Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is the new-age Hindu Saint with his sprawling Ashram near Coimbatore at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains, sanctified with a temple for Yoga Guru Patanjali, the originator of Yoga for those living in Bharat following Sanatana Vedic Dharma. Tomorrow is International Day of Yoga (IDY).
There are also temples for Shiva (Maheshwara), one of the triumvirates, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara of the Hindu pantheon and his divine consort Parvati. There is more… but not here and now.
Now I share my experience last evening when I attended Sadhguru’s ‘Save Soil’ movement’s concluding function at Manasagangothri Amphitheatre. The choice of Mysuru for holding the function has significance. Sadhguru is a Mysuru Guru. His early school, college and even entrepreneurial days were spent here. Well, he learnt his yoga and got enlightened here in Mysuru. So the choice was made.
The organisers seemed to be strong believers in the idea of ‘Catch them young’ when I found the theatre fully occupied with school and college students, including a section of the specially-abled children deaf and dumb. Yes, the seed of a movement like this should be sowed in the fertile mind of the young children who would not only ‘save the soil’ themselves but also work towards that cause.
As the evening sky was gathering cloud, I found many meteorology-minded, smart people carrying umbrellas. I am no exception either! Yes, as the jibe goes, a meteorologist is one who forecasts rain and carries the umbrella. But it does not rain! And at Manasagangothri, it did not rain till the function was over at 9.30 pm. Can we attribute it to the mystical or divine power of Sadhguru? Some believe so!
The Sadhguru arrived sharp at 7.30 pm, preceded by the chief guest Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamiji of Suttur Mutt, who is known for punctuality and speaking in a conversational manner. No rhetorics, flourishes nor pretence to scholarship by quoting Sanskrit shlokas to affirm his divinity. His speech was, as always, on the subject and with a subtle sense of humour depending upon the situation. His Kannada was simple, exact and speech measured with an immense sense of time.
And Sadhguru arrived in a dramatic way on his motorcycle that carried him for 100 days on his lone motorcycle journey across many countries spreading his message of ‘Save Soil’. A friend told me, rather jokingly, that this was Sadhguru’s latest ‘gimmick’. What were the earlier ones? First it was Rally for Rivers, then Cauvery Calling, now ‘Save Soil’. What would be the next one? May be ‘Save Souls?’
There was a cultural programme of songs and dances, one dance by Sadhguru’s daughter, more to keep the audience engaged. On the stage were three VIPs — Swamiji of Suttur Mutt, flanked by Sadhguru and Pratap Simha, Mysuru-Kodagu Member of the Parliament.
Pratap Simha spoke well and quite fluently in chaste Kannada for a while despite an organiser signalling him to stop. But he finished after saying what he wanted to, including the city’s major issue of disposal of solid waste.
Expressing his admiration for Sadhguru for his wisdom and ability to answer questions instantaneously in his own style, he recalled how a senior journalist was silenced in answer to her rather malicious question. He did not elaborate but since I have heard it on YouTube, let me relate it here:
The journalist, known to be of Lutyen’s Club, asked the Sadhguru: ‘Is there a need for a Guru in our life?’
Sadhguru: Do you drive? Well, if you are driving in an unknown terrain, you would need guidance. So you use GPS (Global Positioning System). Right?
The journalist, hoping to corner the Sadhguru, says yes with a smirk.
Sadhguru: ‘Well, then you get the help. The GPS lady will tell you turn right, turn left and so on guiding you to your destination. Same is the Guru who plays the role in a person’s life. In fact, Guru was your first GPS, it was Guru Positioning System!’
The journalist was floored. She was left with a grin revealing her beautiful, gleaming set of white teeth.
One insightful observation Pratap Simha made about the Sadhguru literally stole the thunder from my own thoughts on Sadhguru. As I am requested to speak at a seminar scheduled for early next month at Ramakrishna Institute of Moral & Spiritual Education (RIMSE), I was studying once again about Swami Vivekananda. He was a wandering Hindu Monk, a Vedanti and an activist Sanaysi. He woke up those Hindus who were, at that time of Colonial rule, in a spiritual slumber and political eclipse. And as Pratap Simha was alluding to Swami Vivekananda comparing the Sadhguru’s role as a Sanyasi to Swami Vivekananda, I was delighted.
My personal opinion about these Sanyasis is that they belong to three categories: Active Sanyasis, Passive Sanyasis and Self-centered Sanyasis.
In the first category are those like Swami Vivekananda and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.
In the second category are those who head Mutts, Ashrams, whom we generally call Seers. They also do God’s work. Giving education, both academic and spiritual. And, of course, feeding the poor — Dasoha. Siddaganga Mutt, Suttur Mutt and the like.
In the third category are those Sanyasis who are Self-centered, aspiring to seek his or her own moksha, liberation from the cycle of birth and death. I have read that one Amitabha, Buddha’s disciple who was enlightened, refused to attain Nirvana (a death that will not lead to punarjanma, rebirth) because he wanted to take birth again and again to serve the mankind!
Be that as it may, Pratap Simha is certainly the kind of politician we need today for India’s future, no matter in which political party he is. Pratap Simha made a good speech, well delivered, in the presence of two great Saints and the youths.
As for Sadhguru, he did the walk-the-stage talk, not cohesive but everybody listened and responded. He knows how to hold the attention of his congregation.
I only wished, being from Mysuru, he at least spoke a few words in Kannada in the beginning, like Modi the politician does. It helps the mob psychology. No wonder, there was a demand for Kannada from a corner of the huge Amphitheatre. However, the Sadhguru chided the children and silenced them to the relief of the audience. I wondered, when Sadhguru could bring in Tamil, though as a placebo, in his Ashram during Shivarathri, why he forgot the placebo here last evening? Anyway, it was a most enjoyable evening for me. Thank you Sadhguru.
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