November 5, 2008 12:16:03 am
In a bid to popularise yoga among people other than Hindus, Baba Ramdev has said one can initiate the exercise without pronouncing the word ‘Om’ and can substitute it with ‘Allah’ or ‘God’. Ramdev’s Haridwar-based Patanjali Yogapeeth has asked its Christian and Muslim followers to begin yoga with a prolonged utterance of Allah or God.
“Our aim is to connect science with yoga for the betterment of mankind. Why should anybody not enjoy the benefits of yoga because of reservation to utter ‘Om’,” said Acharya Balkrishan of Patanjali Yogapeeth.
“Baba Ramdev believes that yoga might be a gift to mankind from rishis and yogis but it is not Hinduism. It is meant for everyone. Yoga cannot be restricted on the lines or religion and community. It is meant to enlighten the entire humanity,” he told The Indian Express.
Acharya Balkrishan further pointed that the pronunciation of ‘Om’ causes positive resonance in one’s body and ‘Om’ itself is not connected to any faith or community. “None of the religious images come to your mind when you say ‘Om’. It’s universal. Its prolonged utterance gives maximum benefit to scholars of yoga. However, it can be substituted with ‘Allah’ or ‘God’,” he said.
The Patanjali Yogapeeth has set up Yoga Samities in 560 districts across the country to propagate the ancient asanas and pranayaam techniques. “We have hundreds of yoga teachers in the country who are Muslims. They don’t have any opposition to the word ‘Om’. A large number of Muslim and Christian students are also learning various asanas and pranayaam in different states,” said Balkrishan.
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