JUNE 16/JULY 23, 2015
Catholic priest plans yoga event, sparks debate
By Jyoti Shelar, Mumbai Mirror, June 15, 2015
While some feel yoga is anti-Christianity, others say the June 23 event is BJP propaganda, as its posters have photos of Modi, Fadnavis.
A yoga event for recovery from addiction, organised by a Catholic priest, has created quite a stir within the community. While many members saw yoga as “anti-Christianity”, others labelled the programme as BJP propaganda, as its posters featured the pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, MLA Ashish Shelar, among others.
The event, organised by Fr Joe Pereira, a promoter of Iyengar yoga who is attached to the NGO Kripa Foundation, is scheduled for June 23 at the St Andrews auditorium in Bandra.
The large-scale event will have participants from de-addiction centers from over 20 countries. Its posters announce the guests of honour as Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, MP Shripad Naik, CM Devendra Fadnavis and MLA Ashish Shelar. The poster also asserts on World Yoga Day, with a picture of Modi.
Many community members have approached the archdiocese to complain against the event. “Firstly, yoga is not Biblical. If a priest wants to organise something, he should do it within the framework of the Christian world,” said Vincy Nazareth, a parishioner from Mahim. He also said it was not right to have such politicised events, as church was not affiliated with any political party.
Pereira, who has published a book called Yoga for the Practice of Christian Meditation, has many followers and an equal number of opposition, too, who have labelled him as a “non-Christian”.
“I would say Fr Pereira is not a Catholic priest. He is more of a Hindu yoga guru,” said Michael Prabhu, who calls himself a Catholic apologist or an explainer of the Catholic faith. “I am not condemning yoga for Hindus. All I am saying is yoga is not right for Christians,” said Prabhu, who said the religious philosophy of yoga lay in Hinduism. “Yoga is a Hindu spiritual exercise and not compatible with Christianity,” he added.
Meanwhile Bishop Agnelo Gracias, vicar general of the archdiocese, said, “Many members have come to us to complain about the issue. The church has never taken a stand on yoga and we consider it purely a form of exercise for better health and better life.”
According to Gracias, the archdiocese has no qualms over printing the pictures of guests of honour invited to the event.
“But Narendra Modi is not invited and his picture on the poster does give a feeling of it being a BJP event. I have already spoken to Fr Pereira about this and he is taking some measures,” assured Gracias.
Fr Pereira could not be reached for comments, as he is out of the country.
1. Who is this Michael Prabhu to tell us that yoga is anti christian.Christ was never anti anything.Vincy though is right in saying that church is not affiliated to any political party. Take it as a form of exercise n to commemorate world yoga day. –Clara Miranda
2. Christ was crucified for being “Anti “. Do you know even the basics of your faith or living on some “amby-bamy” image of Christ! If you don’t know who Michael Prabhu is, shows how little you know about the “rock” that he is to the Church in India and abroad. Get involved with your faith before watering it down on open forums. –Chris Fernandes
3. There’s nothing wrong with yoga. It is utter poppycock to say that it goes against Christian beliefs. Let us not assume that our faith is weak!! –Allan D’Sa
4. This web is biased. If you show that yoga in not compatible with Christianity they remove your message. I bet this post will on line very few hours!!! This is Satan tyranny!
Yoga is incompatible with the Christian spirituality because it is pantheistic (God is everything and everything is God), and holds that there is only one Reality and all else is illusion or Maya. If there is only one absolute reality and all else is illusory, there can be no relationship and no love. The centre of Christian faith is faith in the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, three persons in one God-Head, the perfect model of loving relationship. Christianity is all about relationships, with God and among men:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is, you shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mt 22: 37-39).
To call Jesus a yogi is to deny His intrinsic divinity, holiness and perfection and suggest that He had a fallen nature subject to ignorance and illusion (Maya), that He needed to be liberated from the human condition through the exercise and discipline of Yoga.
To know the truth, just type in Google “Manjackal Yoga”. Many, many articles showing why Yoga is not compatible with Christianity may be found.
Father James Manjackal is a Catholic Priest from Kerala. He has made several evangelical journeys abroad covering 87 countries in all five continents preaching retreats, leading conventions and healing services, conducting Schools of Evangelisation and pioneering missions among the Muslims in the Arabian Gulf. –Javier Lopez
The poster put up by Fr. Joe Pereira, founder of the yoga-promoting KRIPA Foundation, with the blessings of the Archdiocese of Bombay. It endorses World Yoga Day, June 21
In Mumbai, a Catholic priest-yogi attacks Western propaganda against yoga
By Aarefa Johari, April 07, 2015
Father Joseph Pereira, who teaches Iyengar yoga around the world, believes its opponents are extremist ‘God addicts’.
Is yoga incompatible with Christianity? Conservative Christians in Europe and the US have been posing this question with growing fervour in the past few months, accusing India’s biggest export to the West of propagating Hinduism and leading Christians down the path of evil.
The controversy was in the news again last week, when an appeals court in California ruled that yoga is secular, “devoid of religious or mystical trappings” and can be taught in schools without violating students’ religious freedoms. The ruling was in response to a 2013 lawsuit filed by worried Christian parents of Encinitas town, who claimed that yoga classes introduced in a local elementary school were promoting Hinduism and Buddhism amongst their children.
But an Indian Catholic priest from Mumbai has a thing or two to say to the Christian groups in the West whipping up fears against yoga in the West.
Joseph Pereira, a Catholic clergyman and proponent of Iyengar yoga, wears both his hats with perfect ease as he teaches yoga around the world. He studied the practice directly from BKS Iyengar, the legendary founder of Iyengar yoga, and his students include everyone from Christian priests to Singapore’s first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew. Through his 34-year-old organisation Kripa Foundation, he uses yoga to rehabilitate people with alcohol addiction problems.
Father Joseph Pereira with BKS Iyengar. Photo courtesy Kripa Foundation
Anti-yoga propaganda, says Pereira, is the work of a specific lobby of fundamentalist, “born-again” Christians who he describes as “God addicts”. This may sound strange coming from a Catholic priest, but Father Joe – as most people know him – has chosen his words for a reason.
Opium for the masses
“Jesus, for me, is the supreme yogi, because he spoke about being one with God,” said Pereira, who emphasises that Iyengar yoga transcends all ideologies and philosophies with its ability to unite people. Just this year, Pereira published a book called Yoga for the Practice of Christian Meditation, connecting the practice of various yoga asanas to teachings from the Bible.
The Catholic church, he says, has actually been open to the idea of opening up to practices like yoga since the Second Vatican Council of 1962, when the church issued two documents – one about the church in the modern world and the other on its relationship with non-Christian religions.
“In both documents, we have been encouraged to imbibe spirituality from world religions,” said Pereira. It is in this spirit that Bede Griffith, a British Benedictine monk living in India, began to promote Hindu-Christian dialogue, wrote a Christian reading of the Bhagwad Gita and came to be called a yogi.
“How many people in the West know about all of this?” said Pereira. The anti-yoga propagandists, he said, not only fail to see the spiritual aspects of yoga, they also fail to delve deeper into the meaning of their own religion.
“So many people who come to church every day are lost in religion – they make a fetish out of their idea of God but don’t know what it really means,” said Pereira. “Marx was right when he said that religion can be like opium for people.”
Christian denominations like the Pentecostals, the Southern Baptist churches in the US and various television evangelists – the groups that routinely oppose the practice of yoga – are highly fundamentalist “God addicts” who Pereira likens to the Hindutva Bajrang Dal or the Islamist Al-Queda. “All these groups preach the prosperity gospel – the idea that if you follow the gospel, you will prosper,” said Pereira. “They are only in it for the money and power.”
Acrobatics versus yoga
To Pereira, yogic spirituality is primarily about healthy living, and he plans to promote the idea this year on June 23, which Kripa Foundation will mark as an International Yoga for Addiction Recovery Day. Representatives from de-addiction centres from at least 25 countries will participate, including the US.
Pereira emphasises, however, that it is mainly Iyengar yoga that he chooses to defend from opposition in the West. “All kinds of yoga are being popularised in Western countries these days, and some of them do present yoga through a Hindu religious lens,” he said. “Most, however, have just reduced yoga to acrobatics. But yoga is not just a work out – it is a work in.”
After objections, NGO changes poster for Yoga Day event
June 20, 2015
A non-governmental organisation (NGO) has decided to remove photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Manohar Parrikar from its posters for a Yoga Day programme, after objections by some members of the Catholic community.
The NGO Kripa Foundation’s posters, which were put up a few days ago, featured the photos of the PM and defence minister Parrikar, along with MP Shripad Nair, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and MLA Ashish Shelar.
“We will remove the faces of Modi and Parrikar,” said Fr Joe Pereira, foundation’s promoter.
He, however, maintained that the move came about not because of external pressure, but simply because Modi and Parrikar, who were to attend the event, would not be able to make it.
The yoga programme is scheduled for June 23 at St Andrews Auditorium in Bandra.
Last week, some parishioners had written to the Archdiocese of Bombay, objecting to the programme for its alleged political leaning.
Vincy Nazareth, a Mahim church parishioner and
Michael Prabhu, who heads a one-man ministry called Metamorphose in Chennai, were among those who objected.
Bishop Agnelo Gracias, vicar-general of the Archdiocese, said, “Although we feel that the opposition to yoga is not justified, we have decided to change the poster.”
Nazareth said, “We will continue our protest against the practice of yoga being non-Christian and promoted by an NGO that works under the Archdiocese.”
Below is a letter that I received in response to the publication of this article:
From: Prakash Lasrado firstname.lastname@example.org
To: email@example.com CC: Over 50 clergy and lay Catholics Subject: Rebuttal to Michael Prabhu on yoga Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2015 11:34:24 +0530
Regarding your criticism of Fr. Joe Pereira,
https://ephesians511blog.com/2015/06/17/catholic-priest-plans-yoga-event-sparks-debate-2/, following is my advice and rebuttal to you on yoga:
1. While doing yoga, do not worship the sun or a deity other than Christ.
2. Do it as a physical exercise for lowering blood pressure, body weight etc. or mental exercise to improve concentration, calmness.
3. If you do the above, you will never get possessed by the devil.
4. Even Muslims do yoga but avoid bowing before the sun.
First of all, I have reiterated to him that I do not own or run any blog including the referred one.
People are free to reproduce material from my site, which is ephesians–511, and they do.
His letter is as juvenile (silly), inaccurate and uninformed as all the others he has sent me.
Who ever said that when doing yoga one must “worship the sun or a deity“?
Yoga-defenders like Lasrado do not want to understand that one can do fitness exercises and can practise beneficial breathing techniques without going anywhere near yoga. I fail to understand why they must name their activities as “yoga” unless they have capitulated/subscribed to some of the spiritual philosophies of yoga. That could be the only reason that they defend the use of the term “yoga” for their physical exercises.
All non-‘yogic’ exercises such as aerobics are good for one’s bodily health.
To use Lasrado’s extreme expression, one may be “possessed by the devil” even by consuming prasada offered to a pagan deity, or by giving in to hatred and unforgiveness which result in murder and other heinous acts.
If certain aspects of doing yoga involve paying obeisance to “other gods”, then breaking the First Commandment could certainly lead to demonic oppression, obsession, or even possession as some exorcist-priests have documented. See
SATANISM, DELIVERANCE AND EXORCISM
EXORCISTS WARN AGAINST USE OF YOGA MANTRAS
NO EXORCISTS IN THE INDIAN CHURCH
Some Muslims certainly do yoga as Catholic Lasrado does, and as Fr. Joe Pereira and his followers do. But just as the Vatican (Rome) has published two documents warning Catholics of the dangers of yoga, several Islamic nations have banned it, and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has deemed it a Hindu system.
Lasrado has confused yoga with Surya Namaskar. Hindus engage in the practice of one to the exclusion of the other.
FR JOE PEREIRA-KRIPA FOUNDATION-NEW AGE ENDORSED BY THE ARCHDIOCESE OF BOMBAY AND THE CBCI
FR JOE PEREIRA-KRIPA FOUNDATION-WORLD COMMUNITY FOR CHRISTIAN MEDITATION
FR JOE PEREIRA-KRIPA FOUNDATION-WORLD COMMUNITY FOR CHRISTIAN MEDITATION-LETTERS TO THE BISHOPS AND THEIR RESPONSES
FR JOE PEREIRA SUPPORTED BY HIS BISHOPS CONTINUES TO MOCK AT CATHOLICS
BRAHMA KUMARIS WORLD SPIRITUAL UNIVERSITY
CARDINAL OSWALD GRACIAS ENDORSES YOGA FOR CATHOLICS
CATHOLIC YOGA HAS ARRIVED
DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE ERRORS-05
FORMER YOGI REJECTS A CHRISTIAN ALTERNATIVE TO YOGA
FR ADRIAN MASCARENHAS-YOGA AT ST PATRICK’S CHURCH BANGALORE
FR JOHN FERREIRA-YOGA, SURYANAMASKAR AT ST. PETER’S COLLEGE, AGRA
FR JOHN VALDARIS-NEW AGE CURES FOR CANCER
IS BISHOP DABRE FORMER CHAIRMAN DOCTRINAL COMMISSION A PROPONENT OF YOGA
NARENDRA MODI SEEKS TO INTRODUCE YOGA IN UNIVERSITIES
NEW AGE GURUS 01-SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR-THE ‘ART OF LIVING’
PAPAL CANDIDATE OSWALD CARDINAL GRACIAS ENDORSES YOGA
U.S. CATHOLIC MAGAZINE ENDORSES NEW AGE-REIKI, YOGA AND ZEN
VISHAL JAGRITI MAGAZINE PULLS YOGA SERIES OF FR FRANCIS CLOONEY
YOGA IN THE DIOCESE OF MANGALORE
YOGA, SURYANAMASKAR, GAYATRI MANTRA, PRANAYAMA TO BE MADE COMPULSORY IN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
A CATHOLIC ALTERNATIVE TO YOGA-PIETRA FITNESS
AN INDIAN CATHOLIC’S PROBLEMS WITH THE CONDEMNATION OF YOGA ARE ADDRESSED
AUM SHINRIKYO YOGA CULT
AYURVEDA AND YOGA-DR EDWIN A NOYES
MANTRAS YOGA WCCM CHRISTIAN MEDITATION ETC-EDDIE RUSSELL
TRUTH, LIES AND YOGA-ERROL FERNANDES
WAS JESUS A YOGI? SYNCRETISM AND INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE-ERROL FERNANDES
YOGA AND DELIVERANCE
YOGA IS SATANIC-EXORCIST FR GABRIELE AMORTH
YOGA-A PATH TO GOD-FR LOUIS HUGHES
YOGA-BRO IGNATIUS MARY
YOGA-FR EZRA SULLIVAN
YOGA-THE DECEPTION-FR CONRAD SALDANHA
YOGA-WHAT DOES THE CATHOLIC CATECHISM SAY ABOUT IT
YOGA-WHAT DOES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SAY ABOUT IT?
LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON SOME ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MEDITATION
CDF/CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER OCTOBER 15, 1989
JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE, A CHRISTIAN REFLECTION ON THE NEW AGE COMBINED VATICAN DICASTERIES FEBRUARY 3, 2003
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-01
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-02
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-03
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-04
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-05
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-06
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-07
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-08
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-09
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-10
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-11
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-12
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-13
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-14 VIRGO HANDOJO
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-15 PURVI
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-16
PRISCILLA DE GEORGE
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-17
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-18
BRANDY BORDEN SMITH
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-19
CONNIE J. FAIT
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-20
TESTIMONY OF A FORMER YOGI-21
FR. PARESH PARMAR
MANTRAS AND “OM”
CHANTING OF MANTRAS
EXORCISTS WARN AGAINST USE OF YOGA MANTRAS
MANTRAS, ‘OM’ OR ‘AUM’ AND THE GAYATRI MANTRA
MANTRAS YOGA WCCM CHRISTIAN MEDITATION ETC-EDDIE RUSSELL
NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 26-RESPONSES TO REVISED EDITION NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CATHOLICS
ARATI IN THE LITURGY-INDIAN OR HINDU