Jaggi Vasudev

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Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Sadhguru-Jaggi-Vasudev.jpg
Born Mysore, Karnataka
Nationality Indian
Occupation Mystic, yogi

Jaggi Vasudev, commonly known as Sadhguru, is an Indian yogi, mystic, philanthropist and author of over 100 titles in 8 different languages.[1] He founded the Isha Foundation, a non-profit organisation which offers yoga programs around the world, including India, United States, England, Lebanon, Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, Uganda and Australia. The Foundation is also involved in various social and community development activities, which have resulted in the Foundation being granted special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born into a Telugu family[3] in Mysore, Karnataka on 3 September 1957[4] to Susheela and Dr. Vasudev, Jagadish was the youngest of the Vasudev's four children – two boys and two girls. Sadhguru's father was an ophthalmologist with the Indian Railways and as a result, the family moved frequently. At a young age, Jagadish, or Jaggi as he came to be known, developed an interest in nature and would frequently make trips into nearby forests which would sometimes last up to three days at a time. At the age of 11, Jaggi came in contact with Malladihalli Sri Raghavendra Swamiji who taught him a set of simple yoga asanas, the practice of which he regularly maintained.[5] Sadhguru states that "without a single day's break, this simple yoga that was taught to him kept happening and led to a much deeper experience later."[4]:39

After finishing his schooling, he graduated from the University of Mysore with a bachelor's degree in English Literature, standing second in his class.[6] During his college years, he developed an interest in travel and motorcycles. A frequent haunt of his and his friends was the Chamundi Hill near Mysore, where they often had get-togethers and nocturnal drives. He also travelled to various places in the country on his motorcycle. When he reached the Indo-Nepal border, he was stopped from entering Nepal because he did not possess a passport. This experience made him resolve "to earn some quick money," and just ride off somewhere where people couldn't stop him. This led him to open several successful businesses after graduation, including a poultry farm, a brickworks and a construction business.[6]

Spiritual experience[edit]

At the age of twenty-five on 23 September 1981,[7] he rode up Chamundi Hill and sat on a rock, when he had a spiritual experience. Sadhguru describes his experience, "Till that moment in my life I always thought this is me and that's somebody else and something else. But for the first time I did not know which is me and which is not me. Suddenly, what was me was just all over the place. The very rock on which I was sitting, the air that I breathe, the very atmosphere around me, I had just exploded into everything. That sounds like utter insanity. This, I thought it lasted for ten to fifteen minutes but when I came back to my normal consciousness, I was about four-and-a-half-hours I was sitting there, fully conscious, eyes open, but time had just flipped."[8]:04:04 Six weeks after this experience, he left his business to his friend and travelled extensively in an effort to gain insight into his 'mystical' experience. After a year of meditation and travel, Sadhguru decided to teach yoga to share his inner experience.[7]

In 1983, he conducted his first yoga class with seven participants in Mysore. Over time, he began conducting yoga classes across Karnataka and Hyderabad travelling from class to class on his motorcycle. He lived off the proceeds of his poultry farm rental and refused payment for the classes. A usual practice of his was to donate the collections received from participants to a local charity on the last day of the class.[7] These initial programs were the basic format on which the Isha Yoga classes were later built on.

In 1989, he conducted his first class in Coimbatore, near which the Isha Yoga Center would later be established. The classes were known as Sahaja Sthiti Yoga and involved asanas, pranayama kriyas and meditation. In 1993, Sadhguru decided to set up an ashram to support the growing number of spiritual aspirants. After examining with various sites around Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Goa, he decided on a thirteen acre site situated at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains, thirty kilometres from Coimbatore. In 1994, the site was bought and the Isha Yoga Center was set up.[4]

Dhyanalinga[edit]

Main article: Dhyanalinga
The Dhyanalinga within the temple dome.

In 1994, Sadhguru conducted the first program in the ashram premises, during which he discussed the Dhyanalinga. The Dhyanalinga is a yogic temple and a space for meditation, the consecration of which, Sadhguru had stated was his life's mission entrusted to him by his Guru.[7] In 1996, the stone edifice of the linga was ordered and arrived at the ashram. After three years of work, the Dhyanalinga was completed on 23 June 1999[9] and opened to the public on 23 November.[10]

The Dhyanalinga yogic temple offers a meditative space that does not ascribe to any particular faith or belief system.[11] A 76-foot dome, constructed using only bricks and stabilised mud mortar without steel or concrete,[12] covers the sanctum sanctorum. The lingam is 13 feet, 9 inches in height and made of high density black granite. The Sarva Dharma Sthamba, located at the front entrance, functions as an icon of singularity, with the sculptural reliefs and symbols of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Shinto inscribed as a universal welcome.[13]

Isha Foundation[edit]

Main article: Isha Foundation
Saplings being readied for transportation at a PGH nursery.

Sadhguru established Isha Foundation, a non-religious, non-profit organisation entirely run by volunteers. The Isha Yoga Center near Coimbatore was founded in 1992, and hosts a series of programs to heighten self-awareness through yoga. The foundation works in tandem with international bodies like the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.[2]

Social initiatives[edit]

He also founded Project GreenHands (PGH), a grassroots ecological initiative which was awarded the highest Indian environmental award, the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar, by the Government of India in June 2010.[14] PGH aims to increase the green cover in Tamil Nadu by 10% and has successfully overseen the planting of more than 17 million trees by over 2 million volunteers. In an interview to the National Geographic Green magazine, Sadhguru explained the impetus which led him to establish Project GreenHands: "In the year 1998, certain experts […] made a prediction, by 2025, 60% of Tamil Nadu will be a desert. […] I decided to drive across Tamil Nadu and see for myself if this is true. […] I realized they were completely wrong because it wouldn’t go to 2025, it would happen much faster according to me. […] So from ‘98 to 2003, 2004, I went about planting trees in people’s minds. And since 2004, we are transplanting those trees back to the ground."[15]

Action for Rural Rejuvenation (ARR), is an initiative under Isha Foundation, that is aimed towards improving the overall health and quality of life of the rural poor. ARR was established by Sadhguru in 2003 and seeks to benefit 70 million people in 54,000 villages across South India. As of 2010, ARR has reached over 4,200 villages and a population of over 7 million people.[16][17] He has also been involved with agricultural and farmers' associations to work towards resolving issues faced by Indian farmers.[18]

Isha Vidhya, is Isha Foundation's educational initiative, which aims to raise the level of education and literacy in rural India. There are seven schools in operation which educate around 3000 students.[19] The foundation has also "adopted" 26 government schools to reach out to students from financially constrained backgrounds, and aims to adopt up to 3000 schools.[20][21]

Yoga programs[edit]

Sadhguru conducting the Inner Engineering Program at the Bombay Stock Exchange, Mumbai.

After the establishment of the ashram, Sadhguru began conducting regular yoga programs at the Isha Yoga Center, including a course for the Indian Hockey team in 1996.[22][23] In 1997, he began conducting classes in the United States[24][25] and in 1998, he began conducting yoga classes for life-term prisoners in Tamil Nadu prisons.[26] From 2011, he began conducting programs with large-scale participation of up to 10,000 and 15,000 participants at once. These large-scale programs have been attended by over 75,000 people in total.[27][28]

The programs offered by Sadhguru are offered under the umbrella of Isha Yoga. The word Isha means the formless divine.[29] Isha Yoga's flagship program is 'Inner Engineering' where individuals are initiated into meditation and pranayam and the Shambhavi Mahamudra.[30] He is also conducting yoga classes for the corporate leadership to introduce them to what he calls "inclusive economics," which he says introduces a sense of compassion and inclusiveness into today's economic scenario.[31][32]

Sadhguru also regularly conducts Mahasathsangs in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka that include discourses, meditations and question and answer sessions with the audience. These Mahasathsangs are also used as platforms to encourage tree-planting activities.[33] He also takes spiritual aspirants on annual yatras to Mount Kailash and the Himalayas. The Kailash Yatra led by Sadhguru is among the largest groups to make the trip to Kailash, with 514 pilgrims attending the journey in 2010.[34][35]

Sadhguru also organises all-night Mahashivarathri celebrations every year at the Isha Yoga Center, which in 2013, were attended by an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people approximately.[36][37][38] The night includes music, dance and guided meditation sessions. In 2013, performers included Carnatic singer Aruna Sairam, dancer Anita Ratnam and the band, The Raghu Dixit Project.[38]

In March 2005, construction of the Isha Institute of Inner-sciences (III) in McMinnville, Tennessee, USA was begun and was completed 6 months later. Sadhguru had decided to established III as a center for spiritual growth in the Western Hemisphere. On 7 November 2008, Sadhguru consecrated the Mahima Hall, a 39,000 square foot, free-standing meditation hall at the III.[39] On 30 January 2010, Sadhguru consecrated the Linga Bhairavi, a representation of the feminine aspects of the divine at the Isha Yoga Center.[4]

Participation in global and economic forums[edit]

KV Kamath, who was present at the Isha Insight program.

Sadhguru has spoken at the United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit in 2000,[40] the World Economic Forum in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.[41] On 24 June 2013, he conducted a multi-religious session titled, "Interfaith Deliberations on the Universality of Religions" at the Isha Yoga Center, which was attended by representatives of various religions, and coincided with the fourteenth anniversary celebrations of the Dhyanalinga.[42][43]

In 2012, he was voted among the hundred most powerful Indians for his contribution in the field of environmental protection and for encouraging public participation in ecological issues.[44] He was also a participant in the 2006 documentary film ONE: The Movie. He has also been involved in one-on-one interactions as part of the "In Conversations With the Mystic" program with Anupam Kher, Jasti Chelameswar, Dilip Cherian, Muzaffar Ali, Tarun Tahiliani and Kiran Bedi.[45][46][47]

In 2012, he initiated the Isha Insight program, which focuses on helping small and medium businesses scale up their business activities. The program was conducted by Ram Charan, with KV Kamath Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao Shankar Annaswamy, Vellayan Subbiah and Pramod Chaudhari also active in the program.[48] In an interview with Forbes magazine, Sadhguru, speaking about the motivation behind setting up the program, said, "While speaking at economic summits and to leaders in India and outside, I have noticed that the most serious issue people have is a lack of insight into what they are doing, or what they could do. That’s how we ended up creating this programme called Insight."[49]

Publications[edit]

English[edit]

Tamil[edit]

Hindi[edit]

Kannada[edit]

Telugu[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sadhguru: Official Website". 
  2. ^ a b "‘Special Consultative Status’ for Isha Foundation". The Hindu. 12 September 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Telugu... Tamil... Telugu!.
  4. ^ a b c d Subramaniam, Arundhathi (2010). Sadhguru More Than A Life. Penguin Group. ISBN 9780670085125. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Uncommon Wisdom". India Today. 26 April 2007. 
  6. ^ a b "‘I have not read the Vedas or the Upanishads. I confess I haven’t read the Gita’". Indian Express. 10 March 2008. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d Simone, Cheryl (2008). Midnights with the Mystic. Hampton Roads Publishing Company. ISBN 9781571745613. 
  8. ^ Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev (2009). TED India 2009 (YouTube). Mysore: TED India. 
  9. ^ "Dhyanalingam installed". Indian Express. 26 July 1999. 
  10. ^ "A multi religious temple". The Hindu. 19 November 1999. 
  11. ^ Rangaswamy, Sudhakshina (25 July 2003). "Transformation of the inner Self". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  12. ^ "Auroville Earth Institute, training courses, workshops on Vaults, Arches, Domes(VAD), stabilized rammed earth walls, compressed earth blocks, vaulted structures, compressed stabilised earth blocks, rammed earth.". 
  13. ^ Ganapathy, T.K. (28 September 2001). "Haven for the spiritually inclined". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  14. ^ Corporates partners with Isha foundation to support Project GreenHands, Business Standard, 6 June 2010, Retrieved on 6 June 2010
  15. ^ National Geographic Green magazine - interview with Sadhguru - 1. YouTube: National Geographic Green magazine. 
  16. ^ "Isha Foundation launches Centre-funded project". The Hindu. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  17. ^ "Jaggi Vasudev in city on May 7". The Times of India. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  18. ^ "Farmers' convention in the city". The Hindu. 15 March 2007. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  19. ^ "LIC gives grant to Isha". The Hindu. 7 April 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  20. ^ "Students sensitised to environmental issues". The Hindu. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  21. ^ Madhusudhan NR (13 June 2013). "Embarking on a spiritual journey". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  22. ^ "Morale-Booster says Bhaskaran". Indian Express. 26 November 1996. 
  23. ^ "Refreshed Team Begins Final Preparation". The Hindu. 2 December 1996. 
  24. ^ "Yoga guru touts peace, not religion". The Tennessean. 15 October 1997. 
  25. ^ "It doesn't take a guru to know which way the stress flows". Dayton Daily News. 17 March 1998. 
  26. ^ "Yoga Brings 'Freedom' to Prisoners". The Hindu. 16 February 1998. 
  27. ^ "A medley of yoga and green moves". The Hindu. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  28. ^ "Life changing weekend with Sadhguru". The New Indian Express. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  29. ^ "Jaggi Vasudev – Exploring the unlimited". Life Positive. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  30. ^ "In pursuit of peace of mind". Daily News and Analysis. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  31. ^ "The route to 'dharmacracy'". Business Today. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  32. ^ "Inclusive Economics: Enabling the World'". Huffington Post. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  33. ^ "Isha's Green Salem goes on stream". The Hindu. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  34. ^ "Isha shows the way". Indian Express. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  35. ^ "‘Mansarovar is beyond words’". Daily News and Analysis. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  36. ^ Zakaria, Namrata (June 2013). "The Lure of Isha". Harpers Bazaar. pp. 106–108. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  37. ^ Zakaria, Namrata (14 March 2013). "Fashion label to 'yogi': Donna Karan on an Indian holiday". The Indian Express. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  38. ^ a b Vyas, Sheetal (1 April 2013). "Holy Days". Outlook. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  39. ^ "A 39,000 square-foot meditation facility". AtlantaDunia. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  40. ^ "Passion for Peace: At the United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev". Health and Wellness Magazine – Nashville. April 2001. 
  41. ^ Padmanabhan, Mukund (15 March 2009). "Golf with the Guru". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  42. ^ "Many paths one goal". Life Positive. August 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  43. ^ "Anniversary celebrations at Isha". The Hindu. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  44. ^ "The most powerful Indians in 2012: No. 91-100". Indian Express. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  45. ^ "In Conversation with the Mystic - Anupam Kher with Sadhguru". FirstPost. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  46. ^ Dua, Chetna (2 August 2013). "Conversations with the mystic". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  47. ^ "Live Webstream | In Coversation with the Mystic". 
  48. ^ Sangani, Priyanka (21 December 2012). "What differentiates people who are successful from the rest, explains mystic Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev". Economic Times. ET Bureau. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  49. ^ Gupta, Indrajit (21 Nov 2012). "How to Scale up Your Enterprise: Conversations with Sadhguru & Dr Ram Charan". Forbes. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Subramaniam, Arundhathi (2010). Sadhguru, More than a life. New Delhi: Penguin Ananda. ISBN 978-0-670-08512-5. 

External links[edit]