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Kerala Catholic body issues diktat: No chanting of prayers, no idol worship, no embracing Hinduism while practising Yoga

Almost a week after the International Yoga Day, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) had issued a 27-page guideline to be followed by Christians while practising Yoga. The guidelines written in Malayalam was posted on its website.

The guidelines prepared by the Theology Commission of KCBC said, “though it may be claimed that it is secular, Christians must be vigilant against the fact that they should not be embracing another religion (Hinduism in this case) while practising meditation”. However, they have also suggested that Yoga could be practised for a peaceful mind.

The KCBC had warned Christians to beware that they might get attracted to Hinduism. The guidelines say that chanting prayers of other faiths and idol worship goes against the basic tenets of Christianity.

The guideline also read, “In Christianity, prayer is communication with God, rather than with the inner self. In yoga, however, one communicates with oneself and understands the depths of one’s mind. As per Christian faith, humble and unselfish acceptance of God’s will is the paramount facet of prayer. Christians practising yoga must never misunderstand that God can be brought to one’s bidding through meditation”.

Sr Infant Tresa, a Catholic nun, who runs a yoga centre at Muvattupuzha finds the guidelines to be unnecessary. She claimed that Yoga can be practised in a Christian way also. She started doing Yoga after having faced several health problems. She says that Yoga is a way to inner peace and she isn’t hesitant to chant the ‘Om’ mantra.

Last year the Syro-Malabar Church had been reported having demeaned the practice of yoga. Previously Rahul Gandhi had mocked insulted the dog unit of Indian army while trying to mock PM Narendra Modi on his Yoga Day initiative. Subsequently, an activist had filed a complaint against him for insulting the army.

The fifth International Yoga Day was celebrated on June 21, here are some visuals that have been captured. Yoga is a deep-rooted Hindu practice which several individuals have attempted to dissociate from.

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