January the 26th is marked in golden in the Indian calendar, celebrated widely as the Republic Day of this great and colorful nation. This year on this glory day, Rishikul Yogshala took the opportunity to ingrain the notion of peace, fortitude, and forbearance in our students by invoking the history of India’s independence, not from a political but humanistic view point.
In the year of 1950, this day resounded with a salute of twenty-one guns as the tri-color national flag unfurled, hoisted by the erstwhile president Dr. Prasad at the majestic Durbar Hall. The hour marked the historic birth of the Indian Republic, the constitution, and a way paved for democracy. This was the beginning of a challenging journey, to be one in heart and spirit in a nation of great diversity in a population of 1.3 billion people. The idea of a successful republic culminates in harmony across race, caste, religion, and gender. This notion of unity or yuj is the same philosophy the discipline of yoga has its roots in. The nation where the great yogic art of the holistic spiritual upliftment took shape since the Vedic times found its independence not merely by overcoming the dictation of a foreign power but bringing harmony within themselves. For a yogi there is much inspiration to draw from these illustrious annals of history.
Making a demonstration of the indomitable spiritual power of the individual and collective, upon which the great leaders of Indian independence had based their strategies, the yoga teachers performed yogasanas which symbolize courage. Following this inspired demonstration, the Rishikul Yogshala community gathered in the lawn where all joined hands to hoist the national flag.
Later in the day, a performance of bhajan or devotional songs was held in the courtyard of the school to understand bhakti or devotion to the Supreme One, praised in this nation in many forms and by many names. Complete submission to the Supreme One in all actions and struggle is a characteristic of Indian spiritual thought. It is present even in India’s nationalistic movements. The disciples of yoga gathered at Rishikul Yogshala on Indian Republic Day singing “raghupati raghava rajaram.. “ , a beloved bhajan of Mahatma Gandhi. The spirit of complete submission to a higher Self in the nation’s struggle for freedom was thus comprehended beyond its mere political significance.
For the students, the celebration of Republic Day was another event showing how spirituality is inherent to Indian culture and Yoga, a guiding philosophy in all walks of life.