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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Twitterati correct VP Venkaiah Naidu’s misguided “Yoga has no religion” notion

The Vice President of Bharat’s official twitter handle made an interesting tweet last night –

In recent times, as Yoga has grown in popularity in the West, this point of view has also grown. Western neo-colonisers are always looking to appropriate, secularise and commercialise Hindu knowledge systems and sacred practises, although fundamentalist Christians understand Yoga’s Hindu roots and hence claim it is ‘demonic’.

The modern English-educated Hindu lacks knowledge of their own Dharma and its religious, cultural, philosophical and other attributes. Centuries of colonisation followed by sustained deracination and denigration by the secular state, academia and media has induced guilt and self-loathing.

So when they see a Westerner practise Yoga, being either ignorant or apologetic about their roots, they quickly accept the definition of Yoga as a ‘secular’ activity devoid of any religious connotations. Nothing Hindu could be really worthwhile, their sub-conscious believes, so if Yoga is promoted as an ‘Indian science’ which has physical and physiological benefits it would have more acceptance, is their thinking.

However, the truth remains that Yoga is a fundamental part of Hindu Dharma – it is a practise where the final goal is the union of the individual’s atma with the universal paramatma. If one practises just the initial step of Yoga, i.e. hatha yoga asanas, they will derive physical benefits, and are free to practise it just for that limited goal. But one must always do it with a sense of gratitude to the Hindu seers like Rishi Patañjali who devised the Yoga Sutras and countless others who preserved and spread the practise over millennia.

And the VP is not alone, even someone like Jaggi Vasudev Sadhguru who is otherwise doing good work in spreading Dharma among the deracinated elites holds the confused notion that ‘If Yoga Is Hindu, Then Gravity Is Christian.’ And the VP had expressed a similar thought few months back when he said, “Yoga is not a religion, it is a science.” 

Many twitterati stepped forward to correct this notion:

It is heartening to see so many articulate and insightful responses to the VP. It shows that we are finally entering a post-colonial Bharat, but our political, bureaucratic and intellectual class has a lot of catching up to do!

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