21st century holds a unique place for yoga and the reason for that could be searched for in the increasing cases of the mental health and other physical elements. In its broader sense yoga is not only confined to some postures and exercises. In fact, yoga is such a colossal turn that despite its acceptability and popularity among the people, its true nature and scope has remained elusive. Yoga not only improves the physical health of an individual but it is also the art of tranquility, contentment and how to remain in touch with nature. There is the need of the ethical and cultural refinement of the individual personality on worldwide scale by spreading the age old philosophy of yoga. In other words, we can say that in order to spread the message of universal peace and harmony in the world, yoga can be an enthusiastic and positive alternative.
Keywords:Yoga, World, Peace, Moral, Astanga yoga
When we introduce Indian History, yoga is the most recognized one having travelled all over the world for everyone’s wellbeing. Yoga reflects the prosperous past of our country. It is a legacy of an ancient and continuous four thousand years of Indian civilization and yet quite modern with the backing of science.
The origin of the globalization of yoga first came in contact with the west during the times of Pluto and Aristotle who paid acknowledgements to Indian values and practices in their arts. These contacts were furthered by Alexander’s arrival in India in the 3rd century.
The Modern yoga gained momentum in the late 1800s after when Swami Vivekananda and other great gurus like Osho, Mahrshi Mahesh Yogi, ParamhansYogendra, Swami Satyananda, Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Ramdev, Dr. Pranav Pandey and many others travelled to West and introduced the science and practice of yoga in recent times.
In the present scenario yoga has become such a powerful term that almost every individual is well acquainted with this world. It is no longer confined to the boundaries of our country. In fact, it has reached every nook and corner of the world. Yoga is a multi-billion dollar industry in the USA, with some 30 million American practitioners and more than 7,00,000 subscribes to yoga journals.
More than 98% of yoga teachers, instructors and students in the USA are non-Indians. It is also found that there are about, million people in the United Kingdom practicing yoga. This increasing the plot of yoga in the West has made Christian evangelist so restless and worried that they are demanding a complete ban on yoga but still yoga is sweeping the world in India Swami Ramdev through practices has become a household name for his efforts in popularizing yoga to the masses.
It is a well-known fact that yoga works our body, mind and soul that’s why it is called the global art. When our body, mind and soul are healthy and harmonious, we will bring health and harmony to the world not by withdrawing from the world but by being a healthy living organ of the body of humanity. Therefore, yoga is for the whole world and humanity.
In the words of OshoRajnish yoga doesn’t mean any short of religious extremism. Yoga is spiritualin its nature and character.Spirituality does not mean that you have to preach Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Jainism. Spirituality means simply spreading the basic fundamentals of all religions, which are all the same. Can love be Christian or Muslim? Can a peaceful mind be Hindu and Buddhist?
The human sufferings are the same everywhere irrespective of the religion they follow. Everyone needs physical, mental and spiritual well-being for a peaceful, prosperous and blissful life. And yoga in fact serves this purpose. Affliction of the body are the same. Diseases and sufferings know no caste, religion or nation and yoga is given to cure those diseases. Nowhere in the ancient textsis it said that yoga is only to be practiced by the Hindus. On the country, MaharshiPatanjali describes yoga as saravavhauma that means Universal.
“jāti-deśa-kāla-samaya-anavacchinnāḥ sārvabhaumā-mahāvratam” (2/31)
Which implies that “when practiced universally without exception due to birth, place, time and circumstances they (Yamas) become great disciplines?” It is recommended that they (Yamas) should be practiced universally without exception. There should be no modification due to differences in country, birth, time, place and circumstances. Thus, yoga is a universal culture or it has universal appeal? Just as it works on the whole of the individual so, it is meant for the development of the whole of mankind on the physical mental and spiritual levels.
Today on global level we are witnessing several problems like a television, religious fanaticism, racial prejudices and hatred, ill policies and plans of the governments of the nations of the world etc. It is yoga which can permanent solution to these global problems.
Swami Shivananda remarks that: “In this age of atomic armament, racial hatred and policies of national greed, intolerance and distrust, our task is not so much the alteration and transformation of the pattern, policies and plans of government of the nations of the world.’’ The paramount important and the imperative and indispensable necessity for the moral, ethical and cultural refinement of the individual personality upon a world-wide scale are to be realized first and foremost. For, the prime and fundamental unit of all wider groups like class, race, nation and human society the world over is the individual man. This is not an impossible proposition, for the divine exists in all beings and it is an integral part of every individual the consciousness. The method to draw it out is right and true yoga or spiritual education. Shri Ram Sharma Acharya strongly recommends that: “The dream of the creation of sinless society for the universal peace, prosperity and bliss can come true only when the
ever happening evil deeds be totally banned by refining the thoughts through spirituality, otherwise there seems to be no other way of permanent and real peace and bliss in the world.”
MaharshiAurobindo very beautifully remarks that: “The yoga with practice is not for ourselves alone, its aim is to work out the will of the divine in the world, to effect a spiritual transformation and to bring down a divine nature and a divine Life into the mental vital and physical nature and life of humanity. Its object is not a personal mukti, although mukti is necessary condition of the yoga, but the liberation and transformation of the whole human being.”
Swami Ramdev argues that: “All persons in the world want peace and happiness. All the nations of the world agree on this point that peace should be established in the world. All people have some views about it according to their thinking capacity, but no unanimous solution is coming forth.”
Can there be some rules, values and norms which may be acceptable to all the people in the world, which do not trample upon the unity and integrity of an individual or the nation, which do not serve the personal vested interests of anybody, which any individual can adopt and achieve complete happiness, peace and bliss in life? It should be a path which every person can follow in the world fearlessly, with full freedom and can achieve complete happiness, peace and bliss in life. This is the path of astanga yoga propounded by the great sage Patanjali. This is not a creed, belief or sect; it is a complete method of living life. If the people all over the world are really serious about it that peace must be established in the world, its only solution is observance of astanga yoga. It is only through eight limbed of astanga yoga that personal and social harmony, physical health, mental peace and spiritual bliss can be realised.
The eight limbed yoga passes the test of religion, spirituality, humanity and science. If the bloody strife in the world can be prevented by any means, it is astanga yoga only. Astanga yoga encompasses in a unique way the most sublime states of morality and spirituality, right form general activities to Yama(abstinences), Niyama(observances), Asanas(postures), Prayanama(breathing), Pratyahara (withdrawal), Dhyana (meditaition) and Samadhi (selfabsorption).
In fact, one who treats Universal and Scientific values, ideals and traditions as a religion is a theist, and a religious person but is not a fanatic. One who sees the image of God in all the creatures, including men and all the animate inanimate objects, and allays the pain and misery in the world by dedicating his whole life to the service of all Creatures is a spiritualist.
This is what yoga teaches us. Spiritualism and Nationalism are not mutually contradictory ideologies, but for the full freedom and security of every country and its citizens they are equally necessary. We are the citizens of an independent country, and it is our national moral responsibility to defend the Independence, unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country. At the same time we are all one and are the children of one and the same God. Therefore, from the point of view of being God’s children, according to the dispensation of that supreme load, we are all brothers and sisters. That is what yoga teaches us.
Today in the environment of uncertainty, distrust and fear caused due to terrorism and religious extremism could be dealt with by spreading the philosophy of yoga and there will be tranquility, bliss and prosperity in the world.
So we can say that yoga can really be a great option for spreading universal peace and harmony. It has already been proved that yoga is sort of panacea for all the diseases. As we all know that a healthy mind lives in a healthy body. So, the world should not hesitate and embrace yoga instantly because if we are to improve both physical and mental aspects of human body then yoga can make our task easy.