“Yoga is the Devil’s work. You think you are doing it for stretching your mind and body but it leads to Hinduism.”

So declares Vatican’s  Father Gabriel Amorth.  

Well, I guess he must know all about the Devil, having conducted 70,000 exorcisms in his 25 years career as Chief Exorcist at the Vatican!

But nothing about Yoga, apparently.  Pardon me, Yoga does not lead to Hinduism, It is a part of Hinduism.

Though it is a mystery why anyone would think that Yoga or Hinduism is the Devil’s work.

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It is stated in the Rig-Veda that “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti.”  Truth is One, sages call it by various names.

There are many ways- not just one single way- to reach this Truth.

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There is a lovely story about Samarth Ramdas Swami. Samarth Ramdas was a devout bhakt (devotee) of Shri Ram.

The story goes thus  that once Lord Pandurang (in the guise of a Brahmin) appeared before Samarth Ramdas and asked if he had any objection to seeing Lord Vitthal.

When Samarth Ramdas replied that he had not, he took Ramdas Swami to Pandharpur to the temple of Vitthal.

Samarth Ramdas entered the temple and to his amazement, found his beloved Shri Ram standing there alone. Ramdas Swami asked him-

येथे उभा का श्रीरामा | मनमोहन मेघश्यामा ||१||
काय केली सीताबाई | येथे राही रखुमाई  ||२||
काय केली अयोध्यापुरी | येथे वसवली पंढरी ||३||
काय केली शरयू गंगा | येथे आणिली चन्द्रभागा||४||   
धनुष्य बाण काय केले | कर कटावरि ठेविले ||५|| 
काय केले वानरदळ | येथे मिळविले   गोपाळ ||६||
 
[Oh Lord, what are you doing here, alone. Where is Sita? Here there is Rakhumai. Where is Ayodhya? Here this is Pandharpur City…….]
 
Finally Samarth Ramdas realized that Shri Ram and Vitthal were one and the same!
 
रामीरामदासी भाव | तैसा होय पंढरिराव ||७||  
 
[ The various incarnations are but several forms of the same Lord, and He takes the form which his Bhakt worships. ]
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Some years ago, a group of us friends used to conduct a Sanskarvarga in one of the poorer areas in Mumbai. I have written about it earlier here.

Once I went to the home of one of the children to meet her mother. As we entered I saw that there were pictures of several Hindu deities on the wall. There was also a picture of Jesus Christ.

I asked the mother whether she was a Christian. She answered that she was.  I asked her why she had kept the pictures of Hindu Gods too, alongside that of Jesus.

She replied that the people in her Church did not like it that she did so. But just because she was now a Christian and worshipped Jesus, did not mean that she should stop praying to the Gods she used to pray to, did it?

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Something to think about, isn’t it?

Could it be that this simple, uneducated woman is more enlightened than the Man of God at the Vatican?

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