In a classic flimflam, one of the world’s most ancient religious practices is being sold as the “science of yoga.” The average Westerner is not aware that yoga was introduced by Lord Krishna in the Baghavad Gita as the sure way to Hindu heaven, or that Shiva (one of the most feared Hindu deities) is addressed as Yogeshwara, or Lord of Yoga.
That yoga is Hinduism is usually denied. Hearing occasional references to Patanjali’s second-century B.C. Yoga Sutras, the Westerner assumes that Patanjali was an early Indian Plato or Einstein. In fact, Hindus regard him as one of their greatest religious leaders. Thinking they are buying health, millions are unwittingly getting involved in Hinduism. Believing they are being taught scientific practices, yoga enthusiasts are led unaware into Eastern religious beliefs and rituals which are designed to open them to the occult.
Hatha Yoga, known as physical yoga, is alleged to be devoid of the mysticism in other forms. Not so. Yoga is yoga, and all of the positions and breathing exercises are specifically designed for yoking with Brahman, the universal All of Hinduism. If the goal is physical fitness, one should adopt an exercise program designed to that end, not one designed for reaching godhood. In one of the most authoritative Hatha Yoga texts, the fifteenth-century Hathayoga-Pradipika, Svatmarama lists Lord Shiva (known by Hindus as “The Destroyer”) as the first Hatha Yoga teacher. No wonder yoga can be so destructive!
The average yoga instructor does not mention the many warnings contained in ancient texts that even “Hatha Yoga is a dangerous tool.” In an unusually frank interview in Yoga Journal, Ken Wilber (practicing mystic and yoga enthusiast, often called today’s “Einstein of consciousness”) warns that any form of Eastern meditation, even done “correctly,” involves “a whole series of deaths and rebirths’ extraordinary conflicts and stresses…some very rough and frightening times.”
David Pursglove, a therapist and transpersonal counselor for 25 years, lists some of the “transpersonal crises” common to people who get involved in Eastern meditation:
“Frightening ESP and other parapsychological occurrences…[spontaneous] out-of-body experiences or accurate precognitive ‘takes’…profound psychological encounter with death and subsequent rebirth…the awakening of the serpent power (Kundalini)…energy streaming up the spine, tremors, spasms and sometimes violent shaking and twisting….”
“Such experiences,” admits the Brain/Mind Bulletin, “are common among people involved in Yoga, [Eastern] meditation and other [pagan] spiritual disciplines….” These crises have reached such epidemic proportions that Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professor Stanislav Grof (a leading LSD authority) and his wife Christina (a Hatha Yoga teacher) organized the “Spiritual Emergency Network” (SEN) in 1980. SEN coordinates numerous regional centers throughout the world involving more than a thousand professionals who “understand the nature of ‘spiritual awakening…’” and can, hopefully, advise those experiencing these spiritual terrors.