Hindu leader praises Kildare parish for hosting yoga

Welcome is two years after Derry priest warned of ‘slippery slope from yoga to Satan’

Rajan Zed: referred to yoga as “a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from”.

Rajan Zed: referred to yoga as “a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from”.

 

An international Hindu leader has thanked the Catholic parish of Kilcullen, Co Kildare for hosting yoga classes.

A parish of the Dublin archdiocese, its decision to host the classes at its community centre was described as a “step forward in the positive direction” by Rajan Zed, president of the Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism. He also urged all Catholic schools in Ireland to introduce yoga programmes.

In a statement, confirmed by The Irish Times, he recalled how Kilcullen was about 168 miles from the parish of Drumsurn, Co Derry, where in February 2015 Fr Roland Colhoun “reportedly linked yoga to Satan”.

“As reported by the Derry Journal,” Mr Zed said, “ Fr Colhoun ‘warned parishioners against taking part in yoga’ while saying mass in Drumsurn. ‘Yoga is certainly a risk. There’s the spiritual health risk’, the Journal quoted him.

“Other media d also then quoted the priest as saying that that ‘yoga leads to Satan’ and that he feared it could lead to ‘the Kingdom of Darkness’,” and that there was ‘a slippery slope from yoga to Satan,’ he said.

Fr Colhoun subsequently confirmed he had said yoga and Indian head massage were part of new age practices and those who used them risked entering the world of the occult. While Catholic rites often invoked the Holy Spirit, use of yoga or Indian head massage risked invoking “bad” or evil spirts, he said.

Living fossil

In his statement, Mr Zed described yoga as “a living fossil” and “a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to the Indus Valley civilization”.

Although introduced and nourished by Hinduism,yoga was “a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical,” he said.

He also noted that the Vatican Library reportedly includes yoga related books, such as Bhaktiyoga, Yoga, Yoga-system of Patanjali, Yogic Powers and God Realization.