Sunday, January 28, 2007

Swami Ramdev's six day Yoga Camp held at
Janata Maidan, Bhubaneswar.
From 01.01.2007 to 08.01.2007.
Report by Jagannath Chatterjee.
To be distributed freely, unchanged and in its entirety, for the benefit of mankind.

The State of Orissa in India was fortunate to have Swami Ramdev at its midst from the first of January, 2007 to the 8th, thanks to the initiative taken by the Orissa Private Engineering College Association (OPECA) and the many trained yoga teachers and their associations who are engaged in the admirable task of spreading Swamiji's brand of yoga and pranayama in the State. It was an excellent way to start the new year.

There was a near stampede when the Swami alighted at the Biju Pattnaik Airport. Shouts of "Swami Ramdev ki Jai" rent the air as people jostled to garland the Swami and shower him with flower petals. The ladies sounded the "huluhuli" a chant used to welcome heroes. The Swami, taken aback by such a huge and enthusiastic welcome could only manage to smile and waive at the crowd as camera flashes lit the air around him.

His caravan made its way round to the Governor's House as he was accorded the status of a State Guest. He had tea with the Governor and both of them were soon engaged in a conversation. The Hon'ble Governor H E Rameshwar Thakur, a septuagenerian of great learning, took very keen interest in the Swami and discussed both yoga and ayurveda with him.

The Swami then proceeded to Hotel Swosti Plaza where he met the journalists and apprised them about his work and future plans. He was a hit here too as the journalists left their seats to jostle for a close view and clicked away merrily. The TV cameras rolled to capture his frank smile and winking left eye, the remanant of a paralysis he had suffered when young and which was cured by yoga. It was then that he took a vow to spread the merits of yoga to help the suffering population.

The next day the Swami visited Puri to have a darshan of Lord Jagannath. A huge crowd greeted him with utmost enthusiasm. Gajapati Maharaj, the ex-officio Maharaja of Puri held a long discussion with him before the Swami had another tete a tete with the local press.

The next day began the six day long Yoga Camp at the spacious Janata Maidan. Having a capacity of around 10,000 people it hosted 36,000 in the morning and evening sessions. In total over a lakh people thronged to the camp. The ayurvedic OPD centre catered to over seven thousand patients each day and continued to administer to their needs as people continued to throng the centre. Already a permanent ayurvedic centre has been arranged at Bhubaneswar bowing down to pressure from the public. It has started operating from 15th January' 2007.

The whole programme was telecast on Aastha channel. The Swami said more than 10 crore people saw his entire programme everyday, besides the half hour yoga capsules broadcast by many a national channel. His programmes are also beamed to the UK and the USA.

"I have brought to you a package of seven simple breathing exercises," Swami Ramdev announced as he began his Camp, "these are enough to tackle all diseases". "The healthy can practise for two hours daily while the sick will have to put in more efforts". He urged the people to be moderate in their attempts and not over exert. He asked them to reduce medication as their health improved and not to stop medications all of a sudden. He also prescribed some simple stretching exercises to exercise the whole body.

"Do not go in for medication," was his constant refrain. "Whether it is allopathy, ayurveda or homeopathy, medicines should be the last resort if you wish for permanent relief. You cannot achieve good health without some physical effort on your part. Even those taking medicines should continue with the exercises. We are all being constantly bombarded with pollutants; without detoxification by way of deep breathing you cannot stay healthy".

"It is breath that keeps you alive. Nobody has ever died while breathing. Life and death is in God's hands but let us not hasten our end by neglecting the breath. The breathing exercises provide oxygen to the cells, rejuvenate them, and takes away toxic waste. It regulates digestion, assimilation and elimination. My brothers, take deep breaths, follow my advice of healthy food, high thoughts and a simple life to be happy and lead a productive, patriotic, altruistic life. Poverty is not the absence of wealth, it is the absence of humane qualities, lack of manly abilities, and the absence of the desire to serve humanity."

"These breathing exercises will clean you at all levels. Disease will fall off and also your bad habits and passions. Good thoughts will replace your destructive tendencies. Patriotism and social skills will improve. Your ability to work hard will improve. All sloth will go, your body and minds will feel light, you will be filled with energy and become model citizen. But my brothers you have to practise what I tell you. It will not do if you just sing my paens and crowd around me for blessings. Baba Ramdev does not cure anyone, pranayam does. I am not here to preach, my yoga is not oratorial, it is practical. Do the yoga and feel the benefits."

What are these seven breathing exercises? They are;

1. Bhastrika : Take deep breath and release. Do it effortlessly, fill up your lungs and force
the entire breath out. Do it with a rhythm. Imagine that all the energy of the
Cosmos is entering into you. Feel that all your poisons are being expelled. Do
it for 5 minutes if you are relatively healthy. Repeat for another five minutes
if you are ailing, but gradually as you get accustomed. Bhastrika is very
important for all kinds of skin problems, however serious and however
strange. Not only leucoderma but also people suffering discoloration due
to burns have benefitted from sincerely practising this pranayama everyday.

2. Kapalbhati: Take in air into your stomach and push it out with a jerk. Only your stomach
should move and not your body. Your outbreath should cause the adams
apple to move as it pushes through the throat. Normally one should do this
for fifteen minutes, five minutes each three times. People with cancers and
other chronic diseases should do this twice a day totalling 30 minutes.
Swamiji places a great importance on this pranayam which he says will
help diabetes, regenerate insulin producing beta cells and also help the
organs in the stomach, the lungs and the heart. It will open blocked arteries
in the heart.

3. Bahya Pranayam: Take a deep breath and release. Completely push the stomach in
as you force the breath out and hold. Move you head downwards till
the chin is fully in touch with the upper portion of the torso. Hold this
position for 15 seconds and then move the head up as you breathe in. This
is to be repeated five to 11 times.

4. Agnisar: Take a deep breath, pull the stomach in as you breathe out. Now hold the
breathe as you move the stomach in and out in a rhythmic fashion for 15
seconds. Then breathe in again. Repeat this three to five times. This helps
a lot with the digestive and eliminative process.

5. Anulom Bilom: Another very important pranayam. Sit straight, close the right nostril with
your thumb. Place the forefinger on the forehead, then breathe in deeply
with the left nostril. Now close the left nostril with the third and fourth fingers
joined together and breathe out through the right nostril. Take a deep breath
again through the right nostril, close it with the thumb, release the left nostril
and breathe out. This is one cycle. Repeat this cycle continuously for five
minutes. In total do it for fifteen minutes five minutes at a time three times.
This pranayam recharges the entire body, opens all closed apperatures,
sets right the entire flow of energy within the body and activates the chakras.

6. Bhramari: Close the ears with your thumbs, with the second third and fourth fingers
close the eyes, rest the first finger on the forehead, keep the mouth closed.
Now take a deep breath. Release the breath through the nose while making
a loud humming noise with the throat. The noise should reverbate through the
entire body. Repeat the exercise five to 11 times. You will quite enjoy this
pranayam which will relax you and activate all the glands of the head.

7. Udgeeth: This is also a very enjoyable pranayam. Take a deep breath and release the
breath through the mouth making the sound "Om". Repeat this five to 11
times. This puts you in touch with the divine element within you.

"Finish the pranayam exercises with a short contemplative meditation. Thank your Guru and God. Request the divine for a healthy, productive life. Then raise your hands, rub the palms to generate some heat and then place your palms on the face as slightly massage your face. This is the package of the seven pranayams."

People with vata dosha should do pranayam very carefully and should never overexert themselves. It is advisable to have light food and lead a controlled life while doing these breathing exercises. Pregnant women and sick people should avoid them.

"Do this daily. Take care to see you do not overexert yourself in any manner. Do it according to capacity but follow the minimum routine to get the benefits. These pranayams are a talisman that will help you and besides ensuring a disease free life will lead you towards the ultimate goal of life, samadhi or merger with the divine. While you do your aerobic exercises with loud western music do you pranayams interspersed with thoughts of the divine and prayers on your lips."

The Swami also suggested some simple stretching exercises and proposed some yoga asanas, namely, vajrasana, makarasana, bhungasana, naukasana, utthanpadasana, jogging standing at one place etc, to exercise the spine and keep it flexible and also to reduce flab. The pranayams and the exercises, noted the reporter, did not result in any tiredness or weariness rather they left one fresh and energised. The Swami also pointed this out as a measure to know whether one was doing them correctly. He also taught and demonostrated the Surya Namaskar.

He said people from three years to 90 years all could do the pranayam. Children should perform the Bhastrika, Bhramari and Udgeeth for two minutes, the Kapalbhati and Anulom Bilom for five minutes. Bahya Pranayam and Agnisar also for two minutes. He showed many intricate exercises for the children to perform.

He urged all children to master yoga as their bodies were supple and they could easily master the science. He also asked them to respect parents and elders, stay away from bad habits, burgers, pizzas, noodles and colas. He urged all to become vegetarians. "Children, honour the simple lintels, roti and vegetable dishes your parents serve at home. Do your studies instead of watching dirty programmes on TV. Go to temples instead of parties."

For further information the Swami started the entire exercise routine with three rounds of Omkar, reciting the Gayatri mantra, the Mahamrityunjay mantra, the prayers Shaha na bhabatu, Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya, and the Vedic shanti path. He finished with a bhajan.

He gave many tips to lead a healthy life. One should start ones day before sunrise and wake up from sleep with the name of the Lord on ones lips. Before stepping on the ground one should pray to the Mother Earth. Then one should take two to three glasses of luke warm water. One should fill ones mouth with cold water and throw cold water on the face and eyes. Then one should evacuate the bowels and bladder.

"Life starts with pranayama, the child is made to cry and perform the first pranayam, bhastrika, as it takes a deep breath and starts crying. This ensures blood flow to the brain as well as oxygen. The nervous system and the brain depends on oxygen for optimum performance. It is pranayam that ensures adequate oxygen supply."

"Within nine days of practising pranayama the biochemistry of the body begins to change. In nine months of sincere practice the genetic element changes for the better. This is similar to the way a child gets a shape in nine days and the complete body in nine months. Pranayam gives a completely transformed body mind complex. It gives a person a new life."

"The ghrihastha or the householder is the greatest. It is the householder who provides for the needs of all the other Ashramas. The householder should live a life of dharma so that he is never far away from God's grace. There is no need to run after money. For the householder who intends and strives to live an honest and pious life all the money he needs will seek him out. God will use him as an instrument to serve the planet."

The Swamy urged the people to educate themselves about the health benefits of various vegetables, herbs and spices. That way one could have the benefits of ayurveda and make it an integral part of ones life. The people should not hanker after neither the doctor nor medicines, but by learning yoga, pranayama, and the preventive aspects of ayurveda one should take charge of ones own health and life. It is only under extraordinary circumstances that one should go to a doctor and take medicines of any kind.

"The body has within it the capability of healing itself. Learn meditation, accupressure, and such other natural methods so that you yourself can be your own guide. The system has made you dependant and unsure of yourself. The perverted medical system has made you a slave to further its own interests. Break free and be independant once again."

"The system wants you to be a swechchachari, a debauch, so that it can have you in its clutches. If you can control your food, thoughts and passions, you will realise your own worth and the truth will be revealed to you. Whatever you do, how you live your life, how you behave towards others, determines your destiny. All this is in your hands, nobody can do this for you. Wake up from your sloth and sleep and make your own destiny. Do not be afraid of troubles for if you live a good, devoted life, you will get the strength to overcome all obstacles, the world will be at your feet. If all Indians take up pranayama in earnest we will soon have a happy, healthy and transparent India. That is what I am aiming for."

"Take three tulsi leaves daily. Plant a tulsi shrub at your home. It will ward off disease and also the evil eye. It will correct the vastu problems of your home. Once a week take the juice of sweet gourd, this will keep away high blood pressure, heart problems, acidity and cholesterol. Ensure that the gourd is not bitter, that will have a negative effect on you." He was not referring to bitter gourd or karela but a type of gourd that is bitter.

"For problems of the heart take the bark of the Arjun tree with pudina and pepper. Make tulsi, ginger, turmeric, pudina, jeera, sesame, sesame leaves and pepper your friends. Amla, harada, haritaki, ashwagandha, tejapatra are essential herbs. Take curd instead of milk. Dump tea and switch to herbal tea."

"Ashwagandha, Shilajit, Triphala Churna, Chandraprabha Vati, Trikatu, Panchkol, Brikakdosharapatha Kadha, are some medicines all should have some idea about. If you acquire this knowledge the doctors will fade out of society. The system has made the whole world a hospital. Fight it to regain control of your health and wealth."

"For the children a juice of gourd, carrot, and apples makes a wonderful health drink."

"I am researching on AIDS. I don't think it is a great problem. I have already had successes in this area. I have raised CD4 counts in AIDS patients from 19 to 400. This year I will declare the cure for AIDS. Aloe Vera, Neem, Gehun ka jwar, tulsi, a healthy lifestyle and pranayama with some simple exercises do wonders for AIDS patients. These people have made a big business out of AIDS. They want me to stay away. It seems they alone have the contract to talk about AIDS. This is ridiculous. This is the real face of perverted medicine. And all the while they do not even know what AIDS is, everybody is groping in the dark."

"I am not afraid of anybody. I am disgusted at the way things are going on in the health sector. I wish to make a change and God willing the changes will be made." In the press conference the Swami had already made his displeasure felt by calling the health ministry the allopathic ministry, the Health Minister the allopathic minister and the WHO the world allopathy organisation.

"It is the breath, the gift of God, that is the ultimate medicine. It is the perfect nano medicine. It reaches all corners of the body and cures all ailments. It is the ultimate detoxifier and also the ultimate regenerator as with the breath comes prana, the vital force. This prana takes care of the body, the mind, the emotions, the five elements and also the five bodies that make up our presence in this world. It is a great force, a great teacher, a great guide. One who has control over prana can control anything and everything."

At the camp people narrated on camera how they had benefitted from pranayama and helped control obesity, diabetes, nervous disorders, skin problems, various forms of cancers, brain tumours, eye problems, urticaria, fibroma's, muscular dystrophies etc.

People were in tears while narrating their woes and their experience with the mainstream medicos who had carried out experiments on them and then turned them away saying that they had a few days or months to live. They recounted how they had then turned to the Swami's TV programmes, done the exercises on their own, visited his Ashram at Haridwar for medicines and recovered. One old gentleman revealed how he was paralysed from cancer and left to die but later recovered, thanks to pranayama, and now is completely independant and has resumed driving his motorcycle. A lady narrated how the doctors had removed many of her organs one by one and now she depends upon pranayama for her active life.

The Swami also narrated how he had met patients with some very rare and strange diseases and helped them with diet, changed lifestyle, yoga and pranayama. "I don't do anything. It is pranayama that cures people."

Many doctors also attended the Camp and disclosed how they and their families had benefitted from his yoga package. The senior doctors blessed him and said they were convinced he was doing the right thing. The juniors insisted the Swami should not talk of cures and that his followers should not stop taking medicines. One of them tried to argue with the Swamy in an attempt to expose his limited knowledge of the human anatomy.

"It is only those who do not know about yoga who speak against its merits," countered Swami Ramdev, " but when they start practicing and derive benefits they then start singing its praise. I do not blame anybody. People speak according to what they are taught. The medical community should learn that disease management is not the last thing they should aim for. Cures are possible and they are happening. If something can be destroyed it can again be regenerated. Our scriptures have spoken in depth about these things."

On the last day the Hon'ble Governor of Orissa, H E Sri Rameswar Thakur attended the Camp and narrated his own love for yoga and ayurveda. He showered blessings on the Swami and praised his devotion to the cause as well as his untiring efforts. He presented the Swami an intricate silver jewellery depicting the images of Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra. The Swami presented him books and the figure Om in return.

"I will come back again in December. I will never forget the people of Orissa, this holy soil ruled by Lord Jagannath. Similarly you will also remember this Camp and this meeting with me. You are all very close to me. There are so many who do not bother to come. They do not realise that I have taken the pain of going to the nook and corner of this great country. Practise what I have said and done. I will come again and see the improvement. I will build a huge base here in Bhubaneswar in line with what I am doing in Haridwar, Patna and Ranchi."

The crowd hung around unwilling to see the last of him. Cries of "Victory to Swami Ramdev" rent the air. The Swami stopped them. "Do not say victory to Swami Ramdev. Say Victory to Mother India. We all owe our life and experiences to this Mother," signed off the Swami.

The ladies again burst forth with their "huluhuli" as a mark of respect for this great hero. As a mark of gratitude three Maruti Vans, a TV, speakers, a public address system and a large TV screen was presented to the Swami by two yoga associations of Bhubaneswar to help spread the message of yoga to rural India.

Orissa and Swami Ramdev are now poised to realise the Swami's dream of a happy, healthy and transparent India.
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Jagannath Chatterjee, jagchat01@.... If there are any errors in this article they are entirely mine.

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