“Learned speakers on the dais and Brahma Kumari Sisters and Brothers in this assembly,
At the outset, I would like to congratulate the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya for having organized this event at the historic Red Fort Ground and inviting me to be the Chief Guest.
It is a matter of pride for the country that following Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s initiative, the International Day of Yoga is being celebrated across the world every year on June 21.
It was on December 11th 2014, the U.N. General Assembly approved by consensus a resolution establishing June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga’. The resolution received backing from 177 countries.
Yoga is now widely recognized as a means to achieve and maintain physical fitness and health. Yoga, however, is not just a form of physical exercise, to be practiced for a few minutesevery day.
It is a holistic discipline which leads to a healthy state of mind, robust body and complete well-being of an individual.
Yoga also means union – of spirit and matter, thought and action, man and nature. A true yogi develops harmonious relationships with the self, others and the environment that form the foundation of healthy societies and a healthy planet.
Yoga is a way of life that entails simplicity, honesty, compassion, and respect for all creatures and nature. It is a lifestyle based on non-violence at every level – in thoughts, feelings, words and actions.
Yoga advocates that to the extent we reduce the external paraphernalia in our life, and even clear away the clutter of our mind, the more we will be able to concentrate and find inner peace.
It is this aspect of yoga that needs to be popularized today, when people's outlook and lifestyles have become materialistic. The single-dimensional pursuit for more resources, wealth, pleasure and power is leading to erosion of values, ethics and indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources. We are now seeing the result of all this in the form of climate change and growing inequalities. We need to arrest this craving for materialistic pursuits.
Yoga aims for ‘balance’ and ‘equanimity’, ‘peace’, ‘poise’ and ‘grace’. It is a sublime expression of the quest for excellence, for synthesis and for harmony. It is an eloquent epitome of the Indian world view. It reflects the Bharatiya way of life of co-existing harmoniously with the nature and all other living creatures.
We are living in times of great challenges, of unprecedented change in unpredictable directions. The way we live, learn, work and enjoy is changing rapidly. The lifestyles are getting transformed through technology. We are making significant progress in our relentless quest for economic growth and prosperity, in enhancing convenience and comfort, in enriching our knowledge and skills, in enlarging our choices for entertainment and education.
We need to avoid reckless exploitation of nature and excessive consumption. Sustainability has to be the new mantra. ‘Balance’ is at the heart of sustainability. And that ‘balance’ in all spheres starting with physical well - being is what yoga is all about.
At a time when people are encountering tremendous pressures in daily lives, there is a great need to introduce to the subtle science of yoga, which everyone can use not just to achieve physical well-being, but also to lead a better life by making enlightened choices.
As we all are aware, Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India possibly around the 5th century BC. We need to propagate and preserve this holistic practice by making it a part of the school curriculum as it not only ensures physical fitness and mental equilibrium but also inculcates discipline. This is all the more necessary in the wake of changing lifestyles and growing incidence of non-communicable diseases in the country.
I have been visiting various foreign countries as part of strengthening bilateral ties with those nations. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Yoga practice has become hugely popular all over the globe.
I have learnt that quite a few schools in some countries, including the USA have introduced Yoga as a part of the school curriculum for children. I have seen yoga centres in many countries like, for example, Peru. In Costa Rica, a Presidential decree was issued declaring all activities and initiatives related to promotion of Yoga and Meditation to be in public interest.
A yogic perspective enables us to see the wider implications of our actions, and makes us aware of our role and responsibilities as an inseparable part of the universal scheme of things.
I am happy to know that Brahma Kumaris arrange programs on June 21 every year to promote yoga as a healthy way of life combining physical exercise and meditation.