International Yoga Day 2017
The greatest thing is meditation. It is the nearest approach to
spiritual life - the mind meditating. It is the one moment in
our daily life that we are not at all material - the Soul thinking
of Itself, free from all matter - this marvelous touch of the
~ Swami Vivekananda
The world will be celebrating the International Yoga Day on 21 June 2017.
This year Sant Nivruttinath Punyatithi and
Pradosh also falls on the same day making it more special. I believe you all
know why 21 June was picked to celebrate this day. It was not a coincidence or
arbitrary selection. It has some yogic significance.
June 21 is considered the longest day of the year. That means the Sun will be
rising early and setting late as far as the northern hemisphere is concerned. Thus we get maximum exposure to the Sun.
This day - summer solstice - marks the beginning of Dakshinayana.
Dakshinayana is a six month period when the Sun begins southward movement in the sky (earth's sky). On the same lines the winter solstice falls in December and marks the beginning of Uttarayana.
That means this day - 21 June - is associated with the Sun.
Various people have given the significance of Dakshinayana and Uttarayana. I
won't go into those details here. What I want to mention is the role of the
Yoga or Indian spirituality.
The Sun and the Moon have been mentioned time and again in a mystical and
esoteric ways throughout Yoga Shastra. The Sun represents Atman
or intellect whereas the Moon represents the mind. Natha Sampradaya and
Kundalini Yoga in general has always emphasized that whatever is there in
macrocosm exists in the microcosm. So, the Sun shining in the sky has a
counterpart in the human body. From yogic perspective the Sun represents
spiritual Wisdom and Knowledge.
Sun also represents one's intellect or Buddhi. The Gayatri Mantra, which is
associated with the Sun, invokes the Buddhi aspect of the human personality. The
Moon, on the other hand, represents mind or emotions.
These two - the Sun and the Moon - are in a way opposing forces. One is
bright, wise and knowledge filled. And the other is mild, pleasant, and emotion
filled. The Sun is also considered a masculine force and the Moon is considered
as a feminine force. The shaivas equate the Sun with Lord Shiva. The Sun
represents the right nostril or Pingala Nadi and rules the left part of the
brain - the part considered responsible for intellectual, rational and logical
activities. An ordinary person is often ruled by his
emotions rather than knowledge. As you mature spiritually the wisdom and
ruling the emotions. You then clearly understand what is good and what is bad.
What is truth and what is not.
When we worship the Sun in any form - be it Sun Salutations or offering Arghya - we are actually invoking the inner
Sun. We are reminding ourselves time
and again that the ultimate purpose of human life is to acquire that Knowledge
which dispels all the worldly ignorance and bondages.
We should, therefore, remember that Yoga is not merely about physical
fitness. It is far more about mind and atman. As I have said elsewhere - Yoga is
a balancing act; more so for the mind than the body. Mind rules the body. And
you can rule the mind using meditation. So, meditation is an indispensible tool
for anybody aspiring to be a yogi.
Ok. Now something exclusively for my Yoga students -
Let's take this opportunity to Meditate together in a bit different way.
Here is what we will do:
On 21 June 2017 all of us will meditate between 6:01 AM to 6:31
AM (IST) in our own
meditation room. Imagine this - You, Me and a bunch of my students scattered
in overseas countries Meditating in our respective meditation rooms on the
same day, at the same time and a same set of kriyas. Isn't that
Physically we will be scattered but what binds us together is the
omnipresent Guru Tatva, our Spiritual Sadhana and devotion
acting as a conductor for the divine vibrations. During this time window all
will practice the whole set of kriyas that was taught to you. All the kriyas should be practiced exactly as taught
and will be
accompanied by the corresponding Hand Mudras. The meditation session will be followed by at least 5 minutes of silence.
Wish you all a happy and wisdom filled International Yoga Day 2017. Stay