Vrindavan’s Swami Balendu Writes Open Letter to Swami Ramdev

Dear Baba Ramdev,

You are a yoga teacher. I give you credit for making yoga popular in India. I admire you for building this business empire of Yoga and Ayurveda of billions of rupees in such a short time. You really have very good business skills. You are a businessman. If you want to be a politician, you can surely be a good politician too. However, it often seems to me you have some hidden agenda that nobody is supposed to know about. You are a multi-faceted personality, and it seems you are hiding something many times. I am not the only one who feels this.

The Indian population, also those who admire you and who are looking for someone to raise his voice against corruption, get confused. What it you actually want is, they ask. Let me explain you how you create this confusion.

When you talk about black money and bringing money back from foreign countries to India, people love it. Who would not want to see their country prosper? Doubt is created though, when we hear that you yourself have property in foreign countries. It is opposite to the aim that you say you want to achieve.

You want to stop poverty in our country by bringing money back, so why don’t you set an example and contribute yourself with the billions worth of property that you have collected abroad? Why don’t you give a big part of the profits of your enormous corporation to educating people, building schools, paying doctors in hospitals to give free treatments to poor and feed the hungry? I have even heard that the hospital you built is too expensive for normal Indian people to afford.

You would probably tell me now that you actually do charity, that you give yoga classes for free and in this way help people. I however will not really accept this as charity. In the past, when you were a yoga teacher and businessman only, your yoga camps always cost an entrance fee. It was never for free and it was just fine. People paid and got to learn yoga from you. When you started your own political party and started travelling throughout India for making it more popular, your camps suddenly were fully for free! So people could come for free, learn yoga and right away sign up as members for your party and hear some political lectures, too. And then you claim you are helping people with free classes! You are not only helping people, you are helping yourself, too! Ratan Tata sells cars and helps people to come from one spot to the other but in the end this helps him because he increases his wealth. You, Ramdev, do the same thing, so don’t tell that you help people for free! You are doing advertisement and in the end look for your own benefit!

It is actually really very much your political career that confuses people. In the beginning, many were simply enthusiastic. Of course, you talked a lot about stopping corruption and first of all blamed the Congress party for corruption. Who does not want to remove corruption from the Indian political system? The Congress government has disappointed whole India with all those scams and corruption which was brought to light. The party to whom you donate money however, are facing charges of corruption, too! The chief minister of Karnataka, Yeddyurappa, is not the only one, there are investigations running against another 10 ministers of the BJP in Madhya Pradesh because of corruption.

In Uttarakhand, the state that you are in, the ruling party is currently the BJP. Agitated by your talk about the corruption in the Congress party, the Congress Members of Parliament and the Congress Members of the Assembly of Uttarakhand, asked the state government for investigations into your own funds and asked another question: what happened to your Guru Shankar Dev? I read in Hindi newspapers and saw in TV interviews how they asked for more clarity. He had been living in the Ashram and one day simply vanished. You are still there, in the same Ashram, living and working. At that point however the BJP chief minister of Uttarakhand decided that no investigation against Baba Ramdev would take place. I understand that. When someone asked for an RTI proof, it showed that you have given big donations to the BJP and they would not want to risk losing them.

The point is that people could even accept it if you said you supported the BJP. They don’t understand however why you talk against corruption openly and then hide your support for that party. How should anybody trust or understand who you really are?

The Congress leader Digvijay Singh even asked you whether the money that you accept as donations is really white money. Are you 100% sure that your whole empire is built on white money? What is your answer to his question?

Some months ago I read in a newspaper about Ratan Tata who had been asked a bribe for getting a license for an airline company and only revealed that now. The next day I read your statement that you were also asked millions of Rupees bribes for your Ashram. We know you like publicity and being seen in TVs and in newspapers. So you thought it would be a good idea to follow the example of Ratan Tata and give a similar statement. And just like him you did not expose that person’s name who asked you to give them money. I understand Mr. Tata, who has an enormous enterprise and whose fortune depends also on the approval of several people with high positions in the country.

What about you, why did you not reveal a name? You are showing yourself as a Baba, a Sanyasi, living in truth and honesty and without material attachment. So what is your explanation why you don’t tell the truth? You should not mind the consequences for business as you are not attached to material belongings! Or, if you do mind it, don’t call yourself Sanyasi! Instead, you report with much pride how big your corporation is and how many thousands crore Rupees it is worth. What should the public think now? Really, it is just a normal question in everybody’s mind. Are you still a Sanyasi?

If you still call yourself Sanyasi, do you really follow the Sanyas-Dharm, all those things that a Sanyasi should do? Do you get time in between all the TV interviews, advertisements and other deals? We want to know the truth about you! Help people understand who you are!

When you say you do not own property or any money, people know immediately that it is only a play of words. If you own a corporation and that company has money, it is of course yours, too. People who buy your products in stores all over India are not stupid, they know that they are supporting you! They know that they don’t only give you money but they buy from you because they want to support you! They also see that your family members drive around in expensive cars and have a lot more money than what they themselves could be earning.

Recently, I saw some figures on a TV news channel which made your statement of ‘not owning anything’ sound somewhat ridiculous. It said your empire is worth at least 11.52 billion rupees and they gave a lot of details:

1000 Acres Property in Haridwar 3 Billion Rupees /~ 67 Million US-Dollars
100 Acres Ashram in Haridwar 1 Billion Rupees /~ 22 Million US-Dollars
food Park in Haridwar 5 Billion Rupees /~ 111 Million US-Dollars
Buildings in Haridwar 250 Million Rupees /~ 6 Million US-Dollars
96 Acres Property in Solan, Himachal Pradesh 200 Million Rupees /~ 4 Million US-Dollars
750 Acres Island in Scotland 140 Million Rupees /~ 3 Million US-Dollars
99 Acres Property in Houston 980 Million Rupees /~ 22 Million US-Dollars
20% Profit of Yearly Sales of Ayurvedic Medicine 3 Billion Rupees Sales x 0.20 = 600 Million Rupees /~ 13 Million US-Dollars
Sales of Books and CDs 100 Million Rupees /~ 2 Million US-Dollars
Income of 50000 people coming to your center every year, paying 5000 Rupees per Yoga camp week 250 Million Rupees /~ 6 Million US-Dollars

And then you tell people that you need Billions of Rupees of upcoming projects. It obviously looks like your ambitions are never-ending! Is that really the path of a Sanyasi who has renounced from all worldly attachments?

Some years ago there were allegations on you and your company to have mixed the powder of human bones in the medicine you were producing and selling. You were able to save yourself and your company through your connections and your approach to the right people. A few days ago the former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav gave a statement on TV, saying that he and others saved you by taking your favour in that time but they would not do that for you again. It seems that there was something wrong, otherwise why would anybody talk about having saved you?

You yourself have been seen on different spiritual TV channels a lot, so that everybody got to know your name and face. Everybody knows that one can buy the slots there and just pay for the sending time. I have heard however that you even the majority of the shares of one of those channels, so you can practically broadcast whatever you want. Another rumour is that you have plans to start your own news channel, too, because the other ones don’t give enough coverage of your own news and your statements. What should people think about this all?

I remember a few years ago I heard you saying on TV that you have nothing in foreign countries and you don’t even have a passport. In that time you were focusing on India and honestly had nothing to do with foreign countries. Some people liked it because you obviously were devoted to your home country. Sometime later you went to the west yourself though and gave a few very big yoga programs there. You must have been disappointed, because western people did not really accept you and your ways there.

To be honest, I think that is your own fault. You gave a very strange statement, saying that yoga can cure cancer. If you had said, yoga can help if you have cancer, it would have been right but people in educated countries know enough about medicine that this is not true. Additionally you have very narrow-minded ideas of sexuality and straight-out said that homosexuality is wrong. Your yoga-oriented audience in the west did not really like that idea, either, which reminds them maybe too much of the opinion of the Pope and the suppression of sexuality through the Catholic Church.

Well, I guess it was best for you to come back home, where you still find followers for those ideas too.

There are of course many of your ideas that I don’t approve of but you had a lot of respect for your whole work of yoga. If you could have stayed with that, it would have been good for you. Your ambitions made you show different faces to the public, the face of the businessman and the face of a politician. Don’t you see that the graph of your popularity is going down, that people have doubts and that there are fingers pointing at you? Don’t you think you have cut that branch on which you were sitting and planted the seed of doubt in people’s minds? I am really sad about this for you, are you not? I may have supported you, too, with your good deeds for the world of yoga but not with all these doubts.

If you did some real charity with your money, I would be really happy. It seems however that you are too much the businessman for that and like to invest your money in this way. If you consider all of this, you must understand why people believe that you act out of personal interest and the ambition of getting more power and wealth instead of acting for the interest of the nation.

I hope nobody thinks now that I am a supporter of the Congress party. I do not have any interest or involvement in politics and I don’t give any donation to any political party. What I say to you is from my heart and I believe this is not only my voice. Millions of Indians have these questions for you. I am not your enemy and I am not opposing you. I just would like to see clearly what your agenda is.

I come from the same background, have lived the life of a guru but gave it up, along with all followers and my religion. I am now a happily married businessman, paying tax and having nothing to do with politics. I am a simple man with no millions in my account and also have no ambition to have an empire like you. I could have, if I had remained a Guru in this religious country. But I decided not to. I just want enough for my family to survive nicely and live in a respectful manner, so that sometime, if you come to my home, I can feed you, too.

As Kabir said:“Sahib itana dijiye jame kutum samay | mai bhi bhukha na rahu aur Sadhu na bhukha jaye||”

In short this means, I just want to live nicely and honestly and die peacefully. You may thus say I am just one of the normal Indian people, hereby raising my voice to just ask what you are all about.

It does not matter to me who you want to be, the yoga teacher, the businessman, the politician or all three at once. Whichever role you decide to play however, be honest in it, only that is the right way. People doubt and find out lies. Nobody can cover and hide money, property and crimes. It will come out and destroy all of what they have built.

I hope you and your followers understand my words in the way they are meant and do not get angry with me. I wish you all the best whichever way you decide to go.

Swami Balendu


The letter was originally posted on


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