Thanks to his intoxicating presence, divine intuitiveness and adventurous outlook on life, the beloved Hindu mystic Jaggi Vasudev, who’s commonly known as Sadhguru, has been able to spread spiritual wisdom throughout the world while serving as a model example of someone truly seizing their limited time on this earth. By using his transcendental teachings and nonprofit organization, the Isha Foundation, to inspire and empower millions of people around the globe, the iconic sage has already cemented his legacy amongst India’s greatest religious figures.
Jaggi Vasudev Profile:
Born: September 3rd, 1957 (age 60)
Spiritual Role: Hindu Mystic & Guru
Areas Of Focus: Meditation & Spiritual Development
The Life of Jaggi Vasudev:
It was in 1957 when the now globally beloved Hindu mystic Jaggi Vasudev was born in the southern Indian city of Mysuru, Karnataka, and over the past 60 years, the great spiritual teacher, who’s earned a reputation for being an outdoorsman, sportsman, globetrotter, humanitarian, poet and guru because of the passion he brings to everything he does, has been able to accomplish the rare feat of positively impacting the world while still enjoying the many gifts life has to offers.
Like many other great Hindu sages and seers, Jaggi Vasudev’s life has been uniquely infused with a sense of the divine mysticism that permeates throughout the world’s oldest religion. Where as the like of Anandamayi Ma, Ramana Maharshi and Paramahansa Yogananda developed a keen interest in ancient scriptures and had spiritually transcending experiences during their youth, however, Vasudev never fully immersed himself in Hindu theology and didn’t realize his own divine calling until he was 25-years-old.
It was at the age of 12 when the now beloved sage, who’s informal name Sadhguru represents his limited religious background and translates to mean ‘uneducated guru’, was taught a set of asanas, or yogic postures, from a prominent yoga teacher named Malladihalli Raghavendra. Amazingly enough, even though Vasudev practiced what he was taught by Raghavendra everyday there after, this was the only spiritual lesson he’d receive until a mystical occurrence turned his life upside down some 13 years later. When reminiscing about how he became a prominent spiritual teacher, he tells us:
I don’t know any scriptures, I have not read the Vedas and I didn’t bother to read the Bhagavad Gita. I come only from my inner experience and the only thing I know for sure is this piece of life from its origin to its ultimate.”
Although Jaggi Vasudev’s role as a spiritual iconic didn’t come about until after the transcending event, which took place in 1982, this isn’t to say that he wasn’t living with his trademark enthusiasm for life and adventurous go-getter personality throughout his younger years. In fact, by the time he graduated from the University of Mysore with a Bachelor’s in English literature, Vasudev had already developed a deep passion for nature, motorcycles and traveling. It is said that as a young boy, he’d spend days at a time catching snakes in the jungle, and that his college classmates, sensing his wise and pragmatic view of the world, would come to him with problems as if he were their counselor.
Following graduation from university, Vasudev would instantaneously achieve entrepreneurial success by opening up a number of dissimilar businesses, including a construction company and poultry farm. This, however, all changed on September 23rd, 1982, as a seemingly ordinary occurrence turned into a historically significant spiritual event. It is said that on the afternoon of that day, the then 25-year-old Vasudev rode his bike up the Chamundi Hill in Mysore, to sit restfully in his favorite spot, and he soon slipped into a state where he was unable to differentiate himself from all that was around. Of the experience, he recalled:
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.”
After the mystical occurrence, which the great sage later proclaimed was like hitting a goldmine, Jaggi Vasudev would spend the following six weeks contemplating the path he’d taken up until this point in his life. Subsequently, with a greater understanding of his true nature, he made the monuments decision to leave his businesses to friends while he embarked on a year-long sabbatical of travel and meditation. Then, upon concluding what assuredly was both an inner and outer journey, Vasudev set the course for his future by making the decision to teach yoga.
It was in 1983 when Sadhguru taught his first yoga class, to seven participants in his hometown of Mysore, and soon he’d be crisscrossing southern India on his motorcycle, traveling to various cities to do the same. Because his aims for teaching were enveloped in nothing but purity and compassion, the great sage refused payment from all and gave away donations to local charities on the last day of classes. It’s should be pointed out that while many westerners only think of yoga as a physical fitness activity, the word has long been used in India to describe a more comprehensive spiritual path, containing various practices and lifestyle choices, that seekers takes towards the ultimate goal of enlightenment. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the initial programs Vasudev offered acted as the foundational basis for the Isha Yoga system he developed later on.
The year after he began teaching yoga was when Sadhguru met and married his wife Vijji, who would remain a loyal devotee of her husband until her auspicious passing in 1996. Together, in 1990, the pair gave birth to a daughter named Radhe and she remains close with her father to this day. It is said that the great sage’s wife left this earth after preforming the mystical act of Mahasamadhi, by consciously choosing to leave her body. Although it can be easy to assume that gurus and holy men must commit themselves to celibacy and solitude, Sadhguru, who’s always lived life to his own accord, showed how this doesn’t have to be the case.
It was in 1992, two years following the birth of his daughter, when Jaggi Vasudev founded the Isha Foundation that he’s used to offer yoga programs and carry out charitable work throughout the world. Subsequently, in 1993, the great sage secured land at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains in southern India for the Isha Yoga Center that acts as both the foundation’s headquarters and an ashram from spiritual seekers. The center, which opened its doors to the public in 1999, is home to the sacred Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple and a 112-foot Adiyogi statue of the great Hindu deity Shiva. It should be noted that in 2008, Vasudev opened a second flagship center in the United States, the Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences in McMinnville, Tennessee.
Around the turn of the 21st century, Jaggi Vasudev began expanding the scope of his work so that he could impact the lives an ever-growing number of people throughout the world. Since 2001, the great sage has published over 20 books including the New York Times Best Seller Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy. Additionally, Sadhguru has participated in a number of iconic global and economic forums such as the United Nations’ Millennium World Peace Summit and the World Economic Forum. For the contributions he’s made towards the betterment of humanity, Jaggi Vasudev has been bestowed with numerous accolades including the Padma Vibhushan Award, one of India’s most distinguished civilian honors.
3 of His Most Important Teachings:
Ever since Jaggi Vasudev’s had his transcending experience at the age of 25, the now globally beloved mystic, who’s vastly expanded his understanding of topics such as human psychology, spiritual practice and happiness over the years, has done everything in his power to expound wisdom to seekers throughout the world. Thanks to a diverse collection of life experiences and an infectious personality, the man known simple as Sadhguru has been able to positively impact the world like few religious figures have done before. While his transformational teachings certainly aren’t limited to the inner workings of the mind, the engineering process of personal development and the choice of happiness, these undoubtedly are some of his most cherished:
The Pitfalls of Identifying with the Dramas of Our Mind:
Whenever Jaggi Vasudev is traveling throughout the world to teach Isha Yoga, he’s often asked why it’s so hard to live with sustained feelings of happiness and joy. While these inquires may be presented to him in different ways, the great sage always talks about how dissatisfaction results from misidentifying one’s self as being the thought processes of the mind. Additionally, Sadhguru illuminates the problems that arise when one ignorantly view everyday hinderances as catastrophic dramas before pointing to the fact that bliss can only be found in the present-moment. He asks us:
Are you here to experience life or to think about it?”
To find the fulfillment that we seek, Sadhguru tells us that we must stop allowing ourselves to be victimized by our emotions and thoughts. Instead of unconsciously living in a reactive manner, a tendency that comes about from thinking of the information we intake through our senses as being the absolute truth, the great sage tells us that we must harness the power of our minds to benefit ourselves. In the short video below, Vasudev explores this idea in greater detail by discussing the unwinnable psychological game we trap ourselves in:
Transforming Your Interiority by Becoming an Inner Engineer:
Although it’s easy for individuals to blame the nagging sense of discontentment that blankets their existence on things outside of themselves, in addition to whatever problems arise at work, at home and in their communities, Jaggi Vasudev knows that one’s unsatisfactory feelings with life stem from their unwillingness to look for happiness within. Subsequently, this disheartening truth is the reason why the iconic mystic’s flagship yoga program Inner Engineering is designed to guide spiritual seekers towards understanding and transforming their internal world. He reminds us:
Your life and how you experience it is entirely your making. Only if this absolutely sinks in, will you make the necessary changes.”
If we are to move beyond the disavowing limitations that come from allowing our inborn psychological processes to guide our search for happiness, we’ll have to disassociate from the contents of our mind and go to work on ourselves. While completely making the shift from worldly aims to spiritual aspirations is no easy task, it’s certain that with the help of life-activities such as analytically thinking about what makes life worth living, developing beneficial personal qualities like compassion within ourselves, proactively managing our energy and practicing meditation, each and everyone of us can start living with more blissful joy. Moreover, because this personal transformation will lead us towards acting in ways that promote harmony and peace outside of ourselves, Sadhguru knows that this is exactly what our fragile world needs at this time. He proclaims:
We neither need a political revolution nor a religious revolution. What we need is an inner transformation in human beings.”
Consciously Choosing Happiness and Joy over Misery and Distress:
If you were to dissect all of Jaggi Vasudev wisdom filled teachings down to the most fundamental level, a single most central message would appear: Each and everyone of us has the power to consciously choose happiness and joy over misery and distress. Although it’s easy to helplessly assume that we don’t really control the satisfaction we feel with life, the great Hindu mystic makes clear that it is in fact entirely up to us. He says:
If you are willing, every moment of your life can be a fantastic experience. Just inhaling and exhaling can be a tremendous love affair.”
Of course, this isn’t to say that it’s easy to get to the point were you’re enjoying each and every passing moment with unwavering acceptance, as it’s only made possible by moving yourself beyond your inborn psychological limitation, but it is certainly within your reach. Ultimately, as you’ll further discover in the video below, whether your life is filled with misery or bliss is entirely for you to choose:
“On one level, life is effervescent and active. On another level, it is absolutely still. The inner stillness nourishes the outer activity.”
“A materialistic person is ruthless with other people but kind to himself. A spiritual person is ruthless with himself but kind to everybody else.”
“Having a good home, eating good food, wearing good clothes, are a means to living well; they are not the goals of our life. The quality of your life is decided by how peaceful and joyful you are.”