Yoga guru Ramdev and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Saturday declined to accept Padma awards, saying the honour could be given to someone else.
Ramdev declined the Padma Vibhushan – India’s second highest civilian award – saying that while he was grateful for being chosen for the honour it should be given to someone else and not a “sanyasi”.
In a letter to union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, he said he was grateful that the central government thought of his name, which he got to know from media reports, but the honour could be given to some other great person.
“I am a ‘sanyasi’ and want to serve the country without expecting anything,” he said, adding that a recluse must remain the same while he is honoured or disrespected.
“I urge you to give this honour to somebody doing something great. I would be grateful to you,” he said.
Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also declined to accept the Padma award, saying it could be given to someone else.
The world renowned spiritual guru posted on Twitter that Rajnath Singh called him to inform about it but he declined to accept the award.
According to a statement issued by Art of Living in Bengaluru late Saturday, Ravi Shankar told Rajnath Singh over phone: “I thank the government for considering me for the Padma award. There are many other deserving people. Instead of me, I would like them to honour someone else.”
The 59-year-old spiritual guru founded Art of Living in 1981 as an NGO for educational and humanitarian projects with a special focus on stress management.
The organisation operates in 152 countries the world over, benefitting about 370 million people worldwide.