The pursuit of the Hebrews was idealized and symbolized by light. “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” “The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light.” “This is the light that lighteth every man that comes into the world.” The pursuit of the Greeks was symbolized by knowledge. That’s why the Biblical writers say, “These things are written that you might know that you have eternal life.” For the Hebrews, it was light. For the Greeks, it was knowledge. For the Romans, it was glory. For the Romans, it was glory, the glory of the city of Rome, the glory of the city that wasn’t built in a day. And here we have it. The apostle Paul, a Hebrew by birth, a citizen of Rome, living in a Greek city, had to give to them the ideal of his ethic. And he says this: “God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness, has caused His light to shine in our hearts, to give to us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus our Lord.” For the apostle Paul, the ultimate ethic was not an abstraction, not symbolized merely by light, not merely by knowledge, not merely by glory, but in the very face of our Lord. “God who caused the light to shine out of darkness has caused his light to shine in our hearts to give to us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Source: “Unplugging Truth in a Morally Suicidal Culture”
Supererogation: Moral *actions that go beyond what is required by duty, especially those actions that are commendable and indicative of superior *character. Some Protestants have been critical of the idea of supererogation on the grounds that humans never fully realize their moral duties, much less exceed them. But there is a clear sense in which certain actions—for example, deciding to donate a kidney to a stranger—go beyond what is required by duty and seem to express a high degree of moral character. See also ethics; morality.
 Evans, C. Stephen (2010-04-28). Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Kindle Locations 1688-1691). Intervarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
“When one gives up Christian belief one thereby deprives oneself of the right to Christian morality… Christianity is a system, a consistently thought out and complete view of things. If one breaks out of it a fundamental idea, the belief in God, one thereby breaks the whole thing to pieces: one has nothing of any consequence left in one’s hand… Christian morality is a command: its origin is transcendental… it possesses truth only if God is truth – it stands or falls with the belief in God.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, Expeditions of an Untimely Man, Section 5.
“The New Age Movement” as it is introduced in the latter half of the 20th century claims to be a non-religious movement. In the gradual shifting of Christianity in the Western world, they emerged as a new way of life and worldview with precepts borrowed from Eastern Spirituality and metaphysics and fluxing them with Western Spirituality. Thus, it begins with a promise of new spirituality and a new identity through a radical transformation of an individual or human civilization through a mystical union with a dynamic macrocosm. The Movement is gaining momentum in the East as well as in the West, so is succeeding promisingly in infiltrating the Christian minds sharing the hope of false spirituality. The haunting slogan of the sixties, “If it feels good, do it” is revived to entice the present-day culture in the New Age movement with a slogan, “If you feel good, believe it.” In the heart of the New Age Movement, there is a yearning to seek the truth and be morally good, so the question really is if truth and morality are relative terms for them, then the struggle is endless because they have nothing absolute to weigh their goodness with.
Without defining what the good is, it becomes irrelevant to explain how it is attained. Yet, the New Age Movement tends to choose the latter one and explains how it is achieved. They identify the disorderliness or the chaos of the world which they call “in crisis”; however, they deny the fallen state of the world.  And they are crouching at the doorsteps of our churches, Christian institutions, media, bookstores, and blockbusters, yelling at us from the podium that Christians are responsible for the world crisis.
The New Age Movement has long roots in Eastern mysticism and Greek Gnosticism. The term “New Age” itself is vague in the contents of its belief system. They do not have a particular doctrine, principles, or rules within the movement, but the New Agers around the world have been faithful to the content. It is the synthesis between the Eastern mystic mind and Western individualism. Apparently, this is why the constructivism and relativism of the multifaceted New Age Movement deny the objective truth of God, his nature, and human nature.
The New Agers believe that modern technologies, ideas of materialism, and rational scientific ideologies as well as dogmatism, especially Christianity, have overregulated and possibly distorted the potentiality of the “innate human desire for genuine spirituality or religiosity.” The vantage point here is that the New Age Movement stresses holistic values of human radical transformation – Enlightenment and emancipated existence through one’s own inner spiritual experience rather than any sort of religious set of belief or catechism.
By so far rejecting both the scientific ideologies and Christianity, the New Agers propose another explanation called the “third option” which is the synchronization of both aspects of science and rationality or religion and spirituality. They insist that only the “third option,” if allowed to be the dominant wind of new spirituality, can fix the world crisis that dogmatic Christianity and scientific ideologies have produced by their ideological differences.
The world crisis, what they believe, is merely the byproduct of the clashing worldviews between science and religion. Otherwise, the world is good and flawless. As F. LaGard Smith writes that the New Age version of the creation story has a god-force who is responsible for creating the whole cosmos. He puts it succinctly:
In the beginning, so it is said, the god-force was a sleeping, slumbering, pulsating ball of energy. When it roused itself, it exploded, in Big Bang fashion, into billions and billions of individualized points of consciousness – each of which became soul. These souls – all of which were God – found their way into the three dimensional earth-plane and soon began to think of themselves as three dimensional as well. When they began to think and act three-dimensionally, they forgot that they were God. Their Higher Selves became only lower selves – humans, with finite human thoughts.
The above passage evidently reflects the lowly standpoint of the New Age on the Creator, creation, and human nature. It echoes the voice of secular humanism, typically a “Darwinian” view of creation. With much anticipation from an evolutionary model, they champion that the living souls and gods emanated from the cosmic bang or “Big Bang” fashion. It is another way of saying that God is dead. Other aspects of God are buried with him when God is dead. “By removing the Creator, God of the Bible, explicitly from the scene and applying the cosmic bang theory, they diminish the essence and dignity of humanity into the matter in motion”. The simplified lines would be: no God, no fall, and no sin; therefore, no need for a Savior, reconciliation, and judgment.
The god-force is the prime force or the efficient cause from which all entities emanate. The source of all lives or souls – all of which were God – is the cosmos. The cosmos, in this sense, is a “pure, undifferentiated, universal, and energy-interconnected” life-driving force. Since the cosmos manifested their lives, they also share an identical form with the god-force. So, there is no clear line between the creator and creation that makes both distinct from each other. And the “apparent opposite disappears,” says John P. Newport “The New Age bottom line can be stated in three words: “All is one (monism).” As a result, no distinction can be made between God and human beings despite the monistic idea.
Another impression of the New Age Movement is its pantheistic notion of God. He is the “Ultimate Unifying Principle” that unifies the whole creation. Since all souls, all gods, all human beings, and all things in the universe are emanated from the same energy, they all share the same divine essence. Employing the common divine essence, they are one and the same. Everything is God, and he is in all and through all (pantheism). The god-force, the One, or God, you name it, is “an impersonal energy force or consciousness” that is hence beyond personality. So, he or she is not a personal God who interacts and establishes a personal relationship with people. Instead, we are told that we are also God because of the divine particles we have in common. Having said this, it is believed that the single reality of impersonal energy is manifested in different appearances.
The preceding basic New Age ideas lead to the other point that claims the godhood of each individual. Shirley MacLaine, an American actress and strong proponent of the New Age Movement, is an absolute subjectivist who claims, “I am God.” Furthermore, she exclaims that each individual is a God. The entire universe is absorbed within the self. If you know yourselves, you know the entire universe. God is equalized with human beings’ form and nature. Human persons are, in fact, God but camouflaging their true identity due to ignorance of their own. Newport writes that we are the actualized embodiment of gods or goddesses in exile. Yet, we do not realize this ultimate divine reality just because of our ignorance. Thusly, God and man ought to be understood, in terms of relationship, as a union between two. God is within us and in us.
The realization of divine reality illuminates the infinite ingenuity of a man. According to the New Agers, our ignorance has kept us from knowing the reality that we are not finite beings. “We have infinite power over our circumstances, because, after all, we are God.” Each of us can obtain enlightenment and become Christ. Smith quotes Gina Cerminara, a New Ager, to help us to understand their mind-blowing perspective on Christ:
The Christ-consciousness is not, however, an exclusively Christian attribute. Christ, it must be remembered, is not the name of the man Jesus, but a term whose literal meaning is “the anointed one,” and whose mystic or rather psychological meaning is that of the liberated or spiritual consciousness. Krishna and Buddha were, we may believe, equally the possessors of Christ-consciousness.
Basically, what they are arguing is that only through Christ-consciousness, we will come to know who we really are and what we are. We can reclaim our godhood after knowing that once we were gods. Christ-consciousness takes us beyond “space and time and reconnects us once again with the God we are: infinite, cosmic, and omnipotent.” “We are not depraved or dependent on any outside source for deliverance or strength.” Accordingly, we are Lords or masters of our own lives. And we need no Savior for our salvation. Salvation outside of Christ is possible, and this is what we find through Christ-consciousness.
Of course, Jesus was attributed with this title but not like any other mystical or spiritual leaders or gods. But the issue here is not whether Christ means “the anointed one” or not; the concern is the implication of the use of the term if it is employed properly or not. The main concern for us is to know whether there is such a thing as absolute truth or not. We need to know whether there is such a being as Creator God or not. Whether there is such a thing as evil or not in this world! These are the important questions that we posit to the New Agers.
All of the views of the New Agers should be assessed very carefully, as they reveal to us their position on God, the universe, human beings, nature, etc. When God has no part in creation, it is assumed that there is no God or need of Creator God. Everything came to exist as a matter of chance. Do we really have power or control over the circumstances around us? Are we really good and strong enough not to violate moral laws? These questions need to be answered.
In addition, we cannot simply ignore the subject matter of the New Age Movement’s philosophical metaphysics, epistemology, anthropology, and ethics when they come to the marketplace. Keeping the fact in our mind that the truth is relative for the New Agers, we really need to seek what the Scripture has to say about the topics we raised above regardless of how hard it is.
We may find immediately that the New Agers are constructivists, which means, they construct their own realities based on their self-perception of the world and reflect on self-experiences to find the meanings. They are, in some cases, radical relativists. Everyone has his own truth. Saliba writes, “Underlying the New Age tenet that an individual can create his or her own reality are two principles that derive from the new psychology and the new physics.” People can make their own realities that are suitable for the situations in which they are living. Therefore, they can make a choice to use their ethics in the situation or context depending on their understanding of reality.
Additionally, the tenet of moral and ethical relativism is well nourished in the New Age. If we are to say that there is no absolute truth, or the truth is unknowable, there is no way to differentiate truth from lie. They argue that there is no such thing as evil. It is only an illusion. They appeal their argument to the idea that everything is God, and God is good; therefore, everything is good.
Assuming that there is such a thing as good, is not it affirming that there is such a thing as evil? Otherwise, how do you know that there is such a thing as good? The same logic applies when they say there is no absolute truth in the universe or claims that morality is relative. If the moral is relative, how do they know that there is such a thing as evil? Some people still practice infanticide and some give their lives to preserve these little lives. They might be culturally explained to justify one’s action. Nevertheless, they cannot be justified in light of the absolute truth that God has established for eternity. If they believe certain moral truths and values, there must be a moral lawgiver. Therefore, the universal truth and moral is not relative.
The major issues will be discussed are the denial of the Creator God, the underestimation of fall, and the effect of evil as pure ignorance of humankind, salvation out of Jesus Christ, and the afterlife without resurrection. First, they begin their worldview by discarding God of the Bible as Creator from the picture. As we have already discussed in brief, the New Age Movement begins with creation – a dynamic cosmic force – that caused the cosmic explosion and applies it back to God.
First, God the Creator is not a Higher Self that can be attained by human imagination. He is a very personal God. He is the Sovereign God who created the heavens and the earth. He is not bound by time and space. The New Agers introduce people to the Higher Self by telling them to meditate. Whatever pops into our mind is considered our Higher Self. In this way, “we inevitably end up creating God of our own image.” We can create a God of our choice and make him as we want him to be. Is it impossible for our human mind to conceive toilet paper while meditating? Of course, can we now really allow our conscious mind to rely upon a god of our imagination? When we remove God from his place, can we expect more than chaos?
Secondly, the god of the New Age turns out to be the one who does not know himself or the weaker god, if applied the same law of logic that is applied in the previous assessment. He will be no more different than animals, plants, any kind of the least significant things, or the minutest subatomic particles of the world. He could be evil, unholy, or gross human waste. Had Isaiah not been talking about this kind of god (40:19-21)? We make a god who is weaker, of lesser value, and more fragile than ourselves! What good of making such a god who cannot deliver us in the days of adversity?
Thirdly, Jesus Christ is neither simply an enlightened man nor the perfect god Idea. He is who he claimed to be – the Son of God, the Word incarnated into flesh, born of a virgin, sinless, and perfect atonement for the sins of the world. He is the mediator between the perfect God, the Father, and sinful humans. Having died on the cross for the trespasses of mankind, he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, sitting by the right-hand side of the Father, is coming again to judge the world. The consummation of this world is not like the New Agers have thought of evolutionary reign. Jesus will return with his full power and glory to judge the world.
Fourthly, man is neither a sleeping god nor a divine being, who out of his own ignorance, lost the ability to realize his divinity and now needs to awaken it. Man is the apex of the creation of God. He is an image-bearer of God (Genesis 1:27-28). Man is a sinful creature who has fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). He is rebellious in nature. He is conceived in sin and born with sin (Psalm 51:5). He is destined for damnation because of disobedience against God (Romans 6:23). There is no hope without Jesus. One must be born of the Spirit to be a new creation (John 3:5).
Besides the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and his saving grace, there is no other way to escape this damnation. No man can save himself from the judgment of God. Man is left to live under the total depravity of sin. Only Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life who can deliver a man from his sins if he accepts Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.
Fifthly, there is a clear distinction between creation and Creator. God, in His Sovereign will and purpose, created the world and said, “good” (Genesis 1). It divides a clear line between the Creator and creation that the created world is not a part of God. Nothing in the world emanated from him and through him, but, certainly, he made all creations through Jesus Christ and for him (John 1).
Finally, redemption is not earned or merited. It is a free gift from God for his chosen one. This is not something that man can do on his own. The Holy Spirit regenerates the heart of a man and transforms him into a new creature. The work of the Spirit begins inward and moves outward as a testimony of God’s faithfulness to those who are called by their names.
For these various reasons, Christianity, without an ounce of doubt, is not compatible with the New Age. Many people, who claim to be Christians, are adapting the New Age theology in the churches. The New Age theology is like spurious glitter that has distorted the fundamental of Christianity and has influenced our churches around the world. Is it ethical for a man to be a follower of Jesus who has a living hope to be resurrected on the Day of Judgment, and at the same time, cling to the theology of unending cycles of reincarnation? Is it possible for a man to be justified by faith in Christ and bound by Karmic law at the same time? No way, I do not believe so. A Christian, by definition, is a follower of Jesus who adheres to the teachings of the Master or imitates the Master. Is Christ without Christianity possible? Yes, but not ethical.
If we are to protect our Christians from the evil influence of the New Age, they ought to be informed about the weight the New Agers bear in pursuit of false hope and spirituality. Before violating moral laws and absolute truths, one should think if it is worth adopting Christ-consciousness over children of God.
Newport, John P. The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, 1998. Print.
Saliba, John A. Christian Responses to the New Age Movement: a Critical Assessment. London; New York: G. Chapman, 1999. Print.
Smith, F. LaGard. Crystal Lies: Choices in the New Age. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Vine, 1989. Print.
 F. LaGard Smith, Crystal Lies: Choices and the New Age (Ann Arbor: Vine, 1989), 7-8.
 John P. Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue (Grand Rapids: Eerdman, 1998), 1.
 John A. Saliba, Christian Response to the New Age Movement: A Critical Assessment (London: G Chapman, 1999), 3.
 F. LaGard Smith, Crystal Lies: Choices and the New Age (Ann Arbor: Vine, 1989), 19.
The term, ‘Yoga’ has become a favored merch in the health and wellness marketplace. In recent years, many metropolises in the United States of America saw the grand opening of Yoga studies as the number of Americans joining Yoga classes surged in numbers as well. Every downtown and strip mall house Yoga centers. We notice the allies in those metropolises decorated with commercial sign boards of Yoga promising sound health, good body figure, and mindfulness. They have lured individuals by assuring them of inward and outward transformation, and finding their true selves through Yoga. Not even churches are exceptions in subscribing to Yoga without understanding its deeper meaning, purpose, and ramifications. Thence, Christians have adopted Yoga as a trendy idea of physical exertion that has surreptitiously invaded the Christian conscience with its counterfeit spirituality. We cannot take Yoga as a mere form of ‘working out’ without the aspects of spirituality founded in Eastern Vedic theology and Yoga philosophy.
People understand Yoga in terms of a practical discipline that keeps our physical motors running in good condition through the techniques Yoga prescribes to its practitioner. In the west, people viewed it as a physical and mental exercise. And the Christian communities welcomed it in pursuit of physical well-being. The common notion of Yoga among Christian believers is that a form of workout which includes stretching limbs and controlling respiration through different body postures.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Before assessing whether Yoga can serve Christians without forging its core objectives, we should discuss its fundamental principles. The meaning and origin of Yoga, its potential adverse influence on our lives, and its adaptation and adoption throughout the ages in Hindu Philosophy are the critical areas of study that we need to pay attention afore we embrace the Yoga system.
YOGA IN ITS ORIGIN AND MEANING
Hindus acknowledge that the god Shankara or Mahādeva is the originator. As Hindu mythology claims, Shankara expounded on the knowledge of Yoga and imparted this knowledge to Dattátraya, a great sage. Another version of the story mentions Shankara revealing the yogic knowledge—the greatest of all science—to his goddess wife, Pārwati, for the holistic purpose of easing human pain and suffering. Later, the Upanishads—the Vedic texts—also widely recognize Yoga in their teachings. The word Upanishad, as Mikel Burley states, means ‘secret teaching’ or ‘esoteric doctrine’ that seeks to explain the spiritual philosophy of Vedas. We should not overlook the admittance of Yoga in the Vedic texts while studying Yoga. When we investigate the Vedas, they classify Yoga explicitly in the Upanishads and gave higher respect.
Yoga originated from the Sanskrit root Yuj, which in its literal sense means ‘joins’ or ‘unites’. The word ‘Yoga’ now means union or joining with matter or substance. In general, Yoga is the union between the human soul and the Purusha, the Supreme Soul. The V.S. Apte’s The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary offers various meanings of Yoga as ‘joining, union, contact, fitness, an endeavor, fixing, devotion,’ etc., etc. According to Tookaram Tatya, Yoga is synonymous with “junction, meeting, conjunction, connection, etc.” that engages to unite the human soul with the Supreme Spirit, or the Para Brahma.He is ‘the Absolute’ with whom we are to unite ourselves after waking from the deep spiritual slumber through Yoga.
In contrast to the popular definition of Yoga, Patañjali, the founder of the Yoga system also authored the basic text, the Yoga Sūtra, treats yoga as “Concentration.” It is “the hindering of modification of the thinking principle.” With this thinking principle,” it suppresses one’s way of understanding the universe or human nature. For Patañjali, “Yoga is a methodical effort to meet perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.” A Yogi awakens their psychic awareness through gaining full control of thinking principle conscientiously or methodically. The perfection toward Yoga requires the practitioners to be single-minded by controlling the disintegrated and disorganized thoughts and images through mental processes. The end goal of “stretching” or “getting in shape” has to do with seeking perfection through the aid a system. There is more to Yoga than meets the eyes. The biblical way of seeking perfection lies outside what Yoga prescribes to its adherents. We have a conflict between the Christian teaching of ‘original sin’ and the need for a Savior. Yoga assumes humans are capable of perfection on their own. They have an innate ability to liberate themselves from the worldliness by reigning their thoughts and actions. The very outset of Yoga starts by denouncing the fallen human nature. It removes the need of God in pursuit of perfection through a methodological approach. Finally, it believes humankind’s efforts can measure up to the Supreme Being’s requirements for the union. In other words, the above statements dispel the fall in the world. A human person is a perfect creature. They can make things work in the world by controlling and reining their own nature.
Monier Williams construes Patañjali’s ‘methodical effort to meet perfection’ act as the fixation or concentration of the mind in abstract meditation to prevent the modifications of the thinking principle. It is, so, a mode of constraining the mind from modifying by overpowering desires through spiritual exercise. But for Christians, the ethical issue of whether Christians can practice lies in the deep surface of its definition. Is it possible for a Christian who adheres to Yoga to achieve an empirical mind that is perfect and not tainted by sin apart from a deeper relationship with Christ?
Speaking of Yoga, the two principal parts—Hatha and Raja Yoga – are noteworthy to mention. These two are the most influential forms of Yoga that are saturating the churches. The former Yoga is the epitome of all other forms of Yoga, and also the most widespread and most accepted in every culture. Most people consider only Hatha Yoga more than other existing forms of Yoga when they conceive Yoga. Having said about Hatha Yoga, Svātmārāma standardized it for Yogis to obtain salvation, just as Patañjali systematized the six schools of Yoga. Hatha means “to stick fast, to be devoted, and to hold closely or firmly.” Though Hatha Yoga is a part of soteriology in Hindu philosophy, they usually relate it to physical postures and techniques that apply to physical and mental relaxation. Burley argues that Hatha Yoga offers far more than just physical fitness and mental stress management. Since it has the soteriological aspect, attributing only physical and mental relaxation to Hatha Yoga is far from a perversion of its objectives; hence, unjust to treat it in such a way. Herbert Stroup suggests “Hatha Yoga as salvation through physical culture or exercise,” where Ha refers to the sun and Tha refers to the moon. “The sun and the moon symbolize the two principles that are clear in every human being.” Thence, Hatha Yoga is a dualistic system. It endeavors to cultivate qualities like determination, single-mindedness, and perseverance, not only to support physical well-being but also to channel the human mind to achieve the soteriological principal objectives.
YOGA- COUNTERFEIT SPIRITUALITY IN WELLNESS
As we look at Yoga as a whole, we can now find the root, practices, motivation, and objectives of Yoga. The very object of the Yoga system is salvaging the human soul—freeing the soul from the miseries of rebirth—and enabling man to reach the highest spiritual development. The dualistic conception of Yoga tries to harmonize the soul with the spirit. This state is the pure form of Yoga and has the potential to own a vast array of knowledge and spiritual power. The careful study of Patañjali’s Yoga Sutra can be an eye-opening event for serious Christian believers who are into Yoga. Patañjali lays the basic requirement for a Yogi to attain Yoga through the Ishwara Pranidhāna, or worship of God. Later, the Yogi is to cultivate Sraddhā, or faith in Yoga. The compulsion of Sraddhā generates Vairāgya or undesirableness—cessation of the mind—which is the preliminary preparation for a man to practice Yoga. Yogi must go through purificatory routines as well to begin Yoga. Thence, the admission processes of becoming a Yogi gradually moves toward first removing God of the Bible from the scene.
Our soul is competent to achieve ‘discriminative knowledge’ a perfect wisdom. This somewhat higher form of knowledge leads to liberation. The soul has “qualities of omniscience and omnipotence, and the object of Yoga is to develop them fully.” The author is saying that the human soul has unlimited power and infinite knowledge. A man can return to this state of ‘Self-realization’ through the virtues of Yoga which liberates a man. Now we need to answer this very question of whether the Bible stands on this line. We need to ask sincerely whether humans have omnipotent and omniscient “Gunas” or qualities that are parallel to the divine nature of God. When we believe ourselves to be omnipotent and omniscient, we no longer need God. Now, we are God.
The motif of Yoga is to encourage Yogis to identify the Supreme Being by using their own sense organs. By focusing on their own sense organs, they progress from their internal sense perception to external visible material objects. “He should so completely associate them with the Being they show that he, at last, finds himself mentally in the presence of that Being.” As Pranayāma, one stage of perfecting Yoga, suggests Yogi mutter the names and attributes of the Deity. Here, many Christians defend they do not mutter any names and attributes of any deity when practicing Yoga. How can a Christian concentrate on his own sense organ and identify himself with the Supreme Being or the Lord God? Some claim that they, instead of concentrating on their sense organs, concentrate on the Word of God or the Holy Spirit. Has the Bible referred to focusing on something in and out of the self and identifying the self with God? If someone concentrates on the Word of God, then the question is if Yoga is a necessary medium to reach out to God for an interpersonal relationship with him!
Other aspects of the Yoga Sutra, which describes the dualistic processes of uniting Yogi’s soul to the Brahma, violates the First and the Second Commandments of the Law. Patañjali writes a Yogi can detach themselves from the world and be free. Also, a Yogi becomes a master of himself or the universe by completing the grand cycle of psychic evolution through Yoga. “Thenceforth neither matter, time, nor space can obstruct his quest after the highest knowledge. He knows Brahma—he is Brahma.” When he or she knows Brahma, they are identifying themselves with the divine. To put it bluntly, they claim to be divine. Now, I wonder how a Christian practices Yoga by divorcing the principles and objectives which make Yoga, the Yoga! When the matter of physical exercise turns into the act of worshiping a god of our imagination, worshiping a false god, or worshiping the True God falsely, negative spiritual consequences ought not to be miscalculated. If we investigate the highest state of Yoga as Patañjali has discussed in his Sutra, Christians should turn away from this state to prevent syncretized mystical elements in Christianity. One ought to know where he or she is being led by Yoga while practicing it. We have a clear view thanks to the following statement:
The state of emancipation before the soul is actually re-absorbed into the Supreme Being is the highest state of yoga. The body still exists, and of course, the soul exists within it. Its connection, however, with the body is supposed to be entirely broken. And the soul can consequently quit and re-enter the body, and ramble about where and as it likes. In this condition, it is supposed to attain the remaining eight transcendental powers.
Where do we draw a distinctive line to prevent the elements of the Yoga Sutra from synching into Christianity? Perhaps, one may argue that we can still involve in Yoga so long that we avoid these elements, such as muttering the names and attributes of Deity or focusing on the sun, moon, or something else. They may even go further to vindicate their practice, asserting that their pure motivation is to apply Yoga as means of exercise. Or they may claim they do not move towards “the union of their soul” with the Supreme Spirit. A person with such apologia (defense) must answer how they can deny themselves from becoming Brahma while they allegedly fix their thoughts or concentrate or meditate on God, the Word of God, or the Holy Spirit.
The Yoga practitioner (subject) identifies with the object—the thing he or she considers being the point of his or her reference to focus on the Yoga system. This makes the practitioners identify with Yahweh if their focal point is Yahweh. What blasphemy! In the same way, they could be a rock, elephant, ant, etc., if these are the focus points in their Yoga. This violates a person as an image-bearer of God. All the processes and practices do not seem damaging to us just from the outward look. We assessed Yoga as the human health-oriented glitter that promises to help us maintain our physical and mental health. But every element has a deep spiritual root in the Hindu philosophy. There is a risk for anyone from different faiths other than Hindu and Buddhist to slip into this counterfeit spirituality.
Finally, we investigate the hidden agenda of Yoga. It has prevailed in corrupting Christian minds by portraying itself as exercise with body postures. But the truth is far from what it tells us. The first chapter of the Pātāñjali’s Yoga Aphorisms reveals its substantive application:
Abhyāsa, the application of the mental acquirements of Sraddhā, etc., and Vairāgya, the consequent cessation of the mind from objects of distraction, lead to the extinction of all our mental states and of final release. When a man is well developed, he may rest contented with his mental actions alone, in his Abhyāsa and Vairāgya, in his Dhāranā (concentration), Dhyāna (meditation), and Samādhi (trance), which may be called the Jyānāyoga.
The message is clear that salvation is available apart from faith in Jesus Christ. To sum up, there is no such being as a personal God other than the Supreme Being. We are gods in slumbers that need to be awakened. Yoga is one way that embodies the truth that we are identical to Purusha. Through Yoga, we can enjoy union with Purusā. The way of salvation is through higher knowledge. Based on what Yoga is, we can conclude there is no such a thing as Christian Yoga. A Christian practicing Yoga does not make it “Christian Yoga.” It also does not change the fact that Yoga remains Yoga regardless of who practices it. In the same manner, we do not ascribe someone consuming the elements used in Eucharist as the Holy Communion. Yoga essentially remains Yoga regardless of whatever prefixes or adjectives one adds to it.
When Yoga begins with creating one’s own god through imagination and worshiping it in one or another mode as it is a prerequisite for admission to the Yoga school, then I doubt if “Christian Yogi” has put his or her undivided faith in the Lord. Yoga requires unswerving devotion from a Yogi and it demands self-restraining from the world or ceasing thinking about the phenomena of the world. It asks the Yogi to focus only on the inner self for perfection. If this is the case, there is no win-win scenario for a “Christian Yogi.” Either God has to vanish from the picture else Christian will not be a Yogi anymore.
Yoga, for me, is incompatible with the Christian faith. When we embrace Yoga, entire elements attached to Yoga also come along with it in a package. Some of them have a connection with sorcery and magic. So, how do we then discern where to draw the line, as they are much interconnected? It is a systemically developed theology and philosophy. Before joining Yoga or learning the Aāsanas or postures, one must ask, with no excuse, why they choose Yoga. What is the motivation for Yoga? We should be careful because what we do in the rhythm of life that we become. If Yoga is only for exercise, where do you divorce the boundary line between Christian ethics and Yoga? We ought not to trade praise and worship of our God with any other false gods.
Ironically, we are loath to meditate and concentrate upon the Word of God. We are haste to label someone as a legalist or a liberal when we see them incorporating bodily postures in praise and worship. Yet, we covet Yoga which is inseparably attached to religious philosophy. We do not ponder over trading off the glory we are to give our God for the certain benefits of Yoga. The counterargument will be that every knowledge is God’s knowledge. There are no qualms about it; however, the question pertaining to the issue will be if Yoga can be redeemed. One cannot separate Yoga from Hinduism and maintain its integrity by separating the two. Consequently, Yoga like an idol cannot be redeemed.
Next, the Bible summons us to fix our thoughts on Jesus. Do we have the same zeal that we have for Yoga to fix our thoughts on Jesus? We become so ready to absorb the teachings of Yoga without giving them a second thought. However, we lack the same enthusiasm to meditate on God’s Word. Are we not deviating from our callings when we choose counterfeit spirituality to a true God? He calls us to keep our eyes on Him and give him undivided mind. Why do we not practice meditation or concentration on the Word of our living God? God is with us and in us (John 17:20-23; cf. Gal 1:15-16; 2:20; 4:19; Eph 3:17; Col 1:27; 2 Cor 13:5; 2 Thess 1:10). We do not have to seek the “real self” or unite ourselves with the Supreme Spirit. The Word should burn out hearts to fix our minds and soul upon him and rest in him because true salvation comes only from him. God himself has united us in Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.
My plea to Christians is to step up on the higher ground and achieve more from the Sovereign God than the world has to offer. This is the true spirituality that can counter any forms of spirituality the world has offered so far. It transcends all knowledge, spirituality, and understating of the world. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9). Jesus is the possessor of the ultimate truth. He is the Truth. He is the Noble. He is the ultimate just and pure and holy. His is the sacrificial love which is admirable. Do we need to find any other attributes elsewhere to meditate? The answer is: NO.
 Tookaram Tatya, ed. The Yoga Philosophy: Being the Text of Patanjali, with Bhoja Raja’s Commentary; with Their Translations in English by DR. Ballantyne and Govind Shastri Deva, an Introduction by Col. Olcott and an Appendix. Trans. J. R. Ballantyne and Govinda Shastri Deva. 2nd ed. (Bombay: Subodh-Prakash, 1885), ii. Print. Hereafter The Yoga Philosophy.
 Svātmārāma. “Forword.” Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Trans. Hans Ulrich Rieker. (New York: Herder and Herder, 1992), 3.
 Mikel Burley. Haṭha-Yoga: Its Context, Theory, and Practice. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2000), 30.
 Joseph Padinjarekara, Christ in Ancient Vedas. (Ontario.: Welch Pub., 1991), 187.
 John Murdoch. Yoga Sastra: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Examined; with a Notice of Swami Vivekananda’s Yoga Philosophy, 1 ed., (London: Christian Literature Society for India, 1897), 4.