Showing posts sorted by relevance for query devils. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query devils. Sort by date Show all posts

Dissolution - When Knowledge Comes to an End

The existence of the person (Jiva) is determined by its faith. 

Your religion or conviction influences how you perceive things. Recognize that everything is a lie. The entire structure is built of clay. 

The city of Mumbai is entirely constructed of clay. It's all just soil, yet we refer to it as "Mumbai." It's only an idea, the product of someone's mind when they say "Mumbai." It's a chair if you say it's a chair. If you claim it's made of wood, it's made of wood. All of this is just theoretical. If there is a lady, she will have a large family. 

One individual refers to a lady as "wife," while another refers to her as "sister," and still another refers to her as "mother." 

She is, in fact, nothing more than a collection of flesh and bones. What are your thoughts on this? Because one's perception of something influences one's experience of it. According to his imagination and religion, the individual possesses certain attributes. Ravana refers to the pride of being "Me." Everything is, in fact, Brahman. Those who own this abode known as the body should relinquish control. 

There are a lot of emotionally tied body owners. 

They must leave the body-consciousness behind, and only He (Brahman) shall remain. The sense items themselves are the demons. You have become devils because you idolize them. The actual monarch is not Ravana (the realm of the senses). He has only become a king in his thoughts. He seemed to have become king after accepting the information of the outside world as truth. 

If you wish to free yourself from his enslavement, you must abandon the illusory priority of object knowledge. Recognize that all conceptual understanding is erroneous. Ravana, the ego, can only be slain via human birth. Any other species will not be able to kill him. Hundreds of thousands of reincarnations will not be enough for him to survive. 

The fourteen domains where Ravana dominates are made up of the five sense organs and five action organs, as well as the four inner principles of mind (manas), intellect (buddhi), thinking (chitta), and the sense of "I am" or the ego (aham). The demons are sent to the netherworld once gods' dominion is established on Earth (where the objects of the world are forgotten). 

The gods go into hiding for spiritual exercise while demons dominate the Earth (they remain as they are, but seem to be hidden). 

Death vanishes automatically when one is convinced that all that appears is fake. Adopt the mindset that "I'm not one of them. This individual does not exist. Nobody exists." When a person with Brahman Knowledge sits down to eat, everything associated with the meal is Brahman. Brahman is the seat, Brahman is the meal, Brahman is the diner, and Brahman is the one who serves the meal. If he sleeps, he will remember that the bed and even the crib are both Brahman. 

The principle of "All is Brahman" should be practiced. 

Then "knowing," or coming into contact with objects, comes to an end, and the "Kingdom of God" reigns supreme. Everything that is seen is merely Brahman. It's not as if one item is Brahman and another isn't. Everything is Brahman. It's similar to ice, which is water, and water, which is ice: as ice melts, its original shape vanishes, but it's still just water. 

You're getting a better knowledge, yet you're still looking for physical pleasures. Except for this need for sensual pleasures, you have a complete comprehension of everything. You feel you are an individual because you are proud of your body (identify with it) (Jiva). 

You're a Brahman if you're not a Brahman. 

There is one One, who we name God, who is both "manifest" and "formless." You are genuinely just Brahman if you do not make any changes to the form. You become Brahman when you fully comprehend this notion. The Kingdom of God arrives at that point, and the reign of devils ends. The devils vanish. All living and non-living objects are part of the same "Unity." 

The Illusion only survives due of emotional ideas. 

When that illusion vanishes, everything is revealed to be Brahman. Even if he eats, one who eats with the belief that it is Brahman has maintained a fast. Whatever a person like this says is Vedic Truth. It is Brahman while he walks and talks, and it is Samadhi when he sleeps. He's a pure Brahman. 

A king may go wherever he wants and yet be a king. It has no bearing on his authority if he issues commands while suffering from a stomachache. 

He still reigns supreme. Chaitanya, Brahman is the Life-Force. Although he may be in any condition, a "Realized-One," the Jnani, is only Brahman. The one who has realized his True Nature is constantly in the domain of Paramatman, the Supreme Self. The body is nothing more than a spit mill. You can put any nice stuff in there, and it will just turn to shit. 

As a result, the body is nothing more than a shitmaking machine. The amazing marvel is that the same body may be used as an instrument for realizing Brahman. 

The gods received nectar (immortality) from Vishnu, who is the "Inner-Principle," or Consciousness, whereas the devils received wine (the sensuous world). 

We have the ability to drink nectar and become gods, and we also have the ability to drink wine. What should the wise do in this situation? 

They should maintain their gaze fixed on "Godliness," or observe everything and everyone through the lens of Brahman. Water the seedling until it has grown into a large tree. 

When the tree is sturdy and completely developed, there is no need to go through the difficulty of caring for it.

You may also want to read more about Spirituality and Healing here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is The Nilakanth Pitha?


(“blue-throated”) Shiva's epithet; also the name of a Shiva manifestation ensconced in the Nilakanth Mahadev temple west of Rishikesh, Uttar Pradesh.

Shiva is represented at Nilakanth with a linga, a pillar-shaped item that symbolizes Shiva.

The legend behind this epithet (as well as the temple's foundation) is based on the story of Churning the Ocean of Milk.

The water is churned by gods and devils to generate amrta, the nectar of immortality regarded to be the ocean's best essence.

However, their actions generate not only the amrta, but also the halahala poison, which is the opposite of the amrta.

This is a potentially catastrophic occurrence; the poison is so potent that if left uncontrolled, it would kill the planet.

When this poison develops, the gods and demons are at a loss about how to deal with it.

Shiva neutralizes the poison by swallowing it, but the poison's potency is so strong that it turns his throat blue.

Also, see Tortoise avatar and Ocean Churning.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is Nageshvar Tirtha In India?


In the eastern state of Gujarat, some fifteen miles northeast of the holy city of Dwaraka is a temple and sacred location (tirtha).

The temple is named after the god Shiva as the "Lord of Serpents," who is the temple's principal deity.

At Nageshvar, Shiva is represented with a linga, a pillar-shaped figure.

The Nageshvar linga is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, or Shiva's special places on the planet.

The narrative of the demon Daruk and his wife Daruka is the basis for Nageshvar's charter myth.

Daruka is Shiva's wife Parvati's ardent follower (bhakta), and with Parvati's favour, Daruka secures protection for all the other demons.

This power is used by the devils to oppress the righteous.

Shiva arrives and kills the demons as they are ready to murder one of Shiva's disciples.

Parvati has accompanied Shiva to safeguard Daruka, her devotee.

As a demonstration of their grace, Daruka persuades Shiva and Parvati to stay in Nageshvar.

Some academics think the Nageshvar linga was fostered to preserve a Shaivite presence in an important Vaishnava territory since Dwaraka is also associated with the deity Krishna.

~Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Parapsychology - Adalbert


Who Was Albert Adalbert?

Adalbert (ca. 740 C.E.) was an eighth-century French pseudo-mystic.

He proclaimed that an angel delivered him relics of remarkable holiness from all corners of the globe, and that he could predict the future and read people's minds.

"I know what you've done; there's no need for confession," he'd reply.

"Relax, your sins have been forgiven." 

Adalbert's so-called "miracles" garnered him a lot of fame, and he gave out a lot of nail and hair cuts as potent amulets.

He is reported to have even built an altar in his own honor.

The little biographical material available claims that an angel bestowed magical talents upon him at birth.

Adalbert was accused of displaying a letter from Jesus Christ that he said was given by St. Michael to his followers.

Adalbert was also accused of writing a mystical prayer that invoked uncanonical angels thought to be devils.

A Church synod condemned him in 744 C.E.

After appealing to Pope Zacharius, Adalbert was stripped of his priestly duties a year later.

Later, he was sentenced to a life sentence at the Fulda Monastery.

~Kiran Atma

Household Spirits

 The "household gods" are minor deities that are responsible for the family's well-being and the farm's success. These creatures can take many forms; they can be completely abstract; they can live within the house or outside in nature at a place of prayer, hunting, or fishing. In any case, they are tethered to the family or to individual members of the family, and they accompany them everywhere they go. We only consider benevolent spirits based on northern European beliefs. These spirits do not constitute a single entity and can be separated into two categories: men folk's deities and their economic activities, and women folk's deities and their activities. These also have a medicinal purpose in the traditions they entail.

These deities were passed down through the generations, with the son inheriting his father's and the daughter inheriting her mother's. They are not so different to ancestor worship in a pan Indo-European cultural context. The paternal spirit is the only one that plays a major part. This differentiation, of course, applies to the patriarchal aspect of the society in question, but it also corresponds to the sex assigned to the soul, as we can see. Lauri Honko clarifies something significant in his research of german land folk traditions: “Every hut has its spirit; everywhere there is a heated space (a hearth), there is a spirit.”

Since fire is a sign of habitation, such spirits tend to reside in homes, earning them the moniker "domestic" in comparison to those found in nature, which are known as "earth spirits," "spirits of place," or "local deities." Ancient times Domestic gods were under the control of the familial cult in antiquity. Zeus, the Greeks claimed, was the house's father and protector; after the farm was encircled by an enclosure, he was given the name Herkeios, and his altar was built in the yard inside that enclosed area. Since he distributed resources and maintained the deposits, he was also known as Ktesios, or "the Acquirer."

He was offered food-filled pitchers as sacrifices in a ceremony known as panspermia, which means he was given seeds of all kinds. Zeus Melichios, or "Healthy, Favorable One," took on a serpentine appearance. He carried wealth and was portrayed on a throne with a bountiful bell. At feasts, Zeus Soter, "the Savior," offered the first and last offerings. He was also known as Agathos Daimon, which means "good ghost." At the end of the meal, he was served pure water, and he, too, was a snake.

The Dioscuri, Zeus' sons, had a meal cooked for them and foods given to them; they, too, were portrayed as serpents guarding the house. It's worth noting how often reptiles feature in mythologies about domestic gods. In the Romans, we even come across several deities. The Lar familiaris, for example, was not initially a domestic deity, and his worship derived from the rural cult of the compita, in which the Lares were revered as protectors and guardians of the lands (agro custodies) surrounding the home.

They were worshipped at the hearth, rather than in the fields, where they had originally received their offerings. The Lar familiaris was given a part of the meals that he was acquainted with in the past. At family feasts, he was presented with wreaths, champagne, incense, vegetables, cakes, and honey, as well as a lamb in the event of a death. This god was linked to the destiny of the entire family. The Lararium, which contained their effigies and had two snakes drawn on its walls, was the home of all the household gods.

The goddess of the hearth, Hestia, was next, to whom wine was given at the start and end of the meal. Her altar is the focus of the domestic cult oversaw by the woman who prepares the offering (far pium) for her, which is thrown into the flames. She coincides with Vesta, the personification of the hearth that is her headquarters; her altar is the centerpiece of the domestic cult overseen by the woman who prepares the offering (far pium) for her, which is cast into the fire. During the dinner, the fire set a plate of food meant for her on fire.

Vesta was associated with the Penates, a collective term for all household gods worshipped near the hearth. They were served foods that were either thrown into the fire or placed on a plate; if a piece dropped on the floor, it was picked up, placed on the counter, and then thrown into the fire. All of these rites relate to a fire cult whose presence among Indo-Europeans has been proven. Finally, we have Limentinus and Limentina, Forculus and Forcula, the gods who guard doors and thresholds.

In his play Aulularia, Plautus gives us a clear representation of the views of his day. A deceased ancestor left his heir a sizable inheritance hidden underneath the hearth, but the heir's son paid no attention to the deceased man and avoided leaving food offerings. He fell into debt after his tutelary ancestor abandoned him. Only the daughter continued to look after the elder, giving him the customary offerings of wine, incense, and other items every day.

This integration of a deceased person into a position spirit is something that can be remembered, and it can occur more than once in the centuries to come. These cults were battled with all of Christianity's might, and they were outlawed by Emperor Theodosius' rule, but they persisted, often in the Roman colonies' rural areas. The names of the deities disappeared, but not their functions, and it was these unnamed beings that guarded the hearth and the entrance to the building from then on.

The sacrifices given to these supernatural creatures have survived, sometimes in the same way, and we will see them again. During the Middle Ages, there were no real deities in the Middle Ages; they had evolved into ghosts, or beings that were responsible for the family's well-being as well as the prosperity of their agricultural practices. I'll distinguish between direct accounts and indirect statements. Direct accounts leave no question about the identity of the character portrayed. For example, in fictional literature, house spirits are transformed into simple dwarves of vague existence.

The Indiculus superstitionum pointed to dough numbers, known as de simulacro consparsa farina, in which scholars identified household spirits. Although we only come across accounts on a rare occasion, they are very instructive until one can discern what lies under the words of their characters, the majority of whom wrote in Latin. Burchard, Bishop of Worms, for example, uses the words "faun" and "satyr" to refute a propitiatory ritual at the beginning of the eleventh century, but the meaning explicitly shows that the monsters described have little in common with the ancient Roman beings.

You've made little funny bows and children's shoes and thrown them into your cellar or attic for fauns and satyrs to play with so they can show you other people's things and make you wealthier. Legends tell us that a household spirit gives fodder taken from a stranger to your livestock, explaining the enigmatic expression "give you the products of others" many centuries later. This may also be milk from a neighbor's pigs, and in Scandinavia, there is a spirit known as the troll cat, milk hare, trollkat, or mjlkhare.

This ghost, working for a witch, takes other people's milk and spits it back into the troughs by the house's entrance. Notker the Stammerer (died) tells a strange tale in his Gesta Caroli Magni (Charlemagne's Deeds). A ghost or spirit who played tricks on people and mocked them was known to enter the smithy and play with his hammers and anvils all night long. “Hey mate, if you don't stop me from haunting your smithy, put your pitcher over there and find it full every day,” the Hairy One (pilosus) told the blacksmith as he tried to defend himself and his property with the sign of the cross of Salvation.

The wretched guy, who was more afraid of physical pain than of losing his immortal soul, took his adversary's counsel. To fill the smith's pitcher, the "Hairy One" (the name is a Latin term for what was a local reality) stole wine from a miser. We can see that this entails the conclusion of a contract between a spirit and a man by contrasting Notker's tale to more recent texts. It’s not uncommon for the household spirit to rob other people's property (such as fodder or food) and give it to the person he's adopted.

As a result, the Latvian pukys robs his neighbors of money, butter, wheat, and other valuables and gives them to his owner. Thietmar of Merseburg (died) chastised the people of Delitzsch, near Leipzig, for worshipping their house spirits in the eleventh century. “Evil spirits often engage in their games in the stables, bearing candles whose wax drops into the manes and necks of the animals, and the manes of these horses are closely braided,” William of Auvergne wrote in his treatise De Universo (On the Universe), written between and in the thirteenth century.

We see ghosts attached to these creatures, who either care about them or bother them, hidden within this Christian meaning that demonizes the intruders. The domestic spirit is usually hidden behind the common name of dwarf in Germanic nations, which is the Latin version of the word "pygmy." The word "dwarf" covers a wide range of characters, most prominently the schrat, which glosses before CE referred to as fauns, satyrs, furry ones, sylvan ones, and other catchall names.

“Many people assume that every house has its own Schrat,” according to Michael Beheim, “who will make the wealth and boost the reputation of whoever shows him honor,” which is very clear. Penates was replaced by schrat in a Latin-German dictionary. Gervase of Tilbury wrote the following in the thirteenth century. Spirits perpetrate their jokes in human bodies made of air, which they put on with God's approval, just as nature creates such marvels in the human universe.

For example, England has demons (though I'm not sure whether I should call them demons or strange spirits of unknown origin), whom the French refer to as neptunes and the English refer to as portunes. It's in their essence for them to enjoy the beauty of happy peasants. When peasants sit up late at night to finish their household chores, they appear out of nowhere, warming themselves at the first and eating little frogs that they drag out of their pockets and roast over the coals.

They have wrinkled skin and a short stature, reaching less than half a thumb, and they dress in tiny rags sewn together. If there is something in the house that needs to be transported or a hard job that needs to be completed, they get right to work and complete it faster than humans will. It is a law of nature that they can be beneficial but not harmful. This is the first mediaeval text to describe the physical characteristics and attire of house spirits.

The picture would last for a long time. “The Little Schrat and the Polar Bear,” a German fable from the thirteenth century, told the following tale. A Norwegian and a bear slept at a peasant's house for the night, but the house was haunted by a sprite who was just three spans tall but had immense power and wearing a red hat. He had a habit of tossing everything, including furniture and utensils, about. This sprite emerged from his hiding position in the middle of the night, entered the oven to warm up, and saw the bear asleep by the hearth.

He tried to scare it down, which resulted in a brawl. The sprite appeared to the farmer in the morning and informed him that he was leaving and would not return until the big cat had departed the home. Even in the nineteenth century, thankful peasants were said to make new clothes for these ragged house spirits, which caused them to vanish, which was not at all what they expected. In this respect, the Zimmern Chronicle, written about –, tells us the following: A Freising weaver thanked the gnome for his work by presenting him with a pair of shoes and a black blouse, which he gladly accepted.

Later, he gave the other a red hat, which he sadly accepted before leaving, never to return. The color red is responsible for the spirit's absence in this case, a motif that can be seen in the Germanic countries. William of Auvergne is the only person I know of who has kept two names for house spirits, joculatores and joculares, which mean "pranksters," in his treatise On the Universe. The following is a summary of their conduct. By hurling stones or turning the bedding inside out, the prankster stops people from sleeping.

He deceives people by stealing small light items that are quickly taken away, in plain sight and even from their own hands, and transporting them to another place. William also references the faunus, who he refers to as "the common people's fulet in French," which means "sprite," but is a composite of details from different sources. These "sprites," he claims, are idolaters who lie and lead men astray. They're a bunch of knuckleheads with bear horns that are undoubtedly "wives of incubus devils." Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis, –) recounts a spectacular incident in a related manner.

Unclean ghosts have been in near contact with humans in these parts of Pembroke in our own days. And if they aren't apparent, their presence is sensed. They have a habit of manifesting themselves, tossing refuse all over the place, first in the home of Stephen Wiriet, then later in the home of William Not, keener perhaps to be a nuisance than to do any actual harm.

Things became much stranger in Stephen's home, since the spirit there had a way of fighting with humans. When they complained, as they did often in sports, he would publicly chastise them for any nefarious crime they have done since their childhood. If you ask me what the origin and reason of a case like this is, I have no idea, just that it has often been the forerunner, as they term it, of a sudden transition from poverty to prosperity, or even more often, from luxury to poverty and absolute desolation.

It strikes me as strange that areas cannot be cleansed of such visits by sprinkling holy water, which is widely used and should be administered liberally, or by using high holy water, or by doing some other religious ritual. This last comment obviously indicates that this isn't about unclean spirits and "demons"! Gerald of Wales brings up another intriguing case. A third manifestation happened at the same time, in the province of Pembroke that I have been mentioning to you, in the home of Elidyr of Stackpole. It took the role of Simon, a young man with red hair.

He could be seen and touched, but this was a full incarnation. He took the household keys from the man in charge and assumed the position of steward with full confidence. He ran the household with great foresight and attention to detail, or so it seemed, that everything flourished, and nothing was ever missing in his care. Elidyr and his wife just had to think about what they wanted for their table or day-to-day use, maybe suggesting it to each other but not to Simon, and he would automatically retrieve it without being asked.

He'd say things like, "You ordered this, and I got it for you." He was well-versed in their family's investments and their efforts to save money. Everything he decided to do, whether it suited his master and mistress. He'd go ahead and do it right now, no questions asked. He never went to church and never said a single Christian word. He never slept in the house and was still on time for work in the morning.

And, by accident, he was seen conversing with his fellow-demons near the watermill and the pool one night by a family member. His master and mistress interrogated him the following morning. He was fired on the spot and turned over the keys he had been keeping for at least forty days. When he returned, they interrogated him and demanded to know who he was. He said that he was fathered on her by an incubus who had arisen in the form of her husband, and that he was born to some rustic beldame in the same parish.

Insofar as it combines the theme of the incubus, a direct result of clerical learning, underscored by the color of Simon's hair and his utter lack of religious sentiments, with that of fairies and domestic spirits, this account has an abundance of descriptions in its adulterated plot. The fundamental elements, on the other hand, are readily evident. Simon contributes to the household's well-being, and his magical existence is shown by his discovery of all its mysteries. Gerald of Wales also demonstrates the polymorphism of house ghosts, as the accounts mention little old white-haired men or a young man.

The most recent beliefs affirm this, stating that the spirit is not limited to a particular shape, but may also take on the form of an entity or item. Finally, according to the chronicles attributed to the Senones monk Richerus, a completely innocuous house spirit existed in an Epinal house from the time of the Nativity until the Feast of John the Baptist. In one of his poems, Konrad von Würzburg mentions a wooden kobold (ein kobolt von buhse), and another poet known as Der Meissner mentions a silent kobold.

These two examples clearly point to a doll or fetish, which is a physical manifestation of the domestic spirit. Konrad von Haslau writes at the end of the thirteenth century that a taterman—another name for the brilliant domesticus (house spirit)—should never be drawn on a table, although Hugo von Trimberg (circa ) says it should never be drawn on a wall. The meaning in both situations suggests that the metaphor in which the word "kobold" occurs corresponds to a kind of dishonesty.

To unearth a few tidbits of knowledge, one must sift through an immense number of books, which are more important because they testify to the belief's presence outside of literature. There are three mediaeval accounts that are especially moving because they represent different aspects of the convictions that we're interested in. The first comes from a Silesian clergyman named Brother Rudolf, who wrote a treatise on The Priesthood's Dignity.

A woman joins after them, shouting, "What are you carrying?" as they pace across the fire with the newborn. “A sleeping hare, lynx, and fox,” the stupid woman said. They take the brush that was used to clean the fireplace and use it to brush the boy. They never send someone fire from their house, and therefore sin against God during a birth, among other things. They smash an egg on the threshold with a broom as they carry an infant back to the house (no doubt after the baptism).

The mother stands with her child behind the front door in the evening, calling to the wooden woman we name fauness, so that her child weeps and hers behaves. These women use five stones to determine who will be their husband. They give each stone a name and put it in the fire; once it has cooled, they throw it into the sea. They believe the stone that makes a shrill whistling sound as it enters the water contains the name of the husband they will marry.

They even throw nettles soaked in urine into the flames, along with bits of bone, coffin wood, and a variety of other items, to make their husbands burn with passion for them like the objects in the fire. Others who consider themselves to be more knowledgeable in the dark arts create pictures of men out of wax, dough, or other materials. To torment their lovers, they throw them into a pit or on top of an anthill.

They bury pots filled with different items in some corners and even behind the stove for the Penates gods known as Stetewaldiu [“Masters of the premises”] in new buildings or those into which they are going to set up their households. As a result, they refuse to allow anybody to pour anything there. They cast a bit of food there now and then to keep the gods benevolent with the household. They stick hawthorn branches on their roofs to ensure their livestock offer a lot of milk, and they plant trees in front of their house on the day of the apostles Philip and James (May).

They cannot access a house from a door that has been transported with a dead body. The hearth with its accessories, the threshold, the fence, the corners, and the roof—in other words, the middle of the house depicted by the fire burning there, the openings, and the covering—are all instantly visible thanks to Rudolf. Keep these elements in mind and they will appear in texts dating back to the twentieth century!

The second account is taken from Antonius of Florence's (–) inventory of beliefs: Have you ever made the mistake of thinking that when the fire crackles, it means someone is dying? Have you hesitated to allow the fire to be extinguished for fear of bringing bad luck into the house? Have you saved the Christmas log and planted it in your yard, or have you blessed your corners and doors with it?

It is a mortal sin to recite the Our Father while approaching the window and plugging your ears in order to extract information from the first words that arrive from outside in order to learn what you want to hear. Have you ever imagined that anything would happen or that it will have significance? If you sneeze before leaving your building, what do you do? Have you ever laid blessed olive branches or a grain of wheat from a manger on your hearth to see if anyone is going to survive or die? Have you ever hesitated to give anything away from your house or vowed to give something on the first day of the calendar year when you thought your earthly possessions would diminish?

During the March calends, have you blessed your door or hung something in front of your house? Antonius confirms the relevance of the previously listed places, but his comments are mostly directed at divination and defense activities. His list, on the other hand, is useful in that it gives us precise dates for such rites. They are almost the same as those from classical antiquity as well as those from more modern times.

The last account comes from an anonymous treatise written in the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries and preserved in an anonymous manuscript from Saint Florian Monastery: Some people take a pinch of dirt from under the bench before going to Christmas mass, and if they notice anything alive in it, they will not die. When they get home from church, they put the branches in the manger first, then under the shelter, to ensure that the cows will return without trouble (to the barn). They carry the branches around their houses to keep foxes away from their chickens. There would be a lot of ice if anyone sits on a table for Twelve Days.

They eat a round loaf of bread and cheese while walking around their house on the last night of the Twelve Days. In the area, there will be as many haystacks as mouthfuls. When someone has a dream of the oven collapsing, the housemaster or his wife will die. No worm will reach a person's ear if his hands are placed above the fire, and his nails will not turn black. The people fill a nine-liter container of water on Christmas Eve and leave it until the next morning, when they weigh the water level. If it is smaller, the person will be poor for the whole year; if it is constant, nothing will change; but, if there is more water, the person will be rich.

It is best to bury a piece of steel under the gate and make the animals cross through it while taking the herd out to pasture. They are not going to be enchanted. They throw some of the second crop and beaten oats on the roof and leave it there for the next twelve days. They then use it as feed for their livestock. The beasts will be fertile, and the storks will not waste the food. The well-being of the animals and circumambulation rituals are given considerable status in this collection, but divination and omens are not completely missing, and the sections of the house listed confirm what we have seen previously.

As a result, the three accounts we've just looked at tend to round out and illustrate the core themes of the analysis I'm discussing. On this point, we should also remember áttr orvalds ens viförla (The Tale of Thorvald the FarTraveled), a wonderful thirteenth-century text whose details exactly matches that of the Kristni saga (Saga of Icelandic Christianization). Thorvald visited his father Kodran in Iceland with the Saxon bishop Fridrek.

He had a stone on his farm in Gilja that he and his family took offerings to, claiming that it housed their helper spirit (ármar). If he didn't know who was better, the bishop or the ghost, Kodran declined to be baptised. Fridrek sung some canticles over the exploding block. Since the spirit had been vanquished, Kodran allowed himself to be baptized. The plot is more descriptive, and the information it provides provide us with a comprehensive overview of how a domestic spirit's action is depicted.

The bishop was known as a seer (spámar) by Kodran, who retorted to his son that he already had one who was very useful: he forecast the future, secured his animals, and told him of what he wanted to do and what he could keep an eye on. As a result, he had immense faith in him and had revered him for a long time. Since the spirit urged Kodran against converting, Thorvald proposed that they see if the bishop could send it fleeing, forcing his father to allow baptism. The proposal was approved by Kodran.

Fridrek prayed and sang canticles while sprinkling holy water on the ground. In a dream that night, the spirit appeared to Kodran, terrified and full of reproaches. Fridrek was a thief who tried to evict him from his house by throwing boiling water on it; his children were crying from the water's injuries. The next day, the bishop resumed his activities, and the spirit returned to see Kodran. His pleasant demeanour and fine clothing were no longer visible; he was wrapped in a dreadful animal hide that was black and hideous to look at. He pleaded with Kodran to expel the intruders, but Fridrek began to spray holy water on the pillar, causing the spirit to flee.

“Who will now secure your property like I have?” he asked. “When I didn't know the real Deity, I honoured you as a strong and useful father,” Kodran replied. Now that I've discovered you're unreliable and frail, it's time for us to part ways and for me to put my faith in God, who is smarter and stronger than you. The text speaks for itself, and the spirit's tutelary essence is clear. We know where he lives, and a fact reported in the year by the Chronicle of the Jesuits who converted Lithuania to Christianity corroborates the two Scandinavian accounts.

The anonymous author writes about the people who live on the property. Wide stones [lapides non parvi] planted in the earth and put in such a way that their flat surface is on top and filled not with soil but with straw are stored elsewhere in the farm's buildings. They are referred to as Deyves [goddesses] and are revered as protectors of wheat and livestock. Deyves is a popular name for supernatural beings, especially secondary deities such as the domestic gods who protect every family and farm.

In this explanation, we see the same elements as in Rome, where the goddess Ops Consuia, guardian of grain, is buried in the earth and receives offerings. House spirits may be the hypostases or avatars of ancient deities, according to the Jesuit Annals and Roman rituals. We'll have to come back to this stage. Through this way, we get a snapshot of everything that corresponds to the accounts of Burchard of Worms and Thietmar of Merseburg through the tales of missionaries.

We must also pay particular attention to the enigmatic statements in the ancient chronicles that pack into one rushed sentence a summary of the worship of household gods, which they confuse with the worship of the great deities. Much of this is paganism, and the Church has thrown it all together in one pile; now it's up to us to figure it out! In the meantime, Frijofs saga hins frkna (The Saga of Frijof the Bold) tells us that the embodiments of domestic gods were warmed by fire and dried with a blanket, as the Norwegians did with the Brödstainar and Faksar not long before.


Parapsychology - Who Is Abigor?


 Abigor is the Grand Duke of Hades, according to Johan Weyer.

  • He is shown as a dashing knight with a lance, flag, or scepter.
  • He is a superior-order demon who is quick to react to concerns about combat.
  • He has the ability to predict the future and advises commanders on how to get the respect of their troops.
  • He is in charge of sixty hellish zones.

Further Reading:

Weyer, Johannes. Witches, Devils, and Doctors in the Renaissance: Johann Weyer, De Praestigiis. Edited by George Mora.

Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1991.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about parapsychology and occult sciences here.

POP YOGA! Yoga in Popular Western Culture


Yoga has explicitly entered mainstream culture in the United States. Every few years, Yoga Journal conducts a survey to gauge the importance of yoga. This is self-serving—the paper wants to know if it has a suitable audience—and the survey model is skewed because it stands to profit from the results. Nonetheless, the findings are eye-opening: according to Yoga Journal's 2012 poll, 20.4 million American adults practice yoga, they spend $10.3 billion a year on "yoga lessons and merchandise, including supplies, clothes, holidays, and newspapers," and 44.4 percent of non-practicing Americans are interested in giving it a shot. In my own research into the cultural past of yoga in the United States, I look at how yoga has been marketed as "Eastern" and mystical; as non-Hindu, universal, and scientific; and as a health-promoting activity.

This 150-year process has aided Americans in envisioning yoga as a secular discipline that has been gendered, culturally classified, and socially classified in a specific manner, free of any religious practices or convictions. This categorization entails both buy-in and push-back, and in this segment, I look at three examples of buy-in and push-back, as well as the resulting tensions and dialogues. Examining the popularity of yoga pants, Christian Yoga, and the Hindu American Foundation's (HAF) protests can demonstrate how mass culture and faith intersect to build pockets of unity and tension.

A pair of yoga pants

In the United States, yoga reveals the blurred boundaries between religious and secular practices (and in fact calls into question the many ways in which religion is defined). Yoga is debatable as to whether it belongs to any faith or whether it may be done by all. These issues will be addressed in the second and third sections of this series. But first, I'd like to look at how many of you might have discovered yoga—the cozy yoga pants that many of us wear even though we aren't practicing yoga.

The material and visual exploration of yoga pants reveals how they reify gender, age, and race categories and normativities. In other words, while yoga is not readily classified as religious or secular, it is more accessible to white/Euro-American, upper middle-class people, and yoga's visual culture in the United States represents and reproduces this construction of yoga. The easiest way to explain this phenomenon is to look at yoga pants in popular culture.

What is the ethnicity and ethnicity of most people portrayed wearing yoga pants if you do a short Google search for “yoga pants” and click on “images”? What part of the body is the subject of most of these photos? How many of these photos really feature someone doing yoga? If you see any pictures that are identical or different in terms of race and gender? What are the costliest and least expensive yoga pants, and how much do they cost? Now, just for kicks, look up “male yoga pants” on Google. What are some of the similarities and variations you find in terms of pant styles, body representation, and pricing? When I do this search, I find that most of the photographs are of white, slender women, with an emphasis on the lower half of her body. These trousers are also short and can cost anything from $14 to $120.

Many of the men's trousers, on the other hand, are loose, but the pictures also depict white, very healthy, athletic men, and the price range is close. Lululemon has been the brand most associated with yoga pants in recent years, owing to their appeal and affordability. It does not make men's yoga pants, but it does market men's kung fu pants. Its yoga pants for women range in price from $88 to $118. As women protested about their pricey yoga pants pilling, Chip Wilson, co-founder of Lululemon, said, "Frankly, those women's bodies just don't fit for it." They don't suit the bodies of those ladies. It's all of the rubbing on the elbows, how much friction is applied over time, and how much they need it.”

As a result, a Lululemon client would have not only a lot of discretionary money, but also a thigh gap. Lululemon would not make trousers bigger than a size 12, according to Wilson, since plus-size clothing needs 30% more fabric. “It's a money loser, for sure,” he said, trying to be sympathetic. I understand their situation, but it's difficult.” Women of color have begun to feature in Lululemon's catalogs in recent years, but the visuals and staff in each of the company's shops make it plain that the target buyer is a white, thigh-gap-thin woman who can afford to spend at least $200 on yoga jeans, top, and bra.

Lululemon's ads (aimed solely at slim women) and high costs aren't the only things that make the brand notorious. Some also questioned its success due to alleged unfair labor practices. Lululemon began manufacturing in a nonunion shop in Vancouver, Canada, in 1998, although it has since shifted all its production abroad, mostly to China. “Third-world children should be able to work in factories because it provides them with much-needed wages,” Chip Wilson is quoted as saying at a business conference in Vancouver. Furthermore, he claims that "ninety-five percent of the factories I've seen in the Orient are much stronger than factories in North America."

“Many people in China come from the western provinces, and their ambition is to work seven days a week for 16 hours a day in order to have enough money to go home with and start a company in five years.” “In Canada, for example, 99 percent of our factory workers are Chinese woman sewers,” he said. They would be furious if you worked them eight-hour days. They'll ask, "What are you doing?" if you just work them five days a week for eight hours. I'm not interested in working with you.' If you just work them for so long, they'll leave at 4 p.m., walk across the street to another warehouse, and work for another six hours. This is in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.” Wilson made no mention of salaries, working conditions, unions, or benefits in his speech. Such marketing policies have sparked controversy, and Lululemon has received negative press as a result.

They also pose a threat to the yoga culture, which is known for being socially and politically liberal. The fact that their favorite yoga pants are made by a self-described libertarian whose labor policies may be construed as abusive has opened the door for other brands. Lululemon does not own the yoga pants market—as our Google search revealed, yoga pants can be purchased for $14, making them affordable to a wide range of people, and since they are comfortable, many women of all ages, styles, and sizes choose to wear them. However, this is not without its own collection of issues about women's bodies. Yoga pants are always too tight, and schools are enacting legislation prohibiting them.

In 2014, officials at Devils Lake High School in North Dakota held a girls-only assembly to clarify the current dress code, during which they demonstrated footage from Pretty Woman to highlight how women can be treated differently based on their clothing choices. This is not the case at Devils Lake High School. Yoga pants and leggings were banned at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in 2015 unless they were protected with skirt or trousers, as the school believed students should dress more professionally; however, the students were not persuaded. Female students have been advised that their casual attire is a distraction to male students and instructors, and they have responded by demonstrating. “Hundreds of students signed a petition, and some marched—one holding a banner that demanded ‘are my jeans dropping your test scores?'” after a middle school in Evanston, Illinois, outlawed leggings and yoga pants.

To oppose the surveillance and sexualization of girls' bodies, several students launched the hashtag #iammorethanadistraction. Given how disputed female bodies have long been, the controversy over yoga pants is unsurprising, but it does highlight how popular yoga and exercise accessories have been in the United States. Yoga can be done in any outfit—I've seen women in saris do asanas (poses) that I could only imagine. Yoga skirts, on the other hand, have been the staple yoga attire for American women in the last fifteen years. It's almost as if the material and sensation of yoga pants psychologically prepares us for yoga practice and healthier health—or maybe only to be relaxed.

However, we struggle with the objectification/sexualization of the female body in American popular culture, as well as the need to keep the body sacred, as well as reminders that it must be healthy, slender, and shapely. This conversation has found a new home in yoga pants. It's not so much a question about who should and shouldn't wear yoga pants as it is about who should and shouldn't do yoga—and how.

Yoga by Christians

Yoga and Christianity have a long history together. Swami Vivekananda and raja yoga came to the United States thanks to the Unitarians, who founded the World Parliament of Religion in 1893.

They held the International Congress of Religious Liberals twenty-seven years later, and it was through that conference that Paramahansa Yogananda and kriya yoga were brought to the United States. Yogananda, following in the footsteps of Swami Vivekananda, refers to Christian scripture and uses Christian imagery in his Autobiography of a Yogi to position kriya yoga as an interdisciplinary activity. Both Vivekananda and Yogananda came to the United States to collect funds for their ventures in India, and they had to make yoga appealing to Christians and their values while being nonthreatening. Pranayama (yogic breathing) is a form of yoga.


Yoga, especially pranayama (yogic breathing), was a complement to Christian activity rather than a replacement.

Yoga practice in the United States began to move away from pranayama and toward asanas (yogic poses/postures) in the 1940s and 1950s, signaling a shift away from pranayama and toward asanas (yogic poses/postures). Yoga began to make its way into American living rooms in the 1950s and 1960s, thanks to books and regular television shows. Yoga was now a pagan discipline because of market forces. Hindu yogis, on the other hand, tended to advocate yoga as a discipline that was "ident with all of the world's great religions." In the summer of 1971, the second annual Yoga Ecumenical Retreat was held at Annhurst, a Catholic Women's College, where nuns, priests, monks, rabbis, and "long haired young people" all came together to practice yoga based on Swami Satchidananda's teachings.

Sister Maria explained, "Deep prayer often entails transcending the body and the senses." “Yoga is a huge support in this regard. It aids in the relaxation of the body and mind, as well as the integration of the entire person.” Sister Rose Margaret Delaney considered yoga to be a practice for prayer rather than prayer itself: “I don't use a mantra. She explained, "I meditate on the Gospel of the day and use Yoga to prepare myself for prayer." Christians are still using their biblical origins to reformulate yoga today. Many Christians participate in yoga courses at gyms or yoga centers, but others are turned off by the overtly Hindu comparisons, meditation, and chanting. Parishioners at Washington, DC's New Community Church sing "Sha-LOM," not "OM" or "AUM."

Many Christian yoga classes, including Sister Rose Margaret Delaney's, repeat Bible verses during those poses to keep their minds on God and Jesus Christ rather than Isvara, the Hindu Lord of Yoga. The Sun Salutation, or Suryanamaskara, is a twelve-step sequence of asanas and pranayamas. “Sun,” S-U-N, is replaced with “Son,” S-O-N, in many Christian yoga courses. As a result, when they do the twelve steps, it is to prove devotion to Jesus rather than Surya. The teaching of Christian yoga is known as "Yogadevotion" at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Minnesota, and while some participants are suspicious, one of the pastors, John Keller, is positive because "it attracts future converts into the church's doors"; "about a quarter of Yogadevotion students are not churchgoers."

This blending in practices does not sit well for everyone. Many Christian yoga critics are troubled by the combination of Christianity and yoga. According to one critic, using yoga to entice people to church is not harmless, but rather "dancing with the devil." A increasing number of books are advising Christians against combining yoga with Christian practice. “Yoga originated in India as part of the paganism practiced there,” writes Dave Hunt in his book Yoga and the Body of Christ, and argues that yoga is one way the West is being invaded.

Laurette Willis, the founder of “PraiseMoves,” a Christian alternative to yoga, which, along with “Fitness to His Witness,” is a trademarked system of exercise for good health, plus the blessing of Jesus, offers perhaps the most innovative and interesting critique of Christian yoga. Willis, a former "New Age" believer who came to faith in 1987, grew up doing yoga with her mum, but says, "From experience, I can tell that yoga is a risky exercise for the Christian and takes seekers away from God rather than to Him." Willis, like Hindu opponents of Christian yoga, claims that yoga and Hinduism are inextricably linked because all "yoga postures are sacrifices to the 330 million Hindu gods."

Christian yoga, on the other hand, is a "oxymoron" for Willis, who defines syncretism as "an effort to combine contradictory belief, religions, or doctrines." Willis also developed the proprietary "PraiseMoves," which is not Christian yoga but a "Christ-centered approach to the discipline of yoga," as an alternative to Christian and Hindu yoga. Willis claims that, while the class appears to be yoga and is structured similarly to many yoga classes in the United States and India, it is not. Since she's "discovered there's not an unlimited amount of ways the human body can move," she admits that some of the PraiseMoves postures mirror yoga postures, and she tells us that these postures were formed by God, and that PraiseMoves is "a way to untwist these advantageous postures back to glorify God."

Willis' trademarked methodology claims to strip yoga of its Hindu jargon, revealing a fundamentally Christian tradition. The irony of this controversy over yoga in popular culture is that when Indian yogis first arrived in America, they courted Christian yogis. Many Christians today do not see yoga as a conflict; they happily practice it in gyms, church basements, retirement homes, and community centers. Yoga refers to a wider audience because it is non-Hindu, universal, and empirical, as well as a discipline that is sure to improve one's fitness.

Christians like Dave Hunt and Laurette Willis, on the other hand, demonstrate that combining religious, spiritual, or international beliefs and traditions can lead to controversy and discomfort in this region. What effect does yoga have on Christianity? Can it strengthen or weaken Christian commitment? Is it causing Christians to become less religious, or is it allowing Christians to dive further into their faith? Not only Christians debate the purity and roots of yoga; Hindus have also followed this line of investigation in unique ways.

"Take back yoga" and the Hindu American Foundation

Although Christians question whether to practice yoga, a Hindu activist organization claims that yoga is expressly Hindu and launched a "Take Back Yoga Campaign" in 2009.

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), a Hindu advocacy or lobbying organization, identifies itself as an advocacy group that provides a radical Hindu American voice. The Foundation engages and educates public policymakers, academics, the media, and the public about Hinduism and global problems affecting Hindus, such as religious liberty, misrepresentation of Hinduism, hate speech, hate crimes, and human rights. HAF stands squarely against hate, injustice, slander, and fear by upholding the Hindu and American ideologies of empathy, equality, and pluralism.

In the last decade, HAF has been involved in several scandals. It objected Wendy Doniger's book The Hindus' National Book Award nomination, claiming it was biased and misleading, and it is the first to speak out when a garment manufacturer or designer uses Hindu iconography in "inappropriate" ways. Most prominently, prior to the "Take Back Yoga" movement, HAF filed a lawsuit challenging the methods used to write about Hindu culture and tradition in California social sciences textbooks. The lawsuit was dismissed in court, but the fight over textbook material in California continues, and the HAF has launched #donteraseindia to raise awareness. The "Take Back Yoga" movement is credited with putting HAF on the map of mass culture.

It all began with a blog post on the HAF blog in 2009 called "Let's Take Yoga Back." Sheetal Shah, a young Hindu-American student, laments in this post that the yoga taught in this country lacks the Hindu mark. She is particularly disappointed that Yoga Journal does not promote yoga using the term "Hindu," that there are no Hindus in her yoga courses, and that she was able to find several yoga teachers but none who were clearly Hindu. How do we preserve and encourage yoga's Hindu origins if most yoga studios don't have Hindu students, let alone Hindu yoga instructors, she writes? Our Hindu forefathers recognized the advantages of yoga and spread the word to the rest of the world. The West recognized yoga, fell in love with it, transformed it into a physical and “spiritual” art, removing all metaphysical connotation, and declared themselves experts. While many non-Hindu Americans are enthusiastic about yoga, the majority of Hindu Americans seem to have ignored its value in uniting their mind, body, and spirit, and have given up their understanding and possession of this life-changing activity.

As a Hindu American, I implore you to restore yoga by reclaiming your expertise in its teaching. I strongly advise you to enroll in a beginner's yoga class at a local studio and to invite your girls, siblings, parents, and friends to join you. Many of our nearby Hindu temples offer free yoga classes taught by Hindu teachers, and some of you might even be attending them... bring a friend or family member with you next week. If you practice basic asanas at home, take an advanced yoga class at a studio to take your practice to the next stage.

HAF responded to Shah's call with gusto. Following Shah's blog post, HAF published a position paper on yoga's Hindu roots in 2009: Yoga is an important aspect of Hindu belief and practice, according to the Hindu American Foundation (HAF). However, regardless of religious religion, the science of yoga and the enormous rewards it provides are for the good of all mankind. Hinduism is a set of pluralistic doctrines and lifestyles that recognizes the presence of other philosophical and religious practices. As a non-proselytizing religion, Hinduism never forces yoga practitioners to profess allegiance or convert. Yoga is a path to personal enlightenment for those who seek it. In the Washington Post's "On Faith" blog, HAF co-founder and board member Aseem Shukla engaged pop guru Deepak Chopra in a dispute about yoga's ownership beginning in April 2010.


Underneath Shukla's grievances, one senses the indignation of an inventor who found Coca-Cola or Teflon but failed to patent it, wrote Chopra. Isn't that a petty reason for painting such a bleak picture? When most Indians consider the enormous success of yoga in the United States, they may grin at the glitzy facets of the phenomenon, but they believe something positive is happening overall. Shukla frowns in disapproval at the same scene. Shukla retorted that, while Chopra profits financially from Hinduism (which he refers to as Vedic knowledge) and claims to be an Advaita Vedantin, he does not credit the religion in any of his platforms.

This debate drew the attention of many Hindu bloggers, anti-yoga Christian blogs, and non-Hindu yoga blogs, with each viewpoint siding with Shukla or Chopra, depending on whether they preferred or required Hindu yoga. The New York Times and CNN have published articles highlighting the key actors in this movement as the controversy gained national exposure. Although many people have strong feelings on who owns yoga, the HAF has specifically taken measures to frame the discussion. While it claims that everyone can learn yoga and profit from it, it is adamant that the Hindu origins of yoga be recognized.

The questions become, “Is yoga Hindu?” or “To which religion does yoga belong?” when boiled down and distilled, as Internet discussions sometimes are. Scholars can disagree about the Jain or Buddhist legacies of yoga, or even argue that yoga is more European and imperial than Hindu, but in the end, none of this matter in a postcolonial world where religions are divided. Labels have repercussions in mainstream culture, and the increasing popularity of yoga among Hindu South Asian Americans, combined with the fact that it has been turned into a problem by HAF, has given yoga's name, history, and ownership religion, sociopolitical, and economic implications. The bigger question is why "ownership" is still a concern.

We live in a world where trademarks, copyrights, and phantom mortgages enable people to become billionaires. Religion, culture, and even basic fitness are all impacted by inequality and an environment that prioritizes financial stability and dominance above all else. So, it was only a matter of time before yoga became a battleground for names and histories. Aseem Shukla was referred to as a "fundamentalist" by Deepak Chopra.

Non-Hindu yoga instructors who liberally use "OM" in their teaching are often opposed to the HAF movement, and it is easier to label them as fundamentalists and ignore them than to hold an open discussion about the causes, implications, and advantages of colonization, as well as racial exploitation and power contours. To put it another way, I don't believe we should or should dismiss the debate about yoga's location or possession. Rather, I believe it is a good time for us to reconsider our assumptions about Hindus and Hinduism.

White Europeans and Euro-Americans can appropriate aspects of colonized societies and enforce their beliefs on colonized peoples, some of which have come to Europe and the United States, as a result of slavery, patriarchy, and racism. However, when there are little repercussions for this appropriation and subjugation, as groups respond, they react in ways that seem to perpetuate patriarchal ideals of distinction and roots of faith and common culture. Simultaneously, we should consider other Hindu practices that middle-class Hindus in India and the United States have attempted to neglect and abandon.

Tolerance, karma, dharma, and Brahman are listed as core tenets of Hinduism on the HAF website, but Tantra, sacrifice, possession, mosque bombings, female feticide, or dowry burnings are not mentioned. These are just as important to Hinduism as yoga. Since the Protestant British religious borders never made sense in India, yoga, Tantra, and even Hindu worship spaces defy categorization, belonging, and neat histories, it was perhaps unavoidable that they would defy categorization, belonging, and neat histories. HAF, on the other hand, has opted to focus on meditation, demonstrating once again how yoga has become a part of the religious and cultural landscape of the United States.

conclusion The three references presented in this chapter demonstrate that yoga is a contentious topic in modern America, with debates raging about the manufacture of yoga pants, the bodies of women wearing yoga pants, who can/should perform yoga, and the roots and identity of yoga. These debates demonstrate how blurry and sometimes subjective the line between religious and secular is, and how necessary it is to publicly explore this messiness.

Is yoga a religious exercise or a secular one, and how have yoga pants found their way into our daily secular wardrobes?

Also, how does looking at race, gender, and class reveal how yoga has been sold and created exclusively for one category of people in this country?

Why is it necessary to examine the intersections of mainstream culture, female sexualization, and yoga pants to better understand broader conflicts in American popular culture?

Finally, how and when do sects collide? Is this a US-only phenomenon or a worldwide phenomenon? Finally, who owns culture, and how can we draw the distinction between cultural exploitation and appreciation?

Why do you think yoga is so common in America?

What reasons do you believe are influencing its popularity?

In today's America, is yoga a religious or secular activity? When it comes to yoga, is the line between sacred and secular blurry?

What do you make of some Hindus' claim that yoga should not be segregated from its place in Hindu god worship?

What function do gender, race, and class play in the construction and practice of yoga, as well as other aspects of mainstream culture in the United States?

Is yoga practiced in your neighborhood?

Look for yoga-related advertisements or announcements. Is it promoted as a spiritual practice or a form of physical activity? To whom is it marketed?



 1. “New Study Finds More Than 20 Million Yogis in U.S.,”

2. Harry Bradford. “Lululemon’s Founder Blames Yoga Pants Problem on Women’s Bodies,”

3. “Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Resigns from Board,” Financial Times, February 2, 2015,

4. Scott Deveau, “Yoga Mogul Has Critics in a Knot,” The Tyee, February 17, 2015,

5. Lindsay Ellis, “Yoga Pants Too Distracting for Boys? A N.D. School Cracks Down on Girls,” Christian Science Monitor, October 1, 2014, 350

6. Ellis. “Yoga Pants Too Distracting for Boys?”

7. According to Patanjali there are eight limbs of yoga: yama (moral principles), niyama (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (pure contemplation) (Yoga Discipline of Freedom: The Yoga Sutra Attributed to Patanjali, trans. Barbara Stoler Miller [Bantam, 1998], 52). Only two of the eight, breath control and postures, are overtly popular in the practice of modern Hatha yoga (though there are allusions to yama), partially due to the influence of those that brought new exposure to yoga starting in the nineteenth century. Further, it seems that both pranayama and asana were latched onto by modern yoga “exporters,” for they were easiest to translate into a modern ethos—one that focused on health, control, and ecumenism.

8. Edward B. Fiske, “Priests and Nuns Discover Yoga Enhances Grasp of Faith,” New York Times, July 2, 1971, 35, 55.

9. Phuong Ly, “Churches, Synagogues Mingle Yoga with Beliefs,” Washington Post, January 1, 2006, C1.

10. Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, “Stretching for Jesus,” Time Magazine, August 29, 2005.

11. Trayce Gano, “Contemplative Emerging Church Deception: Christian Yoga, Innocent Activity or Dancing With the Devil?”http://emerging-church

12. Dave Hunt, Yoga and the Body of Christ: What Position Should Christians Hold? (Bend, OR: Berean Call, 2006), 23.

13. Laurette Willis. “Why a Christian alternative to Yoga?” http://

14. “Hindu American Foundation,” /about.

15. Sheetal Shah, “Let’s Take Yoga Back,” /19969/lets-take-yoga-back

16. “Yoga beyond Asana: Hindu Thought in Practice,”

17. “Shukla and Chopra: The Great Yoga Debate,” OnFaith, April 30, 2010,