Heaven - Wikiquote
The second major influence has been through what most Westerners would call yoga. The typical practice of yoga in the West involves various forms of Hatha or Ashtanga yoga—the physical exercises and meditative practices intended to be forms of Hindu worship and enlightenment. While there are many different schools of yoga, the postures and practices can be traced back thousands of years and are included in the Vedas and other writings.
Beginning in the mid s, as Hindu philosophy was being introduced to the West, the practices of yoga were brought by Swami Vivekananda. He toured Europe and the United States, teaching yoga philosophy. Many other swamis and gurus have promoted their own versions since then. Rather than merely the postures and meditation, yoga encompasses an entire philosophy tied to the pantheistic view of Hinduism. Believing that each person is part of the Divine, having a divine spark within them, the popular schools of Hatha and Astanga yoga employ an eight-fold path to liberating the soul—the enlightenment of moksha that is the equivalent of salvation in Hinduism.
The various poses used in yoga, called asanas , are postures that are intended to bring relaxation. Many are based on various Hindu gods and aspects of nature, imitating them in a pose of worship. One common yoga progression is the sun salutation, a series intended to connect the inner self to the sun in an act of worship and meditation on how the sun expresses divinity. Additionally, these poses are intended to be practiced in concert with the other aspects.
The breathing focus is intended to influence the vital force praana that flows through the body in channels called nadi. The use of focusing on objects, breath control, chanting mantras or sounds, and emptying the mind are all part of the practice. The postures facilitate this balancing of inner energy as well as moving inner focus through the various chakras in the body where the inner self can achieve enlightenment. This focus on the chakras progresses from the base of the spine up to the mind where the self recognizes its divinity.
Many people report ecstatic experiences and spiritual connections during yoga. Some refer to this as opening the third eye, by which the self is able to see past the illusions of the cosmos and approach moksha. The Tantric and Shaktic schools connect this flow of the force through the ascending chakras as the snake goddess, Kundalini, is awakened within and brings enlightenment.
The Christian cannot miss the echoes of the promise of the serpent in the garden, promising Eve she could become like God. The popularization of yoga practice in illustrated books and the philosophies that accompany it accelerated in the s and continues today. First and foremost, yoga is a systematic process of spiritual unfoldment. Yoga is a 5,year-old system of self-knowledge and God-realization, the aim of which is to unleash our full human potential—including our physical, ethical, emotional, mental, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions.
The first five limbs from Yama to Pratyaahaara make up the outer aspect of Yoga and the last three Dhaarana, Dhyaana, Samaadhi are called Samyama or Integration. Yama and Niyama refer to the right attitudes, values, and lifestyle practices necessary for Yoga, its ethical foundation. Aasana, Praanaayaama, and Pratyaahaara are the means to control the outer aspects of our nature as body, breath, and senses.
Attention or concentration naturally leads to Meditation, which in time results in Absorption or the Unification of the Perceiver, the Perceived and the process of Perception. We get the knowledge of our true Self. Both meditation and yoga practices have been embraced by the popular culture, integrated into government school systems, and used by individuals and corporations to promote inner peace and general well-being. While often cloaked in scientific and health-related terminology, these are both part of the Hindu paths to salvation and should not be practiced by Christians, despite their promotion by some churches.
Doing so opens one to the influences of false teachings and even demonic activity and influence. Rather than looking inside the self a self with a nature that is irreparably corrupted by sin through yoga practices to find union with the Divine, looking to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith is the only way God has made available to be united with Him for eternity.
While it is difficult to describe the attitudes of such a large and diverse group of people, the Hindu religious beliefs color the thoughts and actions of the followers, just as any worldview does. All paths lead to the same goal Gita.
Conversion is a great form of violence against Hinduism. Ridicule, persecution, and even death can be expected, especially by those who turn to Christianity. Though Hindus claim to be nonviolent, religious fervor often expresses itself in violence against those who leave Hinduism or seek to convert others from Hinduism. The Hindu doctrine of maya presents a powerful point of discussion. The Ultimate Reality is supposed to be hidden behind the illusion of the physical reality while all is really united and emanates from Brahman. But do Hindus really live in a way that is consistent with the teaching of maya?
If they are honest with themselves, they do not. A Hindu can only live in the real world by acknowledging the distinctions between light and dark, love and hate, waking and sleeping. If the Hindu were truly consistent with the belief system, he would not be bothered if you took the money from his wallet—there is no difference between rich and poor, after all. If clothes are not real but illusion, then why wear them?
A Treasury of Heaven's Likenesses: Descriptions of Heaven from Scriptures of Major World Religions
If there is no distinction and all is one , then why is there a caste system? If there is no distinction in Hinduism, then why should a Hindu follow Hinduism rather than follow Christ? To say otherwise is to draw distinction between the current state and the future potential state. Notice the violations of logic inherent within the Hindu worldview. What can the defender of Hinduism say? The point of this is to show that, when honestly and carefully considered, Hinduism is internally inconsistent.
It is illogical. So having both internal inconsistency and arbitrariness logically reduces Hinduism to a false belief. Our hope though is to point Hindus to the truth of Jesus Christ. Common concepts shared between Christianity and Hinduism are the ideas of God, incarnation, sin, salvation, good deeds, and life beyond this present state.
Hindus normally conclude by saying that Hinduism has the same basic teaching as Christianity or that things sound very similar. This should not close the doors but form bridges for sharing the gospel. We can reach out to the Hindu by asking them to carefully compare the differences between the doctrines—especially the person and work of Jesus Christ.
As a gospel messenger, look for open doors and connecting bridges, prayerfully presenting the hope in Christ in a relevant and loving manner Colossians —6. At the right time, communicate the difference between the two faiths and allow the Holy Spirit to work, trusting in the power of the gospel. Be the salt and the light that will help to earn the trust of Hindu friends and neighbors. As a follower of Christ, it is a lifelong commitment through word and action before, during, and after sharing Christ.
Pray for specific families and rely on the Holy Spirit at every stage. Let your life and conduct reflect the change that Christ has worked in your life. As you speak, do so with grace and truth, not avoiding hard truths, but speaking in a winsome way. Hindu friends and neighbors are open to hear the gospel when facing critical situations such as sickness, failure, or death of loved ones.
Most of the time they are open for prayer for healing because of fear, which can be a good opening to share Christ. Friendship allows them to see how Christians deal with trials and difficult situations.
Invite friends and neighbors for family events such as birthdays, anniversaries, or even Christian festivities like an Easter dinner. Try to avoid culturally offensive practices, foods, or expressions accordingly to make them feel at home. Some may be vegetarians or avoid certain foods.
This will show respect and keep the door open for future communication of the gospel. Most common objections against Christians in India are that church-going people discard Indian practices or become Westernized. This refers to dietary habits, dress, music, and language. Such hindering practices could be easily addressed by the believers for the sake of the gospel.
In the West, Hindus may be more open to adopting various customs. Some committed believers have sacrificed consumption of certain foods for the Kingdom cause. Most of all, neighbors will listen to the message through a Christ-like life lived by the believers and the message that accompanies it. From untruth, lead me to the truth; From darkness, lead me to light; From death, lead me to immortality. Finally, Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the noble aspirations of Hinduism.
He says to the Hindus John :. Innumerable Hindus have come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ over the centuries; their lives were beautifully transformed by the power of the gospel and were used by God as mighty witnesses for Him in India and around the world. Even today the same continues to happen.
THE GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW
Glory to God as the gospel message brings sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ—even Hindus! This eye-opening volume deals with many Eastern religions like Hinduism, Taoism, New Age, Sikhism, Confucianism, Shinto, and Buddhism, as well as other pagan-based systems. Master Books has graciously granted AiG permission to publish selected chapters of this book online. To purchase a copy please visit our online store. Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry , dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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