Nov 7, 2008

Yoga: a tool can be a weapon!

This is my reaction to the reports that a sadhvi [= a female saint, a rough equivalent of nun in Hinduism] in India has been accused of terrorism and because of her mastery of yoga, lie detector tests failed on her.

First, the practice of yoga did not cleanse the sadhvi of devilish thoughts if she had been nurturing them before, and yoga definitely did not induce kind thoughts in her.

Second, the sadhvi used yoga to dodge the lie detector machines – the ones depending on palpitation, perspiration and other neuro-chemical reactions in the body when one tells a lie.

As I mentioned somewhere else, yoga is not cure-all for all bodily or emotional or spiritual ailments, though it does heal the body-mind-spirit when the practitioner uses it to do so. But what do you do when somebody uses it for destruction? What do you do when the so useful kitchen knife and the life-giving injection needle is used for killing someone? It is a case of using the best tools as destructive weapons.

Though in a negative way, this instance also gives a public proof that yogic practice has a great influence on body metabolism and the way the body reacts to external stimuli. When you practice yoga for a long time, the brain, the nervous system [especially the autonomic part of it, which is responsible for stress, anger, impulsive reactions] and the endocrine system [the glands, which secrete hormones] cool down. Yes, this action of yoga seems to have helped the sadhvi in coolly planning terrorist actions; her body reactions to the lie detector machines were only incidental.

I wish that the sadhvi comes clean. What I said about yoga above would still hold true. Let us use yoga to cleanse us, heal us.