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“Swami Ramdev”: An encounter with Yoga Guru, his disciples inside the Patanjali Empire

The Swami who started his journey from Haridwar on a cycle has now chosen the vehicle of choice to galore his aspirations

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Baba Ramdev and PM Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

August 17, 2016: It was in 2006 when I first met Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev. He was in the D-block of Patanjali Phase-1 ashram in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. The ashram was commissioned in the same year and Swami Ramdev was in a hurry. His Yoga exposure was touching the sky and his fellow Acharya Balkrishna was fully engaged with Ayurveda with a back support of their third trusted ‘classmate’ Swami Muktanand. This trio has a distinct combination. One is from Haryana, another is born in Haridwar and the third one belongs to West Bengal. Swami Muktanand is one of a hidden gem, who never talks to outsiders.

Today for Ramdev, the prefix of Swami/ Baba has gone behind when the saint sat in Ramlila Maidan and showed his political interest in full glow. Ramdev’s presence in media has given him enough perception power to garner or fetch desirable results. The Swami who started his journey from Haridwar on a cycle has now chosen the vehicle of choice to galore his aspirations. Ramdev was a skilful seller, in the start he convinced a Delhi-based businessman to give him a rational amount to make some medicines for Northeast states. This was the first deal.

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Swami Ramdev never hides his muscles. He can walk fast in his khadua (wooden sandals) and he still sleeps in his 10×10 room without AC. He uses strictly Indian brands of mobile phone, cars, SUV and only drinks Indian mineral water, especially when he is outside. He was literally without water for hours in Vietnam, I offered him a foreign brand mineral water and he told me it’s a foreign brand. He may forget the taste of rice and pulses because he eats fruits and milk only. His life has many dimensions, he wakes up at 4am and does yoga for two to three hours, in the starting he himself sat for hours to edit his TV shows; he is like a curious child to learn any new things and he never shy of his ignorance. Once he recites a sloka to me, which is 15 minutes long. His memory is sharp and never forgets names. He never shies to talk to ‘anyone’ in front of you.

Patanjali Yogpeeth. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Patanjali Yogpeeth. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The acumen and vision of Swami Ramdev that has started with the aspiration to control powers in every stream is phenomenal. When the whole world has seen his transition from Sanskar & Aastha to many News Channels, he strategically bought both channels to control the religious landscape. This was a sharp move, though the lesser-known fact is that he also bought a Jain religious channel Arihant in the bouquet. He rechristened the group as Vedic Broadcasting. This move has given him a big edge. It’s a known fact that the revenue of these religious channels comes from the saints and their Katha organisers. Now Swami Ramdev is a power player, who is also cajoling with the business community, who is somehow functional to many religious events. His name becomes synonymous with Yoga and subconsciously for religion and spirituality.

Swami Ramdev knows politics. It always boosts his goals. When Vrinda Karat raises the issue of human bone in his medicines and later a medicine named, Putrajeevak, raised eyebrows, he beautifully narrates his point and garners a proper interest in the medium class. His fights with celebrities always make him more big and boastful. His art to navigate political boats, take him too many and finally make him a loyal supporter of the current government.  Swami Ramdev openly told many times in past that he has inclinations towards politics. Even he planned to launch a political party, but later he understands the fire and its bruises.

It’s an open fact that Swami Ramdev was not very loved in the religious city of Haridwar, his ashram is also on the outskirts.  The way he has become a phenomenon was always seen as a gimmick. Even the biggest name of Yoga, BKS Iyengar was never fond of his practices. He has serious differences on Kapalbhati. He lamented that “his selling of Kapalbhati is corrupting Patanjali’s Yoga”.  But today Patanjali is synonymous with the brand Baba has created.

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When one meets Acharya Balkrishna, he offers a lot of things to eat. All are prepared in his factories and are ayurvedic. Balkrishna is fond of physical exercise and has a keen eye for details.  He loves to travel and he spends a lot of time in the Himalayas. His passion of Ayurveda can amaze you, but he loves control. His special bonding with Swami Ramdev grows because of the mutual trust and understanding of the goals, they both designed long back.

Swami Ramdev was the right person at the right time. His mission has synced with the nationalistic feelings of the dispensation. His vision is to become a dominant brand with the national presence of pride. His nationalistic aspirations today make him a new avatar of bharat putra. In few years he may dance on his music, but his real test was when he beat the odds and become a non-politically effective brand.

– by Bhavya Srivastava, a freelance contributor. He is a member of International Association of Religion Journalists and can be contacted at Twitter: @MeBhavya

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Next Story

Researchers Find an Effective Solution to Treat Isomnia

The study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 487,200 people in China with an average age of 51

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Isomnia
Frequently seen in clinical practice that chronic Insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are responsible for Atrial fibrillation which is also linked to stroke risk. Pixabay

Sleepless flocks take a note, researchers have found people who have Isomnia may be more prone to stroke, heart attack or other cardiovascular diseases. Do yoga and you can feel sleepy, Indian experts said.

Health experts here have found solution to the problems raised by the Chinese experts. According to them yogas — Shavasana, Vajrasana and Bhramari Pranayam along with a healthy diet may curb the sleeplessness.

According to Sahil Kohli, Consultant, Neurology at Narayana Superspeciality Hospital in Gurugram, research has shown that more risk of having a stroke or brain attack is there if you have insomnia and this risk is even more pronounced in the age group of 18-34 years.

“Reduced sleep leads to inflammation which leads to causes high blood pressure, glucose intolerance and both of which can increase heart and stroke risk.

“Frequently seen in clinical practice that chronic insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are responsible for Atrial fibrillation which is also linked to stroke risk,” Kohli told IANS.

“It is highly advisable that patients who have reduced sleep and even those who feel fatigued even after sleep at night needs evaluation for sleep disorders which can be evaluated by a sleep study,” Kohli suggested.

Isomnia
Researchers have found people who have Isomnia may be more prone to stroke, heart attack or other cardiovascular diseases. Do yoga and you can feel sleepy. Pixabay

The study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 487,200 people in China with an average age of 51. Participants had no history of stroke or heart disease at the beginning of the study.

The people were then followed for an average of about 10 years. During that time, there were 130,032 cases of stroke, heart attack and other similar diseases.

People who had all three symptoms of insomnia were 18 per cent more likely to develop these diseases than people who did not have any symptoms.

According to Atul Prasad, Director in Neurology Department at BLK Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, there have been multiple studies linking chronic insomnia to the occurrence of stroke.

“Of late there have been multiple studies postulating an increased risk of stroke in patients with chronic insomnias (via increased cortisol levels and inflammation), and in cases of periodic limb movement syndromes leading on to hypercoagulable state,” Prasad told IANS.

He added that the evidence is convincing in greater part to the increased risk of stroke in individuals with sleep disorders and robust evaluation of the same in concordance with a neurologist or pulmonologist is mandated for correct diagnosis and further risk stratification of these patients.

According to the doctors, if you are facing any such problem related to sleep, then follow these tips.

*No matter how busy your routine is, but to get good sleep, it is most important that you set a time for your sleep.

*For deep sleep, you can also play light instrumental music in the bedroom, which will give you peace of mind and sleep will come quickly, the doctor said.

*After working all day, if you stick to a computer or TV even in your rest moments, then make a distance from them, at least before sleeping, start avoiding working on the computer, Prasad suggested.

Isomnia
If you have Isomnia and you want deep sleep, you can also play light instrumental music in the bedroom, which will give you peace of mind and sleep will come quickly. Pixabay

*He also asked people to follow a healthy diet.

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“There are some types of yoga that make you feel sleepy. Such as Shavasana, Vajrasana, Bhramari Pranayam, etc. Doing these regularly will also get rid of insomnia problem and fatigue will be completely removed,” he concluded. (IANS)