Saturday, June 6, 2015

Yoga – Is it religious?

There is lot of debate going on regarding Surya Namaskar and how celebrating Yoga day is being insensitive of religious freedom of other religions. This blog post of mine is to express my opinion about the whole issue.

I am a Hindu and I do Surya Namaskar. May not be regularly but atleast 3-4 times in a week. After doing Surya Namaskar I feel energetic and lively and it helps start my day on a positive note. When I do Surya Namaskar, I am mentally reciting the 12 names of the Sun God at different positions involved in it. So for me it is a combination of physical exercise and worship of Sun God.

Now, suppose a non-believer or someone practicing some other religion does Surya Namaskar, he or she need not recite the names of the Sun God and need not perceive it as worship of Sun God. They can always consider it like any other cardio vascular exercise that gets your heart pumping. If that doesn’t work out well, then one may remember their own God when doing the Surya Namaskar. A Christian may visualize Jesus Christ, a Muslim may consider it as bowing in respect of Allah similar to when offering Namaz. Do note here that I am not in favor of imposing Yoga or Surya Namaskar on anyone. I do not think the government of this country will ever be able to do it because of our democratic setup. In fact, I am of the opinion that no person on this planet should be forced to do Yoga or Surya Namaskar. Not even Hindus. 

I take pride in the fact that Hinduism is one of the few religions if not the only religion which does not force you to read the religious books. Even going to temples is not mandatory. It gives freedom of choice. You are even allowed to debate about what is written in the religious books because what was right 5000 years ago may not be true in this age. Hinduism also encourages you to explore and find your own meaning for God. This is why we have so many Gods and Goddesses. It is how different people have perceived the supreme power in his or her own way. As per Hinduism, just doing your prescribed duty with utmost sincerity is considered as worship of God. 

I would like to conclude my blog by stating that religion and religious thoughts should help unite people and not divide them. The good in all religions should be welcomed and the bad in any religion should be condemned by one and all. Ultimately, worshiping of God is a matter of devotion which comes from the heart. If there is no heart involved, how can it be termed as worship?


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