Wednesday, April 8, 2015

TWISTS OF FAITH- In Mumbai, Fr. Joe a Catholic priest -yogi attacks Western propaganda against yoga

In Mumbai, a Catholic priest-yogi attacks Western propaganda against yoga
Father Joseph Pereira, who teaches Iyengar yoga around the world, believes its opponents are extremist 'God addicts"
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Is yoga incompatible with Christianity? Conservative Christians in Europe and the US have been posing this question with growing fervour in the past few months, accusing India’s biggest export to the West of propagating Hinduism and leading Christians down the path of evil.

The controversy was in the news again again last week, when an appeals court in California ruled that yoga is secular, “devoid of religious or mystical trappings” and can be taught in schools without violating students’ religious freedoms. The ruling was in response to a 2013 lawsuit filed by worried Christian parents of Encinitas town, who claimed that yoga classes introduced in a local elementary school were promoting Hinduism and Buddhism amongst their children.

But an Indian Catholic priest from Mumbai has a thing or two to say to the Christian groups in the West whipping up fears against yoga in the West.
Joseph Pereira, a Catholic clergyman and proponent of Iyengar yoga, wears both his hats with perfect ease as he teaches yoga around the world. He studied the practice directly from BKS Iyengar, the legendary founder of Iyengar yoga, and his students include everyone from Christian priests to Singapore’s first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew. Through his 34-year-old organisation Kripa Foundation, he uses yoga to rehabilitate people with alcohol addiction problems.
Father Joseph Pereira with BKS Iyengar. Photo courtesy Kripa Foundation
Anti-yoga propaganda, says Pereira, is the work of a specific lobby of fundamentalist, “born-again” Christians who he describes as “God addicts”. This may sound strange coming from a Catholic priest, but Father Joe – as most people know him – has chosen his words for a reason.

Opium for the masses

“Jesus, for me, is the supreme yogi, because he spoke about being one with God,” said Pereira, who emphasizes that Iyengar yoga transcends all ideologies and philosophies with its ability to unite people. Just this year, Pereira published a book called Yoga for the Practice of Christian Meditation, connecting the practice of various yoga asanas to teachings from the Bible.

The Catholic church, he says, has actually been open to the idea of opening up to practices like yoga since the Second Vatican Council of 1962, when the church issued two documents – one about the church in the modern world and the other on its relationship with non-Christian religions.

“In both documents, we have been encouraged to imbibe spirituality from world religions,” said Pereira. It is in this spirit that Bede Griffith, a British Benedictine monk living in India, began to promote Hindu-Christian dialogue, wrote a Christian reading of the Bhagwad Gita and came to be called a yogi.

“How many people in the West know about all of this?” said Pereira. The anti-yoga propagandists, he said, not only fail to see the spiritual aspects of yoga, they also fail to delve deeper into the meaning of their own religion.

“So many people who come to church every day are lost in religion – they make a fetish out of their idea of God but don’t know what it really means,” said Pereira. “Marx was right when he said that religion can be like opium for people.”

Christian denominations like the Pentecostals, the Southern Baptist churches in the US and various television evangelists – the groups that routinely oppose the practice of yoga – are highly fundamentalist “God addicts” who Pereira likens to the Hindutva Bajrang Dal or the Islamist Al-Qaeda. “All these groups preach the prosperity gospel – the idea that if you follow the gospel, you will prosper,” said Pereira. “They are only in it for the money and power.”

Acrobatics versus yoga

To Pereira, yogic spirituality is primarily about healthy living, and he plans to promote the idea this year on June 23, which Kripa Foundation will mark as an International Yoga for Addiction Recovery Day. Representatives from de-addiction centres from at least 25 countries will participate, including the US.
Pereira emphasises, however, that it is mainly Iyengar yoga that he chooses to defend from opposition in the West. “All kinds of yoga are being popularised in Western countries these days, and some of them do present yoga through a Hindu religious lens,” he said. “Most, however, have just reduced yoga to acrobatics. But yoga is not just a work out – it is a work in.
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Wednesday, April 8th 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fr. Joe's Easter Greetings to You in the Latest Kripa Newsletter April 2015



                        Double Click Image for lager view































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Ossie returns to Kripa......Warm welcome by Fr. Joe






Oswald Pereira, know as Ossie  returned to be with Fr. Joe at Kripa Vasai last Sunday. It was indeed a touching  home coming, as Fr. Joe guided and helped Ossie around as he was a little fragile and needed assistance in his movements. Accompanying him was his younger son Aron and Ramesh bhai along with Nitin Shanbag
.
Ossie was given a warm welcome by Fr. Joe,Kripa  staff and patients at Kripa Vasai  by the staff performing the traditional aarti amongst singing of Bhajaans. Indeed a real home coming after he had gone in 2002.

Fr. Joe has instructed two assistants to look after him 24x7 as he needs assistance as he is feeble and also has bouts of dementia. he is housed  in the deluxe room on the ground floor of Kripa Vasai.

Those wishing to visit him are free to do so accept advised to avoid 1 to 4 pm as he rest. It would be best to contact Fr. Joe directly or Fr Seraphinus ( Fr. Sera) to seek prior appointment to visit Ossie.

Telephone no at Kripa Vasai (0250 )2326069/2326521

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Fr. Joe reaches out to the poorest of the poor in Education @ Dhamori, Maharashtra.


  
Taking time out from his hectic itinerary , and following his passion and dream of Education and empowerment to villages, Fr Joe visited St Joseph Seva Sanghs Yashoda English medium school Dhamori, which is located in a remote tribal village This school caters to the underprivileged and impoverished populace of a dozen other surrounding villages namely,Chasnali,Mahegaon,Devi,Kandalas,Shirwade, Manjarewasti.  This school has classes from Nursery to STD III, with a strength of 300 students and 13 qualified Teachers.
Despite the Governments RTE (Right to Education) policy, 2085,many villages in Maharashtra have no schools, forcing children to walk 8 to 10 kms  to attend formal schooling. A report published by Directorate of Education. With this thought in  mind  Mr. Francis Anil Dhawar founded,Yashoda English Medium school  founded by Francis Anil Dhiwar in 2010 with an aim to cope up with this gross inequity faced by the children in these villages.
It is here that Fr. Joe is continuously guiding and helping this school to flourish, with the support of his church and Friends of Kripa. Fr. Joe has adopted this school and assured his support in future developments.
Viewing the  absenteeism and high drop out rates in villages, Fr Joe has further assured improvement of various facilities that would attract the children to come to school.Even to the extent of constructing a protective boundary and proper RCC constructions as per the Government norms.
Fr. Joe who was the chief guest at the schools 4th annual day celebration commended the President Mr. Francis Anil Dhawar  for the team spirit and dedication of the his teachers and well disciplined students.and further stated that the students of the school, have the great quality of developing into future scientists and distinguished citizens.
          To mark the occasion various cultural programs of story telling, poetry, songs, dance and karate demonstration was presented. by the children from the school.  
Parents who attended the program were highly inspired by Fr Joe’s speech to them. As a token of gratitude,they presented him with grapes and other products from their farms. A touching episode was an intoxicated gentlemen staggered to greet Fr Joe   and fell at his feet. Fr Joe lifted him and hugging him said to him “Your place is not at my feet. It is in my heart.” and invited him to seek  recovery at Kripa Bandra.  The man was son touched that he  went away with tears of joy. Later at night, he phoned up Mr. Francis Anil Dhiwar  and vowed never to go for a drink again. Surely a steeping stone to recovery. Hearing this news Fr. Joe immediately informed that as a Class A Trustee of AA, he would start an AA meeting group and extend his support through and extension of kripa Foundation in the village for further rehabilitation for alcohol and drug abuse which would include HIV care.
 In memory of Guruji Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar the school has decided to start Yoga classes for the villagers in the school campus. 
The program was a grand success with the students, staff and parents going happily home with memories of a great annual day celebration.

Submitted by
Francis Anil Dhawar
Kopargoan
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Singapore's Prime Minister Mentor Lee Kaun Yew Passes away- Says Fr. Joe- A great learner of meditation.


Lee Kaun Yew, Singapore's First prime minister and architect of the tiny southeast Asian  city- states rapid rise from British tropical outpost to global trade and financial centre, died early on Monday aged 91.
Mr. Lee passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital today at 3.18am.

Fr. Joe H Pereira Founder managing trustee of Kripa Foundation was closely associate with Mr. Lee in teaching him the practice of WCCM Meditation.

Said Fr. Joe " On the passing of Mr Lee said Fr Joe a man of great stature who led Singapore from the third world to the first world. He had the humility to learn meditation the WCCM way. It was a privilege for me to teach him the role of the body for the practice of meditation".

May His Soul Rest In Eternal Peace,

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Article of Fr. Joe in SPEAKING TREE - Dated 22.03.2015



The
Times of India
SpiritualityPowered bywww.speakingtree.in

By: Fr JOE PEREIRA on Mar 21, 2015 | 38 Views | Post Response

Mother Teresa, BKS Iyengar

Two outstanding personalities, B K S Iyengar and Mother Teresa have done great work to ease the suffering of marginalised sections of humanity. Kripafoundation Iyengar Yoga has benefitted from both of them. This is a treatment module that blends the teachings of the west and the east. In the west, the programme of Alcoholics Anonymous with its emphasis on de-addiction includes spirituality and psycho-social insights for healing the addict. However in India, it was important to add the essential dimension of the soma or the body to the healing programme. Hence, we used Iyengar Yoga to give the self-help model of Alcoholics Anonymous, a holistic dimension.

The starting point of this dimension is the 11th step which states: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God, praying for the knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry it out.” The word meditation is actually linked to Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga. Through the seventh step of the Ashtanga Yoga — dhyana, we learn about the meditation practice which goes beyond the ‘relaxation response’ and the ‘remembered wellness’ and takes the sadhaka to the ‘peak transcendence.’ Guruji taught us to make the practice of yoga not a ‘work out’ but a ‘work in.’ It is a journey from the periphery to the centre of our bodies, from the sympathetic nervous system to the central nervous system, via the autonomous nervous system.

The practice integrates bahiranga sadhana with the essence of antaratman. This is the reason, Iyengar said, “While the body is the temple of God’s Spirit, the asanas have to be a prayer.” In yoga, major ‘conversion’ takes place when there is a shift in the locus of control from the ego to the Self.

The word conversion in Latin is ‘metanoia’ meaning going beyond the discursive brain. When the addict rises above the preoccupations of the world of maya and comes to the pinnacle of consciousness, recognising his true identity — So Aham — it’s indeed a great ‘conversion’ experience. For a recovering addict, Mother Teresa and B K S Iyengar are like the Ida and Pingala nadis of one’s spirituality. The common denominator between them is compassion. Just as Mother taught us to reach out to the poorest of the poor, Guruji showed us how to reach out to the poorest of the poor in health. n

The writer is the Managing Trustee, Kripa Foundation India

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fr. Joe conducts a WCCM meditation on Contemplative Prayer @ St, Inez church Panjim & 4 days Kripafoundation Iyengar Yoga





Due to a great demand by the locals of Goa, Fr. Joe specially flew in to  conducted a  4 day Yoga workshop at the Kripafoundation Iyengar Yoga Centre at St. Inez, Panjim from 17th March to 20th March 2015.  The yoga session were for beginners, daily practitioners and  for those wanting to learn Meditation.
On day 4, Fr. Joe celebrated Holy Eucharist at St. Inez Church, Panjim, after which he conducted a session on Contemplative prayer. His thunderous voice echoed  so strongly but peaceful that as one could hear for the first time there was utter silence in the pews of the church. The congregation were deeply touched and soaked in the way that Fr. Joe conducted the meditation program. At the end of the program the Parish priest Fr. Antonio Couto mention that till date he had a  reservation on meditation and yoga, but after listening to Fr. Joe he says he would encourage his parishioners to practice and embrace the "PRAYER OF THE HEART".
This outreach to the parishioners of St Inez could not be possible without the support of Fr. Antonio Couto which was arranged through kindness of  Mr & Mrs. Joe and Mariola Mathias.

The yoga workshop were to a house-full with a wait list of many who could not be accommodated due to space, although the Kripafoundation Iyengar centre as a large capacity to practice yoga.

At the end of the workshop, one could hear practitioners saying that " We will really miss you Fr. Joe until you come back to practice with us on the 28th of April 2015"

Photograph & Report
Ebu & Chiraag.
Kripafoundation Iyenagr Centre , St Inez. Panjim.

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