Namashkar, Dignitaries and invitees assembled in New York State for the inauguration of the Nature Cure Centre, viewers watching this event online and on television. Ladies and Gentlemen, Greetings on the occasion of International Yoga Day!
This morning, I was delighted to join thousands of people from different walks of life, to celebrate this occasion, in the beautiful city of Dehradun, in the foot-hills of the Himalayas. For the last few days, I have been seeing pictures of people participating in the celebrations, across the world. Indeed, in just three years, this event has grown into a world-wide public movement. It has become an integral part of public life in many countries. Its impact has expanded far beyond its day of observance. In India, I perceive three different themes in the observation of International Day of Yoga. I am sure, this is the case in many other countries as well.
First, it has become an occasion of initiation for millions. Inspired by the spirit of Yoga, they commit themselves to its pursuit.
Second, it is an occasion when those, who are already introduced to Yoga, re-dedicate themselves to its pursuit.
The third theme is to spread the good word. Thousands of individuals and institutions, who have already gained from Yoga, reach out to those that still have not. In the process, International Day of Yoga, has even come to be celebrated as a festival, by many across the world. The word Yoga, means ‘to unite’. Therefore, this surge of interest in Yoga, fills me with hope. I hope that Yoga can become a binding force for the world.
I am happy that you have chosen the International Day of Yoga, for the inauguration of this Nature Cure Centre. I hope that this Centre shall strive to strongly integrate elements of Yoga, in all its programmes and initiatives.
Traditional Indian knowledge systems, such as Yoga and Ayurveda, help us stay healthy. They guide us to overcome inherent weaknesses of both body and mind. These are systems, which treat individuals with care and respect. Their approach is neither intrusive nor abrupt. It often comes as a refreshing change to those used to conventional treatment therapies. Modern lifestyle takes a toll on the body as well as the mind. The focus of conventional systems of healthcare, unfortunately, is more on cure, rather than on prevention. There is no denying that we need conventional medicine to address the huge health challenges of today. But it is also a fact that there are gap areas that remain un-addressed. Healthcare specialists all over the world now appreciate the fact that systems like Yoga and Ayurveda can complement the conventional medicine system extremely well. These holistic systems focus on wellness and disease prevention. Adoption of these holistic practices leads to increased health and wellness in individuals and in communities. Contrary to the perception of some people, Yoga is not limited to exercises and postures . It involves a deep search into mind, body and spirit. It leads to a greater understanding of one-self. This leads further to social discipline, and in turn to ethics and enduring values of life. Yoga is a deep philosophy that can help us to walk on the path of salvation or freedom from worries.
I have always believed that Yoga has no religion. It contains practical steps which can benefit everyone, even those who do not consider themselves religious. Modern Yoga practices often include various elements of ancient wisdom. These include moral and ethical principles, postures designed to keep the body fit, spiritual philosophy, instruction by a guru, chanting of mantras, quieting the breath and stilling the mind through meditation. Yoga focuses on changing the lifestyle of the individual, so that lifestyle related disorders are easily prevented and managed. Experts of Yoga see its daily practice as beneficial in itself, leading to improved health, emotional well-being, mental clarity and joy in living. The belief that certain yogic postures and Pranayama help to control many diseases has been widely held in India for centuries. Now, modern science has stepped in to generate supporting evidence for this. Science has also demonstrated that through Yoga, it is possible to exercise control over the functions of many organs in the body including heart, brain, and endocrine glands.
Today, interest in Yoga is growing rapidly in Western countries. It would be no exaggeration to say that Yoga has been appreciated a lot by the Western world. I am told that in USA alone, more than 20 million people are practicing Yoga and that this number is increasing at an average of five percent every year. Several modern medical institutes of USA and Europe have adopted Yoga as an alternative or adjunct treatment for many disorders. Of late, a lot of research has been undertaken in Yoga. The Government of India is committed to implement evidence based traditional systems of healthcare in public health. Our National Health Policy, announced last year, strongly focuses on the prevention of diseases. We have also launched nation-wide programmes for the prevention and control of non communicable diseases. India is a big country with the world’s second largest population. The initiatives taken today may take some years to show results, but I am confident that tangible results will soon become visible.
In conclusion, I would like to say again that your Nature Cure Facility will work to bring the benefit of Yoga, to all those who come there to seek comfort and relief.I am happy to note that the path-ways to wellness projected by your Centre aim to address the personal concerns of the individuals. It is also significant that their objective is life-long wellness. I assume that respect for authenticity and faith in scientific approach are inherent to these objectives. With such an approach, the Centre can contribute significantly to the wellness movement, and take the benefits of Yoga to a large number of people in the USA. It also gives me happiness to learn that your Centre will create five hundred direct and fifteen hundred indirect jobs in the area. It will thus be a responsible member of the community. I wish you all the very best for this venture.
Thank you. Thank you very much.