More than nine hundred research laboratories are studying the effects of yoga. In the last fifty years or more, the myth about yoga has been exploded. For over centuries, we were told that yoga was only meant for renunciates and celibates, and that a householder, a common man, had to be far off from its practices. As a result of that, yoga became totally unknown, even to the people of India who were considered to be the guardians of this great science. It is for the scientists in the West that we pay homage today, who completely exploded this myth in this country and all over the world. We are happy today that not only in India but all over the world, yoga has received total acceptance not only by the masses but by thinking men as well.
These scientific studies are conducted on the effects of the yoga practices on body, mind, brain, consciousness, personality, and society in general. If we have to recover our identity, to survive as a nation and give something to the rest of the world, as you claim to have done in the past, then first of all, yoga has to be taken from door to door.
When I say that yoga is the culture of tomorrow, I do not necessarily mean the culture of India. I mean the culture for the whole world. I have been around the world many times, to almost all countries. I have taught yoga, spoken about it and have organized scientific teams to carry out research. I can tell you that you are not the only people who take pride in this great science. There are millions and millions of people around the world who are more proud than you are, who are more interested and who have been greatly benefited, not only individually, but as a nation.
In 1978, the Government of Denmark declared yoga as a subject of national education for every citizen and informed all its citizens by special booklets that yoga is important not only for physical health, God realization and self realization, but also important to survive as a human being, as a unit of a nation and as a member of the world. If man has to survive, he has to survive through the brain and he has to survive by mind. We may survive, we can survive as animals, but that is not in the realm of nature.
Prakriti, Nature, has a scheme and that is the scheme for all of us – the evolution of matter beyond time, space and object, into the realm of shakti and greater awareness. The present state of man’s consciousness is not ultimate and consciousness is not a static substance. A century later, or even five centuries later, we will not be thinking in the same way as we are thinking today. If after five centuries, we keep thinking as we do today, there will be nothing but disaster, and that is what is happening.
Today we are not thinking as we should. The evolution process of man’s mind, the mind’s values and the meaning of life has not at all progressed. If that has to take place, the first important change is that the quality of the mind has to undergo a metamorphic change. To change the quality of mind and consciousness is to change the quality of the character along with the quality of perception and assessment of the situations of life that we confront every day, in the family, society, in factories as well as in the Parliament.
For years I have been engaged in introducing yoga into the Scandinavian countries, I am a teacher in mental hospitals. They have so many mental hospitals. The outcome of teaching yoga was so fantastic that the inmates of the mental hospital ultimately became teachers of yoga. This could not remain a secret from the Government which, in 1978, announced that they have thousands of yoga teachers recognized by great yoga institutions all over the world who will give complete yoga training to students, free of cost.
Things are moving very well in each and every country. People have come to realize that as the industrial and technological civilization progresses, man will become more sick. That sickness cannot be tackled either by the most efficient medical science, or by those who know the laws and behaviour of the mind, or by those who can manage and manipulate through hypnosis. The quality and causes of man’s sickness and disease are different.
Virus and bacteria are not the only causes of diseases today. The thought that you think, the distractions that you feel, the anxieties which you face in everyday life, and the depressions which are your day-to-day companions, the frustrations, endless passion, fears, worries and restlessness – Why don’t we realize that these are the causes of most diseases today? You who believe that a thought can influence the endocrine system, why don’t you think that your behaviour and your values of life not only affect the progress of your society; they can even impair your digestive system, can cause cancer, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases?
It is this point that yoga addresses all over the world today. Not only sickness, bad temper, your failure in your professional career and education, the whole society, the entire nation, the happiness of your family is an expression and manifestation of the nature and quality of your mind. Do you think that crime has to do with the economic situation alone? Are prosperous countries free from crime? Crime has to do with a man’s mental state. Therefore, we have to dedicate ourselves to this great philosophy and science, which was conceived by your ancestors, your wise great grandfathers, thousands of years ago. When the rest of the world was groping in total darkness, they came to a definite conclusion and it is under the canopy of this science that religions today find a meaning.
Different religious sects are coming together. Whether they are Hindus, Muslims or Christians, yoga has taken them to a point where they can understand the reality of their own existence in relation to society and creation. Even to those people who practise pooja every day, yoga has come as a great help in telling them how to concentrate. If you have a strong mind, you have willpower. If you have a weak mind, you have distractions and an indecisive nature. Everybody likes to have a strong mind, but you cannot have a strong mind unless you have the capacity to concentrate the distracting tendencies of the mind. Even as you concentrate the rays of the sun through a magnifying glass and make them powerful, in the same way, you have to concentrate the mind through the practices of dhyana yoga.
Asanas, pranayama, mudras, bandhas, antar mouna, yoga nidra, dhyana yoga and kriya yoga will definitely improve the nature of your consciousness, the quality of your physical systems, and in the course of time, we believe that you shall reap the best benefits of yoga.
Scientists who have been working on the effects of yoga have brought out startling results. They have even gone to the extent of saying that the chanting of mantra has an effect on the wave patterns of the brain, the theta, beta, delta and alpha wave patterns, which keep changing. When you practise mantra chanting, or concentration between the two eyebrows or on the heart centre, it is not merely a psychological or mental practice. Immediately, within seconds the EEG shows a distinct change in the wave pattern which has an effect on your heart, lungs, the functions of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Even the genito-urinary structure is affected.
I carried out research on the effects of moola bandha on the production of sperm. Subjects were taken where the sperms could not be produced and the subjects were also taken for controlling the production of sperm. A few kriyas were taught and they were subjected to investigations. It was found that through the practice of meditation and moola bandha, the reproductive, genito-urinary and ovarian systems can be influenced. If this investigation is true, it means that many things can be done through the practice of yoga without going through the medical system. This may have far reaching effects on you.
Meeting with Rotary and Lions Clubs, Republic Day, 26 January 1982, Lions Bhavan, Mysore Tamil Nadu