A banner which hung across the House of the Cultures of
the World in East Berlin proclaimed: "Please allow us to
see the legendary figure." This amply demonstrated the
Berliners' respect for B. K. S. Iyengar whose school of
yoga has many followers in the country.
"I was touched to the core by this gesture," revealed the
renowned yoga guru who returned after more than a month
of a whirlwind tour of Europe and Israel. "The admira-
tion shown by the people, whether it was in France,
Spain, Israel or Berlin, was beyond my expectations.
Seventy-eight-year-old Mr Iyengar, whose book The Light
on Yoga, has been published in 19 international languages
and is in the process of being published in Korean, had a
hectic schedule in Europe, which he has visited a number
of times and also during his maiden tour of Israel.
Besides holding demonstrations and lectures in yoga and
inaugurating yoga centres in Paris, Spain and even Is-
rael, Mr Iyengar held a demonstration at the world-famous
hall in Germany, which was donated by the Americans to
the people of Germany after World War II.
It was a unique experience at every major city of Europe
and Israel for Mr Iyengar. Paradoxically while in India,
yoga does not enjoy its rightful place in the spheres of
culture and health, in Europe it was spreading like wild
fire. Yoga institutes and health consciousness was grow-
ing in leaps and bounds.
While the 110 existing Hindu organisations functioning in
France in the fields of religion, culture and health are
labelled as sects, the French cultural affairs ministry,
has decided to categorise the Patanjali form of yoga as
propounded and Practised by the Iyengar Yoga Institutes,
as a cultural discipline.
This bit of information was conveyed to Mr Iyengar by the
director of cultural activities in Paris who introduced
him to the public in the presence of representatives of
the Indian embassy and French authorities. "I consider
this as one of the positive achievements of my Present
Among the other achievements Mr Iyengar cited was the
successful attempt by several youths in Spain to go off
drugs with the help of yoga. In Israel people came and
told Mr Iyengar how yoga had helped them to overcome the
daily stress and strain they have to face in their trou-
Mr Iyengar whose disciples range from the internationally
renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin to the Queen Mother and
celebrities in the fields of sports, films and other
areas, said that during his current visit to Europe he
saw a sea change taking place. "These countries are
slowly turning towards spiritualism, even while we are
heading in the opposite direction towards materialism,"