Yoga Poses and Workouts
Chenchiah, brother-in-law of Chakkarai, a chief justice and the most distinguished member of the group 'Rethinking Christianity', stood on the threshold of linking the Hindu tradition and modern scientific thinking. His was the first critical review of Kraemer's famous book, The Christian Message in a Non-Christian World, prepared for the third World Missionary Conference held in Tambaram, Madras, in 1938.26 He showed in this review that most of the Barthian theology represented by Kraemer was totally irrelevant to the Indian context of many religions with Hinduism as a major one. He also criticized the ecclesiastical battles of the West fought in India in the name of church union. For him loyalty to Christ did not contradict a reverential attitude towards Hindu heritage. He gave primacy to the 'raw fact' of experience of Christ and tested church tradition, including creeds and doctrines, in its light. Drawing from Aurobindo's integral yoga and theory of evolution, Chenchiah affirmed...
In the pluralistic Hindu and Greek traditions, on the other hand, all knowledge of God that an individual acquires, is acquired directly, and not through any human intermediary acting as God's spokesman and gatekeeper. In these, it is the right of every man, woman and child to seek such knowledge through personal effort. Hinduism includes empirical methods like Yoga aimed at assisting an individual to realize the goal of learning about God. Greek mystics like Pythagoras also practiced meditation with the same goal in mind. All such knowledge - acquired directly from God without a human intermediary is clearly a-paurusheya - or 'not-man-originated' - for God alone is the source of that knowledge. Any scripture or human teacher is there only to guide and assist, not to enforce any belief this is another key difference between exclusivism and pluralism.
39 Rulers of other Semitic peoples like the Babylonians also invoked their god Meredoch (Marduk) in exercising authority, but they were not so uncompromisingly exclusivist as the Jews. It is possible that the notion of using prophetic utterances - something that many of us today find irrational - is a typically Semitic contribution, just as Yoga with its emphasis on personal experience is quintessentially Indian. Hinduism recognizes no exclusive prophet or chosen people. This has not prevented the Jews and Hindus from peacefully coexisting together in pluralistic lndia. Judaism has come into conflict only with the other two exclusive faiths - Christianity and Islam.
This state of affairs no doubt accounts for the siege mentality bordering on paranoia that is displayed by Church authority whenever faced with the threat of a rational alternative to Church dogma. It is this fear that lies at the bottom of the openly expressed hostility to Yoga and Buddhism by the present Pope (John Paul II). The Church is deeply perturbed by the West's discovery of non-dogmatic Eastern spirituality and empirical disciplines like Yoga. These do not ask the faithful to suspend their rational judgement and accept dogma.
An example of that is the historical St. James Anglican Church just off of Piccadilly Square. The church is a favorite for tourists, especially to the New Age type which it caters to. The church calls itself A Seven Days a Week Church for London and the World. Within the church are held classes for all types of New Age religious activities such as Health for the New Age through meditation, visualization , Lifetime Astrology, Yoga Meditation. If you want to join the Sufi Healing Order which meets there you can.2
These men were probably distinguished by their manner of preaching - messianic, apocalyptic, charismatic, even demagogic - threatening hellfire and end of the world that seems to have been a peculiarity of Biblical prophets. (One may see their kind in America even today, where it is big business. A few of them have their own television shows.) Our best guess is that preachers of this kind were known to outsiders as 'Christ' or 'Chrestus' just as we now use the term Yogi to mean one who practices Yoga - or claims to - and not any particular individual. All these - a whole tradition - was later made by Christian scribes to coalesce into a single personality identified with Jesus. A fuller study of the Qumran material now made available by the Huntington Library might help bring more such Christ Chrestus personalities to light.
While the judge did strike down these three practices, he let twelve others stand, such as yoga exercises, meditation, and lectures on crystals. The yoga exercises were taught by a yogi, Sikh minister Agia Akai Singh Kalsa. The minister denied, as they always do, that his lesson had anything to do with religion. Most noteworthy here is how effortlessly a Sikh minister, Hindu practices, New Age beliefs, and yoga were introduced in the school. Would the school-or the judge in his compromise ruling-have been so lenient if the Roman Catholic parents had tried to insert a curriculum with a Catholic priest teaching how to pray the Rosary, venerate the Virgin Mary, and pray the Stations of the Cross Somehow, I don't think so. It has become a natural knee-jerk reaction of the public schools to have one exclusionist standard for Christians and one inclusive, tolerant standard for every other system of belief.
Concepts, but more to do with life and liturgy, in which there will be thanksgiving for all the resources of the Indian heritage, including arts and architecture, herbal medicines and yoga. But if the 'total Indian hyphenated Christian ethos' includes 'our classical linguistic and religious sensibilities as well as our socio-economic realities and actions', Brahminic tradition with its ritual and caste system, which has chained masses, may still be at the centre. Even the subaltern traditions have perpetuated fatalistic notions that obstruct process of development. The Hindutva (Hinduization) vision of militant Hinduism is no different, even though India is now a fast-changing society in the throes of modernization and globalization.
Spiritual attainment is a fundamental transformation of the I-thought from a separate, limited, and contracted identity into an expansive, abundant, and infinite one. It is a transition from viewing oneself as a limited and ordinary mortal individual to a self-identity with fully evolved and realized being, consciously unified with the eternal. Thus, it is a movement from the sense of separation to union, which is called Yichud in Hebrew and Yoga in Sanskrit.
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