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Today’s question: Baba Ramdev’s Yoga Madness: Can it defeat Covid?
Baba Ramdev is an indian Yoga teacher and businessman. He has been organizing yoga camps since 2002. He co-founded Patanjali Ayurved Ltd with his colleague Balkrishna. He is a savvy businessman. He became a billionaire through his drug company. He makes tall claims like he was paralyzed when he was a child and was later cured by practising yoga. Yoga can cure paralysis. I didn’t know that. He claims that homosexuality can be cured by yoga. Now, he claims yoga can cure Covid. He started to gain a following through yoga classes. Then Prime Minister Modi made him more famous by inviting him to his political rallies.
In early May 2021, he blamed Covid victims for complaining about oxygen shortage. He scolded them, ‘Just do yoga, you will be fine’. He said, modern medicine is a stupid science and millions of people died due to it. Let me quote his words:
“For decades, I have been practising yoga and Ayurveda, so I didn’t feel the need to get vaccinated. Over 100 crore people of India as well as in foreign countries have access to these ancient therapies.In the times to come, Ayurveda will be globally accepted”
He says, Ayurveda will be accepted globally. Acceptance does not mean evidence. Acceptance does not mean it is beneficial. He says Covid can be conquered using Yoga and Ayurveda. He says Covid vaccines are useless. He says if you look at all the people dying of Covid, it shows allopathy, that is ‘Western medicine’ is not 100 percent effective. It’s another logical fallacy. If I tell you, ‘wear a seat belt while driving your car’. You might say, ‘It is useless to wear a seat belt. I have a friend who died in a car crash. He wore a seat belt’. Your story might be true. But statistically speaking, wearing a seat belt provides more safety than not wearing a seat belt. People use the same argument against medicine. ‘Medicine is useless. We took my dad to the hospital. He died anyway’. Your dad dying in the hospital is sad but medical science is still a good thing that happened to humanity. So, Baba Ramdev’s argument that western medicine is not 100 percent effective is illogical.
Ramdev’s friend Balkrishna accused IMA’s president of conspiring to convert India to Christianity. “They are using this Western medicine to convert people to Christianity”. These accusations are not new. When radio was introduced to India, the gurus accused Christians that radio was brought to convert people to Christianity. When TV was introduced to India, they said it was brought to convert people to Christianity. When computer was introduced to India, they said it was brought to convert people to Christianity. This is not a new accusation. This is an old bird with new feathers.
Baba Ramdev says, ‘I do yoga and take ayurveda. I don’t need Covid vaccine’
What is yoga? Yoga is a mind and body practice that typically combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. Its origin traces back to ancient Indian philosophy. Millions of people practice yoga around the world. It has
Yoga has 3 principal components:
Pranayama (Breath regulation)
Meditation helps to increase self-awareness and to examine one’s conduct with self and others. Clinical studies show that yoga is useful as adjunctive therapy for depression, PTSD, anxiety, back pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and cognitive impairment. The evidence base for the effectiveness of these modalities is still incomplete. Yoga can reduce blood pressure. It is superior to no treatment but has not been clearly superior to aerobic exercise. That is important to understand. If you compare yoga to aerobic exercise, it has not been shown to be superior to aerobic exercise in reducing blood pressure.
One of the components of yoga is breathing exercises. You breathe in and breathe out in a controlled manner. Those exercises will improve oxygen saturation. So, in patients with Covid when they are in the rehabilitation phase, yoga might help them to improve oxygen saturation. But, when Covid patient is sick, yoga is useless. When your oxygen saturation is low, you need oxygen. Yoga does not help. Baba Ramdev blaming patients for not breathing well is silly and stupid. Yoga should be a part of integrative medicine. It should be adjunctive therapy. It should be complementary. In other words, you add it to basic medical science based on the evidence. But you should not use it as monotherapy, like it is the only treatment for cancer, stroke, covid, hypertension, liver disease, kidney disease etc.
Baba Ramdev then says Ayurveda helps with Covid. What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is an alternative medicine system developed in India. Its central premise is gods taught medical knowledge to hindu gurus, who then taught it to doctors. From gods to doctors…that shows how scientific it is. In Sushruta Samhita, the foundational text of Ayurveda, Sushruta wrote that Hindu god of Ayurveda, Dhanvantari incarnated himself as a king of Varanasi and taught medicine to Sushruta and other doctors. So, god Dhanvantari taught us this medicine and this should be followed by all people. This god incarnated in Varanasi, the town where Ramdev started his own shop selling ayurvedic medicines. That says it all. Indian Medical Association calls it quackery. It is nothing but fraud.
Baba owns the company Patanjali Ayurveda. Some of his ayurvedic medicines were banned from sales due to poor quality by Indian government. His workers must touch his feet as they enter the company to start this work day. In June 2020, he announced a drug named Coronil for Covid-19 treatment. There was no evidence that Coronil would help Covid patients. It was banned by many state governments across India. They put unsterilized, unclean products into those quack drugs. Even toxic metals go into these drug mixtures.
Then they also blamed Chrristians. Indian Medical Association president happens to be a name sake Christian. It is doubtful whether he is even a devout, practising Christian. But Balkrishna accused him of converting people to Christianity by using western medicine. We watch Sanjay Gupta from morning to evening, but we don’t consider his Hinduism when he talks about medical issues. But if a Chriistian doctor talks about medicine, the hindu gurus immediately focus on his religion.
When we talk about Ayurveda, you see the beauty of Christian faith here. Christianty never pretends to know the remedies for human sickness. In the Bible, we don’t find God prescribing medicines for human diseases. Descartes separated spiritual things from physical things through his dualism. Following Descartes, scientists followed into the investigation of physical things leaving spiritual matters to theologians.
Andreas Vesalius (1514 – 1564), we call him the founder of human anatomy. Pope Paul gave him permission to dissect human dead bodies and study the internal structures. After years of research, he wrote De humani corporis, a great text book on human anatomy. That is how the scientific method starts. Later William Harvey 91578 – 1657) studied the circulatory system, Antoniie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) studied microorganisms using the microscope. Edward Jenner (1749-1823) invented the smallpox vaccine. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) created the first vaccine for rabies and anthrax. Joseph Lister (1827-1912) pioneered antiseptic surgery. Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915) invented chemotherapy, Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) discovered penicillin as an antibiotic.
We should build on those foundations. Pfizer and Moderna developed their vaccines after thoroughly understanding the structure, function and pathogenesis of Covid 19 virus. Serum Institute of India has the capacity to supply Covid vaccine for every one on this planet. But, they could not deliver because the leadership in India has Ramdev’s mentality. Yoga and Ayurveda are enough to defeat Covid. You don’t need modern medicine. Thankfully, there are many doctors in India who could see through their bluff and do their best to help their fellow Indians suffering from Covid. We should thank God for them.
So, Baba Ramdev should stop making these kinds of nonsensical and dangerous comments against modern medicine.