Swami Ramdev

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Swami Ramdevji

Born Ramkishan Yadav
December 25,1965
Haryana, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Yogi
Known for Efforts in proliferation of Yoga and Ayurveda.

Swami Ramdev (Hindi: स्वामी रामदेव Born 1965)[citation needed], also known as Baba Ramdev, is an Indian, Hindu swami and an ardent admirer of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose[citation needed]. He 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. Over 85 million people[1] follow his yoga camps via TV channels, and video. His yoga teaching sessions are for the masses and free for all. 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.

He also insists that the correct way to pronounce Yoga is Yog, as is done in Devanagari-based languages like Sanskrit[citation needed].


[edit] Background

Swami Ramdev (Baba Ramdev) was born as Ramkishan Yadav in Said Alipur in the Mahendragarh district of Indian state of Haryana. As a child he suffered from paralysis. He has stated on air[citation needed] that it was through Yog that he was able to regain the full functionality of his body again.

He attended school till the eighth grade in Shahjadpur. He then joined an aarsh gurukul in Khanpur village to study Sanskrit and Yoga. Eventually, he assumed Sanyas (or monastic living) - taking his present name. He then moved to Jind district and joined the aarsh gurukul Kalva and started offering free Yoga training to villagers across Haryana.

[edit] Work

In 1995, Swami Ramdev established the Divya Yoga Mandir Trust with Acharya Karamveer and Acharya Balkrishna. Acharya Karmaveer is well-versed in Yoga and Veda while Acharya Balkrishna is a physician with a degree in Ayurveda[2].

See this reference for the following material

Swami Ramdev's TV programs and Yoga camps have proved to be immensely popular. Attendance at his yoga camps has been quoted as being up to 20,000 people. Among the many locations, Swamiji has also conducted a yoga camp at the Rashtrapati Bhavan - the residence of the President of India.[3]

His TV program is broadcast in several continents including Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and America. Executives at the TV channel carrying Swami Ramdev's program have reported immense demand for the show. Viewership is quoted as being 20 million regular viewers.

Followers of these programs have claimed relief from a variety of ailments such as blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, spondylitis, hepatitis and obesity.

One of the factors that differentiates Swami Ramdev is his emphasis on teaching and making available the practice of Pranayama for the masses. This is different from other yoga teachers who place more emphasis on asanas (yoga postures). Comprehensive video demonstration of Pranayam (Note: This video is an hour long and will take some time to load)

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a world-renowned spiritual leader is quoted as saying "If an individual can be credited with reviving yoga in this country (India), it is solely Swami Ramdev. Yoga can cure even fatal diseases and Swami Ramdev has definitely proved it time and again. Swami Ramdev has spread yoga to such an extent that sooner or later, one has to embrace it.[3]

See this reference for the preceding material

[edit] Patanjali Yog Peeth

Swami Ramdev's flagship project, the Patanjali Yog Peeth (PYP) Trust, was inaugurated on August 6, 2006. It's aim is to build the world's largest center for Ayurveda and Yoga that includes facilities for treatment, research and a teaching university[3][4]. The trust, most notably, offers free treatment to those who cannot afford. For all other, the treatment is at lesser costs than hospitals elsewhere.

Through PYP, Swami Ramdev continues to work with various institutions and medical organizations in an effort to study and improve yoga's effectiveness in working against diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc.

[edit] Controversies and criticisms

Over the years Swami Ramdev has been involved in several controversies.

[edit] 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. Their case was taken up by a trade union controlled by the Communist Party of India (Marxist). They are yet to be reinstated.[5][6].

[edit] Allegations of unlawful manufacturing practices

In January 2006, the Indian Member of Parliament Brinda Karat accused the Divya Yog Mandir Trust Pharmacy, owned by 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[6][7].

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[8]. Notably people's response was so huge that subsequent to these allegations - sales of the Trust's ayurvedic medicines have soared[3].

Notably, Ayurvedic texts allow the uses of animal-based substances[citation needed] 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.

[edit] Comments on Mahatma Gandhi

In 2006, the following comment from Swami Ramdev drew the wrath of media and 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.

—Swami Ramdev, [9]

[edit] Claims of curing AIDS

In December 2006, press reports claimed that Ramdev had made claims of being able to use Yoga to cure AIDS. A website promoting his products states that the CD4 cell count in some AIDS patients has improved after practising Yoga.[10]. This statement was translated by certain journalists as claiming a cure for AIDS[11]. As a consequence of these press reports he was sent a cease and desist order by the Indian Union Health Ministry and threatened legal action from medical NGOs[12]. Ramdev responded by saying that he had been misquoted[13]. His position was that Yoga and Ayurveda together can alleviate the suffering from AIDS, not cure it[14].

[edit] Claims of curing cancer

Other press reports quoted[citation needed] 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.[15].

Swami Ramdev has claimed having documented proof of his successes.

[edit] Putravati medicine

In May 2007, the Haridwar district health department began a probe into the medicine labelled "Putravati", allegedly manufactured by Swami Ramdev's Haridwar-based Divya pharmacy. The medicine reportedly was supposed to help women to selectively give birth to sons. However, the investigation proved this to be a hoax[16].

[edit] Awards and recognitions

  • January 2007 - Honorary Doctorate, KIIT University (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology) at the hands of scientist and Nobel laureate Richard R. Ernstin recognition of his efforts at popularizing the Vedic science of Yoga.[17]

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Ramdev's yoga brand launched in America". http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1107155. 
  2. ^ "Swami Ramdev". knowyoga.org. http://knowyoga.org/tiki-index.php?page=Swami%20Ramdev. Retrieved on 21 March 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Life Positive". http://www.lifepositive.com/Spirit/Swami_Ram_Dev/The_Messiah_of_Yoga72006.asp. 
  4. ^ "Patanjali Yog Peeth - Introduction". http://www.divyayoga.com/introduction.htm. 
  5. ^ Frontline "In the name of Ayurveda". The Hindu. http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=20060210002604200.htm&date=fl2302/&prd=fline& Frontline. 
  6. ^ a b "How Karat-Ramdev War began". ExpressIndia.com. http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=61019. 
  7. ^ "Guru accused of 'human bone' drug". bbc.co.uk. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4580846.stm. 
  8. ^ "Yogi cleared of animal parts row". http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4786114.stm. 
  9. ^ "Baba Ramdev invites wrath of Indore Gandhians for remarks on Mahatma Gandhi". Webindia123. http://news.webindia123.com/news/printer.asp?story=/news/Articles/India/20061129/522298.html. 
  10. ^ "Ayurvedic Herbs for control of HIV, AIDS & any Sexually Transmitted Diseases". yogapranayama.com. http://www.yogapranayama.com/hiv_medicine.htm. Retrieved on 21 March 2007. 
  11. ^ "Baba Ramdev’s website claims AIDS is curable". dnaindia.com. http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1071418. Retrieved on 21 March 2007. 
  12. ^ "Yoga effect on AIDS? Baba has 'proof'". moneycontrol.com. http://www.moneycontrol.com/india/newsarticle/stocksnews.php?cid=1&autono=30049&source=ibnlive.com. Retrieved on 21 March 2007. 
  13. ^ "I made no claims of curing AIDS: Ramdev". expressindia.com. http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=78569. Retrieved on 21 March 2007. 
  14. ^ "I never claimed I can cure AIDS: Ramdev". dnaindia.com. http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1071141. Retrieved on 21 March 2007. 
  15. ^ "I'll stay away from politics: Ramdev". ibnlive.com. http://www.ibnlive.com/news/ill-stay-away-from-politics-ramdev/top/30024-3.html. Retrieved on 21 March 2007. 
  16. ^ DNA "Ramdev's 'Putravati' medicine under scanner". http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1094928 DNA. 
  17. ^ "Doctorate degree for Yoga Guru Ramdev". punjabnewsline.com. http://www.punjabnewsline.com/content/view/2664/39/. Retrieved on 21 March 2007. 

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