Inspiring Indian Youth
Today’s Indian youth is hyper-logical, questioning everything around him or her and is irreverent towards elders because they feel respect has to be earned through display of wisdom & not of age. Their world is awash with tech gadgets and many hours each day are spent on Instagram, Snapchat and FaceBook trying to garner views & likes. For the previous generations of people, this may seem completely vain and a terrible waste of time, but for the post-millennium generation, they cannot stay away from this because, well, “what else is there to do?”
To put a spark in this bunch of people needs someone really special — one who can make your pulse go racing and also be able to put you at ease, dashing & composed.
An avid biker, golfer, car enthusiast, writer, artist, designer, an erstwhile business magnate, a contemporary Spiritual Guru who is equally comfortable flying a helicopter or riding a bullock cart, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is not a new name to many of India’s Gen X.
He has been a great influence in bringing a renewed interest into India’s cultural aspects and making yoga seen as a cool thing, rather than something to be pursued towards the twilight of one’s life. Thousands of young people have their testimonials on YouTube, FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter as to how they have become better individuals in life, gained better health, gotten rid of debilitating addictions of alcohol & drugs and have even come out of suicidal tendencies by listening to and watching his videos.
Right from early 2000s, people identified Sadhguru as someone with profound knowledge in a variety of domains and started inviting him for several major events like the World Economic Forum meetings, UN environmental initiatives, etc.
Though the silent wave of spirituality was sweeping through South India till 2000s, Sadhguru envisioned that if the world has to come to peace, first the individual and the society at large needs to be at peace. So, once a sufficient number of people had been transformed into meditators through his spiritual programs, he slowly nudged them into volunteering for a wide range of projects.
- Since 2003, as part of Isha’s ‘Action For Rural Rejuvenation’ project, over 90000 people have been taught yoga in some of the remotest places of Tamilnadu.
- More than 5 million+ patients have been treated through mobile & brick-n-mortar Isha Health clinics covering 7500+ villages in South India.
- Hundreds of villagers across Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh have come out of alcohol addiction successfully through Isha’s ‘Gramotsavam’ initiative.
- There are 9 Isha Vidhya schools being run in Tamilnadu where more than 8500 students from rural background are nurtured, with >60% students under scholarship.
- As part of the Project Green Hands (PGH) outreach wing of Isha, more than 4600 farmers have been trained till date in natural farming methods and many have successfully adapted that model to see a higher agricultural yield.
- The Velliangiri Farmers Producers Organization (VFPO), an initiative mentored by Sadhguru directly, has been able to bring together 1000+ farmers in Coimbatore region and garner profits of >7 crore rupees in 2017–18.
- Green School Movement of Isha guides school children across Tamilnadu for nurturing saplings, planting them and growing them into full-fledged trees. Over 35 million tree saplings have been distributed and planted by over 2 million volunteers so far.
- Since 2017, hundreds of people across India, have now taken up Isha’s river revitalization projects, as ‘Nadi Veeras’, focusing on rapid implementation of these solutions through detailed field studies and working closely with several state Governments across India.
One needs to understand why so many young people across the world volunteer in these spiritual and social projects. Obviously, there is the feel-good factor of doing some good work that impacts society. But why do they even take the first step?
For many people like me, the first encounter with Isha Foundation and Sadhguru is through the Isha yoga programs. Very logical in their structure and striking much deeper on the psychological plane, Isha’s programs not only teach yoga but also living responsibly in a social environment. So, once someone experiences wonderful physical and mental health benefits through these programs, it is only natural that they want everyone else to be benefited as well.
However, increasingly more people seem to be flocking towards Sadhguru for other reasons. Sadhguru talks in fluent English and is reaching youngsters in a way that they understand and on the media platforms that they dwell on. More than 3.5 Million people follow him on Instagram, > 6 Million on FaceBook and > 5 Million on YouTube.
When you see a very active person capable of doing all sorts of stunts including adventure racing, flying helicopters, mountaineering, and if he is over 60 years of age, you are bound to be wowed. Many of us had been thinking of spirituality as a certain disability but here is a someone extremely contemporary and showing that spirituality is actually an empowerment to do anything in life. No wonder, Sadhguru is seen as a cool icon for youth to emulate.
Never one to back down from any challenge, whether it is growing his Isha Foundation in a hostile socio-political environment or giving his opinions on unpopular Government policies in media interviews or answering questions on sexuality & love to college students, Sadhguru’s openness & clarity of perception in a range of domains attract and inspire many youngsters.
Equally aplomb is Sadhguru when talking to business leaders during his INSIGHT Leadership programs or in international events like UN, WEF, etc.
As a spiritual guru, he does not emphasize on any kind of belief system and opines — “The conflict in the world is not between good and evil, as is so often projected. The conflict is always between one man’s belief and another man’s belief, whether it is within the family or between nations. The moment you believe something, you are in conflict with the opposing belief. You can postpone it with moderate talk. But conflict is inevitable.”
Where dogmatic belief systems emphasize going beyond mind for growing spiritually, Sadhguru presents a seemingly contradictory view, “Once you have a questioning mind, learn to employ that to grow”, and that makes more sense to a logical person.
His progressive ideas coupled with a scientific approach presented towards traditional practices appeal highly to the current generation, just the way they would like to look at life. At his Isha Yoga Center, highly qualified people and illiterate folk together volunteer cheerfully with no one frowning upon the other, basing on financial status or academic qualifications. Such open display of social equality had been almost unheard of in many so-called spiritual spaces.
He had once famously said, ‘Gurus are always contemporary’ and exemplifies it completely.
Swami Vivekananda had been a tall beacon of wisdom and inspiration for many prior generations. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev ji carries that baton now for the younger generation of India. It is only appropriate to remember both these people on this International Youth Day, 12 August 2020.