I have always been proactive about reading books on self-help and spirituality. Lately, I had been reading spiritual philosophies written by the Dalai Lama to Ram Dass. And I wasn't actively following Sadhguru, I had only attended his ‘truth for youth’ programme
back in college.
However, I was in a space where I had gained a significant amount of knowledge through my reading and I was under the impression that I have control over my mind and emotions (self claiming myself as a relatively spiritually awakened soul) to be honest in my defence I was actually extremely calm and had a certain hold over my emotions. I had also become less materialistic, egoistic, and self-consumed. However, life took a test and I failed at it miserably. I lost all my calm and all possible evil emotions were crossing my mind.
This is when I realised, it was time for me to learn proper meditation and make my base strong so that I don't lose my mind when certain situations are thrown at me. Before this, it was just me moulding my thinking and my mind in a certain way. For the next week or so I was researching for courses where I could learn the proper technique of meditation.
I came across an Inner engineering course offered by the Isha Foundation and designed by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.
About the course and my expectations:
Inner engineering is 4 days long course either offered at Isha Foundation in Tamil Nadu, or an online course. The course at the ashram cost Rs. 20,000 inclusive of the stay and food. IE is basically the doorway to spirituality and the most basic course offered by the Isha foundation. The participants are a group of 50 people or so from all across the globe and I was the second youngest in the group. Most of the people were in their late 30’s or 40’s. I had planned a solo trip to Kerala and then travel to Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu for the course.
I had read up decently about the Dhyanalinga and I was extremely excited to be in the presence of the Dhyanalinga temple. Like any other human we are taught to go and ask for ‘A WISH’ in the temple, I had my wish/urge ready in my mind as well.
I had this expectation that I will go to the temple and pray to get into Brut India (I was waiting to hear back from them on my job offer) Besides that I was serious about learning the Kriya and had promised myself to do it everyday, little did I know it come with such ease.
Vs my Experience:
First of all, the ashram is beyond beautiful. Everything is extremely organised, full of greenery and the vibes of the whole place is extremely calm and full of positive energy. Thinking about my stay at the ashram puts a smile on my face today.
The first day after reaching the yoga centre, I took a shower, went to the Chandra Kund, took a dip (ended up tearing in the pool) and then went and sat at the Dhyanlinga… The moment I entered it was like something hit me I couldn't ask for the whole brut India job opportunity. I felt at ease while sitting in the presence of the linga! It felt much bigger than this tiny wish of mine.
So the course began, it is like a mix of sermons by Sadhguru and physically practising the kriya (yoga+pranayama). I will not like to talk much about the course but it's super interactive with activities like walking in the river, one has to go and experience it for themselves. I was not using my phone either during that period, I hardly have any photos of the ashram. I had completely surrendered myself to the course!
On the fourth day, is when you perform all the steps of the Kriya and you are initiated into the Sadhana. I wasn't aware of the concept of the importance of initiations done by gurus into Kriya or Sadhana. A day before the Initiation day we were shown a testimonial video of people who have attended IE and were asked to come with zero expectations. Since I anyway didn't know much about the concept of initiation, I was definitely very indifferent to it compared to other participants in the course.
Right before the initiation, we were shown a video of Sadhguru, where he mentioned how the person sitting right next to us might end up crying or laughing but we are not supposed to pay attention to it. Initiation is the day you perform the whole kriya together and you are led into the sadhana by your guru.
We started with the kriya and soon I could hear other participants laughing and crying out loud and in my head was this completely different thought process going on about something Sadhguru has spoken about before the initiation.
He spoke about this concept of looking inwards and figuring out that the whole universe resides within you and stated an example from the legend story of Krishna opening his mouth when his mother asked if he was eating sugar, and the mother saw the whole universe inside his mouth.
Meanwhile, through the course, I was overthinking and over-cautious of the fact ‘I hope I am not joining a cult’, ‘ I hope I am not blindly believing something’. In my office as well, before leaving when I told my colleagues about the course, they made jokes about me being a ‘Sanghi’ or supporting the right-wing.
So these two arguments were holding tight in my subconscious mind, however, I was feeling at ease, probably because in our lives even if we sit for 10 minutes with our eyes closed, we feel calm and rested.
Suddenly towards the end of the initiation, the tabla (Indian drum-like instrument) was playing at a tempo and I could feel some energy around my abdomen region and near my hand mudra. To explain in experience what this energy felt like, it felt like thrust to a level after a point it was hard for me to keep my hands in place.
After a 3mins the music stopped and I opened my eyes and tears were falling from my eyes.
I don't know to explain this experience of instances of me crying but it was definitely extremely overwhelming.
40-day Mandala period:
After the course, we were expected to perform the kriya twice a day empty stomach. Along with this I personally decided to give up things like caffeine, alcohol or anything that makes your nervous system weak.
To my surprise, I can confidently say that completed my mandala period without cheating the rules and following the meditation twice a day. I have been wanting to meditate ever since and it finally happened for me.
Talking about the results of IG, I think it's too soon for me to comment on the benefits of IE but on a lighter note I feel so confident about my decisions and clearer in my head. It has put my routine in an even better place because I take cold showers in the morning and then meditate.
I was lucky enough that soon during my mandala period, I got an opportunity to meet Sadhguru during his movement to ‘save soil’. At ThePrint, we have a show called Off the cuff and on Monday we were scheduled for OTC with Sadhguru. I was grateful enough to Shekhar sir who let me come for the interview and ask a question to Sadhguru myself. Shekhar sir was aware that I had gone for a course worth 20 thousand at isha foundation.
The interview was definitely more inclined towards political logical questions. But being in presence of Sadhguru in a room with less than 10 people was truly blissful. However, at some moments, it felt like he was there in that room but then not there in the room. And during the starting of the interview, our reporter referred to him as 'Jaggi Vasudev' which made him a bit angry, asking to restart the interview and refer to him as Sadhguru.
I understand why he wants or SHOULD be called Sadhguru simply because he has earned that mark of respect. Speaking in spiritual terms maybe it's a thing that he doesn't identify himself with Jaggi anymore and doesn't want to be called that.
I don't know but I was a little taken aback by him getting angry so quickly. The interview felt a little passive-aggressive to me.
However, besides that I believe many people accuse him to commercialising spirituality but how I see it is as giving so many people in the cities opportunity to come and learn meditation. Because otherwise there is no proper course available for the masses. The nearest I was to spirituality was via books and youtube videos.
His foundation gave me chance to meet like-minded people and learn something beyond books. Going to the yoga centre I realised how far I was from being spiritually awakened, Now I have started to bring the knowledge to physical actions. Om Shanti.