Yoga Guru of the Masses:
Swami Ramdevji or Baba Ramdev, as he is popularly known, is one of India’s most popular spiritual leaders in the field of Yoga, Ayurveda and social activism. Millions watch him every day on television as he teaches simplified Yoga and Pranayama to the masses, giving them the gift of well-being, health and peace and spreading the message of righteous living. Arguably, no other Swami in recent time has been so successful in making the art of Yoga a common practice in every household, and especially among India’s huge middle class population.
Baba Ramdev’s Early Life and Education:
Baba Ramdev was born in a small village in the northern Indian state of Haryana to his devout Hindu parents Gulab Devi and Ram Niwas.
After finishing his basic education in a village school, at the age of 14, he was admitted to a Gurukul, traditional Hindu school at Kalwa, near Jind in Haryana. At the Gurukul, Ramdev studied Sanskrit and Yoga under his master Acharya Baldev, and earned a postgraduate degree with specialization in Sanskrit grammar, Hindu philosophy, Yoga, Vedas and Upanishads.
Besides, Ramdev was deeply inspired by the life and teachings of Maharshi Dayanand, and the writings of Maharshi Patañjali, the foremost exponent of Yoga and author of the Yoga Sutras.
Along with Yoga and Sanskrit, Ramdev was also drawn towards Ayurveda, and studied the ancient Indian medical system thoroughly.
The Young Swami’s Goal in Life:
Baba Ramdev realized very early on in life that he was born to become a Yogi and a spiritual leader, which made him practice asceticism and celibacy right from adolescence. After serving as a Yoga teacher at various Gurukuls, he embarked on a pilgrimage to Gangotri
, high up in the Himalayas
, far from the madding crowd. In the peace of solitude, and through continuous meditation and disciplined penance, Ramdev attained his vision and mission of life: First, Reaping the benefits of Yoga
, and taking them to the common mass; and second, reforming the social, political and economic system of our motherland.
Baba Ramdev’s Main Focus: Yoga & Ayurveda:
Baba Ramdev’s main focus has been to demystify and popularize Patañjali’s Yoga. Along with his able accomplice Acharya Balkrishna, Ramdevji has also taken over the responsibility of restoring people’s faith in Ayurveda and the effectiveness of this ancient Hindu system of medicine. Baba Ramdev’s non-sectarian mission has since been teaching the whole world to make Yoga and Ayurveda an integral part of their lifestyle.
Baba Ramdev’s Mantra for a Happy & Healthy Life:
In his yoga camps, attended by thousands of participants from all parts of the country, he emphasizes on doing eight Pranayamas: Bhastrika, Kapalabhati, Agnisara, Ujjayi, Anulomaviloma, Bhramari, Udgitha, and Pranava. According to him, if you do these pranamyas along with some light exercises and Yoga asanas, and takes the benefits of some simple ayurvedic home remedies, you could be free from major ailments and live a happy and healthy life. His books, TV programs, and DVDs are among the most popular and authentic training and reading materials available on Yoga and Ayurveda today.
Baba Ramdev’s Foundations:
In 1995, Baba Ramdev founded the Divya Yog Mandir Trust at Kankhal, Haridwar, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. This was followed by a meditation center at Gangotri in the Himalayas, the Divya Yog Sadhana Patañjali Yogpeeth Trust in Delhi in 2005, Patañjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar, the Bharat Swabhiman Trust in Delhi, and a number of Ayurvedic medical centers and Gurukul educational institutions, and publications.
Honors and Awards:
In 2006, Swami Ramdev was invited by the United Nations to participate in a poverty eradication program. He has also been awarded a number of honors and honorary doctorates by universities around the world.
Baba Ramdev's Social Activism:
The "Bharat Swabhiman" Movement of Baba Ramdev is concerned with the core of India's pride and self-respect, including its social, political and economic aspects. His dream is to see "an addiction-free, vegetarian, corruption-free India." He touches the lives of millions of people every day through his message of peace, wellness, and enlightenment, and his non-violent movement to end corruption resonates with the ideals of a healthy democracy. In May-June 2011, Baba Ramdev launched a non-violent protest
against the rabid corruption inside India's government and polity. Thousands of people participated in this symbolic fast to support Baba Ramdev's call for a "satyagraha" or peaceful protest, echoing Mahatma Gandhi
's non-violent civil disobedience.