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During the Bhagvad Gita Prerna Utsav on Sunday to celebrate 5151 years of Bhagwad Gita, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj announced to thousands of people that June 21 will be celebrated as the International Day of Yoga. The formal announcement on the United Nations resolution will be made on December 11 but she claimed that 170 nations have supported PM Modi's call for Yoga Day. Sparking controversy, she also pressed for making Bhagwad Gita the national scripture or book.
Modi in September during his visit to New York and first UN general assembly speech had proposed for an international Yoga day because "yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being" and that it is "India's gift to the world."
On Sunday thousands of disciples of Swami Gyananand and Global Inspiration Enlightenment Organisation Gita that organized the mass meeting at Red Fort grounds on Sunday rejoiced at Swaraj's announcement. Swaraj said that the respect of a "national scripture" was accorded to Gita when Prime Minister Modi gifted it to US President Barack Obama during his visit in September. "Bhagwad Gita has answers to everybody's problems" and that's why she is pushing for 'Shrimad Bhagwad Gita' should be declared as the national holy book, she said.
Swaraj also linked the importance of reading Gita to preventing and treating diseases like depression. "If you even read two shlokas of the Gita everyday, you can complete a substantial part of the scripture in a year," she said urging the gathering to read the Gita regularly. The ceremony was attended by many BJP leaders like Haryana CM, Manohar Lal Khattar, culture tourism and civil aviation minister, Mahesh Sharma. There was also president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Ashok Singhal, Yoga guru, Baba Ramdev, other sapiritual leaders like Shankaracharya Swami Divyanand Tirth, Rameshbhai Oza from Gujarat and others. BJP President Amit Shah had reportedly also confirmed to attend the event but didn't turn up.
Ramdev recited two shlokas from Gita, with the crowds reciting after him. He also suggested that Gita should be declared the national scripture or book of India immediately. "PM Modi has gifted the Gita to President Obama. That's a huge message. I think the time has come to declare it the national scripture," he said. Mocking children and youths who prefer fizzy drinks "Don't eat chocolate, don't drink toilet cleaners to lose weight. Just do yoga and read Gita."RSS leader Indresh Kumar said the UN should also declare Gita Divas as it is announcing June 21 as Yoga Day.
The week long celebration of 5151 years of Gita started on December 2 with a puja at the same grounds by RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat. On Sunday several children in saffron also took a pledge to spread the message of Gita. They also reportedly pledged for the "clean India" campaign and against drug addiction in the country. About 5151 families also performed puja and recited from the Gita according to organizers. The ceremony was also attended by cardiac surgeon and head of Medanta, Dr Naresh Trehan who said that he learnt certain key principles of practicing medicine from the Gita. Ambassadors of Denmark and Montenegro were also present. Mahesh Sharma said as the minister of culture he would take up popularizing Gita like an "andolan" or revolution.
While the Red Fort grounds accommodated he large crowd, traffic outside had slowed down due to the Sunday market at Daryaganj and the crowds that poured in to listen to spiritual and political leaders at the event.
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