By Udayshanker Kasinadhuni
The article — Theft of yoga — by Aseen Shukla published in India Tribune dated May 22, contends that yoga has become a universally popular spiritual exercise and that it is a $6-billion industry.
The very idea that yoga should be reduced to a business enterprise fighting for trademark rights or franchise and a monopoly of Hinduism is a blot against the very spirituality for which it stands. Yoga as a Sanskrit word and a Hindu concept is not denied by Webster’s Dictionary. A rose by any other name is still a rose so also yoga in that sense is a universally acknowledged practice beneficial to one and all irrespective of caste, color or creed. The very word “yoga” means integration of “One” with the “Whole.” As long as it finds universal appeal and adherence by many of all faiths, then it has served the higher purpose of universal spirit a God common to all. Yoga means no divisions but an infinite Unity. If in it we can forget our diversity and achieve equality and fraternity with “one and all,” then indeed we would achieve the ultimate goal or Moksha freedom from fear and consequent hatred the state of ultimate bliss, love and compassion.
Fear comes from misunderstanding of diversity for only in acknowledgement of “unity in spirit” there is spontaneous unreserved uninhibited love and compassion. There is no place for competition and envy in the practice of yoga for the very first aphorism of Patanjali condemns all mental afflictions and concoctions. It is to be noted at this juncture that the word “Hindu” is absent in the Vedas and Puranas because they advocate for the entire human race. Therefore, the sacred text of the Bhagavad-Gita refers Itself as Brahma Vidya knowledge of The Absolute, and as a “yoga” union with That Absolute, as a “Shastra” a universal science and finally as an Upanishad sitting alone within That Spirit of Absolute Unity.
The word “Hindu” thus does not stand for any division amongst humans and that very idea is an anathema or anachronism in the philosophy of the Vedas. Yoga stands for unity and not diversity, and fighting for trademark rights defeats its very spirit.