The head of Dera Sacha Sauda is all for a "healthy" lifestyle, and we're not kidding.
You might have come across many self-proclaimed godmen in India, but you couldn't possibly have ever come across someone as grand as this man. Just a look at his long-winding name, and you know how big a deal he has ended up becoming.
Like every godman with a mission of exercising "godlike" power over humans, Gurmeet Ram Rahim's headship of the Dera Sacha Sauda is based on ideals that can show you how to lead a "healthy" lifestyle. And while the future of this social group hangs in the balance, we take a look at some of the health tips this leader suggests on his dera's website.
The dera has a detailed website with almost all of Gurmeet Ram Rahim's teachings; of course he suggests vegetarianism as a key principle. His health tips are supposedly inspired by Ayurveda, and apparently "many people have accepted the health tips in their lifestyle prescribed by Revered Guruji which helps in preventing diseases."
1. "Guruji suggests that dinner should not be taken late at night. Food should be taken before the sun set because the quantity of bacteria is quite less at that time."
Now, this principle borrows mostly from Jain philosophy, especially the idea that there's a rise in bacteria in food after sunset. The Jain idea is not about how unhealthy the food can get (which is definitely a factor to be considered), but more concerned with accidentally eating microorganisms after sundown.
Of course, science dictates the same health tip--the body's metabolism rate slows down after sunset because that's the period when we're inactive, and unable to digest food faster. But those are clearly not the terms in which Gurmeet Ram Rahim couches his tip.
2. "One should wake up early morning and should try to sleep early night. The people, who have to work hard for the whole day, should go for a morning and evening walk."
Really, this is such common knowledge that it has been drilled in our heads since childhood. Being active throughout the day always has its benefits, and it's a necessary part of life. And going for a walk twice, every day, is the basic exercise recommended by every physician in the world. This tip clearly borrows not just from most religious philosophies, but also modern science and nutritional studies.
3. "Chew water and drink food means water should be drunk sip by sip and food should be properly chewed so that the food can be digested slowly."
Are you confused yet? You've been told to chew your food properly since you were a kid, we're sure. But chewing water? Apart from the way this tip is couched, we have to note, once again, that this is common knowledge supported by a number of cultures. Aaron Hoopes, the founder of Zen Yoga, also recommends something similar to promote chewing and mindful eating in his book, Zen Anti-Diet: Mindful Eating for Health, Vitality and Weight Loss.
4. "Guruji teaches the method of the Pranayam with meditation. It helps in enhancing the concentration. Many players have reached the International levels by adopting this method."
We'll stop mentioning that this tip is also borrowed, because you've definitely got the drift of things by now. Pranayam is a good exercise, and an integral part of yoga. Every health-conscious person who's ever even heard of yoga knows this, and most godmen actually teach it. Is "guruji" claiming this as newly-discovered knowledge? And what exactly links the "many players" who have "reached the International levels" to the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda? And who even are these players?
5. "Special diet chart has been developed told by Guruji by which any stout or fat person can lose his fat. People can lose up to 5-7 kilograms of weight within a week, without fasting."
Yes, this is true. There's a whole diet chart full of precise recommendations about exactly what amount of fruits, veggies and boiled food you should eat. Of course, the chart looks a bit too much like the General Motors diet, but we're really used to Gurmeet Ram Rahim borrowing from different places by now. No wonder the claim that you can lose considerable weight within a week actually stands. Also, if losing 5 to 7 kilograms a week is extremely unhealthy for the body, as suggested by many dieticians all over the world.
In short, think positive. Now. who doesn't know that? But what exactly is Holy Meditation, is not described anywhere on the site, though we did find this: "True Meditation is taught by True Master. No one knows that there is such a supreme power that is present inside everyone, which helps everyone in this world and even beyond. Only the Guru makes it attainable by the means of meditation."
Once again, being positive is good for your health, and you already know it. We're more than a little skeptical about Gurmeet Ram Rahim suggesting that you should "do good deeds", because clearly, he's not leading by example here.
It's amazing how Gurmeet Ram Rahim's health tips cover both the physical and spiritual realms--most recommendations by godmen and lifestyle gurus do--and quite randomly so. How does eating simple food follow from being positive? The sequence of the tips and the rampant borrowing apart, we believe this tip, like all others, stands to reason.
They aren't, however, anything new or unique. Gurmeet Ram Rahim's recommended health tips are quite like his movies, and every bit of this grand persona he's built for himself--full of hype and glamour on the outside, but borrowed knowledge from the inside.