Re: Yoga(s) is /are Hindu

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Posted by Brett Zamir ( on September 28, 2003 at 23:18:10:

In Reply to: Yoga(s) is /are Hindu posted by Stuart Gilman on September 28, 2003 at 06:59:41:

Greetings all,

Besides the often repeated guidance about not taking part in the ceremonials of other Faiths as to identify with their practices, etc., there is the following quotation which might perhaps warn against some of the more off-the-wall associations people may bring into the picture with Yoga or other practices (though I doubt the context of this passage had anything to do with Yoga as an exercise if Yoga at all):

"...indeed, such occult practices as certain Hindus have introduced in the States, and which some superficial and superstitious individuals have adopted and are trying, by all sorts of devices, to popularize, are absolutely foreign, nay positively opposed to the very spirit and letter of the Teachings, and the believers, therefore, should strictly and at all times avoid the company of such people, lest they may unconsciously and inevitably fall under their baneful influence and become gradually alienated from the Cause.

"...The friends also should be warned not to indulge in such activities that draw their inspiration from Hindu occultist sources, as these do not only lead them away from the Cause, but can cause them considerable mental harm, and thus permanently injure their mind as well as their body."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to two believers, August 5, 1939; quoted in Lights of Guidance no. 1773)

I think the following quotation though helps balance things out by showing that even meditative techniques, let alone purely physical exercises, can be investigated and adopted by Baha'is (as long as it does not obviously contradict the teachings of the Faith in identifying oneself as a member of another Faith, etc. and as long as it is not taught under Baha'i institutional auspices):

"For example, Baha'u'llah has specified no procedures to be followed in meditation, and individual believers are free to do as they wish in this area, provided that they remain in harmony with the teachings, but such activities are purely personal and should under no circumstances be confused with those actions which Baha'u'llah Himself considered to be of fundamental importance for our spiritual growth. Some believers may find that it is beneficial to them to follow a particular method of meditation, and they may certainly do so, but such methods should not be taught at Baha'i Summer Schools or be carried out during a session of the School because, while they may appeal to some people, they may repel others. They have nothing to do with the Faith and should be kept quite separate so that enquirers will not be confused."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, September 1, 1983; quoted in Lights of Guidance, no. 1837)


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