One thing we need to really understand in life is that human well-being will never happen unless we turn inward and fix ourselves first. Convenience and comfort can be created from outside, but well-being can only happen from within. Simple processes of life, different stages of growth, employment, pursuit of careers, management of situations, children, aging, health and fundamentally one’s peace and happiness, have become major issues as most human beings are trying to fix their internal by arranging the external. Human experience is essentially from within. Light and darkness happens within us. Joy and misery happens within us. Agony and ecstasy happens within us. As the source of human experience is within, all experience, pleasant or unpleasant, happens only from within. Unless we transform our interiority there is no question of human experience being wonderful. ‘In’ is the only way ‘out.’
Yoga comes into the picture because it is a tool for inner transformation. Fortunately, human intellect has come to a point where solutions in heaven are no more attractive. By looking heavenward we have divided humanity in terrible ways and caused unspeakable suffering to each other. By looking outward for well-being we are bringing about an ecological disaster and uprooting the very basis of our physical existence. People want solutions for their life now and here, not somewhere else or some other time. In the next fifty to hundred years, as education becomes more pervasive and human intellect takes on a different level of significance in everything that we do, just demanding faith in aspects that are not tangible to human perception, will begin to recede. When that happens, the science of yoga will become invaluable in providing human well-being. Yoga has survived for over 15,000 years only because of its efficacy. Nobody is doing yoga because someone has put a gun to their head. Yoga has been tried and tested and it has shown great results. International Yoga Day makes you aware that you can bring well-being into your hands and make it happen. This is the first time in the history of United Nations that a resolution was passed with 177 countries endorsing the need for making yoga available to their citizens. It is a revolutionary step because leaders are talking about the inner well-being of the human being.
In that sense, 21 June goes beyond teaching yoga. We want to offer people a sample of yoga so that they can put this science to test for themselves. You can start with three minutes a day but once you recognise the benefits, you will naturally take it forward. Our effort is to make people understand that yoga is not about physical exercise but is, in fact, a tool for inner transformation. For example when you do namaskar and bring your two hands together and hold this posture, you will see a certain dimension of harmony begin to establish within yourself. This is because the two fundamental polarities of our physical existence is divided between what we refer to as masculine and feminine. Bringing balance between the two will bring a certain dimension of harmony within oneself. Namaskar is not about somebody else. It's about your inner well-being.
Now surya namaskar has been given a religious status. In reality, it is about the sun within you. When I say the sun within you, it is important to first know that this body is a product of the solar system. In yoga there’s an elaborate mathematics to show how the body is a product of this solar system. What happens to the sun, happens to you. What happens to the moon, happens to you. Whatever happens to the planet, happens to you. That is why hatha yoga. ‘Ha’ means sun, ‘tha’ means moon. It is the practice of synchronising the two, of balancing them. The sun-related practices and the moon-related practices are for your own benefits, not for worshipping. Anyway, the sun and the moon are doing their job fine whether you worship them or not.
There is a huge misunderstanding that yoga is Hindu. Yes, it originated in this culture and within the geography of this land that stretches between the Himalayas and the Indu Sagara, called Hindustan. By that measure should we be calling gravity Jewish or Christian? What works, is applied uniformly. It does not convert to religion. Yoga is as Hindu as an earthworm born here, or an elephant born in Africa. Besides, this is not a culture based on a single set of beliefs. A single household can worship five different gods, and have absolutely no issues about that. So this is not a culture based on belief systems. This is a culture of seeking—seeking truth, seeking ultimate liberation where freedom is the highest value, not god, not what you believe in. Everybody can believe what they want for their present psychological comfort, but essentially this has always been a land of seeking. Genuine seeking happens only when one realises that we really do not know the nature of life. When we understand this significance of recognising that we do not know, seeking and longing to know becomes a natural process. And that has been the ethos and the fundamental nature of this culture. And into that fits the science of yoga, 100 per cent.
Even the gods that most people worship in this country were people who walked this geography, went through the trials and tribulations of life, saw much more drama that most people would see in their life. But the significance of their life was through the entire intense drama that they went through, they remained beyond it. The ability to stay beyond the psychological and social drama that happens around them made them the kind of human beings that everybody naturally looked up to and became reverential and worshipful towards.
Every aspect of science has its roots in some culture. The inner mechanism of the human being involved deep study. Profound discoveries were made by the people who lived on this land and who evolved the technologies of yoga. Yoga is an observation of the life within us, so that does not make it a belief system but a great science. Somehow in these millennia of transmission, it gathered cultural trappings, which made it look religious. I feel certain sectarian leaders like to keep their communities insecure. Only by keeping them under some threat certain leaders can exist in the country. This is unfortunate. Because 47 Muslim nations have endorsed yoga now. They have endorsed the UN recognition of Yoga Day. It is very important that it doesn’t matter whether you are Hindu, Muslim, Christian, I feel every human being on this planet should know the science of well-being for themselves and without a mediator. To learn, you need somebody, yes. But once you do, your inner well-being must be in your hands. This must happen to Hindus, this must happen to Muslims, this must happen to Christians, this must happen to every human being.