By Parveen Chopra December 2004 In a free-wheeling interview, sadhguru jaggi vasudev, dynamic founder of the isha foundation, airs his candid and startling views on the role of the guru and reveals his movement’s new initiatives I want you to know the power, the liberation of another kind of science, the inner science, the yogic science through which you can become the master of your destiny A guru’s work is fundamentally destructive. He should destroy the way you are till something bigger happens. His existence finds meaning when he destroys the limited in you, so that the unbounded can face the world. Sitting on a huge rock in the Chamundi hills, 12-year-old Jagadish Vasudev had a mystical experience. He felt himself spreading everywhere—in the rocks, the trees, indeed the whole earth. Tears gushed down his cheeks. He didn’t know what it was, but he felt utter bliss. At the close of the encounter, he was shocked to realise that the day had almost ended—it was already evening! He wondered if he was hallucinating but surprise grew manifold when the experience recurred day after day. He could neither get sleep, nor eat food for the next three to four days, following the episode. The urge to share this bliss with others took hold of him. The experience also brought back memories of several lifetimes. The realisation dawned—his single purpose in life was to create the Dhyanalinga. In 1992, in a bid to search for the right place for his mission, Jagadish, now metamorphosed into Sadhguru Jaggi Vaudev, along with a small band of aspirants, landed at the foothills of the Velliangiri hills in Coimbatore. His search ended. The childhood mystical experience found resonance in the misty hills and Isha Foundation was born. Spearheaded by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, the Foundation claims to practise the ancient yogic principle that the body is the temple of the spirit and that good health is fundamental to personal and spiritual development. Its cornerstone is what they call the “silent revolution of self-realisation,” and trains young seekers in the finer aspects of yoga and sadhana. They believe that the science of yoga is sacred. In his book, Dhyanalinga, the Sadhguru says, “Yoga transforms and liberates human beings so that they can reach the unbounded state… In layman’s understanding yoga is body postures. But yoga extends far beyond these asanas, which only constitute its preparatory aspect. Central to the science of yoga is the awakening of the chakras, metaphorically symbolised as the astral lotuses.” However, the hallmark of the Isha Foundation is the Dhyanalinga—the largest lingam in the world (13-ft tall), and the first of its kind in 2,000 years to be fully consecrated. It is believed that the Dhyanalinga does not have any Shaivite links. Instead, it is the distilled essence of yogic science—energy-focussed and power-generating. Both architecturally and spiritually a wonder, its basic nature is a formless divine energy. The Dhyanalinga is not a place for worship or rituals; it is the spiritual body of the divine manifested in all the seven chakras. Sadhguru Jaggi says, “In the gentle and energising sphere of this Dhyanalinga, the human mind, relaxed and contemplative, controlled and masterful, can become an instrument…that creates music beyond the plane of five senses; that meets the challenges of self-renewal and profound transformation; that offers in other words, the possibility of a spiritual adventure in another dimension: the yogic adventure.” Dhyan, he believes, is the path to attaining enlightenment and the Dhyanalinga prepares us for this journey. Although the guru-shishya tradition does exert certain limitations, the Dhyanalinga (that is also identified as the guru in a metaphoric sense) leaps all boundaries and is a limitless powerhouse of the divine energy. The Isha Yoga Centre is an integral part of the Isha Foundation. As part of the Isha Yoga Centre’s activities, several programmes are conducted residentially, in neighbouring cities as well as in several parts of the world. These include Sahaja Sthithi Yoga—exploring the possibility that the spiritual does not negate the worldly but rather sssuses them for personal growth and realisation, Bhava Spandana—a four-day programme in advanced meditation Samyama—a seven-day contemplation in complete meditative silence to experience the explosive state of samadhi and Wholeness, an eight-day scientifically structured programme teaching kriyas to enable personal exploration and attainment of the exalted Shambhavi Maha Mudra. Inner Engineering is a weekend programme for executive expansion where simple and powerful processes from yogic science are offered to cleanse the system and increase productivity, balance and inner well-being. A unique, one-of-its-kind programme initiated by the Isha Foundation is the Action for Rural Rejuvenation, piloted by the Sadhguru himself. With its base in Tamil Nadu, over one lakh active volunteers of the Isha Foundation support this programme. Its focus is to empower the village community with physical, social, mental and spiritual means to create a better living. Its central project is the ‘Mobile Health Clinic’ that offers medical aid to the remotest rural corners. ‘Isha’ means the formless divine and ‘yoga’ literally implies being in union with existence and encompassing the body, mind and spirit. Thousands of seekers today bask in the salubrious valley of the Isha Foundation, silently marching on towards a healthier, more fulfilling life. Life Positive caught up with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, while he was on a visit to Delhi. Excerpts from the interview: Everybody today has a guru or master who has inspired him or her. But you seem to have managed without a guru.The reason that I’ve not talked about my guru is because most people don’t know the meaning of guru. Just by teaching the ‘abc’ of life does not make anyone a guru. A guru should be indescribable. The dimension is far more than you can ever imagine or express in terms of words. So you do have a guru?Everything that I am is because of my guru. I would rather have people not knowing about my guru, than misunderstanding the concept. You know, it is like a password, as long as you don’t know it, it still is a password, but if you misunderstand, you get the wrong password. Do you think it is possible to get enlightenment without a guru? Or is it a must?The word ‘guru’ means dispeller of darkness. Can I dispel my own darkness? I wouldn’t say ‘no’. In modern terms, ‘a guru is a road map’. Let’s say, you have a destination to reach, but don’t know the way. You will reach your destination, because the world is round. But you might wander on your way or get lost. How many people started from Europe to discover India? Only Vasco da Gama made it; even Columbus got lost on the way and discovered America instead. History does not talk about people who get lost. It only talks about people who make it. The question here arises, Can I do without a guru? Definitely. But you will then walk on an uncharted path, an unknown terrain. I think it is sensible to go with a road map. How does one know a genuine guru when one sees him? There are many gurus who lead people astray.The concept of a genuine or fake guru is as flimsy as a genuine light and fake light. Either he’s a guru or not. When we put on a light, it does not matter whether it’s halogen, fluorescent or candlelight. When it lights up, it clears the darkness. How it manages it, is not your problem. The problem today is that whoever has read even two chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, becomes a guru. Everyone today seeks solace. Seeking solace means seeking survival—psychological, emotional, physical, financial or social. For your physical survival, you take up a job; for emotional survival you marry; for social survival you join a club and for your psychological survival, you consult a psychiatrist. But for all kinds of survival, you go to a guru. You go to himher because you have a different kind of longing—to go beyond the parameters of human existence. A guru should give you the jitters. You should be most uncomfortable with him. You want to run away, but something holds you back. You constantly seek him, amidst emotional violence. He threatens you with his presence. If he does not threaten you with his energy or his presence, then he cannot be your guru. What is a guru’s duty?If I tell you this, you might misconstrue it. But a guru’s work is fundamentally destructive. He should destroy the way you are till something bigger happens. His existence finds meaning when he destroys the limited in you, so that the ‘unbounded’ can face the world. The guru is someone who continuously punctures your ego, yet is your friend. You said seekers should look for a different kind of longing. What do the seekers, especially these days, long for?Unfortunately, we have gained a reputation that we cure physical ailments miraculously. 10-15 per cent of the people who come to us suffer physically. The rest come to know about things beyond. All of us live within limitations, in some way or the other, and yet we want to revolt against them. Every human being longs for spirituality, but unconsciously and in instalments. One cannot reach the Incarnate this way. My work is to transform the longing into consciousness and wholly so. If a person understands this, he’s a genuine seeker. But today, everybody is a seeker. What I mean by this is, that we want more than what we already have. Even if I make you the king or queen of the planet, you will aspire for the moon and stars. You seek the Infinite through physical means. You can become infin
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