Saint Paisios of Greece (+1994) on Yoga & Hinduism
Yoga and Orthodox Christianity: Are They Compatible?
Dr. Christine Mangala, India
Dr. Christine Mangala was raised in India and brought up a devout Hindu. Her family was close to one of India’s leading Hindu gurus and teachers. Now an Orthodox Christian writer and teacher, she and Illumined Heart host Kevin Allen speak about whether various aspects of Hindu Yoga are compatible with Christian faith and practice, or whether Yoga should be shunned entirely.
The interview video of Dr. Christine Mangala & Kevin Allen
Mr. Allen: Welcome to The Illumined Heart on Ancient Faith Radio. As many of you know, we have spoken often on this program about the influence of eastern, non-Christian, spiritual ideas, metaphysics, and worldviews on our culture. And this is the spiritual background I came out of, one which continues to be a subject of interest to me, and, I hope, for some of you as well.
Recently, my parish in southern California has begun to see a trickle of enquirers coming from various eastern traditions, especially those of Hinduism. So I hope our conversation today—Yoga and Orthodox Christianity: Are They Compatible?—will bring light to the subject. In addition to enquirers from eastern spiritual traditions, many Christian believers also practice yoga asanas, physical postures which have become virtually mainstream in North American and European life, and even some forms of Hindu-influenced meditation. So the question of the compatibility of yoga in its various meditative and especially the physical postures forms with Eastern Orthodox Christianity is one that we’ll attempt to address on the program today.
My guest, whom I’m very very enthused to be speaking with, was born a Hindu, a Brahmin, the highest and priestly caste in India. She was brought up on yoga. Her grandfather, in fact, was a personal friend of one of the expounders of modern yoga and Vedanta philosophy, the well-known Swami Sivananda, who is the founder of the Divine Life Society. And Dr. Christine Mangala became a Christian at age 22, and later converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. She received her doctorate in English literature from Cambridge University, and has authored articles on literature and books of fiction, of which she has written several, as well as various spiritual subjects, including yoga and Christianity. She is married to Dr. David Frost, the director of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, England—a fine program, by the way—with whom she has four children, and she attends St. Ephraim’s Russian Orthodox Church in Cambridge, UK, England.
Her excellent article, “Yoga and the Christian Faith,” provided the impetus for this program, and I’m speaking with my guest today by telephone in Cambridge, England. Dr. Christine Mangala, welcome to The Illumined Heart on Ancient Faith Radio. It’s great to have you as my guest.
Dr. Mangala: Thank you very much, Kevin. It’s a great pleasure and privilege to be on this program.
Mr. Allen: Thank you so much. It’s good to have you as my guest. I’m going to enjoy this; I can tell already. Let’s begin with this first question, Christine, if I might. Speaking of yoga, not in its modern and popularized context, but in Continue reading “Yoga and Orthodox Christianity: Are They Compatible? – Dr. Christine Mangala, India”
EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH
Are you Christian? Forget about doing Yoga!
The Church would like people to replace Yoga with Prayer
The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church reacted to the UN’s decision to designate June 21 as International Day of Yoga in 2014. The Holy Synod’s statement says that the practice of yoga has “no place in the lives of Christians” since it is a fundamental aspect of Hinduism and as such is not considered a “form of exercise” but of worship!
Though praised for its calming effect and wellness, Christians are urged to seek the same comfort in God – not hindu practises. After all, the postures of yoga were created as adulation to 330 million Hindu gods. The postures are viewed in the Hindu faith as offerings to gods that in Christianity are considered to be idols.
Furthermore, a third of yoga is concerned with emptying the mind – a contradiction to what Christianity teaches. In the Christian faith, there is free choice and transformation through renewal. Furthermore, astral travel that yoga guides people into is a practise that the church continues to frown upon.
“For this reason, yoga is totally incompatible with our Christian Orthodox faith and it has no place in the life of Christians,” the statement said, even though it added that the the Church respects religious freedom.
Orthodox Christianity: About Yoga
Orthodox Christianity: About Yoga
CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY
The Impossibility of Aloneness: When Christ Found Me in the Himalayas
By Joseph Magnus Frangipani, Alaska, USA
Printed in Issue 24 – Death to the World
DEATH TO THE WORLD
I’m an Orthodox Christian living in Homer, Alaska and experienced Jesus Christ in the Himalayas, in India.
I listen to the heartbeat of rain outside…
Cold, Alaskan fog blowing in off the bay, emerald hills now that autumn is here and summer chased away into the mountains. But a milky white fog spreads over the bay like a silken ghost. I used to visit Trappist monasteries, back when I was Catholic, at the beginning of high school, and searching for a relationship of love. I read plenty of philosophy then to know that knowing isn’t enough, that having a realization in the mind is entirely different from experiencing a revelation of the heart.
I spent two birthdays in the Himalayas…
Traveling along gravel roads that drop deep into icy gulches where the Ganges river rages below not yet packed with the filth and mud and newspapers of villages, not yet carrying remainders of Indians in her current, I found Christ found me. It’s a difficult and strangely compelling atmosphere to confront oneself, – – India, – – sandwiched with black corpses, white snow, pagan fires and virulent animals.
I took a bus north from Delhi. It was crowded, tight and cramped, flies buzzed between my face and the windows smeared with brown slime. It’s so Continue reading “The Impossibility of Aloneness: When Christ Found Me in the Himalayas – Joseph Magnus Frangipani, Alaska, USA”
ORTHODOX HEART SITES
On Spiritual Deception
by Fr. Dcn. Charles Joiner
Deacon at Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral,
Greenville, South Carolina Area, USA
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
The author of the Orthodox Way of Life blog, Fr. Dcn. Charles tells it like it is.
Having recently discovered that throughout much of my Christian life I was involved with “spiritual deception,” I find it necessary now to seek ways to fully understand and totally reject this error.
My deception began with a well meaning pastor at the United Methodist Church where I grew up. I asked him,
“Why are there so many different religions? How can we say that the Christian way the the best way?”
His answer was,
“There are many paths to God. Ours is the most direct and easiest path.”
He did not know how to answer this question from a true Christian perspective and advise me of the struggle that I would necessarily face. I now know that what he taught me was a serious deception. It is very clear now that the other paths will not lead to a God-oriented spiritual life and union with God. They only lead one to a life of self-satisfaction and greater pride.
Jesus Christ came after these early attempts to reach God which were inadequate and showed all mankind how to gain union with God. He showed us the need for extreme humility in our relationship with God. He showed us a path that involves purifying ourselves and continually struggling against many things, yet relying on God’s will. I discovered that the path He opened for us is not an easy path.
It is a difficult one along which we are easily deceived by seeking pleasures though various forms of meditation, yoga and others activities, taught by well meaning teachers from other eastern religions who have not discovered for themselves the way of Jesus Christ.
I now know this from experience, having experimented with Vedanta, a Hindu religion, Buddhism, and Eastern forms of meditation. Regrettably, I even led an effort to find the Continue reading “On Spiritual Deception – Fr. Dcn. Charles Joiner, South Carolina, USA”