The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked universities and colleges to host sessions on “meditation and mental health” developed by the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
“The Higher Educational Institutions and their affiliated colleges/ institutions are requested to encourage students and faculty members to take benefit of this programme by introducing meditation as a solution for positive mental health,” UGC secretary Rajnish Jain wrote in a circular.
The meditation programme has been developed by the Art of Living Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture as part of the Har Ghar Dhyan (or meditation in every house) campaign, which is a “part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav to mark 75 years of Independence and the glorious history of people, culture and achievements”, adds the circular.
The UGC has also asked colleges and universities to appoint “Meditation Ambassadors” who will be the contact persons for the Art of Living foundation.
Explaining the objective of the campaign, UGC chairperson M. Jagadesh Kumar told The Hindu, “Today all of us are going through different kinds of stress, such as work pressure or exam-related pressure. So, along with physical fitness, we also need to practice meditation, which has been scientifically proven to make our mind calm and help in focussing.”
When asked why the programme was not developed by healthcare professionals under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the senior official replied, “Meditation involves simple breathing practice. Let us not make it too complicated. The underlying idea is to introduce meditation to everyone.”