On March 4, 2016, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi met with the General Secretary of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, Swami Smaranananda..
The meeting took place at the Prime Minister’s office in the Parliament House in New Delhi. In addition to Swami Smaranananda, two other senior monks attended: Swami Nityananda and Swami Ishwarananda (members of the YSS Board of Directors). Sri Bhupender Yadav (Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha) was also present during the occasion.
The monks shared with Prime Minister Modi news of the upcoming centennial of Paramahansa Yogananda’s work in India, which began in 1917; and his pioneering role in bringing a deeper understanding of Yoga both within and outside of India. They also presented to the Prime Minister a letter from YSS/SRF President, Sri Mrinalini Mata, in which she expressed her appreciation of the Prime Minister’s role in the establishment of the United Nations International Day of Yoga, now held annually on June 21.
Prime Minister Modi proposed the idea for an International Day of Yoga to the United Nations in September 2014, saying: “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It 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.” Following his proposal, the UN adopted the resolution, with a record 175 countries co-sponsoring the initiative—the highest number of supporters in the organization’s history.
Sri Mrinalini Mata’s letter to the Prime Minister
In her letter to the Prime Minister, Sri Mrinalini Mata wrote:
“As an ardent practitioner of yoga and Indian spirituality, you are perhaps already familiar with the life and teachings of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi. Although he spent much of his time in the West disseminating India’s ancient science of yoga meditation for attaining direct personal experience of God, Paramahansaji always cherished a deep love of India in his heart and left his physical form while speaking the words of his poem, “My India.” One of his goals was to promote unity between East and West, and over the years seekers of many faiths and nationalities have been drawn to his universal message. He predicted that one day the message of yoga would encircle the globe aiding in the establishment of world peace on the basis of humanity’s direct perception of the one God. I was therefore very pleased when you proposed instituting an International Day of Yoga, which was subsequently adopted as a United Nations resolution within a very short time by a record number of nations. It was encouraging to observe people all over the world come together in large groups to practice on the first International Day of Yoga on June 21, 2015. I am certain that participation in this important annual event will only grow over time and gradually help to elevate the consciousness of civilization at large….
“On behalf of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship I send you my warm good wishes and prayers that God may guide and bless you in the work you are doing for the well-being and upliftment of India.”
The YSS monks also presented the Prime Minister with translations of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi in both Sanskrit and Gujarati; Yogananda’s translation of and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, God Talks With Arjuna, and a framed picture of Bhagavan Krishna in meditation posture, as well as a donation for the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.