New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked people to embrace yoga for “highest divine perfection” and to combat greed and violence.
Addressing the International Conference on Yoga for Holistic Health here, Modi also said that while yoga may have originated in India, it draws energy from the millions who practice it around the world.
Doing yoga regularly helps to reduce greed, violence, cost of healthcare and conflicts within communities and between nations.
“It is a reflection of the largest knowledge based peoples’ movement the world has ever seen,” he said, referring to the International Yoga Day when millions did yoga around the world.
“A movement of people whose lives have been touched, been changed by yoga… We will take this movement forward to aim for better health, more fulfilled lives and more connected communities.”
Modi, who proposed an international yoga day at the UN General Assembly in September 2014, said he never thought it would draw such “unprecedented response”.
The proposal was adopted by the 193-member UN with a record 177 countries co-sponsoring it. “This is a big development in the history of UN.”
Modi, who spoke for over 30 minutes, said millions around the world were participating in the international yoga day on Sunday.
“From sunrise in the far east to sunset in the farthest corner of the western hemisphere, people will join in this great celebration of yoga today. I acknowledge with all humility that this support is not just for India.”
But global expectations would rise significantly from India. “It is our duty to take yoga to the world in its correct form, and in a form relevant to the times.”
Speaking on the virtues of yoga, Modi said it leads to greater fulfilment in life and paves way for realization of highest divine perfection.
He said the evolution of the individual through yoga results in reduction of greed, coarseness and violence in thought and action.
This, he added, further cut “cost of healthcare, reduction in conflicts and misunderstandings within families, communities, and between nations”.
He said that stress and lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension could be handled with yoga.
And in a world of excesses and materialism, yoga offered restraint and balance.
“In a world suffering from mental stress, yoga promises calm. In a distracted world, yoga creates focus, creates concentration. In a world of fear, yoga promises strength and courage. A healthy body and a disciplined mind are the foundations of a world free from fear. In crafting a new self through yoga, we create a new world,” Modi said.
Citing Swami Vivekananda, Modi said each soul was potentially divine and the goal was to manifest the divinity by controlling internal and external nature.
“It is this freedom that will free us from misunderstandings, from doubt, from conflict, and lead us towards world peace.”
Referring to the challenges posed by global warming, Modi said yoga showed the way to consumption that was healthy, balanced and in tune with nature.
Citing the Bhagavad Gita, Modi said “yoga is excellence at work”.
“There is nobody who does not want to live life to the full. Yoga is the key to living life to its full.”
He said yoga was a “user manual” of the human body.
Modi, who released a Rs.100 and a Rs.10 coins and a stamp to mark the occasion, said people often think that yoga was just about exercises. It’s a philosophy of discipline and meditation, he said.