Sadguru Jaggī Vāsudeva
|Inner Engineering, Dhyanalinga, Rally for Rivers, Linga Bhairavi, Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga, Mystic's Musings|
Vijaya Kumari (Vijji) (m. 1984)
|Honors||Padma Vibhushan, Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar|
Jaggi Vasudev (born 3 September 1957), often referred to as simply Sadhguru,[a] is an Indian yogi, mystic, and author. He founded the Isha Foundation, a non-profit organization which offers Yoga programs around the world and is involved in social outreach, education and environmental initiatives. His books have appeared in The New York Times Best Seller list in multiple categories like "Health", "Religion, Spirituality and Faith", and "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous". Jaggi Vasudev has given speeches at places such as the Headquarters of the United Nations, World Economic Forum and at educational institutions and technology companies. Sadhguru was conferred the Padma Vibhushan civilian award by the Government of India in 2017 in recognition of his contribution to the field of spirituality.
Born in Mysore, Karnataka, India, in a Telugu speaking family, Jaggi Vasudev was the youngest of four children – two boys and two girls. His mother was a homemaker and father was an ophthalmologist with the Indian Railways. Due to the nature of his father's job, 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. He states that "without a single day's break, this simple yoga that was taught to me kept happening and led to a much deeper experience later.":39
After his schooling at Demonstration School and Mahajana Pre-University College, Mysore in 1973, he graduated from the University of Mysore with a bachelor's degree in English literature. During his college years, he developed an interest in travel and motorcycles. Motivated by his desire for 'purposeless travel', Sadhguru tried his hand at poultry farming to make some money. Later, he ventured into construction business on his father's insistence that he do something more socially estimable with his life. Both his business ventures were successful, leading to a sense of fulfilment. But that was before he discovered his spirituality with an unsolicited meditative experience on top of Chamundi Hill in 1982.
As a child, Sadhguru was inclined to view the world around him with wonder and was disinterested in the conventional forms of knowledge seeking. He skipped school to explore nature, and posed questions to his teachers that left them speechless. He unknowingly discovered meditation due to his intense fascination with the swaying action of the trees, and was intrigued by questions pertaining to God and existence. At the age of 25 on 23 September 1982, he rode up Chamundi Hill and sat on a rock, where he had a spiritual experience. He 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.:04:04
The spiritual experience kept returning to Sadhguru in the coming days with prolonged time periods (from hours to thirteen days on one occasion). He describes these experiences as flipping of time, "overwhelming and indescribable stillness and ecstasy",and an enhanced awareness of everything except his sense of self. During these spells he would sit rooted to a spot and would stop eating or sleeping. Sadhguru describes these experiences as a dimensional shift and a deepening understanding of human life and existence. He recalls a transformative change in his physical appearance during this time. Six weeks after his first spiritual experience, he left his business to his friend and travelled extensively in an effort to gain insight into his mystical experience. After about a year of meditation and travel, he decided to teach yoga to share his inner experience.
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 produce 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.
Jaggi Vasudev established the Isha Foundation, a nonreligious, non-profit organisation entirely run by volunteers. 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.
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. In 1997, he began conducting classes in the United States and in 1998, he began conducting yoga classes for life-term prisoners in Tamil Nadu prisons. From 2011, he began conducting programs with large-scale participation of up to 10,000 and 15,000 participants at once.
The programs are offered under the umbrella of Isha Yoga. The word Isha means "the formless divine". Isha yoga's flagship program is 'Inner Engineering', which introduces people to some simple Yoga practices and the Shambhavi Mahamudra. 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.
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 as well. He also takes spiritual aspirants on annual yatras to Mount Kailash and the Himalayas. The Kailash Yatra led by him is among the largest groups to make the trip to Kailash, with 514 pilgrims attending the journey in 2010.
Jaggi Vasudev organises all-night Mahashivarathri celebrations every year at the Isha Yoga Center. It is estimated that these celebrations were attended by as many as 800,000 people in 2013. 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.
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. On 30 January 2010, he consecrated the Linga Bhairavi, a representation of the feminine aspects of the divine at the Isha Yoga Center.
In 1994, Jaggi Vasudev conducted the first program in the premises of the newly established Isha Yoga Center, described the Dhyanalinga. The Dhyanalinga is a yogic temple and a space for meditation, the consecration of which, Jaggi Vasudev stated was his life's mission entrusted to him by his guru. In 1998, 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 and opened to the public on 23 November.
The Dhyanalinga offers a meditative space that does not ascribe to any particular faith or belief system. It is defined as a Meditation Machine, "Just sitting in the sphere of Dhyanalinga with your eyes closed for some time can make a person meditative". A 76-foot dome, constructed using bricks and stabilised mud mortar without steel or concrete, covers the sanctum sanctorum. The lingam is 13 feet and 9 inches in height and made of 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.
On 23 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.
Jaggi Vasudev designed the 112-foot Adiyogi Shiva statue, which is located at the Isha Yoga Center. It was inaugurated on Mahashivaratri, 24 February 2017, by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. The Adiyogi statue depicts Shiva as the first yogi or Adiyogi, and first Guru or Adi Guru, who first propounded the science of Yoga to humanity, he is the first one who to put this idea into two human beings that, "In is the only way Out" The statue was built by the Isha Foundation using 20,000 individual iron plates supplied by the Steel Authority of India and weighs around 500 tonnes (490 long tons; 550 short tons). The Adiyogi Shiva Statue has been recognized as the "Largest Bust Sculpture" by Guinness World Records. A consecrated Shivalinga called "Yogeshwar Linga" is placed in front of the Adiyogi Shiva statue.
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. 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."
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. In an interview with Forbes magazine, speaking about the motivation behind setting up the program, he 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."
Jaggi Vasudev is the author of several books, including Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy. They have been translated into a number of other languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.