Message from Paramahamsa Prajnanananda — International Day of Yoga 2015
Loving and Divine Soul,
Let the choicest blessings of God and Masters be upon all of you. I greet you on a special day of dual significance. First, it is the summer solstice, and second, it is the first International Day of Yoga.
Summer solstice is an astronomical phenomenon that occurs once a year when the sun moves farthest north geographically, creating the longest day and the shortest night in the northern hemisphere. For the next six months the duration of daylight slowly shortens in the northern hemisphere and gradually lengthens in the southern hemisphere. Although this is a physical phenomenon, it has spiritual significance. Swami Shriyukteshwarji, a great master of Kriya Yoga and an exponent of Cosmic Astrology, emphasized this spiritual aspect: The body has two poles like the earth or a magnet. The North Pole is in the fontanel and South Pole is in the lower part of the body. Sunlight represents spiritual consciousness. By practicing meditation and yogic techniques we can increase inner awakening. By increasing spiritual consciousness we can live with love, joy, peace, and harmony.
This year the United Nations will celebrate the northern hemisphere summer solstice as the International Day of Yoga. During the last general assembly of the U.N., Shri Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, emphasized the role yoga can play to bridge the gap between nations and help make a better world. He requested the assembly designate a day for a celebration. Over 175 nations lauded the proposal, and as a result June 21 will be celebrated as the International Day of Yoga. Yoga is a gift from the great rishis of India. Yoga was revealed to them as a result of their sincere sadhana (practice of self-discipline), and Yoga transcends all the limitations and boundaries that human beings have created. Yoga is practiced in different forms with love all over the world, and people benefit tremendously. It is a time-tested treasure that creates a healthy body, mind, and intellect filled with harmony and peace. It is non-sectarian and is beyond religious dogma.
The modern world provides every possible form of fast communication and a plethora of information. On this special day, I want to tell you that the great masters of India such as Swami Vivekananda and Paramahamsa Yoganandaji used sincere and selfless effort to plant the seed of Yoga and meditation around the entire world. Swami Vivekananda brought the message of Yoga to the West and Paramahamsa Yoganandaji nurtured it into a huge banyan tree. Now a myriad of methods are taught by countless teachers all over the world.
When we celebrate this special day, we should keep the basic principles of yoga in our minds and hearts. The simplest meaning of yoga is union. Let the practice of Yoga bring unity, amity, love, and harmony within and without.
The second meaning of Yoga is inner transformation. Every Yoga practitioner should try to eradicate inner vices and bring forth good qualities; as a result goodness will spread everywhere.
The third meaning of Yoga is self-discipline. We should learn to discipline our lives, desires and expectations. The world is passing through many crises - inequality, concentration of wealth, increased human suffering, global warming, spread of fatal diseases, terrorism, and above all, the thoughtless destruction of nature. Through self-disciplined and compassionate lives, we can impact the world and make it a better place not only for us, but also for future generations.
The fourth meaning of Yoga is to live in peace and manifest peace during every breath, thought, word, and deed.
During this celebration I offer my homage to the great masters of Yoga who tirelessly brought its message from India to the rest of the world. Their sincere efforts, fathomless love, and Yoga practices have become part of the lives of countless millions.
Let the practice of Yoga make the world free of disease and all discrimination and make the world a beautiful temple of the Divine.
Let us practice and spread Yoga for inner peace and peace everywhere.