Ten years ago, he was moved by the revolutionary spirit of Yoga guru Swami Ramdev and Acharya Bal Krishna of Patanjali Yog Peeth to quit his white collared job and joined his mission. Swami Punya Dev, heading the Yog Pracharak Prakalp across the country has led hundreds of Yog Pracharaks of Bharat Swabhiman mission of Yog Guru Swami Ramdev. Hailing from Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, this former civil engineer having worked at Toshiba, Gurgaon, Punya Dev is steadfast with his mission. Excerpts from his interview:
Q. What is your mission in Patanjali group?
A. We appoint Yog Pracharaks under ‘Yog Prachar Prakalp’ who serve the society in various ways. These Yog Pracharaks launch de-addiction drives, cleanliness drive and give drug less therapy to the villagers so that their medicine cost is reduced. Though the Ashtang yoga propounded by sage Patanjali of yore emphasise on eight folded path to enlightenment – Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahar, Dhyana, Dharna, Samadhi but Asana and Pranayama are the most popular ways practiced by yoga schools across the world. Truly, this Yoga originating from the Sanskrit word-‘Yuj’ has connected the entire humanity and the wellness industry into one big family – ‘Vasudev Katumbakum’. We spread this message across the country through a team of Yog Pracharaks.
Q. When did you take Sannyasa (monkhood) and why?
A.I was initiated last year in 2018 by Yog Guru Swami Ramdev and got monastic name as Punya Dev. For nine years I was Brahmchari and now I wear ochre robe of saints. I follow celibacy. I was moved by the mission of Yog guru for ‘Vyavastha Parivartan’ so I joined the Patanjali group. We as a team have held 20,000 Yog classes in past 4 years and organized 5 day yoga camps and de-addiction awareness drives in 1 lakh villages across the country. 1.44 lakh ‘Arogya meetings’ have been held in the past five years in different states of the country.
Q. Who can join Yog Pracharak Prakalp?
A. Anyone who is moved by the spirit to serve can join this group. We call on youths, they are asked to do social service for a month in different districts and are given five days training in Patanjali. They appear in theoretical exam of 100 marks and hold Yoga camps. We have at least two yog Pracharaks in every district and now we are planning for more such ‘Samaj Sevaks’ at district level. These Pracharaks are given some financial assistance too.
Q. What is the modus operandi of your group?
Every Yog Pracharak is given a target for the month. He visits different districts of the country and in every district, he holds 5 day long yoga camp in the morning and during the day he holds sabhas (public meetings) in temples and schools addressing the main problem of the area. Awareness rallies are taken out addressing social evils and their possible solutions given. Our Yog Pracharaks propagate on Nasha Mukti Andolan and give awareness on the harmful effects of taking liquor on the central nervous system of the body, thereby affecting every organ of human body. In all, nearly 600 Yog Pracharaks are working in the country.
What is your message to the youths?
Brian drain needs to be stopped, the able youths must make it an ambition to serve the country. The resources of India must be used for India alone.