This post is dedicated to the 15th Prime Minister of the Republic of India, Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi, whose strenuous efforts, leadership capabilities, and strong popularity gave the world the biggest gift, International Yoga Day, which is celebrated on June 21st around the globe.
As Narendra Modi Ji celebrates his 72nd birthday, this article can be treated as a thanksgiving for his astonishing services to the people of India. Narendra Modi Ji was born on 17th September 1950, to a Gujarati Hindu family of grocers in Vadnagar, Mehsana district, Bombay State (present-day Gujarat). His unrealistic journey from a tea seller to the chair of Prime Minister of India is an inspiring story of a common man who wants to achieve great heights in life.
So, let's begin to understand the journey of Yoga and Meditation and how the rise of Shri Narendra Modi has increased the value of Yoga around the globe.
Yoga and meditation in 21st Century are global trends based on the pursuit of inner peace. Many people practice these techniques to relieve stress and anxiety. Some believe these practices lead to enlightenment, but science has not proved this yet. Clearly, there is much to be gained from establishing a clear mind and body. Yoga and meditation are two major contemplative traditions that have their roots in ancient India. People from all religions practice yoga and meditation.
Each technique involves focusing the mind on achieving a certain mental state. People use meditation to calm their emotions and relieve stress. It can also help with sleep disorders, anxiety and other daily tensions. Practice of yoga gained popularity in the 20th century as a way to increase mental clarity. People wanted to find peace in the midst of war. They also wanted to alleviate the effects of modernity on their minds. The independence movement in India led many young Indians to pursue yoga as a means of increasing self-confidence. This was particularly crucial for Indian citizens who were seeking political emancipation. In addition, meditation became a part of military programs to prevent soldiers from falling into wartime hysteria.
A notable yogi who influenced his countrymen was Narendra Modi. He became the 15th Prime Minister of India in 2014 after campaigning on improving the lives of people in rural India. Before this, Modi served as the chief minister of Gujarat for most of 2002. This is where he made his mark as a leader; he encouraged people to feel good about themselves by practicing yoga and meditation. His effect on the country has been nothing short of miraculous.
After his tremendous victory in the General Elections of 2014, Modi and his team drafted a resolution which was proposed to the UN General Assembly on September 27th, 2014. During his speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi put forth his suggestion for the occasion of a ‘Yoga Day’. The draft resolution proposed by India was then endorsed by a record 177 member states. The first International Day of Yoga was observed around the world on June 21, 2015.
Prime Minister Modi, during his speech at the UNGA, said, "Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day."
But why was the date of June 21st proposed for Yoga Day? Is there any explanation behind the choice of this date? Actually, yes, 21st June is known as the summer solstice—the longest day of the year. And what other day would be better to celebrate wellness? And wait, did you know that World Meditation Day is celebrated on May 21st? Yes? World Meditation Day seeks to create awareness about meditation and its benefits, especially in our busy world of constant movement.
Yoga and meditation are growing trends based on increasing inner peace. People desire increased mental clarity and better relationships with themselves and others. These practices have reached cult status as people seek greater happiness outside the realm of logic-based pursuits. There is much research suggesting these techniques can increase well-being at both mental and physical levels.