Yoga and “other gods”

Today I read an excellent article by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird about yoga and its relationship to Hinduism.  He is a very courageous man to step out and reveal the hidden agenda of yoga.

For years I have had similar beliefs and told my children, family and friends who consider yoga as a wonderful exercise program that it has its roots in demonic practices.  Of course, everyone always rolls their eyes at me and considers me a nut case.

Like the man who wrote this article, I have the ‘unfortunate’ gift of discernment of spirits.  Those of us in the Body of Messiah who have been given the gift of discerning spirits, have a difficult voice these days because there is such great deception not only in the world, but also in the church where were are to edify and strengthen the Body.  No one really wants to be told that what they are doing has ‘spiritual roots’ let alone ‘evil spiritual roots’.  Heck, they don’t even want to hear about those things with Biblical spiritual roots!

The world only believes in spirituality if it has nothing to do with the Bible; the church believes that either nothing is inherently wrong because of Jesus or we , like little gods, can take unholy things and transform them externally to be set apart for God.  The Rev. Dr. Hird says so much of what I have said over the years and I am going to share a few thoughts from his article. Though, if you are considering yoga classes or have already taken part in them, reading the entire article is even better and more informative than my personal observations below.  All quotes come from the article written by Rev. Dr. Hird or the Scriptures.

“We naively think that we can arrogantly detach anything from its heritage, and snatch its alleged benefits without any downside.”

This is the problem with much of Christiandom today.  No one really believes that the roots or heritage of a practice has any effect whatsoever to what they ‘think’ they are doing.  There is this deception that because Paul said that ‘other gods’ have no real influence on us that we can embrace ‘other gods’ with no consequence.  It is often forgotten, if even known at all that Paul also said, ‘if the root is holy, then so are the branches’.   This would also mean that if the root is unholy and the heritage is in ‘other gods’, then all the branches that have grown from that root are also unholy.

Here’s a great example of rationalizing the worship of ‘other gods.’  Though the Scriptures outline appointed times of worship set in motion by Yahweh Himself,  Christians are highly ignorant of their true Biblical heritage.  They embrace holidays like Easter and Christmas that have pagan roots and honor other gods, holidays with activities that the Biblical prophets warned against.   Honest, well-meaning Christians will say that they have detached the false gods from these celebrations and put God into them.  Who are ‘they’ that THEY forget that Yahweh’s first commandment is to have ‘no other gods before Him.‘  Just because Jesus died on the cross and disarmed the powers and principalities, doesn’t mean that those powers and principalities still don’t exist.  They do and will until they are thrown into the lake of fire at the end of time.  Every time a pagan holiday is celebrated by a Christian, they honor the ‘other god’ in blissful ignorance or arrogance.  Both are destructive to their spiritual well-being.

“Yoga is the Hindu word for salvation.”  This statement shocked me when I read it. Yoga is the Hindu word for salvation!  Every time anyone,  including a Christian, says the word ‘yoga,’ they are speaking the Hindu word for ‘salvation’.   Wow. Think about this statement again.  Yoga is the Hindu word for salvation.  How many Christians know the Hebrew word for salvation that is written in their Bibles?  How many Christians know that the literal given name of their Savior is Yeshua, and means ‘salvation’?  Most don’t and don’t care and go to their yoga ‘salvation classes’ as regularly as Sunday school.   Yet, Yeshua is the name of God’s one and only Son.  In Exodus 23:13 the names of ‘other gods’ are not supposed to be even on our lips; and Joshua is told to never invoke or swear by the names of other gods (Joshua 23:7).

““Yoga is the very heart of Hinduism.  Without yoga, there is no Hinduism.  Without Hinduism, there is no yoga.”

In the above statement, I see the fullness of a false religion with a salvation that is expressed in an outward work called – exercise.   As one practices yoga, they are actually validating Hinduism in their lives.  Being that yoga is the heart of Hinduism, what is happening to the heart of the individual who is practicing yoga?

In my experience with many Christians,  if  I say I celebrate the Sabbath and don’t eat pork because I want to  obey God’s commandments and live out my faith in God because I love God and have a new heart,  I am called a legalist or told I have denied Jesus and the work He did on the cross.  It doesn’t matter if I quote from John 14:15, “If you love me (Yeshua), you will obey my commandments,” or James 2:18, ‘faith without works is dead’, I am still considered a heretic at worst or at best, have stumbled into the bottomless pit of the Galatian error.   Oh, dear!   Yet, the person who goes to the recreation center and takes Hindu ‘work out your salvation’ classes, is just exercising!

“The term ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yug’, which means to yoke.  Few people in community centre yoga classes ask what they are yoking themselves to.  Yogic practice is designed to yoke or bring psychic union with Brahman, the highest of the Hindu deities.”

When I read this statement, I immediately thought of Yeshua’s yoke (Matthew 11:28-30).  He spoke about His yoke being light and not a burden.  In rabbinical thought, a ‘yoke’ is following the teachings of a certain rabbi.  In the case of Yeshua, the Jewish Rabbi, his ‘yoke’ is the Torah or the teachings and instructions of Yahweh.  If yoga is the heart of Hinduism and came from a word meaning ‘yoke’, what are those participating in yoga yoking themselves too?  Again, most believers would never think of ‘yoking’ themselves to the teachings and instructions of Yahweh because that would be legalism, but yoking themselves to Hinduism through yoga is okay because they really aren’t consciously trying to have a psychic union with Brahman, the highest of Hindu deities.

I love when people say, “Well, God looks on my heart.”  Yes, He does, and does He really like what He sees and knows about your own haughtiness about His Torah or  your ignorance about the ‘easy yoke’ when you have the Hebrew Scriptures in entirety?  King Saul suddenly comes to mind as well as Paul saying that he keeps his conscious clear between God and man (Acts 24:16).

“Unlike Christian prayer and meditation on God’s Word, the purpose of Eastern yogic meditational practices is to ‘kill the mind’.

Through the Beatles 60s infatuation with eastern religions, yoga has been able to infiltrate the western world.  Because the United States allows ‘freedom of religion’, this religious practice has  flourished. Love is redefined to be ‘all you need is humanistic love’ with no accountability  and ‘Imagine there is no heaven or God’  is still the enlightened ones’ utopia.   We now live in a post-modern world where religions and religious beliefs are tolerated to such an extent that there is no purity of faith anywhere.  In many cases the truth has become a lie and the lie is accepted as truth.  The merging of all religions into one lump of spiritual awareness has ‘killed the mind’ rather than ‘renewed the mind’ of the masses (Romans 12:2).  There is little to no connection to a Creator because they, themselves have become ‘little gods’ and create their own spiritual universe with each individual at the center.  This is more than polytheism, it is self-worship and it is idolatry at its finest.

“While yogic philosophy is polytheistic, it is also monistic, in the sense that it holds that, through yoga, we become the universe and/or god.”

My brother became born again into the Kingdom of God 15 years ago.   His girlfriend immediately ended their relationship because she was into the occult and wanted nothing to do with a “Jesus freak.”  My brother’s faith and walk was nothing short of amazing.  The Scriptures he knew as a child came to life.  He felt his heart become circumcised and joy just bubbled out of a new light in his eyes and countenance.   He made restitution for numerous things from years and years before and enjoyed restoration of many broken friendships.  Then, he met another woman.

He was excited about her because she was ‘spiritual’ like he was.  Unfortunately, her spirituality was embedded in Hinduism as she was a yoga instructor.  Because my brother was a baby believer and he didn’t want to ‘hear’ me judge another of his girlfriends (every time I was right), he not only continued dating her, but he began to do yoga.  He bought a mat, learned all sorts of positions and said it was helping his aches and pains from a horrific car accident years earlier.  He said it was really changing his life.  It was.

Slowly, his demeanor changed.  The light in his eyes wasn’t as bright and a different ‘spirit’ began guiding him that caused confusion.  Though he really liked this woman because she ‘spoke his spiritual language’, he didn’t like that she was secretive about much of her personal life. All he wanted was to be closer to her and she kept him at an uncomfortable distance.

During their relationship, he brought this woman to visit our family as he really wanted me to meet her.  We had a nice visit.  She was very friendly and a lot of fun especially to my children, but suffice it to say, her little ‘gods’ couldn’t exist in our home filled with Scriptures written on the walls and the love of Messiah emanating through everything we did.   Though she tried to speak to me about her lifestyle – apart from being an art teacher – I did not allow the conversation to take root.   She ended the relationship with my brother soon after they returned home.  But, she had already inflicted spiritual and mental damage.

Though my brother could not see it, he was slowly taken into a great deception that still is with him today.  It will remain with him until he is able to see that her ‘spirituality’ was not the same as the Spirit given to him by the Father through Messiah.  She intentionally used words with double meanings (semantics is definitely important) and a lot of secrecy to make her spirituality seem to be the same as his, but enough different than his that he needed to keep striving for more ‘light’ and ‘peace’.  Consequently, his ‘light’ and ‘peace’ from the Spirit of Yahweh has either been completely extinguished or is hiding under a bushel barrel.

“With yoga and Hinduism, nothing is what it seems.  This is why it has been described as the embrace that smothers.  Trying to separate the so-called physical from the spiritual in yoga is like attempting to remove arsenic from a bowl of sugar.  Yoga has always been shrouded in illusion and secrecy, and can intentionally look like whatever you want it to in the short term.”

Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or ritual.  Divination is condemned by God in Leviticus 19:26.  King Saul, when he did not obey God’s command to completely destroy the Amalakites, was told by the prophet Samuel that his rebellion was like the sin of divination and his arrogance like idolatry.  His rejection of the Word of the Lord and his disobedience caused him to be rejected as King (1 Samuel 15:23). Samuel is pretty clear regarding what rejecting God’s Word means: idolatry and divination.  We, as believers should flee from these things rather than try to rationalize our sins as King Saul did.  King Saul lost his kingdom, we can lose a Kingdom too all because we want to do our yoga-salvation exercises.

“Yoga is an ancient form of divination.  … The Bible does not encourage us to see how close to the line we can get before we fall in, but rather to flee idolatry.”  

Soon after we were married, my husband and I attended a conference with Dave Hunt, the author of  “The Seduction of Christianity.”  During that conference he spoke about the mantras given to those involved in Transcendental Meditation.  He said that there were only 7 or 10 (I forget now) because they are literally the names of Hindu gods.  Inductees were not supposed to share with anyone else their mantra because they would soon find out that 1 in 7 had their same mantra.  He said that once you had your mantra, you would perform this ceremony with a white table cloth and an apple.  While he was speaking about all of this, my husband leans over and whispers in my ear, “I did all of this.”

I responded, “What?”

He repeated, “I did all of this.”

When we returned home, I asked him what he was talking about.  He had, at one time, received his mantra and offered his sacrificial apple on the white-table clothed altar.  He had no idea that his mantra was a ‘god’, but he did say that he had initially forgotten it and had to get another.  The yogi-dude was angry with him, but gave him another.  I asked him if he remembered the name and he said that he did though he did not say its name at that time.

As we considered the magnitude of this event, we both realized that he had embraced ‘a false god’.  Immediately, we prayed about it and my husband repented from ever taking part in this religious practice with its lies and deceptions.  He spoke the name of ‘the god’ only once to send it to the pit of sheol to wait its judgment.  He wanted nothing to do with anything that still had a stronghold on his soul, spirit, heart since he had become born again into the Kingdom of God. He had become a child of God and wanted no part that kept him as a child of evil one any more.

“Transcendental Meditation, a form of Mantra yoga, initiated countless westerners with Sanskrit puja rituals that were never explained to them, but still had a significant impact on their core identity.

Faith in Yeshua’s atonement for sin is the cornerstone of Scripture from Genesis through Revelation.   Through His life, death and resurrection we receive life here and now and into eternity.  Anyone who does not trust in Yeshua’s atonement for their sin, does not receive the fullness of their faith – forgiveness and a restored relationship with their Creator.  Worship of the Father is done in Spirit and Truth through His appointed times and offering of ourselves as living sacrifices.

However, one does not have to believe in or openly worship a false god for it to impact their lives.  This is the power of Astarte (Easter), Tammuz (Christmas trees), Samhain (Halloween) in the lives of Christians.   These ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’ have so impacted their spiritual lives and hearts that they will argue to the millionth power to defend their practices all the while denying that they have been impacted by ‘other gods.’  My husband came to the reality of the impact of Hinduism on his life and identity; my brother needs to come to the same place.  All of those who are actively participating in yoga or are considering it also need to realize the subtle way the enemy uses to draw us into false religions and religious practices in order to glorify himself.

“Unlike Judaism, Christianity and Islam, one does not have to believe in  or worship something to be impacted by Hinduism.”  

What Christians tend to forget is that we are commanded and warned against idolatry and ‘other gods’.  Those commandments and warnings through the Torah, the Prophets and the Apostles are still in force until Yahweh establishes his eternal throne in the New Jerusalem and there is a new heaven and a new earth.  When we defile ourselves with false gods, we pay a huge price in our relationship with our Father.

“When you offer your gifts … you continue to defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. Am I to let you inquire of me, you Israelites? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will not let you inquire of me” (Ezekiel 20:31).

“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).

©2013 Tentstake Ministries

 

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