NWO’s Version of Yoga Stirring up a Frenzy*
By Nimisha Jaiswal
To most yoga lovers in the US, the Om chant and sun salutation routine are ordinary parts of a healthy, normal workout.
But in India, where tens of thousands are preparing to mark the first International Yoga Day this Sunday, these practices are explosive symbols of religious tension.
In fact, the government has said they may even be banned from the celebrations.
Prime Minister Modi’s government has given contradictory statements on the matter, first stating that the Om would be optional or even replaceable by “Allah” for minorities who wish to avoid the Hindu chant. However, in a turnaround, the latest program released by the government now includes Om chanting at the beginning of the Yoga Day event.
This Sunday, 30,000 Indians will set a world record for the largest yoga gathering ever, assembling on the road which connects the Indian Parliament to India Gate in New Delhi. However, due to opposition by Muslim bodies, organizers have decided that the “Surya Namaskar,” or sun salutation, is off the table.
Yoga day was supposed to be a triumph for Modi, who convinced 177 co-sponsors and 192 participants at the UN General Assembly to join in celebrating the first ever International Day of Yoga on June 21. Through promoting this ancient practice, the Indian leader promised practitioners “a sense of oneness within yourself, the world and the nature.”
But it has turned out to be quite the headache at home. Trust between the right-wing Hindu nationalist leader and minorities has always been low. Modi has been criticized heavily for keeping quiet through riots and when his ministers have made crass, anti-Muslim remarks. When Muslim groups learned that students at government schools would be required to participate in yoga and the sun salutation, they launched a nationwide protest that forced Modi’s government to take action.
Muslims object to the sun salutation because their faith commands them to bow to Allah only. Chanting Om has also been opposed as it is used frequently in Hindu prayer.
The government has now removed the Surya Namaskar, or sun salutation, from the sequence of exercises to be performed by participants in the Yoga Day celebrations. They have also said it is not mandatory for students to participate in events organized at their schools if their religion forbids it.
Shripad Naik, the Minister for Yoga and Traditional Medicine, met with Muslim organizations and urged them to participate in Yoga Day. “If people do not want to chant ‘Om’, they can say ‘Allah’,” he said.
However, a week after his comments, the yoga ministry officially included the chanting of Om at the beginning of the mega-event in Delhi, drawing further condemnation from Muslims.
The objections of Muslims have drawn mixed reactions. Indian Christians in the state of Mizoram have joined the opposition, urging Christians to boycott Yoga Day events because they fall on a Sunday. But Yogi Adityanath, a member of Parliament who belongs to the right-wing party in power, said that all those who do not wish to do the sun salutation should literally go off and die.
“Those who see sectarianism in the sun as well, I would request them to go drown in the sea,” he said at a rally in Varanasi.
Opposition to yoga on religious grounds is not new, or exclusive to India. In April this year, the US Fourth District Court of Appeals rejected a plea by a group of Californian parents who sued a school for teaching yoga classes, arguing they were a form of religious indoctrination.