NEW WEBSITE: www.ephesians-511.net APRIL 2007, UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2007
YOGA IN THE DIOCESE OF MANGALORE
I. V.L. REGO AND THE INTEGRAL YOGA SATSANGH
To Christ Through Yoga-
Integral Yoga, authored by V. L. Rego, Integral Yoga Satsanga, 1987
The Foreword to this book is written by the then Bishop Basil S. D’Souza of Mangalore
who described yoga as “the eternal science preserved for us in the Indian traditions. We appreciate the services of Mr. V.L. Rego and invoke God’s blessings on all those working to promote the science of yoga.”
In his Acknowledgements, Rego thanks two priests-
Fr. A. D’Lima, Director, Pastoral Institute, Mangalore, and
Fr. Vincent Menezes, Editor of the Raknno
Konkani language diocesan weekly, “for all their sustained assistance to conduct yoga courses and introduce yoga to [the] Christian Community with a holistic approach”.
The book deals with all the usual yoga aspects: pranayama, asanas, chakras, kundalini, surya namaskar…
According to Rego’s 2005 records, about 9,000 Christians have attended the camps. The
Vishwa Hindu Parishad
(VHP, World Hindu Council), blamed for anti-Christian violence in India,
sponsored his 200th camp, in Mangalore.
UCAN News, http://www.ucanews.com, August 13, 1993 [see page 38], reported that “The first camp was opened by Bishop Basil Salvador D’Souza of Mangalore in 1986.” Mangalore was breached by ‘Catholic’ yoga 20 years ago!!!!!
Rego teaches that “It is only when the Kundalini, the spiritual power, rises in the spine, one is filled with the Holy Spirit and gets the power and joy of the Holy Spirit. This is also called illumination.” Evidently the learned Bishops of Mangalore and the priests named by him are in complete concurrence with Rego’s new catechism.
YOGA PROPONENT V .L. REGO PLANS YOGA CLUBS FOR CHURCHES
Daijiworld News Network – Mangalore (VM) Pic. Rego addressing the Mangalore Press Club by Vitory Karkal,
July 8, 2005:
Integral Yoga Satsang, Mangalore has sent a proposal to the
Bishop of Mangalore
diocese to begin
Yoga clubs in every church of the diocese. Integral Yoga Satsang founder president
V L Rego
disclosed this at a press meet here on Thursday. Rego said that the Roman Catholic church
which had a ‘touch-me-not’ attitude with issues like incorporating good practices from other communities and religions,
has officially approved the adoption of Yoga in the church. Having received this official consent from the Pope*, Yoga, a scientific and practical health scheme of life, is being propagated in the church.
The Integral Yoga Satsang, Mangalore housed at Ranipura has successfully conducted 199 Yoga courses for beginners in Catholic institutes and the 200th yoga-training course will be held between July 11 to 23 at Sharada Vidyalaya, Kodialbail. This programme is free of charges and is open to all. A total of 100 people can be accommodated in the course which will be held everyday between 6 pm to 7 pm. Twenty five various Yogasanas are included in the course and 10 pranayamas and relaxation techniques, meditation, prayer and Japa mantra techniques will also be taught in the programme, Rego said.
Justifying his stand to adopt Yoga into the Catholic Church, Rego said that can be effectively used as a means to attain peace, health and can also be used as an instrument for religious harmony. Yoga, he added is the science of holistic living, featured by peace and poise, harmony and health. It is the union of individual soul with supreme soul, through its four streams- Jnana, Raja, Karma and Bhakti Yoga. It is the only system by which children, teenagers, young, middle age, and old men and women, healthy and sick, rich and poor can practice to attain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Giving an insight of the activities of the
Ryshi Vana Yoga Kendra, set up with the assistance of the
Catholic priests of the Carmelite congregation, Rego said that a
Religion, Yoga, Spirituality, Health Institute (RYSHI)** and Spiritual Research Institute (SRI)** have been set up for research and promotion of Yoga. **see pages 7, 8, 10
INDIAN ARCHBISHOP CLAIMS THAT BENEDICT XVI ‘BELIEVES IN YOGA’
Most Rev. Daniel Acharuparambil, OCD., Archbishop of Verapoly, who was the rector of the Pontifical Urbanian University in Rome when Cardinal Ratzinger was the prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith.
Srinath reports the Archbishop “as saying that
Ratzinger believed yoga, through meditation and contemplation, was the perfect health approach.”
However, Matthew Fox, an excommunicated Dominican priest, at
[Chris Matthews, 4/19/05)] said this about the election of the new Pope, “Now we have the Inquisitor General of the 21st century,
who led the assault on
theologians and women,
yoga (“dangerous” because it gets you too much in touch with your body), homosexuals (who are ‘evil’), liberation theology, ecumenism and interfaith, made “spiritual head” of 1.1 billion people… It is a sad day and a decisive one for the Roman Catholic Church.” [visit the website to read
both reports in detail in the article on YOGA]
My research shows that the Archbishop is favourable to the use of yoga. Ex-priest [now leading New Ager] Matthew Fox is also open to yoga [as to all New Age practices]. An ardent anti-Catholic activist, he is upset over the choice of Ratzinger as Pope. So whom do we believe? Rego and the Archbishop, or Matthew Fox? If you can’t figure it out, contact me.
The two detailed YOGA documents [see website] also list several Cardinals, Bishops, priests and two Vatican Documents that warn Catholics against the dangers inherent to the practice of yoga.
Most interestingly, Rego seems to be claiming responsibility for RYSHI, RAS, and SRI, which Fr. Gregory D’Souza OCD lists as his projects, see pages 7, 8, 10.
I made enquiries in Mangalore during a visit there, and understood that Rego and the Carmelites, especially Fr. Gregory D’Souza, were once working closely together, but have now separated with a lot of acrimony and misunderstanding. [So much for doing yoga for peace and harmony].
Money of course seems to have played a major role in the wrangle with Rego losing out to the Carmelites his vast properties which he had donated to them for yoga propagation. More below.
Though I tried, through my sources at daijiworld, to find out if Rego offered any evidence at the Press Conference against his claims about “the Roman Catholic church [having] officially approved the adoption of yoga in the church”, all I got were two uninformative responses [one was from Rego’s close relative who is with daijiworld, so I do not reproduce that letter]:
“Our report was filed by our city correspondent who was present at a press conference addressed by Yoga proponent V L Rego. For all further particulars, you can contact him at either Integral Yoga Satsanga, ‘Sheetal’, Pumpwell, Kankanady, Mangalore 575 002 Phone (0824) 2435495 or Yoga Center, Ranipura Hills, Mangalore 574 183 Phone (0824)2466925.
CATHOLIC YOGA TEACHER FINDS MORE ACCEPTANCE AMONG HINDUS
(UCAN) September 5, 2005 MANGALORE, India. By T.S. Thomas
For years V.L. Rego has been promoting yoga among Christians, but his success has been mostly with Hindus.
Catholics, “my own people, for whom I have worked all through my life,” have failed to recognize “the high potential” of yoga to lead one to an authentic Christian life, he laments. On the other hand, Hindus, have “accepted me,” the 59-year-old Catholic layman told UCA News Aug. 31. However, he says he has not given up on Catholics. Rego, who started practicing yoga after he lost a kidney at the age of 6, has chosen “To Christ through yoga*” as his motto. *see pages 5ff
Yoga, meaning “union” in Sanskrit, is an ancient Indian system of achieving liberation that combines meditation, prescribed postures and controlled breathing. For Rego, yoga “is an art of living with inner satisfaction, harmony and bliss.”
The Catholic yogi has written books and magazines to popularize it, as well as conducting training camps. He conducted 199 camps exclusively in Christian institutions to present yoga “as a means to experience Christ better and promote harmony within oneself and with the world.”
Camps usually lasts eight days, during which Rego conducts basic yoga lessons in the morning or evening.
According to Rego’s records,
about 9,000 Christians have attended the camps. But they did not continue the practice and, in Rego’s view, none seemed “genuinely interested.” Meanwhile, however, he came to be respected as a yoga teacher outside the Christian community, especially among Hindus. Vishwa Hindu Parishad
(VHP, world Hindu council), blamed for anti-Christian violence in various parts of India,
sponsored his 200th camp, in Mangalore, the southern city where Rego lives. His latest camp, the 213th, began Sept. 1, also in Mangalore, 2,290 kilometers south of New Delhi. Rego acknowledges that the number of Hindus attending his camps has increased since the VHP sponsored one.
M.B. Puranic, VHP chief for Mangalore, told UCA News that Hindus have no difficulty accepting a Catholic yoga teacher, “because a real yogi is above all religions and man-made barriers.” Yoga is “a perfect medium” for promoting interreligious harmony and dialogue, he continued, adding that VHP might sponsor more programs for Rego to teach yoga to its workers.
Puranic commended Rego for using the ancient science in his Christian experience and promoting it to Christians, though he regretted the Catholic Church has been too rigid to recognize a layman who has adapted yoga for better Christian living. “Yoga is a means, not an end,” the Hindu leader said. Another Hindu who admires Rego is Ananthakrishna Bhat, a college professor. Commending on Rego’s “undivided faith in Christ and spotless conviction in yoga,” Bhat told UCA News that “an Indian Christian must seek Indian ways to understand Christ better.” He called Rego “an asset” to Christians in India for proving that yoga is “a better means to enhance dialogue among various religions.”
Sreepathi Bhat, a Hindu participant in one of Rego’s camps, told UCA News he experienced joy, peace and harmony during the camp. “It was surprising that a Catholic layman could master the Hindu science of yoga and teach Hindus,” he said.
“There is only one God and one faith, whatever names we call him.”
Alice Saldanha, a Catholic woman who attended one of the camps, told UCA News she found practicing yoga with people of other faiths “an enriching experience.” She explained that “in yoga we find no differences and it gives immense confidence.”
Rego said promoting communal harmony was his main intention when he started a yoga training center,
Integral Yoga Satsang, in 1986. He claims yoga helped him survive a massive heart attack in 1982 and several other health problems. “This life is a gift of God and yoga,” he declared, adding that he wants to dedicate his life to promoting yoga.
But he realized he could not carry on his work indefinitely.
In February 2002, he donated the yoga center and some other property to the Carmelite Fathers* on condition they continue his mission. Now, however, Rego is wondering if the priests will keep their promise.
“I have given away my life and property to promote yoga among Christian community, but the Church does not show any enthusiasm in this regard,” he said. He is “concerned” that the priests might use the property for something else.
The Carmelites already have spent 15 million rupees (about US$342,000) to renovate the center.*
Father Rathan Almeida, provincial secretary of the congregation, told UCA News that Rego’s fears are misplaced.
“A proper decision will be taken in course of time, depending on the need of the hour,” he clarified.
Rego admitted that the universal Church has recognized his mission, because the main benefactor of his yoga center was Missio, a funding agency of the German Catholic Church. “But the local Church is ignoring my dream,” he bemoaned. For now, Rego can find some solace in local Catholic young people, who are asking his help to start yoga clubs in every parish in Mangalore diocese.
Father Elias D’Souza, director of the Mangalore unit of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement, admits that “the Church is slow in understanding and implementing yoga in its system.” But he asserts that “certainly (the Church) is not against such a powerful Indian science.”
Yoga can play a major role in the formation of Catholic youth, the priest told UCA News.
*see page 8
(Accompanying photos available with the
UCAN Photo Service. Use story code IB8835.1357 or a person’s name to search for related photos) Reproduced on mangalorean.com and Radio Veritas.
Despite V.L. Rego’s lamenting that Catholics have rejected his yoga-promotion campaign, he has, by his own admission, introduced over 9,000 Catholics to this practice. More ominously, his institution is funded by a German Catholic aid agency, he has completely corrupted the Carmelite [OCD] community in Mangalore, [or is it the other way around ?], and he has the fraternal understanding of priests like Fr. Elias D’Souza who plays an influential role in the Indian Catholic Youth Movement [ICYM]; while on the other hand, he has the support and blessing of the
Divine Life Society*, the “hugging guru”
Mata Amritanandamayi**, of whom he is a staunch devotee, the Hindu right-wing World Hindu Council [VHP],
and other neo-Hindu organizations.
UCAN have reported on V.L. Rego 12 years earlier, i.e. in 1993, see further below. One sees that his yoga mission was encouraged from its infancy by the priests of the diocese of Mangalore, with the late Bishop of Mangalore Basil D’Souza even writing the Foreword for Rego’s first yoga book.
Despite being born into a traditional Catholic family, Rego ‘searches for the Supreme’ in Hindu scriptures, temples and ashrams and finally ‘discovers’ the New Age ‘Christ-within’ after meeting his ‘Satguru’ or ‘Realised Master’ in a god-woman, Mata Amritanandamayi, to whom he ‘surrendered’ his soul.
*The Divine Life Society:
Founded by Swami Sivananda Saraswati it follows the advaitic or non-dualistic philosophy of Shankaracharya. According to them, God (Brahman) alone is real. God is not a person or spirit but consciousness …The Society and its Chinmaya Mission teach a synthesis of yoga… the purpose of which is to dissolve one’s mind in God through meditation. According to Swamiji,
‘Om’ is the best Mantra. The Society’s Mission was founded in Bombay in 1952 to train young men and women in advaita philosophy for missionary activity. Swami Sivananda said “Wholesale preaching of Vedanta to the masses is not advisable. It will result in chaos, bewilderment and stagnation.” His followers will do well to heed him.” World of Gurus, Vishal Mangalwadi, 1987, pages 41-51
**AMMA IN MY LIFE:
Christian devotee V.L. Rego tells how he found his perfect master in Amma
at the homepage of the Mata Amritanandamayi Devi website : www.amritapuri.org
http://archives.amritapuri.org/matruvani/vol-01/may01/01mv05life.htm. Column in Matruvani, May 2001
I was born and brought up in a materially poor Christian family. As a child I fell seriously ill with a kidney disorder but survived with one remaining kidney and a number of persisting ailments. By early adulthood, I had developed chronic diabetes, even going into a coma-like condition. As a last resort, along with the insulin I was taking, I went for yoga therapy and was able to recover slowly. Within just a year, my medication was reduced from heavy doses to two tablets per day.
This stirred in me a deep interest in Yoga philosophy and Vedanta. But wherever I studied, the emphasis was to learn and practice under the guidance of an Enlightened Master.
I travelled all over India to different ashrams in search of a Guru and the experience of God. At these ashrams I met many great souls, yet I couldn’t find my Guru. After an earnest search lasting for 12 years, I gave up all hope of finding a Satguru (realised Master) to whom I could spontaneously surrender.
One fine morning in March 1995, on a Friday, I glanced at the newspaper at my home in Mangalore and I noticed an announcement saying that a saint known as
was coming to Mangalore Town Hall at 7:00 p.m.
I didn’t realise it then, but my Satguru was at my doorstep. I went to the programme with a sceptical mind, and at around 10:00 p.m., in the midst of a big crowd, I received Amma’s darshan, a divine embrace that made my heart melt, spontaneously bringing tears of joy to my eyes. However, I soon forgot all about it as I went on with my usual business and family life. But who can change Divine Providence? In October of that same year, I was at the Bombay airport, returning home from Europe, where I had attended a yoga programme. The plane had landed at around 1:00 a.m., after a journey of more than eight hours. After passing through customs and other formalities and then searching in vain for an overnight room, I was completely exhausted. Finally at 3:00 a.m., I managed to find a friend with whom I could stay.
I couldn’t possibly have thought about anything spiritual at that moment. After a bath I just went to bed. At this unimaginable moment, Amma, in Her white sari, was suddenly standing at the door, smiling at me. Spontaneously,
I crawled towards Her, like an excited child crawling towards its mother. The Divine Mother raised Her hand and pointed towards my Lord, Jesus Christ, who was standing at the right side of the room, fulfilling my ardent wish for a vision of Christ. It was the first and, so far, the last vision of Christ I have ever had. I wept profusely and Mother simply smiled at me. I was in a dilemma, for
I didn’t know whether to run to Mother or to Christ. Soon both of them disappeared.
I got up and switched on the light to discover that the sheets were wet with my tears of joy and ecstasy at this divine experience. There and then I realised that
I had always belonged to Amma, and that Her grace was such that I could now finally surrender to Her, the Satguru. My search was over and I would wander no more.
As soon as I returned to Mangalore, I was in a hurry to go and see Amma at Amritapuri. But I was told on the phone that Amma would be available only the first week of December as She was travelling abroad. I had to wait for a whole month, and during this time I remembered each day the vision I had had of Amma, and I earnestly engaged in spiritual practice.
On 6th December, 1995, I arrived in Amritapuri. It was a Wednesday and I was waiting in line for the darshan with an overfull heart to unburden at Amma’s feet. As soon as my turn came to experience Amma’s embrace, I poured out the story about the vision. Amma simply laughed.
When I persisted, She smiled and said, “Darling son,” and something else in Malayalam.
During the Devi Bhava the next evening,
I requested a mantra when my turn came. Amma didn’t give me a mantra but simply smiled and embraced me with great affection. She said to me in English, “Mother is with you.” As she said this, She ended the embrace with a serious expression rather than her ever-blooming smile. This remained with me the whole night. It was all a mystery to me.
The next day was a Friday. For 12 years I have been doing a special spiritual practice of silence and meditation on Fridays, as it is the sacred day of the crucifixion of Christ. Amma started darshan on this Friday at around noon. When my turn came, She again embraced me with a full-moon smile and she chanted a mantra in my ear. She then asked an attending sannyasi (monk) to teach me how to chant the mantra, with and without a mala (rosary). With other simple instructions, the sannyasi also advised me to read the volumes of “Awaken, Children!” continuously.
I felt that I was the most blessed person to have received a mantra from the Divine Mother on a Friday. Once again tears of joy flooded my eyes in a continuous stream. END [Separate report on AMMA to follow]
With this personal testimony of Rego, the reader can see how absolute and pitiful his deception is.
After what appears to be a diabolical visitation, Rego’s dilemma is to choose between Amma and Christ. Rego chooses Amma [the word for ‘mother’ in South Indian languages]. A ‘mantra’ given by her holds him in permanent spiritual bondage. Observe that Rego uses capitals when referring to Amma [She, Her]. He prays with Amma’s form of mala [rosary] using the mantra, not the Rosary of the Mother of God. As he candidly admits, he ‘belongs’ to the Amma, his ‘perfect master’.
It is unbelievable that the priests and Bishops of Mangalore even tolerate Rego’s spiritual poisoning of the Catholic population; they actually assist and encourage him in his awful work.
Rego’s testimony of his spiritual perversion should serve as a grim warning to those Catholics who would believe that they might use the asanas and breathing exercises of yoga for physical benefits without being influenced by the religious philosophies of yoga, or being spiritually compromised.
One of the earlier reports on V.L. Rego:
CATHOLIC USES YOGA FOR CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL PERFECTION
MANGALORE, India (UCAN) August 13, 1993
A Catholic layman is propagating yoga as a tool for Christian spiritual perfection and renewal in the Church. “Yoga made me a much better Christian, gave me the opportunity to experience Christ more fully,” says Valerian Lawrence Rego, a yoga master in Mangalore diocese 2,260 kilometers south of New Delhi. Rego, 47, told UCA News during his 90th yoga teaching session in a Mangalore parish that the “kingdom of God is within” and yoga is a way to experience it.
Yoga is an ascetic discipline rooted in Hinduism by which a person seeks liberation of the self and union with God through intense concentration, deep meditation and exercises using prescribed postures and controlled breathing.
Mangalore diocese promotes Rego’s Christian yoga camps. The first camp was opened by Bishop Basil Salvador D’Souza of Mangalore in 1986.
Rego, a businessman by profession, tours India with his motto, “To Christ Through Yoga,” but he regrets that “not even 1 percent of Christians really experience Christ and lead a true Christian life.”
During his search for the “Supreme,” the Christian yogi studied Hindu Scriptures, visited Hindu sacred places and spent days in the Himalayas. “Ultimately I realized that Christ is the center of my life,” said Rego, who has “vowed to propagate yoga among Christians to help them experience Christ.” “The greatest tragedy of Christians,” Rego told UCA News in late July “is the failure to enjoy the union with Christ, who is in them.” Rego explained that yoga helps “the union of the soul with the Supreme” and that it is “a skill of living with inner satisfaction, an art to gain mastery over mind, emotions and a way to perfect bliss – human and divine.” He claims yoga has helped him “work hard, develop confidence in life and avoid all diseases and illness.” Yoga, he added, not only gives an “emotional maturity and mental peace,” but promotes health.
Rego took up yoga in his youth, when he “had almost lost hope in life due to an acute diabetes and kidney failure.”
He claims the diseases have been cured completely through yoga. “Yoga gave me back my life and I have to give it back through its promotion,” he said.
The Divine Life Society
[see page 3] in the Himalayas and
in Kanyakumari, southern India, are
major Hindu yoga centers that support Rego’s “yogic mission” among Christians.
Rego said he was pained to hear of Catholic church buildings in the West being turned into dancing halls and libraries while thousands of Christians flock to Hindu sages seeking enlightenment. He warns that “the trend will increase unless we prevent it.” People, he said, “are fed up with dogmas and doctrines. They look for depth in divine experience.”
Father Richard Sequeira, former rector of Mangalore’s St. Joseph’s Major Seminary, said Rego’s yoga classes helped him realize “a great and dynamic power within, which is beyond any bodily knowledge.”
Rego asserts that yoga and Christianity should not remain two contrary things, but “one should lead to the other.”
Rego’s wife and his daughter are also on the “yogic” path. “Yoga has brought in more harmony, happiness and confidence to our family,” said Myrtal Rego, his wife. For Astra Sheetal Rego, their 16-year-old daughter, “yoga is a way of life – a harmonious way.”
TO CHRIST THROUGH YOGA- INTEGRAL YOGA, by V. L. REGO, 1987
This is Rego’s book on yoga. I had reviewed it in my July 10, 2000 article on yoga which had the lengthy caption:
“Propagation of the Practice of Yoga by Catholic Priests, and the Approval of their ‘Apostolates’ by Bishops and Cardinals.” I reproduce the matter from the referred report:
Front Cover: Rego has taken the ‘IHS’ symbol and replaced the ‘H’ with a ‘Y’: Integral Yoga Satsang. One of the figures in yogic posture has an
OM symbol superimposed on a symbol of the Cross emblazoned on his chest. Another figure displays the symbols of the
of the psychic energy system.
Inside one finds “OM
SRI BHAGAVATE…” after which he dedicates the book to his two sisters who are nuns.
In his Acknowledgements, Rego thanks two priests-
Fr. A. D’Lima, Director, Pastoral Institute, Mangalore, and
Fr. Vincent Menezes, Editor of the Raknno Konkani language diocesan weekly, “for all their sustained assistance to conduct yoga courses and introduce yoga to [the] Christian Community with a holistic approach“.
For this book, Rego admits that “Guidelines have been taken from the teachings and writings of great modern sages like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Sivananda, Sri Aurobindo, and Paramahamsa Yogananda… to the Ramakrishna Mission and Vivekananda Kendra… and [to them] I humbly prostrate and express my gratitude… I also voice my gratitude to Rt. Rev. Dr. Basil D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore, for his blessings and for having written the foreword to this book.”
FOREWORD BY THE BISHOP OF MANGALORE
dated 28.02.1987 EXCERPT:
“Yoga, the eternal science preserved for us in the Indian traditions is equipped with a science to offer a solution. It assuredly helps one to attain integral health of body, mind and spirit. It promotes HEALTH and WHOLENESS [emphasis- the Bishop’s].
Yoga, by its nature, needs to be learnt under a guru, a master. Mr. V.L. Rego who has acquired a deep knowledge on yoga has already shared his knowledge with many by conducting practical classes on yoga in India and abroad. They have been highly appreciated by the participants.
This book has ’emerged’ from these practical courses. We appreciate the services of Mr. V.L. Rego and invoke God’s blessings on all those working to promote the science of yoga.“
Fr. Vincent Menezes says
that ‘Propagating the cause of yoga is [Rego’s] life mission’. He informs us that Rego has trained at the Central Yoga Research Institute in Delhi, and at various yoga ashrams from the ‘Himalayas… to Kanyakumari’; has conducted yoga classes in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, and made educational films on yoga. This book has been translated into Konkani and German. Fr. Menezes quotes that greatly abused verse of Scripture, Luke 17:21* to claim that Jesus’ words are fulfilled in Rego’s yoga-meditation practice. [Third edition]
*And no one will announce ‘Look, here it is’, or ‘There it is’. For behold, the kingdom of God is among you. NAB.
So, what according to Rego is this “kingdom of God” that the good priest saw in his book and teachings?
Rego refers to God as ‘the Ideal’. “Facing east or north… place the portrait of the Ideal in a permanent place facing you while practising yoga. Place some flowers and burn some incense in front of the Ideal..” [page 3]
Where are those who argue that yoga is not a spiritual practice?
This highly trained and acclaimed yogi
recommends that yoga be performed while worshipping idols. Read on.
“Through the breath we receive the major portion of our vital force of living. And this
vital force of life is called Prana.
The control of this Prana through breath is called
Prana should not be confused with… oxygen… Prana is the subtle vital force
which moves every existing creature in the world [page 41]. Nadis are subtle paths through which the Prana (vital force) flows. They are not nerves. They are 72, 000 in number in a normal person. Ida, pingala and sushumna are the three most important nadis. These three are at the spinal column [page 45].
The first step towards this spiritual pranayama is to observe the breath [page 52].
Yoga confirms that there are spiritual centres (Chakras) in our spine
as experienced by St. John of the Cross in his revelation (7 pillars), by St. Teresa of Avila (7 mansions) and others. By trying to take our Prana (vital force) to these centres we can have the spiritual awakening and feel real joy within.
Our spiritual energy is lying in the form of a serpent power (Kundalini) with face downwards in the lowest centre which is called Muladhara Chakra. By concentrated practice of spinal pranayama we can arouse this spiritual power through the grace of God and make it rise to the second centre, that is Svadishtana Chakra. When the spiritual energy (Kundalini) rises to this Chakra, man
experiences various supernatural visions…
[Rego continues, from chakra to chakra] It has been said that when the spiritual energy rises upwards, the bliss and joy is so unimaginable that one loses body consciousness and…
one feels he is one with God as our beloved Christ said ‘I and my Father are One’.
The same expression has been given by Sri Sankaracharya and other great sages when they attained this high state of blissful living. The yoga philosophy thus confirms that the Holy Spirit is within…
It is only when the Kundalini, the spiritual power, rises in the spine, one is filled with the Holy Spirit… This is also called illumination
[pp. 55, 56]
WISDOM EYE PRANAYAMA:
Between the eyebrows, at the centre of the forehead, we have our wisdom-eye or spiritual-eye… Beholding the light of the spiritual-eye, our
will increase… [page 59]
DESCRIPTION OF WISDOM-EYE AS SEEN BY YOGIS:
In the beginning the spiritual eye may appear different to different people, but when it is seen perfectly it will appear as a star in the centre of the blue sphere that is encircled by the golden hale. The outer golden hale represents in terms of astral colours, cosmic energy or Holy Spirit. The blue sphere represents the vibration of Christ-consciousness… The little white star in the middle represents the pure light of God the Father… The yogi who penetrates the star enters cosmic consciousness [page 61].
Rego talks, not of sin, but of “the impurities of the mind” that must be overcoming by chanting mantras [page 74].
He quotes ‘Sri Krishna’, Buddha and Ramakrishna Paramahansa as freely as he does Jesus in the New Testament.
In the latest [fourth] edition,
Fr. Menezes has been replaced
on the back cover by a write-up from one Dr. Prabhakar Joshy who informs us that “The Kanara Christian Community conferred on him the title of Yogacharya”.
Notes: Rego’s book reads like a new Catholic Catechism that justifies itself through the philosophies of yoga. It shocks and grieves me that priests and Bishops have tolerated and encouraged its presence and its publication when it is fairly obvious that its theories contradict known science as well as Church teaching.
All the basic principles of the yogic philosophy as outlined by Rego are esoteric, or, to put it more plainly from the Christian believer’s point of view, occult. And, if one studies Rego’s teachings in the light of the Vatican’s 3rd February, 2003 Provisional Report ‘Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life…’, NEW AGE.
I do not want to embark on a comparative analysis of the two, since this issue has been treated in several of my reports, but a few of the prominent points are the denial of sin, the focus on salvation by works, the use of questionable prayer and meditative techniques, eastern philosophy that contradicts Biblical revelation on the understanding and purpose of man, the belief in the third-eye, sushumna, nadis, chakras, kundalini [all of which are linked by a common thread], etc., the deification of man, teaching that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal energy that can be manipulated, belief in a life force energy and that man has an astral or vital energy body, focus on intuition as against rational thinking, the psychic phenomena that reportedly accompany the practice of yoga, etc.
That a Bishop puts his seal of approval on such writings, which teach about esoteric energies, the chakras and kundalini serpent power, certifying them as scientific, is a matter of serious concern.
This is not an isolated case. Other such books on yoga, authored by Catholic priests, have been authorised by Bishops and even cardinals, and yoga declared as an ‘apostolate’. These books are even printed, published and sold by the Society of St. Paul and their Better Yourself Books. This writer has reviewed several of them in two detailed write-ups on yoga, written between 2000 and 2001. They are presently being converted from hardcopy to softcopy and will shortly be available on the website.
This article was almost ready by mid-March 2007, but its final completion was postponed due to the correspondence with the Bishops on the proposed compulsory introduction by some state governments of Surya Namaskar and Yoga in educational institutions [see separate documents on the SURYA NAMASKAR-YOGA issue and on YOGA].
Just as it is being completed in mid-April, the following report comes in:
VL Rego – Experiencing Spirituality In Yoga
by Violet Pereira, Mangalore http://www.mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=broadcast&broadcastid=42006
April 10, 2007: Yoga is an ancient Hindu Science of holistic living, practiced by the sages and Hindu Yogacharyas for the concentration of mind and self actualization. For VL Rego, Yoga is “an art of living with inner satisfaction, harmony and bliss”.
Mr. Antony Lewis Rego and Mrs. Juliana Rego from Bendur Parish gave birth to a child on 10th August 1946 and named him Valerian Lawrence Rego. Among the 5 children of this couple Valerian is the youngest child who was born as a sick child under unfavorable circumstances. At the age of five he experienced an attack of epilepsy.
Because of the superstitious thinking of his parents, little Valerian was taken to a priest to receive a bible treatment. Instead of taking him to the hospital they took him to the priest thinking that an evil spirit had entered his body. Everyday the people in his house kept his legs in water, which was filled in a brass vessel to clean and remove sand from his legs. After removing the sand from his legs, they used to make him kneel down and with a broom they beat him trying to rid his body of the evil spirits. At that time he was just 6 years old! One day, one of his sister’s friends visited their house and saw the scene of cleaning and beating this child with a broom. She felt pity and requested his parents and his sister to take him to Kankanady hospital. Thus, Valerian got admitted in Kankanady hospital. At first sight, solely by noticing the child’s condition, the doctor diagnosed that he was having a kidney problem and he had lost one kidney already. Since then they started him on epilepsy treatments and stopped giving all other treatments.
Valerian, at the tender age of six was living with only one kidney. His sickness continued and so did his treatment until the age of 17. Fortunately, for him, after his education, he moved to Delhi. By the time he was twenty eight, he was employed in Delhi. One day while working, he collapsed with acute diabetes. His sugar was 580 mg and his kidney was affected long back, then. He admitted himself in the hospital and was under insulin treatment for sugar control. One of his friend Mr. Singh, advised him to do Yoga. He said: “Mr. Rego one day or the other day we have to leave this world,
instead of suffering and dying you better do yoga and die.”
Valerian knew that his friend would not misguide him and he made up his mind to start yoga. He got himself admitted to
Veerendra Brahmachari’s Central Yogic Research Institute
at Delhi, where he started learning basic asanas. He regained his normal health by doing yoga and, also by taking the insulin treatment, he recovered from diabetes. He married in 1970 but did not have any kids until 1976. His wife too was having some health problems due to which she failed to conceive. After she too started performing yoga in 1976, Mrs. Rego conceived. Valerian Rego says that it is here that his interest in yoga increased and he thought of continuing in the Yoga field. His wife requested him to move to Mangalore for her delivery. Valerian did not refuse his wife’s request and without any second thought he resigned his job and moved down to Mangalore from Delhi.
After reaching Mangalore he was worried as to how he would earn his daily bread. Finally, he got a job in the Mangalore Productivity Council for Rs. 300. He realized that it was not his job and thought of making his own business. He took up a shop for Rs. 30 and invested Rs. 3000 and started his own business. He used to go to Hunsur to bring teak wood boxes and would sell it in Mangalore. While traveling to Hunsur, whenever he would get time, he would practice yoga.
In 1977, his wife gave birth to a baby girl and they named her “Sheetal”. Meanwhile in the teak wood box business, he got some profit and thought of extending it. He took up a loan of Rs. 10,000 from the Manipal bank and started an Electrical business. First he would go to Bangalore to get some electric wires and would then sell the same in Mangalore. He was taking the electric goods in his scooter and selling it to the shops. After reaching Bangalore, he would rest at the bus stop, because he could not afford to stay in hotels and here too he practiced yoga. By seeing his practice and interest in yoga and also in his business, his dealers said that they will send goods to Mangalore. From Delhi too, dealers were sending him the goods. Now he really became very successful business man. While he was planning to buy a big shop and extending his electrical business, one person offered him 10 cents land. In that land he built a house and a shop, and shifted his business to this building and named it Sheetal Wires.
By 1981, he was well established in his business. But his interest in yoga grew to a great extent. He thought of traveling to the Himalayas to meet the great yoga Gurus and learn and discover Yoga. He lived in the Himalayas for 3 months, and then he moved to the Shivananda [sic, Sivananda, see Divine Life Mission, pages 3, 5]
and met the great yoga gurus there too. Next, he went to Dakshineshwara near Calcutta, Bolur Matt, the birth place of Ram Krishna Bhat. He also visited Swami Gitananda, founder of Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, who was a M.D., F.R.C.S. Medical doctor, who has been involved virtually a life time in the practice of Yoga, spreading its scientific message to humanity.
The swami taught and initiated Yogacharya to Valerian Rego in November 1984, in his Gayatri Mantra Ashram, sharing many enlightened views to spread our RYSHI (Religion, Yoga, and Spirituality Health Integration) culture, in a most scientific way through modern techniques of communication. Soon after this, Valerian Rego traveled to
Vivekananda Kendra, Kanya Kumari and
Kurusumala Ashram [sic] near Kottayam.
In Kurusumala Ashram, he met a hermit,
Fr. Francis Acharya
from France [sic], who was practicing Indian prayers through Yoga and with him he learnt Indian prayers. After this, he went to the Sachidanda Ashram [sic] near Thrichi [sic] and there he learnt Kriya Yoga from Fr. Bede Griffith [sic]. [SEE NOTE BELOW, and page 46]
He continued his family life, business and yoga without any hurdles. In 1986, Valerian Rego went to the US to make his second film, named SMET (Stress Management of Executive Tension)
under the sponsorship of Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari.
While returning from the United States, Fr. Vincent Menezes, editor of Raknno, met Valerian Rego and took his life’s first interview. His “Yoga Vratha” took him to New York, Washington, Miami, and Los Angeles and also to Germany and England. Valerian Rego has been promoting yoga among Christians for years. “Still, Catholics, my own people, for whom I worked all through my life, have failed to recognize the high potential of yoga to lead one to an authentic Christian life”, he laments. On the other hand, Hindus have accepted me,” says Rego.
Integral Yoga Satsanga has begun mainly to bring awareness of vast Indian spirituality and Yoga (i.e. Sanatana Dharma) among the Roman Catholics;
he has introduced Integral Yoga Courses in retreat houses, seminaries, convent novitiates, since 1987. In spite of many hurdles, so far he has conducted 199 Christian Yoga camps in India and abroad and worked on his hobby with his savings. Now the papal agency in Germany – Missio, has given him a grant to Indianise Christians in India for their culturation (The grant has been obtained by the Bishop of Mangalore). It is for the first time in the history of 2000 years of the Church that the Indian Yoga program is approved by the International Roman Catholic Church body “Missio”.
His trust has built up a Yoga Center with about a 10,000 sq. ft. building area in 2.43 acres of land in Ranipura Hills, facing the Arabian Sea. In order to take up the project more effectively on a long term basis in the Catholic Church, it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Carmelite Fathers O.C.D, who have their head quarters in Rome, on 16th Feb 2002. They have taken up the Ranipura Project, as a joint venture.
This project and institution is named as RYSHI which means Religion, Yoga, Spirituality, Health Institute.
Yogacharya Rego, as he is now called, dedicates his life for the cause of Yoga and is trying to spread its practice everywhere. He has accepted it as his life’s mission. Recently he has opened a Naturopathy and Yoga Therapy Clinic at Pumpwell in Mangalore. His priority is to develop a Yoga Centre as an institute of Yoga.
Rego has traveled to almost all the important sacred Hindu places in India and has studied the ancient Vedic scriptures. He has also spent many days in the Himalayas by meditating. He says “Ultimately, I realized that Christ is the centre of my life and I have vowed to propagate the practice of Yoga among Christians as a means to experience Christ”. Every Friday he does “maunavratha” (thoughtlessness). That day he does not consume any food or water nor does he meet anyone. He keeps himself away from noise, food and almost all worldly things. He spends this day in complete meditation. Yogacharya Rego carries on his mission to propagate the benefits of yoga in order to achieve a higher level of experiencing God. Mangalorean.com lauds him for his untiring efforts and wishes him all the very best in his future endeavors. Please see photos here:
NOTE: Factual errors in the above report need to be corrected. Fr. Bede Griffiths OSB., is a Benedictine who had come to India in 1955 in search of “the other half of my soul” and co-founded Kurisumala Ashram
at Vagamon in Kerala in 1958 with Francis Mahieu, or Francis Acharya, [came to India in Sep. 1955] a Belgian of the Cistercian Order of Strict Observance (Trappist). Fr. Bede took over
or Shantivanam, at Thaneerpalli, near Tiruchirappalli, [Trichy] in 1968. Mahieu himself had, in November 1956, left Shantivanam [SEE MY REPORT ON CATHOLIC ASHRAMS]
It is unclear to this writer who really owns and runs the Ranipura yoga centre- Rego or the Carmelites, in what sense it is a joint venture. Fr. Gregory D’Souza’s website [see below] mentions nothing about Rego. Maybe a Mangalore reader of this report will give this writer a clearer picture. Meanwhile related inaccuracies, if any, are sincerely regretted. [See page 13]
From the close association of V.L. Rego with the OCD Carmelite priests of the Mangalore diocese, their having worked together for several years to propagate yoga in that city, it is only logical to conclude that they subscribe to the same beliefs as Rego does.
II. FR. GREGORY D’SOUZA, ORDER OF CARMELITES DISCALCED
This Discalced Carmelite, author of several books, some published by the
NBCLC, founder of the International Institute of Spirituality called Dhyanavana, which means
Meditation Garden, has taken over V.L. Rego’s yoga project, RYSHI.
UCAN September 5, 2005 reports that the “Carmelites already have spent 15 million rupees (about US$342,000) [Rs 1.5 crores]
to renovate the center.” [See page 3]
Father Rathan Almeida, OCD, Provincial Secretary as supporting the project, and ends thus, “Father Elias D’Souza, director of the Mangalore unit of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement, admits that ‘the Church is slow in understanding and implementing yoga in its system.’ But he asserts that ‘certainly (the Church) is not against such a powerful Indian science.’
Yoga can play a major role in the formation of Catholic youth, the priest told UCA News.”
RYSHI, RAS and SRI, AND
FR. GREGORY D’SOUZA OCD
www.ocdgregdsouza.org/ Recorded from Fr. D’Souza’s website:
Dhyanavana: In 1994 Fr. D’ Souza embarked on a pioneering project – to found an
International Institute of Spirituality
called Dhyanavana, which means Meditation Garden. From conception to completion Dhyanavana is his brainchild. Changing with the times is a part of human existence. Gearing up to change is what Dhyanavana is all about. The whole project involving raising of funds, planning the structure, furnishing it appropriately, organizing programmes, appointing lecturers was meticulously attended to. People of different walks of life were invited to participate in self-renewal programmes organized throughout the year.
RYSHI – Towards a Holistic Approach to Life: In India, which is a multi- religious society and the largest democracy in the world, communal out bursts with destruction and deaths at regular intervals, are worse than floods and draught.
Such a situation forces a person to live constantly in insecurity, suspicion and hatred. It is in this context that Fr. D’ Souza launched into a major international project in Mangalore, called RYSHI, which is an acronym for Religion,
Yoga, Spirituality, Health, and Institute.
Fr. D’ Souza realized that in order to overcome the misuse of religion for political and communalistic purposes, we need to promote inter-religious dialogue and provide necessary literature on different religious traditions so that listening to each other, and learning from the wisdom of religious sages, we can understand the truth better and live in harmony. The study and practice of religion, is to be addressed on a scientific basis, using even scientific method.
In order to attain this, Fr. D’ Souza has created a foundation called
RAS, which stands for
Religion And Science.
One of the great contributions of India to the wisdom of the world is
which when practised well, gives discipline to our life, brings about health of mind and body, promotes peace and serenity, and yields even longevity. Fr. D’ Souza realized that if India is not progressing, as it should, it is not merely because of economic poverty, but more because of the lack of discipline and application to work.
Fr. D’ Souza intends to provide the necessary means for systematic and scientific study of Yoga.
Eastern as well as Western approaches to health and hygiene of sound spirituality are to be harmoniously combined into a wholesome synthesis. For this purpose Fr. D’ Souza has set up an associate foundation called
SRI, which stands for
Spirituality Research Institute.
Fr. D’Souza is the author of 6 books “of scientific nature” such as:
Teresian Mysticism and Yoga, Divya Jyothi Publications, Mangalore, 1981.
And 35 articles and research papers like:
“Spiritual Inwardness in Shankaracharya and St. John of the Cross“, in Mount Carmel, A Theologico-Spiritual Journal, Oxford, 1986, pp. 165-173.
Basic Values in Christianity,
Paper read at Ramakrishna Ashram
On his web site there is a picture of a meeting that he had with Pope John Paul II:
“Meeting with the Pope. After his studies in Europe, Fr. Gregory had an audience with the Pope John Paul II and was given the privilege to concelebrate Holy Eucharist with the Pope in his private chapel at the Vatican.”
WHERE DOES ALL THE MONEY GO?
MORE ON FR. GREGORY D’SOUZA OCD., AND THE CARMELITES. AND YOGA!
The Carmelites in Mangalore exert considerable influence on the local population from whom many of their vocations have been drawn, while the State of Goa, located further north on the west coast of India also has a strong presence with two seminaries, one in Peddem [Initiation] where this writer has stayed on two occasions, the other in Margao [Novitiate].
The young men then go to Mysore for studying Philosophy.
The St. Joseph’s Monastery in Bikarnakatte, Mangalore, is a Theology Seminary of their Karnataka-Goa-Maharashtra province, existing since over two decades. There are about 5 or 6 priests, and 15-25 seminarians in four batches. It is from here that they ordain their priests after a total of 13 years of formation.
During the four years of theology, they study the Bible, Spirituality, Dogmatic Theology, Moral Theology, Church History, Canon Law, etc.,
and are exposed to yoga.
In the particular issue of their magazine Infant Jesus, the Superior Fr. Dominic Vas OCD. appeals for ‘bourses’ of Rs 50,000 each towards ‘spiritual adoption’ of seminarians by the faithful of the diocese!
But we recall the UCAN report that we read earlier which states that these same Carmelites have invested Rs 15 million in the propagation of the Hindu discipline of yoga!!!!!!!!!
The Church at the Monastery is known as the Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague. Father D' Souza was the pastor of this church and the Rector of the theological college. The Thursday masses and novena services, which are packed with devotees of all religious persuasions, are held in Kannada, Konkani and English. It is common knowledge that shrines dedicated to Infant Jesus or Our Lady of Vailankanni are good income-earners, and the one at Bikarnakatte would be no exception. So where does the money go? To the formation of seminarians? Or for yoga?
Writing in the Infant Jesus magazine, Fr. Gregory D'Souza says,
"There have to be effective and perhaps even new ways to address the problem concerning health, discipline and prayer. One of such means is Yoga. Prayer being an essential aspect of Carmelite charism, why should we not integrate ancient yogic science with prayer and meditation? In view of this, we have been organizing Yoga courses under the guidance of qualified experts."
True enough, the Shrine has become a yoga centre. One of the "qualified experts" referred to, was at that time, V.L. Rego.
The Carmelites are also chaplains to three religious communities- the Sisters of St. Anne at Angelore, the Bridgettine Sisters in Nanthoor, and the Bethany Sisters in Kulshekar. As provincial, Fr. D' Souza was also entrusted with the pastoral care of the Discalced Carmelite nuns who live in cloistered monasteries. The Vatican was so pleased with his work that it appointed him as the Religious Assistant of the Association of Mother of Carmel for three consecutive terms of three years each.
One can only imagine the yoga-inspired impact that the Carmelites are having on the spirituality of these poor nuns.
Fr. D’ Souza himself has been a
Visiting Professor of philosophy and mysticism in different seminaries
like St. Peter’s Inter-diocesan Seminary, Bangalore, St. Joseph’s Inter-diocesan Seminary, Mangalore, Sacred Heart College of Philosophy, Alwaye, Pushpashrama, a College of Philosophy in Mysore and in several institutes of Spirituality like Adyatma Vidya Pitha in Bangalore Jyothir Bhavan at Cochin and Mater Dei in Goa, Dhyanavana in Mysore from 1974 to-date. He has traveled abroad extensively to more than 40 countries lecturing on mysticism in universities, faculties, seminaries and institutes, and has been conducting about six seminars mainly on Mysticism every year.
He has also organized International seminars in the University of Mysore, like the one on “Interculturality of Philosophy and Religion” in 1994. He is a member of Indian Theological Association (ITA) and Indian Christian Philosophers Association (IPCA) and has successfully guided 60 dissertations of Master’s Degree in Christianity and four Ph. D. dissertations. He has several scholars doing their Ph.D. research under his guidance. Evidently, all those who studied under him would have been influenced by his thinking.
In preparation for his own Ph. D., “a most popular Indian school of Yoga, was the field of his philosophical research.”
Can one imagine the extent of the impact of this one yoga priest's influence on the thousands of Mangalorean Catholic families, fellow priests, seminarians, and religious whom he pastors and teaches with whom he interacts?
I visited Mangalore on April 21, 2006 with a mind to visit both Fr. Gregory and V.L. Rego.
I intended to ask Rego for proof against his contention at the press conference on July 8, 2005 [see page 35] that the Catholic Church has given her official approval of yoga. There were a few disciples practising yoga under the guidance of a Hindu woman at his centre in Pumpwell, but Rego himself was on maun vrath [vow of silence] for the day.
At the Shrine, I learned that Fr. Gregory was in Australia with one Celine D'Souza. Meanwhile I received an email from Sydney that the twosome were actively propagating yoga in Australia and then moving on to Europe. [see page 44]
However, I obtained the brochure of RYSHIVANA INSTITUTE OF INDIAN CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY which has the address of Munnur Post, Ranipura, Mangalore. An imposing building built on 9.5 acres of land in the most picturesque surroundings, Ryshivana has "70 bath-attached well-furnished single and double rooms which can accommodate 100 people. It has a lecture hall with audio-visual facilities, library, seminar rooms…" At the entrance there is a statue of the "Divine Master" welcoming the visitor with arms spread wide, and there is a beautiful chapel on the premises.
The first batch of religious sisters would be attending a programme there, June 15 - September 15, 2006.
The fee: Rs. 9000.00. The course: Living In God-Experience.
The first Retreat For Priests and Religious started October 1 and ran for a week. Another was one slated for January 2007, and one for May 2007. The fee: Rs. 1500.00. Fr. Gregory is the Director.
There is absolutely NO mention in the brochure of the use of yoga during these retreats, but it is highly improbable that the courses will not be centred around yogic spirituality which is the basis of Fr. Gregory's ministry.
The brochure does state that the thrust of the Institute's courses includes "union with God in prayer, meditation and mystical contemplation". Let us not forget that the YS of RYSHI stands for YOGA SPIRITUALITY.
And that the institute was set up "for the systematic and scientific study of Yoga".
One can therefore consider RYSHI as a Yoga Institute.
Ryshivana, however, is NOT a private enterprise of Fr. Gregory. It belongs to the Karnataka-Goa province of the OCDs and "is in the process of being affiliated to Teresianum, the Carmelite faculty of Spirituality in Rome".
As the director of this Dhyanavana institute, founded by him, from 1994 to 2002 Fr. D' Souza promoted spiritual and moral self-renewal, inculturation and inter-religious dialogue. During these years, a good number of people especially religious and priests have undergone "self- renewal" programme at this centre.
Fr. D'Souza has been elected to the diocesan senate representing religious for the second time.
One can only speculate as to how deep and wide the Discalced Carmelites' yoga net has been cast in the Church at large.
The referred pamphlet itself was distributed in the parish church.
FR. GREGORY’S FOREIGN MISSIONS,
AND A TESTIMONY: THERE ARE SPIRITUAL DANGERS IN DOING YOGA
Hi Mike and Angela…
There is a lady called Celine D’Souza from Mangalore who is accompanying a priest* and they have come here to Sydney to preach a retreat in my sister’s Doreen Parish. They were teaching them to do exercises which as she described to me were yoga like…
and they said that they were doing it while chanting the name of Jesus. They said there were a lot of foreigners who were becoming Hindus because of Yoga and they were here to tell them that they could do Yoga under the name of Jesus which I don’t agree with because nothing good can come through the demonic.
Besides, I have had a bad experience with yoga
and nobody can tell me different.
…When I first came to Sydney I attended some yoga classes because I needed exercise and I found that this gave me a lot of benefit without taxing my energy in having to do physical exercise. It was mainly breathing exercises and we did not do any chanting and it was an Australian who administered the classes.
When later on I did foolish things like casting out demons from my sister Vilma’s place, and in the office environment in the department I did not directly belong to, …months later I got attacked terribly. I tried to do all the things I knew like using holy water, the rosary, crucifix in my room, going to confession and confessing all the occult practices I had partaken in but nothing worked. It became too much for me when I started to hear voices.
There was a girl that I was living with and I thought that she had been on the phone and her voice was so high-pitched etc. I asked her about the same and she told that she had not used the phone.
I was then really worried and asked the community leader to pray for me. I told him what I had done and he told me that this was wrong because spirits are very territorial. I had no business to cast out anything because I did not live in my sister’s home and also in the office as well. Later on I found out that there was a pedophile in the department.
After they prayed with me and said a simple prayer of repentance and closed the entry points, the attacks ceased where I was scared to death with a supernatural touching me between 1-3 in the morning. However they told me that I would not be touched now but the demons would still try to fool me that they could do things. From that day onwards again for a few days I felt that arrows were being shot at me but there was a shield around me and they used to get deflected. However, I still always felt a presence of evil. The leader came and threw holy water and said casting-out prayers but it was still there.
One day while talking to one of the ladies she told me that she was cleaning out the servants’ library and getting rid of any ambiguous books. I then remembered that I had a book on yoga which I had bought in India and it was in my room. I thought I better get rid of it since it was not good for me. I put the same in the garbage bin and would you believe the same night and onward the evil presence had disappeared. Hence nobody can tell me different about yoga. We must steer far away from it even when they say we use the Jesus mantra while doing the same. That’s my experience…
…You have given me the right name of the priest, Fr. Gregory D’Souza. Yes when I gave my sister a print out about yoga from the Holy Spirit Interactive site which I think you introduced me to, and told her to give the same to the lady Celine who must have glanced at the same and she then gave my sister the letter which the Vatican had written
I suppose with the Pope’s permission**. I insisted and told my sister that she knew my experience and nothing good can come from the dark side. She said she never did any of the exercises. The mission was a kind of a health mission with the yoga exercises but she didn’t know that it was yoga and of course it had some teachings as well. The priest and lady said that they were going to Germany, France, etc to propagate this that yoga can be done with breathing in the Holy Spirit and breathing out all our sicknesses.
Now I am glad to authorize you use my testimony and I am sure it will help people who are not sure about things…
Love to Angie and self and take care. God Bless Pamela, Sydney, Australia
**IT SEEMS FROM PAMELA'S LETTER THAT THE PRIEST IS DISTRIBUTING COPIES OF A NOTIFICATION BY THE POPE PURPORTEDLY SANCTIONING THE USE OF YOGA BY CATHOLICS!!!!! ANY READER WITH EVIDENCE OF THIS IS REQUESTED TO WRITE IN.
DISCUSSIONS ON AN O.C.D. [ORDER OF CARMELITES DISCALCED]’S YAHOO E-GROUP:
Date: Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:04 am Subject: [ocds] Miriam’s message
Dear Father Deeney, Lonnie and All,
A message on Dec. 9th included a sentence regarding a
Carmelite prior teaching
meditation. Is this an acceptable practice in Carmel? Ann
From: “Miriam” <sophiementer@…> Date: Tue Dec 27, 2005 12:20 am Subject: Re: [ocds] Miriam’s message
Dear Ann: Our Carmelite prior has a non-confessional yoga and meditation center, yes, but this does not mean in any sense that he teaches buddhism or any other doctrine contrary to that of the Catholic Church. His approach to yoga is a purely physical one, just as you would do gymnastics, for example. People who attend the classes know that he is a priest, and sometimes seek his help for religious matters. He has told me that in the last years three women who used to go the center discovered their vocation and have become nuns in the meantime. This prior is a celebrated scholar in compared mystic and has taught for 50 years at Pontifical University in Salamanca. By the way, everyone in the Province of Castilla knows that he leads the yoga center, including the Provincial, and he has never had any problems with that. I think what he is doing is a great way to attract people to the Church. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my brothers and sisters in Carmel! Miriam.
From: “Lonnie Sorensen” <allisgrace@…> Date: Tue Dec 27, 2005 3:50 am
Dear Ann, It has been my experience that in the Church and in religious Orders we have all kinds of things like this happening. The Order and the Church wouldn’t be blessing any errors and certain individuals spread their opinions as fact. It is unsettling but this is our “lot”… and part of our cross. You know that better than most of us!
This document just came out: here is the site <http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/interelg/documents/rc_pc_interelg_doc_20030203_new-age_en.html> JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE A Christian reflection on the “New Age”
Merry Christmas, Lonnie
From: “Miriam” <sophiementer@…> Date: Thu Dec 29, 2005 8:11 am Subject: Re: Miriam’s message
Dear brothers and sisters in Carmel:
I have read the Vatican document about New Age. However, I think its approach to Yoga has to do with a philosophical question. If someone (and in Spain there are many individuals who do like that) practises Yoga just as he would attend Pilates or Aerobics classes (I mean, just for being in good shape and physically relaxed), is that really a problem?
Moreover: I am a musician and, although I have never done any Yoga, I know of several of my colleagues who do it because it helps them with their posture problems when playing an instrument.
Would that be unacceptable if they are Catholic? Some of the principles you actually learn in Yoga are the same ones you must adopt when playing the piano, which is what I do.
If I have discovered that through my daily activity both as a performer and teacher and not by Yoga, would that make it more acceptable than the attitude of my colleagues, who have reached the same knowledge through that oriental technique? Our prior does not consider any religious aspects of Yoga when teaching it, but merely the physical ones.
If he is helping people avoid unnecessary stress, physical pain and even serious injuries in their lives through these techniques, would that be condemnable? He is not speaking of reincarnation or any other things contrary to Catholic faith. He is only willing to offer help to anyone that comes seeking the improvement of their shape, posture and state of mind, regardless of their confession. And I must say that this Yoga center has really attracted many back to the Church because it lays just behind the conventual building and because everybody knows that its chairman is a priest and therefore tends to seek his advice in spiritual matters. Is that bad? A very different thing would be, of course, if he would spread unproper theories about our religion, but he is not doing that in any way.
Blessings from your sister in Carmel, Miriam.
From: Margarita Dufilho <dufilhomaldonado@…> Date: Mon Jan 2, 2006 7:11 am
Hello Miriam: I have never done Yoga but I do have several friends that do it every day for relaxation purposes.
Since they are not Catholic, I have never asked them about the spiritual part of the exercises. Can you tell me, when you are concentrating in the activity, what are you suppose to think about? Does anyone guide you and tell you what to think? Do you have a favorite “thought” that you repeat in your mind or what exactly is your mind doing while your body is trying to relax? Can you tell me? That to me will be the key to what Yoga would mean. Is Yoga a Spiritual exercises or not? Thank you and have a beautiful, Blessed, Holy New Year!!!
In Carmel, Your Sister, Margarita Dufilho, St Theresa’s in Houston, TX.
From: <email@example.com> The Mystical Body of Christ is multicultural; we are an international community, globally and in Carmel, and as such we bring who we are to this community. There is richness and great spirituality to be found in other traditions. This summer I had the opportunity to hear a talk by
Father Gregory d’Souza, OCD, from India.
He was written a book about Teresian Mysticism and Yoga. Visit his website
http://www.ocdgregdsouza.org/ and see the work he does in his own country. Each must be the unique individual God has created. If that means you are not comfortable with eastern practices such as Yoga, then you should leave them be. But it also means one must respect, and not be disturbed by, those who choose to inculturate their own traditions into both Catholic and Carmelite spirituality.
One of the biggest mistakes that Christianity made as it sought to convert others was to force Northern European traditions and lifestyles onto everyone. I found it very encouraging to learn about Father D’Souza’ work as I have been trying to meld my Native spirituality with my Catholic and Carmelite spirituality. Often it has been a lonely, misunderstood journey. Meegwitch–Thank you for listening. May you journey in harmony and peace in the new year. Linda
From: susnblum@… Date: Sun Jan 8, 2006 7:25 pm Subject: Re: Miriam’s message susnblum@…
Thank you Lonnie for passing along the site for the document on New Age. I think it is important to be aware of the potential to drift off course when exploring some of methods described in this document…
It would be a shame to not look at each practice and evaluate it individually for it’s merit and for the interpretation of the presenter to see if they are delving into the spiritual. When I recently had shoulder surgery I was given a yoga stretch to regain mobility as an exercise.
Breathing was part of the exercise, but only in the same way that a weight lifter breathes in and out at certain point in the cycle of lifting a heavy barbell. Comments appreciated. Susan OCDS
From: randall scott <r_b_scott@…> Date: Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:46 pm
Subject: Re: [ocds] Re: Miriam’s message
Contrary to what some seem to be saying there is no Carmelite method of prayer. St. Teresa seems to teach that what brings you into loving relationship with the Lord you should use. To say that we should not use breathing, physical positions, to come into prayerful presence is simply one’s personal belief. Yoga means many different things to different people. For some it is a good method to stay healthy through exercise and for some it is an eastern religion. Thank God Vatican II teaches us that dialogue with other religions is good and that there is much truth is many of them. Take what is good and leave what is contrary to the Gospel. Catholic fundamentalism is no better than protestant fundament-alism. Follow the truth taught by the church and new age will pass you by. There is much good in yoga exercises.
From: Melisa Darby <honeeb73@…> Date: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:49 pm
Subject: A Catholic Practicing Yoga
Hello, My name is Melisa Darby. I graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1997. I am a certified a power yoga teacher certified with National Yoga Alliance. I’ve created a blog which uses quotes from
Father DeChanet* and others who discuss Yoga for Christians:
http://lightonchristianyoga.blogspot.com. The following is a very brief essay on how this Yoga practice has deepened my relationship with Christ.
I have been Catholic my entire life, graduating with a Humanities and Catholic Culture degree in 1997. In January 2003, I took my first Power Vinyasa Flow Yoga class. It was the spiritual element I had known and recognized my entire life, but on a more deep, personal, nurturing level. For me, this practice brought my faith to life and my relationship to Christ is more personal as a result. I believe ultimately, Power Yoga is about not only transforming, but mostly about healing. Healing not just of the body, but more importantly of the mind and spirit, bringing spirituality into a more whole place. This practice shows you your gifts. This is what Yoga continues to do for me in a very direct, active, powerful way.
*What Melisa does not reveal is that Belgian yoga priest Fr. J.M. DeChanet LEFT THE PRIESTHOOD.
In my experience, many Catholics shy away from yoga claiming the spirituality and philosophy of yoga does not coincide with Catholicism or Christianity. I love the Catholic faith and I have directly experienced God’s healing and grace through my yoga practice. I feel called to share what I have known with other women like me and there are many Catholics and Christians who are skeptical. I have learned that one’s practice is SO AFFECTED by the approach to it. Being relaxed and receptive to the unexpected, the unknown I find is the hardest part. Letting go of my own need to feel comfortable and confident seems, for me, too hard, too much!! I think ultimately it’s about trust, and one’s capability to let go and trust depends on how willing they are to go beyond the way they know themselves right now and how willing am I to change? Yoga brings up active, real questions that get me connected and in touch with what is really going on inside of me. This awareness enables me to listen to and act on the voice of God more clearly. I realize that the only way to truly transform is by adding an element of pain, to sweat, focus, breathe through it all and break through self-imposed boundaries. Pick up your cross and follow me. To me, there are so many connections between Christianity and the spiritual I discover in yoga. It is my desire and ambition to somehow connect the two and then to teach to those Catholics and Christians who are afraid of yoga. I believe I am onto something that could be very beneficial for those who confuse the word religion for fear, fear of the unknown, fear of what they might become, fear of becoming who they really are- which is who God wants them to be.
Da: “Pietro” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Oggetto: Re: A Catholic Practicing Yoga
Allegato in formato testo [Preleva il file | Salva su Yahoo! Yahoo! Valigetta]
Dear brother in Christ,
I really think that many times the Lord want that we follow some mysterious way to meet Him at the end of the “journey” . Sometimes we meet him in a moment of extreme suffering, in a moment of joy, that we meet Him after a very sinful life! I also practiced yoga, when I was adolescent, and in a sincere search of Him… But soon I realized that what I was searching in the yoga practise, I could find the same in the Catholic faith…
Then I also realised that in yoga there is also an occult power that works out…
Yes, yes, yes, I know that it’s important our will, our sincerity but, as it is in my personal experience, first as a Christian and as a lay Discalced Carmelite, if there is something against our Faith, we have to try to avoid it…
I think that the Carmelite spirituality is very mystic and so reach of the Intimate Presence of HIM… Why do we have to look for a MANTRA to call Him close to us?
Have you never heard of NEW AGE? Well, it is just the first enemy of the Church, even worst than terrorism… And, yoga is a big part of New Age philosophy…
I have been in India two years ago, and I spent 10 days of spiritual retreat in a Benedictine Monastery, and what I saw there just shocked me.
With me there was an Indian friend, a lay Catholic preacher, that after that experience of “liturgical abuses” and blasphemy wrote a Report that he is sending to the Indian Catholic hierarchy… In this report it is well explained what is yoga, reiki, ayurvedic alternative medicine… Please, if you’ll like to receive it, just let me know, I’ll be very pleased to send it to you, also by e-mail (the Italian Discalced Carmelite that is mentioned in this Report it’s me!).
May God bless you, Your brother in Christ and in the Carmel, Pietro**
**Pietro Braccu, a Third Order OCD from Sicily, refers here to his visit along with this writer to Sachidananda Ashram, Shantivanam [run by Benedictines] in December 2004. See my report on CATHOLIC ASHRAMS http://ephesians-511.net/articles_doc/CATHOLIC%20ASHRAMS.doc
Data: 17 Mar 2006 11:49:20 -0000 Da: “Yahoo! Groups Notification” <email@example.com>
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[PIETRO BRACCU WAS BANNED FROM THE OCD GROUP FOR INSISTING THAT YOGA IS NEW AGE!!!]
SOME COMMENTS ON THE APRIL 10 mangalorean.com POSTING ON V.L. REGO
Rego’s connection with the Catholic Ashrams movement [see pp 5, 7], and its influence on him, was revealed at last- by Rego himself– in the referred posting, just as this report was going for publication. The last missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle of Rego’s history fell into place. It is another solid evidence, that is now not really necessary anymore, of my repeated contention that the Catholic Ashrams and the people associated with them are the prime movers in the propagation of New Age, yoga, syncretism etc. in the Indian Church.
The pictures that adorn the walls of Rego’s Integral Yoga institute are those of Hindu deities and his babas and gurus. A picture of his ‘Amma’ [see pages 3, 4] is hung at the entrance to his institute. Why shouldn’t he, when he has ‘surrendered his soul’ to ‘Her’; ‘She’ is the presiding deity of his Integral Yoga Satsangh.
To underline the sad state of affairs in Mangalore, I include here two responses from Mangalorean ‘Catholics’ to the posting by Violet Pereira [see page 40] on mangalorean.com:
1. Hey Violet, nice article and photographs yaar! I tried to practice some yoga asanas on the floor and banged my head badly!! Now I need some massage… I am in a bad situation dear!!! Any remedy? Austine Prabhu, USA
2. Well done Violet. I have always believed in the benefits of Yoga but never got around to trying it myself. It was amazing to see the agility of the people who practise yoga through the photographs accompanying your write up.
I wish Mr. V L Rego good health and a long life. May he be successful in his mission. Joyce Alvares, Qatar
Yoga and Christian Thought, by
St Paul Publications, no date
The book teaches you everything you need to know about yoga: asanas, pranayama, chakras, kundalini power…
“Nada and shabda mean ‘sound’, and laya is ‘dissolution’, dissolution of the mind in sound in the case of those who practice laya yoga. The sound referred to… is known as
anahat or omkar sound, the primal form of sound that is believed to be still vibrant throughout the universe.
Amritha Nadopanishad says that ‘Om’ is the Brahman in one syllable, and ‘Om’ is the highest form of the anahat or omkar sound.
“Nada Yoga, Shabda Yoga, and Laya Yoga, all concentrate on sound along with their prayers and meditations. The Anahat sound is said to be vibrant in the human body, believed by some to be at the Anahat Chakra… located near the heart, and by others to be at the Muladhara Chakra… below the base of the spinal column…
In his book ‘India of Yogis‘, Dr. Alfonso Caycedo gives some interesting information [about] Swami Nada Brahmananda [who] is well known for what is called ‘Kundalini Thaan’, during which the sound rises from the Muladhara Chakra… In Nada Yoga, the sadhaka [disciple] generally sings some short hymn or ejaculation such as ‘Om, Om, Om is there’ or ‘Om Nana Shiva’… or ‘Ram, Ram, Ram’.” [34, 35]
III. SANDESHA: A FOUNDATION FOR CULTURE AND EDUCATION
Premnagar. Bajjodi, Mangalore 575005 Phone: 2213278 Email:
SANDESHA FOUNDATION FOR CULTURE AND EDUCATION is a registered public trust, functioning under auspices of the Karnataka Regional Catholic Bishops’ Council.
The Board of Trustees : Chairman – Rt. Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore
The Director and Managing Trustee – Fr. Denis D’Sa. [Fr Francis Lewis is now the Director, Sandesha.]
The Rt. Rev. Dr. A.P. D’Souza being the Chairman, Fr. Denis D’Sa being the managing trustee and Sri. P.M. Castelino, Sri. Galdin D’Souza, Fr. Jayanathan form the Board of Trustees.
The Mission: SANDESHA was born on November 26, 1991 with the main goal of fostering a value- based society by promoting universal values of love and harmony among people of different faiths, customs and traditions.
This temple of arts believes that at a deeper level there is a true unity in all arts and they inspire communion of all people.
The institution follows a `guru-shishya’ tradition with emphasis on Indian traditions, values and ethos with the belief that it’s only through the sensitive Guru-Shishya (Teacher-Disciple) relationship can we preserve the artistic traditions of India. In its universal outlook, secular thrust, inclusive approach and its multifaceted activities, Sandesha could be more appropriately called a people’s power than an institution.
Sandesha’s specific thrust has been the application of wisdom, values, insights and experience of all faiths to the issues of human dignity, human rights, the environment and total development of the human person.
‘Beauty diversified into the arts is the true refiner and uplifter of humanity. It is an instrument of culture, the broadener of heart, the purifying fire which burns all prejudices, all pettiness, all coarseness. Without it true democracy is impossible, equality of social intercourse … an empty dream.’
Dr. Annie Besant
SANDESHA has an aesthetically designed
located at the centre of the Sandesha building. It is the heart, the power house, a veritable GUDI of divine presence, prayer and peace.
Activities: Sandesha’s annual Kalotsava, a festival of arts and communication skills strives to identify, appreciate and promote the rich cultural heritage of India for a greater interaction and integration of people.
It involves the participation of around 3000 students from over 600 schools from 8-10 districts of the state.
Asta Pushpaarchane: A ballet in Bharatanatyam Asta Pushpaarchane (offering of eight flowers to God)-depicting the triumph of good over evil by the use of talents given by God. Sandesha holds training classes in Bharatanatyam.
The SANDESHA LALITKALA MAHAVIDYALAYA aims primarily at promoting the rich cultural heritage of India for a greater inter-cultural dialogue leading to better national integration.
The Institution prepares students for the B.A. Degree in Bharathanatyam, Carnatic Music (Vocal), Western Classical Music (Instrumental), History and Drawing and Painting. The institution is affiliated to Mangalore University and recognised by the Government of Karnataka. Most Rev. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore, is on its Board of Management.
Karnataka Kala Kendra is a school of media and arts, promoting media and the cultural heritage of India. The school aims to identify, appreciate, re-create art forms in Karnataka and promote them for social interaction, national integration and transformation. To achieve this, Karnatak Kala Kendra conducts full-time and part-time courses in
Bharatanatyam, carnatic and hindustani classical singing, Eastern and western instrumental music and fine arts.
In March 2007, Sandesha Lalitkala Mahavidyalaya hosted a week-long Karnataka State level workshop on
in collaboration with by St Mary’s College, Shirva, sponsored by the University Grants Commission, conducted by the eminent Odissi dance exponent Smt Itishree Devi, Disciple of Padmavibhushan Gurushree Kelucharan Mohapatra.
The April/May 2007 Summer Courses at Sandesha include Bharatanatyam dance, and YOGA.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE BISHOP OF MANGALORE
Subject: Re: REMINDER, PLEASE: YOGA IN THE DIOCESE OF MANGALORE
Dear Mr Michael,
I have received your e-mails and the hard copies of your mail. Thank you very much for the same. You wanted a response from me regarding yoga in Mangalore. As I see it, the purpose of yoga is for concentration in prayer, contemplation and meditation. It is also meant to condition one’s body to achieve tranquillity and harmony of the spirit. Yoga is also used towards building up and maintaining good health of mind and body. Like any other technique, constant recourse to yoga practices do make a person healthy and peaceful. Yoga need not be looked down upon, if it is used as means to further a purpose. There may be so many other methods to achieve good health, for those matters even different medical systems such as allopathy, homoeopathy, ayurveda, naturopathy. In fact yoga is like naturopathy.
There is always a tendency to be carried away by some method, if one does not stay focussed. There may be aberrations; so much so, one may even divinise yoga, as might be the case with some yoga masters, be they Christians, or Hindus. The fault lies when means take the place of the end.
The Catholic Church in the recent past, has opened herself up to the truths and good things found in other religions, philosophies and cultures and it has been considered as an appropriate means to have dialogue with others, but in no way diluting or watering down our own truths or even compromising them. It is possible that extreme positions do creep in at times unconsciously or even consciously. A constant watch over such eventualities has to be kept, provided one is open to possible errors. It is also possible that traditionalists may become fanatic and fundamental in viewing the changes that are taking place. The Church gives much importance to inculturation in the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yoga practices could be one such way of inculturation in the spread of the gospel. But limits have to be known and kept up.
When someone crosses boundaries it is necessary to bring that person back to the right track but this needs to be done only after sufficient amount of research, inquiry and study, lest there should be uncalled for confrontation, which may do more harm than good. Let yoga exercise be looked upon as means to attain the desired purpose of integrity of life in every aspect. Let Jesus himself be the undisputed Guru, as He really is. The practice of his gospel is itself the highest type of yoga understood in the Christian sense as means to attain perfection.
Regarding Bro. Johnson Sequeira, I have already informed the concerned persons to take note of.
Wishing you all well and best wishes, Yours Sincerely, Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D’ Souza, Bishop of Mangalore
Subject: REMINDER, PLEASE: YOGA IN THE DIOCESE OF MANGALORE
1. On June 25, July 16 and July 25, I had sent you three emails [reproduced below] on the subject of “MUMBAI PREACHER BRO. JOHNSON SEQUEIRA WHO IS ACTIVE IN MANGALORE“. I have received no acknowledgement even after six weeks.
2. Accordingly, on July 27, I posted to you a parcel of papers which, along with the above report, includes:
a) A report on PREACHER ANTHONY SAMUEL OF SECUNDERABAD LEAVING THE CHURCH AND FOUNDING HIS OWN CHURCH [NO RESPONSE RECEIVED]
b) ROMANCING WITH HINDUISM AND OTHER NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS – POSTING NO. 1 [Kollam church] of March 23, 2007
ROMANCING WITH HINDUISM AND OTHER NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS – POSTING NO. 2 [SUB: THE PROPOSED COMPULSORY INTRODUCTION OF SURYA NAMASKAR AND YOGA*] of March 28, 2007
d) My “Open” letter of March 29, 2007
These were already emailed to you on those dates and also posted to you as hardcopies on 30.03. 2007**.
e) A 4-page write-up on YOGA*, prepared by me. It was published in STREAMS OF LIVING WATER, Kolkata, and THE CATHOLIC TIMES, Chennai [Serial No. 35]. *Two detailed reports each of 100 pages are posted on this ministry’s website.
f) My 14-page April 2007 report captioned “YOGA IN THE DIOCESE OF MANGALORE” [Serial No. 28]: it details the activities of
(i) Mr. V.L. Rego of the INTEGRAL YOGA SATSANGH in Pumpwell, Kankanady
(ii) Fr. Gregory D’Souza OCD., of Dhyanavana, RAS [Religion And Science], SRI [Spirituality Research Institute] and the YOGA Institute RYSHI [‘YS’ stands for ‘YOGA SPIRITUALITY’]
(iii) SANDESHA FOUNDATION FOR CULTURE AND EDUCATION which functions under the auspices of the Karnataka Regional Catholic Bishops’ Council.
3. The “YOGA IN THE DIOCESE OF MANGALORE” report is attached once again herewith for your convenience. I now look forward to a response from Your Grace.
Yours obediently, In the CCBI Year of the Laity, Michael Prabhu
**To the serial nos. 2 b), c) and d), Your Grace had already responded as follows:
I went through the documents you sent me. I understand your point of view. I agree with your statement, “We Catholic Christians are not on a religious search, we have the Truth and a mandate from Jesus…” We do not grope in the dark but walk in the Light.
With regard to Fr. Romance Antony’s intention is to send a message to all that Christianity welcomes all but he cannot compromise the Truths of Christianity. Does he do it? I appreciate your standpoint. We need persons like you to alert us.
Thank you. I wish you a Happy Easter, Peace and Joy of the Risen Lord! Yours sincerely,
Sd/- + Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore [Letter ref. My/236/2007 dated April 5, 2007]
YOUR GRACE, RE. MUMBAI PREACHER BRO. JOHNSON SEQUEIRA WHO IS ACTIVE IN MANGALORE:
PLEASE SEE ATTACHMENT.
I HAD SENT IT ORIGINALLY TO THE BISHOPS OF BOMBAY, BANGALORE AND GOA UNDER THE FOLLOWING COVERING LETTER. SOME RESPONSES, INCLUDING THAT OF A BISHOP OF BOMBAY, ARE INCLUDED ON PAGE 2. SINCE THEN I HAVE RECEIVED A FEW DOZEN MORE RESPONSES.
YOURS OBEDIENTLY, MICHAEL [ATT: BRO. JOHNSON SEQUEIRA NOT ALLOWED TO PREACH…]
Archbishop’s House ; firstname.lastname@example.org ;
email@example.com ; Agnelo R. Gracias ; Percival Fernandez ;
firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com ;
Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media – Goa ;
firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com ;
firstname.lastname@example.org ; nco
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 12:07 PM / Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 1:10 PM
Subject: BRO. JOHNSON SEQUEIRA OF MUMBAI CONDUCTING MINISTRY IN BANGALORE
Subject: MUMBAI PREACHER BRO. JOHNSON SEQUEIRA WHO IS ACTIVE IN MANGALORE Your Grace, This is the third letter [starting June 25] that I am writing to you on this issue for your kind response, but this time without the attachment. MICHAEL PRABHU CHENNAI]
Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2007 12:44 PM
Subject: MY RESPONSE: Re: YOGA IN THE DIOCESE OF MANGALORE
Your Grace, Bishop Aloysius,
I thank you for your detailed response explaining your position with regard to the philosophy and practice of YOGA.
It is essential for me to know what our good Bishops believe or think on these issues like yogic exercises and yogic meditation which are related to certain aspects of inculturation, inter-faith dialogue, eastern prayer techniques, the occult and the New Age.
You are of course aware – from the material that I emailed and also posted to you – that I do not accept that yoga can/may in any part be a part of Christian life.
While thanking you for your studying my articles and reports, which is evident by your delayed response, may I request you to please visit my website, www.ephesians-511.net and read the following reports:
1. YOGA March 2007 1.10 mb 106 pages
SURYA NAMASKAR AND YOGA TO BE MADE COMPUSLORY IN INDIAN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS March/April 2007, 1 mb, 98 pages
You might also want to read my reports on HOMOEOPATHY, AYURVEDA, etc. Like Yoga, Homoeopathy is specifically mentioned in the February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age.
Along with my analysis and comments, you will find the collated reports of many international Catholic ministries, priests, Bishops and Theological Commissions. There is no better and more complete information available ANYWHERE.
I find that none of those dozens of Catholic opinions agree with your positions.
My research reveals that the “aberrations” which you mention are the norm, and not the exception. I have provided a wealth of evidence of that. Those who have written are neither traditionalists nor fanatics nor fundamentalists but good Catholics – lay ministers, priests and Bishops – who are sincere to Church teaching.
The opinions also show that yoga can never be used to propagate the Gospel by way of inculturation. Rather, the opposite happens. A syncretised gospel is the result. Worse still, the practitioner / propagator of yoga begins to worship false gods. If you have read the section of my YOGA report on Mr. V. L. Rego, you can see that he worships the godwoman Mata Amritanandamayi.
The faith of the practitioner is always compromised. If at all, he preaches a Jesus Christ made in his own image.
All Catholic writers on New Age themes unanimously agree that there can be no such thing as “Christian” yoga. The two are mutually exclusive.
Incorporation of Hindu practices like yoga does not seem to be the means of evangelization or dialogue visualized either by Rome or by the Indian Church.
Your Grace writes, “But limits have to be known and kept up. When someone crosses boundaries it is necessary to bring that person back to the right track… “.
But who, or what body in the Church, has an idea of these limits and regulates those who cross the non-existent boundaries? What are the norms regarding the use of yoga by Christians?
Maybe Your Grace will be able to do something and have a response to this problem after studying the articles referred above, at my website. If it will be easier for you to read the hardcopies, I can send you the same at once.
Yours obediently, Michael Prabhu, Chennai