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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Small-town Swamijis

It’s not just IT and stocks that are booming. S Anand writes about the swamijis who are mushrooming in various parts of Tamilnadu. Inspite of the misdeeds of lot of fly-by-night swamijis, the public confidence in these swamijis doesn't seem to have taken a back seat.

The long-locked man is just about five feet tall and an undernourished 40 kg. Clad in a yellow veshti, he lives in the Adi Dravidar (Dalit) Colony, where the roofs of most of the 27 government-built one-room houses have collapsed. Seated on a gunnysack, Arumugam pedals his sewing machine, stitching a green blouse. It’s early on a Friday, and before the clients turn up, he asks us to fetch him two 180 ml bottles of Cosmopolitan whiskey, two plastic glasses, two water sachets, a packet of savoury ‘mixture’, some pickle and five idlis. Of course, the ‘prasadam’ will be of even greater value if you add ganja, pan parag and Ganesh beedi to the list. The man at the state-owned liquor shop 2 km away knows at once: Is all of this for the Snot Swami? he asks.

Although Jaggi Vasudev has been climbing the ranks quite steadily, I came to know about him only recently. There were some reports that lot of filmstars started frequenting Coimbatore to relax in the pristine surroundings of the Anamalai Hills. This gave a hint about Jaggi Vasudev’s popularity among the rich and famous. Jaggi Vasudev’s presence in Davos this year further goes on to prove that he wants to carve an identity for himself in the international arena.

The Tamil tabloid press reports on the activities of these lower-end godmen with vulgar enthusiasm, and sometimes portrays them as criminals. But Tamil Nadu abounds in gurus, both low- and high-end. The Anamalai Hills in Coimbatore is home to several ashrams patronised by films stars, industrialists and the rich. Jaggi Vasudev, practitioner of Isha Yoga, and new-age guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar both hail from Tamil Nadu. With more than 15 magazines devoted to spiritual matters and astrology, and TV serials and cinema promoting spirituality, this is a state steeped in religiosity. What these swamis represent is a relatively benign, nonconformist—if freaky—fringe.


  • How pathetic.
    TN seems to be going backwards, what with the Taliban like moral policing, and now pseudo samiyars.
    It looks like the people of TN are extremely paranoid, but God knows what triggered off the paranoia.
    Why the sudden spurt in the quest for spirituality?
    And Ive never heard of Isha Yoga in my life.
    Is it a legitimate form of yoga?
    With a ridiculous name like "jaggi vasudev", cant people still see through his sham?
    It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    By Blogger the wannabe indian punkster, at 7:57 AM  

  • @Megha,
    Looks like that. But these guys have been around for quite some time. Isha Yoga seems to be spreading fast throughout the world. I'm not too sure as to what is unique about this form of Yoga.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 4:09 PM  

  • I don't want to sound like I am endorsing it, but one of our very good friends (who became one after he taught Yoga to my mom at Yoga Brotherhood in Chennai) is now a Swamiji over there. Before the term's image gets to your mind :-), let me assure you that he is really a Swami in every sense of the word and I can vouch for that. Isha Yoga has the "DhyanaLinga" worship as its focus and the ashram is at a beautiful location outside Coimbatore (although I haven't visited it). More details here. I would like to reiterate that the only reason I would like to go there is to meet that friend and anything else will be based on first-hand impressions upon reaching there :-).

    By Blogger thennavan, at 10:41 PM  

  • Though I have kept my distance from these fly-by-night varieties, my experience with Shankaracharyas has been better, the last one being the Shankaracharya of Vidya Peetham at Shakatapuram - Karnataka (close to Sringeri). As for Swamijis, they are only worth as much as they can be truthful and non-mayavi.

    By Blogger Rubic_Cube, at 12:56 AM  

  • Hi,
    When i went for my first Isha yoga program, i was a pure skeptic as i should have been. Been there, Done that for the past 2 years, i know this is not a farce. I went for the advanced program at the Isha yoga center in coimbatore and there is only one thing i can tell you. These guys are not after you or after your money. They are serious spiritual folks.
    Let's give these new-age gurus a chance, after all this land was once full of real spritual masters.

    By Blogger A.J.Anto, at 7:43 PM  

  • Anto may be correct. I have also attended their initial program. However I have not gone further. One of my friends, who joined with me, now he is ready to leave his house and join with them.

    He works as a Software Engineer and their family is facing great crisis, because of this guy's decision. His parents and brother can not sleep well everyday.

    I don't know what they are going to achieve making all their dependents cry.

    By Blogger அமிழ்து, at 6:12 AM  

  • 'Wannabe punksters' and other skeptics can rest assured that this is no farce.
    Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is truly divine, and Im not just saying this coz he is my uncle. But because I have interacted with him on a close basis, and wisdom and calm simply radiates from him. I have also seen him toil all these years to reach where he is today.

    You dont get invited to the World Economic Forum or to the United Nations World Spiritual Leaders meet or for that matter get your book released by the President of India just like that.

    Ok, he hobnobs with the rich & famous, so what? Are you jealous?

    And whats with the comment on his name? It is certainly not 'ridiculous', it is my family name you are trying to poke fun at.
    Don't just comment for the heck of it. Get out of your smug complacency. Open your eyes, keep yourself informed.

    And can you ignore the thousands of people who will vouch for the fact that their lives have been transformed & enriched after they have done these practises...?

    By Blogger Maanya, at 2:58 AM  

  • Hi megha & kaps,

    It is good that you don’t believe in the so called spirituality unlike some dumb people going behind the so-called spiritual people. But at the same time, you should not comment on something that you don’t know what it is, which is true and which is not. It is very much true that lots and lots of fake spiritual people are mushrooming but it doesn’t mean that there are no spiritual people.

    You ridiculed a name, I don’t know in what way it bothers you. Who knows, your name and my name may mean ‘Bull Shit’ in some other language or to some other people. What is point in having a beautiful name but living like a ‘SHIT’??? We don’t look at people like Jesus, Buddha, Swami Vivekananda or Mother Theresa based on their names but on how they lived and what they have left back for the humanity and for this society. The respect for them would not have diminished even if they had a, what you meant as, ridiculous name.   

    I can say, to me, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is much more than my parents. There is no wonder in parents giving their child food, education, love or any support. I cannot express in words what he has been offering to the people like me in the spiritual path. Even if I put those things in words it won’t mean a damn thing to you unless it is there in your experience.

    To say few things he has been offering to this society, that you can understand, he has been offering the Science of Inner Well being (Yoga) to all people from Rural people to World leaders and Corporate CEOs. He has been transforming millions of people’s lives. You can ask any person, who has attended any ISHA Yoga program, about their experience. Unless it is there in your experience how can you know, whether it is the legitimate or whatever form of Yoga? If you want to experience what it is or if you want to know whether it is the legitimate form of Yoga, please look at the programs being offered at https://www.ishafoundation.org/programs/default.asp and the schedules for them at https://www.ishafoundation.org/schedule/default.asp. You don’t need to need to be a spiritual seeker. If you have the interest or intention of living an effortless life, this is for you.

    Apart from offering Yoga programs, ISHA foundation has undertaken many social projects such as Action for Rural Rejuvenation for the uplift of rural people; Project Green Hands, an initiative for greener Tamil Nadu, ISHA Vidhya Matriculation Schools for Rural people for more information see http://www.ruralrejuvenation.org/news/default.asp?id=16, http://www.ishafoundation.org/news/default.asp?id=85, http://www.ishafoundation.org/news/default.asp?id=90.

    I don’t want you to believe all this. I have experienced something beautiful in my life. You too have the same opportunity. You too can experience it. You can also come and witness all these projects, how well they are happening with the love and support of thousands of volunteers. If you have a kind heart and concern for this society and felt like something needs to be done, you can also take part in these projects.

    By Blogger Shanky, at 3:15 AM  

  • OK, everybody, leave a juvenile wannabe punkster alone. Must mark this site as NOT FOR ADULTS... She has to still wash her mouth

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:21 AM  

  • I did the Isha course some 6 yrs back. My father who had learnt 2 yrs before me put me in. I was out of 11 th grade then. The reason for doing the course was to come out depression I was in.....

    I did not practise yoga after 30 days ... it was due to sheer lazinesss. But Jaggis teaching still voiced my ears. In 13 days this great man could enforce the thought that "This moment is inevitable" Okie. That is all and this makes me what I am today a succesful consultant in theird largest consulting companies in the world - Cap gemini.

    Just try attending the course for 13 days and then you will stop blogging/ commenting abt him.

    Sriram Umasankar

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:49 AM  

  • hi friends

    this is to those of you who are sceptic about isha yoga foundation & the guru. i jus want to ask those people few simply question.
    Do you know what kind of person are you?

    If you could find an answer just think how meaning full your intensions & moral values for yourself and to others.

    If want to erase those bad intensions & values all you have to do is listen to anybody who could transform & enlighten you.
    That could be anybody guruji or your friends or your parents.

    Make your existance meaningfull.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:46 PM  

  • I have small question. Tell me is that possible for a man to be god?. None of our yogi told that. You guys are treating jaggi as god. But you are not thinking yoga. Jaggi did not invent yoga. He is making money out of it. Like some 3o day learn yoga. That is not true. None of the yoga teaches that. Please read yoga fundamentals. I don't have problem with this man or organization. No man becomes god. If jaggi wants to spread yoga let him do it free. He has billion anyway

    By Anonymous Ariya, at 11:16 AM  

  • None of us here says Jaggi is god. Neither are we ignorant with yoga fundamentals. It is just that we are not skeptics!!!!!
    Jaggi is yet another human for worldly cause. HE cahrges money because he is an expert in teaching Yoga.
    We learn Karate the same way as I learnt yoga. Karate ... once learnt from india practised by chinese and japanese i sold back to india as a package. NO one questions. Then why YOGA... the nucleus of indian way of life.
    We are all learned people here in the forum who undrstand science and mathematics. We are not encouraging superstitious beleif or pampering a drunken monk. Jaggi, Ravi Shankar and Ramdev are the same old indian Yogis we read in Amar Chitra katha to help people.
    Jaggi Says "Krishna Saw into himself and so should you people. Dont just look at krishna... look into yourself". Loooks like joke. It was to me a joke then when I was out of solving complex problems in iradov zemanski... but now no! ... think over, dont just argue for the sake of it.
    Have beleif that you are in a great country India where great men will be born.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:18 PM  

  • Sadhguru Jaggi never says he's God. No one worships him. He makes every one realise the Energy (or God) within oneself. Yoga is not invented by Jaggi or any Modern Day Guru. Its attributed to Patanjali.
    Isha Yoga Program is being taught to Life Termers, HIV patients, villagers, school students (all free of cost).
    Yes, a fee is charged in urban Programs, so that the other programs can be offered free.
    Ishas social out reach programs like Project Gree Hands, Isha Education, Action for Rural Rejuvenation, etc., are path breakers.
    Isha Yoga Programs are life transforming, bring the man out of animals. Its the first step towards
    spirituality, to be human and then think about divinity.
    more info:

    By Blogger vivektut, at 8:54 PM  

  • A Person can only experience a Guru for himself and all other comments will not help in any way.Whatever people write is a good gossip.As an Isha meditator, irequest my co meditators not to waste time by answering baseless chaeges and fault findings.Instead we can do some Sadhana instead of this Vedhana

    By Anonymous rubesh, at 2:47 PM  

  • Sadhguru is a world renowned Yogi, profound mystic and a humanitarian. I was just referred by my cousin and I attended the program and it changed my perception of life. The awakening I experienced was huge. Unless someone experiences his program they will be skeptical. How dare do someone have the grouse on his name or accusing him of money making guru? If he was thought to be money minded he would have his own private jet, would have retired in a Multi Billion dollar Island in US. If one atleast opens himself and looks at what Isha Foundation is doing for human wellbeing and society one would not talk ill. Isha Foundation has so many projects and you can check this in Ishafoundation.org. Sadhguru is rejunavating and transorming by taking care of 4500 villages in India by way of Yoga and inner-wellbeing, Mobile clinics and schools.

    Ask any Isha meditator how their life has changed, one would just be astonished at the volume and intensity of these growing number of meditators who are just looking for a possibility.

    I perceive Sadhguru as one of the rare Yogi’s who can touch and transform anyone who cares to sit with him with commitment.

    I have experienced his yoga programs in a big way and it is only the experience which will make people accept him a Yogi who has experienced life beyond any living Yogi or Guru in the present era.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:46 PM  

  • I don't understand this. If Jaggi is so good, why doesn't he actually work in India. Why does he needs to come to USA? To earn dollars?
    I understand he is teaching something which we all can benefit from, but he surely has a agenda behind all he does. Most of the people I know who are Isha (and I know many) followers, are kind of people who have tendency to follow anything with blind faith. I know many of you would say I am judging people without knowing. You bet I am, but I go by stats. I have personally been to these kinds of cults since i was 13, so I know what they stand for. Jaggi is no different, he just making sure, he doesn't do the same mistakes which others like Sat Sai baba has done.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:16 AM  

  • HI All,

    All the sceptics and supporters of Yoga and Jaggi....lovingly known as Sadhguru by his followers. I read all the interesting and provoking blogs on the very subject. Understandbly Blogs provides us an opportunity for people to put there independent thoughts on the sugjects of there choice. I myself attended Isha Yoga, Singapore chapter and found a difference in my life, simply put life seems to be offering much more than what it use to be. I would enjoy discussing yoga....but that is it let u first make our lives loving. let it be isha yoga or any other form of yoga, we should see whats in it for us. And yes, answering one of the blog comments...Jaggi has never claimed that the yoga techniques taught by him is his invention, he has always provided relevant examples from Buddhism, Petanjali and various other spiritual text. He has ability to bring yoga or'So called Yoga....for many' into perspective.
    to conclude, seeing is believing. I think we must give it a try before constructing any opinion about Jaggi....Sadguru.

    Love and Joy,


    By Blogger ashish, at 2:11 PM  

  • Well , i have done Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's art of living courses and so far the experience has been spiritual and nice ... has helped me 2 b more balanced in life.

    By Blogger Floyd, at 3:16 PM  

  • Hope jaggi doesn't turn out to be another swami Rama [ROTFL]

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:13 PM  

  • I did his courses and have been practicing with real gurus since 1972. This one is false, he seems to want to reinvent EST and is trying to copy Osho, even tries to make jokes and talk like him. He is a fake, I felt that his BSP is about moodmaking and he loves to use swear words and call things bullshit, I think BSP stands for bull shit practice. I broke my shoulder on his course and let his gestapo volunteers tell me I was ok and they take your keys, cellphone, and car and tell you to give it all you got. I did with a broken arm and I can tell you that is all I have is a broken shoulder and a very low opinion of his idea of consciousness, I suggest Art of Living any day over these crybabies and emotional losers!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:16 PM  

  • I took Jaggi Vasudev's courses and have been with several great teachers from India from true traditions and powerful lineages that are the real deal. I found Jaggi to be a wanna be Osho and his BSP course is like EST from the 1970's his people are so preoccupied with group therapy and past experiences I am wondering where they all have been. They would do better to read Ekhart Tolle and get on with it than spend their time crying, screaming and pretending to be dead and writing letters to people and crying for hours. His volunteers are nazi like and obsessed with control. I have practiced krya yoga for 15 years and meditation for 38 years with real masters, I was with the DaLai Lama 3 weeks ago in California and he eminates more shakti than this poor man ever will. I felt sorry for him because he spends so much time slamming other groups and techniques and his are so superficial and outdated. He threw a party for his enlightenment at the end of the course and spent hours talking about himself, I have never witnessed such self absorption in a so called spiritual master. His volunteers take insults and verbal abuse from him in public and he seems both arrogant and sociopathic. I feel blessed that I have met real teachers like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Maharishi and others who sincerely offer methods to get out of the superficial emotional crap that this guru loves to see his people wallow in. Wake up to the false masters and realize this is a scam. They sell, sell, sell, It is very obvious how transparent this group is. I don't see him lasting much longer before he is exposed. He is definitely pressing it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:05 PM  

  • Even i attended the course of 7 days program . but the amount of hype they gave on the day of deeksha was too much,and that made me decide that i should not do this yoga.. people shouting and yelling during the deeksha was literally a comedy for me. even one of my friend who is too much into it did a guru pooja in his new home ,and when all of a sudden he started behaving erratically.I was wondering what would have happened to him... This is mere canvasing and trying to get into peoples head.And ppl who believe everything are the scape goats in simple words.You keep on hearing from ppl that something amazing is going to happen to you and u naturally behave as if it happened to you, that is all it is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:33 PM  

  • There is something fishy. I know of youngsters who were extroverts and very enthusiastic who joined to do service cannot get out of there. Why not wear your own clothes, why not the robe around your clothes. They give you a robe that is to be worn on your bare body. And a lot more. They give only 20 minutes for parents to see their children who are mesmerised by these kinds of guys who are influential. Why does someone like him go into trance for one whole day????? No one would answer.. You question you are out of there...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:16 PM  

  • Thanks for this post.

    I wanted to inform you that Isha has made it into the final round of Chase Community Giving on Facebook, and is eligible to win $1 million.

    It would be great if you could help us to spread the word. See here for more info:



    By Blogger Becky, at 2:27 PM  

  • http://guruphiliac.lefora.com/2009/03/17/sadhguru-and-the-isha-foundation/page23/


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:56 AM  

  • finally someone has written bout something intellectually worthwhile.. this is a great post..im going through this isha 7 day program. today i was INITIATED in to shambavi bla bla..to tell you the truth i did start shaking and smiling when i did this..ill tell you why..i ve just finished my mbbs degree so i m up o this stuff..during this shambavi thinghy in one step you re supposed to breathe erratically for 4 minutes..this can cause a decrease in the carbon di oxide content of blood leading to a cndition called respiratory alkalosis which is commonly calleda panic attack..this can cause a clouding of the sensations..together with the heavy and fast drums playing on the background this can cause furthrer confusion to the sensory system..and alongwith the belief of or atleast forcefully made to believe that something great or supernatural is going to happenit makesfor a nice buildup...well i had a glass of water that they gave before i started the meditation thing..of four ppl i spoke to 3 felt woozy duru=ing the procedure and one guy who dint drink anything couldnt even understand what we re talking about..guys this is a cult..beware!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:30 PM  

  • I did attend the ISHA's Inner Engineering course. And to surprise you, I was not a believer. I just wanted to see Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. So, to have his 'Darshan' which was exclusively for 'Isha practioners' I joined the course.

    I went there with utter cynicism, I just wanted to 'go through the 7 days' just for the sake of it.

    But, being a Muslim and a non-believer of Hindu/Islamic/other so called religious traditions (idol worship, room (kaba) worship, etc...), these were the things I experienced...

    1. Clarity of thoughts and understanding
    2. High Energy levels
    3. Good physical health
    4. Respect for other humans due to the understaning caused by 'facing the questions' about humanity, role of individual towards other - I was adamant on 'it is me which matter, i care a damn about others!' - just like any other human being brought up by with the 'fear' and 'greed' concept. what's in it for me... if i don't do it... then i'll suffer.. kind of mentality. But realizing that i can't be independent, because everyone of us is inter-dependent... and part of the whole 'existence' - for you 'humanity' cause you won't feel animals, etc.. as equal to yourself.

    5. the spirit of friendliness, trust on others, which was demonstrated with a few 'ball games', did really made me realize that yes i can be trusted and i can trust others. but for you... you can't trust yourself... so unless you do inner-engineering or be with a master... you can't understand...

    On the initiation day: I thought what's so 'big' about the initiation, and there is 'no guru' to initiate. my mind was 'wandering' here and there, the teacher and participants were doing 'guru puja' - 'offering respects to the master' with flowers and singing hymns. And suddenly something happend, my mind was engrossed with mundane thoughts, but the *sudden burst of energy in the room* which shook me, brought my wandering mind to 'senses'. Then only I realized, that there is something, or some big 'energy' with this initiation.

    being a sceptic, I thought let's verify Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev's claim of 'Dhyanalinga' being a sacred place where whosoever comes can experience deep mediative state. I took my other 'atheist' friend, I asked him, don't believe anything, and be very critical of me also, perhaps i may 'imagine' but you are an atheist... so be unforgiving to my words and the atmosphere there.

    we reached coimbatore, isha center... there my first experience:

    1. The meditation hall was full of energy, like a energy flooded place. I could literally feel 'electric vibrations' running through my body.

    2. at the dhyanalinga, first it was just a dome shaped place, but after a while i felt calm, nothing special, much like a good silent place. but when i was coming out and 'somehow' accidentally, went closer to 'dhyanalinga' suddenly my head 'having intense sound like sensation, as if my head is being hammered with sound/some energy waves.' and i went away from the closeness of dhyanalinga, the 'vibes' stoped, but again when i got closer to dhyanalinga, i could feel the intense vibes.

    my atheist friend, as soon as he sat there, he started to 'sweat profusely' and 'he could feel that his space between the eyebrows' is expanding and retracting to-and-fro continuously.

    So, to the naysayers, this is a born muslim, who does not believe the 'god' shit concepts, is attesting 'Sadhguru' Jaggi's words are true.

    Just because the 'Kriya' seems strange to you, you just can't 'ridicule' it. it only shows your immaturity and ignorance.

    Just because you got a 'medical' degree, you think you understand life. Life is not biological process mister. it is 'energy' process.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:24 PM  

  • I did attend the ISHA's Inner Engineering course. And to surprise you, I was not a believer. I just wanted to see Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. So, to have his 'Darshan' which was exclusively for 'Isha practioners' I joined the course.

    I went there with utter cynicism, I just wanted to 'go through the 7 days' just for the sake of it.

    But, being a Muslim and a non-believer of Hindu/Islamic/other so called religious traditions (idol worship, room (kaba) worship, etc...), these were the things I experienced...

    1. Clarity of thoughts and understanding
    2. High Energy levels
    3. Good physical health
    4. Respect for other humans due to the understaning caused by 'facing the questions' about humanity, role of individual towards other - I was adamant on 'it is me which matter, i care a damn about others!' - just like any other human being brought up by with the 'fear' and 'greed' concept. what's in it for me... if i don't do it... then i'll suffer.. kind of mentality. But realizing that i can't be independent, because everyone of us is inter-dependent... and part of the whole 'existence' - for you 'humanity' cause you won't feel animals, etc.. as equal to yourself.

    5. the spirit of friendliness, trust on others, which was demonstrated with a few 'ball games', did really made me realize that yes i can be trusted and i can trust others. but for you... you can't trust yourself... so unless you do inner-engineering or be with a master... you can't understand...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:26 PM  

  • The Trap in Isha Yoga is Sadhguru's Mesmerising Logical Talk and His over-emphasis on the word "experience"and his insistence that he if offering something much more than what traditional spirituality offers in terms of Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta. I have done all his programs other than Samyama and it is all Just a Hype created to get participants and money and Free Labour in the Form of Volunteers for his so-called Social out-reach programs. He has gotten himself into a bear trap with these programs. Also his luxuries life is another cause of concern.

    Like somebody has written, the hype which the Nazi Type Volunteers create about the Bull Shit Bhava Spandana is 100% False. Bhava Spandana will definitely land you in Hospital For 15 Days minimum. These people never disclose that BSP is just a mesmerism created to brain wash young people to join their cult as teachers and full time volunteers.

    Be Very Careful with Isha.

    By Blogger Aniruddha Dasa, at 8:39 PM  

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