For a man whose estimated net worth is USD 183 million and whose company’s turnover in excess of USD 670 million, Ram Krishna Yadav or Baba Ramdev as he is popularly known, is a man sans any ‘airs’ with a ready smile on his longbearded face.
This yoga ‘rockstar’ from India who has claimed 300 million followers spread across 151 countries was in Mississauga last week for a short visit at the invitation of his ‘followers’ to promote the Yogic way of life in Canada.
No shell conch boomed, neither did any bells ring to herald Swami ji’s arrival as he strode into the room without any ‘shishyas’ or security detail in tow. Mandatory introductions over, the Baba began to speak in a measured confident manner about his visit to Canada after a gap of almost ten years.
According to Baba Ramdev, in today’s violent and stressful world,Yoga is the best way to stay healthy through self realization and self healing and all this at zero cost! He vouched that Canada which spends almost 40% of its budget on providing healthcare to its citizens can reduce this cost by 50% if its citizens regularly practiced Yoga.
Regular use of Yoga translates into control as well as cure of a disease, and a person can reduce half to one kg weight daily simply by doing simple Yoga exercises for one hour in a day. Diabetes, hypertension etc can also be controlled and cured by yoga, Baba commented He mentioned that till date 200 million people have been trained in Yoga practices by him. Known for his keen sense of humour, Baba Ramdev remarked that drugs were a big problem not only in Punjab but also other parts of the world including Canada and a Yoga filled lifestyle allowed a drugs/medicine free life.
Also,Yoga practitioners are non violent as it allows them to achieve inner peace and become a better person. Swami Ramdev said that his one point agenda is to build a spiritual person, spiritual society, spiritual nation and a spiritual world. He clarified that he was not interested in building a Hindu nation nor did he support the concept of a Islamic state or Khalistani state or a Catholic world.
He remarked that in today’s world, mankind faced a bigger threat from religious zealots who propagate their religions as supreme, than from any disease. “My objective is to establish a spiritual world free from all kinds of religious ISMs. Oneness, coexistence and brotherhood are the cornerstones of spirituality and these alone can save human existence,” Baba Ramdev commented.
Stressing the importance of Yoga in daily life, Swami Ramdev remarked, ” If you stay away from yoga, then you are inviting various diseases into your life.” He remarked that although his current visit to Canada was only for a day, he was planning a 57 days visit next year wherein number of Yoga ‘shivirs’ or camps would be held to take Yoga to the Canadian masses.
Speaking further, Baba Ramdev said that Vedic Holistic Living of Canada is his new non profit initiative to promote Yoga and its benefits in Canada. A large centre would soon be established in Canada focused on two main objectives:
The first objective would be a holistic approach towards Yoga, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Panchkarma, Shatkarma and the second objective would be to impart a combination of Vedic and modern education to the Canadians.
This, he said would be in line with similar schools already initiated in India called ‘Acharya Kulam’ along with Patanjali University.”The idea is to do something similarly big in Canada,” he said.
Patanjali Yogpeeth established by Baba Ramdev is devoted to impart ancient yoga practices as taught by sages and ‘rishis’ without any personal branding. Baba Ramdev informed that they were working closely with QCI or Quality Control of India to standardize and certify the Yoga practices which would be a benchmark for anybody who wanted to teach Yoga anywhere in the world.
In addition, Patanjali Ayurveda has taken a major initiative to promote natural medicines, natural food and natural cosmetics to promote healthy way of life among the masses. He clarified that all the profits from the sales of the products go towards charity. The accent now was to make an already established Indian entity ‘Patanjali’ into a globally recognized brand, Baba Ramdev concluded.
Replying to a question,Baba Ramdev commented that his tremendous success as marketer of ‘Patanjali’ brand of products did not in any way lessen his devotion towards Yoga and he was completely committed to improving humanity through charitable use of Patanjali profits.
On the issue of bringing billions of dollars of ‘black money’ parked in various offshore entities back to India, which he had promised to bring back and distribute among the poor, Swami Ramdev somewhat evasively remarked that it was now Prime Minister Modi’s mandate to do so.
In response to another query Baba Ramdev expressed surprise as to why people doubted his avatar as a successful businessman. He said that his businesses gave direct employment to 100,000 people thereby spreading happiness and wealth in their lives. Also,10 million people got indirect employment as a result of his businesses including poor farmers whose quality of life continued to improve. Furthermore all his products were ‘natural’, again a beneficial thing for the mankind.
He caustically remarked that he was neither a director nor a shareholder of Patanjali. He was a simple ‘sanyasi’ who works as unpaid laborer. And his reason for getting into the business was because he had the strength and commitment to do so which according to him is definitely better than sitting idle and do nothing.