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Yoga not religious; an antidote to violence, conflict: Sushma Swaraj

PTI United Nations | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on June 21, 2015

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India today said Yoga should not be seen as belonging to any particular religion and the ancient spiritual practice can serve as the “perfect antidote” to stem “negative tendencies” and move humanity on the path of peace in a world beset by violence and conflict.

Addressing the first International Day of Yoga celebrations at the UN, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, “The entire world is one family, and we can unite it with Yoga“.

“At a time when ethnic conflicts and extremist violence are threatening to destabilise societies, Yoga can serve as the perfect antidote to stem such negative tendencies and move us on the path of harmony and peace,” she said.

“I am confident that Yoga can also become a potent tool for the United Nations to promote the message of brotherhood and amity in the finest Indian tradition of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’,” she said.

“It is not often that both occasion and location match each other in scale. Here, in this historic place that was built to protect succeeding generations from the scourge of war, we gather to celebrate an ancient treasure — India’s own gift to the world.

“Yoga literally means to join, to unite, and we see the International Day of Yoga as the perfect platform to bring the world together in a spirit of unity and harmony,” Swaraj said.

“Yoga is neither a religion, nor should it be seen as belonging to any particular religion. It is a science, the science of well-being, the science of integrating body, mind and soul, the science of actualising our true potential.

Yoga began in India some five thousand years ago. But it was given the ultimate seal of international acclaim only last year by the UN, she said.

The gathering at the UN included Ban Ki—moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, Sam Kutesa, President of the General Assembly, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

“And this is the place where it all began,” Swaraj said recalling that on the September 27 last year when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had first made the proposal in the UN General Assembly to have an International Day of Yoga.

“I should, first and foremost, thank all the 192 other member states for their full support which allowed our Resolution declaring 21 June as the International Day of Yoga to be adopted by consensus.

In particular, I thank the 176 other member states who, by co—sponsoring the resolution, took equal ownership of the initiative. That the resolution was adopted within 75 days of Prime Minister Modi proposing it bears evidence to the fact that it was an idea whose time had come,” she said.

Published on June 21, 2015
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