To be content and complete (not happy or successful) in life and have a purpose to commit to (not a career of mundane routine), a human being needs Character more than the Caliber. This could be achieved only when 3 elements forming the being are perfectly in tune with each other creating a harmonious melody of life. Body or physique essentially is the first element as it is absolutely visible, touchable and could be felt with all of the five senses. Moreover, it is the abode for the other two, at least for the life time till that particular body has life in material world.
Second element is the Brain or Mind. Although it’s debatable and always been so since Human discovered its unique power of thinking, reasoning and analyzing the matter, whether Brain and Mind is one and the same thing or entirely two different territories; for this context of post we will consider it one and the same to avoid further deliberations on the vast subject that is not the premises of this article. And the third and actually most important but unfortunately least understood, is the Soul or Spirit. Same rule will apply for this concept as Brain or Mind and we would presume the Soul and Spirit as equal and interchangeable concepts.
Body needs nutrition to sustain, exercise to develop and rest to retain. Mind needs learning to understand, intellect to analyze and emotions to feel. Soul needs knowledge to expand, experience to empathize and realization to liberate. Although conventional education system provides most, if not all, of it, there is an evident gap in the Skills learner could acquire through any school curriculum.
The Education Report 2015 by World Economic Forum in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group, talks about 10 Life Essential ‘Competencies’ and ‘Character Qualities’ that the current education system worldwide lacks in. The competencies include – Creativity, Communication, Collaboration and the Character Qualities include – Curiosity, Initiative, Persistence, Adaptability, Leadership and Social and Cultural Awareness.
In a report on condition of senior citizens, Mathew Cherian, CEO of HelpAge NGO India, says – “The degeneration of our value system has heightened this problem. Children are turning abusers. There is a dire need to sensitize them, starting young. HelpAge has started a unique HUG campaign which stands for Help Unite Generations, aiming to do just that”
Both the reports above indicate a single thing – lack of Holistic Development of a Being as he or she grows to become an Adult and a responsible as well as responsive element of the society with a good balance of Sturdy Physique, Superior Intelligence, Sensitive Mind and Spiritual Resilience. Although there could be number of methods and manners these could be achieved independently, the most important aspect of the personality is the integration of all these as a single being. This integration of all the aspects in a being is not only crucial for the individual but rather far more vital to the societal scenario as society is formed by the individuals and they must function individually but resonate collectively towards desirable as well as inclusive development of it.
The only tool that has been proven to be not just effective but empowering to achieve this alignment of individual and society to universe through meditation is practicing the 6000 year old Indian Yoga! Yoga is neutral therapy of overall wellbeing of the being without any constraint of Age, Gender or Ethnicity. That way it could be termed as the only universal thing apart from Love, Compassion and Humanity. The maddening speed of today’s rampant and destructive materialistic development has its roots in a person’s approach to and expectation from the mortal life he or she has. Apart from instant gratification, insecurity and impulsiveness there is a quality of human character that catalyzes the linear growth of GDP – the ever insatiable want of finding pleasure in things… in simple words – Greed!
Although it’s been established and even accepted by the human race that it has already caused irrecoverable damage to the environment and spread the disparity to the appalling extent; it also remains a fact, however poignant it may seem that this giant wheel of development cannot be reversed.
In all its totality and with a 3600 overview of the situation, all that could be done is to make the human little composed and in tune with its ecosystem and the universe. A child finds pleasure in playing with a toy only till the moment it can get hold of a bigger, better and more engaging and exciting plaything. Once it finds the new thing more interesting, it forgets about its previous toy in no time. Such is the structure of human mind and its involvement with pleasure.
Similarly the adult human needs to evolve to a point where it can find pleasure in an enlightening and liberating means rather than entrapping and slavering things. Only YOGA has this power to take a Human Being on that joyride where the joy could be seamless and ride could be smooth.
In response to the call for the adoption of 21 June as International Day of Yoga by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 wherein he stated:
"Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness within yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day."
June 21 was declared as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 2014. India must feel absolutely proud and privileged to be the host of Yoga for 6 Millenniums and must lead this incredible movement right from the front. Way to go…!
[Previously published on 21 June 2015, the First International Yoga Day]