Uh oh, it’s a rumble! Here’s the yoga beef:
– Deepak Chopra says: What you talkin’ bout, Shukla? Yoga did not originate in Hinduism, it’s so way older than that.
If you haven’t read the comments over at Professer Aseem Shukla’s eruption over the “Theft of Yoga” last week, then we highly recommend you cruise on over to check in on the debate. Because when you do you’ll get why fellow Washington Post columnist, and wellness mogul Mr. Deepak Chopra has chimed in to stew the beef!
Who is Aseem Shukla? “Associate Professor in urologic surgery at the University of Minnesota medical school. Co-founder and board member of Hindu American Foundation.”
On “The Theft of Yoga”:
Why is yoga severed in America’s collective consciousness from Hinduism? Yoga, meditation, ayurvedic natural healing, self-realization–they are today’s syntax for New Age, Eastern, mystical, even Buddhist, but nary an appreciation of their Hindu origins.
Hindus must take back yoga and reclaim the intellectual property of their spiritual heritage–not sell out for the expediency of winning more clients for the yoga studio down the street.
In essence he was responding to the LA Times religious yoga article, which we talked about last week. But is this the beginning of a scholarly yoga backlash in America? Eat, Pray, Love hater, and Hindu statesman Rajan Zed is already pissed about Hinduism’s rep. So what does the poster gentleman for East-to-West wellness, and recent yoga iPhone app star say about all this?
Deepak shoots back!
First, yoga is a spiritual discipline in India, and always has been. The aim of the practice is liberation. When liberation occurs, the yogi is freed from the religious trappings that enclose Yoga. Those trappings have always been incidental to the deeper aim of enlightenment.
Secondly, yoga did not originate in Hinduism as Prof. Shukla claims. Perhaps he has a fundamentalist agenda in mind, but he must know very well that the rise of Hinduism as a religion came centuries after the foundation of yoga in consciousness and consciousness alone. Religious rites and the worship of gods has always been seen as being in service to a higher cause, knowing the self.
Beneath Shukla’s complaints one detects the resentment of an inventor who discovered Coca-Cola or Teflon but neglected to patent it. Isn’t that a rather petty basis for drawing such a negative picture? Most Indians, when they contemplate the immense popularity of yoga in the U.S. may smile at the pop aspects of the phenomenon but feel on the whole that something good is happening. Shukla regards the same scene with a withering frown.
To which a commenter fires “You must be worried that all your books & PBS fame is based on a lie. You have borrowed (stolen?) all your ideas from Hinduism & Vedanta and repackaged them for the west for years.
Most of us Hindu Americans just smiled at your deception, but thought that it is good that you were bringing these ideas to the West. But now you have shown your true colors, ego, and lack of humility.”
Oh boy…guess that guy won’t be buying that ‘authentic yoga’ app anytime soon.
Also, this yoga/religion debate will assume savasana, um, probably never!