‘Yoga is a health system. It cannot be patented’
July 17, 2007
Interview: George Joseph in New York | Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
In America the trend now is to patent yoga. How do you look at this phenomenon?
Yoga is a health system. It cannot be patented. Nobody can claim ownership for it. It is for all the people to use. Even the other medicines should not be patented either.
When you patent something, the price goes up. The ordinary sick man will not be able to purchase it. It is not right that a sick man cannot purchase lifesaving medicines because they are highly priced. Life of all is equally important.
In America, some people call yoga ‘Christian yoga.’ Is that fair?
Yoga has nothing to do with religion. It is not Hinduism. It is for all people, whether he is Hindu, Muslim or Christian. One can say ‘Om’ when he is doing yoga. Another can pronounce ‘Allah-u-Akbar’ or the name of Jesus.
Yoga is a science (and is intended) for all people. It was science that discovered electricity and put together airplanes. They are not for any one group of people. It is for all people of the world irrespective of their religious beliefs. Likewise, yoga is also for all.
You claimed to cure AIDS, which created much controversy.
I never claimed that I could cure AIDS. What I said was proved by tests at AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi) and the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
I said AIDS can be controlled by several methods of pranayama. People who followed that regimen were later tested at these hospitals. Their CD-4 count was found less than others. Yoga is also beneficial in the treating of cancer and other ailments.
How do you look at the current world and the world that was 25 years ago?
The spirituality in people has come down. The bad (aasura) powers have taken over many people. But at the same time things like yoga bring spirituality back to man. Eating, meeting and sitting will not change anything.
What is your message?
Saadhana (practice) and more saadhana is needed. When discipline and devotion are lost people become prone to evil things.
When comparing Indians and Indian Americans, what are your thoughts?
Indian Americans have made a lot of progress. They have a lot of money also. They should spend more for good causes. Especially causes in their motherland.
What is the future of Indian culture and Hindu religion in America?
I have hundred percent faith in the survival of Indian culture, spirituality and Hinduism in America. The second generation is coming forward to embrace the spirituality of the country on their own. That shows that the culture will go on.
When did you visit America for the first time?
I was here in 2006 in connection with United Nations events. This is the first time I am conducting yoga in America.
Is the world going through a difficult phase?
Things will change. Spirituality, non-violence and love will prevail, though things look difficult now.
What do people in India expect from Indians living in other countries?
Those in foreign countries are comparatively doing well. They have a responsibility to look at their brethren with more compassion.