Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is far from a household name, but his followers credit him with helping them find inner peace and happiness. Vasudev, who speaks frequently before world economic leaders and has served as a delegate at United Nations peace forums, is a part of a movement that is gaining in popularity in the United States as exemplified by New Age self-help guru Deepak Chopra. Vasudev, who says he is in his 50s but claims to have a memory that goes back 370 years, is a mystic and kriya yoga practitioner. He lives in a rainforest in southern India where he runs the nonprofit Isha Foundation, which he founded in 1992 to cultivate human potential. Vasudev comes to Tampa on Sunday to promote his newest book, Midnights with the Mystic: A Little Guide to Freedom and Bliss. ¶ At the core of his work is Inner Engineering, his personal growth program in which he teaches followers to understand the mechanics of life. With enhanced perception, he says, people can fix their problems, improve health and unlock career and personal success. His methods promote guided meditation and yoga, which Vasudev started studying at age 12 after learning that it was the health secret of an incredibly fit septuagenarian he admired. The Isha Foundation has 150 centers worldwide and more than 2-million meditators. There are an estimated 250 practitioners in Tampa and 10,000 in the United States, foundation officials said. In a recent phone interview from India, Vasudev talked about his work.
1 What does Inner Engineering have to do with yoga?
In the United States, you mention the word yoga and people think you must be capable of twisting yourself into a rubber band. The word yoga literally means union. So what union means is, in your experience of life, everything has become one. There is no such thing as you and other. You're beginning to experience everything as yourself. A yogi means one who is in such an experience that he perceives everything as himself.
2 Is this a religion?
My whole work is to enhance people's perception. I have no teaching. I have no philosophy. I have no religion. I have no belief system. All I have is methods to enhance people's perception, because only what you perceive, you know.
I'm a possibility who can open up a different dimension of perception for them. If they want to know more of life than they know right now, I'm a possibility.
3 What will you talk about in Tampa?
I'll speak whatever the people want to hear. Maybe Inner Engineering, I'm sure. Every human being is only interested in their own well-being ultimately.
Sherri Day can be reached at 813-226-3405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.