Yoga appropriation by “Holy Yoga” – letter to founder Brooke Boon

Dear Brooke,

I happened to see your interview with Rajiv Malhotra and was surprised to see the contents.  I hope you saw the full interview where he showed the veracity of your statements taken from the Holy Yoga site itself (in the second part )

What is so surprising is what you call Physical Asanas in Yoga require a preparation of what one call ’10 rules’,  Yama and Niyama.

Yama (5 rules)

1) ‘Ahimsa – Non violence
2) ‘Satya –   Truthfulness
3) Asteya –  Non-stealing
4) Brahmacharya – Sexual responsibility
5) Aparigraha – Abstention from greed

Niyama (5 rules)

1) Sauca – cleanliness
2) Santosa – contentment
3) Tapa – austerity
4) Svadhyaya – Self study
5) Isvaraparidhana – Surrender of the self to God (acknowledging higher principle, whatever name you call it)

As I see, you are building a foundation violating most of these preparatory principles and hope to teach Yoga.    What has exclusive Jesus and Christianity approach you are making has got to do with Yoga?  Yoga is universal, it can be practiced by Hindus as ‘Aatman’, Christians as  ‘Christ consciousness’, Buddhists as “Buddha consciousness” and even Muslims as ‘Allah’.

The great spiritual masters of today like Eckhart Tolle (when Oprah had a show in 2009, 30-35 million saw or downloaded),  Michael Singer and others are teaching that what we are searching as human beings is that universal consciousness and one can call that by any name.   What world needs today is to unite people and bring this universal consciousness, not archaic, institutionalized form of appropriation and exclusivity that resulted in enormous destruction of humanity, environment and the brutality to animals.

Yoga is a science, a mind/body science that was developed by the spiritual masters of India, just as today, America has developed physical sciences in the outside world.   It is open to everyone to use it just as the fruits of research and technology from US is open for everyone to use.    Just as when we use the  science and technology we attribute to the founders and developers, Yoga is a science that developed in India and need to be attributed to India and its ancient heritage, the roots based on which what we call today Hinduism (or ‘Sanatana Dharama’) was built  over 10,000 or more years.   While West patents its developments, India does not patent it.  That is not a reason for stealing and appropriating it.

It is bizarre to see the major teaching programs, slick presentations on your website all built with premises of falsehood and violation of the very preparatory steps of Yama/Niyama (truthfulness, non-stealing, abstention from greed, contentment etc) for practicing yoga and expecting to improve the lives of the people.    What are you trying to do?

Yoga teaches a Christian to be a better Christian, a Buddhist to be a better Buddhist, a Hindu to be a better Hindu.     But the church and its Organization feels Yoga is a threat and using their enormous resources to appropriate it, just as Easter, Thanksgiving day and other festivals of the so called ‘pagans’ are appropriated with little original significance.   Below are some quotes of Mahatma Gandhi on the Church activity.  It is important to note that the only picture of God that Gandhi had in his Ashram was that of Jesus and his views on church activities is something we all need to reflect on.

1) I regard Jesus as a great teacher of humanity, but I do not regard him as the only begotten son of God. That epithet in its material interpretation is quite unacceptable.  Metaphorically we are all sons of God, but for each of us there may be different sons of God in a special sense. Thus for me Chaitanya may be the only begotten son of God … God cannot be the exclusive Father and I cannot ascribe exclusive divinity to Jesus. (Mahatma Gandhi, Harijan: June 3, 1937)

2) I consider western Christianity in its practical working a negation of Christ’s Christianity. I cannot conceive Jesus, if he was living in flesh in our midst, approving of modern Christian organizations, public worship, or ministry.  (Mahatma Gandhi, Young India: September 22, 1921)

3)  It is my firm opinion that Europe (and the United States) does not represent the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan.  And Satan’s successes are the greatest when appears with the name of God on his lips. (Mahatma Gandhi, Young India: September 8, 1920)

Just last week, National Geographic had a program on disappearance of great amazon civilizations and mentioned how the Spanish crusaders with christian missionaries destroyed the most thriving civilizations, the civilizations which now believed to have actually created the Amazon forests!   Christian missionaries destroyed the world’s civilizations and caused enormous destruction not only to those who did not convert but also to Christians themselves.   Some 9 million women were believed to be burnt alive for heresy and here we see all women group propagating the same with falsehoods.   Children of the so called pagans (natives) were removed from parents in the name of purifying evil, from Canada to Africa to Australia.   Millions of Christian children were sexually abused by clergy with little accountability.    Kenyan Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta captured the essence of what was done to Africa when he said,  ‘ When the missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible’.    Now they are spreading all kinds of falsities and untruths about Hindus and India and even going so far as saying Yoga came from Christianity so that they can convert India!   What a shame?

I hope the world recognizes the untruths and the falsehoods based on which you are building an empire and restore yoga for all human beings, no matter what religion,caste, creed they belong to.   Enough is enough.   Purify thyself, before you teach others.

Satya Dosapati