Hinduism and Yoga: Is Yoga Hindu?

Hinduism and Yoga: Is Yoga Hindu?

If Yoga is Pure Science, Hinduism is the Application.  If Yoga is Einstein, Hinduism is Steve Jobs.  That is the relationship between the two.

Yoga happens when there is no identification.  So in that pursuit and seeking, one starts and remains with a clean slate.  When the un-identified mind reaches its final Realization, it aligns with the Divine.  God therefore, has been the final realization on the Yogic path and not an apriori assumption.  That is the only way to seeking really!  Yoga cannot happen with identification or with knowing.  For, if we know from the mind, then the being itself refuses to experience what is in front of it.

In that sense, Yoga is not Hindu.  It is beyond all identifications.

However, that needs to be said with immediate clarifications.  All the Mantras, Tantras, and use of Yantras – including the temples – is what Yoga gave to the normal populace that was identified as Hindu.  So what the Aum chanting, Mantra uttering person is doing is essential part of Yoga.  Without that fundamentals of Yoga make no sense.  So if that is Hindu, then Yoga is Hindu.  You cannot replace Aum with ABCD and hope some kriya will work for you.  Why?  Let us understand this a bit more carefully for example.  Try out the sounds A – U – M loudly.  The sounds impact certain part of your body.  You can feel the pressure change from lower abdomen to chest to the lower part of throat.  In Yoga, these are three important Chakras – Muladhara, Anahata and Vishuddi.  Activation of these during a kriya are critical and fundamentally important.  Replace this sound with ABCD or Allah or Jesus, and you have lost the Kriya completely.  In fact, wrong utterances and incorrect Chakra activation will have negative impact in certain kriyas.  So irrespective of your belief or faith in Allah or Jesus, you may mess yourself up if you invoke them to be good to your religion!  Similarly, all the chants, invocations, mudras and methods came out of Yoga’s “pure science” hopper.  It is a coincidence that Hinduism is the only real repository of those methods, however irreverently and without adequate knowledge it may be holding on it.

What constitutes Hinduism today was the work of some great Yogis to distill their knowledge of Fundamental Human Science to layperson’s life.  When beings like Shiva, Agastya Muni, Patanjali, Vyasa, Vasistha, Krishna, Buddha worked to distill the profundity of Yogic sciences into normal everyday schedule and living, they set the stage for generations to slowly walk towards the door of enlightenment even without realizing it.  You don’t need to be an Einstein to use an iPhone but maybe while using the iPhone some curious minds will wonder about what principles make it work.  That prodding can take you to the threshold and then the path of pure science.  That was the intention of the Yogis who worked to interweave the magic of Yoga with the tapestry of life.

With the world being what it is today, and beliefs and religions having taken the form they have, the instinct of the “do-gooders” – or the Secularists – is either to reject religion or to equate all.  And in both the ways they undermine useful and tremendous spiritual work that was done in the East – whether by the many Buddhas, Jain Tirthankars, Gurus or Yogis.  If you take away the religious cover, you will find very few spiritual contributions in REAL terms from luminaries of Abrahamic lineage.  Just because the believers are loud and many in number, some are forced – due to political correctness – to equate some to the level of those who have irreversibly and amazingly transformed the human consciousness.  For all his greatness as is believed of Jesus – given his real spiritual contributions in what he added to Yogic knowledge and work – it would be a crime to compare his work with someone like Patanjali or Agastya.  But because of the numbers and the political and economic clout gained through, often, nefarious means, one is forced to equate a simple but beautiful being with little Yogic contribution to others, who were truly transformational in human history.

And there-in lies the tragedy of today’s Secular world and that of those who want to use Yoga as exercise by combining it to religious frills and make it palatable.  To make Yoga palatable or Secular is like saying the Quantum should not be allowed to exist as Wave and Particle because it goes against the word of Allah for some reason.  It is as idiotic as that.  Yoga stands on its own.  Religion or no religion.. god or no god!  It doesn’t need Hinduism or any other religion to make it happen.  However, what is fundamental to Yoga has been for many reasons been passed on within Hinduism and Buddhism for generations.

Today therefore, we have come to a point where for Yoga to survive, Hinduism has to survive.  If Hinduism died, or was undermined, the mindless exisgencies of religious beliefs that exist in Abrahamic lineage, will kill Yoga shortly.  That is what they have been trying to do for last well over 2-3 decades.

In fact, today the way the religious discourse and frameworks are structured, it is obvious to any spiritually aware person that ONLY TWO religious frameworks lend themselves to spiritual pursuits.  Hinduism and Buddhism.  Why?  Because they are the only two which are still free from the curse of History-Centrism (a term coined by Rajiv Malhotra to describe obsession with an event, person, situation in history that gives credibility to some line of thought).  It is still possible, for example, someone to become a Buddha today.  Or reach the level of Krishna or Shiva consciousness.  It is not blasphemous for someone to be called Shiva or Krishna or Vishnu because of his spiritual attainment.  That option of Spiritual Realization of the highest order is not available in any other structure.

This freedom of going for the complete realization is the door to Yogic work.  Absent this freedom, there is no Yoga.  And there is no spirituality.

Because of this, it is clear that survival of the Hinduism’s religious structure is fundamental to spiritual future of the world.  And to undiluted work in Yoga.

Featured Image source: Flickr

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