Mr Kwabena Danso, a Yoga practitioner and member of the Ananda Marga Ghana Yoga Society, marked his 100th birthday anniversary on Sunday January 29 with a grand and joyful celebration held at the Ananda Marga Yoga Centre at 303 Haatso-Atomic Road in Accra.
The ceremony brought together family members of Mr Danso and several Yoga practitioners from across Ghana, South Africa, Congo, America, Brazil and other parts of the world.
Amidst melodious singing, drumming and dancing, Ananda Marga members, also called Margiis, joined Mr Danso to thank God for the momentous milestone. Attendees were treated to assorted vegetarian food and drinks.
Born in 1923, at Anum in the Eastern Region of Ghana, Mr Danso lost his father whilst he was only 3 months old and was raised by his mother.
Mr Danso is an herbalist by profession. He learnt herbal healing from his grandfather who was also an herbalist and introduced him to the efficacies of various herbs.
Mr Danso was in his 50s when he joined Ananda Marga (The Path of Bliss). He embraced life as a Yogi including physical exercises, meditation, and a vegetarian sentient diet– practices to which he has remained committed to thereafter. This he acknowledged has helped him to reach the grand old age of a 100 years.
Even at age 100, Mr Danso looked very vibrant, energetic and strong.
“Yoga is very good. When you practise Yoga, you don’t get diseases. Even if you are sick, when you do the Yoga exercises, you are able to cure yourself of a lot of diseases. Meditation is also good. It helps you to improve your spiritual life and deepens your relationship and trust in God,” he said.
Mr Danso underscored the need for every human being to be truthful in all their dealings, as truthfulness is the key to success in life.
“I will entreat everyone to take their relationship with God more seriously, to serve God, and to desist from activities that will not help them. Let the truth lead you in all that you do—because truthfulness is the key to success in life,” he said.
Acarya Krsnasundarananda Avadhuta, Chief Secretary, Proutist Universal, Nairobi Sector, noted that to live up to 100 years has become a rare attainment in the modern age due to environmental pollution and the consumption of chemicalised foods.
He said, through Yogic practices such as fasting four times a month, people can detoxify their body and prolong their lives considerably. He said meditation also helps to release stress from the mind and puts the body in a balanced state that results in good and vibrant health.
Didi Ananda Gunamaya, West African Regional Secretary for the Women’s Welfare Department of Ananda Marga, encouraged members of the public who may have misconceptions about Yoga to verify its benefits by practicing it themselves. She noted that Yoga asanas or exercises have become popular all over the world in recent years and have improved the quality of life of numerous people. “Meditation and Yoga postures help balance your hormones so you can live a healthier life,” she said.
Acarya Mahaprajinananda, formerly in charge of publications and public relations for Ananda Marga in Africa, said the celebration of a Margii’s 100th birthday is a testimony that meditation is the science of cultivating a positive mind. He noted that, “that positive mind and positive outlook on life is a key to almost everything else from our physical health to our sustainability in all levels of our being.”
Mr Vincent Birch Freeman, National Chairman of Ananda Marga Ghana and a former headmaster of Accra Academy, said it was unfortunate that many people perceived Yoga as having to do with the acquisition of occult powers to do magic. This he said was an erroneous and defective idea about Yoga.
“Yoga as a practice transforms the individual into a responsible and useful person. Practising Yoga helps you understand what life is about —the goal of life—and this understanding becomes a guiding principle to live your life in harmony with society and nature,” he noted.
Founded in India by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar in 1955, Ananda Marga, which means the Path of Bliss, is a socio-spiritual, cultural organisation with membership across the globe. Its teachings and practices are geared towards self-realisation and service to humanity.
Credit: Ananda Marga Ghana