What Is Enlightenment? Jaggi Vasudev
Jaggi Vasudev (Kannada: ಸಧ್ಗುರು ಜಗ್ಗಿ ವಾಸುದೇವ್ Tamil: சத்குரு ஜக்கி வாசுதேவ் Hindi: सदगुरु जग्गी वासुदेव Telugu: సద్గురు జగ్గి వాసుదేవ్ ) also known as Sadhguru, is an Indian yogi and mystic. He founded the Isha Foundation, a non-profit organisation which offers yoga programs around the world, including India, United States, England, Lebanon, Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, Uganda and Australia. The Foundation is also involved in various social and community development activities, which have resulted in the Foundation being granted special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
At the age of twenty-five on 23 September 1982, he rode up Chamundi Hill and sat on a rock, when he had a spiritual experience. Sadhguru describes his experience, “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 but when I came back to my normal consciousness, I was about four-and-a-half-hours I was sitting there, fully conscious, eyes open, but time had just flipped.” Six weeks after this experience, he left his business to his friend and travelled extensively in an effort to gain insight into his ‘mystical’ experience. After a year of meditation and travel, Sadhguru decided to teach yoga to share his inner experience.
In 1983, he conducted his first yoga class with seven participants in Mysore. Over time, he began conducting yoga classes across Karnataka and Hyderabad travelling from class to class on his motorcycle. He lived of the proceeds of his poultry farm rental and refused payment for the classes. A usual practice of his was to donate the collections received from participants to a local charity on the last day of the class.These initial programs were the basic format on which the Isha Yoga classes were later built on.
In 1989, he conducted his first class in Coimbatore, near which the Isha Yoga Center would later be established. The classes were known as Sahaja Sthiti Yoga and involved asanas, pranayama kriyas and meditation. In 1993, Sadhguru decided to set up an ashram to support the growing number of spiritual aspirants. After examining and remaining dissatisfied with various sites around Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Goa, he decided on a thirteen acre site situated at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains, forty kilometres from Coimbatore. In 1994, the site was bought and the Isha Yoga Center was set up.