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August - September 2006


Spiritual

Interview - Swami Ramdev on a Worldwide Mission

by Krishan Ralleigh


The United Kingdom is the fulfilment of the wishes of thousands of Hindus settled here. Some of them have been acquainted with the Yogic education being given by Swamiji through ‘Aastha channel’. He arrived on Thursday 13 July on a month-long visit to organize a series of workshops to propagate Yog.

What was the main purpose of the visit of the Yoga Guru and how would he be able to accomplish his task in such a short time? He is here on a short visit of about a month to organize a series of workshops to educate people of this country in yoga exercises and the science of life.

Since stepping onto UK soil for the very first time, the world renowned Yoga Guru has had an action-packed visit, meeting many of his UK followers, including the general public, royalty, politicians and dignitaries.

I got the opportunity of meeting Swami Ramdev next day in an apartment in Buckingham Gate Crown Plaza hotel where he was staying.

An amiable personality, Swamiji greeted me with a gracious smile and an affectionate pat on my back.

Swamiji, it is your first visit to Europe. What is the main purpose of this visit? Is it to collect funds for your mammoth project in India or is it to convey a spiritual message to the materialistic West?

With benign smile, Swami Ramdev explained that Yog is not a ritual. It is a complete science of long and healthy life. It has a spiritual base but deals with diseases common among human beings. We have conducted experiments under controlled conditions and have proved that we could cure many simple as well as severe diseases by regular yogic exercises and a daily regime of special foods and drinks.

As regards my question on collecting funds, Swamiji simply said that he and his disciples (almost ten thousand of them) do not take any money for themselves. They all work gratis. The money is needed to build a university and hospitals for the masses.

“Previously many Yogis from India came here and stayed here. Rajnish, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Prabhupada - they came and lived for many years here. Will you be tempted to stay in the West, attracted by the prosperity and riches?”

A generous chuckle from Swamiji ... and then solemnly Swamiji said that he would not like to comment on other great souls (Mahan atma) who came here. But he is sure that his own project in India is so big that he would not be able to stay here or in the USA for long. His main mission is in India. That is where the science of life started. And he would like the people of his country to be enlightened about their own rich heritage. It is a huge task. If people in the West want to take advantage of it, so be it.

“Swamiji, Your knowledge of medical science is astonishingly vast. But you had no medical training. How would you explain that?

Indian scriptures and the shashtras and sanghita written by Maharishi Charak (Charak Sanghita and Patanjali Yog Shashtra) explain a lot about human anatomy and biology.

It is strange that many so-called educated Indians have not even heard of Maharishi Charak and his ‘Samhita’. I confessed my own ignorance before Swamiji.

“Swamiji, Indira Gandhi was a keen follower of Yoga. She even had a Guru who used to teach her Yogic exercises. Have you been approached by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh?

Again, the benign, wide smile from Swamiji said it all. “Yes there are many chief ministers, ministers and political leaders who come to him to help in his gigantic project and learn Yog”, said Swamiji.

“India is entering in the 60th year of her independence. What will be your message to our readers on this occasion?

“Build your character (charitra). You should lead your personal life with honour,(pratibha) humility and without any rancour. Love India and love the country where you reside. Stay united. Do not fight with each other. Do not indulge in bringing others down. Look after your body. It is the temple where the soul resides. Keep it clean and pure.”

Meeting Swamiji was a great spiritual experience.  

He is here until August to hold his first series of UK Yoga workshops throughout England.

So far on his inaugural UK visit, Swami Ramdev has attended the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace and received the Mahaveer award from the Young Vegetarian society (UK).

Swamiji kickstarted his first UK Yoga workshops in Ilford at the Elmbridge Club. He will then continue his workshops in Leicester, Bolton and Harrow.

Swami Ramdev, currently India’s topmost popular personality, is in England for the first time, with the support of UK and India-based Aastha Broadcasting Network, India’s leading Faith Channel.

These landmark Yoga and Pranayam workshops, taking place in Ilford, Leicester, Bolton and Harrow, are due to specific demands of Swami Ramdev’s UK-based followers and to raise funds for his charity, ‘Patanjali Yog Peeth UK’.

Swami Ramdev is the founder of Patanjali Yogpeeth, a world-class Yoga residential centre in Northern India, dubbed ‘the World’s Biggest Yoga Institute’. It has comprehensive facilities for intensive and extensive scientific research and development into Yoga and Ayurveda, well supported by the Uttaranchal State Government. Educational degree and diploma courses at the Institute accommodate over 1,000 students. The institute also offers treatments for up to 5,000 patients per day under the able observation of 150 Vaidyas, Ayurveda practitioners and scientists.

Swami Ramdev has the ability to simplify Yoga techniques for the masses, validating its benefits:  the ancient art and science of purification and strengthening of the body, mind and soul - and Pranayam - a series of breathing techniques combined with Aasanas [postures] from ancient Indian Vedic Sciences.

Swami Ramdev was paralytic with knee problems, slip-disc and a bulging stomach before he practiced Yoga. Not only did he revive his own health through these methods, he now assists millions of people to improve their own health and achieve a healthy, fit mind, body, heart and soul. 

Swami Ramdev’s immense popularity in India is proven by him conducting over one hundred, week long Yoga workshops attended by over fifteen million people with an average of 50,000 participants per session. His unique contribution in helping people lead a healthy life through Yoga is astounding and proven true by various investigations. According to medical scientists, Yoga and Pranayam therapy balances the nervous and endocrine systems which directly influences all the other systems and organs of the body.

Pranayam techniques practised in Swami Ramdev’s workshops can promote:
·   Weight loss - 8 to 16 lbs of weight if overweight in ten days
·   Weight gain - 4 to 8 lbs in ten days if underweight
·   Asthmatic relief
·   Diabetes control without insulin
·   Lowers High Blood Pressure without consuming medicines
·   Relief from ailments including: Migraine, depression, sinus, allergy, arthritis, cervical spondylosis, sciatica pain, acidity, constipation, gastric disorder, backache and weakness
·   Physical and mental cleansing  

Swami Ramdev has also demonstrated that Yoga assists character building, positive thought, self-acceptance, confidence and decision-making processes.

Aastha TV, in supporting these workshops has spread the good work of Swami Ramdev. As Aastha TV is the exclusive broadcaster of his workshops, it was an easy and natural progression to present him to the UK with no gains other than a worldwide mission to “eradicate mental and physical illness”.                  

Attendance to each workshop is mostly through donor passes, with all monies raised going to support the activities of registered charities in India and help fund Patanjali Yog Peeth in the UK. A donor pass entitles one to attend either all morning sessions or all evening sessions for the whole week. Swami Ramdev has made it clear that he wishes to meet as many sick and needy people as is humanly possible throughout the course of his workshops.

At a meeting of the Young Vegetarian Society at the House of Commons, Swami Ramdev, industrialist Lord Swraj Paul and Justice Mota Singh were honoured with the Mahaveer Awards for their contribution towards promotion of Indian culture and values. Speaking on the occasion, Justice Mota Singh said principles of nonviolence and fair play enunciated by Lord Mahaveer guided him during his professional career.

Swami Ramdev in his address advocated vegetarianism and healthy life through the practice of Pranayama, the ancient yogic science.

Swami Ramdev later attended a garden tea party hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace.

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