Sadhguru is a contemporary indian spiritual teacher, yogi and mystic. He is one of the most famous and influential spiritual figures of India both inside the country and abroad. His contemporary style of teaching and multidimensional personality attracts seekers worldwide, he is actively moving around the world giving lectures on social issues and meditation courses, which are highly popular – and costly.
Sadhguru was born as Jaggi Vasudev in south India. At the age of 12 he met an old yogi, that showed him a set of simple yoga postures, and he continued practiced them daily. Jaggi was an active kid, that was always engaged in all kinds of activities like tree climbing, trekking and catching snakes. During his college years he developed a passion for motorcycles and traveling, which stayed with him throughout his life. He finished college with a degree in English literature, and started a poultry business. At the age of 25 he had a spiritual experience, that changed his life dramatically. He left his business and went on traveling and exploring different schools of yoga in order to gain insight in his experience. Later he started giving his own yoga classes for free. He was traveling from one class to another on his motorcycle. In 1992 Sadhguru established Isha Foundation, which offers yoga programs and runs a few social, environmental and educational projects. Two years later he opened Isha Yoga Center, a base ashram of Isha Foundation. In 1999 he opened Dhyanalinga, a temple for meditation with a 4 m high lingam (abstract symbol of Shiva), which is made of black granite, or according to Sadhguru, from solidified mercury. According to Sadhguru, consecrating the Dhyanalinga was his life mission, that he couldn’t complete in his previous birth. After the consecration Sadhguru was going to leave his body, but decided to stay to take care of his numerous disciples. He continued conducting regular yoga courses, and soon stated teaching in the West as well. Sadhguru is known for his close association with the business class, he is regularly speaking in business conferences and conducting courses for the big corporations. Some of his programs are large scale – up to 10000 participants. In 2005 he opened another center in USA. Isha Foundation is a non-profit organization run by volunteers. Though, their courses are not cheap, for example a 2 days program with Sadhuru in US is 500 USD.
Isha Foundation runs a number of charitable projects, which seem to be quite successful and definitely require lots of money. Mainly the projects are focused on improving life of the rural population of Tamil Nadu, where Isha Yoga Center is located. Another big initiative is Project Green Hands, which aims to increase the forest area of Tamil Nadu, and organized planting of more than 27 million trees. One of Sadhguru’s recent initiatives in 2017 was Rally for Rivers, a campaign to revive the dying rivers of India by planting trees along the river banks. He also leads the pilgrimage tours to sacred places of India such as Mount Kailash and Varanasi. Basically, Sadhguru is a contemporary yoga guru. His techniques and teachings are derived from yoga, he uses yoga symbols and language extensively. But though he belongs to an ancient tradition, he presents it in a modern and original way. He speaks on a wide range of “mundane” subjects in a clear and insightful way and never fails to answer the most skeptical questioners and critics. Interestingly, you can’t find much criticism about Sadhguru in the web, which is as good sign as such. But there are two valid points. Though he claims that his courses are totally original and based on his own understanding and insights, there are evidences, that his Inner Engineering program closely resembles a yoga course of other indian yoga teacher, under whom Sadhguru studied shortly after his spiritual experience. Of course, the name of the teacher is never mentioned. Well, this happens all over the place nowadays. But the second point is way stronger. If you listen to lots of Sadhguru’s talks, you notice that many times he resembles Osho. Not only the ideas and illustrations are presented in a very similar way. Sadhguru tells stories which are found nowhere else rather than Osho’s books, moreover making that same factual mistakes that Osho was making. And though he speaks about numerous teachers of the past, he never even mentioned Osho’s name. Many times he claimed, that he never read any scriptures and never borrower from anybody. He may not read scriptures, but definitely read and borrowed from Osho extensively.
Sadhguru is a charismatic personality, his teachings (however not originally original) are presented in a clear and beautiful way. He is not controversial, yet fresh and strong. But no matter how he rejects being a part of religions and traditions, you can call him a hindu guru – modern, upgraded, open-minded, yet that is where he is coming from. According to him, hinduism is a science, not a religion, so he probably wouldn’t mind ether. After all, his life mission was the consecration of a 23 m wide temple. What can be more typical for a hindu guru, and not of the biggest scale?