Thiruvananthapuram: With the Central government intensifying efforts to make yoga compulsory in schools and to present it as an inseparable part of Indian culture, the Syro-Malabar Doctrinal Commission has called for a relook into the role of yoga.
The commission says the “theology of yoga does not go along with the belief of Christianity”.
The report is posted in the latest bulletin of the Mananthavady diocese of the Church. The report also says that yoga is a way of exercise and not a way to reach god or attain salvation.
In a note of caution, it article said that groups affiliated to the RSS are trying to promote yoga with a hidden agenda of promoting Hindutva and communal politics. “In this background, it has become necessary for the community to re look at yoga,” it reads.
The commission observed: "The theology of yoga does not go along with the belief of Christianity. The experience of yoga is that the practitioner, nature and god becomes one but according to Christianity nature and god cannot become one. Yoga believes in oneness and cannot differentiate between creator and creation like in Christianity. There is nothing wrong in taking yoga as an exercise but it is not a way to get salvation or spiritual experience."
The article says that yoga can be used for health issues and breathing troubles and that several priests have been using yoga for health issues.
The commission also brought to notice Pope Francis’ views on yoga.
“There is no need to seek spiritual answers in a yoga class. When you try to imitate the spiritual ways of other religions, chances of spiritual accidents are more,” said Pope Francis.
The article added that many Hindu leaders have objection to seeing yoga just as a method of exercise away from Hinduism.
"Many Hindus are seeing the love of Christians to yoga as an interference into Hindu practices and some also believe it is a hidden agenda to convert Hindus,” the commission observed.
The doctrinal commission had a total of four members: three bishops and a priest. Father Jimmy Poochakattu, the spokesperson of Syro Malabar church, said that the material was written two years ago and was part of a study material.