The Government is all set to celebrate “International Day of Yoga” on June 21,this Sunday. With more than 40,000 people expected to perform asanas and pranayams led by none other than our PM Narendra Modi an ardent yoga lover, the celebrations will sure be a spectacle to watch.
Personally, I am sure to be found sitting in front of the TV at 7am on a Sunday morning, because I really don’t have much choice in the matter. My parents especially my dad will make sure I do, because Yoga is good for my health and for everybody’s for that matter. Hence, to inculcate this good habit, June 21 will be the perfect opportunity to be lectured (not for the first time) by our beloved, self obsessed, media savvy Mr. Modi.
All this is absolutely fine, but the trouble brews when people take themselves and their politics too seriously. Well, yes, I agree that politics is a serious business, but still. Allow me to stop beating around the bush and state emphatically that I am referring to the controversy surrounding yoga, religious notions and India’s secular identity. The newshour debate of surya namaskar being performed or not, ‘OM’ to be chanted or not, is all immaterial if only the people stop to glance at the bigger picture. I wish to state to all the extremists group and anxiety sufferers from both AIMPLB (All India Muslim personal Law Board) and the Hindutva activists to shut their big mouths for a couple of hours, to read, to think, to decide only for himself or herself and then raise a hue and cry. While, I write this I know that my appeal to them is nothing but a vain attempt, because the moment they do as I request them to, all their political agendas, jealous schemes will dissipate into Delhi’s air.
Muslim Anxiety towards Yoga
It is correct that Yoga has Hindu origins. Yet, every Indian student beyond 7th grade(who remembers his social science lessons) must be aware that the term ‘Hindu ‘ was described to connote to people living beyond Hindu Kush Mountains beyond the river Indus. Still the term ‘Hindu’ describing an ethnicity of people couldn’t be older than 1 millenium. Whereas we as a civilization have existed on this land, for more than six millenniums. Nowhere in the Rigvedas, the term Hindu has been mentioned. Yoga’s origin lies amongst the very foundations of our civilization.
Yoga has been evolutionary and it should be. It is a way of life that shows the way for healthier, happier life, the tenets and even the interpretations of chants isn’t that far apart from what Allah wants all Muslims to do and be like. This is what my limited understanding has led me to believe, yet the reader has the right to differ. This blog is a beautiful case in point.
Hindu ownership of Yoga
Hindus were the first to practice Yoga, and there is no denying that. But didn’t Mr. Modi said that, “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition.”?
Well, he did say ‘gift’, didn’t he?
And that’s what all Hindus should treat it like. It is no longer our copyrighted, patented, or licensed product to police how it is interpreted or adopted by the rest of the world. Yoga, much like Kung Fu (which has its origin in shaolin monasteries, a sect of Buddhism) is different today from its religious origin, though it does have a spiritual side to its present day practice.
Again in Modi’s word, “Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”
So, staying true to his words, why don’t we focus on our own personal unification and inner peace through and let the world reinvent its own favored form of yoga.
Got to admit, there are some real assortment of kinds of Yoga from ancient to fun to plain bizarre such as Iyengar, power yoga or the nude yoga respectively. It is said yoga is a way of life and we all do lead different lives, shouldn’t we be free to choose our favourite kind of yoga, much like everything else??
Inner Peace, Anybody?
The author searches for her yoga mat every time she looks flabby in her favourite dress and dozes off every time she’s asked to breathe in slowly. Sadly, that’s yoga for her.If you happen to have any of your favorite ‘yoga’ memory, remember sharing is awesome :*)