The Brahma Kumaris participated actively by co-hosting a side event and presenting an oral statement during one of the sessions.
The side event, ‘Yoga’s Impact on Poverty Eradication, Sustainable Living and Social Inclusion’ was organized by the International Day of Yoga Committee (IDYC) to the UN on 3rd February 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Denise Scotto, Chair of the IDYC at the UN, moderated the discussion between panelists, BK Ishita Contractor, Chief Executive, Divya Nagri Project at Ahmedabad, India; Mr. German Bravo, President UNSRC Yoga Club & UN DESA, Retired; Ms. Eenam Gambhir, Representative of the Permanent Mission of India to the UN; and Ms. Denis Licul, Co-founder/President, Yoga in Daily Life.
Denise, in her opening remarks, mentioned that in our world, law may be necessary but it doesn’t open someone’s heart to the needs and feelings of another. This is where yogic laws and values come in to assist in making living sustainable and inclusive.
BK Ishita shared her experience of the slum development project, Divya Nagri, successfully implemented in India. She highlighted that unless there is a change in behavior and attitude, there cannot be a sustained effect of poverty eradication. After all, its not the ‘what we do’ and ‘how we do it’ that is important but ‘why we do it’. You may read more about the project here
Mr. Bravo highlighted the importance of yoga and positive lifestyle in the eradication of poverty. He stated that our actions reflect our inner self. In other words, poverty is a reflection of the inner condition of the human mind. This is what yogic values are about.
Ms. Eenam Gambhir, through her personal experience of practicing yoga, emphasized the role of meditation and spirituality in developing a life rich with values, such as acceptance. She mentioned that yoga brings harmony between the internal and external. It makes us realize what we need and don’t need which helps in the decision making process. Yoga uplifts human aspirations which removes loneliness – a key factor to poverty.
Ms. Denis Licul brought to the table the famous Einstein quote – “problems cannot be solved with the same level of consciousness that created them.” Yoga helps us to understand our emotions better, transform them and bring inner satisfaction. She focused on vegetarian diet and non-violence as ways to eradicate poverty as they support climate change and a sustainable life. Again, as Einstein said, “nothing will benefit human health and survival as much as that of a vegetarian diet.”
It was an inspiring session that ended with reflections and meditation. BK representatives, Julia Grindon Welch, Sabita Geer, Kinnari Murthy and Raghav Chawla, attended the event.
On 7th February, amidst many representatives of member states, at one of the general discussions held during CSocD, a number of NGOs presented their oral statements. Brahma Kumaris’ representative to the UN, Ms. Kinnari Murthy, in her presentation, underlined the importance of sharing of material assets along with spiritual development as a solution to end poverty. She shared the message of ‘sharing is caring’ and gave the message of upholding human dignity and values to the Commission. Read her full statement here.
After all, the “outer” state of the world is a reflection of the “inner” state of its people. Therefore the solutions must also come from the non-material aspects of our existence – cultural, moral, ethical and spiritual.
Watch the full morning proceedings here