Religious Brouhaha over Yoga Day and Ray of Hope from the Indian Orthodox Church

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The hallucinating “greatness” of belief, any belief, is just a stone’s throw away from complete oblivion.  For, a belief is only as long as your memory is.  A hit by a stone on your head can take away the belief, the god, the prophet, and god’s kith and kin away to land of nowhere.  You remain, but no god and no belief.

Something as ephemeral as belief – a stone’s impact away from complete annihilation – comes so much in our way of well-being these days.

The world has announced June 21 as the International Yoga Day.  A day to celebrate Yoga, the gift of India’s spiritual treasure.  A treasure that dates to a time, where there was no religion and no messengers or prophets of any god.

From a time when Yoga was considered to be a “woman’s passtime” we have come to an age when Yoga is now confirmed to lead to miraculous impact on health.  Whether it is recovery or prevention or simply keeping one’s mental health at peak, the impact of Yoga is now scientifically confirmed.

Yet, many oppose it because it goes against their religion.  “We don’t want to bow down” or “We don’t want to fold hands” or “We don’t like Aum”… et al, and the list goes on and on.

If Yoga were a car – then the situation would be akin to people looking at this Rolls Royce and marveling at its amazing quality and yet at the same time hating its parts.  “Throw out its engine, its electrical system, its brakes and replace with those from my bicycle!  Only then will it be something that I would want to ride!”.  If bicycle could give the quality of a Rolls Royce, why didn’t the scientists use that for post cardiac surgery recovery instead of Yoga?

You don’t need to believe in Shiva or Krishna to benefit from Yoga.  Heck, even Krishna himself didn’t believe in Krishna to embody Yoga’s greatness.  Ditto for Shiva.  But you cannot take away Aum out of Yoga just as you cannot take out Rolls Royce’s engine out and hope it will work the same way.  For, Aum is not a religious articulation.  At the cusp of manifest and the unmanifest lies a sound.  That sound, which Nanak referred to in Japji’s first line and Jesus talks of in John 1:1, is Aum.

It’s utterance doesn’t make you against anything or anybody… it instead makes you aligned with EVERYTHING!  Everything that is manifest and that which is in the realm of unmanifest.  For, that is the only bridge.  The gateway.

The heritage of Yoga has always brought people to their inner self, whenever they set foot on Indian soil.  The impact of the full expanse of Yoga has been so widespread and all-encompassing!  That is why it is particularly disheartening and sad to read and hear things that are so utterly devoid of basic common sense:

Muslim group, AIMIM:

“We object if yoga is made compulsory, suryanamaskar is against the basic teaching of Islam. We are not against any form of exercise but why aren’t they making martial arts or any other form of physical activity compulsory,” asks All India Majlis-e-Itehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi.

The All-India Muslim Personal law Board (AIMPLB)

“Narendra Modi is functioning like the PM of RSS and not as the PM of India… It is dangerous for the secular fabric of the country,” AIMPLB spokesperson Maulana Abdul Raheem Qureshi reportedly said.

Catholic Bishops Conference

The government’s assurance notwithstanding, there were reports that the Catholic Bishops Conference of India has expressed displeasure over the decision to organise Yoga Day on Sunday, considered “sacred” by Christians.

Political parties:

“The PM is known for headline management in everything. He’s holding a yoga event for a day but does he practice it himself? He doesn’t realise that India is a composite culture,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said.

In this rather gloomy atmosphere, there is a ray of hope.  The very wonderful and sane announcement from the Indian Orthodox Church in Ahmedabad on International Yoga Day.

Press release from Indian Orthodox Church on Yoga Day

Featured Image source: Flickr

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