08 Mar YOGA – A Spiritual Battle
Christian life is like a battle. It may not look like a battlefield, but the fight is real, everyday. No one can escape this battle. But in order to get the eternal crown promised by the Lord, we must win. Victory requires us to know our enemy. From Genesis to Revelation there is only one enemy and that is the Devil. Many times, we lose the battle because we don’t know the battle ground. But when we know the battle ground, we can be ready for it, armed with the weapon for attack – the Word of God.
“May your whole Spirit, Soul and Body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord” 1 Thessa. 5:23. The Battle ground is our Spirit, Soul and Body. Many times, we are not aware of the battles against our Spirit and Soul. Even though some believers manage to win the battle against their body, but lose the battle against their spirit and soul.
YOGA – as a Spiritual Battle
As a believer in Christ, what is wrong in practising yoga?
If seen outwardly, one may feel there is nothing wrong in practising yoga. Yoga gurus show themselves as physical trainers whose interest is only in our physical fitness which will lead to mental health. But it is a trick of the Devil. God’s Word exhorts us, “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” 1 Thessa. 5:21,22 (the verses preceding to the one quoted above)
We need to test everything that comes on our way and discern the good from the evil. So that we can hold on the good, and take a stand against the evil one and his attacks with God’s word.
Let’s see what does YOGA offer, and what the Bible says about it:
Yoga ‘s Promise Answer from Bible
Peace: John 14:27 Jesus said “Peace I leave with you my peace I give you. I don’t give you as the world gives”
Happiness: Phil 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always”
Knowledge: Prov 1:7 “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”
Salvation: Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else there is no other name under the heaven given to men by which we must be saved”
Union with ultimate power: John 14:6 Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”
All that yoga promises to give those who do it, is what we already have in Christ. And Jesus has clearly claimed to be the only way to salvation. So we can understand that yoga is a complete deception. Jesus warns us in Mark 13:5, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” What is the ultimate power that yoga promises to unite a person with? It is their god, the god of this world, the devil.
History of Yoga
If we go back in history around the fourth century (when Christianity spread like a fire) a man named PATANJALI was born, who is known as the father of yoga. He was the one responsible for introducing many yoga sutras and transformed the sutras in literature form. Patanjali means ‘the graceful one fallen from heaven’. Patanjali was known to be an incarnation of Adi Shesha, Vishnu’s serpent. He was half serpent and half human. ADI means OLD or ANCIENT, SHESHA means SERPENT, the old serpent that is mentioned in Bible.
Rev 12:7-9 refers old serpent as devil or satan. The same very old serpent in the Book of Genisis who also deceived Eve by saying ‘your eyes will be opened’ , ‘you will be like God ‘ , and led them to rebel against God’s command to enjoy the pleasures of sin, is active even today. One of his weapons today is yoga, to deceive people, in the same way as he deceived Eve. Even when the enemy is hidden we can know him by his work.
Truth about yoga
The practice of yoga starts with “Surya Namaskar”, that is worshipping Sun-god. This is completely against the first and foremost commandment of God (You shall have no other gods before Me).
In each asana one has to remain in a particular posture that depicts some animal, flower, force of nature or idols of Hindu gods and utter some mantras taught by the yoga guru. By doing this a person actually opens up to take or possess the spirits of those idols. It is an open invitation for evil spirits. The saddest part is many people who practice yoga are not aware of this fact. They later become possessed and led by these spirits.
Romans 8:14 says, “For those who led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
So if we are led by evil spirits, what can we be called?
Another exercise known as pranayama is a breathing exercise. ‘Prana’ means ‘breath – the life force’,’ yama’ means ‘to restrain or control the prana by implying a set of breathing techniques where the breath is intentionally altered in order to produce specific results’. While practising pranayama, one needs to breathe out his inner breath and breathe in the outer breath. As Bible says in Gen2:7 “God breathed into his (Adam’s) nostrils the breath of life”. By doing this exercise, the devil makes people to receive his breath. And the yoga gurus claim that this will cleanse the inner man (cleansing the kriya), which will lead them to Salvation. But Jesus came into this world and shed his blood to the last drop to wash away our sins. Yoga says that we can cleanse our own selves by breathing techniques, thereby denying the need of a Saviour and His atoning sacrifice.
The most dangerous part of this practice is kundalini yoga, which releases the serpent power and awakens the third eye (definitely not the physical eye) according to Hindu belief. Serpent deceived eve by saying “your eyes will be opened”. They believe that a serpent is coiled at the base of one’s spine, and when they practice yoga, the serpent will spring up from the bottom and go to the head and open the third eye. When a person’s third eye is opened, he is opened to the spiritual realm, and is able to see demons. Some people make use of these spirits for their personal gains. But many of them can’t handle this new kind of experiences and go through tremendous mental pressure. And after reaching that stage, it will be very hard for them to come back, because by then, he comes into a complete control of these demons.
Now Satan is targeting the Christians by introducing Christian yoga. They say do only the exercises for your physical fitness and not utter the mantras. The unusual stretches of yoga cause only unpleasant feelings and the unexplainable pain. Bible clearly teaches us in Colossians 2:18-23 what these outward exercises imply – a worship of fallen angels. “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize . . . These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
Hence, let us beware of the schemes of the Devil, and not fall into his deceiving traps. But let us grow in wisdom that comes from the Word of God, and in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rupa R Rajshekar
Rupa is a Computer Science lecturer in HISLOP College Nagpur.