Wednesday 10 July 2024

Yoga: The Solution To The Youth Problem - 2

Swami Satyananda Saraswati (Bihar School o f Yoga, Monghyr, Bihar)

The Crisis of To-day

'TODAY, more than any other time in history there is a crisis of status. Few people are sure of their place in time and space, in the world, in their country, in their work or in their homes. This is the case with old and young people alike.

There are so many conflicting ideas and possibilities open to most people, and when there are so many different things that each person can do with his life, he becomes confused and does not know which direction to take. How much easier it was, in olden days, when each person followed in his parents' footsteps and knew what he would be doing, not only tomorrow, but also in twenty years' time. So, what can young people do : how can they decide what their basis for living their life should be ? They can ask their parents, but they know instinctively that their parents are as confused as they are.

Search for Happiness

They want happiness and contentment, and these things few of their elders now about, for as one great writer put it "most people lead lives of quiet desperation Can anyone expect young: people to follow their parents, when they see underneath all the show and pomp, that their parents are really unhappy in the life style that they lead? They see that their elders' way of life, gives happiness only on fleeting occasions, perhaps when they unexpectedly earn a lot of money or when they go to the cinema, oi when they eat some very nice food. Young:  people perceive and rightly so, that everyone's life should be a continual expression of joy.

Yoga : A Way to Happiness

Happiness is the true condition of man. This is why young; people have taken up yoga ; to find their true nature and so find permanent happiness that transcends the transitory happiness given by sensual pleasures and so on. In yoga they can see a complete way of life that tackles all the facets of man's being. They see that the techniques of asanas and p ran ay am a give physical and mental health, the most basic step to achieving permanent happiness. How much different this attitude is compared to the older generation, who tend not to worry very much about this aspect of their being ; if their bodies work, all is well, even if they have pain, indigestion and so on, through misuse.

Yoga, Health and Youth

They have positive attitudes about health; they don't wait for illness to occur; they prevent it occurring. Young people realise that maintaining or obtaining good mental health is the next step to permanent happiness. "Old people do not seem to give much consideration to this factor in their lives even though they continually feel tense ; and if they do give this factor consideration, it is because they have been stricken by grave mental problems. Again, it is the young people who are leading all people on a positive path to mental peace, for they have universally adopted meditation and other yoga practices as being a necessary part of the daily routine.

Youth : Their Scientific Approach to Truth

And what about the spiritual side of life ? Whilst older people have accepted the religious ideas handed down through the ages, without really understanding their basis, or even rejected religion as being 'rubbish ' as seems to be the modern trend, young people have again taken the initiative. They have started to try to 'experience ' the truths, inherent in all religions. They have not accepted, nor have they rejected, religions. They have, in fact, adopted a more scientific approach by trying to find the truth by practical methods. In this endeavour they have taken to the techniques in yoga.

Understanding Rebellious Youth

I once talked to a young man who could see his place in society. Already at the age of eighteen, his parents had disowned him because of his rebellious nature. He told me that he did many 'crazy ' things with his friends, for no other reason than that he could see no reason why he shouldn't do them. He told me that he was looking for something, though he did not know what. All his actions were an attempt to express some inner feeling. He felt there was a permanent, universal correct action for each individual but could not find what it was. He looked around him and he saw hypocrisy; people were not doing what their nature dictated, their dharma, but were doing things in life that did not come from their inner being; doing things automatically like a machine, because their neighbours expected them to do a particular action. He felt that people were continually suppressed because they were always 'acting' in their lives to impress the people around them. It was in reaction to this way of life which most people lived, that he had done 'crazy things ' as he put it.

Yoga : Way to Inner Harmony

He said that he had heard that yoga is a method of knowing the inner nature and so attaining happiness. Was it true ? I told him it was perfectly true, I told him that if he wanted to know more and practise yoga he should go to a yoga school, the address of which I gave him. I met that same person six months later. I didn't ask him if he had been doing yoga, I could feel by his face. He told me that yoga had changed his whole life. At last he had found the way to permanent happiness in life, and now he knew in a small way that there was one truth underlying everything that was devoid of hypocrisy and superficiality. He was now on good terms with his parents and was trying to convince them of their wrong attitude to life and to persuade them to do yoga.

Teaching Yoga Universally

Imagine what would happen if yoga were taught in every school in the world, just as we teach mathematics or science. When we consider that about sixty percent of the world's population are children, the implications are staggering. Young people everywhere would be well-adjusted, healthy and happy. Perceptive and understanding, physically and mentally fit, they would be aware of their own potential and more capable of its realisation. With their spiritual experience they would be able to operate on a different and higher level of consciousness, and this could be brought to use in the outer life, in their work and social pursuits.

Yoga and Service

Yoga encourages service, and this could be utilised for the greater benefit of mankind. With yoga in the curriculum of universities and colleges, a much better graduate would be produced who would be more perceptive in applying his intelligence to work.

Yoga and the Future

Everyone should invest in yoga, young and old. The future of young people and the world needs a system such as yoga. Yoga means 'union' and that is just what we could achieve — a union of people throughout the world. By yoga everyone would gain insight into their own culture and their own way of life to a level never before believed possible. Such is the power of yoga. It is not a religion, but a science of living according to our means and the laws of life. If we hold ourselves responsible for the future, our own and of our children, then we must ensure that the evolution of man is along positive lines. Only then will wars cease; only then will man be able to love his fellow man, and only then will adults understand the young, and the young will understand the old.

Yuva Bharati - Oct 1973
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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

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