Shukla and Chopra: The Great Yoga Debate

On April 18, On Faith panelist Aseem Shukla wrote an essay on yoga’s American popularity and Hindu heritage. On April … Continued

On April 18, On Faith panelist Aseem Shukla wrote an essay on yoga’s American popularity and Hindu heritage. On April 23, On Faith panelist Deepak Chopra responded. And the debate was on.

The impromptu debate has drawn hundreds of comments from readers and generated a great deal of discussion in the wider Hindu community. Here, due to popular demand, is the Shukla-Chopra debate in one blog post. Enjoy.

Aseem Shukla, April 18: The theft of yoga:

Nearly 20 million people in the United States gather together routinely, fold their hands and utter the Hindu greeting of Namaste — the Divine in me bows to the same Divine in you. Then they close their eyes and focus their minds with chants of “Om,” the Hindu representation of the first and eternal vibration of creation. Arrayed in linear patterns, they stretch, bend, contort and control their respirations as a mentor calls out names of Hindu divinity linked to various postures: Natarajaasana (Lord Shiva) or Hanumanasana (Lord Hanuman) among many others. They chant their assigned “mantra of the month,” taken as they are from lines directly from the Vedas, Hinduism’s holiest scripture. Welcome to the practice of yoga in today’s western world.

Christians, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, agnostics and atheists they may be, but they partake in the spiritual heritage of a faith tradition with a vigor often unmatched by even among the two-and-a half-million Hindu Americans here. The Yoga Journal found that the industry generates more than $6 billion each year and continues on an incredible trajectory of popularity. It would seem that yoga’s mother tradition, Hinduism, would be shining in the brilliant glow of dedicated disciples seeking more from the very font of their passion.

Yet the reality is very different. Hinduism in common parlance is identified more with holy cows than Gomukhasana, the notoriously arduous twisting posture; with millions of warring gods rather than the unity of divinity of Hindu tradition–that God may manifest and be worshiped in infinite ways; as a tradition of colorful and harrowing wandering ascetics more than the spiritual inspiration of Patanjali, the second century BCE commentator and composer of the Yoga Sutras, that form the philosophical basis of Yoga practice today.

Why is yoga severed in America’s collective consciousness from Hinduism? Yoga, meditation, ayurvedic natural healing, self-realization–they are today’s syntax for New Age, Eastern, mystical, even Buddhist, but nary an appreciation of their Hindu origins. It is not surprising, then, that Hindu schoolchildren complain that Hinduism is conflated only with caste, cows, exoticism and polytheism–the salutary contributions and philosophical underpinnings lost and ignored. The severance of yoga from Hinduism disenfranchises millions of Hindu Americans from their spiritual heritage and a legacy in which they can take pride.

Hinduism, as a faith tradition, stands at this pass a victim of overt intellectual property theft, absence of trademark protections and the facile complicity of generations of Hindu yogis, gurus, swamis and others that offered up a religion’s spiritual wealth at the altar of crass commercialism. The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, under whose tutelage the Beatles steadied their mind and made sense of their insane fame, packaged the wonders of meditation as Transcendental Meditation (TM) just as an entrepreneur from here in Minneapolis applied the principles of Ayurveda to drive a commercial enterprise he coined as Aveda. TM and Aveda are trademarked brands–a protection not available to the originator of their brand–Hinduism itself. And certainly these masters benefited millions with their contributions, but in agreeing to ditch Hinduism as the source, they left these gifts orphaned and unanchored.

The Los Angeles Times last week chronicled this steady disembodying of yoga from Hinduism. “Christ is my guru. Yoga is a spiritual discipline much like prayer, meditation and fasting [and] no one religion can claim ownership,” says a vocal proponent of “Christian themed” yoga practices. Some Jews practice Torah yoga, Kabbalah yoga and aleph bet yoga, and even some Muslims are joining the act. They are appropriating the collective wisdom of millenia of yogis without a whisper of acknowledgment of yoga’s spiritual roots.

Not surprisingly, the most popular yoga journals and magazines are also in the act. Once yoga was no longer intertwined with its Hindu roots, it became up for grabs and easy to sell. These journals abundantly refer to yoga as “ancient Indian,” “Eastern” or “Sanskritic,” but seem to assiduously avoid the term “Hindu” out of fear, we can only assume, that ascribing honestly the origins of their passion would spell disaster for what has become a lucrative commercial enterprise. The American Yoga Association, on its Web site, completes this delinking of yoga from Hinduism thusly:

“The common belief that Yoga derives from Hinduism is a misconception. Yoga actually predates Hinduism by many centuries…The techniques of Yoga have been adopted by Hinduism as well as by other world religions.”

So Hinduism, the religion that has no known origins or beginnings is now younger than yoga? What a ludicrous contention when the Yoga Sutras weren’t even composed until the 2nd Century BCE. These deniers seem to posit that Hinduism appropriated yoga so other religions may as well too! Hindus can only sadly shake their heads, as by this measure, soon we will read as to how karma, dharma and reincarnation–the very foundations of Hindu philosophy–are only ancient precepts that early Hindus of some era made their own.

The Hindu American Foundation (Disclosure: I sit on the Foundation’s Board) released a position paper on this issue earlier this year. The brief condemns yoga’s appropriation, but also argues that yoga today is wholly misunderstood. Yoga is identified today only with Hatha Yoga, the aspect of yoga focused on postures and breathing techniques. But this is only one part of the practice of Raja Yoga that is actually an eightfold path designed to lead the practitioner to moksha, or salvation. Indeed, yogis believe that to focus on the physicality of yoga without the spirituality is utterly rudimentary and deficient. Sure, practicing postures alone with a focus on breathing techniques will quiet the mind, tone the body, increase flexibility–even help children with Attention Deficit Disorder–but will miss the mark on holistic healing and wellness.

All of this is not to contend, of course, that yoga is only for Hindus. Yoga is Hinduism’s gift to humanity to follow, practice and experience. No one can ever be asked to leave their own religion or reject their own theologies or to convert to a pluralistic tradition such as Hinduism. Yoga asks only that one follow the path of yoga for it will necessarily lead one to become a better Hindu, Christian, Jew or Muslim. Yoga, like its Hindu origins, does not offer ways to believe in God; it offer ways to know God.

But be forewarned. Yogis say that the dedicated practice of yoga will subdue the restless mind, lessen one’s cravings for the mundane material world and put one on the path of self-realization–that each individual is a spark of the Divine. Expect conflicts if you are sold on the exclusivist claims of Abrahamic faiths–that their God awaits the arrival of only His chosen few at heaven’s gate–since yoga shows its own path to spiritual enlightenment to all seekers regardless of affiliation.

Hindus must take back yoga and reclaim the intellectual property of their spiritual heritage–not sell out for the expediency of winning more clients for the yoga studio down the street.

Deepak Chopra responds, April 23: Sorry, your patent on yoga has run out:

In his recent article for On Faith, Aseem Shukla laments the disconnect between yoga and its origins in Hinduism. He’s certainly right that the practice of Yoga has become a “spiritual discipline” that is open to anyone of any faith. But it’s strange to find him disapproving of this fact, for several reasons.

First, yoga is a spiritual discipline in India, and always has been. The aim of the practice is liberation. When liberation occurs, the yogi is freed from the religious trappings that enclose Yoga. Those trappings have always been incidental to the deeper aim of enlightenment.

Secondly, yoga did not originate in Hinduism as Prof. Shukla claims. Perhaps he has a fundamentalist agenda in mind, but he must know very well that the rise of Hinduism as a religion came centuries after the foundation of yoga in consciousness and consciousness alone. Religious rites and the worship of gods has always been seen as being in service to a higher cause, knowing the self.

Beneath Shukla’s complaints one detects the resentment of an inventor who discovered Coca-Cola or Teflon but neglected to patent it. Isn’t that a rather petty basis for drawing such a negative picture? Most Indians, when they contemplate the immense popularity of yoga in the U.S. may smile at the pop aspects of the phenomenon but feel on the whole that something good is happening. Shukla regards the same scene with a withering frown.

If you strip away his sour mood and questionable assumptions, I think Shukla’s real lament is like that of Jews who see the young fleeing from the old ways and Christians sitting in half-empty churches. To him it could be said what is often said to these other religionists. Maybe it’s you who haven’t found a way to keep the temples, synagogues, and churches full. That’s a very different matter form the millions who are finding a spiritual path on their own, outside organized religion. If yoga serves them, we should be celebrating any step of progress being made, through whatever means.

Shukla responds, April 28 : Dr. Chopra, honor thy heritage:

Deepak Chopra’s rejoinder to my column on the appropriation of yoga presents a veritable feast of delicious irony. Indeed, Chopra is the perfect emissary to fire a salvo against my assertion that delinking Hinduism from its celebrated contributions to contemporary spiritual dialogue–yoga, meditation, Ayurvedic healing, the science of self-realization–renders a rich tradition barren and unrecognizable to its adherents.

The right messenger because Chopra is a principal purveyor of the very usurpation I sought to expose. And we cannot discount his self-interest in this issue, considering the empire of wellness he has built on the foundations of what else, essential knowledge passed on by generations of Hindu masters—yoga, ayurveda and Vedanta.

A prolific writer and gifted communicator, Chopra is perhaps the most prominent exponent of the art of “How to Deconstruct, Repackage and Sell Hindu Philosophy Without Calling it Hindu!” To Larry King, he has described himself as an “Advaita Vedantin”–one of the major philosophical schools of Hinduism. Yet none of the plethora of his book titles, that include several devoted to Jesus and one entire book devoted to the Buddha, even skirt the word “Hindu.” His Web site is devoted to selling products and literature related to yoga, meditation and ayurveda, but Hinduism, of course, bears no mention.

The contention that yoga’s foundation is “in consciousness alone,” thereby preceding Hinduism, is a sad demonstration of the extent Chopra and other Hindu philosophical profiteers will go to disassociate themselves from Hinduism. But Hindus are on to this tactic now. For Hinduism’s most sacred scripture, the Vedas, are deeply believed to be the accumulation and transcription of the existential contemplations, and experiences, of rishis–the primordial yogis. The rishis did not call themselves Hindu, but would Chopra claim that the Vedas they composed are not Hindu? The moniker “Hinduism” is of relatively recent origin, but it is accepted today as a handy substitute for the perhaps more accurate but difficult to pronounce name, Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion. That reality does not separate yoga from Hinduism any more than it separates the Vedas or Bhagawad Gita from Hinduism. The Vedas and yoga are synonymous and as eternal as they are contemporaneous.

Chopra will know very well that Hinduism has six schools of thought: sankhya, nyaya, vaisheshika, mimasa, vedanta and yes, yoga. Hinduism and yoga are inextricably intertwined, and the dedicated practice of yoga is absolutely a Hindu practice. As I have written, Hinduism being avowedly pluralistic, requires no membership, affiliation or oath of loyalty to borrow, and yes, benefit, from its sacred wisdom. All Hindus are asking today is that the wellspring of yoga and other practices that Chopra and others appropriate wildly, should be acknowledged and honored. Chopra’s platform gave him an opportunity to honor the spiritual tradition that informs his message, but it seems clear that he would rather take the ripe transcendent fruits of Hinduism leaving it with the detritus of perceived social evils.

Frustratingly, also, Chopra takes the disingenuous path of impugning a “fundamentalist” agenda to my contentions. Chopra knows well that eliciting the bogey of communalism is a ploy to drag the narratives of polarizing politics from India into this conversation. I reject the insincere and cynical ploy. If advocacy of a tradition is fundamentalism, every one of my co-panelists on this site are guilty.

I do not begrudge Chopra his runaway success, but an occasional nod to his spiritual heritage would be much appreciated. Hindus are thrilled that all of humanity is now benefiting from the accumulated wisdom of the ancients–Chopra and others are doing their part to make that happen–but the guilt of plagiarism carries no statute of limitations, and Hindus are wise to the machinations of the pretenders.

Chopra responds, April 28: Yoga belongs to all of us:

Although Prof. Aseem Shukla has got the bit between his teeth, I doubt that there’s much enthusiasm for his ideas. If there is a movement to return yoga to its Hindu roots, it speaks in a whisper. I’ve never encountered it in India. Having loaded his quiver, what target is Shukla firing at? Nobody is stopping Hindus from claiming yoga as their own. Christians can claim prayer as their invention if they want to. It wouldn’t make the claim less false — sensible people accept that prayer is universal.

Shukla didn’t refute my basic argument, which is that yoga is a practice rooted in consciousness, not proprietary religion. The great seers of India didn’t simply precede the term “Hindu,” as Shukla likes to imagine. They preceded dogmatic religion itself, which is why the ideal of yoga is to leave dogma and ritual behind. In the state of liberation (Moksha), why would anyone feel more tied to Hinduism? That’s like feeling tied to catechism when you’ve reached Heaven. Shukla wants Hinduism to be self-serving, which is why he is so intent on keeping the membership roster strong. Thank goodness Hinduism’s real interest is to open the way to a higher reality. The true success of Hinduism is measured by how many members transcend it, not by how many slavishly follow it.

Of course, being an organization of sorts, and a highly fallible one, Hinduism falls short of its ideal of Sanatana Dharma. It becomes tribal, self-enclosed, and one-eyed about being the only way to God. Shukla is proud of promoting those parochial ends when he shouldn’t be. The fact that yoga belongs to the whole world represents a great gift from Hinduism, not a loss.

I must repeat, that yoga did not originate in Hinduism. This isn’t a debating point, since no one to my knowledge has ever claimed that Hinduism came before yoga. Shukla’s notion that the Vedas are a Hindu product also comes out of left field. Editions of the Vedic texts have authors that have given rise to Hindu lineages, but that doesn’t make those rishis Hindu as such. Just as it doesn’t make sense to call Jesus and the writers of the Christian Gospels, followers of the Southern Baptist or Lutheran faith.

I’m sure that our readers have zero interest in the scholarly niceties of this subject, but even a cursory knowledge of ancient India reveals that before what we call Hinduism, there was a Vedic civilization that upheld the principles of Sanatana Dharma through the knowledge of yoga and self-realization, yet did not have the orthodox trappings of Hinduism.

I’m happy that Prof. Shukla isn’t the most strident of fundamentalists. He seems rather bemused where most of his kind are zealous. I forgive the potshots taken at me. Other than bandying about a few rumors, half-truths, and nonsense related to my career, he seems unaware of my deep involvement in reawakening of Vedanta, Ayurveda, and many other aspects of India’s spiritual tradition, or the recognition this has earned me in my homeland.

In the spirit of friendliness, I would like to find common ground with Prof. Shukla in the term Sanatana Dharma-the eternal wisdom of life. Whether he calls it Hinduism or I call it Vedic knowledge, I believe ultimately we are both referencing the same body of universal knowledge that has always stood for benefiting the whole human family. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam -the world is one single family.

Shukla responds, April 30: Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma: One and the same:

I will take Dr. Deepak Chopra at his word where he seeks to find common ground in our virtual debate as to the origins of yoga. Not willing to identify himself as a Hindu, Chopra is content to accept the term, Sanatana Dharma, as the source of yoga and the Vedantic wisdom he propagates. “Yoga belongs to the whole world [and] represents a great gift from Hinduism…,” he writes.

This is indeed a momentous step in our exchange, as Chopra now agrees that all the eternal wisdom–including yoga!–that he cherishes, packages and distributes may have come out of the “consciousness” of Hindu saints and masters of yesterday and today.

Chopra is hardly the first to find it hard to openly identify himself a Hindu–perhaps cannot at the cost of compromising a solipsistic empire–just as Eckhart Tolle eschews the term “Hindu” while he admittedly parlays the copious works of the towering contemporary Advaita Vedanta Hindu master, Sri Ramana Maharshi. But readers here may know well that the term “Hindu” is simply the 12th century Persian abstraction referring to the people they found espousing Sanatana Dharma–the eternal way of life lived since time immemorial by the Indic civilization extant on the banks of the Indus (therefore Hindu) river. And over the ensuing years, the diverse followers of Sanatana Dharma that believed, as their progenitors always had, in the scriptural sanctity of the Vedas, in one all-pervasive Supreme Being which manifests and is worshiped in infinite forms or no form, the laws of karma, dharma, reincarnation and the ultimate goal of liberation, moksha, accepted the moniker of Hinduism.

Today, Sanatana Dharma and Hinduism are synonymous, and Chopra and I both agree that yoga is both part of and beyond this tradition. Indeed, we also agree that dharma is the means to the goal of self-realization, a transcendent state where ego, names, religion and identity are all superfluous. But therein lies the greatest point of contention between myself and Chopra.

For Chopra incomprehensibly condemns Hinduism as “tribal” and “one-eyed about being the only way to God,” while I celebrate Hinduism as the original paragon of pluralism whose Vedas recognized eons ago that “Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti,” or Truth is One, the wise call it by many names.

I am left stunned that Chopra would consider Hinduism to be “dogmatic” or “proprietary.” Take not my words to define Hindu pluralism, but accept, the words of Swami Vivekananda’s translation of a Vedic hymn that he delivered at the first World Parliament of Religions in 1893 as a self-described Hindu monk, “As the different streams having their sources in different places all reach the sea, so also paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”

Chopra conflates Hinduism with “orthodox trappings” when I see a tradition of infinite possibilities, indeed yogas, suited to the inclinations of the seeker: bhakti yoga, or devotion, for those passionate in their love for God; gyana yoga, or the path of knowledge for the contemplative and karma yoga for the active and industrious.

Chopra and I share an affinity to Sanatana Dharma, or Hinduism, but our narratives clearly diverge. An immigrant from India, he was not born and raised in the United States as was I. He never faced the innocently cruel queries of classmates that I faced and my children still answer today. “Do you speak Hindu too?”; “I saw on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom that you Hindus eat monkey brains”; “You don’t pray, you’re not Christian”; “My father told me you’re going to hell because you believe in millions of gods.”

My work now, at the Hindu American Foundation for example, is simply to answer such questions on a national stage and provide the perspectives of those who claim Hinduism as their own. Chopra can talk of faith in the intellectual gobbledygook of New Age platitudes, but I would caution that such manifest evasion endangers credibility when readers seek wisdom from a guru who is authentic, sincere and engaged in their daily reality.

Our argument should not be defined over parsing of the terms “Sanatana Dharma” and “Hindu”, or treating the latter as some sort of dreaded “H-word,” but recognizing, perpetuating and sharing the sublime contributions–like yoga–of our common progenitors. There are no Sanatana Dharmists or Vedantins in today’s world, but only a billion people around the globe and 2 million in the U.S. who call themselves Hindu. So the movement to claim yoga’s Hindus roots does not merely speak in a whisper — it is a silent majority finally beginning to find its voice. And in doing so, if Hinduism is better understood and appreciated along the way, children facing those questions I faced, may just answer a bit more clearly and, yes, proudly, adding another important layer to America’s pluralism.

Views expressed here are the personal views of Dr. Aseem Shukla, and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Minnesota or Hindu American Foundation.

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  • tarle_subba

    tathaastu, dr. shukla. you are both a good doctor and a keen and careful debater. more power to you!

  • Filibuster

    Nicely said, Aseem. It’s about time these academics and so called “Advaita Vedantins” acknowledge what you have so brilliantly explained…Hinduism is Sanatana Dharma. Stop the nitpicking, Chopra, and get with the program. On a side note, has anyone ever seen Deepak Chopra in downward dog? Now that’d be amusing.

  • pari76

    Namaste. Sanatana Dharma is not a religion but a way of life set by God. Mr. Chopra for your information there is many different types of yoga and each has its own benefits. Yoga is not done to free one’s self from religion. Yoga is practiced to liberate one from the bondage of materialism and bring forth the true self thus uniting one with God. There is absolutely no difference between Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma; however, there is a vast difference between religion and tradition. Many people have and has confused tradition to be apart of Sanatana Dharma a.k.a Hinduism. And that is because of people like you, Mr. Chopra. Mr. Chopra, you are telling a lie about Yoga and you need to stop! You can you choose to excerise the humility within you

  • mihirmeghani

    Outstanding debate & again well articulated by Dr. Shukla. This debate goes a long way in stopping the dissociation of Hinduism’s positives such as yoga from the ills of Indian society from which many Hindus distance themselves.

  • clearthinking1

    THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT TO UNDERSTAND in this excellent discussion is the following:There is no real debate about whether Yoga and Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) are inextricably linked. One cannot have an honest debate on this topic because all the facts are on Dr. Shukla’s side.The only issue to understand is that Hindu Indians of Deepak Chopra’s generation lack the self-esteem and pride needed to simply say “I am a Hindu”.They are victims themselves of the systematic denigration of Hinduism that has occurred during the last 200 years. And like a lot of victims of humiliation, they lash out at their fellow Hindus so they can feel better or different. We all can sense that Chopra, Dyer, Tolles love Hindu philosophy, Vedanta, Upanishads, Yoga, Meditation, etc…But the fact is that today, 2010, it’s time to correct this falsehood and historical injustice.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Hello, Clearthinking,Good to see you posting again.

  • Secular

    CLEARTHIKING1 wrote:They are victims themselves of the systematic denigration of Hinduism that has occurred during the last 200 years. And like a lot of victims of humiliation, they lash out at their fellow Hindus so they can feel better or different. Please let us not mix up India’s colonial past into this debate. First of all lets face it neither in late 16th century nor in early 17th century did the European regimes of the day not congregate in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon nor Madrid and plan the subjugation of Asia, Africa nor Americas. In fact the Europeans were just as squabbling a bunch as the fiefdoms in India and elsewhere. They were lucky to have harnessed science a bit before others. When they came to India, the royal blaggards of India were eager to fall over each other to curry favor with Europeans to crush their neighboring fiefdoms. Given the caliber of all the so called vanquished by and large would have done the same to Europeans if they had the upper hand and had gone exploring Europe instead. The proof of my assertion is the fact of the carnage left behind by the great Ottomans and other muslim invaders all over the world. This is not to say that what Europeans had done was all good or that it is condonable, but that not every problem in this world is due to European colonization. Indians as people have not become psychological basket case that they suffer from some kind of inferiority or psychosis.That been said the so called sages of ancient India were just as Ignorant and just as malevolent as the Hebrew prophets, Christian saints and Muslim prophet and Caliphs. Yoga as an exercise regimen and mental discipline has some benefits, but beyond that there is nothing to it. Lets agree to that and there isn’t much to argue about.

  • deepthought1

    correction:The World (belief Systems) is becoming EK=1. A SINGULARiTY whose TiME is cometh; NOt PLURALiTY of old-time man-made Religions anymore. CONVERGENCE will complete full circle the MILLENIUM +/- In 100 Years from Today.Behold: From PiSCES-AGE to AQUARIUS-AGE (not Horoscope, not Astrology thinking). Pure Science (a Miracle passing for Majic vis avis).Ahimsa!

  • clearthinking1

    (continued from above)Please read the presentation speech given in 1913 by the Chairman of the Nobel Committee explaining why Rabindernath Tagore was given the Literature prize.The simple point is that there were systematic, subtle & vulgar, attempts to belittle Hinduism in the mind of Hindus so they would be more amenable to outside rule and conversion. This attempt failed in conversion, but succeeded in making many Hindus feel ashamed of their “primitive” “religion” when it was neither. Secular, I suggest to you to start over from the beginning. Learn what secular means. Learn Hinduism. Learn about Western religions. Learn the philosophical debates about the validity & limitations of the scientific method. Learn about colonialism. Learn about European history. You’ve got a lot to learn.

  • Secular

    Clearthinking1:There is nothing to learn from any of these religious texts. I have read enough of the scriptures from most of these religions, and have learnt one thing that there is nothing there, be it be general knowledge, science, ethics or morality. These were first attempts to make sense of the world around the ancients. Each society came up with its own version of explaining the world. Alas none of them were true. All religions were the early iterations of science, be it be egyptian, sumerian, greek, roman, abrahmic, or hindhu. They need to be relegated to the dust heap of history just like alchmistry or astrology, etc. I will grant you this much though, hindhu epics are lot more imaginative, colorful, and enjoyable – purely from entertainment value, just like greek epics. Whereas the abrhamic scriptures are very tiring and are nothing but long harangues. There is no beauty in their prose, that I concede.Now coming to your citation about Tagore’ Nobel prize is a total non-sequiter. Then your protestation about how hindhus would not have exploited if they had the upper hand does not bear out in fact. The very fact that they were forming alliances with French and Brits to screw each other shows that they were just as capable as the next guy. You think ones who were willing the screw their own kind would be motivated by something higher when it comes to strangers? Give me a break.

  • AmericanIndian1

    A deeply fascist aspect of Mr. Chopra’s response is his attempt to defame Mr. Shukla by labeling him as someone with a Hindu fundamentalist agenda. There is absolutely no statement in Aseem’s postings that would support this. On the contrary, Mr. Shukla goes to great lengths to describe Hinduism as a unique discipline for pursuit of spiritualism. He describes Hinduism as a philosophy of life that is “avowedly pluralistic, requires no membership, affiliation or oath of loyalty to borrow [from], and yes, benefit, from its sacred wisdom. All Hindus are asking today is that the wellspring of yoga and other practices that Chopra and others appropriate wildly, should be acknowledged and honored.” Hence, Mr. Chopra first incorrectly ascribes the narrow, western concept of “religion” to Hinduism and then nefariously associates Mr. Shukla with such western religions’ “fundamentalists”. This is a dangerous attempt by Mr. Chopra to silence by intimidation a perfectly valid plea by an American citizen for decent respect for his value system and beliefs. Western religions’ fundamentalists of the kind Mr. Chopra alludes to have committed horrible crimes against humanity. It is clear from the perspective of this US citizen that in India, by gratuitously labelling a vast majority of innocent Hindus with this moniker, violence against large number of Hindus by adherents to western religions’ fundamentalists has been encouraged and indeed sanctioned. It is fascist and completely antithetical to the value system of the Sanatan Dharma/Hinduism for Mr. Chopra to use such initimidation techniques in an intellectual debate. Please Mr. Chopra listen to your conscience and resist such techniques in debates to win for your narrow self interest.

  • Secular

    Clearthinking1, you wrote “You also called the ancient Indian Sages ignorant & malevolent. This needs no rebuttal.”. Does this mean you agree or just unwilling to join me on this. If latter, all you have to do is read Manu Smrithi and that will suffice. Coming to the etymology of the word Secular, I am certainly interested if it is any different from my understanding of the word in its current usage. I used to use it initially to mean without allegiance to any religion, in the sense in public and non-religious affairs of society. Off lately, since I liberated myself from the cudgels of superstition called religion, I use it as a noun to declare that I am unencumbered by any and all religious dogma. If it does not comport with your understanding of the word and you want to be French about it, I say each to his own.Coming to your thesis about the belittling of hindhuism by christian colonialists. it isn’t as though I am unaware of it. What else do you expect from a religion. While all of them are undoubtedly wrong. The adherents of each obviously think they got the magic incantations right and the others got it wrong. Condescensions and snickerings are two way street from every religion to every other religion. They may only vary in the degree that’s all.BTW please don’t put words in my posts, I never said it was a benevolent colonization. But without a shadow of doubt Indian/hindhu society had been a moribund society since the days of Gupta dynasty. It was an introverted, and felt that there was nothing to learn from rest of the world. So it abandoned the far flung hindhu societies/colonies in southeast Asia and elsewhere. This is evident even today given the fact that the indians know more about US or UK etc than much about Korea, Thailand, Kampuchea for that matter. In a way British rule of India had an unintended boon in that never has as much of India been under one flag as it is now. Gone are the royal blaggards, and it wouldn’t be a day sooner before caste-ism is banished as well. Alas that just may be a while, probably not in my lifetime, as the cudgels of religion are hard to shake away.

  • deepthought1

    What ever Happened to CLAIR HOFFMAN, the Moderator [closet TRANSCEDENTA-MENTALIST; Addict]?Did not David Waters Replace or steal Her “Undergod” idea/section?

  • clearthinking1

    Secular,”I have heard enough of this mumbo-jumbo…it is all silly nonsense.””Even granted that science has no grasp on it. Just because science may not answer or has not answered these question yet does not mean one needs to buy into any crap.””Just because the ramblings are ancient ramblings does not bestow on the ramblings any special authenticity.” TRUE. BUT USE OF THE WORDS “RAMBLINGS” SHOWS A CLOSED MIND.”Unless these ramblings can be verified, they are just that ramblings.” THIS IS A TAUTOLOGY. AGAIN, SIGN OF A CLOSED MIND.”There is nothing to learn from any of these religious texts.” SEE ABOVE.”I have learnt one thing that there is nothing there.” SEE ABOVE.”All religions were the early iterations of science”. Good Luck.

  • clearthinking1

    Secular,”Hinduism” (aka Sanatana Dharma) is unique. It is different from other “religions”. Be careful about being trapped in your language and words. Wittgenstein wrote extensively about language games, and this may be of interest to you.Hinduism has no founder. This is not by accident. This is a very unique & essential feature. Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Brahmo Samaj, Bahai, Mormons,… ALL have founders. This leads to certain problems that we would probably agree on.Hinduism does not have just one text, but many texts. The important thing is that all texts that you have trouble with are Smriti, not shruti. So if don’t like something in Manu Smriti, that’s OK. If you read Manu Smriti, you will that much is not relevant to today’s societies. And guess what? It is not the basis of today’s laws. Not a problem. Hinduism allows for systems to evolve and is extraordinarily tolerant. It is much more difficult to question the Koran, for example. Hence, Pluralism is the essence.This pluralism allows for the tolerance of different paths. If you want to believe in God, fine. If you want to pray a certain way, fine. If you want to meditate, fine. If you want to sing bhajans, fine. If you want to be an ascetic, fine. If you like the Ramayana, fine. If you like myths & stories, fine. If you don’t, fine. If you like Shiva or Vishnu, fine. If you like logic, fine. If you are in practice dualistic but philosophically monistic, fine.Do you see something unique here? Just because there is only one word “religion” does not mean that if applies to everything the same way.Hinduism is more subtle and complex than you may want to believe. It won’t go away because it can’t. It is Sanatana (eternal) for a reason. Understanding “Dharma” is your task, if you choose to or are able to accept it in this lifetime.

  • Secular

    Clearthinking1:You claim “I WOULD ARGUE THE VEDIC SCIENCE (RATIONAL APPROACH) IS COMPREHENSIVE, WHEREAS THE “SCIENTIFIC METHOD” IS INCOMPLETE BECAUSE IT IGNORES/DENIES THE SUBJECTIVE REALM”. This begs the question why don’t we have anything to show for it’s completeness.Subjective realm is good for two categories and two categories only. The first one is for such trivial things as, I like purple shirts, because it is the best color there is for shirts. And for really important things like I cannot live without my spouse, because she/he is the best there is. For everything else in between subjectivity has no role. In that realm of the, in between, only truth there is, is what we know from science and the scientific method.

  • Secular

    I am glad to read that Mr. Chopra has been publicly taken to task by Dr. Shukla. I have long known Mr. Chopra to be as fake as a 3$ bill. He concocts absolute rubbish around hindhu mysticism and expounds multitude of inanities. This the credulous westerners gobble it up. Please watch this YouTube Video of Chopra squirming when interviewed by Professor Dawkins. Coming to Professor Aseem, while vedanta, adviata philosophies are all Hnidhu in origin, but they are as relevant as the christian concepts of trinity or original sin are to the truth. All these concepts and a $1.50 will buy you a Coke in any vending machine in New York city. To tell the truth all these constructs and concepts should have seen the fate of alchemistry, but for the fact that they are cloaked in the garb of religions. It is a taboo challenge them as one could easily challenge likes of alchemistry. We have to be grateful that alchemists had at least the honesty, to speak well of them, that they did not cloak their pet projects with religious ritual. Can you imagine being saddled with that kind religious crap? That would have probably not allowed real Chemistry to see the light of the day. We would still be living in the 3rd century BC.

  • clearthinking1

    Secular,This is the beauty and sublime nature of Hinduism Dharma & Karma (Buddha also recognized this). It recognizes that we exist and act willfully within the entire, whole, unified universe. A simplistic, deterministic view of the universe based on 19th century physics is inadequate. Even science, as in modern physics with quantum mechanics and relativity, undermines your denial of the critical role of the subjective realm. You may be interested in reading an author like Amit Goswami, who is a physicist with familiarity with Hindu philosophy. Read about the Einstein/Bohr debates, Bell’s theorem, the EPR paradox, Allain Aspect’s experiments, entanglement, and nonlocality. You will get a clearer understanding that science does not provide the solid foundation for your beliefs that you think.On authority. The only authority needed in Hinduism is oneself. There is no faith, like in the Western religions. Shraddha is more like trust. The trust you have in your physics professor while you are learning. Then you critically analyze and verify. No blind faith is needed. But to run around calling your professor ignorant and malevolent without first learning what he has to say is not the right way.It takes many years to learn modern physics, and it takes many decades (lifetimes?) to learn Vedanta. In the meantime, it’s best to be peaceful, nonviolent, tolerant, and pluralistic like most Hindus.Remember, Hinduism is the many methods and paths to understanding the Truth. It is not a constant revision of an everchanging and transient truth of science that you are enamored with.

  • deepthought1

    PARI76:Nomastae. You are wise.I agree, “.. Mr. Chopra. Mr. Chopra, you are telling a lie about Yoga and you need to stop!”SHUKLA:Yoga is an EXCERCISE involving Body Posture simultaneously with in/out controlled breathing! It is not a Religion; It’s big Business here and abroad for both Your Org, Chopra’s suspect self promotions and India Public Relations ploys, et al. Yoga is not as if to “Believe” in [God or Gods] nor is Yoga a way to know [God or Gods].Yoga is both a Mental (self Psyching) Excercise and Body excercise.Yes, INDIA and HINDUism (and BUDDHAism of Which is born from VYASAism) Faith Culture and knowledge of is been borrowed. Not Stolen. How Can any mortal STEAL A GOD? let alone an Excercise to “MEDITATE” aka LISTENING-TO-SELF with self, not God. Yet, To PRAY means to TALK to God; call IT by any name.Fact: INDIA is becomming very Modern. INDIA just past a Law that forbids “Tribal Intermarriage” and also is disolving the illusion/dillusional wall between CASTE (Form of Apartheid) and UNTOUCHABLES. INDIA is got WESTERN Knowledge via NUCLEAR Bombs. Includes Islamic Pakistan. Both STOLE/STEAL Western Traditional discoveries, via a PHRENOLOGICAL phenomena._____The World (belief Systems) is becoming EK=1. SINGULAR; nor PLURAL. In +/- 100 Years from Today.SHANTi!

  • clearthinking1

    Secular,”I am not sold on the idea that there is anything out there beyond the physical universe.”FEYNMAN WOULD BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT THAT PHYSICS CANNOT ADDRESS THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS OF LIFE LIKE JUSTICE, MORALITY, FREE WILL, SELF-AWARENESS, ETC. YOU MAY HAVE BLIND FAITH THAT SOMEDAY THIS MYSTERIOUS FORCE CALLED SCIENCE WILL ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. BUT HINDUISM IS MORE INTERESTED IN ADDRESSING THIS NOW, WITH ALL THE MENTAL AND MORAL POWERS OF THE SELF “I”.

  • haveaheart

    Chopra’s insufferable arrogance knows no bounds. He’s a bombastic windbag with dollar signs in his eyes and no soul to speak of. Consider the following quotations:”Although Prof. Aseem Shukla has got the bit between his teeth, I doubt that there’s much enthusiasm for his ideas. If there is a movement to return yoga to its Hindu roots, it speaks in a whisper. I’ve never encountered it in India. Having loaded his quiver, what target is Shukla firing at?”In this one short paragraph, Chopra manages to completely misuse two tired metaphors, to discount the interests and “enthusiasms” of the millions of Hindus around the globe, and to thoroughly mischaracterize Prof. Shukla’s primary argument (which is NOT, as Chopra cannot seem to grasp, about “a movement to return yoga to its Hindu roots”).He then goes on to denigrate WaPo readers, who he claims “have zero interest in the scholarly niceties of this subject.” In other words, if it’s not predigested and then spewed out in the kind of condescending and patronizing prose he excels at writing, then gullible Americans will be too dumb or too lazy to be interested. Talk about defecating where you sleep!Finally, the oily Mr. Chopra indulges his inner bigot and reiterates the comments by which he tries to paint Prof. Shukla as a fanatic of the type that often resorts to terrorism: “I’m happy that Prof. Shukla isn’t the most strident of fundamentalists. He seems rather bemused where most of his kind are zealous.”If this debate were about politics, you’d swear that the late Lee Atwater had come back to life and was sitting on Chopra’s shoulder, whispering in his ear.This guy really has no shame. He’s disgusting and ugly on so many levels.

  • Secular

    Haveaheart: You nailed the fake Chopra right on the head. I had seen him on the PBS some 15 years ago. Both my father and I said it in unison where is this 3$ bill from. In these last 15 years he hasn’t changed one bit. He mouths off total inanities and gives them a oriental twist to the gullible western liberals, who are too eager to swallow it up. The fellow has no shame or dignity.

  • karmik93

    Deepak Chopra has built a financial empire for himself and his family in America and the Judo-Christian world by following the age old dirty technique of the Western Indologists of appropriating the wealth of the ancient knowledge like Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedantic philosophy of Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma and then distorting, trashing and denying its very source. Of course, these two groups of purveyors of untruth have different and sometimes opposing motives and agendas. The primary motive of the Indologists and their supporters suffering from the entrenched prejudices, academic dogmas and racial biases is to destroy Hinduism, its traditions and culture to prove and establish the superiority and hegemony of the Western civilization. Whereas the main objective of Chopras of the world is pure and simple greed of building financial empires by creating a marketing model to suite the religious and racial beliefs and biases of their rich and high society Western followers. Any mention of the words ‘Hindu’ or ‘Hinduism’ in such model will drive away even their ardent devotees which in turn will completely ruin their financial prospects.What is more shameful and condemnable is that these ‘teachers’ of Yoga have completely distorted the true meaning and philosophy of Yoga as propounded by Sage Patanjli of Yoga Sutras and other Hindu scriptures like Varaha and Sandilya Upanishads and Gorakshanatha’s Hatha Yoga Pradipika. One of the main Yamas (Restraints) to be observed in these Yogic traditions is to speak ‘Satya’ (‘Truthfulness’), refrain from lying.It is unfortunate that persons like Deepak Chopra of Hindu origin are willing to sell their souls by rejecting their own heritage and roots for sheer fame and financial gains.

  • Secular

    Clearthinking1:

  • deepthought1

    Wow. Yogi Lives 65 Years with out Food and H2O. Look under “R.” at Irish Green highlight. _____ Wow. Look Under “R.” at Brown Tea Color highlight.Even Israeli’s Escape to do “AYURVEDA” in Sri Lanca (Ceylon).

  • Navin1

    An interesting debate between clearthinking and secular. I think that captures it accurately – the debate between AS and DC. Take away from Hinduism the contribution of physical health in Yoga, meditation, ayurveda. Take away the contribution to the world of Hinduism in astronomy, mathematics, empirical logic, epistemology, metaphysics. Take away from Hinduism the culture of plurality, multiculturalism, unity in diversity, respect for the experience of life of the other (including those that see what you see and those that don’t). Then claim truth is only what the western books tell you it is. Then claim that hinduism is just a collection of rituals. Then claim that Hinduism is just like all the other silly religions. So we have a Hindu saying Hinduism does not own truth. A secularist that begins with the assumption that there is no truth in Hinduism and an argument based on false premise that if Hinduism has no truth than what value does it have. Both the Hindu who denies the importance of referencing previous works accurately (yoga is hindu in origin) and the so called secularist who is 100% free of religious indoctrination (while still, without confirming say evolution, electrons, mesons, or the speed of light) says s/he knows that there is not truth there. Each distorts the Truth for their purpose. Each manipulates reality for sophistry. Each creates ignorance without depth of reasoning. That is why, those that worship the Truth, those that truely believe in a reality that is knowable and unknowable, material and immaterial, temporal and atemporal… must stand up and say, those that claim a christian yoga, a muslim yoga, a jewish yoga are deriding the truth just as they did with the other religions that had found truth before they (the mono-ideologists) destroyed them (the truth seeking religions that really did discover resurrection, virgin births, prophets…)But the secularist will not believe, s/he can only believe what is written in a western book of history. The christian can not believe, s/he will only believe what is written in the bible. The muslim will not believe, s/he will only believe what is written in the koran. Of course each of these are self created mythologies of identity and that too will fall off when life / truth / Tat Sat demand that they do. hariaum

  • bsingh21

    While Dr. Chopra may disagree with something in Hinduism (and it is quite alright from Hindu tradition’s point of view), delinking yoga from Hinduism is disingenuous. I teach a university level course on yoga at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to mostly non-Indian students, and there is no problem or discomfort for students to accept that historically yoga is linked to Hinduism. This is important to know not only for Hindus but also to non-Hindus, as truth alone is the way to communicate such important topics. In fact, I give students articles in which there is debate within the yoga community on this issue as it relates to religious conflict. I find 100% comments from students who feel comfortable knowing that yoga is linked to Hindus but they can use it for betterment of their health and understanding of life.Dr. Shukla makes a compelling case for all of us using yoga to tell the truth of its link to the Hindu heritage, without playing with semantics on whether Hinduism word was used when Yoga Sutras were written. I have lost some respect for Dr. Chopra reading his patronizing tone and stereotyping of his opposition. The debate also reflects on the sad state of affairs on the understanding of Indic traditions, including Hinduism, as cited by Dr. Shukla. The Center for Indic Studies at UMass Dartmouth, with support from Uberoi Foundation, is working on plans to change this situation by training teachers in schools on these traditions. We hope that the situation will improve in due time so that people like Dr. Chopra will not have need to dissocitate themselves artificially.

  • Secular

    Clearthinking1:FEYNMAN WOULD BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT THAT PHYSICS CANNOT ADDRESS THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS OF LIFE LIKE JUSTICE, MORALITY, FREE WILL, SELF-AWARENESS, ETC. YOU MAY HAVE BLIND FAITH THAT SOMEDAY THIS MYSTERIOUS FORCE CALLED SCIENCE WILL ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. BUT HINDUISM IS MORE INTERESTED IN ADDRESSING THIS NOW, WITH ALL THE MENTAL AND MORAL POWERS OF THE SELF “I””.I am certainly aware that the questions of Justice, Morality, Self-awareness, & Free will are not in general realm of science. However, neither the contemporary religions nor the erstwhile religions address these issues adequately. Far from it all of them address these issues not only poorly but actually very capriciously and malevolently. At best they espouse in-group or tribal morality. This is not an exclusive forte of the abrhamic religions, same is the situation with hindhuism too. Manu smrithi, and books of Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Numbers all compete equally with each other as to their mendacity, malevolence. I have tough time telling which one takes the crown. If you say claim hindhuism has lot more to offer, such as Bhagvatham, or Ramayanam, or Gita, i have to hmbly submit that numerous grotesque volumes does not in any way explicate hindhuism of its in-group/tribal morality. Just couple of examples from Bhagavtham are the Mohini Avataram, & Vamana Avataram are two of the grotesque, unethical, immoral stories. Even when I was child I thought they were not quite right. Trust me eastern mysticism is not better than western religions. One is a rotten apple the other is a putrid orange – both distinct without a difference.

  • clearthinking1

    Secular,I urge you to actually read it rapidly on the internet. Don’t just read it looking for phrases to use as ammunition in an argument. You will be surprised but how boring and mundane much of it is, like a lot of law books. Most of it is quite reasonable and useful for a people living thousands of years ago with kings, etc. Not really for people living today in a democracy, which all Hindus do in America or India or Europe. The people who gave Manu Smriti prominence were people like Sir William Jones and some Hindus who felt it useful to maintain their power. Again, it is not Shruti, and has limits on its relevance and validity.One challege for you: See if you can find anywhere in Manu Smriti or anywhere in the other texts a simple statement like: If your father is a Brahmin, the son is automatically a Brahmin. You certainly won’t find such a statement in the Vedas, Upanishads, or Gita.

  • TRNRAO

    Coming to the scientists and mathematicians of the Renaissance era, we expect from them a little more ethical behavior. The Portuguese traders brought from Kerala the mathematical treatises of Limit theorems, Infinite series and Pre-calculus, Induction-proof, etc., which the Newtons, Taylors, Leibnitzes of the West have appropriated not just the theorems, but proofs as well, and happily put their own names to them. Now the Euro-centric historians are having a tough time to understand, rewrite and correct the history of mathematics and give some credit, of course, rather grudgingly, e.g. Madhava-Newton series to formerly called Newton series. Madhava, Neelakantha and Jyeshtadeva of 14th to 16th century Kerala School of mathematics are getting some recognition; and the theft of Keralese mathematics by European greats is under inquisition..So, friends, if Dr. Shukla has exposed some non-Hindu minds and awakened some sleeping Hindus that is a great contribution to the decolonization.

  • Navin1

    Secular, If you can think that the koran that calls out the hatred of god for the infidel and the bible that calls out the hatred of god for the Egyptians and the Canaanits is the same level of moral text as the Gita, then your clearly have not read them. If you believe that modern humanity has crossed beyond the morals of the Gita then you fail to recognize the significant role the Gita has had in the American Transcendtalist movement and from them to Gandhi, King, and most other major modern day moral teachers. Rawls in his Theory of Justice reinvents the morality taught in the Gita. Modern business practices hearken to the same source of fiduciary responsibility without focus on ego and personal gain – Gita.

  • Kiran2010

    I agree with Dr.Shukla wholeheartedly and it is indeed sad to see Mr.Chopra jump the gun with a fundamentalist tag as a seemingly evasive maneuver diverting the discussion off track, and kudos to Dr.Shukla for staying home with the point. I also find it strange for Mr.Chopra to expect anyone to refute a claim that Yoga is rooted in Consciousness since everything is rooted in Consciousness, including Hinduism, but that does not prove or indicate that Yoga predates Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma). One has to wonder why did Mr.Chopra choose to pick an arbitrary date or time for Hinduism in what appears to us as an attempt to create Hinduism as an alter ego for Sanatana Dharma (which are basically one and the same). Could it have anything to do with creating a separate identity to vilify certain undesirable aspects that managed to creep into the wide umbrella of Hinduism ? It is just a fact of life that religions evolve, and as long as prominent leaders publicly shun the unwanted distortions, instead of simply reminiscing or idealizing the past glory, or remain mute spectators, or distance themselves, the overall religion remains healthy. It is my opinion that the success of a religion is a measure of the extent to which it can direct individuals towards spirituality (to discover their true self) and in this regard, exulting human diversity, Hinduism caters to people of all levels of spiritual maturity, by weaving the golden threads of spirituality right into the fabric of the religion itself. While the Vedas offer unmatched spiritual wisdom, there is also dogma for those who like to stick to beliefs, there are Puranas packed with symbolism and morals, unlimited form depictions of the formless, to help bond any kind of personal relationship, either as a devotee, spouse, sibling, child, parent, etc. Spiritual paths are expounded for the renounciates as well as householders, for those inclined towards prayer, meditation and devotion, or for those seekers pursuing paths of inquiry, analysis and knowledge, or even for people to achieve spiritual growth while engaged in their daily activities, full time. It would seem arbitrary to take an unbounded religion, rich and complex with such a plethora of offerings and attempt to shear its components to conform to a preconceived narrower definition of the word religion. That whole exercise would be like packaging the wool into coats or blankets, and not only denying that it ever came from any animal, but also deriding its source.

  • Navin1

    As to imperfect texts, did you read the Gita? It says so. Chapter 2. Is there any other holy book that says so, even a modern text book in any field? Unambiguous? do you think calculus is unambiguous? Ask a person who has never studied mathematics. It takes time to learn anything. Morality and spirituality are not in the ken of children. They play at it. Depth requires mature study and application. Is your moral leader SC. I like the show but it is sarcasm, it is destructive. An easy thing to do. Does he create a better understanding of truth?As to the misappropriation of truth. As is stated through out. Truth is beyond categories (see Isha and Kena Upanishad). But the west has said it owns truth: christmas, easter, “civilized” nations, genetic information, W’s idea that democracies don’t attack… Even the atheist that makes a truth statement that there is no god is stating a hard fact. Not a hypothesis – and this means that they know the truth – they claim it. Those in power always claim the truth. The fact that the decimal system is called the arabic number system is evidence of this. Likewise sitar-guitar, even once I heard a claim that islam introduced courtly love to europe. Consider “Adam’s Bridge” how colonial can you get? Truth has property rights in the modern world. Branding has power in the modern world. If you don’t protect those rights, they can be stolen, distorted, and perverted – christian yoga, muslim yoga, mormon family values… hariaum

  • Secular

    Navin1, & Clearthinkig1:Contd Below

  • Secular

    Contd from above: Another thing you guys need to get over is this notion that west in a sinister manner appropriated hindhu mathematics, hindhu astronomy, etc, etc. It is absurd to diminish any discipline by prepending national and religious adjectives to them. These disciplines are no less true when they cross the national or religious boundaries. This notion that some mathematical or astronomical facts were established by adherents of hindhuism somehow bestows some essential “truthiness” (to borrow from brilliant commentator of human trivialities & inanities Steven Colbert) to hindhuism. Newton’s contributions do not bestows anything on christianity nor Einstein’s contributions to judaism. On the other hand all religions have tried to explain the natural phenomenon and is interwoven into their texts which are still seen as guidance to people. You guys have the cross to bear about the explanation of the natural phenomenon of eclipses in Mohini Avatharam. This is not just embarrassing, it down right shameful piece of garbage, that your deity encourages the Devathsa to make a contract with Rakshasas with no intention of adhering to it but only to trick them out of the fruits of their labors. The mankind has moved away, from this notion that ends justify means. To continue teach little children that this is some kind of jewel of morality or ethics is grotesque. That’s why I say these texts must be left in the dustbin of history, like most of the religious texts.

  • Secular

    Guys, when I read your posts they all sound like a the stuff on any islamic web-site sans the threats of violence. I hear this underlying theme that the whole world is out to exploit hindhuism and would like to cheat it of its due honor, etc, etc. On the flip side that hindhuism has the monopoly on the truth. There is also this regressive view that seems to be coming across that of disdain towards science, as though it has some religious affiliation. This is all too silly. AFter reading the post for last three days, I still don’t know what TRUTH lurks in those books and how does that affect the common folks. Do you guys really think that explanation in bhagvatham of eclipses is true? Why do you put so much trust in books that claim that eclipse is caused by monster trying to gobble up sun and the moon? Likewise why do you claim that books that teach “breach of contract” as some kind of high morality, contain the truth. You please answer these two questions to your own satisfaction, before you start more of your claims. If you cant answer them your silence is answer enough for me.

  • Navin1

    Well the debate is clear.Why does one consider themselves a Hindu. I have said before here and elsewhere, we are all Hindu. We are all members of Sanatana Dharma. That includes the muslim, the christian, the aztec, even the Nazi and atheist. Eternal religion is not about what I or you think is right. It is about what is True, eternally so. If you claim you do not care about truth that is eternal you declare yourself to be not Hindu. Simple. Now who would do this: a christian might believe that only the truth of Jesus is relevant. The eternality of truth is irrelevant. A muslim may claim that since Mohamed was the last prophet, eternal truth is now a labeled finite thing called the Koran. An atheist might say there is no eternal truth (and thus making an eternal truth statement). A Hindu might say, I don’t care about all those things, I just listen to my guru. I’ve heard all of these. Frankly, they are foolish rationalization for not wanting to try harder to get to Sanatana Dharma. That’s ok, I know many kids that never got calculus. For those, a narrow belief that religion is one eyed, mono-ideological, a simple arithmetic that this leads to that is all they can get. Hinduism acknowledges that. It is not my truth or yours, it is the eternal truth. Now of course the early christians did not call themselves that. The Abram and his mythical flock did not call themselves jews, etc etc. Labels are acquired by history to simplify communication. So when the western mono-ideological mind set came upon the unity of diversity that is Santana Dharma, they labeled it Hinduism and stopped thinking about it. Fast forward to the modern age. Hinduism is a religion just like any other. ah – no. Hinduism is a way of life. ah – like the person who eats only neem – no. Hinduism is a system by which to understand the personal relationship with the divine. It is a meta religion. Not in the silly sense that christianity is a metareligion because it is big. No, a meta religion because Hinduism gets behind what religion is: Satcitananda, karma, artha, gyana, moksah, tamas, rajas, satva…So we can dismember this system. Let us say philosophy is not a single school but rather competing interests. OK, sure. but Philosophy is different than theology, geography, etc. If you dismember philosophy: it accomplishes nothing like economics does, it means nothing like physics does, it offer nothing like politics does…Then philosophy can go into the wastebasket of history. But when you realize why the greatest minds in history have a doctoral in Philosophy, you realize that the dismemberment is a willful disregard for the history of this great boon to mankind.LIkewise, if you dismember Hinduism from Vedas, from yoga, from satva, from gyana, from dyana (the root of the word Zen), you ignore the Hindu origins of mathematics, physics, geography, health… you do a disservice to the very truth to which you are trying to relate.hariaum

  • Navin1

    test

  • jdwilson1

    As I was taught long ago, Hinduism is best understood as a philosophy of life, not as a religion. This admonition may be due partly to Western confusion about what constitutes a religion or a philosophy, as well as to a Western distrust of and aversion to “religion”. Certainly Hindus must realize that the very word limits and defines only a portion of the diverse Hindu cultural community. Attempts to split Mr. Chopra from that community are indeed fundamentalist.

  • clearthinking1

    Secular,P.S. Part of the answer to your questions is that metaphor is an extremely important part of human language and communication. Language is a method of communication using symbolic representation. Symbols of formal logic, mathematics, and words alone cannot convey well many abstract concepts. So, higher level constructs such as metaphors and even archetypes & myths are useful. This is another long topic which you may not have thought about before.

  • Secular

    Clearthinking1:

  • omprem108

    Yoga focuses on the chakras and is not a religion but rather a spiritual process of moving prana from the lowest seven chakras through the next higher seven chakras and finally through the seven chakras of the Sahasrara. Hindus are not the only people with chakras. Nor is Hinduism the only religion that mentions chakras although religions such as Christianity and Islam prefer to mention chakras in their scriptures through metaphors containing references to male-female union, which the literal meaning of Hatha Yoga, and to the number 7.One of the great Christian saints, St. Teresa of Avila, wrote a very moving description of the seven principal chakras in her, The Interior Castle. Aseem Shukla forgets that there are many routes to the top of the mountain but it is the same mountain for all. Shukal should be more mindful of the words of the Rig Veda, “Cosmic Reality is One. The Wise perceive it in many ways.”

  • Amrita1

    This is a fascinating debate. One thing that comes out from this debate is that many do not understand the relationship between individual Soul and God in Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma). I recently read a book which addresses this very question that I recommend to all. It is “The Courtesan and the Sadhu, A Novel about Maya, Dharma, and God”. It is available on Amazon.

  • clearthinking1

    JDWILSON1,It is Mr. Chopra who has declared himself “not a Hindu” in public many times. So please do not try the label “fudamentalist” whenever anyone defends Hinduism.More importantly, you may not realize the systematic assault that Hindus have experienced in the past. Today, delinking Hinduism from its positive attributes like Yoga, philosophy, and meditation is a continuation of the more overt belittling of Hinduism in the past. The history is long and need not be discussed again. One needs to walk around in “black-face” to really understand some issues from the other’s perspective today. To illustrate the above:You wrote: “The fears which Mr. Shukla raises are false fears: Hinduism will only gain from the spread of wisdom…”Hinduism is Sanatana (Eternal) Dharma. It is not worried about demise or gain. The concern is not for this abstraction called “Hinduism”, but the concern is for real people called “Hindus”. This why Dr. Shukla and so many others care. You may or may not be aware of the the systematic assault by the British Christian missionaries was to hurt real human beings, who happen to be Hindus. This is not civilized behavior and cannot be accepted, and Dr. Shukla is simply trying to change this.

  • Venesis

    Born and brought up in America, I consider Deepak Chopra to be a simple thief of Hindu and Vedantin thought, carefully reworked to brand himself with the beauty of Hindu concepts while isolating himself from it. He decries the knowledge of Advaita while building a company, name and fame all the while undermining the work of his brethren who bring Hindu thought to their families, friends and communities. Mr Chopra – shame on you for all that you steal and pass off as your own. The recognition of the beauty of my religion is stonewalled by conniving businessmen like you who would rather sell your image that acknowledge the roots of your ancestry.

  • kamleshk1

    A few simple questions for Dr. chopra:

  • joe108

    I agree 100% with Prof. Shukla.Congratulations, Prof. Shulka for exposing Chopra whose god is money.Chopra has made Millions from Hindu or Vedic wisdom, but does not want to acknowledge his heritage because greed for name, fame and money!!!Chopra go home….

  • kumarspiritualbeliever

    Deepak Chopra is one of those people like the Hare Krsnas and the members of the Ramakrishna Math. They find associating, however remotely, with Hinduism, the religion, is a tad infra dig to them. Despite their voracious reading and seeming erudition, how ignorant they are! Anyone with even fragmentary knowledge of the history of Yoga would know where it originated from. To begin with, Yoga, the word, isn’t an Anglo-saxon word, nor is it anything other than Sanskrit, a language whose genesis is in India. If Deepak Chopra had deigned to read Patanjali he would know how Yoga started and spread. If people like Chopra can become authors, oh well, I shall get my book out by the end of 2010.

  • shivramp1

    Kudos to Shukla, who has courage to stand for right cause, ignoring leftist onsloughts.I hope this debate as eye opener for many Hindus on where Deepak and Gotham Chopra stands in the money making buisness.

  • shilpy_p

    Clearly, the difference of opinions between the two stalwarts lies in the generation gap that Dr. Shukla aptly brings up as a point of debate. Dr. Chopra belongs to the Nehruvian age, and Dr. Shukla to the modern free-n-frank world where one can speak the truth as is. Also, Shukla is an American (of Indian origin), and hence a free thinker from the Land of the Braves. Dr. Chopra grew up in Nehru’s India, and his view of the “Hinduism” is colored by the popular anti-Hindu media of India which were, and still are, controlled by Nehru’s political party, the Indian National Congress party. Nehru was a communist, or with communist leanings, and naturally despised Hinduism. Under Nehru’s Congress party India constitutionally became a “Socialist Republic” and naturally Hinduism became the maligned H-word that Shukla talks about. So, although Chopra is totally wrong in calling Hinduism names, not unlike many Indian socialists-communist pundits, I do not fault him. Chopra had to face two peculiar situations and walk the tight rope when he went public decades back. One was the anti-Hindu Nehruivian Indian media at home, and the other was the terrible perception of Hinduism that America had acquired from the mischievous missionaries which we still see in America’s school books that Shukla and all Hindus resent. One can look up “Hinduism” in a dictionary, and know that Dr. Shukla is right all the way. HOwever, the Hindus are still thankful to Chopra for popularizing the Hindu thought, albeit under different label. In this good debate two things bothered me, however. It could have done without Chopra calling Shukla a fundamentalist (Nehruvian flogging descriptor), and Shukla attributing financial motives to Chopra.

  • kkm5848

    You can learn more about Yoga on Hindupedia.com, the Hindu Encyclopedia. The URL is:

  • BKN1

    Good work Mr Shukla..Hindus must be proud for thier contribution to humanity. I think no hindu are trilled to know yoga, meditation helping humanity. All they want is people know it is contribution of Sanatana Dharma (modren name =Hinduism).

  • vrkhanna

    Kudos to Dr. Shukla. Very well presented. I don’t want to do Dr. Chopra bashing as many have already done that. I wanted to bring one point that lot of people mentioned “Hinduism is not a religion but a philosophy of life”. I think most religions are philosophies of life. There is no point in denying it as a religion, because by denying, we are undermining the strength that religion brings. Everyone else in the world looks at it as a religion and as a religion we acknowledge this as a practicing religion (may be diverse in nature) of rituals, socials and philosophies. We are proud of who we are for not what our rishis passed us but how we take it and build on it.

  • n_koppula

    I had good opinion on Chopra. Not anymore. Kudos to Dr. Shukla who exposed him. Hindus are better off without the likes of Chopra who can easily forget where they came from, in pursuit of money.

  • Secular

    Hindhu2, thank you for directly answering my question. Now we are getting somewhere, instead of talking in some vague inanities. This is the modus operandii of the theists that is when soe falw is pointed out in their scripture they come up and say that it should not be taken literally, it is a metaphor and so on. You are one of the few who conceded that Bhagavatham is wrong, when it came to science. But then you assert that it is not meant to be a science journal, but something else. Now lets look at Bhagavatham from moral & ethics perspective do you think it fares any better, let’s see below:In mohini avatharam, the whole motivation is to cheat ralshasas out of the fruits of their labors right from the beginning. Their atrocities of (though not ever established in the context of the mohini avatharam) notwithstanding devathas makea contract with every intention of breaking it after the nectar is harvested. The fact is the atrocities (if any) were well known to devathas before they entered into the contract. Dont you see this as the most despicable act. To say that end justify the means is not a good moral teaching. I can go on with several more of the dash avatharams.Take the case of Rama, he insists on his wife to take the fire test, supposed a chaste woman will not be consumed by fire. This sounds like the puritans of Salem, anyway I digress. After that because a drunken citizens mouths off about Sita, Rama mercilessly abandons her, when she is carrying his progenies. Do you think how well it will go over today if a man were to do the same. Why is it we expect more froman ordinary mortal and so little of the deities. SOme people say Rama was just carrying the law of the day. Contrast that with Raja Ram Mohan Roy, who single handedly help eradicate another scourge of hindhuism Sutte. Couldn’t god do more than a mere mortal?

  • NonPseudoSecularist

    Deepak Chopra said “…it doesn’t make sense to call Jesus and the writers of the Christian Gospels, followers of the Southern Baptist or Lutheran faith…..”.Here Deepak made wrong comparision. Hindu equivalent of Luthern or Baptist is Hare-Krishna or Swami-Narayan or Rama-Krishna Mission. So the question is Does it make sense to call writers of the Chritian gospel ‘Christian’? If yes then same standard should apply to Hinduism. Anti-Hindus dominate india discourse. They have a simple strategy (i.e., Everything good about india is indian/S.Asian, and everything bad about india is Hindu).

  • omprem108

    Dr. Shukla seems to be suffering from the sin of pride. Despite praising Hinduism, Dr. Shukla’s strong attack violates the primary duty of Hindus in the world, that of Ahimsa or non-violence. From an Ashtanga Yoga point of view, Dr. Shukla is guilty of contravening the Yama of Asteya or non-covetousness plus the Niyama of Santosha or contentment. Deepak Chopra on the other hand has done the world a favour by viewing Christianity from a Hindu perspective and thus giving Christians some deeper appreciation of their religion. So what if he makes money.

  • Secular

    Continued from above:I don’t understand why theists find these books be it be Bible, or Ramayana, or Koran so compelling. Every flaw we point to, you say but for that everything else is great. It reminds me of the catholic papacy which after admitting their mistakes, get right back into the practicing infallibility. Again I digress. I take a book of say Physics I don’t need to pick and choose what is right and what is incorrect. Whereas with scripture there is constant deletions.My thesis is these books are sadly the best there was back then, in terms of human understanding of ethics, morals, science, Mathematics, etc, etc. Mostly undisputed is the fact that the authors were clueless vis-a-vis sciences. I have just shown that these people did not have a good handle on ethics either. Thsi is not necessarily a DIS. The fact is the human ethics have evolved away from the in-group morality to more universal morality. Our handle on logic and evidence has also matured that we do not willing to accept blatant claims in these books. Like Rakshsas were evil or that Moabites or Amalkites were evil, without further documentation. It may have been OK in their times. But today we demand more than lame assertions. This is because as Dawkins puts it is zeitgeist the pushes us to be more moral and more compassionate than ever before. All things considered, the present is the most ethical times there ever have been.

  • Hindu2

    Good to know that both Hindu educationists discussing on hinduism. Reminds me of our college deabates “one speaking for the subject matter and the other against”. For the sake of debate this is OK. The truth is both have got all this knowledge from the Ganges of Hinduism. The word Hindu and Hinduism has been so much polluted by the ilk ,the media, people are afraid to use it for good. Any how both are doing service to Hinduism.How can one be blessed to have a Rama krishna Parama Hansa to guide a Narendranath to become a viveka nanda?

  • Hindu2

    I was reading the post on eclipse by secular.The debate between secular and clear thinking1 is also interesting. My understanding of the fable in Bhagavatham is thus: Bhagavatham is an epic or say a novel.In novels also apart from telling stories some times the characters talk about science or some phenomenon that occured. I get it this way. Rahu or ketu who looked like serpant or head or tail by the knowledge of science they had at that time were also moving around in space. They have postulated a hypotheis that thi serpent head has devoured moon and caused eclipse. You do have hypothesis for theorems. And Bhagavatham is not a science journal t harp on that what said in the epic is true or not. We can accept that they have the knowledge that there are moving objects that devour or hide moon or sun. Even when Gelelio was talking about the helio centric theory no body believed because the knowledge at that time was only limited to geo centric theory. Only after kepler proved the theory and after we studied in our science books we started believing that earth moved round the sun. But the parable in Bhagavatham has nothing to demean Hinduism or Hindu religion. I too believed it very well when I was a 5 year old child when my grand ma told this story to me. Now after getting educated I know the fallacy in that but still now I don’t consider Bhagavatahm as an authority on science. It is a spiritual text for me to know about Bhagawan Krishna. thats all nothing more nothing less. True Christians don’t believe in Darwin theory. my son was asking me this question if we Hindus believe in evolution theory. I said sure we do. but we also believe in Dashavatara.

  • krispat

    I appreciate the knowledge and wisdom in Dr. Shukla’s arguments. His restraint in dealing with the falsities and venom spewed by Dr. Chopra is commendable.Having been raised in this great nation, I fully support Dr. Shukla’s efforts in keeping the truth alive. More power to you. As my children grow up as the second generation of “Hindu” Americans, they now have an opportunity and resources to accurately understand Sanatana Dharma, as they pursue their own journey to discover their own true nature of “sat-cit-ananda”.(existence-knowledge-bliss)Aum

  • KrishKrish

    Thanks to Dr Shukla for taking on thankless profiteers like Mr Chopra.

  • Navin1

    So secular,you have not offered anything better than the gita. Can you prove to us the E=mc2?Your criteria for truth is perverted, to put it bluntly. If you can not prove E=mc2, does that mean that E=mc2 is not true or that you are an idiot. So you want to know about eclipses. Can you prove to me that the sun goes around the milkyway galaxy? Certainly not in words. You would have to go through various experiments that support the hypothesis. Now, of course you will divert attention and say this is common knowledge and it is foolish to expect you to answer that question. Look it up on wiki perhaps. The real question is what priesthood you believe in. If you want to believe the secular priests that tell you that there is an invisible hand that guides markets, that your thoughts are random bouncing atoms. so be it. If you want to study mystical teachings that explain how the world works, please to honestly engage in it. What is the sun? what is surya and asurya, what is the basis on which you judge morality? As a bhakt of Dawkins you have none way to judge. You are bereft of truth. You don’t even want to see evidence.As to the articleIn the process of human understanding of the world there are different ways to understand. The materialistic view has too much data for the existence of transcendentals: love. The material world is in front of us. Some conclusions you will not understand, E=mc2, some you will, 1+1=2, though this is not always true. hariaum

  • Navin1

    Now consider:Newton was wrong about mechanics. There fore disregard all of Newtonian physics. Keppler believed in spheres. He was wrong. disregard all he did. Galileo on partial evidence came up with the right theory but really didn’t have the tools to develop the theory nor prove it. Dismiss Galileo. After a while, all of science but the most superficial modern understanding disappears. Ignore the building of truth and all you have is a facade. Take science superficially and the process of thought and counter thought, debate, skepticism all die off and you have a shell of conclusions that you know will collapse: the right food, the right E=mc2, darn dark matter, etc. So with an uneducated mind, you conclude all relgions are the same. Your obsession with a point is like the child who says calculus is wrong because there are no infinitismal points that really exist – mathematics is a mythology and to be disregarded. The Upanishads, the Gita, the Ramayana, the Shiva sutra… all expound that you have to figure out your relationship with the truth. You will not understand it. You will be confronted by the mystery of being. And that that relationship to the truth is more important than any answer you get: your karma is in action based on beliefs of how the world works and with time you learn more. Dawkins has no ethics, no morality, nor right and wrong, no truth, in short nothing. His false construct of scientific reasoning is itself nonsense. What truth are you defending? That power is morality? That you have no free will… nonsense. The vedas teach, you must find the single line by which you can connect with the Truth. Not a book, not a smriti, not a guru,..it is time to take that seriously if you are looking for truth. If all you are looking for is ego satisfaction in defending your high priest. so be it – but you are still on the path to Satya.hariaum

  • Secular

    Test

  • nuatthai1

    Sending love to all of this.

  • Secular

    Navin1:Now to your claims about ethics and morality I have shown earlier what a vile morality is offered by two of the Avataras. Now coming to Mahabaratha, that book as remarkable as it is as a story, sullies the one thing all humankind accepts as unvarnished love, that of a mother for her children. How does it do that you ask? It does that by sanctifying Kunti, the wretched woman discards her first born Karna from her liaison with Syrya, before her betrothal. Then she goes to him and demands of him as his mother to spare the lives of her latter children, again from liaisons with her other lovers. In the meanwhile he consorts systematically thieve from him all his powers under one pretext or the other. This you call it morality. If so I want no part of it. It is the same refrain from the theists, when we show a flaw in the texts they have some other texts to show. For hindhus if a Smriti is shown to be bad, then they have Puranas, then they have Shrutis and so on, For muslims when a revelation is shown to be vile they have the Meccan revelation to rescue them. Notwithstanding the fact that Koran itself claims that a latter revelation on the same subjects provides a better guidance over the former. How is that been made known, what else another revelation. So we can throw all the Meccan revelations into the dustbin. I wonder how come the all knowing god needed several iterations to get some topics right. But of course asking such questions is blasphemy. That is the problem with all religions, asking uncomfortable questions is blasphemy.

  • Navin1

    Thanks, secularLet us look at motherhood. Science teaches us that a mother’s love is just oxytocin. The birthing function is just a set of gametes. The superstitious belief that your mother is of value to you is without foundation. I suppose your repulsion at human behavior is based on some superstitious idea of motherhood. Please to review Brave New World as to the implications of motherhood. As to your sense of morality. Who cares. Are you a priest of some sort to make a fundamental statement of morality? You still are unable to come up with a better model. So you cast stones, tell your children that only power decides morality… I want no part of social order that says might is right, that there is no real morality. “You atheists” fail to grasp the emptiness of your own position. You are confused. Kunti’s situation is not a moral lesson about what she did as being right. Your bias makes you think poorly. The conflict Kunti faces is the conflict of a young girl given too much power, not knowing how to use it, and then, as a human mother, struggling with her emotional love for the children she raised and guilt for the one that she did not and now opposes her. It is the mother earth that raised demons and gods. She is forced to choose but bewildered. Guess what, black and white thinkers like you don’t get, human beings are commplex. Some even abort their children, some are willing to kill someone else’s children. If you want to ignore human behavior in your amoral alogical system, go for it. It is empty as the god that says you are condemned to eternal hell for a mistake. It is as empty as a man who claims an ethic is vile while believing only power makes ethics – yes that would make your ethics that of Ravaana and Duryodhana. And you are thusly represented in the epics.hariaum

  • Navin1

    A few of the right things of religion:Act without ego and renouncing the resultsYou want to remove from your sight all the good and then claim there is no good. You choose to be blind. As a Hindu I accept your choice of ignorance. I suppose you woke up in a random universe today and found order randomly generated. After all, science tells us that this is just a random event, I think they were referring to atheistic athinking.hariaum

  • ayyamkk

    The Pope himself has declared against Chopra and expressed his apprehension that Yoga might tempt christians into Hinduism. See extract below; Extract from:

  • Arjun2

    Dr Chopra,This technique of trying to hint the opposing view may be influenced by an fundamentalist agenda so people make their minds up even before looking at the facts of what Dr Shukla is putting forward is very dirty and is something that may work in India but not in the West especially when you are dealing with western born Hindus who know the politics of false labeling to divert the attention of the very debate itself like in this case .For someone who talks about the ultimate truth all the time you sure do live a lie..Even the Christian right wing who condemn Yoga as Hindu are being more truthful than you because even they know Yoga and many other spiritual concepts coming out of India are from Hinduism..You have made a very good living out of Hinduism and you should be thankful to it…Maybe then you might start practicing what you preach…

  • bimal_mohanty

    “Sri Aseem Shukla, and Sri Deepak Chopra the great yoga debate” is interesting. Both indeed are making the same points and yet it appears as if both are trying to score a point over the other. I sincerely hope that is not their intention.Sanatan philosophy is the original comprehensive philosophy on spiritualism. The practice of that philosophy is Sanatan dharma.. It’s central theme is Brahman or Satchidananda in all their gamut and ramifications. The Sanskrit word Yoga simply means linking or joining with BrahmanThe words Hindu or Hinduism were coined much later to identify regionally the group of people who practiced sanatan dharma. (They do not find mention in any of the original scriptures.) In that context Sanatan philosophy ,Hinduism and Yoga can not be spoken of unconnected with each other. ‘Sanatan’ implies ever-existing, universal, applicable to all. It is so universal that no matter what faith one may follow it lends its appeal. Also although sanatan philosophy, Hinduism and yoga all originated and gifted out from this part of the globe(India, Bharat, Hindustan call as you like.)they are the heritage of the entire mankind. Sanatan philosophy believes that every soul is a yogi and all life is yoga. – God bless all – Sri Bimal Mohanty 9.5.2010(www.ahwan.org)

  • kgsurendran

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

  • NonPseudoSecularist

    To Secular:Given a choice between 3$bill and genuine-hindu-cause, You choose 3$bill. That’s called Pseudo-Secularism in india.

  • Narasimham

    Namaste Aseemji, thanks for such an open discussion. Your words are what millions wanted to tell since a few years now! It is a pity that Mr. Deepak Chopra use every knowledge from Sanathana Dharma c(which is otherwise called Hindhuism) and make all the money, without ANY reference ot acknowledgement to the source. How sad!

  • ayyamkk

    The debate descended to a low level when Chopra cheekily wrote-off Shukla as a Fundamentalist and asserted that Yoga evolved independent of Hinduism. Keeping Chopra’s business interests in the background, the responses to his outburst are justified. I wish that this debate had not commenced because I had held Chopra high in my esteem and he has fallen. What a great fall! -ayyamkk

  • mg222

    This is a WAKE-UP CALL for Hindus.Please let us ALL: Americans generally and Hindu Americans in particular pass the message that the habitual and ‘loose’ use of the term “Extremist Hindus” or “Fundamentalist Hindus” is Highly Offensive to the majority Hindus.[1] We also need to seek a judicial injunction to stop news media from using the term Mythology and Hinduim as Synonimous. It is so insulting, like religious racism.[2] Hindus do not go around killing people in religion’s name [with bombs or suicide bombers]![3] So, because we are the most peaceful religious community in USA, please let us wake up from our slumber and proudly and peacefully shout that: “Yes, We Are Hindus And We Are Proud To Be Hindus”.[4] If we want our children to really grow up as Hindus, then charity begins at Home – we ve to instill Hindu-ness and Hindu Pride in them.OM

  • NonPseudoSecularist

    Deepak Chopra in Debate: Unethical Debater and Irrational Ranter?Dr. Chopra has violated almost all the ethics of debate. More-over, His irrational personal attacks, and lack of manners is even more shocking. Here is a list of personal attacks with my comments in bracket:Dr. Chopra: “Headline: Sorry, your patent on yoga has run out” (Comment: Debate is not about royalty or exclusivity, but it is about acknowledgment. Thus, it is not about patent but plagiarism. This headline sets stage for next set of allegations. )Dr. Chopra: “Perhaps he has a fundamentalist agenda in mind…. If you strip away his sour mood and questionable assumptions, I think Shukla’s real lament is like that of Jews who see the young fleeing from the old ways…” (Comment: These allegations add nothing to the debate. Dr. Chopra has provided no rational, fact, illustration or logic supporting his allegations. Is this irrational allegations based on pseudo-secular beliefs/fundamentals?)Dr. Chopra “Although Prof. Aseem Shukla has got the bit between his teeth….Having loaded his quiver, what target is Shukla firing at?….” (Comment: Chief purpose of this low punch liner, and violent term is to ridicule and humiliate opponent)Dr. Chopra “Shukla wants Hinduism to be self-serving, which is why he is so intent on keeping the membership roster strong…..Prof. Shukla isn’t the most strident of fundamentalists.” (Comment: Instead of listening opponent and making necessary adjustments, Dr. Chopra is fanatically reiterating his baseless allegations without providing an iota of fact. Is he acting like a pseudo-secular fundamentalist?)Dr. Chopra “I forgive the potshots taken at me…” (Comment: Attackers don’t forgive. On the contrary, they ask for forgiveness. Dr. Chopra missed the opportunity to seek higher moral ground by asking for forgiveness. Instead, He launches a left-handed attack by sneakily portraying himself as the victim.)