If you are interested in yoga, I highly recommend you check out Lisa Miller’s article on The Clash of the Yogis. It seems secular spirituality author Deepak Chopra has been clashing with others on the Hindu roots of yoga and Miller makes some interesting observations about American culture in the process.
Personally, I think Chopra is being disingenuous. It’s long been my observation that the hardest core of Hindu teaching is dharma, karma and reincarnation, not the gods of its pantheon, and since Deepak Chopra teaches dharma, karma and reincarnation his approach hardly qualifies as religiously neutral.
4 thoughts on “Do the Hindu roots of yoga matter?”
That is a weird story. I couldn’t find much in it that didn’t seem sad. Piggie backing off your comment about Chopra teaching dharma, karma and reincarnation… IMHO lots of Christian churches do as well. We just don’t call it that.
I find dharma, karma and reincarnation dead boring. But gods, that’s another matter. Gods can be quite interesting.
Stewart, I haven’t come across too many churches teaching reincarnation or its equivalents, but I have come across many individuals. And when I’ve questioned them about this I’ve found their response has been very Chopra-like. There’s this insistance that they’re not engaging in Hindu-Christian syncretism simply by virtue of their not having bought into the Hindu pantheon. But there’s this failure to recognize that the gods are secondary to the operation of karma and reincarnation in Hindu theology, that the absense of polytheism does not prove the absense of syncretism.
Boring they may seem Steve, but dharma, karma and reincarnation do seem to be the common thread running through the many Hindu traditions. Krishna worship is not universal, yet dharma is a critical focus of the Bhagavad Gita just as it is with the caste system. As much as we may prefer to speak of gods I think we miss important facets of religion if we reduce religion to devotionalism.