Thursday, April 23, 2015


United Nations Organisation have declared June 21 as International Day of Yoga/ World Yoga Day. (The day is the summer solstice, longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, a period in which Sun tilts from north to southward - uttarayan to dhakshinayan - the following full moon day being guru poornima). India is observing the day with a celebration of 30 minutes program on yoga. However, the government is planning to remove the word OM wherever it comes in it as it has religious reference. (Incidentally, US Court has ruled that yoga has no religious reference).

Removing the word OM in Yoga practice is not only to miss the very essence of Yoga but also strengthening the popular misconception of yoga as a physical fitness exercise, a gymnastics and a sport where competition are held world over which in fact are only body exercise or in yogic parlance can only be called posture, asanas, competition. Purpose of yoga is not only to master body postures, in fact it is only one of the eight limbs of yoga, very preliminary one at that, the other seven being yama, niyama, pranayama, pratyahara, dhyana, dharana, samadhi. The real purpose of yoga is to rise the Consciousness to a higher level where individual self merges with the universal self, where one experiences the unity of all things that exist- living and nonliving- without any division of caste, creed, gender, status and so on that are plaguing the mundane existence in our society.

OM is an integral part of ashtanga yoga, eight limbs of yoga. Its well known proponent, Patanjali, who wrote magnificent treatise on yoga, yogasutra, has said that pranava, that is the OM, is the symbol of Supreme Reality and that one can get tuned into it by its repetition and meditation. Scientist have proved that everything in the universe is pulsating and vibrating and its sound is OM, and in particular NASA scientist have demonstrated that the sound of Sun vibrations is OM (see below). There is no religion in it. Hence, Government of India is missing this vital element in yoga by removing it especially when it has no religious reference and it is in fact the primordial sound of beings, a fact of existence of things and by tuning into it one can evolve to higher states of existence. By removing OM, it is treating yoga as a body build and health exercise and not a means to elevate oneself to a higher, more productive more peace evolving state. It is possible that if one is not engaged in the fulfilment of true purpose of yoga(with all the eight limbs of it) and instead settles with only a part of it such as asanas and pranayama may loose even the benefit of the body posture and breath exercise in due course.

Sam Saunders too sees the significance of OM in Yoga:

It is time that Government of India rethinks and restore OM in its Yoga Day and Yoga practice for the benefit all in our society. Yoga must be practiced as it is and not as politics dictate!

1 comment:

Dr. S. Ramakrishna Sharma said...

कठोर हिन्दु#एच डी एल retweeted you
2m: GOI must promote yoga as it is and not as politics dictates! …