How is yoga connected to Orthodoxy?

http://whataboutyoga.wordpress.com

WHAT ABOUT YOGA?

How is yoga connected to Orthodoxy?

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/80417.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

Yoga is a psychosomatic practice, an interaction between mind, body, and spirit(s). We must remember the word ‘yoga’ means ‘yoke,’ like the wooden crosspiece fastened over the necks of animals attached to the plow. St. Paul warns us, Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?[18]

Yoga isn’t Scriptural nor is it otherwise part of our Church’s Holy Tradition. Everything we’re looking for, everything, can be found in and through the Orthodox Church. So what would we want from yoga?

It is important to know that in yoga, as well as many mystical schools, strange lights may accompany practitioners but these are often from demons or created lights of the mind, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.[19] Many have and are following the ‘spiritual fireworks’ of the so-called ‘new’ age. Of course, this is not the Uncreated Light experienced by Moses and the disciples on Mount Tabor. It is not the Divine Light St. Gregory Palamas defended in the 14th century against western scholasticism. Direct knowledge of God is possible, and direct experience, but knowledge and experience of evil is also certainly available. We have freewill to choose whom and what we seek. This, of course, requires discernment and testing, where accountability before an experienced priest or elder is absolutely necessary. Indispensable, too, is heartfelt participation in the Mysteries of the Church. We do better looking into the mysteries of our hearts than entertaining these imaginations of the head.

Furthermore, something should be said in relation to the claim that ‘pop’ forms of gym yoga carry no danger or threat to a practitioner. Someone who holds such an opinion is either ignorant of, or chooses to ignore, the many warnings that appear in the eastern yoga manuals concerning the Hatha yoga that is practiced in such classes. Is the instructor aware of these warnings and able to guarantee that no harm will come to the student?

In his book Seven Schools of Yoga, Ernest Wood begins his description of Hatha yoga by stating, “I must not refer to any of these Hatha Yoga practices without sounding a severe warning. Many people have brought upon themselves incurable illness and even madness by practicing them without providing the proper conditions of body and mind. The yoga books are full of such warnings…. For example, the Gheranda Samhita announces that if one begins the practices in hot, cold or rainy weather, diseases will be contracted, and also if there is not moderation in diet, for only one half the stomach must ever be filled with solid food…. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika states that control of breath must be brought about very gradually, ‘as lions, elephants and tigers are tamed,’ or ‘the experimenter will be killed,’ and by any mistake there arises cough, asthma, head, eye and ear pains, and many other diseases.” Wood concludes his warning about posture and breathing yoga by saying, “I should like to make it clear that I am not recommending these practices, as I hold that all Hatha Yogas are extremely dangerous”.[20]

If an Orthodox Christian wants to exercise, he or she may swim, jog, hike, walk, and do stretching exercises, aerobics, or Pilates.[21] These are safe alternatives to yoga. We can also offer prostrations before God. The Church doesn’t want any of us to be unhealthy or unhappy. We should trust the prescriptions of our Mother the Church and follow them as best as our ability, and the grace of God, allows. No one should try to extend the life of the body at the expense of the soul.

Above all, we mustn’t trust our own judgment. We must be accountable to someone.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.[22]

As Orthodox Christians, we know that the actions of our bodies, such as bows, prostrations, and making the sign of the Cross have a relationship to the state of our soul before the True God. Why would we ever chance copying bodily actions that for centuries have been directly related to the worship of demons? Such actions could have serious consequences for both our soul and body which belong to Christ.

May we be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.[23]

 

* * *

Notes:

[18] 2 Corinthians 6:14.

[19] 2 Corinthians 11:14.

[20] The Sandilya Upanishad gives similar warnings. See Seven Schools of Yoga, by Ernest Wood, pgs. 78-79.

[21] Pilates is a perfectly safe and appropriate alternative to yoga. A mental fitness system aiding flexibility, strength and focus, Pilates is a conditioning routine emphasizing coordination, balance and breathing. Studies have also shown that stretching exercises are an effective alternative to yoga in treating lower back pain.

[22] Proverbs 3:5.

[23] Matthew 10:16.

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How is Υoga connected with Hinduism?

http://whataboutyoga.wordpress.com

WHAT ABOUT YOGA?

How is Υoga connected with Hinduism?

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/80417.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

To be clear, Hinduism does not refer to a specific religion. It is a term the British gave to the various cults, philosophies and shamanistic religions of India. If you ask one Hindu if he believes in God, he may tell you that you are God. But ask another, and he will point to a rock, or statue, or a flame of fire. This is Hindu polarity: either you are God, or everything else is a god.

Yoga is beneath this umbrella of Hinduism, and in many ways is the pole of the umbrella. It acts as a missionary arm for Hinduism and the New Age outside of India.[9] Hinduism is like an extraordinary Russian nesting doll: you open one philosophy and within it are ten thousand more.

And the unopened ones are risks. You may swim easily and carelessly in waters you do not know. But unaware of the tides and nuances of the area, you may be in danger. You may be swept away by the undertow. You may cut yourself against unseen rocks and contract imperceptible infection and poison.

This happens in the spiritual life.

When we dive in the ocean, we may be attracted to the brightest, most colorful and intriguing fish but the most colorful and exotic are often the most poisonous and deadly.

The first time I visited India, I took off my shoes and socks and walked through the water, coconuts, discarded candy and shimmering fire of Kalkaji Temple. It Continue reading “How is Υoga connected with Hinduism?”

What is yoga? What is kundalini energy?

http://whataboutyoga.wordpress.com

WHAT ABOUT YOGA?

What is yoga? What is kundalini energy?

By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani, USA

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/80417.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

The literal meaning of yoga is ‘yoke.’ It means tying your will to the serpent kundalini and raising it to Shiva and experiencing your ‘true’ self. All paths of yoga are interconnected like branches of a tree. A tree with roots descending into the same areas of the spiritual world. This is evident in the ancient books the Bhagavad Gita and the Yogic Sutras of Patanjali. I learned that the ultimate goal of yoga is to awaken the kundalini energy coiled at the base of the spine in the image of a serpent so that it brings you to a state whereby you realize Tat Tvam Asi.[8]

Of course, yoga may facilitate exceptional experiences of body and mind. But so does the ingestion of mind-altering drugs, and flavorless, imperceptible poisons. Through yoga, little by little, one is harnessing shakti, which yogis refer to as the Divine Mother, the ‘dark goddess’ connected with other major Hindu gods. This energy isn’t the Holy Spirit, and This isn’t aerobics or gymnastics. Attached to this entire system are bhajans and kirtans – pagan equivalents to Orthodox Christian akathists, but for Hindu gods – as well as mantras, which are ‘sacred’ formulas, like calling cards or phone numbers, to the various pagan gurus and gods.

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Notes:

[8] Sanskrit for “Thou art that” appearing in the Upanishads and subsequent yogic and Vedic texts. The phrase means the practitioner is identical with the Ultimate Reality, or with a god, or God.

What does the Bible say about dinosaurs? Are there dinosaurs in the Bible?

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ANIMALS OF MY HEART

What does the Bible say about dinosaurs?

Are there dinosaurs in the Bible?

The Bible does mention dinosaurs, though it never actually uses the word “dinosaur.” Instead, it uses the Hebrew word tanniyn, which is translated a few different ways in our English Bibles. Sometimes it’s “sea monster,” and sometimes it’s “serpent.” It is most commonly translated “dragon.” The tanniyn appear to have been some sort of giant reptile. These creatures are mentioned nearly thirty times in the Old Testament and were found both on land and in the water.

In addition to mentioning these giant reptiles, the Bible describes a couple of creatures in such a way that some scholars believe the writers may have been describing dinosaurs. The behemoth is said to be the mightiest of all God’s creatures, a giant whose tail is likened to a cedar tree (Job 40:15). Some scholars have tried to identify the behemoth as either an elephant or a hippopotamus. Others point out that elephants and hippopotamuses have very thin tails, nothing comparable to a cedar tree. Dinosaurs like the brachiosaurus and the diplodocus, on the other hand, had huge tails which could easily be compared to a cedar tree.

Nearly every ancient civilization has some sort of art depicting giant reptilian creatures. Petroglyphs, artifacts, and even little clay figurines found in North America resemble modern depictions of dinosaurs. Rock carvings in South America depict men riding diplodocus-like creatures and, amazingly, bear the familiar images of triceratops-like, pterodactyl-like, and tyrannosaurus rex-like creatures. Roman mosaics, Mayan pottery, and Babylonian city walls all testify to man’s trans-cultural, geographically unbounded fascination with these creatures. Sober accounts like those of Marco Polo’s Il Milione mingle with fantastic tales of treasure-hoarding beasts. In addition to the substantial amount of anthropic and historical evidences for the coexistence of dinosaurs and man, there are physical evidences, like the fossilized footprints of humans and dinosaurs found together at places in North America and West-Central Asia.

Source:

Ken Ham, The Great Dinosaur Mystery Solved! A Biblical View of These Amazing Creatures, MASTER BOOKS / 2000 / PAPERBACK

Why do Orthodox Christians “cross themselves” different than Roman Catholics?

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ROMAN CATHOLICS MET ORTHODOXY

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Why do Orthodox Christians “cross themselves”

different than Roman Catholics?

http://orthodoxyislove.wordpress.com

ORTHODOXY IS LOVE

They touch their right shoulder first, then their left, whereas the Roman Catholics first touch their left shoulder. Is this difference important? Does it make any difference?

Orthodox cross themselves from right to left. first we will describe the mechanics of making the cross, then explain why it is indeed important that we make the sign of the cross correctly.

“Placing the cross on oneself”

-We place our thumb and first two fingers together in a point, and our last we fingers flat against our palm. The three fingers together represent the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the two fingers in the palm represent the two natures of Christ.
-We touch our forehead, then our belly, tracing the vertical part of the cross.
-From our belly, we bring our hand up to our right shoulder, touching it.
-We finish placing the cross on ourself by touching our left shoulder.

The act of “Placing the cross on oneself” is a request for a blessing from God. We make if from right to left to mirror the actions of the priest when he blesses us. The priest, looking at the parishioners, blesses from left to right. Therefore, the parishioners, putting on the sign of the cross on themselves, do it from right to left.

Because the Lord separated the sheep from the goats, putting the faithful sheep on His right side, and the goats on the left, the Church always treats the right side as the preferred side. We only cross ourselves with our RIGHT hand. The priest, when blessing a person, first touches or points to their RIGHT side, then their left. Also the censing of the Holy Table in the Altar is always done from the RIGHT side first; censing of the Ikonostasis, the Congregation and of the Church itself always begins with the right side. The priest always gives communion with his RIGHT hand, even if he is left handed. There are other examples of this right side preference.

When a parent makes the sign of the cross over a child, they will cross them from left to right, just as the priest blesses. When they make the sign of the cross over themselves, they would do it, logically, the other way.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states that in the Roman Catholic Church, the faithful crossed themselves from right to left, just as the Orthodox do, until the 15th or 16th century. They must explain why they have changed an ancient and apostolic tradition. We cannot answer as to their motivations.

Is it important to cross ourselves a particular way? In a word, YES. We do not have the authority to choose willy-nilly what parts of the Christian Tradition we want to follow. Our fathers, and countless saints crossed themselves from right to left. Ancient icons show Christ or bishops beginning a blessing from right to left. the right side is referred to in a preferential way many times in scripture and our sacred hymns What should we want to change?

ΒΥ

FR. ALEXANDER LABEDEV

What about our Guardian Angel?

http://smileofireland.blogspot.com

SMILE OF IRELAND

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About our Guardian Angel

Source:

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/46500.htm

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

Guardian Angels not only suggest to us good thoughts for eternal salvation—they truly guard us in our life’s situations. The word, “guardian” is not at all an allegory, but the living and precious experience of many generations of Christians. There is a good reason why, for example, in the prayers for travelers we ask the Lord for the special protection of our guardian angel. It’s true—when else but while traveling do we especially need God’s protection?

About thirteen years ago, I was in the Pskov Caves Monastery with one of our parishioners, Nicholai Sergeyevich Leonov, a professor of history and lieutenant general in military intelligence, with whom we had been working for many years on the television program, “Russky Dom” (Russian House). There in the Pskov Caves Monastery, Nicholai Sergeyevich had met Fr. John (Krestiankin) for the first time. As Nicholai Sergeyevich later related, the elder had not only made a very deep impression on him, but had greatly helped him by his prayers.

During those years, Nicholai Sergeyevich was just beginning to enter into the life of the Church, and he still had many questions. One of those questions he asked me was regarding the Orthodox teaching on the angelic world; about guardian angels. I tried very hard, but to my dismay, I still felt that he was disappointed by my artless explanations.

That early summer morning, Fr. John saw us off as we left the monastery for Moscow. The road ahead of us was a long one, and so I asked the mechanics in the monastery garage to look over the car and check the oil before we left.

We sped along the deserted road. I was at the wheel, listening attentively to a story about one of his overseas assignments. He had long promised me that he would tell me that one. I have never met such an interesting storyteller in my life—Nicholai Sergeyevich’s stories leave you breathless. That was how it was that time.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, I caught myself strangely thinking that something was happening to us right then, at that very minute, which was out of the ordinary and threatening. Our automobile was driving along as usual. Nothing—not the indicators, nor the smooth ride, nor any sort of smell—signified any trouble. Nevertheless, I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable.

“Nicholai Sergeyevich, it seems to me that there is something wrong with the car!” I said, making the decision to interrupt my traveling companion.

Leonov is a very experienced driver with many years of practice behind him. Attentively appraising the situation, he finally reassured me that there was nothing wrong. But this did not relieve my inexplicable anxiety in the least. To the contrary, it increased with each passing minute. I felt ashamed about my faintheartedness, but I was simply overwhelmed by a gripping fear.

“Probably we should stop!” I finally announced, feeling that I was breaking out in a cold sweat.

Nicholai Sergeyevich again looked carefully at the indicators. Then he looked through the windshield at the hood. He listened to the automobile’s movement. Looking at me with surprise, he repeated that from his point of view, everything was alright.

But when I repeated for the third time—not understanding why—that we had to stop, Nicholai Sergeyevich consented.

No sooner had we come to a stop, when black smoke came billowing out from under the hood.

We jumped out onto the road. I lunged to lift the hood, and an oily flame burst forth from the motor. Nicholai Sergeyevich grabbed his jacket from the back seat and smothered the flames with it. When the smoke cleared and we were able to investigate what had happened, we could see that the monastery mechanics had forgotten to replace the cap after filling the oil pan. It was still lying next to the battery. Motor oil had been spilling out over the heated motor the entire way, but because of our high speed, the smoke had spread under the wheels, and we did not feel anything inside the car. Just two or three more miles, and the whole thing could have ended tragically.

After cleaning up under the hood a little, we slowly returned to the monastery, and I asked Nicholai Sergeyevich if he needed any additional elucidation concerning guardian angels and their participation in our fate. Nicholai Sergeyevich answered that this was quite enough for today, and he has satisfactorily assimilated that question of dogma.

Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov

Translated by Nun Cornelia

What is Eternal Life in Eastern Orthodox Church?

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USA OF MY HEART

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The Symbol of Faith: Eternal Life

Source:

http://oca.org

http://oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/doctrine/the-symbol-of-faith/eternal-life

ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA – OCA

I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world [ages] to come

(From the Sympol of Faith)

The Eastern Orthodox Church does not believe merely in the immortality of the soul, and in the goodness and ultimate salvation of only spiritual reality. Following the Scriptures, Orthodox Christians believe in the goodness of the human body and of all material and physical creation. Thus, in its faith in resurrection and eternal life, the Orthodox Church looks not to some “other world” for salvation, but to this very world so loved by God, resurrected and glorified by Him, tilled with His own divine presence.

At the end of the ages God will reveal His presence and will fill all creation with Himself. For those who love Him it will be paradise. For those who hate Him it will be hell. And all physical creation, together with the righteous, will rejoice and be glad in His coming.

The wilderness and the solitary places will be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom in abundance (Is 35:1).

For behold I create new heavens and a new earth says the Lord, and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create, for behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing and her people a joy (Is 65:17-18).

The visions of the prophets and those of the Christian apostles about things to come are one and the same:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself will be with them; He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:1-5).

When the Kingdom of God fills all creation, all things will be made new. This world will again be that paradise for which it was originally created. This is the Orthodox doctrine of the final fate of man and his universe.

It is sometimes argued, however, that this world will be totally destroyed and that God will create everything new “out of nothing” by the act of a second creation. Those who hold this opinion appeal to such texts as that found in the second letter of Saint Peter:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away… and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up (2 Pet 3:10).

Because the Bible never speaks about a “second creation” and because it continually and consistently witnesses that God loves the world which He has made and does everything that He can to save it, the Orthodox Tradition never interprets such scriptural texts as teaching the actual annihilation of creation by God. It understands such texts as speaking metaphorically of the great catastrophe which creation must endure, including even the righteous, in order for it to be cleansed, purified, made perfect, and saved. It teaches as well that there is an “eternal fire” for the ungodly, an eternal condition of their being destroyed. But in any case the “trial by fire” which “destroys the ungodly” is in no way understood by the Orthodox in the sense that creation is doomed to total destruction, despised by the loving Lord who created it and called it “very good” (Gen 1:31; also 1 Cor 3:13-15; Heb 12:25-29; Is 66; Rev 20-22).

Was Jesus called Emmanuel? – Saint John Chrysostom

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SAINTS OF MY HEART

Was Jesus called Emmanuel?

Yes, Jesus was called Emmanuel, John Chrysostom explains:

‘What then says this oracle? Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel.

How was it then, one may say, that His name was not called Emmanuel, but Jesus Christ? Because he said not,you shall call, but they shall call, that is, the multitude, and the issue of events. For here he puts the event as a name: and this is customary in Scripture, to substitute the events that take place for names.

Therefore, to say, they shall call Him Emmanuel, means nothing else than that they shall see God among men. For He has indeed always been among men, but never so manifestly.

But if Jews are obstinate, we will ask the, when was the child called, Make speed to the spoil, hasten the prey? Why, they could not say. How is it then that the prophet said, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz? Because, when he was born, there was a taking and dividing of spoils, therefore the event that took place in his time is put as his name. And the city, too, it is said, shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city Sion. Isaiah 1:26-27 And yet we nowhere find that the city was called righteousness, but it continued to be called Jerusalem. However, inasmuch as this came to pass in fact, when the city underwent a change for the better, on that account he says it is so called. For when any event happens which marks out him who brings it to pass, or who is benefited by it, more clearly than his name, the Scripture speaks of the truth of the event as being a name to him.’

Source: John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew, Homily 5, 3.

What is a Saint who called Fool-for-Christ?

http://foolforchristfullofchrist.wordpress.com

FOOL FOR CHRIST – FULL OF CHRIST

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What is a Saint who called Fool-for-Christ?

A saint who has the title Fool-for-Christ is one who is known for his apparent, yet holy, insanity.

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)

One form of the ascetic Christian life is called foolishness for the sake of Christ. The fool-for-Christ set for himself the task of battling within himself the root of all sin, pride. In order to accomplish this he took on an unusual style of life, appearing as someone bereft of his mental faculties, thus bringing upon himself the ridicule of others. In addition he exposed the evil in the world through metaphorical and symbolic words and actions. He took this ascetic endeavor upon himself in order to humble himself and to also more effectively influence others, since most people respond to the usual ordinary sermon with indifference. The spiritual feat of foolishness for Christ was especially widespread in Russia. –(Excerpted from The Law of God, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY: 1993)

Source:

Orthodox Wiki

What is true love? – Video

http://usaofmyheart.wordpress.com

USA OF MY HEART

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What is Love?:

An Orthodox Christian Understanding of the Divine Love of God

An Eastern Orthodox Lesson on what true love is, and how to acquire this true and Divine love of God.

Speaker / Translator – Mr Zalalas: Translator of Archimandrite / Spiritual Father Fr. Athanasios Mitilinaios, Greece

LOVE Q&A