Sanskrit chants fill the early-morning air of Baginakatta, a remote village in Yellapur taluk of Uttara Kannada. Twenty Norwegian youths have been learning yoga and Indian culture here for the past one month.
The group, including eight women, came to this village situated in the Western Ghats to get back on the right track after wasting away their lives in drugs like marijuana.
“We are happy to learn yoga at it keeps us hale and healthy . We also came here to learn about Indian culture, which is one of the best in the world,“ one of the Norwegian youths said.
They wake up at 4am and start doing yoga and chanting Sanskrit hymns. Shunning all luxuries, they have been living a simple life in this small village that has a population of 200. They are undergoing training at Samhita, an organization propagating yoga in Karnataka.
“We decided to give up drugs and began searching for a way out. Our search ended when we learnt that yoga has the power to free us from the habit. We learnt about Vighneshwar Bhat who runs Samhita, on the Internet, so we came here,“ they said.
Bhat, who runs yoga classes in Mysuru, organized the two-month programme in the village to avoid the disturbances that urban areas pose.
Bhat said they group is also learning the Bhagavad Gita, Bhartiya Darshan, dhyana and japa (meditation by repeating a hymn). “They are very happy to be here and we are also happy to teach them about the Indian culture,“ he said. Alex and Seep from Norway said, “After coming here, we have experienced great things. Yoga has got an inter national attraction and it is good that World Yoga Day would be celebrated from June next year.“
To express their gratitude , they are renovating an old temple in Baginakatta. They bring sand, stones and other construction material to the spot from about 1.5 km away by carrying them on their heads. “We will leave after two weeks, but return to India if get an opportunity,“ they said.