Hindus, who urged disciplining of a Northern Ireland Catholic priest who reportedly linked yoga to Satan, are disheartened over the Church’s silence on the issue.
Father Reverend Roland Colhoun, a priest at Waterside Parish of Roman Catholic Diocese of Derry in Northern Ireland, as reported by Derry Journal, “warned parishioners against taking part in yoga” while saying mass in Drumsurn recently. “Yoga is certainly a risk. There’s the spiritual health risk”, Journal quoted him.
UK’s The Independent quoted him as saying “Yoga leads to Satan” and that he fears it could lead to “The Kingdom of Darkness”. “It’s a slippery slope from yoga to Satan”, RT channel said quoting him.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that reports suggested that neither the Vatican and nor the Diocese of Derry Bishop, Most Reverend Donal McKeown, had offered apology on the actions of the priest who just trashed a highly revered and respected ancient practice.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, yoga was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse being utilized by millions of people of various faith traditions worldwide for achieving physical and mental fitness.
Why this Derry priest was unnecessarily disparaging yoga whom Patanjali described as “a methodical effort to attain perfection” and about whom US National Institutes of Health indicated: yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress? Rajan Zed asked.
Zed further said that Bishop McKeown, whose Diocese of Derry was directly responsible for the actions of this priest, should apologize to the hurt worldwide yoga community and clearly state where he stood on this issue. Moreover, Vatican should also clarify its stand on yoga, honestly and transparently.
Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Rajan Zed pointed out and added that yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche.