Thursday, June 2, 2011


New Delhi (Reuters) - The government suffered a fresh blow on Thursday in containing growing anger over corruption from million of voters as leading civil activist Anna Hazare joined forces with influential yoga guru Swami Ramdev in a “fast-until-death” against graft.  The saffron-robed Ramdev, India’s most famous yoga guru, has pledged a hunger strike from Saturday to protest against corruption in Asia’s third-largest economy and called on his legions of followers to join him.   Ramdev will begin his fast on Saturday in New Delhi and has predicted that 10 million people will join his protest until the government agrees to pass an anti-corruption law and set up a task force for repatriating illegal funds held in foreign bank accounts by Indians.  Anna Hazare, whose highly-publicised fast in April, pledged his support on Thursday for Ramdev’s strike.

Ramdev, who turned an ancient spiritual tradition into a mass healing movement, runs a $40 million-a-year global yoga and health empire, has a daily TV show which attracts 30 million viewers, owns a Scottish island and says he can cure cancer.  Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh personally appealed to Ramdev to call off the protest.  Such is Ramdev’s popularity that some of India’s most powerful government ministers turned up at Delhi airport to greet him on Wednesday and persuade him to call off the strike. They failed and were forced to carry out a second day of talks.  Singh’s party has struggled to shake off a slew of corruption scandals, including the telecoms kickback scam that may have cost the government $39 billion, which have sparked public anger, hurt foreign investment and stymied economic reforms.

As India’s famous yoga guru, Swami Ramdev, has pledged a hunger strike starting Saturday to protest against corruption, the government is trying to convince him otherwise.  Ramdev will begin his fast in New Delhi and reports say 10 million people will join his protest until the government agrees to pass an anti-corruption law.  Vedic injunctions do not recommend fasting for some political purpose.  The Laws of Manu allow “prayopavesha” (fasting until death), but for spiritual purposes, in order to attain liberation, not for political or social purposes. 

There are persons who manufacture modes of austerity and penance which are not mentioned in the scriptural injunctions. For instance, fasting for some ulterior purpose, such as to promote a purely political end, is not mentioned in the scriptural directions. The scriptures recommend fasting for spiritual advancement, not for some political end or social purpose. ... Actually, they act out of pride, false ego, lust and attachment for material enjoyment. By such activities, not only is the combination of material elements of which the body is constructed disturbed, but also the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself living within the body. Such unauthorized fasting or austerities for some political end are certainly very disturbing to others. They are not mentioned in the Vedic literature.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Bhagavad-gītā As It Is”
Chapter 17: “The Divisions of Faith”
Verses 5-6.  -  Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

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