Debate over Yoga Day protocol: Politicians oppose chanting 'Om', vedic mantras

A common yoga protocol, approved and circulated by the Ministry of Ayush, says yogic practice shall start with a prayer or prayerful mood to enhance the benefits of practice.

Debate over Yoga Day protocol: Politicians oppose chanting 'Om', vedic mantras

New Delhi: In yet another controversy related to the International Yoga Day, the politicians cutting across the party lines have accused the BJP government of pushing its 'Hindutva' agenda by asking participants to chant vedic mantras..

Media reports on Tuesday quoted politicians like KC Tyagi of Janata Dal United, Sandeep Dikshit of Congress and several others raising their objections to the Centre's proposal for chanting ‘Om’ and some Vedic mantras before the 45-minute yoga session to be performed as part of the International Yoga Day.       

A common yoga protocol, which was approved and circulated by the Ministry of Ayush, said,"Yogic  practice  shall  start  with  a  prayer  or  prayerful  mood  to  enhance the benefits of practice.”

The protocol has been prepared by a government-appointed panel of experts for those participating in the International Yoga Day and circulated through government departments, schools, colleges  and universities across the country.

In a letter to all heads of higher institutions, the University Grants Commission has asked for their “personal indulgence” to ensure the protocol has been followed during the events held on their respective campuses on June 21.

The mantra to be recited during the session has been taken from the Rigveda. The 45-minute session, to begin with a two-minute prayer, will conclude with the 15-minute meditation or Dhyana session.

However, in view of criticism, Centre has made it clear that chanting ‘Om’ is not compulsory.

Before the meditation, participants are required to take a ‘samkalp’ or a vow: “I commit myself to always be in a balanced state of mind. It is in this state that my highest self-development reaches its greatest possibility. I commit to do my duty to self, family, at work, to society, and to the world, for the promotion of peace, health and harmony.”

This will be followed by chanting of a set of verses from the Upanishad to pray for happiness and peace to one and all.

This year’s International Yoga Day celebrations to be organised by the Department of Ayush will be hosted by Chandigarh, with the Centre deciding to shift the venue from Delhi. 

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