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YOGA As Per The Gita
21 June 2018 IST
YOGA As Per The Gita

Yoga’s popularity worldwide as a universal, holistic practice has prompted the United Nations to declare an International Yoga Day, writes B K BRIJMOHAN, chief spokesperson of Brahma Kumaris worldwide

 
 

The Bhagwad Gita has been called Sarva Shastra Shiromani which means ‘the supreme scripture’. The Gita is widely acknowledged as a unique treatise on the philosophy of life with universal appeal. It is also one of the most translated scriptures in the world. A number of commentaries have been written on it by eminent personalities.
 
The Gita is essentially a treatise on yoga, rather, renaissance of yoga, if one goes by the opening verses 1-3 of Chapter 4. It is believed to be a chronicle of the supreme wisdom which came directly from the lotus-mouth of God-incarnate 5,000 years ago. Hence, the word Bhagavanuvacha appears throughout the text of this exposition of yoga narrated in the form of a dialogue. Each of its 18 chapters progressively builds on different aspects of yoga leading to a composite picture in the end.
 
It is to be noted that the different aspects of yoga like the yoga of knowledge, yoga of action, yoga of renunciation, yoga of devotion, yoga of surrender, yoga of realisation and yoga of liberation described in the Gita, are different components of the same composite yoga. None of them is complete in itself. Some consider them to be different forms or paths of yoga — some easy, some difficult. Accordingly, they recommend yoga of devotion for householders, yoga of knowledge for intellectuals and yoga of renunciation for recluses, for instance. The Gita, however, does not make any such distinction.
 
‘Yoga’ as per the Gita means ‘union’ of the Soul with the Supreme by establishing a mental love-link. Its practice is stated to empower the mind to overcome demoniac traits or vices like lust, anger and ego and enable the practitioner to acquire divine traits or virtues like truth, nonviolence and compassion.All the essentials for its practice like considering the immortal soul as the true Self, its eternal relationship with the Supreme Soul and the disciplines to be observed are clearly described in the Gita.
 

 
 

Today, we live in different times. Yoga has diversified into hatha yoga, sahaj yoga, and several types of meditation. It includes physical stretches, breathing exercises and techniques to relax or help the mind to focus and concentrate. It is also being projected by some as an experiential state, requiring no ethics, morality, discipline or values.New practices, which have nothing to do with yoga, have also usurped this name. For example, parlours and studios operating in western countries like Canada and the US teach ‘ganja yoga’ which involves smoking of marijuana, a patently ‘un-yogic’ and harmful practice.
 
The United Nations has declared June 21as International Day of Yoga at India’s suggestion. This is a good opportunity to spread awareness about yoga across the world. However, it also throws up a challenge. Which type of yoga should India project to the world to make the celebration meaningful? Unless there is clarity on this, the new aspirants of yoga may get confused in the maze of practices that have mushroomed in the name of yoga. Even otherwise, it would be worthwhile to identify the original yoga of India for the benefit of all. The Gita could be considered for this position.
 
This is a delicate issue. Any viable initiative like starting a dialogue would be necessary to arrive at a consensus. It would involve a long drawn and time consuming process. Meanwhile, some method can be devised to identify and separate healthy and beneficial forms of yoga from the prevalent mixed practices that tend to confuse us. It may be communicated to the United Nations to notifying the member nations. This would caution new yoga aspirants about unhealthy and harmful practices during the course of initiating celebrations of The International Day of Yoga.
 
The International Yoga Festival is being held at Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, March 1-7. For details, visit www.internationalyogafestival.com
 

 
 
 
 
 

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Shibu Chandran
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Serving political interests in another person's illness is the lowest form of human value. A 70+ y old lady has cancer.

November 28, 2016 05:00 IST
Shibu Chandran
2 hours ago

Serving political interests in another person's illness is the lowest form of human value. A 70+ y old lady has cancer.

November 28, 2016 05:00 IST
Shibu Chandran
2 hours ago

Serving political interests in another person's illness is the lowest form of human value. A 70+ y old lady has cancer.

November 28, 2016 05:00 IST
Shibu Chandran
2 hours ago

Serving political interests in another person's illness is the lowest form of human value. A 70+ y old lady has cancer.

November 28, 2016 05:00 IST


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