In this Walk the Talk with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24×7, yoga guru and Padma Vibhushan B K S Iyengar speaks about popularising yoga in the West, how he helped violin maestro Yehudi Menuhin regain his creative energy and why he thinks BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi “may do something good”
Congratulations on your Padma Vibhushan. Although every right-thinking person believes it should have been a Bharat Ratna a long time ago.
I am happy the Indian government has recognised the art of yoga.
But it has been a struggle to get yoga recognised as an art all over the world.
Well, I have been practising for 80 years. It is finally recognition for all the hard work.
Sir, you are 96 years young. I don’t think I should request God to let me live till 96, but whatever age I live, if I could be as fit as you, I would be very happy.
I always tell people: live happily and die majestically.
What do you mean by ‘die majestically’?
It means a happy death.
Don’t spend the last 10 years worrying about death?
That is correct. No sorrow, no anxiety, no distress. Let me leave this Earth with hope.
Anxiety is now the biggest lifestyle disease of our times — not diabetes, cholesterol or blood pressure.
Yes, it is because of the stress factor. There are three remedies — work, word and wisdom. ‘Work’ means to keep oneself fit, ‘word’ is to be sincere and honest in your words and ‘wisdom’ is to surrender to God.
You don’t promote the idea of renunciation, do you?
In life, we have a lot of responsibilities. It is not meant for renunciation. We live in this society and it is our bounden duty to give back to our society. Renunciation comes to me when I am 96.
But you are not renouncing even now. You are very driven even now.
Renunciation means giving up the enjoyment of worldly happiness. But I am full of inner happiness.
I believe you sleep only three hours a day, but you don’t yawn. I wake up yawning and I spend the rest of the day yawning.
I don’t yawn. I cannot sleep even if someone is snoring. I am alert even in my sleep. If I don’t get sleep, I continued…