A young Ramdev was so moved by the writings of Dayanand Saraswati that he quit the government school as the curriculum was a leftover of the colonial education policy, fled from home and enrolled himself in a gurukul. Saraswati’s book “Satyarth Prakash” had a deep impact on Ramdev. While greeting someone over phone, Ramdev never says hello. Instead he chants ‘Om’. The first chapter of “Satyarth Prakash” explains the etymology and significance of Om. After reading the book, Ramdev wanted to follow the path shown by the ancient sages. As the path of ancient sages also meant practice of celibacy, so he took a vow – to never marry. A new book “The Baba Ramdev Phenomenon: From Moksha to Market” by Kaushik Deka has these nuggets of information.
“Satyarth Prakash” was written in Hindi in 1875 by the renowned religious and social reformer and the founder of Arya Samaj. The book formed the intellectual core and social, political and economic philosophy of the yoga guru. It was a book primarily explaining the true tenets of Hinduism, making an appeal for one uniform religion based on the principles of the Vedas. “This book was a revelation to me. It awakened my inner- self, gave me a sense of purpose in life. It introduced me to the wisdom of our ancestors. I wanted to follow the path shown by the ancient sages,” Ramdev is quoted as saying.
“Satyarth Prakash” not only changed Ramdev’s life but also gave it a direction and purpose. “He was so moved by the writings of Dayanand Saraswati that he quit the government school where ‘the curriculum was a leftover of the education policy’ introduced by British politician Babington Macaulay (1800–59), who was instrumental in the introduction of English as the medium of instruction for higher education in India.
“He knew his parents would never agree to his decision of quitting regular school, where he was doing exceptionally well. So one fine day he fled from home and enrolled himself in a gurukul, a traditional educational institute based on Vedic principles, at Khanpur in Haryana,” Deka writes.
Ramdev was the brightest student in the government primary school, located in the village, where he studied till the class V. For higher classes he moved to the Shahbajpur High School, a few kilometres away.
“I used to buy second-hand books, yet I always topped my class,” claims Ramdev. “Dayanandji made me realise the value of the treasure trove hidden in Vedic education. It’s a progressive approach based on ‘tark’ (logic), ‘tathya’ (facts), ‘yukti’ (argument) and ‘praman’ (evidence). The goal of British education system was to enslave our mind and curb free and logical thinking,” he says.
“The Baba Ramdev Phenomenon: From Moksha to Market”, published by Rupa, offers a detailed account of Ramdev’s journey from attaining moksha in the Himalayas to ruling the market, especially the FMCG sector, with his Patanjali products. It captures the rise and rise of Patanjali and the various factors that worked for it, most importantly, the vision of Ramdev and the assistance of his associate Acharya Balkrishna.
According to multinational brokerage company CLSA, Patanjali is the fastest growing fast-moving consumer goods company in India. It is valued at 13,000 crore. Ramdev says Patanjali is able to reduce cost for four reasons. “We don’t have high-flying executives who spend 90 per cent of their time in conference calls and making presentations. Our purchase department has men of integrity. Till now we kept our distribution network restricted to our flagship stores,” he explains.