Aizawl, Jun 15: Mizoram Governor Lt General Nirbhay Sharma on Wednesday, June 15 suggested that the the controversy over Yoga should be sorted out through dialogue and said no one should be compelled to practice Yoga, it should be done voluntarily.
"I have practised Yoga for over four decades which, I found was extremely good for health, but it did nothing to re-enforce my religious belief," Sharma said, adding that practising yoga does not mean conversion to Hinduism.
"Practice of Yoga should not be imposed on anybody and any one who wants to practice Yoga should do it voluntarily," the Governor said.
Expressing the wish that International Yoga Day to be observed next Tuesday, would be considered as the commencement of Healthy Mizoram Campaign, Sharma said that Yoga could become instrumental in the combat against high incidence of cancer and HIV/AIDS, drug addiction and alcoholism and other social ills in the state.
Change of lifestyle and exercise could make Mizo youths healthier physically and mentally, he added. The Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), conglomerate of 14 major churches, recently asked all the church members across the state to refrain from the practice of Yoga.
Rev. Lalramliana Pachuau, Senior Executive Secretary of the Presbyterian Church's Mizoram Synod and one of the leaders of the MKHC, said the Yoga issue was raised during a meeting of the MKHC at the Synod office on June 2.
Pachuau said the churches did not have any objection to the government propagating Yoga at the official level as the government is a secular institution.
He, however, said, the churches regarded Yoga as something that can dilute the doctrine of Christianity and asked all the constituent churches of the MKHC to issue messages cautioning their members.
The MKHC looked upon Yoga as against the teachings and beliefs of Christianity, he added. The meeting of the MKHC decided that Yoga is based on Hindu philosophy and cannot be accepted as something that can be blended with Christianity.
"Yoga exercise may be able to heal some illness, but Christians cannot use it to replace the eternal healing of Christ," the meeting said, adding that Yoga might be used to assimilate or convert Christians.