Many Hindus argue that yoga is a science or technology and therefore it doesn’t belong to a particular religion. Dr Indu Vishwanathan wrote a brilliant thread answering the question that “Is Yoga Hindu?”


First, let’s set aside the argument that Hinduism isn’t a religion, it’s a way of life. (That old chestnut.) Hinduism isn’t an Abrahamic religion & can’t be understood as one. But Hinduism – Sanatana Dharma – is *also* a religion within an indigenous knowledge tradition. The binary – that science does not belong with religion – is a colonial, Abrahamic one. Scholars of indigenous science and technology – recognize the distinction between Western (colonial, Abrahamic) philosophies of science and indigenous ones. Indigenous sciences embrace the spiritual (e.g. Divine) and the physical (e.g. material) as inseparable, and this orientation is built into scientific observation and discovery and technological development. Yoga and Hindu temples are beautiful illustrations of this. Both yoga and kovils/mandirs are designed to support the spiritual seeker on their journey inward, while manifesting that inward journey in their outer life. All of this is conceptualized within a Dharmic ontology (theory of being). This is why yoga is not exercise and Hindu temples are not buildings where people congregate. Both are indigenous technologies, which means you cannot cleave the spiritual/religious from the material. The spiritual purpose of technology isn’t limited to Hinduism. It’s broadly acknowledged across indigenous scientific literature. And widely dismissed by Western scientism, of which Hindus, with their post-colonial hangup of wanting to be taken seriously as “rational” are often the loudest proponents. There’s a lot of decolonial work to be done amongst Hindu scientist-wannabes. (Some Hindu scientists with deep knowledge of Hinduism embrace indigenous science concepts. Theirs is cutting edge decolonial work but often dismissed as imaginary.)A table from a paper on indigenous technology by Mishack Gumbo, a prof. in the Dept. of Science & Technology Education at the Univ. of South Africa. He argues for Indigenous tech. to be in conversation w/ western techn., but on their own terms.

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