20/06/2016 9:00 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Baba Ramdev Says Chanting 'Om' Doesn't Change Anyone's Religion

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JUNE 19: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev performs yoga during the rehearsals for the upcoming International Yoga Day at Rajpath, on June 19, 2016 in New Delhi, India. International Yoga Day is celebrated annually on June 21 and was declared to be internationally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 11, 2014. (Photo by Virendra Singh Gosain /Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- Amid opposition from certain religious communities over chanting of 'Om' and performance of 'surya namaskar' during yoga events, Ramdev yesterday said these practices do not change anyone's religion and are "secular, universal and spiritual" in nature.

He said at a yoga camp in Dubai on Saturday, which was attended by Hindus and Muslims, besides members of the royal family, he had given the gathering an option to chant 'Om' or 'Amin' and that they had preferred chanting 'Om' over 'Amin'.

They "experienced a divine" feeling, he said at a yoga event at Rajpath, organsied by the Ministry of Ayush and attended by a large number of people, including Union ministers M Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley and Babul Supriyo and BJP MPs Meenakshi Lekhi, Manoj Tiwari and Vijay Goel.

Ramdev, who runs an FMCG empire, said that in the next three years, Patanjali will conduct animal to human trials of ayurvedic medicines and clinical trials in yoga.

For this his organisation will invest Rs 500 crore. Additional Rs 500 crore will be invested on research pertaining to cow, he added.

"I went to Dubai and I made people there to chant 'Om' and perform 'surya namaskar'. While performing 'surya namaskar', I also kept some Muslims along with me and told them that if their religion changes (for doing it), then don't do 'surya namaskar'. No one's religion changed. Yoga is not a religious practice, but a secular and universal practice.

"I said while performing yoga you can also say 'Amin' and 'Om', but many people and majority of Muslims said 'Om' instead of 'Amin'... They said they got mental peace by chanting 'Om'," Ramdev said.

Ramdev claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi too conveyed his wishes for the mega event at Rajpath.

He said if people perform yoga and encourage others to do so, India will again become a country of "rishis" and become a country "dreamt by Ram and Krishna" and by Swami Vivekanand and Dayanand Saraswati.

"We don't want to make India any religious country. India is not a religious country. It is a spiritual country. We want to make India a spiritual country and world a spiritual place. This is our dream," he said.

Ramdev said people who practise yoga cannot harm the world.

"Can such people harm the nation? The world is in danger at the hands of those fanatics who say we will spread only their religion in the world. We are not spreading any religion, but spreading radiance through yoga. Yoga is not a religion. We don't say we are the greatest. Those who say their religion is the best religion, then this is the most dangerous thought for the world," he said, adding that the world can find peace at India's feet.

Ramdev said yoga makes human a "superhuman", from 'dev' to 'Mahadev' and from a 'man' to a 'superman'.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said yoga is India's gift to the world.

Muslim cleric Rehmat Qazi also attended the event.

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