Hindus have welcomed an article in “U.S. Catholic” magazine which said: “Yoga had completely transformed my Catholicism”.
Titled “Om-schooled: How Yoga can influence your Catholic prayer”, this article, appearing in the September 2010 issue of the magazine, further says: “Catholics can take a lesson from the Hindu tradition of yoga when it comes to praying with body, mind, and spirit”.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, introduced to the humanity by Hinduism, was a world heritage, and we were pleased when it helped other faith traditions achieve their goals.
Article, written by M.M. Hubele, further states: “…As Catholics we believe that externals matter. What we do with our bodies impacts what we experience within our souls. We might not be trying to rein in unruly thoughts so as to reach liberation, but we certainly can benefit from a physical response to those things we point to as sacred. Our bodies can be used to bring our thoughts into line…But perhaps by learning from our Hindu brothers and sisters we can rediscover an element of our tradition that is as old as the religion itself. Whether it’s leaping with joy during worship or extending our arms during a benediction, letting our bodies form our prayer can breathe a freshness into our faith. I may not be thinking of the mountain pose when I’m standing during Mass, but through my study of yoga I’ve come to rethink what I’m standing for.”
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that yoga, whose traces went back to Indus Valley civilization, was one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy. Codified in Yoga Sutra by Patanjali around 300 BCE, yoga was actually a mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) united with universal-soul (parmatman). Swami Vivekananda reportedly brought yoga to USA in 1893.
Rajan Zed points out that some sages have described yoga as the silencing of all mental transformations, which leads to the total realization of the Supreme Self. Some have used yoga attempting to gain liberation by removing all sensory barriers. According to Patanjali, yoga is a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical. Yoga is based on an eightfold path to direct the practitioner from awareness of the external world to a focus on the inner. Ancient Hindu scriptures Upanishads were the first yoga writings and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), which is a comprehensive yoga-sastra (treatise on yoga), talks about karma yoga, jnana yoga and bhakti yoga, Zed adds.
“U.S. Catholic”, with Rev. John Molyneux as the editor, is an award winning magazine published by Claretians, a Roman Catholic religious community of priests and brothers who are dedicated to the mission of living and spreading the Gospel of Jesus. Claretian Publications in Chicago (USA) claims to be one of the country’s most respected Catholic publishers of magazines and newsletters.