International Yoga Day
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Vivekananda International Foundation organized a panel discussion on June 21, 2021, to commemorate International Yoga Day. The eminent speakers in the panel were Swami Atmalokananda, President, Ramakrishna Society Vedanta Centre and Dr Arpita Mitra, Assistant Professor, Kazi Nazrul University, India. Additionally, Professor Shashi Prabha Kumar, Dean, Sri Sankaracharya Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, was invited for her intellectual inputs. The lecture began with the opening remarks by Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF India.

The Objective of Yoga According to Indian Tradition

Swami Atmalokananda began the discussion by highlighting the different aspects of yoga. He said that the ultimate goal of yoga is freedom, and it is a spiritual science that seeks to bring harmony between mind, body and soul. He added that yoga is a process of self-realization where the yogi frees himself from all sufferings of the world. Moving forward, Swamiji explained that various ways of practising yoga. He said that fundamental human values are integral to yoga or sadhana.

By talking about India’s contribution to yoga, Swamiji highlighted the various propounders of yoga in India. Additionally, he explained the different methods of practising yoga in Indian traditions.

Swami Vivekananda on Yoga

Dr Arpita Mitra continued the discussion and explained the higher form of yoga which encompasses the physical manifestation. Dr Mitra explained that the term “Yog” translates to a union. She explained that yoga was a union between the practitioner and his true divine self, according to Swami Vivekananda. Dr Mitra shared the pathways to yoga from the Rajyog lectures of Swami Vivekananda. Drawing from the lessons of Swami Vivekananda, Dr Mitra explained that each soul is potentially divine; the goal is to manifest this divinity by controlling the external and internal nature. Furthermore, she explained the different ways of attaining the sacred union. She said that yoga seeks to self realize the divinity in the true self.

Moving forward, Professor Shashi Prabha Kumar reiterated the all-encompassing nature of yoga. She said that yoga has two aspects: spiritual and physical, and in between is the psychological. To conclude, she emphasized the universal goal of yoga: freedom from all sufferings and diseases. The discussion ended with closing remarks by Dr Arvind Gupta and comments and a question and answer session.

Event Date 
June 21, 2021

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