happily accepted! by a sector of the society in India are but bastardizations that have lost both its purity and its spiritual aim of enligthenment.
Yoga as fitness is like denaturalizing an apple and using it as a ball to play football. The preparation of the body is only the means of a highest goal that it is the preparation of the mind for the stillness required to experience the divinity in oneself and in all, in the form of the Atman we are. How can it then exist a “Christian Yoga”? The name is a contradiction in itself, provided the aim of Christianity is distinct and has nothing to do with the aim of Hinduism. For them we are not divine, and the divinity is placed somewhere over the rainbow. No matter how much they stretch their bodies, that divinity will take them by surprise!
About Naked Yoga…..what to say? Yes! Naked yoga is practised somewhere in the U.S., and probably in some more places….the result of the most extreme identification of ourselves with our bodies, and still is named Yoga?
I am sorry to sound radical in this, but my view is that Yoga should be practiced with a clear religious purpose, and not just to feel good, that is a secondary good effect of its practice. If a non-hindu wants to practice Yoga, s/he should acknowledge its real Hindu origin. Then, open minded s/he should be ready for a mental challenge to all his/her previous conceptions about his/her own religion. And have a certain austere lifestyle as to comply as much as possible with the yamas and niyamas. Nobody is perfect and nobody is asking for perfection here. It is just a matter of honesty, with the source of the teaching and with oneself.
The yamas and niyamas are a common-sense code recorded in the final section of the Vedas, called Upanishads, namely the Shandilya and the Varuha. They are also found in the Hatha Yoga Pra dipika by Gorakshanatha, the Tirumantiram of Tirumular and in the Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali.
The yamas and niyamas have been preserved through the centuries as the foundation, the first and second stage, of the eight-staged practice of yoga: yama —niyama — asana — pranayama — pratyahara — dharana — dhyana — samadhi. Yet, they are fundamental to all beings, expected aims of everyone in society, and assumed to be fully intact for anyone seeking life’s highest aim in the pursuit called yoga.
Sage Patanjali (ca 200 bc), raja yoga’s foremost propounder, told us,
“These yamas are not limited by class, country, time (past, present or future) or situation. Hence they are called the universal great vows.”
These terms are translated as ”effort and relaxation” or “exertion and rest”. This stage consists in mastering fundamental ethic and psycho-hygienic rules of a spiritual seeker’s life.
“When a yogin becomes qualified by practicing Yama and Niyama, then the yogin can proceed to asana and the other means.”
— Yoga Bhashya Vivarana (II.29)
Patanjali does not suggest that we live according to the yamas and niyamas in order to be good people or to obey God. His moral code describes the qualities we need in order to reach the goal of yoga: to still the fluctuations of the mind and rest in our true nature. A mind filled with love, truth and generosity is a mind that can become quiet: no fights, no guilt and no neediness.
To live the yamas and niyamas also demands a radical deepening of commitment. The focus moves from our actions to our thoughts, which, after all, generate actions.
If a westerner/westernised person is not ready to pass through all of this, kindly go to a gym and practise aerobics or many of the other available exercises to just feel good and healthy.
If I could, I would tell the society: choose: either you teach and learn the distortion, (but please, don´t include the name “Yoga” in it), or if you want to teach and learn real Yoga, acknowledge it as purely Hindu with all its ethics and rules. Because as Mr. Malhotra says, teaching what it is NOT Yoga as Yoga, uprooting it from its source, it is already distorted to the core in many cases, and worsened. But with the passage of generations it will become so distorted that it will not even have a remembrance of Hindu Yoga. AND A MAGNIFICENT LEGACY FOR THE MANKIND WILL BE IRRETRIEVABLE LOST!. To add the pitiable situation in which many of these distortions are getting re-imported in India (in Yoga as in other fields of “spirituality”) and it is being accepted as something cool because it comes from the West….hindus, please!! Know and appreciate first your own treasure!!. When you get to know it deeply, you will find all other approaches as poor and childish.
The great work done by Mrs. Deepika and Mr. Ramji in the film “History of Yoga. The path of my ancestors.” should be wide spread for letting the world know the real roots of Yoga. Please check this link:
The DVD with the documentary can be purchased from any part of the world.
- Directly from Vishuddhi films-
- -for international sales- http://vishuddhifilms.com/buy-now-international.php
- –for India sales –http://vishuddhifilms.com/buy-now-india.php
They say that ignorance is bliss. I would say that ignorance is daring, risky, and sometimes even dangerous. If we Hindus don´t defend our richness, beware the West and some western vested interests will push ithemselves as the commander of the world as they have always done and continue to do.