Part2 – Celebrating International Day of Yoga … Facts on Yoga.

H.E. Kumar Tuhin (in Utthit Padmasana)

The International Day of Yoga is celebrated by huge gatherings around the world, but this year by “stay home” the celebration is difference when the world is locked in with the corona virus but it can’t stop from celebrating, do Yoga within our home, or in a park keeping in mind the social distance. Two billion people, nearly 1/3 of our population on this planet taking interest in Yoga, many of them are doing Yoga.

Some thoughts not in a nutshell on Yoga by – Kumar Tuhin Ambassador of India to Hungary.

We have celebrated the 6th International Day of Yoga on June 21.  As the world is still grappling with the corona pandemic, this year’s Yoga Day will be very different. Instead of gathering outside in parks or public places, we will all be doing Yoga from home to honor this timeless practice, in keeping with the requirement of social distancing. And, when we practice Yoga from home and with  our family members this Sunday, it will be important to remind ourselves once again of the  universal message of Yoga, which is  as much about realizing our inner self and our place in the nature as it is about keeping ourselves physically healthy.

The word ‘Yoga’ comes from Sanskrit root word ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’.  So, the question naturally is, ‘to join’ with what?  About 2500 years ago, Maharishi (Sage) Patanjali compiled his famous book ‘Yoga Sutra’, putting together the principles of Yoga which had already been in practice in India for a few millennia. In this book, Maharishi Patanjali has explained the different tools and paths for ‘Yoga’ and not surprisingly, many of these have not much to do with physical exercises but with achieving mental and emotional harmony with the nature around us, and realizing our oneness with the universal consciousness.   

The fact that matter (and therefore we) are one and the same as universal consciousness is quite a strong philosophical tradition in India, known as ‘Adwaita (a-duality)’.  This has also been realized by modern science now. The quantum field theory is currently an active area of research.  Discovery of fundamental particles has always been an area of great interest for modern physics, and some time ago we thought we would soon find all those fundamental particles that form the basic building blocks of matter in the universe.  But many decades later, a realization has dawned that this search would never end. Or, to put it differently, we may be searching in the wrong direction.  During my school days, we studied Schrödinger’s wave equation that told us we could only find the probability density associated with a particle because the exact location of the particle was not possible to be determined.    Now, we learn that matter may not actually be made out of matter. Hans Peter Durr, former director of the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich had stated that after decades of painstaking research his most important discovery was that matter just did not exist as we know.  What we see as matter is actually fluctuations (waves) in quantum field, and the fundamental reality of universe is not matter but fields which are constantly moving and changing. 

It is indeed fascinating to imagine matter just popping out of these quantum field fluctuations and then also disappearing in these.  Like waves originating in the ocean and disappearing.  But waves are not distinct from the ocean, they are the ocean. We too may be like these waves formed out of this ocean of universal consciousness (or the ocean of quantum field fluctuations) and dissolving back in the same.   Now, in the backdrop of this interesting scientific explanation, the Sanksrit root word ‘Yuj’ for Yoga, which means ‘to join’ starts to make sense.   A guru once told me that when you sit in a yogic posture, close your eyes and practice ‘Pranayam’ (breathing exercise) your skin should just “melt away” and your inside should become a part of what is around you.Fortunately, the awareness about Yoga and its scientific and philosophical basis is now extensive across the world.  Nobody will ask you if you would be able to walk on fire or be able to eat glasses after practicing Yoga.  The positive impact of Yoga on our holistic health is well acknowledged and admired. There are numerous diseases, especially those that are caused due to our modern lifestyle and stresses that can be effectively tackled with Yoga.

This is a true story of a person I know. We were together in school but later could keep in touch only occasionally.  So, when I was posted in India the last time, I learnt that he had not been keeping well. I called him to enquire about his well being. “I have just been reborn after facing a frightening experience on health front”, he told me on phone.  “Everything was going well, till I developed severe pain in my leg muscles, which slowly started decaying. Doctors described it as one of the auto-immune diseases and prescribed me different categories of medicines one after another, but nothing worked”, he told me with a tinge of pain in his voice.  “When nothing worked,  and I had resigned myself to the fate, someone pointed me to an Ayurveda and Yoga research centre, which thankfully admitted me and systematically went about removing the toxins from my body through a scientific system of food, massages, exercises and brought me back from the brink”,  he added, “You should also go there for one or two weeks every year just for getting the toxins out from your body.”  

There would be numerous such instances.  And, there is a huge body of literature on Yoga, including by well known experts and gurus.

H.E. Kumar Tuhin  ending this chapter said: “Yoga is not an esoteric philosophical doctrine. It is for everyone, for people of all ages, and people with different physical capacities and conditions.  We need to experiment with it and tailor it to our needs. Even when we have information about other people’s experiences, sometimes we still need to experience it ourselves to make it our own.”

Philosopher Sri Aurobindo Q.: “When mind is still, then truth gets her chance to be heard in the purity of the silence”. 

Aggie Reiter



%d bloggers like this: