Tulsi Gabbard

Yoga Day Speech at the UN Headquarters - June 21, 2015

Tulsi Gabbard
June 21, 2015— New York
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Respected leaders, honored guests, Namaste and aloha. As individuals and as a society, in order to have peace and happiness, we need wisdom and spiritual love. Three days ago, a man walked into a church in South Carolina and in cold blood gunned down nine people. Why? Because of ignorance and hate. For too long the world has witnessed the brutal terrorism of groups like ISIS. Why do such groups exist? Because of ignorance and hate. There's so much suffering caused by this ignorant and hate. It points to our individual and societal need for the light of wisdom and spiritual love. In my view this, is why the world needs yoga so much.

Improvements to physical health and the many other benefits of yoga are universally appreciated, but the greatest gifts of yoga, this wisdom and spiritual love are even more important. According to yoga, perfect wisdom and spiritual love exists within each and every one of us, but this wisdom and love is covered and lies dormant. However through the yoga of the Bhagavad Gita, this innate wisdom and spiritual love can be uncovered and cultivated. The result of moving the dark- removing the darkness and hate from our hearts, we'll be happier and more peaceful individuals and a more peaceful and harmonious society and world.

Understanding this truth is the path to peace. Mahatma Gandhi said there must be recognition of the existence of the soul apart from the body and of its permanent nature and this recognition must amount to a living faith and in the last resort non-violence does not avail those who do not possess a living faith in the God of love. In both Patanjali yoga sutras as well as the ancient yoga Scripture Bhagavad-Gita, we learn that we are not this physical body rather we are spiritual in essence part and parcel of the supreme soul. Falsely identifying ourselves as these material bodies and their different colors and ethnicities creates barriers and animosities between us. If we think I am Brown, he is white, she is black, we're failing to appreciate that we are truly the soul within the body and that we're all equal and related as children of God, regardless of any external differences.

It is ignorance of this truth and the hatred born of that ignorance that is the root cause of racism, violence, terrorism, and religious bigotry that we unfortunately witness here at home and around the world. A true yogi understands that we are not these physical bodies, we are in fact all spiritual beings united by our common kinship with the supreme soul. The wisdom and spiritual love that we find in yoga will bear the fruit of mutual respect for others regardless of their race, nationality, religion or any other differences. So on this International Day of yoga, let us all be inspired to dive into the deeper aspects of yoga where we can each discover the treasure of wisdom, spiritual love, and peace that Yoga has to offer us all. Jai Shri Krishna. Namaste. Aloha.