“The World State of our concept will evolve out of a federation of autonomous and self-contained nations under a common centre linking them all… it is the grand world-unifying thought of Hindus alone that can supply the abiding basis for human brotherhood, that knowledge of the Inner Spirit will charge the human mind with the sublime urge to toil for the happiness of mankind while opening out full and free scope for every small life-speciality on the face of the earth to grow to its full stature.” —M S Golwalkar (Sri Guruji), Our World Mission, Bunch OF Thoughts, Vikrama Prakashan, Bangalore, 1966, pp.7-8
Since the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution proclaiming June 21 as the International Day of Yoga, mass demonstrations at public places feature yearly with growing awareness about Yogic practices in everyday life. At the same time, there has been an attempt to misrepresent Yoga with a typical patenting approach or reduce it to mere physical exercise. Yes, Yoga is for individual health and holistic wellness, but it is not limited to that. The original yogic wisdom can guide us in the age of turmoil, stress, conflicts and crises happening worldwide if we try to grasp the philosophical roots of the yogic practices.
The contemporary world is still recovering from the shock of the Covid Pandemic. The multiple issues of climate change are posing new challenges every day. And now, with the war in Europe, we are witnessing another round of economic crises – growing problems in the oil market, inflation, and food insecurity are only the symptoms. With renewed competition for supremacy among old and new superpowers, the emerging unstable world order can throw humanity into another round of arms race and conflicts. The unabated use of technology poses a new challenge in the form of artificial intelligence (AI). Amidst this atmosphere of uncertainty, We need to take the discussion on International Day of Yoga beyond individual health and well-being to universal harmony and unity.
Yoga means the harmonious and holistic way of life leading to the harmony of body, mind, intellect and soul. The ancient science of Yoga readily equips humans to reinstate world peace, environmental sustainability, and harmony between individuals, communities, religions and nations. The International Day of Yoga celebration recognises this method of uniting an individual with higher consciousness and expanding it to the collective level. The consensual acceptance of this day, with 177 countries endorsing the proposal, should be a model for addressing other global issues.
Despite various rounds of negotiations on the Convention on Climate Change, there has yet to be an agreement on managing this problem of human survival. Instead of the philosophical aspects of human relations with Mother Nature, the focus on science and politics is the primary reason behind this climate change predicament. As long as the negotiations on climate change do not address the questions of the development model based on harmony with nature, the possibility of any positive outcome is bleak. Yogic knowledge sees human life as part of nature and not above it.
For over five hundred years, humanity has been swinging like a pendulum between the ideological tussle – capitalism rooted in the core philosophy of individualism and socialism representing collectivism manifested in the State institution. Despite all experiments and combinations, both models have failed to provide a sustainable solution for a prosperous life. On the contrary, environmental sustainability and economic development are discussed more as conflicting paradigms than complementary ones.
The world needs the true ideals of Universalisation as espoused in the Cosmic Consciousness of Yogic Philosophy and not the market or socialist models of globalisation. The idea of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – One World Family can be a constructive alternative to these monotheistic models. Like a family, allowing every nation to pursue indigenous models of development and still stay connected with each other through the judicious use of technology is a foundational principle of the Yogic civilisation. The Second Sarsanghchalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) articulated the same vision for the World Mission of Hindutva.
From lifestyle management to mitigating conflicts at the global level, Yogic wisdom can be a guiding force. Let us imbibe the yogic vision for international peace and prosperity while practising Yoga for individual health and happiness.