Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On Yoga and YOGA

This has been posted by my bro-in-law, very interesting to know this info on YOOOOOOOOOGA..


If you have been following the news, this might be something you might already be aware of, or already passed the 'tired of' stage. Well for me, this is still news. [I don't have TV at home and I don't read daily newspaper.. well.. daily :-) ]

Just did some searching on the internet on yoga. And specifically was looking at things to verify the claim that yoga's ultimate aim is to achieve 'unity with god'. Found this from wikipedia (and also many more sites that simply give weight to the claim):

Goal of yoga

The goal of yoga may range from anywhere between improved health and reaching Moksha.[56] Within the monist schools of Advaita Vedanta and Shaivism the goal of yoga takes the form of Moksha, which is liberation from all worldly suffering and the cycle of birth and death (Samsara), at which point there is a realisation of identity with the Supreme Brahman. In the Mahabharata, the goal of yoga is variously described as entering the world of Brahma, as Brahman, or as perceiving the Brahman or Atman that pervades all things.[57] For the bhakti schools of Vaishnavism, bhakti or service to Svayam bhagavan itself is the ultimate goal of the yoga process, wherein perfection culminates in an eternal relationship with Vishnu, Rama or Krsna.[58]

And I was also wondering; what does Hindu Sangam got to say to coax Majlis Fatwa from NOT issuing the edict/fatwa?

Was it really genuine interest on yoga? unity? or was it something else.. emm.. like protecting 'periuk nasi' of some of its members.. ?

Another question. Why does Hindu Sangam, a religious entity that have to give out the statment, instead of some NGO or groups representing yogin (yoga practioners); if yoga has nothing to do with hindu or religion, shouldn't they keep out from it?

--- updates

A thought just came into mind. Since this is Malaysia, the wiki article might not be the best to reflect the Malaysian scenario. Why not look for something closer to home. So I did a google on 'yoga malaysia' - and find malaysian yoga society . Looking at its About Yoga page, it is clearly stated that they strictly follow Karma Yoga. Since they claim to 'strictly follow' Karma Yoga, I think it is safe to go back to wikipedia for more info on Karma Yoga; and this is what stated there;

As with a number of other philosophies in Hinduism, Karma yoga is based on the general understandings of karma and reincarnationsamsara). It is believed that a man is born with certain Samskars (karma's), both positive and negative, from his past lives which push him towards performing certain actions in his present one. This process continues until the individual attains a zero balance, (no karma remains) wherein one achieves liberation.

If the basis of the whole thing is totally at odds with Islamic belief/creed/aqidah; then this is not something to be taken lightly; And this must be the main reason why Majlis Fatwa convene to discuss and recently issued the edict. And this is the part that many, especially non-Muslim, do not understand. [i.e the gravity of error in one's belief/aqidah].


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Islamic Area Studies in Kuala Lumpur

This weekend, I am attending Islamic Area Studies International Conference at Nikko Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. This conference is running for 3 days, 22-24 November 2008, under the theme New Horizons in Islamic Area Studies: Islamic Scholarship Across Cultures and Continents.

It is a privilage as well to be asked and selected to write a paper on Madrasah, with two other collegues, Professor Dr. Ahmad Hidayat and Dr. Luqman Hj. Abdullah. We decided the title of the paper as Madrasah System in Malaysia: Its Contribution and Challenges.

Today, 23 Nov 2008, Professor Hidayat lead our team to present the paper in a Plenary session, along with another presenter, a female professor from Japan who discussed about women seminaries in Iran and Pakistan. In that session, there was Professor Ecklemen form USA, acted as discussant for the papers.

The discussant was pleased with the presentation by Professor Hidayat, mentioning of the good introduction of the paper to link with the historical development of madrasah by looking at middle east, particularly Makkah and al-Azhar establishment that influenced madrasah curriculum in Malaysia.

Other than that, the first day of conference is quite ok, although I found that it was not quite a deep discussion on topics that have been presented. However, in the second day, the discussions were more details, going into depth of each topics. I enjoy the papers on this second day.

Tomorrw is the last day for the conference, which I may missed papers in the morning due to other commitment at University of Malaya. I hope to be able to come during the afternoon, even though I noticed that the afternoon session will be the posters presentation. Nevertheless, I reckon that the meeting with other scholars worldwide is more important in this respect, so as to establish long term relation with them for academic purposes.

As for today, I quite impressed with scholars from Japan, who are able to speak fluent Arabic than English, and able to present a good selection of papers. I must congratulate them on their effort. I think, Malaysia can look forward to have close tie with them who are now on due course to enhance Islamic Area Studies programme in Japan as well as to the rest of the world.

I have indeed briefly mentioned (or rather I whispered) to Depute VC last Friday during his presence at Academy of Islamic Studies about sending students to pursue PhD in Islamic Studies in Japan...; and it seems that this idea need further thought on how it can be materialised.

As for now, just concentrate on helping the department ... I managed to speak to Professor Humphreys on the possibility for him to become an Advisory member for my department's academic journal. It looks like there is positive linkage in the future.

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