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Mar 16 09 9:59 PM

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I'd never heard of this guy... but he's big enough to advertise on the sides of buses in San Francisco. A friend sent me a photo of the ad today; I've attempted to attach it to this posting. His next gig is in the City this Friday:

http://www.ishafoundation.org/eflyers/SFO_Evening_with_the_Mystic.php

Maybe he's bigger than I think. I mean, super-low-class people require at least three names (John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, what to speak of Avatar Adi Da Samraj and His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada!) Ordinary folks get by with two names. The ultra-famous are recognized by their single name (Cher, Sting, Moses). What are we to think of the guy on the bus, who doesn't even feel obligated to include any name in his advertisment?

I'd pretty much sworn off visits to Holy Men. I guess there's some chance that I'll go if I find anyone else who's interested. After all, it's free, and maybe there'll be snacks at the reception. And who could argue with that beard? I've spent a lifetime hobnobbing with Yogi types, and I've never seen anything like it.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/03/after-death-before-birth.html



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#1 [url]

Mar 30 09 12:24 AM

Randomstu, did you ever go to the isha program?  What was your impression?

I've done all the isha programs. It took me that long to figure out that isha is just another feel-good cult with dreamy eyed followers fainting over their master. If you read internet posts from the isha followers, they all sound like robotic zombies, spewing off jaggi's 'deep' one liners about finding enlightenment. Many try to convice others that they are 'better' after doing isha. If you spent enough time in isha, you'd witness a lot of fake, and perhaps real, delusional states of bliss. People go really crazy in isha. Sadhguru encourages the 'madness' as a way of reaching bliss. In fact he often brags about the number of people who go into altered states just by being in his presence and then have to be carried out of the hall. 

One can easily see the parallel in the church rising evangelists that 'heal' people. The believers go into bouts of spasms and unconciousness, yet not one of them gets healed from their disease. Guess what, i haven't seen any enlightened isha followers either. Only Jaggi is 'enlightened' and he's the only one claiming it. Why does everyone believe it without question?

Look at the obvious cults....kuresh, jones, manson, erhard, etc. Look at the not so obvious yoga cults....ammachi, mahesh yogi, sri sri ravi, sai baba, osho, etc. They all have intensely charismatic, magnetic leaders that have a way with language. They all promise the ONE way to enlightenment. They all have devoted followers, quite in love with the leader. Followers never question the leader, and if they do, the person who raises a question is mocked, ignored or blamed for their own failure in the system.  New members are actively recruited with the same old member claim of 'look at me, my life is better since i accepted so-and-so as my master. Come join us and we can save the world." The yoga groups like to hide under 'charity' work and volunteerism which seems like innocent concern for the people and the earth. Meanwhile, they are raking in mounds of money, fame, political ties, property and influence.  Belive me, sadhguru's isha is no exception to these cult qualities.

Isha is no different than any other self-delusional cult. I would like to see a comparison of all these different yoga techniques that promise enlightenment. I bet they all have the same chanting and breathing methods with only a slight difference, if any. This must be why no yoga group lets their members divulge the 'secret' kriyas to non-members, often warning against the possibility of doing damage to those not initiated by the master. Absolute secrecy is required to ensure fresh meat will arrive and pay for their programs. I can honestly say, that some of the isha practices are VERY similar to some of the osho practices. And some of the isha chants and mantras are easily found being used in other cults/groups. But would an isha groupie look for this info, let alone acknowledge this truth? Heck, no!

I urge current isha groupies to see jaggi's contradicting claims and stories, ask questions and keep an open mind. When sadhguru tells you that you can not trust your mind, how then can you trust your experiences? Everything we experience goes through the filters of our mind. He says that meditators who used to see angels or other-worldly beings are filtering this through their mind and it was not a real experience. How then can you trust the isha meditation experiences? You can't have it both ways.

I urge other ex-ishas to come forth and give their stories. There seems to be a lot of hush-hush about sadhguru. Its been said that isha groupies have revised wikipedia when soemthing non-flattering about sadhguru was posted (One was about his wife Viji dying and sadhguru being questioned about the death. There was also a complaint filed against sadhguru by his wife and later his wife's father who felt she was murdered). Research it yourself but the information is strangely limited. I respectfully request an open discussion from the ones who went in and went out of isha with an open mind and open eyes.

I've written my experiences with isha on another website. I was planning on doing the same here but got sidetracked :)

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#2 [url]

Mar 30 09 10:46 PM

to happyd:

No, I didn't end up going to the program. I live in Berkeley so it meant a trip across the Bay. I couldn't interest my friends to go with me, and I was only mildly interested myself.

I find those altered states interesting. There are lots of churches in the US where people go into altered states like you describe around Sadhguru. I love watching documentaries about stuff like the snake-handling churches in the South where people go into these strange trances. But it's all just curiosity. I don't think those weird states have particular value, and if you want to get them, it's just another want.

You're also right that there are lots of different groups with the same style of blind belief in a Leader, who's supposedly in a Higher State, and that the dynamics in all these groups have lots of similarities. It's not so much about the particular leader, it's that a certain percentage of the population is really looking for someone to follow, to play the role of the Perfect Parent in their psychodrama. Since that's what some people want, that's why we have all these gurus to give those people what they're looking for.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/


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#3 [url]

Apr 2 09 10:59 PM

Hi Stuart,

I completely agree. And because of this intense desire....whether desire for guru, leader, parent.....or desire for trance states... the follower slips easily into role and 'experiences' what he/she wants....a parent, a trance, a feeling of belonging.  Sadhguru claims that his practices are the fastest and most powerful ways to reach liberation. I don't down meditation...but that's a gutsy (and common) claim. How can anyone prove or disprove this claim? Personal testimony is subjective at best, and delusional at worst. Either way, I never met any liberated isha meditators.

In Isha, there are some pretty wild scenes in the meditation groups. The noises and body movements people make are odd to say the least. Are these experiences real?  Here's how I see it...
     1) Newcomers are often shielded from these scenes in the beginning. The common response from the newbies is either 'run away' or 'i want some of that!'   So now it seems that most of the remaining people that stick with it are hoping to attain these blissed out states.
     2) I've witnessed some faking their experiences.
     3) I've seen volunteers telling other volunteers to keep quiet their blissed and ecstatic states of meditation during a new member program so as not to scare the new people away...and they are easily able to do so. Soooooo.....they are able to control it?? If they are able to keep their ecstatic (and loud, and spastic) experiences quiet, it would reason they can also amplify or create them. So which came first, the mind or the experience?
    4) Emotional outbursts....which seem to be the core experiences in Isha.  But, can't trust these as any kind of true spiritual experience. It doesn't take much to tap into them. Shoot, I've seen enough movie actors tearing up without much effort.

Then why do people need a guru for these experiences? I return back to your comment and again agree. The need for psychodrama.
But then.... the guru will tell you its His Divine energy that lifts you up into these experiences :)

BTW, Sadhguru often comments that his practices are scientific, spiritual and nonreligious.  But after getting further into the system....it is straight up hindu god worship with special devotion to shiva. I just don't think the bait and switch is a fair way to pull in new members.

(Another BTW...started reading your blog...very cool!)


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#4 [url]

Apr 3 09 8:35 AM

Thanks for your comments, happyd. Here's how it is for me. Many years ago, I held the belief that some people had a Superior State (liberation, Enlightenment, whatever you want to call it). Or at least I entertained that belief. It caused me to seek such people and try to get something from them. More recently, I've stopped concerning myself so much with these speculations about other people's states, and instead just attend to my own actions and how I keep my own mind. Having tried both ways, I've found that I like it better when I focus on my own mind, when I place the greatest importance on how I respond to this moment. But if other people prefer following leaders, no problem.

The one bad thing, as you point out, is when these orgs use "bait and switch," that is, when they're dishonest about what they're really doing. I would have been much more concerned about this 10 or 15 years ago. Now, with internet access so widely available, it's easy for any potential follower to get plenty of information about whatever guru they're thinking of following. Alternate perspectives are offered by Guruphiliac and lots of similar sites. So there's not much danger of anyone following a guru because of lack of information.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

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#5 [url]

Apr 22 09 10:40 AM

Dear happyd,

I will admit right off that I am a skeptical person who does not indulge in much self reflection (I don't think that I am any worse for not doing so) but I tolerate those who do.

My wife has recently begun Isha and seems totally enthralled with it.  From what I can tell by trolling the internet (how I came upon this thread) Isha does not seem to "require" a lot from its members.  At least I have read nothing about folks forking over life savings to Sadhguru so that he can buy one more Bentley.

Still, I want to protect my wife from doing things that might lead to her harm.
If there are things I should really be worried about I would appreciate an off-line conversation.  my email is  mafarmerga@yahoo.com

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#6 [url]

May 4 09 1:08 AM

Hi mafamerga,

Thanks for your question and I'm thrilled with your concern for your wife!

You won't find a lot of negative press on Sadhguru. I think this is because he purposely does not ask for your life savings!

Which is probably the most common argument of the isha-ites.... nothing is required from its members.  I too was amazed by this and it made me admire the man and his program for it. And then I got deeper into the system.  And what I realized is this....Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is an extremely smart man.

He is in America playing the guru game behind some other very dishonest and greedy 'gurus' that came here before him. There have been many 'gurus' in America with thousands upon thousands of followers. In fact, way more than Sadhguru can claim. Most gurus have well-educated followers including doctors, teachers, and even celebrities.  Sadhguru is no different than the other gurus. What did these gurus have in common? Eloquence and charisma. That is the #1 requirement to attract a following. People LOVE following a charismatic leader. Some quite need it.

The message, well, they all have the same message. Its the same message across the religions as well. But gurus use a distinctly Hindu flavor that appeals to the Indian community as well as the those looking to break out of society norms.

So, Sadhguru attracts followers just as all the gurus have done before him. He's no different than the rest. Think of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Sai Baba, Muktananda, Gurumayi, Osho. The recipe for a cult following:

1) Be a self-appointed master and no one will or can question this.
2) Be charismatic and eloquent, people will listen
3) Promise the people enlightenment by following you, just come and be and your presence, and surrender
4) Have a secret technique and don't let anyone share it outside of the group
5) Anyone who questions is wrong, misguided or unenlightened and just can't get it
6) Have followers share their experiences, 'proving' the process works
7) Have your own group environment, language, stories, music, rituals, ashram
8) Foster a feel-good environment with emotional charging (this is huge in one of the isha programs)
9) If followers keep at it, they will succeed. If they give up, they go back down to square one
10) If followers don't get any benefits, something is wrong with them, not the process

So the guru game is an old one. And attracting followers is not the hard part. People will follow a leader even after the leader steals money, sleeps with his followers, takes drugs, molests a child or demands followers to commit suicide.

And then there is SJV. He is a smart business man. Who knows if he steals money, sleeps with his followers or takes drugs? But the one thing we can see, is the huge amounts of money flowing through Isha. Most say he doesn't ask for money. But he does:  All programs have a fee. Usually around $300.  There can be as many 100-200 people at one program. There is one program in India that is 'free'.  But there is a fee to cover lodging and food. After the program is over, guess what, they suggest a donation if anyone feels so inclined. There is up to 800 people at this program. Most give a donation.

Even more money goes through isha into 'charitable causes.' There's rural rejuvenation, isha school, isha vidhya, plant a tree, etc, and help to build the ashram in usa.  Parents have to pay for the isha school, btw.  The volunteers that live at the ashrams, need their own money and health care. So, where do the millions of dollars come from that pay for these programs and the ashrams? Volunteers and donors. Believe me when i tell you that the request for money and donations is there. Its just not as apparent as the basket in church. And who knows what he does and doesn't own. He definitely is smarter than Osho and knows better then to flaunt any material wealth. Thats a lesson we all learned from watching the gurus of old.

No, he doesn't request your life savings. But he has requested people to give up their lives and join the ashram...if they have a useful skill. These people feel so honored and blessed....as if God him/herself came down and talked to them. Many families have been broken up because of this.

And why are these gurus so interested in enlightening Americans anyway? Why not the people in India? Or Africa? Or even France?  Maybe because America has the money? Maybe the gullibility?

So whats the harm? People claim they feel better doing his practices. Well, people claim they feel better doing all sorts of different things. Those that followed Osho felt better too. You will find people that do/did SJV's practices that feel nothing either. Some may even feel worse. With isha, it starts off being 21 minutes a day. And the deeper you get, it grows to almost 4 hours a day! And I still haven't heard of anyone achieving enlightenment with this process.

Keep in mind too, that the isha process is very Hindu oriented. SJV claims it is a science with no religious affiliation. But, again, the deeper you get, you realize you are chanting to Hindu Gods and Godesses, bowing down before Shiva Lingam (phallic shaped idol), and singing songs about Shiva and Sadhguru! When you start seeing people fainting when SJV enters the room, you realize it is a self-induced frenzy with no objective benefit.

Read 'stripping the gurus' - its an online free ebook that describes gurus of past and their shady dealings. http://www.strippingthegurus.com/ebook/download.asp

Read about Gurumayi (Siddha Yoga) which has an identical style and following as SJV. 

Read about cult indoctrination and see how SJV fits nicely into cult behaviors

And I hate to sound pessimistic, but which seems more likely? An enlightened master that comes to America to enlighten as many lost souls as he can out of the goodness of his heart?  OR, just another rip-off artist seeking his fame and fortune off the backs of gullible, insecure people? I, for one, haven't seen any of the former, but hundreds of the latter.

After all my ranting above :), I'm glad that you are concerned about your wife. Many wives bring husbands or vice versa to isha yoga. All in all, SJV has an intense presence and a logic one can't argue with. Its easy to get caught up in his web.  I will be happy to address this further with you through email as you requested. I'll send an email to you shortly.

happyd

(BTW, check the amazon site for his latest book - midnights with a mystic. There are hundreds of positive reviews. Why? Not one bad review! Because isha meditators were asked to go on amazon and write a positive review!)

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#7 [url]

May 8 09 1:48 PM


Ok- a little perspective- I have been in Isha, done the advanced programs, gone to India and spent time in the ashram.

About the altered states... I can't explain them, but these are real. They are not at all similar to being worked up like the christian fundamentalists, which I have personally experienced. I have also psyched myself up for things before, worked myself into a frenzy at concerts, etc.

The practices- they have helped me. My insomnia of 20 years has disappeared. My mind is calmer, my emotions calmer. I have more energy and freedom. They leave you with a certain buoyancy. 

After being really involved for a while, I have taken some time to step back and look at myself and what I want in life- career, etc. Doing this has precipitated NO pressure from others who are involved. They ask how I am doing and otherwise give me my space- without me asking. This has come about after spending time in the ashram earlier this year. I  have very little involvement with Isha right now. 

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#8 [url]

May 9 09 4:33 PM

Thanks jfb for sharing your perspective. Ironically, that's all any of us can contribute - personal perspectives.

I too have done all of the isha programs and gone to India and the ashram. For me, none of it made any real difference in my life. But, then, I've never had a problem with insomnia, my blood pressure has always been way better than most people and I've always had a calm demeanor without any major emotional drama. I've never had any external addictions, pent up anger or depression episodes. And, like most people, I come from a dysfunctional family (actually it was abusive) and have had my fair share of life challenges!

So my personal experience with Isha....  While doing the Isha programs, I found myself more drained, more tired and got sick more than average. Now, if the Isha meditators can attribute improved health and well being to the isha process, turn around is fair play. And I can attribute my 'negative' feelings and health to the Isha process, right?

But Isha-ites won't let you do that. They've told me I need to do more meditation, or that I'm doing something wrong, or that I'm going through a spiritual cleansing or something like that. My point is that Isha only connects the 'good' changes to the Isha programs. Anything bad that happens is your fault. (Common cult tactics btw)

About the group. I, too, haven't had any pressure to stay in the group. But there is an underlying message, often repeated, that in order to maintain your 'results' or to go further, you must continue the practices. If you don't, you'll end up at square one, as if you've never started. (Another common cult tactic...fear to stop). There is a lot of storytelling to keep you interested into going further. About so-and-so that achieved something-or-other. Kinda bait tactics. So I had made it my mission to talk to many Isha meditators along the way to find out what they have accomplished with the process. So far, nothing special. Jfb's story is one of the more impressive gains with Isha I've heard of the many I've spoken to. Most don't have more than, "oh, I feel more calm.", or "I feel more peace while waiting in the check-out line at the grocery store." Research this online....these are common comments that you'll find on Isha reviews.

And those are great accomplishments. But, people report similar 'results' doing a variety of other practices...sitting and watching the breath, doing 30 minutes of weight training, going for a walk.

The altered states? All personal anecdotes that don't prove anything. We've all seen plenty of faintings and body tremors at revivalist churches and Elvis concerts. So, jfb, with all due respect, your comments, while appreciated, are so ridiculous that its comical. I'm not trying to be rude. But seriously, people just won't think outside of their conditioned response....

How could you POSSIBLY know if these Isha 'altered states' are real?
And why are the 'altered states' of the Christian fundamentalists NOT real?
What do you think a Christian fundamentalist would say if they walked into a room of screaming Isha meditators, some of them speaking in 'tongues'?      (Hint: Probably the same thing you're saying)

I didn't get into Isha to solve any of my problems. I'm a spiritual seeker and always looking outside the box as much as possible. I got into Isha because of that thnking. But then I realized...it's just another box. Maybe bigger or smaller than others, but just another box. Some feel comfortable in it, others choose a different one. What I've learned, people choose their box, recruit others to join them and then defend the box.


happyd

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#9 [url]

May 9 09 8:42 PM


happyd,

Thank you for your perspective. I never questioned the reality of the fundamentalist Christian's altered states, but having personally experienced both... there is a huge difference in what happens at Isha. In my experience, and even from the outside. 

BTW, how can you possibly know that reality is REAL? That begs a whole series of inquiry. Saying my comments are ridiculous is attacking me for disagreeing with you, or for having a different experience.

To say that what I experienced I didn't experience, or that I have no frame to refer to when I compare it to other experiences... well you can't possibly know that. If you're looking for some way to get rid of the box that you currently have, you have to realize that you're trying to move past what you currently know. How do you do that? Sadhguru makes it very clear that if you just make Isha into another box, another home- place of comfort, then that is NOT a spiritual practice.

Is Isha the way? I truly don't know. 

Is Sadhguru enlightened? I don't know that either.

 Do some people blindly follow him and act like fools around him? Yep.  

Are there some idiots who act and talk like they know what they're talking about, when they really don't? Yes, and I've been one of them. 

What do I know? Isha has calmed my mind and my anxiety and stress levels in a way that nothing else has touched. Not exercise (I was a competitive Ironman athlete) not hata yoga, or therapy. 

So, if you wish to ask me about my experiences, please do. But I would appreciate it if we could dialogue without the degradation into negativity. 

One questions, because of curiosity- if you didn't have any big experiences with Isha, why make the trip to India? This is not meant to be a challenge to you, I really am curious.
      jfb

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#10 [url]

May 10 09 6:14 AM

jfb,
 
Please let me clarify my comments.
 
First, my post said that I wasn't trying to be rude. I was not attacking you or your experiences and it wasn't a negative response to your post at all. Believe me, I've said my fair share of rediculous things and I have no problem with people calling me out on it. I was trying to illustrate that judging what is true or real or better-than, solely based on a personal feel good experience, is clearly illogical. If it were true, then we'd all have the same experiences, worship the same Gods, have the same opinions and eat the same food. So is your experience with Isha more true than mine...or others?
 
Next, I never said you didn't experience what you say you did, nor did I say you have no frame of reference to compare. I challenged your claim that the Isha altered states are real...as if they are somehow an objective truth. How can you objectify a subjective experience?  
 
You said that Isha is different (I'm assuming you mean better) than Christian fundamentalism. But this is based on your 'experience', in your own personal frame of reference. And thus this is your opinion and can not qualify as truth for the rest of us. So personal stories can not be taken as objective truth...as I was explaining in my earlier post. And loads of people have tried many different practices or methods and have a frame of reference on which to compare their experiences as well, including myself.
 
You asked how do I know that reality is real? Way off topic and I'm comfortable admitting this subject is over my head. But I have my eyes and ears open for anything that might give a clue  :)
 
You call people idiots who walk around talking about things they don't know about. I wouldn't call them idiots. I'd call them the vast majority of people. And what do we really know? Our experiences?  Again, subjective and usually based on external and internal variables.
 
Just a thought....how do you know that hatha yoga or exercise didn't help much?  Maybe you would have been way 'worse' had you not been doing them. Maybe you would have been just as calm or slept better without Isha over the same time period.  Basically, how can we know an alternate reality? I think asking those questions is peeking outside the box. And currently, I already admit that what I know is purely subjective and therefore questionable.
 
To answer your last question, I did have experiences with Isha. Regardless, I wanted to continue with Isha as I'm not the quitting type. Even though red flags were popping up everywhere about Isha, I either brushed them aside or made excuses for them. Ironically, it was my stay in India that validated my concerns and even added a few more onto the pile. My posts so far only reference a few of the red flags, btw.
 
So my question to you. If the Isha process has given you so much well-being, why are you not still involved?
 
hd

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#11 [url]

May 10 09 12:02 PM

I look back at my posts and I see how people can take my comments or questions as challenging.
 
But this is in no way, a degradation or a negative reflection. It is simply an attempt to look at every angle available, maybe opening up to new possibilities and hopefully a learning process.
 
I realize that some may see this as an attack on their beliefs or views on reality.  But this is not my intention. My posts on here are to question Isha and their intentions, in an objective manner, even having experienced Isha.  I think thats fair?    :-)


 
hd


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#12 [url]

May 24 09 11:32 AM

I went to a 3 day intensive with Sadhguru & it was the worst experince of my life. My mind was questioning everything. I felt so alone & wondered many times if this was brainwashing. I wanted to leave everyday & I am so sorry I didn't. I went  in March & I feel I have not been the same since. I have persistant anxiety & worsening depression. After the live transmittion I was so afraid of what was happening around me I left quickly & got on the phone to a friend you talked me down. I refused to go back the next day & they were at my hotel door knocking to come in. I refused to go. It was so cult-like. They arranged for me to talk to Sadhguru. He said I was ok, not to fear & that I didn't like change. I felt he knew I didn't believe in anything he was selling. When I see his picture I feel increased anxiety. I know you can't buy bliss. I saw people around me behaving so strangly.My experince was fear,massive adrenaline that created a distored visual for me that lasted for 2 days.
I wonder if I am ever gonng to back to a peaceful state. I am angry at myself for going there. I had no idea what I was getting into.

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#13 [url]

May 27 09 9:13 PM

Jemeca,

Thanks for posting your experience!

So, if you did the 3-day intensive, you also forked out a lot of bucks. I don't know how the 3-day intensives are, but I'm sure there's a lot happening squeezed into a little time. I'm surprised there was the strange behaviors happening at that course. The strange behavior usually comes from the established isha meditators. And at smaller venues, they are usually more careful to control their outbursts so as not to scare off the newbies.

I know there are a lot of people that go to the first program but choose not to to continue with isha for whatever reason. I wouldn't know if some had similar anxiety or fears as you did. I didn't feel that way at the IE program but I, too, was disturbed by the strange behaviors and outbursts.

If I may ask you, what prompted you to go to the Isha program? Did you have a friend that suggested it to you?
Also, briefly, what is your spiritual/religious background? I'm curious as to what triggered the feelings of anxiety.
(You can PM me if you prefer)

Don't be angry with yourself for going. You now have an insiders view of a guru-based spiritualism. And you probably picked the easiest one to turn away from. As wacky as things can be in Isha, I never felt any threats or pressure to stay with the group (except at BSP where they herd you around like cattle on a schedule).

I can understand the distorted visuals as well. But what I learned from this is that these "experiences" that they are having.....are all self-induced. There is no objectivity to these delusions. A little bit of googling for guru-based videos (cult groups as well), and you will see odd devotee behaviors generalized within each group. This strange behavior is not exclusive to Isha and its a big clue that sheep WILL follow a shepherd....or the other sheep. :)


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#14 [url]

May 30 09 8:04 AM

The claims of "experiences" and "bliss" from the devotees I came to know are overwhelming wink,even to search for a nearest center to get initiated ,but further searching ended up with a blog containing an article
 "
The following is the Indian Express report as appearing on October 12, 1997 about Police registering a case of murder by Jaggi Vasudev:

Coimbatore, Oct, 11: Close on the heels of scandals relating to fake godmen getting exposed, yet another ashram from Coimbatore is in the limelight with Jaggi Vasudev aliash Jagadeesh of Isha Yoga ashram at Poondi near Coimbatore, being charged with the murder of his wife Viji alias Vijayakumari.

A team of police personnel recently visited the premises of Isha Ashram at poondi and interrogated the inmates of the ashram. Godman Jaggi is away in the US.

According to police, T. S. Ganganna of Bangalore (father of Viji) had preferred a complaint with the Bangalore Police suspecting foul play in the death of his daughter Viji. The complaintant had stated that his daughter left him last on June 15, 1996. He reportedly received a message on January 23, 1997, from Jaggi Vasudev, stating that Viji was no more.

Ganganna said that Jaggi Vasudev had hurriedly completed the cremation on Jan.24 even before they could rush from Bangalore, raising suspicion about the nature of death. He suspected death due to poisoning or strangulation.

According to him, Jaggi Vasudev could have caused the death of Viji to facilitate his illicit relationship with yet another inmate of the ashram. Based on the complaint of Ganganna to the Bangalore City Police on Aug. 12, a case was registered.

The Bangalore City Police transferred it to the Coimbatore Rural Police.

The Coimbatore Rural Police have registered a case against Jaggi Vasudev under Section 302 of IPC (murder) and IPC 201 (suppression of evidence).

Later. Isa Yoga Foundatrion has denied reports that Jaggi Vasudev had fled to USA to avoid investigation of ashram. Authorised Signatory of Ashram Kiran stated that Guruji had gone for giving lectures . ENS

"
But as mentioned earlier in a reply -"strangely" enough, you can't see any news related anywhere. So confused, of the membership.neutral

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#15 [url]

May 30 09 9:44 AM

 PM,
Thanks so much for helping me. It gives me comfort knowing that the visual disturbance's are self-induced along with the odd behaviors I saw. There were several people there who had been through many programs at isha & the newbies were forewarned they my hear & see strange things, but not to be alarmed.
What prompted me to go was a talk I heard in SF with Sadhguru & his new book. No friend recommendation..& I went alone. My spiritual/religious background: raised in a Catholic Church till I was 12. I have a very strong connection to a higher power & I am very spiritual on the days I am open to it all. I went really not knowing what any of this was...I was attracted to it with the great marketing they have for balanced energy.I am amazed at my self for falling into something like this. Totally expensive & damaging to me as a person. I am still not over it & I have increased anxiety thinking that the program got into my mind permanently.
Thanks again fo your help.


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#16 [url]

May 31 09 11:24 AM


While some of the scepticism is understandable, and as a thinking human being we must question what goes on around us.....i did my inner engineering in delhi almost 2 years ago....with some regularity and then stopped and then started again....did a repeat course....and finally went to the ashram a month ago.
All said and done, the experience I had was something that i think will remain with me for a long long time to come.  While I cant say i am enlightened etc....but i find a distinct change in my personality....I am calmer, more focussed.....and i am in a very stressed day to day environment, and I can see a change. My family has told me that I am a much nicer person since I began Isha....much more peaceful.  I have no reason to feign these traits....it is just happening since I started my practices.....all in all I am a much healthier person as well. We dont all have to behave like Sadhguru is the ultimate, but we can choose to get whatever good we can from the program and get on with our life dont you think?

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#17 [url]

Jun 12 09 12:21 PM

happyd,
 
 I really appreciate you be so candid with this subject. I went to an inner engineering course a couple months back with my girlfriend & she wanted me to attend the BSP course this weekend, I declined because it doesn't seem like a good fit for me. I was just very curious becauase no one else is willing to provide info on what exactly occurs at these events, if you would be willing to share some details on what the 4 days of the BSP course consists of.
 
 
Thank You,
Curious
 
 

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#18 [url]

Jun 13 09 1:10 AM

Curious1,
Well.... you know that as isha participants, we are told not to divulge any info on what goes on during the programs. (Inner engineering, bsp, samyama.) We're told that giving this info can lead to a variety of problems, such as health problems, spiritual problems and cheating the newcomer from his/her 'experience'.
 
However, this 'secretiveness' is one of many of the red flags that raised up for me regarding sadhguru and isha.
I began to grow tired of the secrets and the isha claim of mystery and uniqueness. The mere fact that sadhguru claims to have the 'best' and 'fastest' path to reaching your spiritual goals is no different of a claim from any other yogi, master or cult leader. And the followers buy the claims and believe this 'perfect' process makes them feel better or insist that 'it works'....again, no different than the followers of any other yogi, master or cult.
 
So whats the big secret if the claims are the same and the so-called 'results' are the same?
 
So, I have been researching other 'spiritual' practices and have found that there are a lot of similarities between isha and other programs.  I'm still collecting details on meditation practices from the hundreds of gurus, who bestow their 'fast, direct and best' path to bliss, upon the millions of hungry devotees...and, ironically, all processes are given with the same disclaimer that the process should not be shared outside of the inner circle. On what grounds is this a valid claim? Yet people agree and keep the secrets. Allowing the self-proclaimed guru to keep his control. So practice and program details are hard to find.
 
So, yes, I'll break the silence and share what goes on. Some details may be fuzzy but I'll pass along the highlights. I'll probably get hate mail from this, so I'll ask that you send me your email via pm.
 
I choose to speak of these things because no one else does. Either they buy the guru-ship and defend their purchase with every fiber of their being.....or they don't buy the guru-ship and quietly walk away. I just happened to have done both.....except the quiet walking away part :)
 
I'll also throw out a request to readers of this blog/forum.  If there are any experts on these matters that can put this info into some kind of perspective, I'd be appreciative of the assistance.  Anyone with any knowledge of cults, group behavior, hypnosis, meditation, persuasion, etc?  Thanks in advance.

happyd

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#19 [url]

Jun 13 09 1:38 AM

Happygirl said: "We dont all have to behave like Sadhguru is the ultimate, but we can choose to get whatever good we can from the program and get on with our life dont you think?"

Completely agree and well put. I think the problems arise when the leader claims he is the ultimate and the followers faint at the mere sight of him. They go into reverence as they stare at his picture....which you can purchase among many other guru-paraphernalia at the ashram market.

Happygirl said: "but i find a distinct change in my personality....I am calmer, more focussed.....and i am in a very stressed day to day environment, and I can see a change. My family has told me that I am a much nicer person since I began Isha....much more peaceful."

One can also find thousands of testimonials of other gurus, groups, belief systems, religions and meditation practices that sound similar. Just an observation that in no way minimizes your results.

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#20 [url]

Jun 16 09 8:42 PM

The "ENLIGHTENED MASTER" is emotionally shaken by the number of people following him. He would not give up his luxury at all. Now, he slowly moved the focus towards social service, growing trees, running schools etc. If anybody questions his authenticity re wisdom... he has the "Social Service" shield now. No enlightened person will ever claim that he is enlightened. But everybody should accept JV is a clever business man. Check out his site now... there is a link for Isha Business Private Ltd.



With all due respect to you, all I can say is go and sit in the basic ISHA yoga course and then decide for yourself. Yes, it was Sadhguru who emphasized that the tag business be added to the venture because it was "business". Please don't judge him without experiencing his presence. All I can say is go and try his course and then comment based on your experience.


Whenever Isha is criticized, the first statement that comes from people obsessed with “ISHA” is go and attend ... go and take up the Yoga course. Pathanjali’s (Father of Yoga) yoga techniques are taught at Isha. Yoga, as such, if practiced will have an effect on body/mind, i.e., it prepares you for self realization. After that realization, you will care a damn about the material things. JV does not seem to be an “Andharmukhi” and he is very much influenced by “Rajo” guna.


Also, the first thing (as far as I know) taught at Isha is promise on JV’s photograph that the secrecy will be maintained and all other spiritual things learned so far (may be, according to ISHA, spiritual garbage) must be erased from the mind. Why should that be? As if all the lineages of spiritual gurus who led a very modest, simple, honest life mean nothing?? And here is JV – your saviour? Is this the organization’s attitude? Is it a cult?


And I have listened to many of his discourses on youtube. Many of those are in similar lines of Osho’s and ridicule beliefs of others. And I have learnt from one of the participant of the program at that there is a separate cottage given to people who can afford and others stay at dormitory kind of setup. Why is such a difference shown at Isha?


I know a few places that teach yoga and self-realization courses where no matter a person can afford or not everyone is treated equally. JV is a social worker, a very clever business person and enjoys all the comforts of life under the cover of Yoga. Going by his teaching, he knows what he wants from life and he knows his full potential. It’s as simple as that!


Hi,
Once again I don't want to argue with you. But as far as I could understand, the only way you can comprehend anything in spiritual world is thro' your own experience. So, don't try to judge someone like sadhguru from what you perceive from here. Go and sit in his presence and then write about him.


I don't remember making any promise on sadhguru's photograph. Of course, they do say that we shouldn't teach this to others not because it is secret but because teaching yoga requires a lot of dedication, skill and more importantly a certain level of self realisation. A teacher in ISHA undergoes a rigorous 3-5 years training! OK, I leave it to you on your judgement of sadhguru.. I don't have anything to say on that..


As far as spiritual garbage is concerned, they emphasize more on experience than on knowledge. I have also found that sometimes knowledge (usually wrong understanding) about spiritual matters hinders our growth.


Yes, sadhguru is a realized master. So, he knows his full potential. Once again, I don't have anything to say on your judgement of sadhguru. All i can say is "Don't judge an enlightened being thro' your logical mind. They are beyond that". Do you know that he travels around the world without a single paisa in his hand?



Whoever is associated with Isha go very anxious whenever someone criticizes Isha and you seem to be bit different. As such, once you are in public life you cannot escape criticism.


Re promise on JV’s photograph … I came to know about this from 2 persons who attended the program. Do you mean to say whoever teaches Yoga there are self realized souls (certain level)? What’s that level? Realization is either zero or 100%. Thanks for leaving it to the people who have judged him perfectly.


My question is what does ISHA say? All those lineages of realized gurus who have been insisting on practicing dharma, propagating worship of god and leading a pious life are fools? How can you say it’s wrong understanding? It’s just a biased statement because your mind is so obsessed with Isha. I think JV also said once going to temples and worshipping is a kind of hallucination. What an arrogant way of ridiculing faith of millions of people. Re knowledge and experience… even JV insists on experience and sometimes on knowledge…depending on the persons who he speaks to, i.e. depending on his mood. I have noticed that in few of his interviews, his answers are intended to satisfy the interviewer. 


Sadhguru is not a realized master. He is a social worker. You talking about logical mind…this is really strange… all JV talks are premised on scientific and logical thinking…you say don’t use your logical mind??? He travels without a single paisa? What’s great about it? He has his business centers all over the world and he has his ardent followers to support him. I don’t think it’s something great to appreciate. Simplicity is beyond JV’s reach. ISHA is a cult. 

 


OK, if that is so why don't you go and sit in his presence. Why don't you blog us your true experience after that?


Sadhguru has always said that temples are "energy centers". It is not a place where you go to get life solutions. GOD is not someone who will solve your problems. One must realize that life is in their hands. This is what he has always emphasized. Also, he has said that most of the problems in this world is between one man's belief vs another man's belief. Hence, according to him faith in something (without experience) is always dangerous.


See, basically there are 4 different ways to attain the ultimate or you can become enlightened using the 4 tools available to you - body (karma yoga), mind (gyan yoga), emotion (bakthi) and energy (kriya yoga). In ISHA sadhguru (or any true guru for that matter, according to sadhguru) gives the right concoction of these 4 to the seeker. Every individual is unique and so is his spiritual path. Hence, in ISHA the right method is given to the right person.


Sadhguru always says "If a guru is not enlightened then it is his problem and you (or me) not being enlightened is (y)our problem". My statement on "logical mind" was actually given by another master "nithyananda" and is not from ISHA.
OK, sadhguru was not very keen on starting an organization. Only because the volunteers insisted, he agreed to start it. It was also started to reach to as many people as possible.


I am a bit surprised about your remark on ISHA people. But, as far as I have seen, most of them are really open like you and me. Some of them who really feel strongly connected with sadhguru might be stronger in voicing their opinions. This is just my guess.


Yes patanjali gave the "Yoga sutras". The word Sutra means "thread". It is left to the master to make a garland out of it (or as sadhguru says to blow life in to it). Hence, even though patanjali's yoga sutra might work (sometimes even go awry) for anyone and everyone if practiced on own, it might not be as effective as it is in ISHA (or in other good programs like AOL). In short, in ISHA the yoga sutras are taught in "right spirits and in the right way".


Even in past, there were enlightened beings (many nayanmars or sivan adiyars) who did very simple things leading a simple life. At the same time, there were kings like janaka who were fully enlightened. Hence, enlightenment is not about what you do but all about "how" you do it? Nithyananda beautifully says " You can be an enlightened engineer, doctor, lawyer etc; leading both a social and spiritual life".



Sage Suka was teaching a number of disciples including the wise emperor, Janaka. One day, Suka started his discourse late, for, Janaka had not yet come. The others resented the extra attachment that Suka bestowed on Janaka. They ascribed it to the fact that he was the emperor of the realm; they felt that their Guru was unfortunately moved by those mundane considerations. Suka knew how their imagination was weaving falsehoods and prejudices. So, he decided to cast off this envy from their hearts.


After Janaka came and the discourse lasted for sometime, Suka so managed with his mystic powers that they could see in the far distance, near the horizon, the city of Mithila, the capital of the emperor, caught in flames and crumbling in the conflagration. The disciples were listening to Atma Bodha, the lesson that the Atma alone is real and that all else is appearance, imposed on the Atma, by the fog of illusion and ignorance. Every other disciple ran off, leaving the class and the preceptor, each on his own self, afraid that the oncoming fire will burn his clothes or books.


But Janaka, whose capital city was being reduced to ashes sat unmoved for he knew that what was being consumed by fire was only appearance and not reality. Suka himself asked Janaka to go and assess the damage and try to save what can be saved from the fire. But Janaka replied that his treasure was the Jnana (wisdom) he was getting from his master and that he was unconcerned about the objective world, approachable by external instruments of knowledge. At this Suka revealed that the fire was a make-believe, created by him to show others the depth of real scholarship earned by Janaka in contrast to their superficial learning. Do you compare a business man like JV with Janaka? It is just unreasonable.


“If a Guru is not enlightened it is his problem” is just an irresponsible statement. It is like a teacher telling a student “Why do you bother about my knowledge?” you have to earn yours. True seeker will be attracted towards gurus and believes that he is the embodiment of God himself and such a statement sounds bizarre (or just to sound different from others). I have listened to lot of Nithyananda’s discourses. In one discourse he says YOU WILL NOT GET BLISS, YOU WILL ONLY GET BLISTERS.


Is it the way a realized master treat people who are serious about spirituality? In another discourse he comments on people doing pranayama at his ashram – he says every morning all of you breath in and out with “buss buss” sound like air flowing in and out of a pump, at many instances he boasts himself and he keeps boasting himself. Now, you would conclude that I keep bashing everybody. Actually, I am disappointed with personalities like him who are very much excited with the money and fame they receive and they keep talking and they talk and they talk…


Enlightenment changes the whole perception about the way you lead your life. There will be no self interest at all. Your view becomes as big as this world. And you will lose interest in the outside world and abide as the self. This is the result. And of course, you would continue as a doctor, lawyer etc. without bothering about the result. You become a karma yogi.


Why is ISHA being promoted as the only right path? There were many yoga masters like BKS iyengar, Sri Krishnamacharya who have not attached any tag to their teachings like ISHA. They are widely known and respected by millions. There is nothing like ISHA yoga. If ISHA or AOL is the only place to learn “GENUINE” yoga (I don’t think AOL claims so), what about Krishnamacharya, BKS and other countless yoga teachers? How can you claim they are not as effective as ISHA? ISHA (which is a cult) is not the only place to learn Yoga. There are many other good places that do not do it as business.


You say that ISHA was started due to request from volunteers. In one of his interviews with Sudhangan, JV said I didn’t have any intention to start an organization, lot of people were coming in. That’s why I had to start. Now, you say volunteers insisted upon it! It is just an excuse to defend people who accuse JV is doing a business. If it was started to reach as many people, it is marketing! 


Why is it being insisted again and again Isha gives the right method? Every individual is unique and so is his path. Leave those people who are emotionally attached towards god (bhakti). I have listened to one of JV’s talks where he sarcastically makes some remarks on puranas. What is the need of it? Why he keeps ridiculing the beliefs of others? In one of his interviews with Koffee with Anu, he made some comment on “Adam and Eve”. Going by his words, he is the one who is creating a clash between faiths. This comment was unwarranted and made with publicity intention.


According to him, except ISHA, where people are asked to believe and surrender willingly, all other belief systems are meaningless and followed by senseless people which will take you to nowhere. It is stated in the sastras that for self realization a man has to follow one of these 4 yogas…or a concoction of a few or all of these 4. Do you mean to say ISHA assesses every individual, studies his mental framework and suggests a path? 


I don’t accept JV’s view that most of the problems in this world are between one man’s belief vs another man’s. It is just between fanatics who do not accept/honor others’ beliefs. If faith without experience is always DANGEROUS, experience without faith is IMPOSSIBLE. are of course energy centers. Even swami vivekananda has told that life is in your hands and that does not refrain people from going to temples for their worldly problems. If a devotee has faith in himself and god, if his prayers are sincere, it will be addressed by the deity at the temple for sure.


I have learnt yoga from a very simple man and practicing it. I did not pay any money for it. The best part is he never asked me to go and recommend it to my friends/relatives. I don’t have any interest in sitting in front of the social worker/business man JV. However, I would visit the place at least once when I get an opportunity. ISHA is just a feel good cult. 

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