Christianity and Yoga:  A Series of Studies – Samadhi & Namasté

This is the last article in a series that I started back on the 25th of April 2005.  Sometime in the very near future, I will consolidate these articles and post them here on the site.

Samadhi, realization or perfect concentration, is the crux of Yoga.  While it is well known as the mystical goal of Yoga, it is also the least well understood even by many of those who seek it.  That being the case, I will give two different translations for the sutra dealing with Samadhi.

Yoga Sutra 3.3 Perfect Concentration is just that in which only the object (of concentration) shines forth, and the self is absent, as it were. (Sanskrit & Sanscrito)
That same meditation when there is only consciousness of the object of meditation and not of the mind is realization. (The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Translation by BonGiovanni)

Another description of this is to become the object of meditation.  If you are meditating upon a flame, become the flame and know it in all its detail.  Yet another description is to be unified with the object of meditation.  As the old joke goes, What did the Zen master say to the hot dog vendor?  ’Make me one with everything.‘’.  Clearly, this above all the tenets of Yoga is anathema to everything that Christianity represents, right?  If one has any knowledge of the New Testament, then one cannot even begin to claim such a thing.  Peter specifically admonishes all saints to

8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1 Peter 3:8

We are commanded to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).  We are also to follow the example of Christ (John 13:15, 1 Peter 2:21).  If we are to do these things, then we must learn the very thing that Samadhi proposes and learn to become perfectly unified with God the Father and with Jesus Christ:

30 I and my Father are one.
John 10:30

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
John 17:11, 21-23

There are many, many other admonitions throughout the New Testament commanding that the saints, the followers of Christ, be one in heart and in mind and that they be one in Christ.

Now to the last of the so named problems of Yoga:  Namasté.  Namasté is correctly used as both a greeting and gesture of parting but what does it mean?  First, the gesture:  Hands are pressed together at the level of the heart.  This is the Anjali mudra, the root Anj means to adorn, honor, celebrate or anoint, the gesture then conveys that the person is honoring or celebrating something.  In Sanskrit Namas means, bow, obeisance, reverential salutation.  Te means to you.  The word namasté, then, means I bow to you.  One commonly held and accepted translation of the gesture and greeting is I honor/celebrate the divine within you and within me.  Blaspheme of the worst kind!

28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
Acts 17:28 ,29

6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
Psalms 82:6

10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
Hosea 1:10

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:5-8

If we are the offspring of God, then we must be willing to accept the fact that there is within each of us the spark of divinity.  If you deny that there is something of the Divine in each of us, then you must also deny that we are the children of God and so must also deny the scriptures.  I feel that many are afraid of this idea claiming that it somehow diminishes God when in reality they fear it because it places a great burden upon the soul who realizes just what it means.  What better way to remind ourselves and others that we are the children of God, that we have a duty to find the divine within ourselves and let it shine for all the world to see and that the fruit of our efforts, through the Atonement of Christ, will be to become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ?

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Romans 8:14-17

That being said, Namasté