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Yoga no medium to experience divine: Church 

Kochi: The Syro-Malabar Church, based in the southern Indian state of Kerala, says yoga is not a medium to attain divine experience, though it would help physical and mental health

The Oriental Church’s Synod of the Bishops, which discussed the role of Yoga in their faith early this year, said divine experience could not be experienced through a particular posture.

“God in whom we believe is a personal God. God is not someone who can be reached through a particular posture,” said the circular signed by the Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Church.

In its circular to its priests and laity in January this year, the Church said that recognizing the important place given to yoga in Indian culture, it is to be considered as a physical exercise or postures to concentrate or to meditate.

“It is not quite right to think that the experience of God and the personal encounter with the Lord is possible through Yoga,” the circular said.

It said those who hold different opinions other than that of the Church in this regard are not to be encouraged.

“In this context, each one should take utmost care to avoid getting into those prayer groups and spiritual movements which are against the Catholic faith and do not recognize the official teachings of the Church,” the circular said.


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7 Responses to Yoga no medium to experience divine: Church

  1. Dr.Cajetan Coelho

    Yoga facilitates concentration. Keeps the body and mind fit to be of service to the needy, poor and the downtrodden.

  2. Dr Simon Kuruk

    Yoga is a Sanskirt word, correctly pronounced as Yog. Yoga is a Hindu practice, or a practice of “Sanatan Dharma”, to be more precise.
    Anybody who wants to benefit from the practice needs to acknowledge about its religious affiliation: Yoga and Hinduism are like two sides of the same coin. One doesn’t exist without the other.
    This is because the Vedas and Upanishads are the foundation for both yoga and Hinduism. They are linked and share a common history and culture.
    According to Hindu philosophy Yoga is a knowledge which was given by Lord Shiva himself to Parvati when she asked him how would humans find liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Siva Samhita is a treatise of his answer in dialogue form between Shiva and Parvati.
    The point of my comments is the fact that Yoga is entirely a Hindu practice (by origin), in that it is a tradition inspired by and contained in Hindu philosopy…and carried forward by Hindus alone until recent times.
    Yoga and Hinduism share the same common roots. Vedas+Upanishads are essentially what is today called Hinduism. Oldest claim on Yoga is made by the Vedas .
    Hinduism is a way of life more than being a religious system- a way of life where there is no equality between different castes. As a system meant for life – Hinduism and Yoga are meant only for the upper castes. Christians who practice need to keep this mind- with whom do they identify themselves with? While Christ did not despise those who were of the upper echelons of society he identified himself with the poor and downtrodden.

  3. Vincent Bagul

    Chhotebhai has very well explained the situation. The ‘Holier than thou’ attitude of the Church has been responsible for its unpopularity in India.

  4. chhotebhai

    The pronouncements of this Synod seem to smack more and more of superiority and self-righteousness, of a triumphalistic church, rather than a pilgrim church as envisaged by Vatican II.
    My father, who was made a Knight of St Gregory (KSG) by Pope Paul VI, had a book “Christian Yoga”. It must have been published sometime in the 1950’s.On a recent visit to Rome I met Nirmala Thomas a member of a Secular Institute who is bringing Italians back to Jesus through yoga.Two days ago I read about a Dr Shirley Tellis of Lucknow, a devout practicing Catholic, who is on Baba Ramdev’s yoga team.
    May I request the Syro Malabar bishops to learn humility from Pope Francis


    Exorcist priest who labelled Harry Potter and yoga ‘satanic’ dies
    Father Amorth praised ‘The Exorcist’ for providing a ‘substantially exact’ representation of those possessed by the Devil

    Jacob Furedi Saturday 17 September 2016 17:04 BST

    Click to follow
    The Independent Online
    Father Gabriele Amorth claimed to have carried out 70,000 exorcisms Getty
    Father Gabriele Amorth, a prominent Roman Catholic exorcist, has died aged 91.

    Father Amorth who was the chief exorcist for the diocese of Rome, passed away after suffering from a pulmonary illness.

    The Catholic priest controversially claimed Harry Potter books encourage children to believe in black magic and yoga is “evil” because it promotes Hinduism.

    Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James reveals he was given exorcism by Jamaica’s ‘ex-gay’ movement
    The Exorcist director William Friedkin says he was invited by The Vatican to film a real exorcism
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    Exorcism on teenage girl left me bugged by texts from a demon, priest claims
    Father Amorth believed people possessed by Satan tend to vomit pieces of iron and shards of glass. He maintained both Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the Devil, but that fact didn’t excuse their abhorrent actions.

    “For example, I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed by the devil. If you think about what types like Stalin, Hitler did … certainly they were possessed by the devil,” he said.

    Born in Modena in northern Italy in 1925, Gabriel Amorth was ordained a priest in 1951. In 1985, he was appointed Exorcist of the Diocese of Rome.

    During his lifetime, Father Amorth claimed to have performed 70,000 exorcisms and documented them in a number of books. The Italian news agency ANSA said Father Amorth had said he found himself faced with true demonic possession at most 100 times

    He credited the 1973 film The Exorcist for giving a “substantially exact” representation of what it was like to be possessed by Satan. He did maintain the special effects were exaggerated, however.

    During his exorcisms, his patients often had to be physically restrained. “From their mouths, anything can come out – pieces of iron as long as a finger, but also rose petals,” he said.

    His conviction in the power of exorcisms informed his approach to current affairs. In a Facebook post in 2015, he asserted: “ISIS is Satan.”

    Spanish theologian Father Jose Antonio Fortea told the Catholic News Agency: “Now he rests from his many battles with the devil.”

    While Father Amorth’s death is a blow for the diocese of Rome, exorcisms will still be carried out by its other nine resident exorcists.

  6. K C. Thomas

    It is not clear what M.K.Devassy wants to convey. The Cardinal explained that yoga is not a medium to attain divine experience and it is not quite right to think that experience of God and the personal encounter with the Lord is possible through yoga. It is a faith that any so called spiritual movements which are against the Catholic faith and which do not recognize the official teachings of the Catholic Church cannot be followed or encouraged by the faithful. Whatever be, we must accept the official teaching of the Church.

  7. MK Devassy

    I wish that the Leaders of the Church may receive wisdom and knowledge to understand the teachings of Jesus to modify the Official teachings of the Church if it is contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

    As a practical step, I shall pray for this intention and request the readers to do the same.