Vatican's Exorcist: Yoga Is Satanic
The devil is in Harry Potter, too, says demon fighter
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2011 1:42 AM CST
Updated Nov 29, 2011 3:00 AM CST
Father Gabriele Amorth is president for life of the International Association of Exorcists.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Yoga is the work of the devil, according to a man who claims to have banished evil spirits from 70,000 people. Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's chief exorcist, says yoga leads to a belief in Hinduism, and "all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation," the Telegraph quotes him as saying. The elderly priest, speaking at a film festival in Italy this week, said practicing yoga leads to evil "just like the Harry Potter books," which he believes promote black magic.

"In Harry Potter the devil acts in a crafty and covert manner, under the guise of extraordinary powers, magic spells, and curses," said Amorth, who was at the film festival to introduce a new American exorcism movie, The Rite, which stars Anthony Hopkins as a Jesuit priest. The exorcist—whose favorite movie is The Exorcist—believes the devil can even be found in the Vatican itself, pointing to the sex scandals engulfing the church as evidence. Top yoga practitioners, meanwhile, say they don't know what possessed Amorth to make such absurd statements.

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Showing 3 of 86 comments
Jan 2, 2012 5:08 PM CST
dogma is always a great stumbling block, much deeper is the truth in all of us just waiting to be discovered,there must be a universal way for one and all to go beyond theoretical knowledge.talking about sugar and tasting it are two different is guessing and the other is tasting the real thing.
Dec 31, 2011 10:48 AM CST
I understand the exorcist's practical point of view. Actually Hinduism is not a religion, but a religious culture. Unfortunately, the dominant cult among today's Hindus is Vaishnava (more popularly known under the name of the cult of Rama and Krishna) and it is quite opposed to most teachings of Jesus. It is among others a religion where the goddess of money and economy is venerated as the Supreme Being's consort, and where salvation is achieved in the same way one resolves a financial debt problem, i.e., by one's own effort, by personal calculations, and by a growing indifference to the neighbour's vice-driven ill-fate, even though the good to be accumulated in is an afterlife or in a parallel world unattainable by materialists. There is little room for divine grace, for entering the kingdom as a little child, and for the necessity to abandon spiritual goods as well as material ones as Jesus commands us as we proceed on the real narrow path. It makes that cult palatable to Anglo-Saxons who were taught the same thing for generations by the so-called Calvinist doctrine, realize Calvinist mentality only leads to hypocrisy, flee to a exotic horizon as different as possible from their parents's disappointing religion, and end up into something even more Calvinist and money and success worshipping than Calvinism proper. It makes that cult also palatable to intellectuals and university people that would like to consider their hard-acquired culture as a spiritual good per se, which is not (even though spirituality can be manifested through it). Moreover, most so-called oriental doctrines and yoga that are taught to Westerners are not from India but from explicitly anti-Christian western cults (such as Kabbalah, or other esoteric doctrines based on the occult like Madame Blavatsky's : I would not say people indulging in it are damned, one can have a reason to explore spiritual universes where Jesus has no significance, one can also sincerely believe that Christianity broght only calamities onto the human gender, like many Jews who suffered most from it, but such is not the intention of most people interested in it, who are rather hoodwinked) that hide under a thin Indian guise not to frighten the public. India has been chosen as a supreme standard of spiritual reference only to promote western errors, not eastern ones. Actually, India is not a spiritual country at all, even Maoist and modern neo-capitalist China is more spiritual than most India in mentality. Contemporary India is the big country where spiritual considerations and also any kind of philosophical discussions put off most people, who are concerned about money and if money is not available at all, as it is in most cases, by status-seeking and contempt exertion. India is interesting as an intellectual country, having invented math as we know it, and aslo engineering and algorithmics long before the advent of computers, but it is not a spiritual country. It seems so from outside because the tiny elite who are into spirituality are very intensely specialized into it, actually they are very few compared to the general populace who would not understand them at all. So-called esoteric Indian disciplines such as tantra or yoga are unheared of in most India, or under heavy suspicion of being evil for insisting too much on the body and being related to magic (exactly as our own fundamentalists say here), for too little people realize here that Hindu culture as we kow it is a life-hating one. Hatha-yoga is considered by all Hindus as sheer magic to be used for practical purposes in society, like remaining emotionally indifferent to surrounding misery and materially benefitting from less cunny people, it is never considered in the very framework of hinduism as a way to achieve any kind of salvation. Most modern Indians who show an interest in yoga are now considered by most traditional Hindus to be under American or British influence. Indian priests and mystics are rather intellectuals than mystics proper, and their view is that most people are to left to their own materialism, which is very sordid in India, in order for them to be better manipulated by philosopher kings : there is no room whatsover neither for mass conversion into something more comforting, and even less for any betterment of the world and of society. That pessimistic world outlook that has been adroitly sold to young hippies as a liberation doctrine is actually the very cynicism that has been making America a more and more unequalitarian and authoritarian society. One reason we consider India a paramount spiritual country is that the British Empire has always promoted and sold religious-based national identities to people it wanted to rob of their material goods and talents and industries, in India and also for instance in Quebec. The British rulers of India had an interest in learning and mastering Indian magic, including many forms of yoga, as had been upto then used by the Hindu oligarchs to control Indian masses, not real Indian religion except as a cultural manipulation device, and it proved also useful to control Europeans later on. Another big mistake committed about India is to consider it as a sensuality-friendly universe, where the lessons of kama-sutra and tantra are applied in daily life. It had been for centuries the most puritanical culture of the world, to the point the Muslim invaders seemed far more easy-going and pleasure-promising to most people involved in the subsequent wars, to the point also it can surmised that the 19th century victorian puritanical mentality was adopted from India by colonial rulers to the British people, not the other way round. The kama-sutra was written in a long bygone era of India, not to promote sensuality, but because all marriages had to be arranged for economic reasons, and couples had to be excited by any means when as was the most current case the partners did not love each other at all, it is plainly written so in the preface of the treaty. Ii is testimonial to a culture where sentimenal love of any kind is a sin, the worst karma to incur, due to the fact that it is a destabilizing inflence in a world where everything is to be calculated and survival is like a game of chess. The tantra has nothing to do at all with sensuality. It is a collection of magic disciplines, mostly mantra repetions, to achieve practical means of any king. So-called sensual tantra is part of a very little-liked black magic initiation aiming not celestial enjoyment as we consider it here, but killing the sex instinct once for all in order to manipulate people who are still attached to it, or if you are good-natured to be able to cure people of it and of other diseases. The trial to undergo is mating with a leper-ridden woman in a very special way that cures her of her disease rather than infecting you. Apart form that very difficult and also little-liked and very little-practiced initiation that comes after many others that are very unpalatable (like eating feces and drinking various poisons), there is abolutely nothing sensual and also nothing sentimental about tantra. The very word means pratical magic through hard and monotonous work (like on a weaving loom, as mantra recitation is compared to, hence the term), and its main recommendation is to abstain from all life pleasures to acquire will-power. Tantra is not what we call it here to refer to sex-retention in coitu to achieve more joy of a more subtle and durable kind, and preferably while in some asana. Actually that more common practice which is called carezza was first taught to Americans ... by the very first Puritans that came from England to escape being ridiculed and persecuted for indulging in that then quite modern practice among many others, like the Quakers' quaking which was kundalini pure and simple. It has only been resold to the same clientele under a more exotic and far less exact guise. Fortunately, India is a big country, Hinduism is a religious culture, not a single religion, and among the multitudinous religions covered by it there are a few good ones, like the Shaiv, which is far older than the current Vaishnva reincarnation and karma-based cult. But the Shaiv religion, even though it uses the infamous seeming sensual symbol of the lingam, is more Christian-like in the medieval sense than Hindu-like in the modern sense when it comes to practical morality. That religion was dominant before the coming of Muslim invaders, but it has been replaced by more modern-like Hinduism in a process not unlike the advent of new-age thought in America, and at the very exact time of its replacement India which was upto then a rich and independent country was both invaded by the Muslims and impoverished due to sudden excessive wealth concentration. Yoga in the Shaiv religion is not hatha yoga at all but a kind of self-applied catholic convent discipline. Only one or two postures are mastered to achieve heart and mind concentration and renunciation of everything, not a series of gymnastic exercices. Divine grace is paramount so that success even though it needs some kind of very strict discipline is not a function of it. Chakras and kundalini are generally not mentioned at all, or not belived into, as the older treaties make no mention of them except trough modern far-fetched interpretations. Reincarnation is either not believed into, as was originally the case, or admitted as a possible pure failure. It is a no fun at all thing which cannot be profitably sold to a market like the new age thing. The Shaiv religion generally recommends not yoga but a kind of happy detached and God-dependent attitude through a life of at least relative poverty, and making most of very moderate pleasures in order to achieve a kind of permanent ecstasy and exuberance less and less dependent upon them, in a kind of permanent dance without a ballroom, as we in America rather imagine the religious Blacks. It is nearer the thing the first Hippies dreamed of or were made dream of, but in India it is the religion of marginalised people, mostly darkies, comprising about 11 percent of the population, for it is a religion where hoping and working for a higher social status or a greater fortune is condemned as ungodly. Earlier in the history of India, that religion produced most arts and crafts that are still admired today, but now it is more despised by most Indians, both Hindu and Muslim, than Haitian or New Orleans voodoo can be desipised by both Christians and New-Agers in Florida or Louisiana. The lingam symbol is actually anti-sexual. To attain God you have to renounce not only to sexual pleasure (even though it might be good to know it beforhand to realize it's vanity and joy-consuming rather than joy-producing nature) but to any pleasure on the invisible plane that might stand for the sublimation of it in the Freudian sense, like intellectual creativity or artistry. Peasures such as card-playing or theatre-going are condemned or at least despised in the same way they used to be is medieval Europe. The lingam is the symbol of a teaching far closer to Carmelite contemplation than to what hippies have imagined. But that form of Hinduism is bygone in most parts of India, except the poorest, not unlike medieval catholicism that subsists somewhat in Portugal but not really in Italy. The so-called unified Hinduism, actually Vaishnavism, teaching karma and reincarnation, and being based of eternal texts among which the Rig Veda transmitted by extra-terrestrial beings through the Aryans, and also considering were are at the beginning of a long, long iron age or war and strife having begun 5000 years ago, is a mental construction that arose only in the 14th century, through the interplay and compromise of many former religions including Buddhism. It is less traditional to India than Christianity to Europe.
Dec 14, 2011 11:33 PM CST
Why is that Yoga, practiced by an estimated 15.8 million people in the US alone, instills fear in some Christians? Many pastors and church leaders believe that anything they don’t understand in a literal and narrow Biblical context is ‘demonic.’ Such logic erroneously reasons that- If it doesn’t originate directly from the Bible (the entirely of their world in exclusion to all others where the Bible is the only “Word of God”), then any other religious practice must be “paganism.” Examining Yoga, not from a Hindu perspective but rather against the backdrop of its true purpose – Yoga is indeed Biblical. The real reason we do not see Yoga and meditation in the Bible are contained in the real lost symbols of the Bible. Sadly, pastors with a limited view lack the required breadth of understanding of religious philosophies and practices outside their own, with the result that symbols of the Bible are lost on them. Therefore, Yoga and the Bible remain, in their minds, unrecognized for what they truly are: united in the common purpose of all religion – the freeing of Mankind from his earthly chains. But one does not need to be a theologian to see that Yoga and the Bible share the same purpose of reaching enlightenment through and with God – when the Bible is viewed with a clear mind and heart that is open. Pastor Driscoll’s criticism with Yoga shows only his ignorance, both toward Yoga – and Christianity. This so-called “oneism” is no different than the following message of the Bible: The Kingdom of God is within you. The difference is that Christians read it in the Bible and yogis practice it in life. "Christians are not called to empty the mind or to see the human body as a means of connecting to and coming to know the Divine. Believers are called to meditate upon the Word of God – an external Word that comes to us by Divine revelation – not to meditate by means of incomprehensible syllables," he wrote. Nothing can be farther from the truth when one reads the Bible in concert with its core intent. You do not even need to decipher the real lost symbols. Christian claim, “Christians are not called to empty the mind,” should be placed in context with the Bible’s verse, Mark 7:15: “There is nothing from without a man that entering in to him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.” Continuing in Mark 7:21-23: “For from within, out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, “Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: “All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” In The Second Coming of Da Vinci, we see the total focus on internal cleansing or purification of the mind as the process of moving from our lower mind to our higher mind. One can still disagree that the verse cited above is not related to what Bible is talking about. However, one can – even now – find further understanding from the Bible: “The kingdom of God is within you.” “When Thy eye will be single, your body will be full of light.” “I die daily.” “Be in the world, not of the world.” Yoga is continually striving for the transcendence of the “Single Eye” – which fills the body with light. Meditation and Yoga allows one to be in the world but not attached to it. (This is a parallel concept to the Bible’s wisdom: “not of the world.”) While one may still disagree that Yoga is Biblical, please bear in mind John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This is no different than Hindus calling that primordial word Om. True yogis claim to hear this sound,Om, in their meditation. The sound of Om is not as foreign an oration from Amen and Amine as one might assume at first glance. We can actually dig deeper, looking at Revelations 1:8: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the almighty.” This verse supports Eastern Yogic assertion that Jesus was not limited to time and space but exists as an eternal consciousness: the Holy Spirit. When an advanced Eastern Yogi reads it, he or she can see the Yogic visions of Revelations. How different is this from what Krishna revealed as his deepest mystery to Arjuna… ”My existence is not known to anyone, for I am cause of everyone’s existence.” It is this author’s belief that Christian pastors naming Yoga as “demonic” based their assumption on a misguided theology and not the exercises or postures of Yoga itself. Yoga also carries forth the uniting of body and mind with the ultimate goal of uniting oneself with God (which many pastors mistakenly argue is in contravention of the Bible, as the Creator and creation can never unite.) Nevertheless, Yoga, in itself, does not contradict the Bible. Rather, when you read John 1:12… “But as many received him, to them gave he power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God?” …one sees meditation as no different than trying to prove the Biblical declaration that: “The Kingdom of God is within you.” In fact, all Yogic experiences are revealed in Revelations. So next time, we hear the imprecation that Yoga is demonic, we may ask them if they’ve ever read Revelations. I do not know but Father Gabriele Amorth may find Exorcism more tantric than biblical. Sam S. Nath, Author The Second Coming of Da Vinci: Real Lost Symbols of the Bible Available on For India, please search at