Today, 21st June, 2018 marks the 4th International Day of Yoga. This day was first proposed by Bharat’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during his speech at the UNGA, on 27 September 2014. It was declared unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 to celebrate this day as International Day of Yoga aka, Yoga Day.
Since ancient times, Hindu Dharma has imparted immense wealth of knowledge to the world that benefits human health and society. Yoga is one such gem which is an amalgamation of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient Bharat. Bhagwan Shiva is called the Aadi-Yogi who is often portrayed as sitting in a meditation position.
Yoga finds mention in Hindu scriptures like Bhagwat Geeta. It is the Yoga-gurus from Bharat who had introduced it to the rest of the world. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali were compiled by Sage Patanjali centuries ago. Efforts of great thinkers like Swami Vivekananda made Yoga popular in western world.
Yoga keeps a person fit physically, mentally and spiritually. It is more than just a physical exercise as it also has meditative and spiritual core. In Hindu Dharma we believe in the ideal of सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः (May all become happy. May none fall ill) and Yoga surely helps a person to live such life. It is for all. Even people following any other faith can practice Yoga.
Interestingly, to make Yoga appeal to all, such statements like ‘Yoga has no religion’ has been widely proposed in media and by secularists. But, one has to accept that Yoga IS a Hindu Tradition. It has its roots in Hindu scriptures. For example, Surya Namaskar which translates to Salutation to the Sun, our vedic deity. Hindu Dharma worships and respects each element of nature and Sun is the ultimate source of energy. It begins with chanting Mantra for Surya-Dev. Thus, we have a yogic practice to pay respect to the Sun.
Hindu Dharma in its basic teachings is already secular in every true sense. It respects others’ line of faith that is why Bharat, a Hindu nation, has always opened up its doors for other religions. But modern-day secularism is killing the gist of real secularism. It surely doesn’t mean disrespecting and derogating our own faith just to please the ‘minority’. We have already noticed systematic attack on Hindu festivals by celebrities and liberals. Is it really necessary to disassociate the already known traditions from Hindu Dharma to prove its secularism to the world?
Hindu Dharma is compassionate and welcoming to every faith. Thus, even non Hindus are allowed to follow Yoga practices with their own version. However, it will be wrong to say that Yoga has nothing to do Hindu Dharma.
Thus, just to earn the certificate of acceptance from the western world and secularists, one cannot disregard the contribution of ancient Hindu saints and intellectuals who have developed Yoga with their wisdom and practice for years. Yoga is a knowledge developed by Hindus and the world is welcome to practice it respectfully without any terms and conditions.
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