Yoga – Deep-rooted in Ancient India: Sought to be Studied by West and De-Coupled from its Roots!

By: Rajiv Malhotra

A new journal from the West seeks to control research on Yoga. It is called THE JOURNAL OF YOGA STUDIES

A number of Hindu themes is also included in its scope. Its set up as a space to digest into stage-2 (de-contextualized) and hence prepare for further digestion into stage-3 by others.

The leader is Elizabeth De Michelis, an accomplished scholar. She works in close collaboration with Mark Singleton, the scholar famous for his thesis that modern yoga originated in YMCA in India. Lacking physical strength, Indians wanted to start exercising but wanted to use Sanskrit terms and claims of an old history. (This fits into the Neo-Hinduism theory I refuted in my book, Indra’s Net.)

Her own book, Modern Yoga, tries to de-couple “modern” yoga from ancient roots, and tries to locate it in western esoteric influences of the late 19th century. They are saying that just as modern Hinduism (i.e. what they call neo-Hinduism) starts in the late 19th c. with Swami Vivekananda, so also modern Yoga starts in the 19 c. Neither modern Hinduism nor modern Yoga originated in ancient Vedic practices.

The formal academic credentials of the scholars are powerful. UK’s SOAS is a key partner. Many of the parties involved have backgrounds our folks must examine.

There is also a similar agenda on research on Ayurveda.

Next you can expect sama-dana type of good cop activities to pave the way. Many naive indians will be brought in positions to lend legitimacy. Many leftist scholars can also be expected to serve their cause.

I do not say all their work is or will be bad. It will be both bad & good mixed in. Nor do I say they dont have the right to do whatever scholarship they want. 

But I ask those with commitment to yoga as a sacred system (i.e. not secularized) to pay close attention and do purva-paksha.


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