World Hindu Council of America (VHPA’s) response to NY Times Magazine article on Yoga

via VHPA Release published on March 12, 2012

The World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) wishes to convey its protest, against the series of articles by William J. Broad, with the latest one titled “Yoga and Sex Scandals: No Surprise Here, published on February 27, 2012. Over the past month, we have received thousands of messages from Hindus across the country, conveying their dismay at the distorted and narrow definition of Yoga presented in the articles, by the author.

 The practice of Yoga is not limited to physical and mental exercises, but encompasses the entire holistic state of body, mind and soul (atman), and their relationship with divinity. It is paramount to all Hindu philosophical schools and is central to the study and practice of Hindu Theology (Isvaravicāraśāstra), Psychology (JÄvavicāraśāstra) and Soteriology (Moksavicāraśāstra). The physical and mental exercises, i.e, Asana and Dhyana, form only a small aspect of the study and practice of Yoga. Sadly, the author chooses to focus on an even smaller aspect, i.e, Tantra, its connection to sexuality, and Hatha Yoga’s connection to Tantra.

 Sex and sexuality plays a necessary role in human actuality and evolution, and their presence in Yogic practices are therefore acknowledged. To present it, as the all-encompassing root of Yoga, and to paint Yoga as a ‘sex-cult’, points to the authors ignorance and/or bias in his understanding and presentation of Yoga. The fact that such articles were published by the New York Times magazine, leads us to believe that there is significant room for education and improvement, in their understanding of Yoga and other Hindu practices.

The World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) looks forward to working with the New York Times editorial board and the author, by providing access to literature and expertise in the science of Yoga, so as to create a betterunderstanding of Yoga and its developmental history.

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