Lucknow, Jun 21: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said yoga was India's biggest gift to the world and it cannot be tied to a particular religion, caste or sect.
"Today not only in India, but in the entire world Yoga and Ayurveda are being practiced which are integral parts of the country's culture," Rajnath said while addressing a mass yoga session on the first International Yoga Day at K D Singh Babu stadium. [Live Updates: International Yoga Day]
"It connects the society and cannot be bound down to a particular religion, caste or sect," he said.
"It is the biggest gift from India to the world. Either it was Buddhism, which spread in the entire world or its yoga which has been accepted by 191 countries in the world," he said.
Despite objections by several Muslim organisations, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board, a large umber of Muslims participated in the celebrations today, which witnessed participation of more than 15,000 people.
Though due to protests, Suryanamaskar was not a part of the session, 'Om' was still chanted in the begining and end.
The Uttar Pradesh government did not observe the day officially and had made it voluntary but a sizeable number of government officers and employees were present at the stadium.
Rajnath said that India is advancing towards becoming the "world guru". The Home Minister also pointed out that yoga was a product of an amalgamation of various cultures in India. He said there were 72 sects in Islam.
"It is only in India where all sects are found together. This thing is not even in any of the Islamic countries," he said.
He said Christanity might have started in any country, but the first Church was built in Kerala. Rajnath said when Persians were exiled from Iran, they got maximum honour in India and similar was the case with Jews.
"Yoga is heritage of such a culture," he said while congratulating the participants, which included personnel of para military forces, Patanjali Yoga Peeth, Art of Living, Nehru Yuva Kendra and Brahmkumaris.
Later, Rajnath practiced various yoga 'asanas' with the participants for nearly an hour and at the end of the session, he made the participants take a resolve.
"Yoga is a differnt type of exercise which is beneficial for health. Once we take a resolve it has to be done," said a Muslim girl, who participated in the session while observing Roza.
The enthusiasts also included children as young as five-year-old.