FAQ:Yoga Studies :Difference in India and America

How is Yoga study at an Indian University different from American Religion University?

The issue can be seen under four clear headings: Operational Approvals, Regulations, Accreditation, Secular frame of operation. At India, Yoga has always been considered a personal spiritual practice for the goal of Self and God –Realization. This was technically called as practice of ‘Yoga practice for Moksha goal ’. The guidance was technically called ‘Yoga-anushasana for Dharma – Jeevikaa’. Guidance for a profession, ethical enterprise’. The rule books used are ‘Darshana Shastras, Paramartha Shastras’. The guiding authority here is ‘Guru, Yogi, Shastry ’; and the institution is ‘Guru kul’.

In the current globalized society, the benefits of Yoga are expected at Social , Public and National levels with a tangible economically viable profession model. The traditional guidance books for this are called ‘Purushartha Shastras, Upa-Vedas, Vedangas , Vidyas, Kalas, Artha Shastra, Dharma Shastra’. The guiding authority here is ‘Guru of specific discipline and Elder of the Tradition : Viswa-Karma, Acharya, Upadhyaya’; and the institution is ‘Kulam, Samaaja, a Guild’. The modern version of this is a University which trains a Religion- Professional, a Religion-Vocation specialist, Community - profession Guilds, Peer teams who function as Accreditation bodies and Peers of Discipline with National stature.

Such institutions of yoga –excellence nurturing fall outside of the social secular frame funded and governed by National Tax payers resources. In the past, such institutions were funded and supported by special interest communities and religion leadership. This scenario continues even to this day in ‘Yoga for Paramartha goal – Education institutions. This is the clarity with which the student needs to start the yoga study, answering the personal question : Why am I studying Yoga ? For What Goal? Once the clarity on this point emerges, the rest of study logistics and the options for study become clear. Yoga studies for Self- improvement, Self –Realization are a different lane for journey compared to Yoga studies to earn a livelihood through yoga –services.

Depending upon Students Choice, Yoga-Samskrutham University connects the student with the right faculty and suggests a course mix to follow. Under US Law, a University has a different connotation and is recognized as a Higher Education Enterprise, with minimal interference from Government. This is more specifically applied for a Religion University. Yoga Education standards are decided by the University policy and expectation of Standards. The design of University programs for Yoga, Samskrutham and Languages are left to the discretion of the University. The degree names of awards from Religion University programs, statutorily carries a ‘religious Qualifier in the full name of the degree’ to distinguish from the secular degrees. Accreditation is an option for American Religion University. The subjects that get covered under ‘Religion’ category are decided by the US Constitution and the Education commission. Once the education program is placed under religion category, the state does not interfere in the administration of the program.

In India, "University" means a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act and includes any such institution as may, in consultation with the University concerned, be recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in accordance with the regulations made in this regard under the UGC Act, 1956. Every year, millions of students from within the country and abroad, enter these portals mainly for their graduate, post graduate studies while millions leave these portals for the world outside.

Indian law requires that universities be accredited unless created through an act of Parliament. Having said this, the Yoga education programs were introduced under the eligible Indian Universities under Section 2(f) and have been declared fit to receive central assistance under Section 12(B) of the UGC Act of 1956. The target group is students, teachers and non-teaching staff of universities. The scheme is for promotion of yoga education and practice and positive health in universities.

The Indian Higher education policy and frame work comes under ministry of Higher Education (http://mhrd.gov.in/university-and-higher-education ) and governed by the Act of Parliament in 1956 for the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education. The University Grants Commission is a statutory organization. Apart from providing grants to eligible universities and colleges, the Commission also advises the Central and State Governments on the measures which are necessary for the development of Higher Education. Higher Education is the shared responsibility of both the Centre and the States. The coordination and determination of standards in Universities & Colleges is entrusted to the UGC and other statutory regulatory bodies. At present, the main categories of University/University-level Institutions are:- Central Universities, State Universities, Deemed-to-be Universities and University-level institutions. These are described as follows: Central University: A university established or incorporated by a Central Act. State University: A university established or incorporated by a Provincial Act or by a State Act. Private University: A university established through a State/Central Act by a sponsoring body viz. A Society registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860, or any other corresponding law for the time being in force in a State or a Public Trust or a Company registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956.

Deemed-to-be University: An Institution Deemed to be University, commonly known as Deemed University, refers to a high-performing institution, which has been so declared by Central Government under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, 1956. Institution of National Importance: An Institution established by Act of Parliament and declared as Institution of National Importance. Institution under State Legislature Act: An Institution established or incorporated by a State Legislature Act.

Within this frame work, and the list of Accreditation bodies, the Yoga related National policy and accreditation body is yet to come in to enforcement. As and when it comes in to operation in India, Yoga-Samskrutham University will do the needful to get the necessary approvals. On the global level, the Yoga accreditation standards are still a floating deliberation.