Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, my spiritual Guru, is a contemporary Yogi, Mystic and Enlightened Master, who created Isha Foundation and works tirelessly to revive our once great culture and long forgotten spiritual science through Isha Yoga (Yoga of the Divine) programs, creation of Consecrated spaces and multiple initiatives for rural poor and environment to uplift Human beings and their way of Life. The Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple created and consecrated by Sadhguru at the Isha Yoga Center in the Velliangiri foothills near Coimbatore is well known worldwide.
Sadhguru More Than A Life is an enchanting book by a Trapezium about an Ellipsoid and its Creator! Written by Arundhathi Subramaniam – an Isha meditator and writer (she might get offended if I don’t mention Poet) – tells the fascinating fairy tale like story of how the Dhyanalinga came into being and the being that took more than one birth to create it, finally in this lifetime – our lifetime! This book offers a near biographical account of Sadhguru’s lives (yes, you read that right, Lives, not Life) along with a few core members of the Isha Yoga phenomenon that led to the creation and consecration of the only-one-of-the-kind-in-this-planet Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple, offering the possibility of self-realization to millions worldwide, including this self (my journey started in 2009 and it is fair to say I’m still at the starting point).
Naturally, like any book by or about my Master, this book too isn’t for the faint-hearted. Nor is it for the pious ones who’re tied up in their religious beliefs (which they automatically assume are unquestionable as they’ve been told to abide by them by their revered mutt head, grandmother, family priest or astrologer). If you’re one of those occasional nut cases (the author certainly seems to be one and self belongs to that category as well) who dares to question long held beliefs, let go of the old ways and willing to tread a new path, this book is right up your alley. But beware; it won’t be an easy journey, for my Master is like no other. He isn’t into Scriptures, doesn’t expound on Vedanta or quote from Gita. He basically doesn’t give a damn about anyone or anything – revered or not, unless he has experienced and understood that by himself. And when he speaks incisively and decisively about those first hand experiences, you’ll either faint and fall over or will end up picking your jaw that has just dropped, for the nth time.
Mostly a faithful retelling of the various beings’ factual account (which unwittingly reads like fiction) – include the Master himself – of who, what and how, this fast paced book starts from Sadhguru’s exceptionally curious childhood, moves on to his extremely vibrant youth and then to his extraordinary transformation to Yogi and Mystic with a singular focus to accomplish his mission over three lifetimes and culminates with his present form and future possibilities.
The 250 pages long book is divided into 9 chapters, apart from an Introduction and Postscript by the author (we’ll come to that later). Sadhguru’s extraordinary lives (and of those whose lives intertwined with his, many times over) can make you either drink the events that occur in one go and get intoxicated with his grace or go breathless every now and then and take a deep breath at the end of each chapter to contemplate on what hit you or how silly your long held beliefs appear all of a sudden. Sadhguru’s unique views and scientific explanations help in lifting the veil of our ignorance about things that we think we knew. A word of caution for Isha meditators and beings that walk the spiritual path – keep a handkerchief at hand and the book slightly away from your face as it’s quite possible that tears (Swamy calls them Joy Drops) will flow on to the book time and again. I lost count of how many times!
‘Pure Awareness and Madness’ The Beginning of the Journey
The endless beginning of the story introduces the reader to Sadhguru’s creation (that incidentally makes him the Creator, which he indeed is) – the Dhyanalinga – a formless form that’ll last forever, even if this planet ceases to exist in its present form. While reading the line “You make your way to one of the shadowy alcoves and sit down to receive the Dhyanalinga” (which incidentally I’ve done more than once), I felt the same impact of “And then came the dance” from Amish’s Shiva Trilogy. Both books naturally have a Shiva connection!
‘Falling Upwards’ Lifetimes Three
Sadhguru’s three lifetimes (four, if one counts how this extraordinary game of life started) unravel before the reader’s eyes vividly in this chapter. From the Bilva’s unknown realization to ShivaYogi’s unexpected initiation by the Guru’s Guru Sri Palani Swamy to Sadhguru Sri Brahma’s unnerving fiery but failed attempt to accomplish the mission, resulting in him leaving his physical form through all 7 chakras as Chakreshwara after declaring “I will be back”, the reader is left with palpable excitement to meet Jaggi, aka Sadhguru in this Life.
‘This One Will Graze Human Beings’ The Black Sheep Who Turned Shepherd
A fascinating account of Sadhguru’s birth (he isn’t named Jagadish, aka ‘The Lord of the Universe’ for nothing), curious childhood and energetic youth, this chapter offers the reader a glimpse of the Master’s prowess early on in his eventful Life. From his ability to see all beings in energy form to getting into meditative state on top of a tree while skipping classes to catching and keeping snakes (without realizing his close association with them from another lifetime) to creating his own Xanadu like private lair in his home terrace to interactions with his (in all probability) realized great grandmother to his death experiment (or experience – a possible parallel to Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi’s) to initiation into Yoga by Sri Malladihally Swamy (“He was almost superhuman”) to dabbling in politics to an early fascination for automobiles (that continues till date) to his sister’s ascetic journey to his failed attempt to join the armed services to his voracious reading (at the library, daily, for an year) to his uneventful college classes to very eventful counseling to fellow students to his animal encounters to his first romance to his successful farming business (and long meditations, deep understanding of snakes and poetry writing while at the farm) to an attempt to start a commune and ending up running a successful construction business, readers will quickly pace through pages of history in the making.
The Man Who ‘Went Up and Never Came Down’ From Motorcyclist to Mystic
Starting with an emphatic account of Sadhguru’s enlightenment (“I went up and didn’t come down”), this chapter offers a glimpse of the enormity of what is to unravel in the remaining part of the story. The transformation of the motorcycling youngster to the Mystic who’ll rev up the lives of millions is mind boggling, to say the least. Yet it also offers solace in the fact that self-realization isn’t something that happened only millennia ago (with Gautama the Buddha being the shining beacon of knowing and teaching) but is a possibility even in this day and age. His whirlwind romance and wedding to Vijji akka (at Isha, everyone is referred to as either Akka – sister – or Anna – brother, unless they’re Brahmachari(ni)s or Sanyasis) follows. Sadhguru also starts teaching Yoga like a true Master, but with a difference – his is the ancient form of Yoga taught by none other than Adi Yogi Shiva himself (that Sahaja Sthithi program has now transformed into multiple programs including Inner Engineering and Shoonya Meditation), dabbles with farming one more time and realizes his final destination – Coimbatore, where his dream of 3 lifetimes will come to fruition.
‘Compassion as Conspiracy’ Preparing for Harvest
Bharathi (wow, what a blessed soul and being), Raja, Indira, Somu, Srinivas, Suman, Kiran… One by one, the core group of Isha meditators start coming to their Master like bees to a fragrant flower and willingly get intoxicated with the divine nectar he offers. The Jaggi that scores of meditators naturally gravitated to was also transforming into an altogether different being already during this time. Sadhguru offers a glimpse of who he truly is at times to them to remove any cobweb of doubts lingering in their minds. The powerful Bhava Spandana (BSP) and Samyama programs happen for the first time (this self too has participated in BSP and longs to be part of Samyama soon) with volatile results and an energy explosion among participants.
Some like Bharathi akka get to know who they were in their past lives (her life has been intertwined with Sadhguru’s for more than 2 lifetimes). Teachers’ Training program and formation of Isha Foundation also happened during this eventful period. Sadhguru finally finds the Mountains that has been in his eyes from childhood at Velliangiri near Poondi and the seed of Mystic’s Isha Yoga Center are sown in the misty wilderness at the foothills of the southern Kailash (where Adi Yogi Shiva is said to have spent time and Sadhguru Sri Brahma attained Mahasamadhi).
The stage was set for the mission of three lifetimes and Sadhguru announces the 90 day Wholeness program, that’ll prepare the core group for the magnificent event. The participants endure dire living conditions and a grueling Sadhana schedule during which their Master ‘Unleashed the Guru’ within him. Many incredible events happen during the entire tenure of the program, culminating with Jaggi making the final transformation to Sadhguru. Reading “I am not your Jaggi anymore, I am Sadhguru” sent shivers down my spine (it should be ‘up’ – spiritually speaking), which I’m sure must be what they too should’ve felt at that time (except Bharathi akka, may be)!
‘When the Divine Descends, You Just Accommodate’ The Deepening Pilgrimage, the Darkening Night
A poignant account of the phenomenal accomplishment of Mahasamadhi by Vijji akka – someone who probably wasn’t expected to achieve that exalted state by any of the Isha core group members, this chapter lets the reader travel through a turbulent time of preparation for the once-in-many-millennia creation and consecration of Dhyanalinga (“A concoction of pure awareness and madness”, which incidentally is how Lord Shiva’s nature is also described), while offering fleeting glimpses at the persona of Sadhguru – an eclectic mix of all consuming passion and all encompassing compassion, who was the glue that was holding all the pieces of the puzzle together from falling apart.
Sadhguru recalls meeting the silent sage Swami Nirmalananda (where the seed for Vijji’s deep desire for attaining Samadhi was inadvertently sown), the Swami’s attainment of Samadhi and puts Vijji akka and Bharathi akka through the paces to establish the triangle of energy necessary for the (lost science of) Prána Pratishtha ready. Getting two women who are the polar opposites to seamlessly merge into oneness wasn’t an easy task for even that accomplished Master! He also takes them on a Karma Yatra to the places of their previous births to clear the remaining karmic barriers. This chapter also takes the reader deep into the esoteric energy space that most humans bound by physical limitations of the five senses will find hard to comprehend.
‘If You Drop Your Fruit Willingly, Stones Can Be Minimized’ Countdown, Crisis, Denouement
With one part of the triangle gone as Vijji akka attained Samadhi (“She left through her Anahata”), Sadhguru contemplates the alternatives to complete the consecration of Dhyanalinga (whose creation has historically been plagued by insurmountable challenges to whoever attempted, invariably resulting in failure to complete when they’re so close to completion) and decides to take it upon himself to ensure no further delay. While Sadhguru performing both his and Vijji akka’s roles helped move the process forward, it also started depleting his energy reserves, resulting in fast deterioration of his physical health. It eerily reminded every participants about his prediction (declaration rather) that he’ll leave this body at the age of 42. They feared the worst as the day of consecration got closer.
There were other social hindrances too (a natural result of the ignorant arrogance of suspicious idiots, which incidentally thwarted the historical attempts earlier too), which the Isha meditators endured with quiet dignity and came out unscathed through their perseverance and unwavering faith in their Guru (he did play a part too in removing the last remaining obstacles). When the Dhyanalinga consecration finally concludes on 24th of June 1999 (and Sadhguru falls like an uprooted tree, with whatever life left in his physical form flickering), all readers will invariably be left overwhelmed by the enormity of the energy consecration process, enchanted by the unwavering focus of the Master towards attaining the goal across many lifetimes and the unshakable faith his followers had in him all through and enamored by the Guru who practically revived a long lost sacred science (propagated first by none other than Agasthya muni, one of Adi Yogi Shiva’s seven disciples, several thousand years ago) single handedly and spirituality as a way of living that’s independent of religion!
And his zest for Life as it is (“He’s probably the most alive human being I’ve known” – Arundhathi) brings him back from the brink (“My body was broken beyond repair” – Sadhguru), when Bharathi akka desparately said – hoping against hope that the wanderlust in him is the only thing that could keep him alive – “Shall we hit the road?”
‘Time to Graze the Valleys of Life’ The Master, the Man and his Message
Whether you’re spiritual or not (most humans are incapable of differentiating being religious and spiritual), you’ll relish Sadhguru’s precise and decisive responses to the seekers’ many questions (mostly by the author) in this chapter. From his uncanny ability to swiftly switch from one thing or person to other with equal attention to each to his capability to be present with or initiate the spiritual process for people not physically present to his unassuming ways of enabling ailing seekers do extraordinary things (such as climbing the Himalayas despite being critically ill) and unnerving candor in refusing to acknowledge such acts as miracles, many things that Sadhguru says or does (such as his own miraculous recovery from multiple ailments with the help of the eternal knowledge repository called Kailash) are beyond comprehension for normal readers. But the fact that all these acts were witnessed by people first hand exemplifies how lightly he wears his divinity or Gurudom.
His absolute clarity shines through when he explains what is Brahmacharya, how knowledge of the inner science can cure and prevent ailments, why he’s creating a monastic order with many strict regulations, how to avoid fake Gurus (real Guru happens when your longing deepens), what Enlightenment means, why he cries during processes (such as Linga Bhairavi consecration) or at the end of Sathsangs, why teaching meditation to political leader and entertainers is important, why transmission is more important than teaching and many more profound things.
‘The Ball Game’ and Beyond The Master Plan
Now that Isha – Yoga of the Divine, is already a global phenomenon, what remains in the Master Plan of the Master? This short chapter tries to answer that question. It’s a very interesting answer to a very profound question with Sadhguru declaring “Never again”, when asked if he’ll consider taking the physical form again!
Oh, about the Introduction and Postscript – it may be prudent to read them later, if you’re someone who might just drop a book if the first chapter isn’t fascinating enough (one of my colleagues did that with Asura – Tale of the Vanquished recently, to my surprise, but I relished the book, completed reading it in 4 days and also published a review). They do offer an important perspective – that of a not-so-spiritual seeker’s agony of having to live Life as we know it (resulting from our ignorance of Life as it is), innate inability to trust anyone as Guru, intolerance to conform (to defined process or practices) and an almost endless search for answers to perennial questions and the eventual cleansing of the cobwebs in her mind, to this grand tale of shock and awe, but Arundhathi’s propensity for liberal use of the flowery language of poetry (she’s a poet after all, but I haven’t read her poems yet, to comment), ends up tying the narration into complex Asana like knots – not just in the Introduction and Postscript, thereby exasperating the reader enough to let him or her exclaim and almost howl “Why?”
One thing that’s missing in this book is Sadhguru’s sharp that will enthrall even the most doubtful among the hordes that make a beeline for his MahaSathsangs. It’s possible that the author either wanted to ensure the readers get the gravity of this grand story right or she’s such a serious person that wit and humor are dismissed with a ‘huh’! The “I” too is so pronounced in her narration that the readers may end up throwing their hands up and wonder if this is Sadhguru’s story or hers (thankfully, she ensures it is Sadhguru’s, starting from Page 17)! While she’s undoubtedly blessed to have been drenched in my Master’s grace, my respect for his patience and boundless compassion went several notches up when I realized how he must’ve felt while “I”nteracting with (many a character like) the author, for a substantial amount of time, to enable the writing and publication of (t)his extraordinary Life story (“A biography? I’m not done with Life yet!”). Strange are his ways and stranger is the company he keeps (just like his 50% partner Shiva). Shambho!
There are two possible outcomes while reading or on completing this book – an overwhelming sense of awe on what he has accomplished in this lifetime and a longing to be immersed in his boundless grace, in this lifetime and beyond! To be in the presence of a living Master in this lifetime itself is a blessing. “I’m available to all who’re willing!”, says my Master and he’ll only be glad to bless one more being with the possibility of eternal bliss! Availing that possibility to know ‘Life as it is’ will be a goal worth pursuing for the remaining part of our lives. Needless to say, as a seeker, I’m thankful to Arundhathi for letting me learn about my Master’s vibrant Life, which I’ve known only in bits and pieces so far.
I bow before my Master with deep reverence for creating the eternal energy form of Dhyanalinga, a living Guru in the primordial Linga form, who’ll sow the seed of spirituality into whoever enters his sphere, forever. And I bow once again for blessing us – irrespective of whether we deserve it or not – in this lifetime to have not one but two Gurus (the Creator and his Creation – whichever way you look at it) at the same time. Shambo!
And one more thing. I would love to write a sequel to this book (either by myself or collaborating with Arundhathi), starting from where this one concludes – the Dhyanalinga consecration – and walk the readers through the even more fascinating story of the mesmerizing growth of the Sadhguru and Isha phenomenon, the metamorphosis that they’ve brought into millions of seekers worldwide and the consecrations that he continues to perform (Linga Bhairavi, Adi Yogi aalayam, Mahima and Suryakund). If the Tamil translation of this book hasn’t already been picked up by SuBa or Muthiah, I would love to take up that too. my Master willing, of course!
Sadhguru More Than A Life is Highly recommended by Swamy for all – seekers or not.
All the photographs belong to Isha Foundation.
Happy reading & a joyful Life to all seekers 🙂
Love + Gratitude = @PrakashSwamy