This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed is urging His Holiness Pope Francis to clarify his and Vatican’s official stand on yoga.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Roman Catholic priests, bishops and other officials kept on making varying statements about yoga, taking different stands. But many Roman Catholics world over continued to practice yoga.
The only statement regarding yoga attributed to Pope Francis on The Holy See website, titled as “Hardened hearts” under “Morning meditation in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae” and dated January nine, 2015, goes as—Thus, here, we can ask: “Who teaches us how to love? Who frees us from this hardness?”. The Pope’s answer: “the Holy Spirit alone” can do so. “You can take a thousand courses in catechesis, a thousand courses in spirituality, a thousand courses in yoga, Zen and all these things. But all of this will never be able to give you the freedom of the Son”.
Rajan Zed indicated that as responsible religious leaders, we should not be critical of the spiritual practices of others.
Zed further said that although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, yoga was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. Yoga, referred as “a living fossil” whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, was for everybody to share and benefit from.
Rajan Zed noted that yoga was a mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) united with universal-soul (parmatman). For Patanjali, author of the basic text, the Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to an estimate, about 21 million Americans, including many celebrities, now practice yoga. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.
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