The Evil & Dangers of Yoga

Philosophy Notes

Catholic Candle note:  In order to warn our readers about the prevalent errors of our times, we have included this article to contrast true meditation with eastern false meditation.

Just as the Mystics of the Catholic Church teach us about the three stages of the spiritual life, namely, the purgative, the illuminative, and the unitive; the devil tries to mock these stages.  So he uses false religions to mimic the mystical life and perfection of the soul.

In our modern times the devil uses the same old tricks and doesn’t have to come up with new ones.  Just as in the Old Testament there were many nations with false gods and false religious practices, so even now, there is still the worship of false gods and the use of religious practices.

One false religious practice prevalent today is Yoga.  In order to understand the evil and dangers of the practice of Yoga, it is crucial to understand some of its history.

Actually Yoga is a prayer method of meditation from Hinduism or Brahminism.  It is interesting to note that Buddhism, which also uses a method of meditation, also comes from Brahminism.[1]

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains how Brahminism is also called Vedism and dates back to 1500-400 B.C. The Vedas (veda means wisdom) are four primitive books: the Riga-Veda, the Sama-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, and the Atharva-Veda.  These books contain ancient hymns to many false gods, ritualistic prayers, exorcisms, and magical incantations largely inherited from primitive Aryan days.[2]

Next the Encyclopedia tells of the Brahmanas (dating back to 1000-600 B.C.) which are a series of explanations of the contents of the Vedas. These Brahmanas were composed for the priests, the Brahmins.  In addition, there were the Upanishads, a group of treatises, (dating back to 800-400 B.C.) which gave the pantheistic speculations on the nature of deity and the end of man.   Lastly, there were books called Sutras, to accompany the Vedas, to explain the proper observance of the rites and customs. These works and two epics (the “Ramayana”, written in 400-300 B.C. and “Mahabharata”, written about 500-400 B.C.), make up the most important Brahmin literature.

In the early period of Veda, the religion was based on many deities great and small which were the personified forces of nature.  The priests were called Brahmins. There were not temples at this time and the heads of the households would perform their oblations at their homes.  The priests would assist in the more complex offerings.[3]  These circumstances remind one of the Mosaic Law, and knowing that this religion is a false one, it is easy to see how the devil inspired this cheap mimicry of the Old Testament true religion.

Among the other pagan practices, the Hindus worshipped their dead relatives with the thinking that even though the relatives were in heaven, their happiness was determined by the devotion of those left behind.  In addition to this, they worshipped nature.  For example, the cow was reverenced, as well as trees and serpents.[4]

In general, Brahminism was constantly evolving which is another key sign that it is a religion inspired by the devil.  In the period in which the Sutras and Upanishads were formed, a two-fold change came about.  The Catholic Encyclopedia states,

On its practical side there was an exuberant growth of religious rites and of social restrictions and duties, while on the theoretical side Vedic belief in the efficacy of personal deities was subordinated to a pantheistic scheme of salvation.  Thus the earlier religion developed on the one hand into popular, exoteric Brahminism, and on the other hand into priestly, esoteric Brahminism.  The former is reflected in the Brahmanas and Sutras; the latter in the Upanishads.[5]

The Brahmins imposed a strict code for the people to follow, with many rites for purifying, with complicated liturgies and practices for both the priest and the laity.  Some of these were clearly diabolical, for example, smearing themselves with cow-dung, and strange things like the sipping of water and the suppressing of breaths.

The priests were very exacting and taught that punishments would be severe if the people didn’t do the most rigorous penances.  The priests taught a doctrine of karma (action) which was connected with the idea of rebirth (reincarnation).  The lasting bliss of heaven was held out to the just; the wicked were punished with different fates.  There might be long periods in hell or there might be a more or less extensive series of rebirths in the forms of plants, animals, and men.  A man may have to pass by slow transition through the rest of the ascending scale till his rebirth as a man of honorable estate was attained.[6]

This doctrine of rebirth gave rise to absurdities like, for instance, not being allowed to kill insects.  Water had to be strained so that minute life wouldn’t be destroyed.  Carpentry, basket-making, and leather-working could not be done because it would mean killing of a plant or animal.  Ironically, on the other hand, they had strict rules for being respectful to parents and superiors, being honest, being chaste (even though allowing polygamy), being temperate, and giving alms. They had a system of castes— warriors, priests, farmers, and servants.  Only the two upper castes (classes) were allowed to learn from the ‘sacred’ Vedas books.

The priests, the Brahmins, when their sons were grown up, abandoned their homes and spent the rest of their lives in retirement apart from the villages.  These were like begging monks and ate only the simplest of foods. They subjected themselves to extraordinary fasts and mortifications.[7] They were known as Sannyasis or Yogis and their penitential life was not to make up for past sins, but as a means of acquiring abundant religious merits and superhuman powers.

Coupled with these mortifications, was the practice of Yoga.  The Catholic Encyclopedia describes this practice as follows:

They would sit motionless with legs crossed and, fixing their gaze intently on an object before them, would concentrate their thought on some abstract subject till thy lapsed into a trance.  In this state they fancied they were united with the deity, and the fruit of these contemplations was the pantheistic view of religion which found expression in the Upanishads, and left a permanent impress on the Brahmin mind.[8]

Since there was a popular trend among the people to monotheism in their Vedic hymns, the Brahmins decided to make another adaptation to the religion.  The Brahmins invented Prajapati (later they changed his name to Brahmā), who was supposed to be a personal god who was the lord of creatures, omnipotent, supreme, and masculine.  He was considered to be the creator of all things.  For this reason the other gods of their pantheon were worshipped as manifestations of Brahmā. Because their religion held that it was impossible to create something out of nothing, all things visible and invisible were considered as emanations from Brahmā.  They also believed that every form of conscious individuality, whether human or divine, implies a union of spirit and matter.  Yet the Brahmins who studied the Upanishads, taught that the ultimate source of all things was not the personal deity, Brahmā, but was the formless, impersonal, characterless, unconscious, great, all-pervading spirit known as Brahmă.  Thus, they believed that the heavens, and the earth, men and gods, even the personal deity Brahmā, were destined in time to lose their individuality and be absorbed into the great all-pervading spirit.  The conclusion of this thinking is that the manifold external world had no real existence and that only Brahmă existed.[9]

This impersonal pantheism of the Brahmin ascetics led to a new conception of the end of man and of the way of salvation. The old way they had taught was to escape rebirths and to store up merits of good deeds so that they could earn an eternal bliss of which they could really be conscious.  But now, they taught that the only way to escape from constant ‘rebirths’ was through the saving recognition of one’s identity with Brahmă.  As soon as one could say with conviction, “I am Brahmă,” then the bonds that tied him to the illusion of personal immortality, and consequently to rebirth, were broken.  The Catholic Encyclopedia phrases it as follows:

Thus, cultivating, by a mortified life, freedom from all desires, man spent his years in peaceful contemplation till death put an end to the seeming duality and he was absorbed in Brahmă like a raindrop in the ocean.

The encyclopedia explains (in 1913) that this is still the teaching of the Brahmins up until the then present day.

However, human nature being what it is, it is understandable that the impersonal Brahmă was not a favorite with the majority of the people in India. This was the case not only because the impersonal Brahmă was incapable of hearing the prayers of the people, but because the people did not like the fact that their final end was one of losing any conscious existence.  The Brahmins still were concerned chiefly with meditating on their identity with Brahmă, and practicing mortification to secure their freedom from all desires. Yet, the common people were looking for a way to secure for themselves eternal conscious bliss. The result was the popular development of special cults to two of the old gods; each was now raised to the position of supreme deity, and credited with the power to secure a lasting life of happiness in heaven.

These two cults seem to have arisen in the fifth or fourth century B.C., and these cults were rival cults.  One cult was of the ancient storm-god, Rudra, who was destructive in tempest and lightning, and renewing life in the showers of rain. This god, better known under the name of Śiva, meaning ‘the blessed’, is popular because he was associated as the destroyer, the reproducer, and was the archetype of the lonely ascetic.

The other cult was of the god Vishnu, who was originally one of the forms of the sun-god.  He was seen as a mild, beneficent deity whose genial rays brought gladness and growth to living creatures.

Then the pantheism in the mind of a Hindu saw all things as emanations of the supreme deity Śiva or Vishnu.  Each cult worshipped one of these two and each of these gods was thought to have a special heaven, where his devotees would find after death an unending life of conscious happiness.[10]

Because the Brahmins saw that these two cults were becoming more and more popular and that their teachings about Brahmā were falling out of favor with the people, they once again saw that it was expedient to invent some concept to help the people keep an allegiance to Brahmā.  They now taught that the supreme god Brahmā was associated with Vishnu and Śiva as a triad of equal and more or less interchangeable deities. Brahmā held the office of creator, or rather evolver. Vishnu was the preserver, and Śiva was the dissolver. This so-called trinity was called Trimurti (meaning tri-form).

More astonishing still was that the common people created the belief that Śiva had two sons, named Ganesa (who was the lord of troops and of mischievous imps) and Scanda (the god of battle).

In addition to this, the common people took two of the legendary heroes of the remote past, Rama and Krishna, and raised them to the rank of gods. The people started to refer to them as incarnations of Vishnu.  Each incarnation was regarded as a sort of savior.  In fact, these two incarnate saviors became so popular that the people lost sight of Vishnu.  We Catholics can see a plain parallel to the concept of Our Lord being Our Savior and it doesn’t surprise us that the devil would mock Christ in this false religion.  The Vishnaites became divided into two rival schisms — those who worshipped Rama, the Ramaites, and those who worshipped Krishna, the Krishnaites.  There were two epic stories written about each of them.  The one about Krishna was written in the seventh century A.D.  It is not surprising that the epic about Krishna has many similarities with the life of Christ, which certainly shows that they copied parts of the life of Our Lord.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains how the successive wave of foreign conquerors of India caused a steady weakening of the Brahmin influence.  As a consequence of these foreigners in India, the population became more heterogeneous.  Both Śivaism and Vishnuism departed more and more from traditional Brahminism.  Each cult had a decided dissenting attitude toward the older religion and toward each other.  This change brought about the people accepting immoral rites and base superstitions.  Although asceticism was pushed to a fanatical extreme, the religion’s false version of charity was used as an excuse for gross impurity.[11]  

The caste-distinctions were now broken down and the people asserted that men and women were equal, at least in public worship. The Brahmin rites were replaced, for the most part, with ones peculiar to the cults of Śiva and Vishnu and the two ‘incarnations’ of Vishnu.  These rites were held to be all-sufficient for salvation.  Hence, temples, idols, and impure symbols of these gods arose up everywhere.  Each rival cult held their cult to be supreme and tried to get others to submit to their cult while at the same time holding the other’s cult in contempt.   

The Catholic Encyclopedia further explains these sectarian degradations were caused by the latest innovation of worshipping the female side of these deities. The people insisted in having each of their gods have a wife.

Today the two main cults still exist, but have split into many schismatic divisions that are tolerant of each other.  Both lay an emphasis on frequently reciting the names of their gods.  Each person wears a string of beads around his neck to help him recite the names often.  (This is the devil’s insult of the rosary.)  Each person, when young, is initiated into one of these cults and given a ‘sacred’ motto called a mantra.  The daily recital of the mantra was required to serve as a profession of faith.  Another customary practice was to brand the body of the worshipper with the symbols of the sect.

One final point of importance regarding the particulars of this false religion is how the odd practices of this religion are a further proof of the devil’s influence to mock truth and to degrade man into not using reason.  This is, namely, the ridiculousness of their highest form of worship.  For the Śivaites, this rite would involve the Śivaite carrying a white pebble shaped into an impure symbol and he would mutter his mantra while sprinkling it with water and then applying cooling bilva leaves to it.

The Vishnuite rite was less degrading but more childish. This involved worshipping a statue of Vishnu, Rama, or Krishna.  The image is awakened daily, undressed, bathed, decked with rich robes, decorated with jewelry and a crown, fed with choice foods, honored with flowers, lights, and incense, and then entertained with vocal and instrumental music and dancing girls.

But why study the particulars of Hinduism?  Precisely to see how perverse and ridiculous this religion is, that is, how the devil inspires this sort of thing.  Furthermore, to be able to understand why the traditional Church’s condemnation of their false meditation (Yoga) should be remembered in our times of Apostasy when so many ignorant or naïve people get involved with Yoga.  But before addressing the modern trend to practice Yoga, let us first look at two associated errors.

The Church condemns Quietism and Theosophy.

There are two errors which are connected with Brahminism and have been condemned by the Church, namely quietism and theosophy.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia quietism is

The doctrine which declares that man’s highest perfection consists in a sort of psychical self-annihilation and a consequent absorption of the soul into the Divine Essence even during the present life.[12]

Quietism is not the same thing as (and should not be confused with) the prayer of quietude or the prayer of quiet.  The Catholic Encyclopedia makes the following distinction about “quietude”:

In the state of “quietude” the mind is wholly inactive; it no longer thinks or wills on its own account, but remains passive while God acts within it. Quietism is thus generally speaking a sort of false or exaggerated mysticism, which under the guise of the loftiest spirituality contains erroneous notions when, if consistently followed, would prove fatal to morality.[13]

Whereas the prayer of quiet is considered in Catholic mystical theology as one of the degrees of contemplation, quietism is not Catholic at all and is condemned as heretical.  In fact, in its essential features, Quietism is a characteristic of the religions of India — Brahminism and its derivative, Buddhism.  Brahminism aims at a sort of self-annihilation, and Buddhism aims at attaining a state of indifference in which the soul enjoys an imperturbable tranquility.  Other forms of quietism sprang up in history, e.g., in Spain a man named Michael de Molinos developed a strict quietism.  (He was condemned by Pope Innocent XI in 1687.)[14]

Man naturally desires to be united to God and to see the Beatific Vision.  God made us with this desire.  However, the heresy of quietism involves this union as a sort of forcing ourselves on God[15] and is a denial that God chooses His Elect.  As St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, first God chooses a soul, then He loves that soul, and then He makes that soul worthy of His Love.  Yet, the different forms of quietism perverted this order in some way, e.g., either by man somehow becoming absorbed in an impersonal “God”, or that man had as his supreme aim in life on earth, the contemplation of some kind of vague uncreated “light” whereby he was intimately united with “God”.  The means for attaining to such contemplation was prayer, complete repose of body and will, and a process of auto-suggestion.[16]

The Church condemned the errors that man in the present life can attain such a degree of perfection as to become utterly impeccable; that the “perfect” have not need to fast or pray, but can freely grant the body whatsoever it craves; that they are not subject to any human authority or bound by the precepts of the Church.  In other words, that a man can become so perfect in this life that he no longer has a need of external worship, of sacraments, or of prayer; they owe no obedience to any law, since their will is identical with God’s will; and they may indulge their carnal desires to any extent without staining the soul.[17]

The various forms of quietism insist that passivity, more or less, is the essential condition of perfection; and all of them have been condemned by the Church.  This also refutes the Protestant thinking of salvation by faith alone.  We know, as St. James tells us in his epistle, “Faith without works is dead.”  We also know, as St. Paul teaches us, “to work out our salvation in fear and trembling.” Therefore, we must be active in the work of our salvation and not have the attitude that no cooperation is expected from us.

Whereas, the error of quietism had to do with becoming one with God[18], not really out of love for God and with a true amendment of life.  An additional error of Theosophy shows confusion about what man can know about God and the manner in which he learns more about God.

The Catholic Encyclopedia clarifies this by the following:

Theosophy, knowledge of things Divine, is a term used in general to designate the knowledge of God supposed to be obtained by the direct intuition of the Divine essence.  In method it differs from theology, which is the knowledge of God obtained by revelation, and from philosophy, which is the knowledge of Divine things acquired by human reasoning.

It is often incorrectly confounded with mysticism, for the latter is properly the thirst for the Divine, the aspiration for the invisible, and hence a natural manifestation of the religious sentiment.

By intuition or illumination the initiated Theosophists are considered to be in harmony with the central principle of the universe. This knowledge of the secret forces of nature, of the true relation between the world and man, frees them from the ordinary limitations of human life, and gives them a peculiar power over the hidden forces of the macrocosm.[19]

There is a direct connection of this error with Hinduism of India as the birthplace of all theosophic speculation.  As covered above, the Hindu religion tries to get the soul to a state where it reunites with a universal soul.   Even though the Hindus teach reincarnation or rebirths, the end result is the final absorption into the universal spirit, thus the individual soul will not exist anymore.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains this idea in a few more details about Yoga as follows:

Yoga, i.e. “one who fits himself, or exercises”, refers to exercises practiced to free the soul from the body, which to it is like a string to a bird.  Some of these exercises were: to rid one’s self of moral faults; to sit in certain painful postures, check the breath, and reduce thought to minimum by staring at the tip of the nose; to place the soul in a particular part of the body; to starve and learn to subsist on air, or even without it; to concentrate thought by meditation, i.e. to think about nothing, Thyana, the highest state of which is the cataleptic[20] trance samadyi, in which the mind is suppressed but the soul is in full activity.  In this state the person is mahatma, i.e. masterful and can enjoy a temporary release from the body which it leaves to go roaming about, performing wonderful feats on material nature and controlling other less powerful souls.  This latter was the secret of the Yoga’s real power and was supposed to be done by a transfer of soul.  When the soul re-enters the body, the Yoga wakes and is like other people.  By repeated exercises the soul can become so strong that it secures perpetual release from the body, thus, according to the older Yoga teaching, it flies to heaven where it enjoys great happiness, riding in a celestial car attended by lovely women and music; but with the latter Yogas, on breaking all bodily bonds it formed immediate absorption into the Supreme Soul.

Thus it is very clear to see just how diabolical this practice is.  One can easily see how the devil could take possession of the soul practicing such dangerous meditation. 

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains that theosophic teaching was also associated with the neo-Platonists.  In addition to this, it was associated with the Gnostic systems and that the Jewish Kabbala had a theosophy mixture of magic and occultism. This occurred especially during the Renaissance. 

In 1875, Madame Blavatsky started the foundation of the Theosophical Society in New York City.  In 1895 her frauds were exposed by St. John’s College, in Cambridge.  Despite this, the false teachings of Theosophy continued and were propagated by Blavatsky’s disciples.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains and warns that Theosophy is not only a false religion, but also a philosophy of life.  Its basic teaching is the universal brotherhood of humanity.  Hence, it preaches toleration to all persons and to all varieties of belief.  They believe that the universal brotherhood rests on the “solidarity” of all living, of all that is, in the one life and one consciousness. For them all forces are external and there is no supernatural, except the superhuman and supersensuous, i.e. powers greater than those normally exercised by man, which, however, can be developed.  Because for them solidarity means the common life pervading all things and they use this as a basis for morality, hence a wrong done to one is done to all.[21]

We should shun Yoga, Quietism & Theosophy.

In our times it is easy to see the dangers of these false beliefs. Yoga is pushed as simply an innocuous method to relieve stress or as a relaxation technique. Unfortunately, even the Conciliar Church promotes it and so-called Catholic hospitals often offer Yoga classes.  All you need to know about the goals (and who controls) the anti-Catholic Conciliar Church is found in the fact that the Conciliar Church promotes Yoga.

Yet, one can see by the descriptions given above, that emptying oneself and letting down the guard over his mind is like giving Satan an invitation to enter.  Really, just knowing that this kind of meditation was condemned by the Church and that it is not Catholic, should be enough for sincere Catholics to avoid Yoga and shun it.  Likewise, one should warn his friends and associates about the moral dangers of practicing Yoga.

We saw above how Hinduism is the parent of quietism and that quietism has the same basic beliefs as modern day Hinduism, namely, reincarnation, trying to gain spiritual powers to control things outside oneself, and the non-immortality of the soul by the soul being absorbed into some great spirit.  Also, one can see the influence of theosophy in our modern politics, media, and academia.  With the great push for a one-world Marxist government, the worship of ecology, and the ‘political correctness’ of not condemning blatant immorality, is like the ‘solidarity’ the theosophists revere.  Plainly we can see that the dark forces of the demons are striving more than ever to influence humans away from trying to save their souls.  Let us be informed Catholics so we can recognize the perils around us and take appropriate action to avoid the dangers of false religions and warn our families, friends, and acquaintances about Yoga and these other evil practices.

[1]           This information is taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913 edition under Brahminism.  Also, the article about Buddhism in Vol. III explains how Buddha (the historical details of his life are sketchy) did not like the idea of meditating to become one with a universal spirit and thus lose one’s individual soul and have no identity anymore. Consequently, he made up a state of soul called Nirvana.  He taught that one, by getting rid of all desire, all ill-will, and delusion, could obtain an eternal rest, which he called Nirvana. The encyclopedia explained that it is not clear whether Nirvana meant annihilation or not, as the historical records are unclear on this point. It should be noted that Buddhism is a demonic mockery of Catholic monastic life.


[2]           Ibid.

[3]           The Catholic Encyclopedia article about Brahminism, 1913 edition, vol. II.


[4]           Ibid.


[5]           Ibid.

[6]           Ibid.

[7]           This is an interesting way for the devil to mock Catholic mendicant monks.

[8]           Ibid.

[9]           This section is a summary of the longer explanation given in the article on Brahminism in Vol. II.  Note: The letters ă and ā are bolded to make the only difference in the names noticeable.

[10]         Summarized from the Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on Brahminism. It is interesting to note that because God wrote into the heart of man a natural tendency to believe the reality that God gives eternal rewards/punishments based on man’s actions in his life, even these pagans with the false religion of Hinduism felt the need to have this truth be a public teaching in their religion.

[11]         Summary of information in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on Brahminism.

[12]         See the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition article about Quietism in Vol. XII.


[13]         Ibid.


[14]         Ibid.


[15]         It must also be noted at this point that the Hindu concept of God is not anything like the Catholic concept.


[16]         This information is a summary of the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition, Vol. XII, the article on Quietism.


[17]         Ibid.  This way of thinking was condemned by the Council of Vienne in 1311-12.


[18]         It must be noted here too that their concept of God is not the same as the Catholic concept.

[19]         Taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition, Vol. XIV; the article on Theosophy.


[20]         [cataleptic = a condition of peculiar muscular rigidity in which the body and limbs keep any position in which they are placed.]

[21]         Summarized based on the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition article on Theosophy in vol. XIV.