Bin-Ladenism in Religion & The Practice of Yoga

Faith has become a big word. The way Faith is described these days, we feel Osama Bin Laden could be the man with most Faith in the world. He is worth over 100 million dollars and yet he has thrown that away to live in caves to carry on his struggle. Who can demonstrate a greater commitment to his Faith? He may be the most faithful but his acts have been evil. In fact, he is the personification of how Faith can turn evil. This is why most religions teach adherence to reason as well as faith. Faith without Reason can become Bin-Ladenism.

There is a simple distinction between Faith with Reason and Faith without Reason. That distinction is the usage of “a” and “the”.

  • Faith with Reason teaches that it’s way is a way to God and spiritual practice of the Faith can help adherents achieve their goals in this world and next. The result of Faith with Reason is spirituality and humility.
  • Faith without Reason teaches that it’s path is the path to God and all other paths are wrong. It instructs its adherents to reject all other paths and to stay away from the impure influences of those paths. Faith without Reason uses words like “Pak” or pure and “Na-Pak” or impure. The result of Faith without Reason is intolerance, hate and implementation of hate. In short, Faith without Reason is Bin-Ladenism.
A stark but light reminder of this comes in the article by David Waters in the Washington Post titled Should Christians practice Yoga? Shouldn’t everyone?  This debate is not new to us. A couple of years ago,  a religious body in Malaysia banned Yoga on the grounds that it is un-Islamic. This week, we learned that a Christian leader, a theologician and a member of the On Faith panel of Washington Post, warned Christians against practicing Yoga.

The most important sentence in this article is the question posed by the author, David Waters:

  • Should we adopt, adapt or adjust the rituals and practices of other faiths for our own purposes?
This is what we meant by the distinction in thinking of people who use “a” and people who use “the”, the key difference between Faith with Reason and Faith without Reason.

The word Yog is derived from the Samskrut root “yuj” meaning “to unite“. Yog was developed both a philosophy and physical practice in the Sindhu civilization, culture and philosophy. It demonstrates a basic distinction between European thinking dating back to Greeks and Sindhu thinking dating back to the beginning of known time.

  • European thinking does not demarcate the notions of mind and self. It often uses the same term “mind” for “self”. It considers “reason” or “conscious intelligence” as an attribute of the mind. From the Greeks to Descartes, Europeans placed the three functions of cognition, affection (pleasure-pain, like-dislike) and conation (desires, purposes) on par as functions of the mind.
  • Sindhu thinking differentiates between Mind and Buddhi or understanding, reason, conscious intelligence. It places the affection and conation functions within the scope of the mind and cognition within the scope of Buddhi. The concept of Buddhi is the origin of the title Buddha, given to the founder of Buddhism.
In everyday life, we all use Buddhi or reason to regulate our mind-generated desires of ‘I want this’, ‘I love this’. This simple concept is a pointer to the complex system called Yog.

Yog is a uniter of Buddhi, Mind and the physiological processes of the Body. It was conceived and developed during the very early years of Sindhu Philosophy and Culture in numerous verses. These verses were compiled, studied and discussed in the text called Yog-Sutra by Paatanjali, a Sage in 2nd century BCE.

Simplistically speaking, the Yog system uses Buddhi to treat the alignment of the mind with the physiological processes of the body. By raising the Mind to the level of Buddhi, by achieving stability or equilibrium of the mind, physiological processes of the body can be optimized or regularized.

To help achieve this equilibrium, Paatanjali compiled and described a system of techniques for the regulation of the physiological rhythms of the body through disciplined breathing and “Asan” or body positioning. This system of body positions and associated breathing exercises are colloquially termed as “Yoga” today.

Pronounce the words Yoga and Yog. You will find that the breathing is different. Say “Yog” with emphasis on the “O”sound. Notice how the “O” sound makes you breathe deeper. Now say “Yoga”. You will notice the suffix “a” changes the breathing emphasis and prevents you from breathing deeply. This is one reason why we recommend the use of the original term Yog rather than the artificial Yoga.

Yog is a system that is derived from the essence of Sindhu thought, of Sindhu Dharma that was developed on the banks of the great Sindhu river. This is the great river Greeks, Romans & British called Indus and its country as India. The Persians & Arabs called the people who lived on the banks of this river as Hindu.

Yog is not based on devotion to or adherence of any religious figure or icon. It is based on an universally applicable set of thoughts and philosophy. It’s goal is equilibrium of Buddhi, Mind and processes of the Body.

People can practice Yog as a simple exercise system and reject its Sindhu essence or they can practice Yog and understand how it seeks to elevate their minds to the level of Buddhi. Their choice depends on whether they prefer to practice Faith without Reason or Faith with Reason.

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