The return of yogis to political life? From the New York Times:
HARIDWAR, India — The sun slumbered well beneath the horizon, but Swami Ramdev had been up for hours. Swathed in a saffron loincloth, he led his charges, a few hundred devotees in this holy city on the Ganges River and tens of millions more watching on television, through a rapid-fire series of yoga poses.
“If you sweat this much in the morning, you will never get old,” he shouted, the Chiclet-white dazzle of his smile undimmed by the wild bush of his beard. His own 50-ish body, lithe and supple as it whipped through the poses, underscored the point.
Without skipping a beat, Swami Ramdev, who as one of India’s most popular and influential gurus has reintroduced yoga to India’s masses, segued seamlessly into his latest passion: politics.
“We clean up our bodies,” he cried. “Then we will clean up our democracy!”
Swami Ramdev plans to do for the body politic what he has already done to the country’s creaky physiques: whip it into shape. He announced last month that he would found a political party that would field candidates for each of the 543 parliamentary seats in India’s next general election in 2014.
“What the people need is honest, brave and responsible leadership,” he said in an interview at the sprawling campus of his rapidly expanding yoga, natural foods and medicine empire in northern India. The country’s political system is riddled with corruption and riven by the deep divisions of religion and caste, he said. Tapping into the ancient Indian wisdom that gave birth to yoga, and the holy texts like the Vedas and Upanishads, is the only way to excise those cancers, he contended.
“We must have a total revolution,” he said…
[continues in the New York Times]
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