International Yoga Day is being celebrated the day after tomorrow on June 21. In the recent past, there has been a lot of hoopla about whether chanting OM is compulsory or not, and how it (chanting OM) goes against religious sentiment and so on and so forth.

Several events are being organized – both in India and across the globe.

During his address to the UN General Assembly in September 2014, Shri Narendra Modi stated: “Yoga … embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being….to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature…. “.

He is spot on.

Thus it is not about chanting OM or how many asanas one can do, or which pranayama or whether it is performed by the Bay or not. Yoga is not something we “do”.

Yoga is a way of life.

In a nutshell, Yoga can be said to be about stilling agitation of the mind. Agitation that is brought about by, for example, egoism, attachment and fear. Through sadhana, it is suggested that values such as friendliness, non-violence, desirelessness, and compassion be cultivated to help us move along the path towards achieving a higher reality.

As has been written previously in this blog, we believe that our special individuals here at Arpan and elsewhere, are already on the path of Yoga. They are kind and compassionate, warm and loving, and in the larger scheme of things, almost desireless. For the most part all they need or want is acceptance, respect, love, work.

They give back in abundance.

For example, Aarti and Pratibha need very little to sustain them. A hug, a warm smile. Pratibha received a lot of accolades recently – she featured on several media outlets for everything she has achieved over the last few years. The congratulatory messages meant very little to her.

All that Pratibha wanted at the end of the day was a conversation and to get back to work. In a sense a true karma yogi.

Aarti asks for nothing. She sings bhajans with total bhakti for long periods. When there is music around her, she tunes everyone and everything else out and is completely one-pointed. As our dear friend and supporter, Amar describes: “She is in the zone… a zen-like state…”

A conversation before Aarti’s recent birthday went something like this:

“So Aarti, what would you like as a birthday present?”

No hesitation. “Nothing…”

“Aarti this is hard. I want to get you a present you will like. There must (emphasis) be something you want…”

Silence. As though she is almost saying, well if you need to give me a gift then “Anything to do with music…”

Perhaps her endeavour is to further her own dhyana…