About 5 years ago I met an unassuming young man in a Sadhu’s garb in Puert Rico. Both of us were attending the conference on Deepak Chopra’s ‘Alliance of the new Humanity” and that was when I had my first ‘ride’ with him ! We drove into the middle of the night searching for a place where a function was being held in the old town. Driving with ‘jaggi’ is a hair raising experience. I called him the ‘speed’ Guru then. Of course he will not let any one else take the wheel just in case life becomes a little more sedate. There were other adventures on the way which I will write about later, but please read on to discover with me what I was really moved by..
We lost touch and then I came across ‘Jaggi’ again at a dinner at Mukesh Ambani’s house. Both of us had been speaking at the YPO function along with such brilliant people as Mohammad Yunus. I have written about that meeting in this blog before. We hugged as old friends that had indulged in some hair raising adventures in a different time and in a far away land. He then invited me to his Ashram in Coimbitore. To come and celebrate Mahashivratri with him.
I had no idea what to expect. I do not follow the rituals of the spiritual search, preffering to follow a more personal path. though I do not deny the potential in ritual . And yes I attended the rituals at the Ashram, and saw the positive effect of those rituals on people that accepted them unquestioningly. And yes I attended the Mahashivratri celebrations along with almost 700,000 people that came to the celebration to dance, chant, and listen to the most wonderful music through the night. I was moved by that experience. How can one not be ?
But that is not what I wanted to talk about . But the incredible work that his ashram is doing. Every one that works in the Ashram is a volunteer and they come from all over the world and from every profession. Doctors, lawyers, teachers – every walk of life is represented there. And they all come to give, looking for only their own spiritual awakening in return. And no they do not walk around chanting all day. They sleep barely 5 hours a day, run schools, working at finding new ways to protect nature, expand education to rural areas into the interiors of Tamil Nadu – and soon elsewhere in India and soon all over the world. They have a rejuvenation centre based on old techniques where the sick come to be replenished.
And yet for the incredible amount that is achieved by these volunteers, they are some of the most calm and most loving people you will see. There is nothing of that corporate sense of self importance and hurry that you are slammed with when you visit any major corporate office. , ,
And the organization is just so unobtrusive, but so effective. Have you ever attended a political rally ? Politicians boast about a 100,000 people that attended a political rally, and people will push you around, there will be scuffles and there will almost be more policemen than crowds. Police cars, blaring loudspeakers, lathi’s, heckling – everything.
Now imagine 700,000 people that turned up to the Mahashivratri celebrations. I barely saw any policemen. The whole thing was handled by the kindest and gentlest of volunteers. People were going wild dancing when “jaggi’ danced. But not a single incident that led to any ugliness at all.
The next night I was at Jaggi’s house to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. He told me that not a single pair of shoes was lost. That for the thousands of cars and two wheelers that came to the celebrations, just one motorcycle went missing, and he personally stayed up till the volunteers traced it and returned t to the owner.
Sat Guru Jaggi Vasudev talks only about Sprituality. About change and about bettering the human condition through an understanding of your own spiritual powers. And through Yoga. He actively renounces religious dogma. Are these the new center’s of a resurgent India ? Jaggi and other such individuals that become the central force around which people gather to go out to change the world for the better ?