Yoga and social responsability – Peter Krishna Van Lierde
Yoga and Social responsability
‘Dharmakshetre, kurukshetre’ are the first words of the Bhagavad Gita. According to the gita dhyanam (meditation on the Gita) is the Gita the nectar of the Upanishads. And the first words of the first verse of the Gita are the nectar of the Bhagavad Gita. ‘The field of dharma is the field of action’: the message of the whole book explained in two words. Arjuna is compelled to act, to fulfill his ‘svadharma’, his plight in this life. How to do this is explained in 18 chapters. ‘Yoga karmasu kaushalam’: yoga is skill in action. Not to act is not an option for Arjuna, nor for any of us. He has to take up his bow and fight. How do we look upon our ‘svadharma’ in this life? Do we think it’s just a personal effort to connect with our inner ‘self’ or does any connection with the intimate universal, beyond the personal, imply a different consciousness and plight? Does spiritual deepening and a profound connection, yoga, automatically include a task regarding our close and wider community, the world and the universe? In this world of suffering (dukhalaya) and hope we need to take a stand.
Peter Van Lierde was trained in Yoga and Vedanta in ashrams belonging to the Divine Life Society founded by Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh. He stayed in Sivananda ashrams in India, specifically Rishikesh and Uttarkashi and in Swami Satchidananda’s ashram in the US. Swami Satchidananda gave him the spiritual name Krishna. He studied scriptures with Swami Krishnananda, Swami Brahmananda and Swami Chidananda. Throughout his life, he remained associated with the Divine Life Society, which also has a branch in Aalst. He has long been active in charitable organisations such as the non-profit organisation Kurukshetra which supports leper colonies in North India and built the Sivananda Seva Samhiti hospital in Ganeshpur. Peter teaches on the Upanishads in training schools for yoga teachers and is a talented kirtanist. He was YFN’s delegate at the 2023 Zinal Congress. He is a board member of YFN, the Yoga Federation of Dutch speakers in Belgium (https://yogafederatie.be/)