Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fathers day, Mothers day, Valentines day, Yoga day

Today was the first ever International Yoga Day. It falls on the day of the Summer Solstice. As events go, it was a spectacular day in India with celebrations across cities. There was an unmistakable buzz over the past many weeks with yoga teachers, yoga schools, schools and offices also pitching in.

What started off as a proposal at United Nations is now a full blown international event.

Yoga is undoubtedly Indian and Hindu. Created by Patanjali and enhanced over the years by many schools, gurus - it has brought benefits untold to many - and for free, no royalty, no nothing - while many have made their millions out of Yoga. Yoga is undoubtedly Indias gift to the world. And there is no shame in stating that it is Indias gift to the world.

But there are a few who want the country to resist and deny the traditional knowledge. Why would they want it to be so, I fail to understand. Truth is, as a nation, we are emasculated - over the last many hundred years. With our education, with our upbringing, we are ashamed of what we are traditionally - in general. And hence a larger disinclination to brand anything as traditional (read Hindu) - lest it be branded as regressive. And it is these mindsets that prevent us from seeing good in anything traditional (ditto).

We want to ape western civilization - we love celebrating Mothers day, Fathers day (incidentally it is also today) and perhaps even Valentines day. And there is nothing wrong in celebrating all of those - while at the same time it is ok to acknowledge and recognize our traditional festivals and traditions. One can have both. One can celebrate Thai Pushyam with as much gaiety as much as Halloween (and that is one of the great things of Hinduism - that we are not exclusivist unlike monotheistic ones).

Despite having so much going against them, these traditional knowledge systems have survived - though they could have thrived and been much more than what they are today. And perhaps Yoga day will help this process, if not for other things, for yoga atleast.

Therefore, full marks to the Modi government for having marketed this to the fullest. There were quite a few non-controversies manufactured around this event, but the net event was a grand success.

And for all those days we have imported, we can export this one day and it is a good move.

India does have quality yoga schools  and this one yoga day can have a cascading effect on tourism, yoga teachers, among others both within the country and outside.

Perhaps a yoga university is in order.

Not to forget health benefits to those who do yoga just at a physical level - it has increased awareness by a huge factor...

(Yes, yes, there is a large body of yoga knowledge beyond this obvious physical exercise and those who are interested can go beyond...) Meanwhile the naysayers can continue...

And I am sure the next Yoga day will be an even bigger event with more scale and fervor...

[And btw, the Summer Solstice positioning is a smart one as well - traditional festivals always coincide around these astronomical events (notice that the sun shines through Stonehenge on this day - that is no coincidence).]

1 comment:

kishor phadke said...

Yoga is mostly good.. So many people swear by it.. so there has to be something.. if at all, it doesn't harm you in a bit. but here's my own experience, I tried it for 3 months because I wanted to, its nice but it didn't work for me.. My workouts, my peace comes everything comes from weight training, running, treking. So why should I do yoga? Isn't the basic idea is to have a fit , healthy and happy life? Why Yoga gets linked to patriotism, nationalism etc.. Its absolutely stupid to oppose Yoga based on its religious roots or because its against ones relegion, but isn't it equally crazy to link it to your loyalty?
Why can't we just have too each his own? and btw I don't celebrate Father's Mother's day either and noone equals that to me being unloving to my parents