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From Powerful Pose to Parliament: Swami Ramdev’s Yogic Mission
While Indian yogis are often pictures as ascetics living a recluse lifestyle in remote corners of the Himalayas, Indian yoga master Swami Ramdev defies the mold. The 50-something yoga guru, agile and lithe as ever, seeks to give his country’s politics the same reconditioning he provides to his ever-growing number of students.
The yoga master announced in March that he plans to form a new political party, which will revolutionize the way the India is run. “What the people need is honest, brave and responsible leadership,” he said in an interview. Swami Ramdev hopes to eradicate corruption and mend the divisions of religion and caste that currently plague his country’s political system by reintroducing traditional Indian values. He intends to heal and strengthen his nation through the same means he brings health and strength to his students: through the ancient Indian wisdom found in holy Vedic texts. His formula? Clean up the body, then clean up democracy.
Though he does not intend to run for office himself, the yoga master/guru plans to have candidates run for all of India’s 543 parliamentary seats in the 2014 general election, reports the New York Times.
Regardless of how his political endeavors go, Swami Ramdev’s yoga teachings have met with extraordinary success in India. While not well known in the West, Swami Ramdev is legendary in India, not just for his yoga teachings, but for his humanitarian efforts. In addition to a hospital, an Ayurvedic medical school, and a research institution, Swami Ramdev oversees an agricultural and processing operation that produces products ranging from shampoo to herbal supplements. He has led yoga classes in the U.S. (where he intends to open a yoga and health center), Japan, and Nepal and his organization recently acquired a small island of the coast of Scotland.