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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Pantheist Character of Yoga

The Pantheist Character of Yoga

Fr. James Manjackal, MSFS
 Answer: No!
As mentioned  in the last article, Yoga is incompatible with Catholic spirituality because it is pantheist (claiming that God is everything and everything is God), and holds that there is only one reality and everything else is illusion. If there is only one absolute reality and everything else is illusory, there can be no relationship and no love. 

The center of the Catholic Faith is faith in the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons in one God, the perfect model of the loving relationship. Catholicism is all about relationships with God and among men: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Mt 22: 37-39).

No distinction between good and evil

In Hinduism, good and evil, like pain and pleasure, are illusory (Maya) and, therefore, unreal. Swami Vivekananda, one of the most respected mystics of modern Hinduism, said: “Good and evil are one and the same” (1)

yoga pose contortion
A yogi in a position that ‘unites him with nature’ (or his rear end!)
 
In Catholicism the matter of sin as an offense against the Holiness of God is inseparable from our faith, because sin is the reason why we need a Savior. The Incarnation, the Life, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus for us are means of salvation, that is, to free us from sin and its consequences. We cannot ignore this fundamental difference in order to absorb yoga and other Eastern practices of meditation into Catholic spirituality.

The practice of Yoga is pagan at best, and occult at worst. This is the religion of the Antichrist and, for the first time in history, it is being frantically practiced throughout the Western world and America.

Yoga teachers who carry a cross or a Catholic symbol are deceiving people when they say that Yoga has nothing to do with Hinduism and that it is just a matter of accepting other cultures. This is ridiculous. Some teachers mask Yoga with Catholic gestures and call it “Catholic Yoga.” But this is not a question of accepting the culture of another people, it is a matter of accepting another religion that is irrelevant and even opposed to our religion and religious concepts.

Growing in the West

It is a pity that Yoga has been wildly spreading in the West, from kindergartens to all kinds of institutions of medicine, psychology, etc., calling itself a science when in fact it is not a science at all. It is being marketed under the label of “relaxation therapy,” “self-hypnosis,” “creative visualization,” “centering,” or other such names.

laughter yoga
Philippine sisters learning ‘laughter yoga’ to relieve the stress of religious life
Hatha Yoga, a type that is widespread in Europe and America as a method of relaxation and non-strenuous exercise, is one of the six recognized systems of “orthodox” Hinduism. At its roots it is religious and mystical and one of the most dangerous forms of Yoga. (2) Let us remember the words of St. Paul, And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light (II Cor 11: 14).

It is true that many people have been healed by Yoga and other Eastern forms of meditation and prayer. But this is where Catholics should ask themselves whether they need healing and material benefits or their God, Jesus Christ, in Whom they believe, Who is the source of all healing and good health.

The desire to be God

The desire to become God is the first and second sin in the history of Creation as recorded chronologically in the Bible, “You said in your heart, I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God. I will sit enthroned on the on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Is 14: 13-14).

Yoga - Catching the universal energy
Poses designed to catch the universal energy
And, “'You will not die,' the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3: 4-5).

The philosophy and practice of Yoga are based on the belief that man and God are one. It teaches one to focus on the self rather than the One True God. It encourages its participants to seek answers to the problems and questions of life within their own minds and consciences instead of finding solutions in the Word of God through the Holy Spirit, as Catholicism teaches.

It definitely leaves one open to deception from the enemy of God, who prowls about seeking victims whom he can take away from God and the Church (cf. I Pet 5: 8).

A shameful Europe

For the last eight years, I have been preaching the Word of God mainly in countries in Europe, which once was the cradle of Catholicism, producing evangelizers and missionaries, martyrs and saints. Can we call Europe Catholic today?

Is it not true that Europe has erased all its Catholic concepts and values from life? Why is Europe ashamed to say that it has Catholic roots? Where are the moral values and ethics practiced for centuries by Europeans and handed over to other countries and cultures by the bold proclamation of the Gospel of Christ? By their fruits ye shall know the tree.

I believe that the doubts and confusions of our days, the apostasy and infidelity we see everywhere, the icy religious coldness and indifference that has invaded Catholic milieus came to Europe as a consequence of the introduction of the Eastern mysticisms and meditations and esoteric New Age practices into the West.

I am yoga
The aim: to fully identify with a pagan divinity...
and be possessed by it
In my retreats, the majority of the participants come with various moral, spiritual, mental and physical problems in order to be liberated and healed and to have a new life through the power of the Holy Spirit. With all sincerity of heart, I will say that 80% to 90% of the participants have been involved in Yoga, Reiki and other Eastern religious practices where they lost faith in Jesus Christ and the Church.

In Croatia, Bosnia, Germany, Austria and Italy, I have seen clear instances where individuals who were possessed by the powers of darkness have cried out “I am Reiki,” “I am Yoga,” identifying themselves with these concepts as persons while I was saying prayers of healing for them. Later, I had to make prayers of deliverance on them to free them from the evil possession.

There are some people who say: “There is nothing wrong with the practice of these exercises as long as you do not believe the philosophies behind them.” However, the promoters of Yoga, Reiki, etc, clearly state that the philosophy and practice are inseparable.

So, a Catholic cannot in any way accept the philosophy and practice of Yoga because Catholicism and Yoga are mutually exclusive views. Catholicism sees sin as the primary problem of man, considered as a failure to conform to the standards as well as character of a morally perfect God. Man is estranged from God and is in need of reconciliation.

Christ is the solution

christ glorious
No solution can be found apart from Christ
The solution is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. Through Christ’s death on the Cross, God reconciled the world to himself. Now, He calls man to freely receive all the fruits of salvation through the merits of Christ.

Unlike Yoga, Catholicism views redemption as a free gift that can only be received and never earned or attained by one’s own effort or works.

Today, what is needed in Europe and elsewhere is the energetic preaching of the message of Christ that comes from the Bible and is interpreted by the Church in order to remove the doubts and confusions so rampant among Catholics in the West and to bring them to the Way, the Truth and Life, Jesus Christ. Only the truth can set us free.