Vaishakh Krishna 12, Vik. Samvat 2072.Yugabda 5117: April 16, 2015


-1. FESTIVALS: Rongali Bihu


























1. FESTIVALS: Rongali Bihu, the most colourful festival of Assam started on 14th April with a large number of people taking part in Bihu dance and songs. They also organised various fanfare activities to mark the occasion across the state.

Rongali Bihu starts on the last day of the month of 'Chot' (the month of Chaitra). The first day of Rongali Bihu is dedicated to the cattle and is celebrated as 'Goru Bihu'. People, particularly the farming community, take their cattle to rivers, ponds and other water bodies and give them a ceremonial bath rubbing them with turmeric paste and other herbs. The cattle are also tied with new poghas (ropes).

The actual celebration of the Rongali Bihu starts from the second day which is the first day of the month of Bohag, starting the Assamese New Year.

On the second day, people wear new clothes and seek blessings from their elders and heads of the family so that the year brings them prosperity, good health and good luck. - go Top


2. ‘WOMEN ARE INHERENTLY EMPOWERED' – SHANTHAKKA: Vandaneeya V Shantha Kumari, popularly known as Shanthakka, the Pramukh Sanchalika of Rashtra Sevika Samiti, who was recently on a visit to the United States of America, rejected the notion that somebody needs to empower women.

Shanthakka said “Women are inherently empowered. What is needed is to realize and recognize this”. She was addressing the Bharatiya Women leaders of Silicon Valley at a dinner organised as part of International Women’s day celebrations on 28th March.

She held discussions and spoke at different events in the San Francisco Bay Area including at the San Jose State University, a meeting with the leaders of local non-profit organizations working in the field of women and child development, a dinner with women leaders of Silicon Valley and a public event organised by the Bharatiya community. She also interacted with second generation Hindu teenagers born and brought up in America.

Speaking at the public event organized by the Bharatiya community, she stressed on retaining the Hindu identity among diaspora families. She said that it is essential for Hindu families to raise their children with the Hindu values of Seva and said that the Hindu principle of “Seeing god in everything” can only be taught to children if they are encouraged to volunteer and serve the needy.  - go Top


3. COLLECTOR EDITION ON DR AMBEDKAR RELEASED: RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi released the Collector Editions of leading national weeklies Organiser and Panchjanya in Delhi on 14th April. The function was organized at Siri fort Auditorium on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar.

Bhaiyaji Joshi said that calling Bahasaheb as the leader of just a particular section of the society is insult to that Mahamanav.  Babasaheb was the leader of the entire nation and a nationalist to the core. He certainly raised the issues of Dalits, but nation was always supreme for him.

Noted economist and former member of the Planning Commission Dr Narendra Jadhav highlighted various facts about Dr Ambedkar’s life. Others who spoke at the occasion were Organiser editor Shri Prafulla Ketkar and Panchjanya editor Shri Hitesh Shankar. The prominent authors include RSS Sahsarkaryavah Dr Krishna Gopal, Shri Ramesh Patange, Shri Madhubhai Kulkarni, Shri Bhaigaiyaji, Dr Savarna Rawal, Dr Sushma Yadav, etc. - go Top


4.  SEWA SANGAM:  A REPORT : The Second Rashtriya Sewa Sangam organised in Delhi from April 4 to 6 brought together more than 3,000 delegates representing over 700 sewa organizations engaged in various types of sewa activities in all states and the bigwigs of corporate sector. True to the theme of the Sangam ‘Samaras Bharat, Samridha Bharat’, this Collective Social Responsibility gives a new meaning to the concept of CSR.

It concluded on April 6 with a pledge to meet in 2020 with double the sewa projects and double the number of organisations associated with the Rashtriya Sewa Bharati. RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat specifically called upon the workers to leave no areas untouch with sewa activity and associate more people with the projects.

Organized at specially created Samarasata Nagar combining three resorts together, the Sewa Sangam 2015 was a historic event in many senses. It was for the first time that more than 3,000 delegates representing over 700 sewa organizations from all over the country assembled at one place and shared their experiences with each other. They also discussed and formulated action plan for further expansion of the work. The presence of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi at the inaugural session and the Wipro Chairman Shri Azim Premji as well as GMR Group MD Shri GM Rao on second day along with hundreds of other leading philanthropists of Delhi and surrounding areas proved motivating for the delegates.

On March 3, an exhibition was inaugurated by Swami Rajrajeshwarasharam and leading film director Shri Subhash Ghai. Inaugurating the Sewa Sangam on 4th April, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi called upon the retired fathers and mothers to spend at least two years in villages in order to conduct classes that foster values in children there.

Addressing the Sewa Sangam on April 5, Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat said every deprived person should get the benefit of the sewa and there should be no discrimination among the beneficiaries on the basis of way of worship, region, language or community. “Sewa has to be done without expecting anything in exchange. Also there should be no ego in sewa. Nobody should have the feeling that we are helping anybody” he said.

In his speech, Premji said that he was attending the event on the invitation of Bhagwat over which some people had expressed apprehension that it would appear as endorsing the ideology of the Sangh. He said that he did not follow that advice as he is not a political person and felt that by merely speaking one cannot be seen as endorsing an ideology in totality.

Shri GM Rao, founder chairman of GMR Group, said just like the entrepreneurs and businessmen are economic engine for the country, the voluntary organisations and philanthropists too are social engine for the country. They both are equally required for development and growth of the country, society and the people. Earlier on April 4, RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi said the prime objective of sewa is to generate the feeling of self-respect among those being served. RSS Sahsarkaryavah Dr Krishna Gopal said the then Sarsanghachalak Shri Balasaheb Deoras in 1989 had set a target of 5,000 sewa projects before the workers. They achieved that target before 1995. And today we have over 1.5 lakh sewa projects across the country.

Speaking at the concluding session on April 6, RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale said the Sewa Sangam is not merely an event it is part of a greater movement, as we want to make sewa as ‘mantra’ of life for everyone. He said sewa is a medium to repay the social debt..

Others who addressed the gathering were Akhil Bharatiya Sewa Pramukh Shri Suhasrao Hiremath,  Sah Sewa Pramukh Ajit Prasad Mohapatra.    - go Top


5.  VIVEKANDA'S STATUE PRESENTED BY VHP UK TO BRENT INDIAN ASSOCAITION: On 11th April 2015, it became a historical event in Wembley when VHP UK donated a Swami Vivekanda's statue to BIA (Brent Indian Association) to be installed in their premises situated on Ealing Road Wembley.  BIA is a 'Community Resources Centre' where Bharatiya community, particularly elders use the premises for daily satsang and religious functions. The Statue was presented by VHP UK.

The statue was ceremonially unveiled by Shri Dhirubhai Shah who is also Karyawah of HSS UK. The keynote speech at the function was given by our youth karyakarta Shri Yajur Hasmukhbhai Shah who is currently the President of National Student Forum UK.

The statue was unveiled in the presence  of Deputy Mayors of Brent council and Borough of Harrow, and The Leader of the Brent Council.  - go Top


6. DINANATH BATRA HONOURED WITH DR HEDGEWAR PRAGYA SAMMAN: Noted educationist and convener of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti Shri Dinanath Batra has been honoured with 26th Dr Hedgewar Pragya Samman and Bhaurao Deoras Sewa Samman. Dr Hedgewar Pragya Samman was presented by the RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat in Kolkata on April 1. Instituted by Shree Burrabazar Kumarsabha Pustakalaya the Puraskar consists of a cheque of Rs one lakh, a memento and citation.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Bhagwat said Shri Batra is doing an exemplary work by correcting the misunderstandings and also exposing the conspiracies by some elements. Senior BJP leader  and former HRD minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and many other eminent personalities were present on the occasion.  - go Top


7. DR SUBHADRA DEVI RAI IN SINGAPORE TO BE GIVEN ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Dr Subadhra Devi Rai, a nurse and a senior lecturer at the School of Health Sciences (Nursing) at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore, will be bestowed by this year’s International Achievement Award by the Florence Nightingale International Foundation.The International Achievement Award will be presented to Rai at a conference in Seoul on June 21. The award recognises Rai’s work in the health of women and refugees, and is the first time a Singaporean will be awarded the biennial award since its introduction in 1999.  - go Top


8.  HINDUS TO BE WORLD'S 3RD LARGEST POPULATION BY 2050: Hindus will become the world's third largest population by 2050, while Bharat will overtake Indonesia as the country with the largest Muslim population, according to a new study.

According to the Pew Research Center's religious profile predictions assessed data released on Thursday, the Hindu population is projected to rise by 34 per cent worldwide, from a little over 1 billion to nearly 1.4 billion by 2050. By 2050, Hindus will be third, making up 14.9 per cent of the world's total population, followed by people who do not affiliate with any religion, accounting for 13.2 per cent, the report said. "India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia," it said. "Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion," according to the report.

In North America, the Hindu share of the population is expected to nearly double in the decades ahead, from 0.7 per cent in 2010 to 1.3 per cent in 2050, when migration is included in the projection models. Without migration, the Hindu share of the region's population would remain the same. Buddhism is the only faith that is not expected to increase its followers, due to an ageing population and stable fertility rates in Buddhist countries, such as China, Japan and Thailand. The projections considered fertility rates, trends in youth population growth and religious conversion statistics.  - go Top



9. MODI LAUNCHES INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA WEBSITE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a portal for the International Day of Yoga on 10th April at Paris, describing the ancient Bharatiya spiritual practice as capable of awakening a sense of oneness. Flanked by UNESCO Director General Irena Bukova, Modi officially launched thewww.Idayofyoga.Org website after addressing a gathering at the UNESCO headquarters that included a large number of NRIs. 

The website, developed by IT services major Tech Mahindra as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiative to "honour Modi's vision of Yoga as a globally uniting force", intends to be a one-stop solution for all information related to the International Day of Yoga, 2015.  - go Top



10.  UN MAY DECLARE YOGA BHARATIYA HERITAGE: UNESCO director general Irina Bokova said that yoga is in the list of elements to be considered by the Intangible Heritage Committee for inscription on UNESCO's register. Bokova told  "a lot of my friends have benefitted immensely both spiritually and physically by practising yoga in difficult times. It is a unique living tradition of Bharat. UNESCO's general conference in October will also look to endorse the international yoga day as spearheaded by prime minster Modi".

"It is multifaceted philosophy and tradition that unifies mind body and soul. I have read a lot about yoga and tried it too. I know that PM Modi practises yoga regularly," Bokova added.

If selected, yoga will become the 31st intangible cultural heritage that has been listed from Bharat so far with UNESCO.

The Buddhist chanting of Ladakh - recitation of sacred Buddhist texts was inscribed in 2012 as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. In 2013, Sankirtana - the ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur was inscribed while in 2014, it was the traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab. The famous Chhau dance was inscribed in 2010 on the list.  - go Top



11.  BHARAT RATNA CONFERRED ON MADAN MOHAN MALAVIYA: Three days after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was conferred on with the Bharat Ratna at his residence, freedom fighter and founder of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Madan Mohan Malaviya, too, was given the country’s highest civilian award, posthumously, by President Pranab Mukherjee on 30th March. Malaviya’s granddaughters Hem Sharma and Saraswati Sharma and grandsons Premdhar Malaviya and Girdhar Malaviya received the award for Malaviya ji who got the honour 68 years after his death.

The President gave away Padma Vibhushan to senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Sanskrit grammar expert Jagadguru Swami Rambhadracharya. The Government had announced a total of 109 Padma awardees this year. The ceremony was attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other dignitaries.  - go Top



12.  I&B MINISTRY REVIVE BOOK ON RSS ICON HEDGEWAR: Publications Division's first work on a Sangh icon after the new government came to power is out in the form of English translation of biography of Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, founder of RSS, first published in Hindi in 2003.

Plans are also on to publish similar works on two other RSS icons - Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar and Balasahab Deoras - from the Publications Division, an outfit under Information & Broadcasting ministry. "Sangh leadership wanted the translation to come out. Competent authors are being shortlisted," a source said.

Authored by Rakesh Sinha, a teacher of political science in Delhi University and also honorary director of Sangh-affiliate India Policy Foundation, the biography of Hedgewar had received effusive praise from RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat. "I give 9 marks out of 10," he had said.

Published under the Builders of Modern India series, the English edition has been slightly reworked and argues that Hedgewar was a "dedicated, righteous nationalist and a man of free will." The English edition also has 16 sepia-tinted photographs of Hedgewar, his early years and other phases of life. The book, Sinha says, is also an attempt to rescue the image of Hedgewar who he alleges has not been portrayed in "proper perspective" by Left historians. "It is a myth that Hedgewar was pro-British," Sinha claims.  - go Top



 13. TULSI GABBARD GETS MARRIED IN TRADITIONAL VEDIC CEREMONY: Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu American in the US Congress got married on 9th April in a traditional vedic ceremony in Hawaii to cinematographer Abraham Williams.

The wedding, which took place at a historic site on the island of Oahu, was performed by a Brahmin in both Sanskrit and English according to the Washington Post. Gabbard, a 33-year-old US Democrat Congresswoman from Hawaii, is also an Iraq war veteran. She is the first practicing Hindu American in the Congress who took her oath on the Bhagavad Gita.  - go Top


14. HARYANA GOVT TO EXPLORE THE HINDU HERITAGE OF SARASWATI RIVER AFRESH: Strong Hindu Iron Man of Haryana, the Chief Minister of the state, Shri Manohar Lal Khattar announced on 30th March that the State Government would ensure development of Adi Badri Heritage Board so as to further increase the importance of Adi Badri, the starting point of the mythical Saraswati River. [Actually, it is not a mythical matter; there was a rich Saraswati Civilization along with the flow of river Saraswati as per the high research and evidences on it.]

The Chief Minister while addressing his first public meeting of Sadhaura Assembly constituency said that the Government has already constituted Adi Badri Heritage Board and will ensure its progress in right direction. He also announced to start the excavation of Saraswati River which is also the biggest work for the area.

The CM Haryana also says that the proposal of renaming Mustafabad as Saraswati Nagar is also under active consideration of the Govt.

Endorsing that a memorial be made in the memory of Sikh military commander Banda Singh Bahadur, Chief Minister said, “I will like that a memorial be made here in the name of Banda Bairagi and the Government will support the same.”  - go Top


15. TORIES NAME 12 BHARATIYA ORIGIN CANDIDATES FOR UK POLLS: Britain's Conservative Party is fielding the highest number of candidates ever from black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups, including Bharatiyas for the upcoming elections. The party has chosen 45 BAME candidates in England and Wales, which does not include the 11 MPs from the grouping who are already in parliament.

The list includes 12 candidates of Bharatiya origin.

The party's four top leaders in parliament are also of Bharatiya origin — Alok Sharma who is MP from Reading West, Shailesh Vara from North West Cambridgeshire, Paul Uppal from Wolverhampton South West and Priti Patel, who is the elected member from Witham.

With just 25 days to go for the general election, the electoral database says Bharatiyas make up the largest BAME group in 175 constituencies in England and Wales. The 6.94 lakh strong Bharatiya-born population is now the largest foreign-born group in the country and is expected to play kingmaker.  - go Top


16. BAISAKHI RESOLUTION INTRODUCED IN US HOUSE: Sixteen US lawmakers led by Democrat John Garamendi have introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives, honouring the Sikh community's celebration of Vaisakhi. The bipartisan resolution was co-sponsored among others by the lone Bharatiya-American Congressman Ami Bera, Democratic co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Bharat and Bharatiya Americans, one of the largest in Congress with more than 180 members.

Noting that Vaisakhi is one of the most religiously significant days in Sikh history, commemorating the creation of the Khalsa, a fellowship of devout Sikhs, by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699, the resolution wished the Sikh American community a joyous Vaisakhi.  - go Top


17. MUSLIM GIRL FELICITATED FOR RECITING GITA: A 12-year-old Muslim young girl, studying in Class 6 of a Mira Road school in Mumbai, secured the primary spot in a Bhagwad Gita competition organized by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) recently. Mariyan, won the challenge from among 4,500 understudies who showed up for the competition. Marian, daughter of Asif Naseem Siddiqui, an editor of a local political magazine called Bartaman News, said, “My parents encouraged me to take part in the competition with a view that there is no need to hate any particular religion and it is important to know about the epics from religions to which they do not belong.”   - go Top


18. AMARAVATI CHOSEN AS NEW ANDHRA PRADESH CAPITAL: The new capital of Andhra Pradesh will be called Amaravati, after the historical capital of the Satavahana dynasty in second century A.D. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu made the announcement after a cabinet meeting on 1st April.

Mr Naidu, always a master of branding, recalled that Amaravati was a prosperous and historically important city and he said he would make the new capital region between Vijayawada and Guntur that is now to be called by the same name, the best city in the world.  - go Top


19. DHANUSH MISSILE SUCCESSFULLY TEST-FIRED FROM SHIP: Dhanush, a maneuvering missile is a naval variant of Prithvi-II, and can carry a nuclear payload of 500 kg. It was successfully test-fired from a ship on 9th April. It can target both land-based and sea-based targets. The missile has already been inducted into the armed services and the SFC personnel randomly picked up the missile from the production lot for Thursday’s trial, which was carried out as part of regular user training.

Dhanush was one of the five missiles developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme. - go Top


20. 3 BHARTIYA-AMERICANS AMONG BIGGEST PHILANTHROPISTS OF 2015: Three Bharatiya -Americans are among 50 biggest philanthropists of 2015, that includes top business honchos like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The list compiled by American lifestyle Town and Country Magazine figures New York-based Adarsh Alphons, Reshma Saujani and Shaila Ittycheria, all under 40 years of age. These are the men and women whose serious dollars, bold ideas, and old-fashioned hard work have made them the year’s most noteworthy and inspiring givers, says the magazine of people on its T C 50: The Biggest Philanthropists of 2015 list. The list also includes Mark Zuckerberg’s wife Priscilla Chan.  - go Top


21. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Saumitra Gokhale, samyojak Vishwa Vibhag will reach USA after finishing his pravas to Australia and New Zealand. Dr.Sadanand Sapre , sah samyojak started his pravas to Kenya , Uganda and Tanzania after South Africa.Visitors: Ma Ashok Kshetrapal, Yogesh – Myanmar, Ma Vijay Sharma – Thailand, Jagmohan Bharadwaj – Toronto

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Thought is not essential to existence nor its cause, but it is an instrument for becoming; I become what I see in myself. All that thought suggests to me, I can do; all that thought reveals in me, I can become. This should be man's unshakable faith in himself, because God dwells in him. – Sri Aurobindo   go Top




Operation Rahat a feather in the Centre’s cap

India's mammoth evacuation exercise in war-torn Yemen has rightly won praise from all quarters. Conducted under incredibly difficult and taxing conditions, Operation Rahat saw the Ministry of External Affairs led by Ms Sushma Swaraj, the Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force, India's national carrier Air India, Indian Railways and also some of the State Governments, work in tandem to mount a successful mission. As many as 4,640 Indian citizens and 960 foreign nationals from 41 countries, including P5 countries like the US and the UK, were evacuated, via air and sea, over a period of nine days. Two IAF C-17 Globemasters, three Air India flights, and three warships — INS Sumitra, INS Tarkash, INS Mumbai — had to be called into action.

The logistics of coordinating an operation of this scale in the middle of war zone are mind-boggling. Reaching out to thousands of people was a challenge. Then, there were the practical obstacles of unavailable airstrips, bombed out airports and docking at ports that were under fire, not to mention more mundane matters like the piles of paperwork that had to be done so that the travels adhered to international immigration laws and the limited window for flight take-offs. The operation was coordinated on the ground by the Minister of State for External Affairs, General VK Singh, who is now being celebrated as a war hero. This is possibly the first time that such a high-ranking Government leader was present in the middle of a war-zone during an evacuation operation.

At another level, there was also the diplomatic manoeuvring that had to be done to ensure that the evacuees were given safe passage. On the one hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia — who is leading the coalition of Sunni Arab states currently bombing the Shia-Houthi regime that has wrested control in Yemen — and requested his assistance. New Delhi and Riyadh coordinated short time-frames during which the coalition halted its bombing and allowed Indian planes to fly in and out of Yemen, even though a no-fly zone was in place. On the other hand, Indian authorities also worked with the Houthis on the ground, who controlled the airport in Sana'a, for example, so that the people could reach the different points of departure and exit the country safely. It will be interesting to see if this evacuation becomes a stepping stone for India to assume a larger role as the region's human security provider. Traditionally, it's the Americans and the British who have shouldered this responsibility.

Operation Rahat has been such a huge success because it was built on experiences and lessons learnt from several such situations in the past. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring alone, India had conducted two rescue missions each from Libya and Iraq, in 2011 and 2014, and another one from Egypt in 2011. The Government had also carried out similar missions during the 2006 Lebanon war and the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. During the first Gulf War in 1990, India evacuated more than 1,10,000 people from Iraq and Kuwait, using nearly 500 Air India flights and, later, even cruise ships. That remains the world's largest civil evacuation till date. (The  Pioneer, 14 April 2015)   go Top



 P M Mathew

In a landmark judgment recently, an appeals court in California ruled that yoga is secular, “devoid of religious or mystical trappings”, and can be taught in schools without violating students’ religious freedom. The ruling was in response to a 2013 lawsuit filed in a trial court by worried Christian parents of Encinitas town, who claimed that Ashtanga yoga classes introduced in a local elementary school were promoting Hinduism among their children. After a careful review of the extensive evidence presented in the trial court, the judges concluded that “the yoga programme is secular in purpose and does not have any primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and does not excessively entangle the school district in religion. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court properly determined that the district’s yoga programme does not violate our state constitution”.

The ancient Indian system of yoga is a holistic science whose function is to integrate personality at all levels of existence. It unifies and restores balance and harmony. Yoga is held as a way of life that has evolved over centuries. The main philosophical logic behind yoga is that through it our body and soul learn to coexist with nature. Now, yoga is even considered a cure for many ailments and a rehabilitation strategy for alcoholics. It has the potential to transcend all ideologies and philosophies with its ability to unite people. Yoga, coordinated and systematised by Patanjali in his yoga sutras, is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy. It is an eternal and practical science evolved over thousands of years aiming at the physical, mental, moral and spiritual well-being of man.

The word “yoga” derives from the Sanskrit root yug, meaning to control and to contemplate. It is a technique of attaining samadhi—a state of super consciousness. According to Patanjali, yoga is the cessation of all mental modifications or fluctuations. Developed and popularised by K Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga yoga prescribes eight limbs or steps. They are yama or moral codes to be followed by everyone, niyama or self-purification, asanas or steady postures, pranayama involving inspiration, holding the breath and expiration, pratyhara or withdrawal of senses, dharana or concentration, dhyana or meditation and samadhi or union with the divine.

Anti-yoga activists fail to see the spiritual aspects of yoga. To many, the benefits of yoga are only at the body level. They fail to realise its potential benefits in uniting the body, mind and breath. Besides physical benefits like a strong and confident body, regular yoga provides us mental, psychological and neurological benefits. Yoga enhances our intuitive and creative capabilities.

The renewed global interest in yoga is mainly because of its health potential. It is time to understand the spiritual dimensions of yoga. Yogic spirituality is not just about healthy living. As Rev Joseph Pereira, a Mumbai-based Catholic priest and proponent of Iyengar Yoga, says, most people, however, have reduced yoga to acrobatics, but yoga is not just a work out, it is a work in.

Accepting a proposal by prime minister Narendra Modi, the UN General Assembly on December 11, 2014, adopted June 21 as International Day of Yoga. This is in recognition of the capability of yoga to provide a holistic approach to the health and well-being of the global population. Following the UN resolution, it is expected that this 6000-plus-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice will be gaining support from the governments of various countries.

The day will be marked by practising yoga, meditation, debates, meetings, discussions and cultural performances. Programmes should be held to make people understand the positive changes in lifestyle that yoga can bring about and how it can improve their well-being.

The government and education planners in the country can seriously think of making yoga a compulsory subject in the curriculum. The subject area consisting of health education, physical education and yoga must be integrated. Students must understand how asana, pranayama and meditation affect the systems of the human body and mind. Since yoga emphasises practices of ethics, movement and meditation that have been applied in several religious traditions, there is more scope for developing a universally acceptable yoga curriculum for our schools and universities. (The New Indian Express, April 16, 2015)  go Top