Fatwa against Surya Namaskar in Madhya Pradesh, Comments of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on this issue

A fatwa was issued against Surya Namaskar in Madhya Pradesh by Muslim leaders. Here is a detailed explanation on Surya Namaskar and its importance in the words of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of Art of Living. A devotee raised this in the Satsang of Guruji. Here is the reply from Ravi Shankarji.

Perhaps they think the sun is different from God or Allah. That is not so. Namaskar means what? To give thanks. It should be interpreted this way.

Give thanks to the sun and to the earth. Everything in nature, from grass to the sun is beneficial to life. We express gratitude to whatever is beneficial to life. You do not have to regard the sun as God. Nevertheless, sun is that power which supports everything, and the creator of the sun is the same God. We say the invention of this telephone or mobile phone has brought a lot of comfort to us. When we thank the phone, we are not expressing gratitude to an inanimate object, but the person who invented it.

That is why we say, ‘Sarva deva namsakaram Keshavam prati- gacchati’ No matter whom you thank, all gratitude reaches the one and only God. This is the thing.

Surya Namaskar is a set of asanas to be done at the time of sunrise, this improves circulation of blood throughout the body, health is maintained, and one remains disease-free. So there are numerous benefits of Surya Namaskar – for heart, liver, intestine, stomach, chest, throat, legs. From head to toe, every part of the body is greatly benefitted by Surya Namaskar.

So many Muslims have derived immense benefit by doing Surya Namaskar. All over the world people are doing Surya Namaskar and improving their health. Their vision is improving. So I do not consider it fair to keep the Muslim community deprived of it. That which improves one’s health and well-being, preventing anyone in society from practicing it is not appropriate.

One should understand that there is only one God in the world, there is no two. When there aren’t two, these are merely different ways of worshiping Him. Even if you do not consider it a form of prayer, take it merely as a physical exercise, and I do not believe that it would be blasphemy.

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