Swami Ramdev

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150px-Swami_ramdev.jpg
Real NameRamkishan Yadav
Alternative NamesSwami Ramdev, Baba Ramdev
Date of Birth1974
Date of DeathStill Alive
Spiritual TraditionYoga
MethodsHatha Yoga, Pranayama
HeadquartersHaridwar, India
Websitehttp://www.divyayoga.com
TeacherUnknown
Regionmostly India
LanguageHindi

Contents

Introduction

Swami Ramdev is an Indian, Hindu swami and is particularly well-known for his efforts in popularizing Yoga. He is also one of the founders of the Divya Yoga Mandir Trust that aims to popularize Yoga and offer Ayurvedic treatments.

His camps are attended by a large number of people. It is claimed that over 85 million people follow his yoga camps via TV channels, and video. His yoga teaching sessions are for the masses and free for all, though there is a fee for attending his courses in person. His stated principle in life is to be of help to all. The sessions are conducted with minimal to exorbitant charges, depending on the place where the camp is being offered.[1]

He also manages an organization producing various ayurvedic remedies, holistic food and herbs, and which produces DVDs on Yoga and other educational material.

He generally does not give spiritual advice but limits himself to advocating the health benefits of his practices.

Teachings

  • One should practice Hatha Yoga and Pranayama to remain healthy.
  • Criticism of Western medicine and modern technology

Influence and Followers

He has tremendous influence in urban and semi-urban India and there are claims, probably credible, that tens of millions of people follow his methods and practice the exercises exhibited by him.

Controversies and Criticism

Over the years Swami Ramdev has been involved in several controversies:[2]

Minimum wage

In March 2005, about 113 employees of the Divya Yoga Mandir Trust started an agitation for minimum wages, coverage under the Provident Fund and Employees' State Insurance schemes. At a tripartite meeting, an agreement was reached between the workers, management and the district administration. However, some agitating workers were dismissed by the Trust after being charged for alleged sabotage.[3], [4]

Allegations of unlawful manufacturing practices

In January 2006, the Indian member of Parliament Brinda Karat accused the Divya Yog Mandir Trust Pharmacy, owned by Swami Ramdev, of using human and animal bones in their medicines. Samples of the medicines Kuliya Bhasm and Yauvanamrit Bati purchased from Brahmakalp Chikitsalay, the Trust's hospital at Haridwar, were tested at government labs which later confirmed the presence of animal materials in the sample. She exhibited the prescription and cash receipt obtained from the medicine counter in support of her claim[5]

Later, four samples sent to the government-recognized Shriram Institute of Industrial Research in Delhi. The report from this institution declared that the samples did not contain objectionable ingredients and were purely herbal. Swami Ramdev was subsequently cleared of the charges[6].

Notably, Ayurvedic texts allow the uses of animal-based substances in the manufacture of some of the Ayurvedic medicines. However, according to Brinda Karat, the laws related to proper labeling of medicines had not been adhered to.

Comments on Mahatma Gandhi

In 2006, the following comment from Swami Ramdev drew the wrath of some political activists:

I am a follower of penance, sacrifice, non-violence and truth. But I am also a follower of revolutionaries. I live a simple life. I don't do what everyone else does. But I believe that the freedom of our country is because of the sacrifice of martyrs. If somebody says that the country achieved independence without arms, without bloodshed, I believe that is an insult to the country's martyrs.[7]

Claims of curing cancer

Some press reports quoted him as claiming to have a cure for cancer of the breast, liver, prostate, uterus, pituitary gland, brain tumors and leukemia by practicing the seven breathing exercises.

In a residential camp held in Yog Gram, Haridwar during 19-25 June 2008, several cancer patients stepped forward to recount first-hand stories of their successful bouts with blood, prostrate and breast cancer using Pranayama or breathing exercises.[8].

Swami Ramdev has claimed having documented proof of his successes.

Further Reading and Links

Blog Posts

Organizations and Websites

Notes

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami_Ramdev#Background
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami_Ramdev#Controversies_and_criticisms
  3. http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=20060210002604200.htm&date=fl2302/&prd=fline& Frontline
  4. http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=61019
  5. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4580846.stm
  6. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4786114.stm
  7. http://news.webindia123.com/news/printer.asp?story=/news/Articles/India/20061129/522298.html
  8. http://www.ibnlive.com/news/ill-stay-away-from-politics-ramdev/top/30024-3.html
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