Sunday, November 28, 2010

Good for the Hindu American Foundation!

I see that the Hindu American Foundation is leading a campaign called "Take Back Yoga."

The campaign, labeled “Take Back Yoga,” does not ask yoga devotees to become Hindu, or instructors to teach more about Hinduism. The small but increasingly influential group behind it, the Hindu American Foundation, suggests only that people become more aware of yoga’s debt to the faith’s ancient traditions.
That suggestion, modest though it may seem, has drawn a flurry of strong reactions from figures far apart on the religious spectrum. Dr. Deepak Chopra, the New Age writer, has dismissed the campaign as a jumble of faulty history and Hindu nationalism. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has said he agrees that yoga is Hindu — and cited that as evidence that the practice imperiled the souls of Christians who engage in it. 
 Well, if Deepak Chopra is against it (and his excuses seem ridiculous based on the HAF's website) and Albert Mohler's discouraging Christians from engaging in it, I think the HAF is probably onto something here.  While like any group like this (including those Buddhists who look for science to "prove" Buddhism) there's the share of HAF claims that seem a bit over the top.  For example, I have read that Hinduism also owes debts to Jainism and Buddhism; Hinduism also evolved as reactions to these religions as well. 

But when it comes to the commoditization of practices, that, for want of a better term the word "spiritual" may be used (much as I loathe the term), I think a religious identification can't really hurt.

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