At the going down of the Sun, the Lotus flower fades, engulfing itself in the murky marshy waters. At the crack of dawn, something magical and invigorating happens as the morning mist clears away. The lotus superbly blossoms again, rising high above the muddy waters and its large round leaves floating on water untainted by dirt. Its petaled shaped coloured cup is flaunting all the majestic grandeur that is hidden underneath. And it does this again and again and again every day, symbolizing reincarnation in Hinduism and other eastern religions.
The pink lotus (regarded as the supreme lotus) is the National flower of India. Lotus flower is used by Hindus in the worship of their countless gods. Most Hindu gods are depicted either sitting or holding a Lotus flower. For instance, they portray the goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth and fortune worshipped during Diwali) standing on a lotus while holding others with her hands.
They take the lotus to represent energy that comes from a human body in yoga called chakra. Hinduism teaches that there are seven key points in a human body which sometimes counterflow chakra. If this occurs, a person experiences a physical, emotional and spiritual problem. A person uses the physical practice of yoga poses (also called asana practice) to free up energy, enabling him to tap into it, harness it and finally achieve the maximum level of consciousness (the consciousness of a god): This comes when you reach the seventh chakra, labelled as a lotus flower with 1,000 petals of diverse colours. Specifically, Padmasana or the Lotus pose in yoga must be done by those desiring to attain the seventh chakra. This well-known yoga pose (lotus pose) resembles a lotus flower if you look at how the feet and hands are placed when doing it, hence the name.
THE GOAL OF YOGA IS WORSHIP
Yoga, in eastern religions, is somewhat like baptism in Christianity. It is an outward physical expression of their fundamental beliefs. A leading professor of yoga philosophy and meditation, Dr Subhash R. Tiwari, at the Hindu University of America in Orlando asserts in a quarterly magazine (Hinduism Today), “To try to take Hinduism or aspects of Hinduism outside of yoga is an affront. It is an act of insincere behaviour. Efforts to separate yoga from its spiritual centre reveal ignorance of the goal of yoga.”
I first got to learn about Hinduism from my Indian classmates in High school. I’ve always associated yoga with the worship of Hindu gods since then. One of them even got me Bhagavad Gita (their most sacred religious text) and other books explaining their beliefs.
The little book of yoga (2014 by Chronicle Books) expounds the branches of yoga and how to achieve each branch’s goals. The first one explained in the book is “the yoga of devotion” (Bhakti Yoga.) It clearly teaches that Bhakti Yoga’s goal is, “to develop a personal relationship with the “divine” and that the way to get there is chanting. Hence, yoga is a form of worship and those Christians who practice it pay homage to the false Indian gods.
THE LOTUS OR THE CROSS
Ravi Zacharias wrote a captivating book that I enjoyed reading “The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks With Buddha.” He writes, “Jesus and Buddha cannot both be right. The lotus is the symbol of Buddhism; the cross, the symbol of the Christian faith. Behind the two symbols stand two opposed beliefs.” You can’t have both. It is irrational and a sin to practice yoga and claim to follow Christ. God says in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.” (NIV) Yoga practice stands against everything the word of God declares.
1. It promotes pantheism
The etymology of pantheism shows us that it comes from two Greek words; pan (that means “all, of everything) and theos (which means “God.”) Thereby, if we translate it word for word, it means that everything is God or divine.
Jan Garrett from The Universal Pantheist Society defines pantheism as, “the view that the natural universe is divine, the proper object of reverence; or the view that the natural universe is pervaded with divinity. Negatively, it is the idea that we do not need to look beyond the universe for the proper object of ultimate respect.” The goal when practising yoga is to achieve consciousness of a god. Pantheism teaches that everything (man, plants, animals, non-living things) is God. An excerpt from the forward of The Little Book of Yoga proves this, “The ancient yogis -a “yogi” is one who practices yoga – had some big ideas about the union. They believed yoga could unite individuals with the universe, bring about the understanding that all beings are one, and enable us to experience total bliss.”
Pantheism goes against the fundamentals of the Christian faith. We have one true God is omnipresent but is not diffused in his creation as pantheists believe. God explicitly tells us in Isaiah 45:5, “I am the Lord. There is no other; besides me, there is no God.” Everything was created by God and for God (Colossians 1:16) and will pass away (Mathew 24:35.)
2. It offers “another gospel.”
The little book of yoga again tells us in its foreword, “According to ancient yoga philosophy; every person is compassionate, loving, and peaceful. Yoga helps us uncover the basic goodness in ourselves and in others, which can so easily become buried beneath the anger, resentment, self-criticism, and doubt. The more you practice yoga, the more clearly you can see the truth: All is as it should be. You are perfect just as you are.” We can see that yoga opposes original sin doctrine while teaching a man to focus on himself, rather than God. As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10).
Since men are sinners and cannot save themselves, God provided salvation through Jesus Christ- the only true Gospel that Paul taught the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 as of first importance. He taught hat Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. Hence, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9)
It may be argued that you can practice yoga for physical benefits yet not worship the Indian false Gods or accept their beliefs. That is practically impossible if you read this article carefully. Will you forfeit the blessings of God for the fleeting things of this world? Paul says in 1 st Timothy 4:8, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” John Piper when giving a sermon about this topic affirms, “Physical health is wonderful, but it is not the goal. It means to much greater goals” Pay homage to the only true God, Jesus Christ.