Jaggi Vasudev

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Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Born (1957-09-03) 3 September 1957 (age 59)
Mysore, Karnataka
Nationality Indian
Titles/honours Padma Vibhushan (2017)
Founder of Isha Foundation
Guru Palani Swami & Malladihalli Raghavendra
Philosophy Yoga
Literary works Inner Engineering and many

Jaggi Vasudev, commonly known as Sadhguru, is an Indian Yogi, mystic, Padma Vibhushan awardee, and New York Times bestselling author.[1] He founded the Isha Foundation, a non-profit organization which offers yoga programs around the world, including India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Lebanon, Singapore, Canada,[2] Malaysia, Uganda, China, Nepal, 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.[3] On 25 January 2017, Government of India announced Padma Vibhushan award for his contribution towards spirituality.[4]

Early life[edit]

Born in Mysore, Karnataka on Tuesday 3 September 1957[5] to Susheela and Dr. Vasudev, Jagadish was the youngest of four children – two boys and two girls. His father was an ophthalmologist with the Indian Railways and as a result, the family moved frequently. At the age of 12, he came in contact with Malladihalli Sri Raghavendra Swamiji who taught him a set of simple yoga asanas, the practice of which he regularly maintained.[6] Jaggi Vasudev 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."[5]:39

After his schooling at Demonstration School, Mysore in 1973, he graduated from the University of Mysore with a bachelor's degree in English literature.[7] 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 gathered and went for nocturnal drives. He also traveled to various places in the country on his motorcycle. 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.

Spiritual experience[edit]

At the age of 25 on 23 September 1982,[8] Jaggi Vasudev rode up Chamundi Hill and sat on a rock, where he had a spiritual experience. Jaggi Vasudev describes his experience as follows: "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, it was about four-and-a-half-hours I was sitting there, fully conscious, eyes open, but time had just flipped."[9]: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, Jaggi Vasudev decided to teach yoga to share his inner experience.[8]

In 1983, he conducted his first yoga class with seven participants in Mysore. Over time, he began conducting yoga classes across Karnataka and Hyderabad traveling 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.[8] These initial programs were the basic format on which the Isha yoga classes were later built.


Main article: Dhyanalinga
The Nandi bull statue at the Isha Yoga Center

In 1994, Jaggi Vasudev conducted the first program in the ashram premises, during which he described the Dhyanalinga. The Dhyanalinga is a yogic temple and a space for meditation, the consecration of which, Jaggi Vasudev had stated was his life's mission entrusted to him by his guru.[8] 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[10] and opened to the public on 23 November.[11]

The Dhyanalinga yogic temple offers a meditative space that does not ascribe to any particular faith or belief system.[12] A 76-foot dome, constructed using only bricks and stabilised mud mortar without steel or concrete,[13] covers the sanctum sanctorum. The lingam is 13 feet and 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.[14]

Death of his wife[edit]

Jaggi Vasudev's wife died on 23 January 1997. In his book "Mystics Musings", Jaggi Vasudev claims that Viji took Mahasamadhi (voluntary leaving of one's body to merge with the Divine) and that it was a very auspicious day for such a thing.

On January 23rd, this cluster of planets centered on the first degree of Aquarius, joined by the Sun with the Full Moon opposite them all. This pattern may also be seen as a symbolic representation of the long heralded 'dawning of the Age of Aquarius'. It is also the thaipoosam, a day that many sages of the past had chosen for their own Mahasamadhi.[15]

A controversy broke out 8 months later when Viji's father, T.S.Ganganna, filed a complaint with police regarding the death of his daughter. As reported in the Indian Express newspaper on October 12, 1997,[16] Ganganna's complaint said that Jaggi Vasudev had hurriedly completed the cremation on January 24 even before they could rush from Bangalore, raising suspicion about the nature of death. He suspected death due to poisoning or strangulation". Based on the complaint of Ganganna to the Bangalore City Police on August 12, a case was registered. The Bangalore City Police transferred it to the Coimbatore Rural Police. The Coimbatore Rural Police have registered a case against Jaggi Vasudev under Section 302 of IPC (murder) and IPC 201 (suppression of evidence). The events after the police case are mentioned in Arundhati Subramanian's book "Sadhguru - More than a life". Jaggi Vasudev also spoke of it in his Tehelka interview[17] where he said the following -

“Is an FIR filed? No. Have they arrested me? No. Have they interrogated me? No,” he responds. “Why would they not arrest me if there was some substance?” He says a case was filed eight months after his wife died, and the media went ballistic because a powerful banker who disliked him funded the campaign. According to him, despite this and the resulting political pressure, the DSP refused to arrest him because there was no case — they’d spoken to people at the ashram. He adds that she’d announced to many that she was planning to leave her body and there were witnesses when it happened. What surprised him was that she left a month before her announced date.

Isha Foundation[edit]

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

Jaggi Vasudev established the Isha Foundation, a religious, non_profit organisation entirely run by foreigners Isha Yoga Center near Coimbatore was founded in 1993, 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.[3]

Social initiatives[edit]

Jaggi Vasudev is also the founder of Project GreenHands (PGH), a grassroots ecological initiative which was awarded the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar, by the Government of India in June 2010.[18] 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 with National Geographic Green magazine, Jaggi Vasudev 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 [have been] transplanting those trees back to the ground."[19]

Action for Rural Rejuvenation (ARR) is an initiative of the Isha Foundation that aims to improve the overall health and quality of life of the rural poor. ARR was established by Jaggi Vasudev 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.[20][21] He has also been involved with agricultural and farmers' associations to work towards resolving issues faced by Indian farmers.[22]

Isha Vidhya, is Isha Foundation's educational initiative, which aims to raise the level of education and improve literacy in rural India. There are seven schools in operation which educate around 3,000 students.[23] The foundation has also "adopted" 26 government schools to reach out to students from financially constrained backgrounds, and aims to adopt up to 3,000 schools.[24][25]

Yoga programs[edit]

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

After the establishment of the ashram, Jaggi Vasudev began conducting regular yoga programs at the Isha Yoga Center, including a course for the Indian Hockey team in 1996.[26][27] In 1997, he began conducting classes in the United States[28][29] and in 1998, he began conducting yoga classes for life-term prisoners in Tamil Nadu prisons.[30] 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.[31][32]

The programs offered by Jaggi Vasudev are offered under the umbrella of Isha Yoga. The word Isha means "the formless divine".[33] Isha yoga's flagship program is 'Inner Engineering', which introduces people to meditation and pranayam and the Shambhavi Mahamudra.[34] He also conducts yoga classes for 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.[35][36]

He also regularly conducts Mahasathsangs in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Here he gives talks, teaches meditation, and holds question and answer sessions with the audience. These Mahasathsangs are also used as platforms to encourage tree-planting activities.[37] Jaggi Vasudev also takes spiritual aspirants on annual yatras to Mount Kailash and the Himalayas. The Kailash Yatra led by Jaggi Vasudev is among the largest groups to make the trip to Kailash, with 514 pilgrims attending the journey in 2010.[38][39] He also spends time working with people on stress relief in institutes of tertiary education like SRM University, Chennai.[citation needed]

Jaggi Vasudev organises all-night Mahashivarathri celebrations every year at the Isha Yoga Center. It's estimated that these celebrations were attended by as many as 800,000 people in 2013.[40][41][42] The night includes music, dance, and guided meditation. In 2013, performers included Carnatic singer Aruna Sairam, dancer Anita Ratnam, and the band The Raghu Dixit Project.[42]

In March 2005, construction of the Isha Institute of Inner-sciences (III) in McMinnville, Tennessee, USA was begun and was completed 6 months later. Jaggi Vasudev had decided to establish III as a Center for spiritual growth in the Western Hemisphere. On 7 November 2008, he consecrated the Mahima Hall, a 39,000 square foot, free-standing meditation hall at the III. Mahima Hall is the largest meditation hall in the Western Hemisphere.[43] On 30 January 2010, he consecrated the Linga Bhairavi, a representation of the feminine aspects of the divine at the Isha Yoga Center.[5]

Participation in global and economic forums[edit]

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

Jaggi Vasudev spoke at the United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit in 2000,[44] the World Economic Forum in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.[45] 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.[46][47]

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.[48] He was also a participant in the 2006 documentary film ONE: The Movie. He has been involved in one-on-one interactions as part of the "In Conversations With the Mystic" program with Shekhar Kapur, Virender Sehwag, Juhi Chawla, Barkha Dutt, Anupam Kher, Jasti Chelameswar, Dilip Cherian, Muzaffar Ali, Tarun Tahiliani and Kiran Bedi.[49][50][51]

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.[52] In an interview with Forbes magazine, Jaggi Vasudev, 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."[53]


Padma Vibhushan (2017) [54]


Jaggi Vasudev is the author of several books, including Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy, which entered the Washington Post and The New York Times bestseller list in multiple categories. The book tour in North America included 17 cities, and the launch events were attended by an estimated 26,000 people.[1][55] The Huffington Post review describes the books as "full of practical tools to begin one's self-transformation journey."[56]







  1. ^ a b "Don't vote as part of a tribe, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev tells Americans". Business Standard. IANS. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "Isha City Centres in Canada: Calgary and Toronto". Inner Engineering. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "'Quadrennial reports for the period 2011-2014 submitted by non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council through the Secretary-General pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31" (PDF). 24 February 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2017. 
  4. ^ "PadmaAwards-2017" (PDF). 
  5. ^ a b c Subramaniam, Arundhathi (2010). Sadhguru More Than A Life. Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-670-08512-5. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Uncommon Wisdom". India Today. 26 April 2007. 
  7. ^ "'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. 
  8. ^ a b c d Simone, Cheryl (2008). Midnights with the Mystic. Hampton Roads Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-57174-561-3. 
  9. ^ Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev (2009). TED India 2009 (YouTube). Mysore: TED India. 
  10. ^ "Dhyanalingam installed". Indian Express. 26 July 1999. 
  11. ^ "A multi religious temple". The Hindu. 19 November 1999. 
  12. ^ Rangaswamy, Sudhakshina (25 July 2003). "Transformation of the inner Self". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "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.". 
  14. ^ Ganapathy, T.K. (28 September 2001). "Haven for the spiritually inclined". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  15. ^ Mystics Musings. p. 275. 
  16. ^ "Mahashivratri with Sat Guru 'Jaggi' Vasudev «  Shekharkapur.com". shekharkapur.com. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  17. ^ "Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine". archive.tehelka.com. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  18. ^ Corporates partners with Isha foundation to support Project GreenHands, Business Standard, 6 June 2010, Retrieved on 6 June 2010
  19. ^ National Geographic Green magazine - interview with Sadhguru - 1. YouTube: National Geographic Green magazine. 
  20. ^ "Isha Foundation launches Centre-funded project". The Hindu. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  21. ^ "Jaggi Vasudev in city on May 7". The Times of India. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  22. ^ "Farmers' convention in the city". The Hindu. 15 March 2007. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "LIC gives grant to Isha". The Hindu. 7 April 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  24. ^ "Students sensitised to environmental issues". The Hindu. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  25. ^ Madhusudhan NR (13 June 2013). "Embarking on a spiritual journey". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  26. ^ "Morale-Booster says Bhaskaran". Indian Express. 26 November 1996. 
  27. ^ "Refreshed Team Begins Final Preparation". The Hindu. 2 December 1996. 
  28. ^ "Yoga guru touts peace, not religion". The Tennessean. 15 October 1997. 
  29. ^ "It doesn't take a guru to know which way the stress flows". Dayton Daily News. 17 March 1998. 
  30. ^ "Yoga Brings 'Freedom' to Prisoners". The Hindu. 16 February 1998. 
  31. ^ "A medley of yoga and green moves". The Hindu. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  32. ^ "Life changing weekend with Sadhguru". The New Indian Express. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  33. ^ "Sadhguru – Exploring the unlimited". Life Positive. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  34. ^ "In pursuit of peace of mind". Daily News and Analysis. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  35. ^ "The route to 'dharmacracy'". Business Today. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  36. ^ "Inclusive Economics: Enabling the World'". Huffington Post. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  37. ^ "Isha's Green Salem goes on stream". The Hindu. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  38. ^ "Isha shows the way". Indian Express. 29 June 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  39. ^ "'Mansarovar is beyond words'". Daily News and Analysis. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  40. ^ Zakaria, Namrata (June 2013). "The Lure of Isha" (PDF). Harpers Bazaar. pp. 106–108. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  41. ^ Zakaria, Namrata (14 March 2013). "Fashion label to 'yogi': Donna Karan on an Indian holiday". The Indian Express. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  42. ^ a b Vyas, Sheetal (1 April 2013). "Holy Days". Outlook. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  43. ^ "A 39,000 square-foot meditation facility". AtlantaDunia. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  44. ^ "Passion for Peace: At the United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev". Health and Wellness Magazine – Nashville. April 2001. 
  45. ^ Padmanabhan, Mukund (15 March 2009). "Golf with the Guru". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  46. ^ "Many paths one goal". Life Positive. August 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  47. ^ "Anniversary celebrations at Isha". The Hindu. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  48. ^ "The most powerful Indians in 2012: No. 91-100". Indian Express. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  49. ^ "In Conversation with the Mystic - Anupam Kher with Sadhguru". FirstPost. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  50. ^ Dua, Chetna (2 August 2013). "Conversations with the mystic". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  51. ^ "Live Webstream | In Coversation with the Mystic". 
  52. ^ 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. 
  53. ^ Gupta, Indrajit (21 Nov 2012). "How to Scale up Your Enterprise: Conversations with Sadhguru & Dr Ram Charan". Forbes. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  54. ^ "Padma Awards 2017" (PDF). 
  55. ^ "Sadhguru's newly launched book is about exploring inner self". Matrubhoomi. Matrubhoomi. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  56. ^ Lilak, Pam. "How To Start Drinking From The Bottomless Cup Of Joy". Huffington Post. Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  57. ^ "Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga" by Sadhguru, Harper Elements

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]