Sadhguru was at the UN Assembly Hall, Geneva, on June 27, 2019, in conversation with Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, and Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Following is the full transcript of the conversation on “Yoga, the Power of Inclusiveness”.
INTRODUCING SPEAKER: Good evening.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudevji; Mr. Francis Gurry, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization; Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization; Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this event to celebrate the fifth UN International Day of Yoga, at this prestigious venue, the very first design to be a platform to bring the world together, in a spirit of co-operation and inclusion, to address issues facing mankind.
It was hundred years ago that the League of Nations was conceived, and these very premises were meant to host it. In 2014, the initiative of the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, himself, a dedicated and longstanding practitioner of yoga, to have 21st June declared as an International Day of Yoga, won the overwhelming endorsement of the international community.
Now as the relevant UN General Assembly Resolution notes, yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being and that the wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practicing yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population.
Traditionally, we have celebrated International Yoga Day by practicing the asanas of physical postures contained in the common yoga protocol, which was developed by the Government of India in consultation with leading yoga experts and institutions in India.
However, this year, we thought of broadening the approach to exploring the many other dimensions of yoga beyond the physical, that are particularly relevant to the issues that the different stakeholders and international Geneva seek to address – those of global health and sustainable development, as well as peace and disarmament.
Our engagement on these issues requires us all to work in a spirit of cooperation and compromise, making sure that no one is left behind. However, this spirit of inclusion at the international level cannot come about, if it is not reflected in our individual lives and approaches.
It is here that we can harness the power of yoga, the very essence of which is union both within and without, hence the theme “Yoga, the Power of Inclusiveness”.
The Permanent Mission of India to the UN in Geneva is grateful that Sadhguru, India’s leading Yogi, mystic, and one of the fifty most influential persons in India, who has been conferred the country’s second highest civilian award in 2017, consented to engage in this conversation on yoga.
We could not have found two more distinguished personalities to engage with Sadhguru than Mr. Francis Gurry, who is not only the head of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), but also an avid practitioner of yoga for over three decades, and Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, who brings her extensive global health perspective and expertise to the conversation as the Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization where traditional knowledge and complementary medicine are seeking renewed focus or seeing renewed focus.
As an emergent India plays a greater role on the world stage, it is with a positive intent and determination to contribute to the betterment of mankind. Yoga is one such contribution by India for the better health and greater happiness of people all over the world. Yoga has now truly become the intellectual property of mankind.
I wish to thank you all for coming here today to be part of the 2019 International Day of Yoga celebrations, and hope you enjoy the conversation on “Yoga, the Power of Inclusiveness”.
Thank you very much.
Yasya brahmani ramate chittam
Nandati nandati nandatyeva
Good evening to everyone.
Well, I think the meaning has been put out there. The important thing is people think yoga means I must be like a rubber-band. Yoga does not demand any particular condition. Wherever you are, there is a next step in yoga.
Whatever kind of person you are, whatever kind of mental, physical, emotional states you are, there is a next step from where you are. That’s what yoga is about, the chant is just to acknowledge that.
SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN: Thank you very much, Sadhguru. It’s a great honor and privilege…
SADHGURU: This is okay, microphone?
SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN: Thank you. I was wondering where the mike was, and I thought there was some magic here.
SADHGURU: You need a beard for that.
SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN: That’s right. So, it’s indeed a great honor and privilege to be in conversation with you, Sadhguru. I would like to start with the theme of inclusiveness since that’s what the Yoga Day is about and the theme as our ambassador pointed out, and the prime minister in his message also talked about all the benefits that can come from practicing yoga.
You know, science has shown that all human beings are basically the same. We share 99.9% of our DNA. So if a genome, the genes that make up our body, the DNA, if it were a book, then every person’s book would contain the same paragraphs and chapters arranged in the same order, and each book would tell the same story but my book may contain a spelling, a slightly different spelling on page hundred-and-thirty of the word “color” from your book, or my book…my choose… might have a type…a typing error on one page, just one letter, mis-spelt. So, that’s what science tells us.
But we see…
SADHGURU: A mis-spelt word is enough to fight about, is enough reason to fight.
SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN: Exactly. So we spell “colour” with “our” or “color” with “or”, you know, it’s a difference between the two sides of the Atlantic. But what we’re seeing increasingly is the world being divided on the basis of ethnicity, of race, of religion, of color, of belief, of sexual orientation, disabilities. Some of this is conscious, some of this is not conscious.
We see large number of people on the move now, refugees and migrants, who have had to leave their homes and are living in camps for many months or years together.
So, when we talk about diversity, very often you know organizationally, we think only about gender diversity, ethnic diversity. But don’t you think that the real diversity the world must tackle is the fragmentation of knowledge, to solve the problems that we have today, and the fragmentation of ethical belief systems to guide our moral choices?
We see inequalities and iniquities increasing. You mention that we live in a world today, where for the first time there is enough for everybody and yet there are large numbers of people who don’t have the basic…very basic needs. If inclusiveness is the very basis of spirituality, how can we enable communities, especially our young people to grow up with a belief and of inclusiveness, and the fact that diversity is important and we have to respect everybody in the community and provide everybody equal opportunities? Can yoga show us the way?
SADHGURU: We are inclusive, not by choice; we are inclusive by the nature of our existence. Every day we are in this process, every moment of our life – by eating, drinking, breathing, and many other things, we’re showing that we are inclusive. If we resist this, we will cease to exist. It’s only by constant transaction with just about anything and everything that we are existing here.
The complexity of what makes this creation, we are a consequence of that. But the magnanimity of creation has given us an individual experience. It’s a tremendous thing. Though we’re just a speck in the universe, still we have an individual experience. We sit here and experience like we’re individuals. This is a phenomenal magnanimity from creation.