BY SUKANT DEEPAK
New Delhi–Stressing that right now, peoples fear of the Coronavirus was essentially because mortality was staring them in the face and they were realising how fragile human life is, Jaggi Vasudev, popularly known as Sadhguru, adds, “Because people believe they are immortal, once in a while, when something reminds them of their mortality, they become tortured. But if you are consciously reminded every moment that you are mortal, if every cell in the body is constantly aware that it is going to be terminated, then life is a total ease.
“Only because we are mortal, the spiritual process, a dimension beyond mortality, means something to us. If it is guaranteed that tomorrow you are going to die, what would you do? It would become immensely important to know something beyond your physicality. Only then sitting here and turning inward becomes meaningful. So this time is a reminder of your mortality. Well, I have been trying to turn you spiritual for a long time now. It looks like it needed a virus to do it! We are offering some simple practices online that will help people to boost their immunity and give them the mental stability to go through this time.”
The founder of Isha Foundation, who was at the receiving end of much criticism for his statements on CAA recently, and earlier the Shiva bust at his Coimbatore aashram blames anonymous and “yellow journalism” for the noise in social media and certain sections of the press. “You can sit at home, start a fake account on social media and say whatever you want. They are making so much noise because they have no substance. All they have is a full-time job on social media platforms, particularly Twitter. They have no other employment, so they are self-employed in abuse. Everything that a man can be accused of ï¿½ things he can do and cannot do ï¿½ I have been accused of. One thing is, anyone can file a PIL with just a few hundred rupees. I can file ten cases on you by the evening. The onus is on you to prove them wrong. In the last twenty-five years, I do not know how many cases have been filed against us. They say I have stolen 7000 kidneys and killed hundreds of people, destroyed an entire rainforest. And a certain segment of press in Tamil Nadu has taken to yellow journalism, picking up all this and writing about it. Most of the responsible media is not doing anything of this kind, but this trash is doing this. These are people who live in filth and sell filth. They have realised that once in three months if they put my photograph on their cover page, their rag sells a bit.”
Ask him about the allegations of being pro-BJP from different quarters, and he maintains that never has he identified with any political ideology or party. “People think I am supporting one party. No, I am working with AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, the communist government in Kerala, and the Telangana government. Whoever people elect, I am willing to work with them. After that, if the people choose somebody else, I will support them for the next five years. It is just that I value democracy.
You should not have a pet politician of your own. Is the politician working for the nation, or is he working for himself? This is the first thing that needs to be seen. Secondly, does he have the breadth of mind, intelligence, and competence to create what the nation needs? And does he understand the heartbeat of this nation? If these things are present in a politician, it is our business to support him. Otherwise, it is our business to replace him. To do this, there are different instruments in a democracy which we, as responsible citizens, should utilize.”
The spiritual guru, who has a major following among youngsters insists that he does not try to teach them philosophy but give a better alternative. Stressing that Yoga is powerful tool which can help the contemporary youth immensely, he adds, “They have been inviting me to all these conferences meant only for those under twenty-five, but somehow I am eligible! There are many ways to approach them. I am using a simple way. If you just look at my eyes, I am always stoned. I tell them, “No need to buy anything, no negative effects. You can simply sit here and get knocked out because the greatest chemical phenomenon on the planet is the human body. Thirty-seven followed by twenty-one zeros – that is how many chemical reactions are happening per second in this body. To be healthful, peaceful, joyful or ecstatic, you need chemicals. If you are a good manager, you could make whatever you want out of it. Ask the youth, would they be interested in simply sitting here and getting stoned-out without going to the back streets and buying stuff?”
Talking about his latest book ï¿½Death: An Inside Story’, published by Penguin Ananda recently, Vasudev says that of all the events in one’s life that may or may not happen, death will certainly do. “Everything else in your life may happen many times over, but the final moment when you transcend the limitations of your physical body will happen only once in your lifetime. It is the last thing that you will do, so is it not very important that you make it happen most gracefully and wonderfully?
In a way, from a spiritual perspective, what did not perhaps happen in life can be accomplished at the moment of death, if handled sensibly. With just a little bit of preparation, guidance and even a bit of help, what is now considered a catastrophe can become a huge opportunity for spiritual possibility. If you are unprepared or become fearful of it or are ignorant of the ways of life, you will create resistance towards it and miss that possibility completely. So everyone should know how to die by themselves. A book on death has been long overdue.”
For a long time now, he has been advocating the need for major industrial houses to adopt villages and feels that the biggest challenge in the future will be to find employable human resources. “If industries invest in enhancing the competence and capability of those around them, in about fifteen years, they will have huge human resources at their disposal. Today, for at least sixty percent of the people in our villages, even their skeletal system has not grown to its full size. Generally, we associate a villager with sturdiness. But if you look at the 18 or 20-year-old boys in villages today, they look shrunken. When a fundamental aspect of the physical body does not grow to its full size, the brain will definitely not grow to its full potential either. We are in the process of producing a whole mass of substandard humanity. It is very important that rural revitalization happens. The government can only change policies and give economic opportunity to rural people; it cannot change each individual’s life. But today, corporations have become so large, they are nations by themselves. Each industry can take up one taluk in the country to set up training, education, health care, nourishment and other aspects ï¿½ not as a charity but as a long-term investment. Charity is not sustainable, but there are ways to make this investment pay off and be sustainable and effective.”
The government can create some laws as to how these things should be conducted so that it is not exploited. We always think of India as 130 crore people. Even if your concern is for the whole nation, action will be most effective if it is localised. Just think of one district, and transform it. We have been talking about it for too long; it has to happen.”
Recalling how a trip between two business meetings to a hill in Mysore on Czech bike in 1982 changed everything for him forever, he says, “So I rode up Chamundi Hill. I parked my vehicle and went to a particular rock ï¿½ a huge rock which was my usual place ï¿½ and sat there with my eyes open. After a few minutes, I didn’t know where I was. Till that moment, like most people, I always thought this body is ï¿½me’ and that is somebody else. But for the first time I did not know what is me and what is not me. What was me was spread all over the place. The very rock I was sitting on, the air that I breathed, the atmosphere around me – everything had just become ï¿½me.’
“I thought this madness lasted for five to ten minutes but when I came back to my normal way of being, four-and-a-half hours had passed. I was sitting right there, fully conscious, eyes open. For the first time in my adult life, tears were flowing to a point where my shirt was completely wet. I was someone who had never allowed a single teardrop to come out of my eyes. But now suddenly, tears were flowing to a point where my shirt became wet. I had always been peaceful and happy, that had never been an issue. I was successful with what I was doing. I was young and had no problems, but now I was bursting with another kind of ecstasy which was indescribable. Every cell in my body was just bursting with ecstasy. I had no words. All I knew was the blissfulness that was simply bursting within me, and I knew it could happen in every human being. My life has been an effort to rub this bliss off on people, to create mechanisms for them to experience this.”