Yoga across religions (old post)

Feb 25, 2008

Given the growing levels of intolerance for other religions, not only in the secular state of India, but world over, it is hard to believe that genuine cases of communal harmony still exist.

Though, living in the Indian secular state, where people of different religions, be it Hindus, Sikhs, Christian, Jews or Muslims have been living together since time immemorial, I find it little out of place to report an issue like ?communal harmony?, I would not like the following to go unreported.

In a recently concluded international yoga competition that was held in Surat (Gujarat), people from different walks of life, different countries and religions participated. Before you argue that yoga knows no barriers in today?s world and that the famous Indian yoga guru, late Maharishi Yogi took the ancient science to the rock band, Beetles; read on?..

What was magnificent about the competition, was not the fact that it witnessed a record participation from across the globe, but the fact that people from the  ?Muslim? dominated Kashmir took part in the ?Hindu? based art form competition. What was applaudable, was the fact that participants from the Kashmir valley, shedding all inhibitions about religion, displayed various yoga postures.

You may again wonder what is applaudable about Kashmiri?s taking to the ancient Indian art form which is now famous in foreign shores as well. Apparently, the form of science believed to be indigenous to India is not popular in Kashmir owning to the fear of the people to accept the ?Hindu? art form. The locals find the recitation and chanting of ?OM? as a part of the yoga ?asanas? a ?Hindu? act and hence have not accepted it. But there are many in the valley, who are hell bent on spreading the message of peace and harmony through yoga. And interestingly, they have replaced the ?Om? with ?Allah?.

In normal circumstances, I would have created an issue out of this and talked about how ?small? people can think and how ?micro? their outlook is. But, this is one case, which deserves an exception. I am sure no one would mind the ?Allah? there as long as the strife-torn Kashmir valley is making all efforts to catch up with the rest of the world.

Hope, radical Hindu organizations do not find this as an opportunity to play their murky games. Hope, this simple and innocent idea does not snowball into any controversy…

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