HomeIndiaThe Influence of Godmen: How the System Shielded and Promoted Ramdev

The Influence of Godmen: How the System Shielded and Promoted Ramdev

The Influence of Godmen: How the System Shielded and Promoted Ramdev

Prabha Gupta

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to accept a second round of apologies from self-styled yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Patanjali Ayurved Limited, and its managing director Acharya Balkrishna in a contempt case, flagging concern about Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies playing with the health of the gullible public while government fails to crack the whip.

“The victim is always the public. We are concerned with all those FMCG companies who are taking their consumers and clients up and down the garden path, showing them very rosy pictures about what their products can do for them. People who pay good money for these products finally end up suffering at the cost of their health… That is absolutely unacceptable,” Justice Hima Kohli observed.

In August 2022, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) lodged a petition with the Supreme Court following Patanjali’s publication of an advertisement titled ‘Misconceptions Spread By Allopathy: Save Yourself And The Country From The Misconceptions Spread By Pharma And Medical Industry’. The petition highlighted instances where Ramdev disparaged allopathy as a “stupid and bankrupt science” and alleged that allopathic medicine was responsible for Covid-19 deaths. Furthermore, the IMA accused Patanjali of exacerbating vaccine hesitancy during the pandemic. The IMA asserted that the dissemination of “continuous, systematic, and unabated misinformation” coincided with Patanjali’s promotion of false and unsubstantiated claims regarding the efficacy of Patanjali products in curing certain diseases.

How can Ramdev say that medical science is redundant while his aide Bal Krishan

was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rishikesh on August 2019 after he complained of chest pain and giddiness. After examining him Drs of AIIMS Rishikesh said he was having a heart attack 

This year on March 17 so called 66-year-old spiritual leader Sadguru who teaches yoga and spiritualism in his ashram  also, went through a brain surgery within a few hours to address the bleeding. 

In February 2019 Sanyasi Rambhadrachrya also met a cardiac arrest in Kumbh mela from where he was airlifted to AIIMS Delhi and there he had gone through angioplasty

The emergence of godmen like Baba Ramdev in India reflects a complex blend of religious, social, and political factors. These spiritual leaders wield significant influence across various spheres, ranging from spirituality to commerce and even politics. Understanding the reasons behind their ascent is crucial.

India has a rich tradition of venerating spiritual leaders, with many turning to them for guidance and solutions. Their perceived divine aura often shields them from scrutiny, allowing questionable actions to go unchecked. Moreover, inadequate regulatory oversight and unwavering faith create an environment where such figures operate with impunity, exploiting loopholes and leveraging social and political connections.

The fusion of religion and politics in India creates fertile ground for the rise of godmen. Their ability to rally masses based on religious fervor makes them appealing to politicians seeking to consolidate power.

Ramdev’s transition from a yoga guru to a prominent business figure with his brand Patanjali exemplifies this trend. While his Ayurvedic products gained widespread popularity, questions about their scientific validation and the academic credentials of Ramdev and his associate Acharya Balkrishna have been raised.

However, fact remains during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ramdev’s claims about developing a treatment, Coronil, attracted attention as the modern medicines failed to cure Covid cases and death toll rose like anything. 

Most of the corona positive survived as they did not go for the test and cured themselves with hot water, ayurvedic kadha and controlled diet. Government of India also did not propagate effectiveness of ayurvedic  treatment to boost the immunity.

Nevertheless, this episode, along with his criticism of modern medicine, led to legal action by the Indian Medical Association.

Nonetheless, many babas have emerged in India in the last few decades. Even before this, there used to be Babas, but the political and social influence that Baba has these days has never been greater. Many Babas have been found involved in various types of dark deeds, but due to their divine image, their crimes have been ignored. Death of Rajeev Dixit was ambiguous which pointed out Ramdev. 

Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati was accused of murder of Shankar Raman, a worker of his ashram. A murder also took place in Satyasai Baba’s Prasanthi Nilayam. Journalist Chhatrapati Ramchandra had to lose his life for exposing the misdeeds of Gurmeet Ram Rahim. Ultimately Ram Rahim got trapped in the claws of the law and is in jail these days. It is a different matter that he is out on parole most of the time. Asaram Bapu remained away from the grip of law for a long time. 

At present a Baba named Bageshwar Dham is quite popular because of blind devotees of India. These are just some examples. 

To add another name in the list of Babas . Sri Sri Ravi Shankar can not be left behind He is known for his gala festival that caused environmental damage to the Yamuna. 

We do not know much about the educational qualifications of Baba and Acharya. At present there are many Ayurvedic colleges in the country but these two probably do not have any degree in Ayurveda. To avoid investigation, Ramdev wore the cloak of patriotism and kept saying that he was competing with multinational companies.

Whatever may be the outcome of the ongoing court case, the question is, how can anyone make a mockery of modern medicine. Ayurved needs more research and evidence based knowledge like modern medicines 

Every pathy has its own role to play. Seeing the side effects of modern medicines people are shifting towards alternative therapies. One cannot deny the role of them.

One cannot deny the fact that Baba Ramdev did propagate yoga in every house and also cured so many patients as of now nevertheless he has no right to condemn other modern medicine.

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