Is Yoga “Of the Devil”?


What's your opinion on a lot of Christians view on yoga? They say it's Satanic... do you think this is just out of ignorance? Or the fact that without a real Guru, Yoga can leave people open to negative beings when they are in Meditation.

—Craig, UK


Dear Craig,

Concerning yoga there are many different views among Christians. On one side of the spectrum I have seen a book “Yoga for Christians'” by a Christian believer. Countless Christians practice yoga, experiencing great benefits – including that it helps them to deepen their own faith. On the other side of the spectrum, yes, there are those who call yoga “satanic.” A year ago the Vatican’s chief exorcist stirred up quite some waves when he declared in an interview that “yoga is the work of the devil.”

This is complete ignorance and fanaticism. Jesus taught, “by the fruit shall you know the truth.” If those Catholics (and the like) would practice yoga without prejudice, they’d find that it helps them in body, mind, and soul, and that they become better Christians. Those who practice yoga and meditation become naturally more peaceful, harmonious, and not rarely more God-loving.

I have also read that orthodox Muslims reject yoga. Again, if those Muslims would practice it open-heartedly, they would see that they become better Muslims, in a natural way. The same is true for those orthodox Hebrews who teach that yoga is not kosher. They ought to honestly try it. Yoga is for all, works scientifically, teaches no dogma, and simply works.

“Without a real guru yoga can leave people open to negative beings when they are in meditation.” That too is spiritual nonsense. Meditation calms the mind, emotions, and is even beneficial for the body, as scientists are finding. Those who practice it know that also without a guru, meditation is a medicine. In no way it invites negative beings. “By the fruit shall you know the truth.” Meditation makes anyone become a better person and helps to develops inner peace or other qualities. This is scientific, in the sense that neutral experimentation will always proof it to be true.

What then to say of such opinions? Maybe we could use the humorous words of Yogananda when he spoke to one such religious fundamentalist: he removed his hat, and matching gesture to words, he replied ceremoniously, “I bow to the colossal temple of ignorance that I behold before me!”

Don’t listen to any of it. If you yourself still have lingering doubts, just try yoga or meditation like a scientist, and see for yourself what happens. Give yourself three months of regular practice. There will be no doubt that you will laugh merrily at those religious declarations.

Joy to you, jayadev