International Yoga Day celebrations at Red Fort-Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu

Happy that Yoga is becoming a people’s movement;
Include Yoga in school curriculum to combat lifestyle diseases and ensure physical fitness and mental equilibrium: Vice President

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for popularizing Yoga and making it part of the school curriculum to promote healthy lifestyles and combat growing incidence of non-communicable diseases in the country.

Participating in the International Yoga Day celebrations organized by Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Vishwa Vidyalaya at the historic Red Fort grounds, here today, the Vice President said the ancient Indian practice not only ensures physical fitness and mental equilibrium but also inculcates discipline. He urged the Centre and various State Governments to make yoga part of the school curriculum.

Observing that improper food habits were causing harm to health, Shri Naidu cautioned the people, particularly the youngsters against eating junk food. “Instant food means constant disease”, he said the indigenous food practices handed down by our forefathers suited each season and region and need to be adopted.

Pointing out that people are encountering tremendous pressures in daily lives, the Vice President said there is a great need to introduce to the subtle science of Yoga, which everyone can use not just to achieve physical well-being, but also to lead a better life by making enlightened choices.

Observing that Yoga entails simplicity, honesty, compassion, and respect for all creatures and nature, Shri Naidu said the single-dimensional pursuit for more resources, wealth, pleasure and power was leading to erosion of values, ethics and indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources. “We are now seeing the result of all this in the form of climate change and growing inequalities. We need to arrest this craving for materialistic pursuits”, he added.

The Vice President said that Yoga aims at ‘balance’ and ‘equanimity’ and called for avoiding reckless exploitation of nature and excessive consumption. “Sustainability has to be the new mantra. ‘Balance’ is at the heart of sustainability. And that ‘balance’ in all spheres starting with physical well – being is what yoga is all about”, the Vice President stressed.

Stating that Yoga reflects the Bharatiya way of life of co-existing harmoniously with the nature and all other living creatures, Shri Naidu said that a true yogi develops harmonious relationships with the self, others and the environment that form the foundation of healthy societies and a healthy planet. ‘We must love and live with nature, nature and culture for a better future”, he added.

Expressing his happiness over the increasing popularity of Yogaall over the globe, the Vice President said that it was a matter of pride for the country that following Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s initiative, the International Day of Yoga is being celebrated across the world every year on June 21.

The Vice President also practiced a few Yoga Asanas on the occasion along with 30 thousand Yoga Sadhakas gathered at the celebration.

Text of PM’s address on International Yoga Day Celebrations in Ranchi, Jharkhand

Later, a book titled ‘Siridhanyalu (Millets) – Food That Heals” was presented by Dr. Kahdar Vali, a proponent of healthy food habits and Shri Venkateshwar, Chairman of Rythu Nestham Foundation to the Vice President.

The Chief of Brahma Kumaris, Mount Abu, Rajyogini Dadi Janki, the Director of Om Shanti Retreat Centre, Gurugram, BK Sister Asha, the Regional Coordinator of Brahma Kumaris for Russia and CIS, BK Sister Chakradhari, the Director, Brahma Kumaris Centre, New Delhi, BK Sister Pushpa, the Additional Secretary General, Bhahma Kumaris, Mount Abu, BK Brother Brij Mohan, the National Trustee, Lotus Temple & Baha’i Community of India, Dr. A.K. Merchant, the Head Priest, Gauri Shankar Temple, Chandni Chowk, Pandit Shivanand Mishra, the Priest & Hon. Secretary, Judah Hyam Syngogue, New Delhi, Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac Malekar, the Head Priest, Gurudwara Sisganj Sahib, Chandni Chowk, Delhi, Giani Harnam Singh, the Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, Janab Firoz Bakht Ahmed, the Independent Scientist & Expert on Health & Food, Dr. Khadar Vali, the Chairman of Rythu Nestham Foundation, Shri Venkateshwar and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

“Learned speakers on the dais and Brahma Kumari Sisters and Brothers in this assembly,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya for having organized this event at the historic Red Fort Ground and inviting me to be the Chief Guest.

It is a matter of pride for the country that following Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s initiative, the International Day of Yoga is being celebrated across the world every year on June 21.

It was on December 11th 2014, the U.N. General Assembly approved by consensus a resolution establishing June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga’. The resolution received backing from 177 countries.

Yoga is now widely recognized as a means to achieve and maintain physical fitness and health. Yoga, however, is not just a form of physical exercise, to be practiced for a few minutesevery day.

It is a holistic discipline which leads to a healthy state of mind, robust body and complete well-being of an individual.

Yoga also means union – of spirit and matter, thought and action, man and nature. A true yogi develops harmonious relationships with the self, others and the environment that form the foundation of healthy societies and a healthy planet.

Yoga is a way of life that entails simplicity, honesty, compassion, and respect for all creatures and nature. It is a lifestyle based on non-violence at every level – in thoughts, feelings, words and actions.

Yoga advocates that to the extent we reduce the external paraphernalia in our life, and even clear away the clutter of our mind, the more we will be able to concentrate and find inner peace.

It is this aspect of yoga that needs to be popularized today, when people’s outlook and lifestyles have become materialistic. The single-dimensional pursuit for more resources, wealth, pleasure and power is leading to erosion of values, ethics and indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources. We are now seeing the result of all this in the form of climate change and growing inequalities. We need to arrest this craving for materialistic pursuits.

Yoga aims for ‘balance’ and ‘equanimity’, ‘peace’, ‘poise’ and ‘grace’. It is a sublime expression of the quest for excellence, for synthesis and for harmony. It is an eloquent epitome of the Indian world view. It reflects the Bharatiya way of life of co-existing harmoniously with the nature and all other living creatures.

We are living in times of great challenges, of unprecedented change in unpredictable directions.  The way we live, learn, work and enjoy is changing rapidly. The lifestyles are getting transformed through technology. We are making significant progress in our relentless quest for economic growth and prosperity, in enhancing convenience and comfort, in enriching our knowledge and skills, in enlarging our choices for entertainment and education.

We need to avoid reckless exploitation of nature and excessive consumption. Sustainability has to be the new mantra. ‘Balance’ is at the heart of sustainability. And that ‘balance’ in all spheres starting with physical well – being is what yoga is all about.

At a time when people are encountering tremendous pressures in daily lives, there is a great need to introduce to the subtle science of yoga, which everyone can use not just to achieve physical well-being, but also to lead a better life by making enlightened choices.

As we all are aware, Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India possibly around the 5th century BC. We need to propagate and preserve this holistic practice by making it a part of the school curriculum as it not only ensures physical fitness and mental equilibrium but also inculcates discipline.This is all the more necessary in the wake of changing lifestyles and growing incidence of non-communicable diseases in the country.

I have been visiting various foreign countries as part of strengthening bilateral ties with those nations. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Yoga practice has become hugely popular all over the globe.

I have learnt that quite a few schools in some countries, including the USA have introduced Yoga as a part of the school curriculum for children. I have seen yoga centres in many countries like, for example, Peru. In Costa Rica, a Presidential decree was issued declaring all activities and initiatives related to promotion of Yoga and Meditation to be in public interest.

A yogic perspective enables us to see the wider implications of our actions, and makes us aware of our role and responsibilities as an inseparable part of the universal scheme of things.

I am happy to know that Brahma Kumaris arrange programs on June 21 every year to promote yoga as a healthy way of life combining physical exercise and meditation.

Jaihind!”

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