Modi cautions against ‘commodifying’ yoga

Modi also said yoga is a medium to check greed, violence, cost of health care and conflicts.

June 21, 2015 02:05 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:30 pm IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday cautioned against “commodifying” yoga, saying using it as some sort of business will do great damage to this world heritage.

Inaugurating the first international conference on yoga for holistic health in New Delhi, Mr. Modi also said yoga is a medium to check greed, violence, cost of health care and conflicts and also a means to enhance effective team work and maintaining ecological balance.

“If we make yoga a commodity, then maximum damage to it will be done by us. Yoga is not a commodity, yoga is not a brand which has to be sold,” he said cautioning against one-upmanship on the issue, insisting that the ancient practice does not belong to any one person, community or the country but to the whole world.

Drawing attention to boards of “pure ghee” shops in the market, Mr. Modi said that 50 years back these were never seen but today they are because money is there.

“This should never happen in relation to yoga. Never should a time come when we hear that only my yoga is true and all the rest are uselessly holding their nose and spending dollars. This is not a trade or organisation but a state of mind ( vyapaar ya vyavastha nahin avastha hai ).

“This (yoga) is the contribution from the soil of India for the good of human beings. People outside India have also worked on it. We have to acknowledge this. We should not seize it as our fiefdom (bapouti). This belongs to the whole world,” the Prime Minister said addressing the inaugural session of the two-day conference being attended by delegates of 26 countries.

Noting that changes are also going to come in yoga with the passage of time, he said that it has to be made more modern, more scientific adapting to different conditions in different regions.

Under attack from Congress for “usurping” the traditional form, Mr. Modi stressed that yoga is “not the brainchild of a government” or the United Nations but a gift from generations and said that he is “indebted” to all the governments and all the countries across the world.

The Prime Minister, who had mooted the proposal to celebrate International Yoga Day (IYD) during his first address to the UN General Assembly in September last year, had been tweeting various asanas daily in the run up to IYD.

Mr. Modi said that though yoga originated in India, it is a collective gift to humanity.

He quoted profusely from scriptures, including Bhagvad Gita, saying India promises to reach out to all to foster a culture of inclusiveness and that of making one global family in which all are happy and disease free (‘ sarve bhavantu sukhin, sarve bhavantu niramaya’ ).

The Prime Minister also released a Rs. 5 rupee stamp and coins of Rs. 10 and Rs. 100 on IYD brought out by the Postal Department and the Finance Ministry.

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