Intro : The International Yog day, June 21, will definitely lead to a conflict free and harmonious world. As our forefathers proclaimed aeons ago, the whole world will become a large, loving family.
The resolution for declaring June 21, International Yog day was unanimously passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). More than 170 countries across the 5 continents not only supported the resolution but many of them also proposed or seconded without any voting or discussion. Yog has been accepted universally as a discipline of moulding one's own life to active overall well being, accepting it as a way of life beyond faith, worship or religious dogmas. Many of the Islamic countries supported the resolution. Yog is being practised by people beyond the religious beliefs. On this background of universal consensus of the whole world, it is ironical that the decision of Central Government in Bharat to celebrate the International Yog day all over the country is being opposed on religious grounds, by some misguided elements. Where the whole world is unanimous about the universal appeal of Yog, it is a shame that this great science of living is being subjected to controversy in the land of its own origin. The social media is full of photographs of members of different communities performing Yogic exercises. The universal acceptance of Yog is very much present across the different communities in Bharat also. The controversies are more of a political concoction rather than popular one.
Yog is not merely a physical exercise nor is it just a therapy. As per the ancient traditions of Bharat, it is a way of scientific living. Mind is the prime factor of all our actions in life. Yog is training of the mind. Thus it enables perfection in every action at all levels. The whole universe functions in disciplined manner. There are laws of existence which govern the natural phenomena irrespective of any subjective intervention. The sun, the moon and all other natural forces keep their calendar. The animals and the plants also follow the natural rules. They act according to their genetic programmes. The only exception to this smooth governance of the universe is human beings. The humans are endowed with the will to act and the power of imagination. The combination of these two has created all the scientific wonders. Like all kinds of powers, this also needs regulation. If uncontrolled, power becomes corrupt and boon is converted into a curse. This is true at individual as well as collective level. Patanjali in his Yog aphorisms initiates with a simple statement- Hath yog anushasanam (Thus we begin the discipline of Yog.)
Aim of all the yogic practises right from Asanas, Suryanamaskar, Pranayam up to Dhyan [meditation], and Samadhi is disciplining the mind. If mind is concentrated, anything and everything can be accomplished. Yog is the way of orienting the mental powers towards the aim of life. It helps one align the individual goal with the well being of different levels of expanding collective entities like family, society, nation and humanity. The conflicts and clashes in the world are the result of intolerance born out of lack of coordination among one's own multiple roles. The present fabricated controversy over the celebration of the international Yog day is also the result of intolerant minds. Yog is a science which demands experiments and experiences and does not ask you to believe or unbelieve anything. The performance of Yog does not affect any belief system. It will enhance one’s capacity to have undeterred mind in one’s own beliefs. Though Yog is a Bharatiya school of philosophy as it was first compiled in this holy land and has all the attributes of Sanatana Dharma because it was practised, experimented and evolved into different systems by generations of Hindus, it still is a universally applicable science of life and art of living. The practise of Yog will not swerve the individual from his personal religious beliefs. It will not make him antagonistic to his or any other religion but will on the contrary augment his affection for his personal deity.
The practise of Yog will not proselytise a Muslim or a Christian, but will on the contrary make him a better adherent of his faiths. Thus no one should be afraid of Yog as it includes all and excludes none.
Mukul Kanitkar (The writer is Joint Organising Secretary, Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal)