Westerners Stealing Hindu Intellectual Property is More Than Plagiarism

Colonial or a white supremacy mindset may be clever enough to adopt Hindu practices but denies giving credit where it is due. Stealing Hindu intellectual property, they do not hesitate to rename and repackage so that they can sell it back to Bharat for immense profits. Off course, they will leave no chance to tell Bharatiyas to stop their superstitious ways and to adopt the new scientific knowledge which “they” have “invented”.

The following Hindu intellectual property has already been digested or appropriated by West; some of the Western academics don’t even believe that these belong to Bharat – 

  • Yoga Nidra as Lucid Dreaming
  • Nadi Shodhana as Alternate Nostrils Breathing
  • Vipassana as Mindfulness

The latest addition to this list is Pranamyam as Cardiac Coherence Breathing. Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders.But the latest attempt has taken the appropriation too far. An American magazine “Scientific American” in its article titled “Proper Breathing Brings Better health” termed Prāṇāyāma as cardiac coherence breathing. The article gives us an idea about how West is so sophisticated in stealing knowledge from ancient cultures, particularly, Hindu Dharma.

Prāṇāyāma is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagavad Gītā.[ According to Bhagavad-Gītā As It Isprāṇāyāma is translated to “trance induced by stopping all breathing”, also being made from the two separate Sanskrit words, prāṇa and āyām.

Prāṇāyāma is the fourth “limb” of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga mentioned in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Patanjali, a Hindu Rishi, discusses his specific approach to prāṇāyāma in verses 2.49 through 2.51, and devotes verses 2.52 and 2.53 to explaining the benefits of the practice. Many yoga teachers advise that prāṇāyāma should be part of an overall practice that includes the other limbs of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga teachings, especially Yama, Niyama, and Asana.

Prāṇāyāma a department of Yogic science practiced and documented 5000 years back (even 15,000 years back) by Rishis is not even acknowledged by the author of the article. If one read the article they vaguely suggest that breathing exercises also existed in China, Hindu and in Greek culture. 

This is how appropriation of ancient techniques takes place by the West. As Sankrant Sanu, an entrepreneur, researcher and writer, put it in his tweet “after erasing the origin they claim it as their own invention, attack original traditions as Superstition”.

As famous Indian American Author Rajiv Malhotra summarizes: “The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”. It’s time Bharatiyas in general and Hindus, in particular, should be vigilant and should have an academic mindset to respond to such misadventures to  protect our own heritage and Dharma.

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals that “what is the problem in ithis?” They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument. West has created an ecosystem and mechanism in which their knowledge system is well protected and patented by international norms. Unless West gives a new name and fits it into their framework, native wisdom is not recognized in academia and media.

Whereas, Hindus were generous in sharing their health techniques freely for millennia, and never thought they will struggle to prove that which belong to them. In fact, in a westernized framework of Yoga and other techniques, Bharatiya scholars, insiders and practitioners are blatantly ignored. So our own knowledge will be repackaged and exported back to us at an extra price and conditions.

Many of our practices are being called ‘Biofeedback systems’. According to Wikipedia, Biofeedback systems have been known in Bharat and some other countries for millennia. Ancient Hindu practices like yoga and Prāṇāyāma (breathing techniques) are essentially biofeedback methods.

Many yogis and sadhus have been known to exercise control over their physiological processes. In addition to recent research on Yoga, Paul Brunton, the British writer who travelled extensively in Bharat, has written about many cases he has witnessed.

(This article first appeared on hinducouncil.com.au )

(Featured Image for representational purpose only. Source)


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