Thursday, August 31, 2006

One Rupee Ramdev

File under: Gurus Clockin' Dollars

In a sign of just how far spiritual culture has fallen in Mother India, an Indian business website is claiming rancorous Swami Ramdev, who once boasted he didn't "have one rupee in my bank balance", as a model of business acumen for young entrepreneurs:
Aspiring entrepreneurs will do well to study yoga guru Swami Ramdev's meteoric rise and success over the past four years. The swami's mission statement, if he had one in his organisational plan, would probably read ''to create warriors of yoga and transform India and Indians back to the healthy and spiritual land of old.”
That's rich, taking India back to the "spiritual land of old" while making multiple mints for himself by hitching his cart to modern mass media.

We found Ramdev to be the model of histrionic overkill at the beginning of the year when he went on the offensive after it was discovered his ayurvedic medicines contained powdered human skull and animal testicles. He repeated the performance when he had one of his traveling party arrested as a terrorist. It turned out the kid was just an inquisitive junior journalist.

So while Ramdev may be a model capitalist who exploits an ancient and formerly hallowed tradition like he's a pimp and it's his hooker, he's not really much of a yogi. But he plays one rather well to a sadly duped audience in India. The combination of mass media and gurudom has not been a good thing for the yoga tradition. The result has been Ramdev, Sri Sri, Kracki, Sai Baba and the like, taking the great legacy of yoga in India right down that hole in the ground with last night's dinner.

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