Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
These practices do not subscribe to only one religion as such. Hinduism is not a religion. It is only a way of life which people have been practicing for a long time. And if you go to the root of religion, definitely there will be something one can explore. You can always find parallels. But unfortunately, most of the organized religions, later on, what remained was symbols, power and rituals, and many of them forgot the ancient practices they might have had. Prayer is in all religions, singing is in all religions. Silence and fasting and not stuffing yourself with food all the time, etc., is practiced in all religions.
I have made a small booklet on the similarities between Christianity and Hinduism just to make people come together. There are 33 practices which are common between the two.
Similarly, there are many practices common to Islam and Hinduism. If you study comparative religion, you will find many things in common and there are many differences as well. Differences are only to make it richer and we should celebrate differences. We don’t have to say everything should be the same.
People say they have started Christian yoga. I say this is piracy. They should not do such things. Just imagine, some Rishi has in the past has discovered yoga, instead if acknowledging him you turn it around and say, we do Christian yoga. Yoga is yoga. There is no Hindu yoga or Christian yoga or Muslim yoga. If you try to put a color to it, it is disrespect to the founder of that particular knowledge. It is piracy and one should not do it.
People say, we will accept all the postures but we will not say Om. Why would you not say Om? You will say apple, or other bad words but you won’t say Om which means eternal peace, purity, serenity, and unconditional love? This is all what Om indicates. It is a complete vibration; the vibration originates at the base of the spine and moves all the way to the top of the head. Why can’t you say Om? The sound makes you drop your religion? The faith in your religion is so weak that saying a syllable takes you out of your religion? That shows how weak your faith is. Om is the signature of yoga and a part of it, and we should keep it.
You cannot go to an apple store and say, 'I want your computer but I don’t want that apple symbol on it. Please remove it. That too a bitten apple, not even a full apple. I don’t want this bitten, half eaten symbol on my computer'. Will they agree?
Will you go to an iPhone store and tell them, 'Remove the iPhone, I will place I will put my phone there'. That is piracy. You can’t do such things. Acknowledge the source of knowledge.