Hindus are critical of Connecticut (USA) Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s new proposal of imposing tax on yoga.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who strongly criticized the attempts to regulate yoga in the recent past by various states in USA, urged Governor Malloy to reconsider his proposal and keep the sales tax exemption on yoga.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that yoga was one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy whose traces went back to around 2000 BCE. Yoga never had any formal organization and yoga practice had been handed down from one guru to the next.
Rajan Zed further said that yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was mentioned in ancient Hindu scriptures Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita. The Bhagavad-Gita, one of the most popular Hindu scripture, was considered a comprehensive yoga-shastra (treatise on yoga). Mahabharata, also an ancient Hindu scripture, said that one unconversant with yoga could never have happiness while Yogabija Upanishad pointed out that one became liberated from bondage only through yoga. Why to tax such a liberation powerhouse, Zed asked.
Zed stressed that yoga was a mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) united with universal-soul (parmatman). Some sages had described yoga as the silencing of all mental transformations, which lead to the total realization of the Supreme Self. Some had used yoga attempting to gain liberation by removing all sensory barriers. For Patanjali, author of the basic text, the Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche and regulating it was kind of a religious infringement, Rajan Zed added.
About 16 million Americans, including many celebrities, are said to practice yoga.
Connecticut, known for its wealth, which received statehood in 1788, is famous for its inventions of watchmaking, insurance, submarines, lollipop, typewriters; Long Island Sound shoreline, rolling Litchfield Hills, and unspoiled Connecticut River Valley. Its prominent residents included inventor Charles Goodyear, former President George Walker Bush, author Mark Twain, lexicographer Noah Webster, actor Paul Newman, showman P.T. Barnum, Nobel laureate Eugene O’Neill, actress Katharine Hepburn, etc.