Propagating virtues of yoga

Flexibility reigns.  

LITTLE DID this yoga expert know that he would be accorded a virtual red-carpet welcome in Lisbon last month, as an invitee for participation in the 17th International Yoga Conference and Yoga Championship.

For `Yogiraj' N. Ramalingam, founder of the Swamy Sivananda Yoga Research Centre at Thanakankulam near Madurai, his participation in his capacity as the Joint Secretary, Yoga Federation of India and the Hon. Secretary General, Tamil Nadu Yoga Association, should have been a foregone conclusion. But it was not so. Despite his keenness in making it to the International conference, he had to keep his fingers crossed till the last moment owing to economic factors when the former Lions district governor, Gopalakrishna Raja, came forward to bear the entire expenses right from to-and-fro flight tickets to CDs on yoga. Mr. Ramalingam released the CDs during his stay in Portugal from July 17 to 21.

Though the Yoga Federation of India has been recognised by the Indian Olympic Association, the association does not provide funds for the federation's activities in the country and abroad, says Mr. Ramalingam. But, he has no complaints.

He was confident of leading the 45-member Indian contingent to Portugal.

Mr. Gopalakrishna Raja extended his gesture after impressed by Mr. Ramalingam's one-week meditation without food and water at his ashram to herald a peaceful 2002.

Mr. Ramalingam said he never felt out of place all through his visit. During his onward journey, he was helped at Frankfurt by a Tamilian of Sri Lankan origin, in his capacity as an airport officer. Later on, in Portugal, it was his turn to infuse life into the programmes.

By making all the 300 participants from 20 countries, including Italy, Russia, Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada and Ukraine besides India, pay obeisance to the portraits of the `Siddhars' he had taken alongwith him, and starting the programmes on all days with `Gayathri Manthiram' he was successful in ensuring that participants from the rest of the countries considered India, the capital of spirituality.

On the first day, all participants irrespective of their nationality and religion, performed `Omkaranatha Dhyanam' with `kumkum' on their foreheads.

Spiritual insight.

Spiritual insight.  

Mr. Ramalingam said the 18 `Siddhars' had visualised yoga, `anatomical science of the body', about 13,000 years ago when religion did not exist.

Through the forum, he appealed to world leaders to make yoga education compulsory at the school level to lay a strong foundation for universal brotherhood since it is an effective way to counter terrorism.

Such an initiative was imperative against the backdrop of yoga gaining acceptance as a way of life across the globe and countries such as Argentina, where the head office of the International Yoga Federation is situated, said Mr. Ramalingam. He added that yoga practitioners in some of the European countries have gone an extra yard practising `fruitarianism'. This yoga expert's view that one can be a yogi even while leading a normal life of a vegetarian was considered practical by one and all.

At the end of the conference, Mr. Ramalingam was honoured with the title, `Paramaguru Yogiraj' by Fernando Estival George, president of the International Yoga Federation.

The presence of K.C. Sharma, president of the Yoga Federation of India, and general secretary, Ashok Agarwal, added stature to the Indian contingent.

From Krishnamoorthy R.

in Madurai.