Monday, April 13, 2015

Sadhguru and Rishi Prabhakar: a curious connection!

When we have a Guru who strikes a chord with people, there will be always be Guru-haters too who keep spreading lies to damage and discredit the Guru. So it is not surprising that Sadhguru (of Isha Foundation) has his fair share of critics who call him a fraud and his spiritual movement a “cult”. I addressed some of these “cult concerns” in my earlier article. Most of this so-called “criticism” is not worth considering because it is devoid of facts and is full of hate-filled propaganda. But we must keep listening to the critics because they may sometimes dig out a fact that deserves some attention. This article focuses on one such fact.


The allegation


An allegation I heard long back about Sadhguru is that he got trained under one Rishi Prabhakar of Siddha Samadhi Yoga (SSY), learnt all the yoga techniques from him, left him and started his own organization (Isha Foundation). I discarded this allegation as “silly propaganda” and never really paid much attention to it. But recently I happened to talk to one acquaintance who after learning that I am an Isha meditator, casually remarked that “he meditated with Sadhguru long back in Hyderabad, when he was part of Siddha Samadhi Yoga”. This made me very curious and I considered this allegation with some seriousness for the first time.


Some facts


So I researched on the internet. The most difficult part for me was to separate facts from opinions and propaganda. In the end, I could gather these facts regarding this allegation:


  1. Rishi Prabhakar (who expired in 2014) never himself said anything about Sadhguru. However, Rishi Prabhakar’s disciple Raviji  (who is a Guru himself) did go on record about this and wrote the following in a blog comment in 2007:


“The arguments and counter arguments about Jaggi and his life are interesting. One fact I wish to share is we both got trained by Guruji Rishi Prabhakar in the years 1984-86. We both took SSY teachers training together in Gommatagiiri near Mysore. We did SSY classes together and we started the Hyderabad center of Rishi Samskruti Vidya Kendra under Guruji. Then he was sent by Guruji Rishi Prabhakar to Coimbatore to start center there. There he slowly left the organization and started his own. He renamed himself as Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev and became popular.


His Guru Rishi Prabhakar will not claim him to be his student as Jaggi has not lived up to his word. There is no secrecy in these matters. Jaggi himself will accept it (I still believe he is truthful). I have not contacted him so far after he left Guruji Rishi Prabhakar."

  1. Apart from Raviji’s statement, there is no other factual proof I could find online, apart from some people who claimed that they did indeed see Jaggi Vasudev when he was with SSY. And there were couple of Isha meditators who heard this from people they trust and so were surprised like me and wanted to know the truth.


Sadhguru never mentioned Rishi Prabhakar. But let us look at some relevant facts we know about Sadhguru and try to put those in the context of this allegation:


  1. Per his own words, Sadhguru got enlightened in September 1981 on Chamundi Hills, Mysore.
  2. After enlightenment, there was an “year of withdrawal” after which Sadhguru decided to teach yoga. He conducted his own class for a time and then decided to “work under the umbrella of other yoga organizations with similar objectives”. Reason? They had “methods and techniques but no (spiritual) experience, while Sadhguru had a huge experience but did not have any methods or techniques”. Working with them taught Sadhguru “what he should not do”. He picked up some things from these organizations and made them into something “totally different”. These efforts culminated into the present Isha Foundation’s programs, “where the content may be the same but the dimension and depth with which it is presented is not being done anywhere else”.

    (Details taken from his biography by Arundhati Subramaniam titled “Sadhguru, more than a life”, pages 87-89)
  3. Till 1987, Sadhguru continued his yoga classes (which were flourishing, with some classes held even in Hyderabad). He also got married during this time and did other business activities to earn money.
  4. In 1987, Sadhguru visited Coimbatore to meet a friend and entered a deep meditative state waiting at the bus depot. It was then he decided Coimbatore as his future home. In 1989, he conducted his first class there. Isha foundation was established later in Coimbatore in 1992.


Analysis


The most striking aspect of Raviji’s statement is the details provided. Specific years and place names were mentioned. Between 1984-86, Sadhguru was still possibly interacting with outside organizations and so his involvement with SSY cannot be ruled out. The place “Gomatagiri” mentioned by Raviji even figures in Arundhati Subramaniam’s book where it is mentioned that “Jaggi conducted a program in Gomatagiri” (page 92).  Per the book, Sadhguru visited Coimbatore in 1987 which aligns with Raviji’s dates.


One can also see some similarities between Isha’s programs and SSY’s. SSY’s intro program is called “Siddha Samadhi Yoga” which teaches a basic breathing technique and emphasises eating “positive pranic” food. Isha’s flagship program called “Inner Engineering” is similar. Interestingly, before “Inner Engineering”, Sadhguru used to teach a 13 day program called “Sahaja Stithi Yoga” which also acronyms to SSY. Rishi Prabhakar’s other program called “Bhava Samadhi Training” (BST) deals with handling emotions and is intended to “vomit out what was suppressed for many years”. This has some resemblances to Isha’s “Bhava Spandana Program” (BSP). Rishi Prabhakar has a silence program called “Advanced Meditation Course” (AMC) designed to “take one into one’s own state of silence within”. Isha has a similar advanced silence meditation program too called “Samyama”. Critics pointed out these similarities to claim that Isha’s programs are a rip-off from SSY. That is a hasty conclusion because many organizations have similar programs (e.g Art of Living also has a silence meditation program). Moreover Sadhguru himself admitted that he took some ideas from these organizations but transformed them entirely.


But there are some troubling aspects in Raviji’s statement. He claims that Sadhguru took teachers training with SSY which indicates a far deeper involvement than what Sadhguru hinted at in Arundhati Subramaniam’s book.  Raviji also says that Sadhguru was sent to Coimbatore by Rishi Prabhakar to establish SSY there. This contradicts Sadhguru’s own version. Per Sadhguru, he had a mystic connection with Coimbatore and Velliangiri mountains in his past life and therefore selected Coimbatore to establish Dhyana Linga, his mission in this life. It is however possible that he first came to Coimbatore on some SSY related work and then recognized his past-life relation with it. Arundhati Subramaniam’s book does mention that Sadhguru remembered his “coimbatore connection” unexpectedly when he visited Coimbatore in 1987 (page 100).


Final impressions

Given these facts, this is the story I construct. After enlightenment, Sadhguru taught yoga on his own for a while. Then he decided to join with other organizations. In this phase, I am reasonably certain that Sadhguru was involved with SSY, possibly as a teacher. We need more factual details to establish the story entirely here. But it is possible that Sadhguru went to Coimbatore on SSY related work and recognized his connection with that place. This is when Sadhguru started cutting off from SSY to be on his own again with his Sahaja Stithi Yoga. So this is the possible story and there is nothing fraudulent here as some critics allege. I conclude that blaming Sadhguru for his "Rishi Prabhakar" connection is entirely baseless.

P.S - Email communication with Raviji: I contacted Raviji over email to comment on Sadhguru's involvement with SSY but he declined to discuss it. His advice to me over 2 replies is a really wise advice for a spiritual seeker but does not help to fill in the gaps -
Reply 1: Why you want to disturb yourself with the history of your guru? Just enjoy your sadhana and move ahead. It is good for you and for your guru too! Until one comes out of the idea that a human being can be a Guru to another human being, it is not possible to see the truth that every life has something to offer as wisdom and knowledge. It is Nature that lets us learn everything. All human interventions are just obstacles for ones journey towards God and divine living! Simply celebrate your life free from all Gurus, who are just human beings, like all of us. No one can save you excepting your own self!
Reply 2: Just continue your sadhana. Be thankful to whoever had offered it. Keep offering your best wherever you are and enjoy life as it comes. There is no one who is a Guru or Sadguru, it is his/her disciples who make it. If it is authentic or he is genuine or your belief is true, matters not from his/her context. You give value to such things and so it matters to you. That's all. Just continue your Sadhana without getting attached to the person whoever had made it possible for you. It is your journey and you need to take it up. No one will carry you. "Uddaret Atmana atamanam..." Bhagavat Gita says. What more can be?

53 comments:

omm said...

'Raviji is a respectable person but there can be inaccuracies in what he wrote.'

it's unfair to mention raviji's innacuracies. i too attended Gomatagiri BST with Raviji. Jaggis wife Viji was the superstar teacher of SSY. jaggi then just used to be an introvert sweet husband of viji. we all used to think this is a couple made in heaven. viji till death was committed to aham brahmasi. jaggi turned to exploitation in the name of external god, which never used to believe in .
sorry to witness unfortunate and inhuman turn of events.

Phanindra KSM said...

Dear Omm,

Thanks for the reply. I did not intend to doubt Raviji but just listed a possibility. I contacted Raviji over email on this actually but he declined to comment. He in-turn advised me not to worry about these things. I just updated my blog to include his response. Please see the P.S above.

It is interesting to learn that Viji was a SSY teacher. I was thinking till now that Viji got interested in spirituality under Sadhguru's influence. The commonly told story is that Viji is very sincere seeker who wanted to achieve enlightenment after death and she diligently did all the Sadhana offered by Sadhguru to reach that goal (although somewhat prematurely, even before Dhyanalinga is consecrated). What are your thoughts on this version?

What exactly do you refer to when you say "jaggi turned to exploitation in the name of external god"? Do you mean the Linga Bhairavi yantras?

What events do you have in mind when you said, "sorry to witness unfortunate and inhuman turn of events"?

Thanks for your reply again!

truthn Light said...

It seems Mr Jagadish Vasudev aka Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev aka Jaggi has been accused by his own father in law of killing his daughter (Sadhguru jaggi's wife) Vijji aka Mrs Vijaya kumari either by strangulation or by poisoning, in 1997. Mrs Vijaya Kumari was 31 years old then with a 6 year old daughter . Jaggi has escaped saying that she went into mahasamadhi. (Now, which court accepts mahasamadhi and acquits a murderer?).

Mr. Jagadish cremated the body of his wife on the next day itself, hence no autopsy could be performed. Before marrying Jagadish vasudev, Vijaya kumari was working in a bank and was previously married to someone else. After her death, another woman who was involved with them (in the tri-vortex of energy needed to consecrate the so -called dhyanalinga), a certain Mrs. Bharathi divorced her husband and came to live with Mr. Jagadish vasudev.

Mr. Jagadish vasudev has a daughter named Radhe, who is a dancer and she is married to a classical singer and is living a normal, luxurious life in Chennai and the USA, whereas most young women and men in the ashram live as unpaid slave labour, just on 2 meals a day and 3 sets of clothes and hard work to produce products and money for his so called Isha foundation, which many say is just an excuse to get tax exempt status in India and the USA for all ashram activities and businesses. Isha foundation doesnt seem to work much as it is advertised.

Mr Jagadish Vasudev once said that children who go to govt. schools are walking 4 km per day and giving the bus charges (7rs/ day) to the ashram and that they are very commendable.
Also, while he asks people to live frugally, and donate to the ashram, he and his daughter, and Bharathi etc live very luxuriously and Jaggi has bought himself a landrover, a landcruiser and a hummer apart from other things. He advises people not to drink coffee, but he himself drinks folgers coffee and is seen at starbucks. His family members (daughter, son in law etc ) go to movies, malls, foreign vacations, and drink coffee and hang out with friends along with their latest i-phones as normal people do. It seems that Mr. Jgadish vasudev is keeping them in "miserable" luxuries while the ashramites are enjoying sublime "spiritual" bliss in bare frugality.

He has once said that 3 things should never be commercialized...education, health care and spirituality. He is commercializing all the three as - a) isha home school charges around 6 lakh per annum, b) isha arogya (medicine) products are sold through isha stores and c) inner engineering and all other programs (spirituality) are also being sold to the masses.

He is good with words, but he himself never practices what he speaks. Some people who want to come out of the ashram are threatened from leaving saying that their spiritual progress will be stopped and that they will also affect the lives of many people around them...or something like that. Anyways most of them are in a kind of hypnotic delusional state where they worship their master since he is offering them something intangible like enlightenment, and they believe all the lies he continuously says and defend him and the organization to the best of their abilities.

You can read more on sadhguru jaggi vasudev aka sjv on guruphiliac forums written by ex ishaites. They say that few people were found dead at both his ashrams in India and the US.

Ramakrishnan Prithivirajan said...

Excellent article.

Raghu said...

I have attended the SSY class held by Sadguru and his wife viji in 1986 at Mangalore. Sadguru was relatively quite vs Vijji. I personally did not sense any exploitative tendencies in either of the two what so ever.

Phanindra KSM said...

Interesting! Did not know that Sadhguru and Viji conducted classes together. It is rather curious that Sadhguru never mentioned (AFAIK) about his and Viji's association with SSY.

Vee Kay said...

Wow, interesting article. So many double standards. Whom to trust.

Anonymous said...

isha is a black magic cult and jaggie is a witch
Isha people I know (all Westerners) continue to point out to me that Isha is not a religion. It's website disclaims religious status as well. But...when I watch the videos of all of the ceremonies, rituals, chanting, dancing, adoration of Vasudev, I am reminded of the old adage that if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it is a duck. Isha is a religion, it's own religion. That is so clear to me. Like all religions, Isha is syncretic - it borrows from other religions. It mostly borrows from Hinduism, but the flesh-eating meditations are borrowings from Christianity. If syncretic, it is also synthetic - made up on the fly by Vasudev.
People are ensnared by Isha's promises of healthy living through yoga. They then get sucked deeper into a cult mentality. Finally, they are incapable of independent reason. Some, fortunately, will snap out of their trance as have some of the critical posters here; but most, unfortunately, will die Isha devotees.
Meanwhile, Vasudev, the actor-entertainer guru, is enjoying his narcissistic power trip, his wealth, his status in society. And yet, at the end of it all, Vasudev will be die (from disease or accident, not mahasamadhi), his cult will splinter, diminish, and, to quote Ronald Reagan, be consigned to the "dustbin of history." And yet, how many good people will ruin their lives adoring this false god with his faux temples and their manufactured deities?
Vasudev's press is good. His cult spreads. Only this blog stands witness to the truth about this "profound mystic."

Ravi S said...

Great research Phanindra !
I did not believe that I will see a familiar face in profile photo of this webpage :)
I know you professionally in 6k days :), not sure if you remember me.
I recently started watching this guy's videos on Youtube and got blown away with his answers on each and every question asked by people.
Even in UN, he is invited because some of the officials are his trainees as we get to hear from Max Kennedy.
But when I saw his discussions about Souls, Cobra Venom and "Dwapara Yuga being as present time", then I just thought to try doing search on any possible controversy around him and found this :)
There is one more article from Tehelka journalist on this where he spent a day in this Ashram and has some interesting observations :) you can check those in case not yet seen at http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=hub060811You_me.asp

So somehow I tend to agree with Raviji's answer to you that it is your faith in Guru which is more important than what he/she is truly in life.

Phanindra KSM said...

Hi Ravi,

Pleasure hearing from you! Yes, I remember you very much! How are you doing? Your blog "My life" is quite nice but seems you haven't updated it recently! Keep writing!

Sadhguru's talks are excellent and he has a great presence. His meditation programs are pretty good too and I would definitely recommend them for anyone (I wrote articles on them in this blog, check for tag "Isha"). But I agree that the "mystic" aspect of him may not be to everyone's liking. I do not approve of it/believe in it completely myself. I do wish that he does not emphasize this aspect much. I read the Tehelka link you pointed out before and even that author is not very comfortable with mysticism. But that said, one can always ignore this mystic-aspect (Sadhguru himself asked people to not believe what he says, but not reject it either. He asked people to just be aware that such possibilities exist).

Of course, there are other controversies surrounding him and Isha foundation. You can find ample details on the web. But I can say this - the programs and volunteer base is excellent. So my advice to people interested in Isha programs but skeptical about Sadhguru is this - just take a program, meet some nice guys and experience the benefits of practice! Forget the rest of the stuff, if you want, it does not really matter. And if someone is interested in his talks - just listen to the talks you like for their wisdom and ignore the rest!

sundanzer said...

I read ur comments....very interesting....I often wonder at the amount sadhguru spends on his "dressing" I mean the costly shawls...the subtely matching sartorial sense...I often rationalise why gurus dress so well...all of them...have a certain cult dressing...can't wisdom be delivered when one is in austere dress sense ?...SHYAM Sunder

Phanindra KSM said...

Hi Shyam Sunder,

I think it is a preference. Traditional Gurus were all dressed very simply while modern Gurus tend to dress well. For me, it is fine as long as it is not extravagant. Sadhguru does wear neat and costly dresses. It does not matter even if he wears simpler dresses. I think we should not be too bothered by "external appearances". One looking simple and austere is not necessarily an authentic Swami nor one who wears costly dresses is a fake one.



Lakshmiputra said...

Phanindra, send me your email address to 9494125721, I will give you some interesting information about this topic.

Phanindra KSM said...

@Lakshmiputra: Thank you! You do not seem to be on Whatsapp and I cannot text to India numbers from my phone. You can email me at ksmphanindra@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I have a simple question which has been bothering me a lot. How does a super star yoga teacher(Vijji) in her prime with no disease just 'leave' her body? Does legal system accept that? Tomorrow I can commit a murder of my wife and say she left her body because she was yogic and I will be let free? I don't think so. There is something fishy.
She either died of natural causes or she died of unnatural causes. If she died of natural causes(cancer etc.) then Sadhguru has spun this whole consecration story on her death bed and created this organization. Or she was plain murdered. Only 'evidence' is testimony of some people who saw her leave the body which too is anecdotal evidence. We cannot suspend our common sense!
By the way Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharishi died of cancer, Vivekananda of Diabetes. At the most, yogis when they know their bodies are getting fragile, can choose a time to leave the body(Ekadasi etc.) but not just like that.Definitely not a married woman with a kid!

Phanindra KSM said...

@Anonymous: Your skepticism is reasonable. Sadhguru's explanation was that "people who are not accomplished Yogis cannot hold their body when they reach enlightenment". He even said that he is proud of her as a Guru, that she reached the pinnacle. All this is admittedly "mystic" in nature and people can question it.

Chris said...

Thank you for this article. I just recently discovered Sadhguru on YouTube and have found his talks very inspiring and useful. I am not new to the spiritual path and as such, learned a long time ago that the true teacher is within. Others can help point the way but we learn by inner experience and awareness.
I decided to investigate Sadhguru to assess his character, which as you stated is not always easy because of the amount of biased opinions that float around about him on the Internet.
I find it somewhat amusing that people make such an issue out of what could be deemed as proprietary rights for the usage of spiritual teachings and methods. Not withstanding copyright issues (which by their nature could be considered dubious because of worldly mindset that deems that intellectual property can be owned in a spiritual universe), is not the truth the truth no matter what medium it is expressed through? If I truly benefit from a teaching or practice, I could care less who the teacher is or the who the organization is the published and promoted the work it. But then again, I've learned through experience not to blindly trust and rely on any one individual or organization to interpret reality for me. I listen to many points of view and see if there is inner resonance to what is being presented. I then proceed from that place. It's my opinion that to truly progress on the spirity'all path, one has to let go of the tendency to blindly belive the words of others. We need to learn from the guru within that may resonate with the words of another. We are responsible for our own awakening.
That's my 2 cents anyway...well maybe 5 cents....hehe
Chris

Chris said...

Sorry for the typos...hehe

Phanindra KSM said...

Very well put Chris! I agree with you! Yes, Sadhguru is very inspiring and we can learn a lot from him and benefit.

Music Moments said...

Phanidra,
Not sure if you remember me, I live in the US and my name is Appaiah. I too was a part of Rishi Prabhkar's SSY , also attended the BST course and particpated in BST along with Jaggi and Viji, but this was in Bangalore. I was introduced to Rishi Prabhakar by my brother Shyam from Mysore! Shyam and Jaggi were good friends! You may know my brother.
Did you also attend the BST at Bangalore? I remember you because of the not so common name you have!
I totally agree with you that we should learn from his experience and the inspiration he imbibes in people and the benefits he offers from his discources! I do not feel that modelling his training program around Rishi Prabhakar's would be wrong! I am sure Rishi Prabhakar also fine tuned his SSY and BST based on his Guru's teaching. In the end it is about how you can inspire people in leading a happy spirtual life! Anybody who is in the business of making the world a better place to live will need all the adulations and love!!!

Let me end by just saying the famous quote by Oscar Wilde 'all saints have a past and all sinners have a future' !!!
-Appaiah

Phanindra KSM said...

Hi Appaiah gaaru,

No, I am not the same Phanindra in the BST course in Bangalore! I did not myself attend any SSY courses but I do know a friend who attended a SSY course with Sadhguru in Hyderabad. In a casual conversation he told me about it and that is how I researching on links between Sadhguru and Rishi Prabhakar and ended up in writing this article!

I completely agree with you that people like Rishi Prabhakar, Sadhguru or RaviShankar are doing fabulous job to humanity and should be treated with adulation!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the very informative discussion and analysis.
Please review the below link and see if you can add further thoughts on this topic.
http://halfcenturywisdom.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Here is the click able hyperlink:
http://halfcenturywisdom.blogspot.com

Phanindra KSM said...

Dear Anonymous blogger,

Thanks for sharing your experiences with Sadhguru and providing a link to your write-up in my blog comments. When I researched on Sadhguru-Rishi Prabhakar connection, I was really hoping to find someone like you telling the story from their personal experience. To my frustration, I could not find any such account on the internet. Now at last, I found another "version" of the story. Your account seems truthful and I admire your courage!

Your revelations, if true, are shocking to say the least. Many Sadhguru devotees would be devastated. But even though you know all you wrote here is the truth, because it was your living experience, others like me would be in a dilemma whether to trust you or not. Naturally, Isha devotees will trust Sadhguru's version than an anonymous blogger's version. Isha critics will trust your version. But for me, the truth still remains unproven since there is no enough evidence to definitely say one way or the other. What you said could be the truth, but what Sadhguru claimed could be the truth too. Unless more people connected to SSY come out and share the facts about Sadhguru and Vijji, the common population would continue to believe in Sadhguru's version as this is the sensible thing to do! But alas, even Raviji of SSY is not willing to comment on Sadhguru when I contacted him! I am not sure what the reasons are.

I have a few questions on your account -

1. It is interesting that you mentioned Sadhguru also had a bar in addition to poultry business. No where else it was mentioned, including in Sadhguru's biography by Arundhati Subramanian. Sadhguru himself mentioned about Poultry business though. So did Sadhguru run a bar where people come and drink? Was he a partner or the whole owner?
2. It is also interesting to know that Sadhguru used his enlightenment story even in SSY days. Are there any witnesses to your claim that "Sadhguru himself admitted that story as fake"?
3. That Vijji suspected Sadhguru to have an affair with Bharati is mentioned in "More than a life" book. The conflicts in their marital life are also described in detail. However Sadhguru explained that as a "misunderstanding" by Vijji. Sadhguru also repeatedly said that they were many witnesses when Vijji left her body and they can testify that she left her body on her own suddenly. What do you have to say about these things?

lasa members said...

Is this not a waste of time ?
Lets agree that Sadhguru is a fraud.
Ok so he lied about his enlightenment and he has no spiritual knowledge and he killed his wife.
Next question is for what?
And the answer would be for money/fame/lust..
Ok so now he is almost 24/7 under public eye. He cannot really go and so called enjoy his life cause he is a world recognised face.I have seen pictures of him consecrating dhyan linga. So to prove his lies he gave up his health to the point where he was not able to breathe as I have seen in the vidoes and hear from hundreds who were present (if you dont believe he was on verge of death) .
Bharati- Have you seen her? I did and dont think (in all humbleness) that sadguru would kill his wife for this lady.

So what does he enjoy? - Have you seen him eating lavish food, non veg? His daughter living lavishly. What ever he does its out in the open.I dont think to buy a hummer+ rnage rover and send his daughter to USA or to marry her to a classical singer one person has to give so much to society. In his shoes I would not do more than one satsang in a year cause its a pain to sit for so long. This man goes on tirelessly awakening humans. If you cannot be with him atleast dont waste your time blaming him.

Phanindra KSM said...

Dear "Iasa members",

I am not sure if your comment is addressed to me or to someone who commented above. I will anyways reply, assuming you were addressing me. If I understood correctly, you were asking me why I am wasting my time in researching Sadhguru's past. As you rightly said, Sadhguru is doing great service to humanity. No doubt about that. People, including me, have experienced his "presence" and had wonderful experiences of bliss. What more do I need? Why to blame him? Why can't I ignore his past, whatever it is, and be with his "present"?

To clarify, I am not blaming him at all! You see, a Guru needs to be entirely trust-worthy. 100%. 99.9% will not do. Absolute honesty and integrity is a must for a spiritual Guru. Take the case of Nityananda. Even he did many social projects, even he had a great presence and oratory and even he had a great following. Many people left their careers to dedicate themselves in his service. And one fine day, it was revealed that he had a physical relationship with a female devotee. Now, what does this change? Nothing. Still his meditations are as powerful and still his social work is as great. But why do you think many people were devastated? Because he promoted a false-version of himself to his followers and that breaks the trust. And trust is everything in spiritual matters.

Now, I am pretty sure there are many Nityananda followers who are still with him. Their trust is not broken yet. Revelations do not shatter all people equally. It depends on how much you believe in your Guru and how much your "tolerance" is to "facts". For example, I am 100% sure that Sadhguru was a teacher with Siddha Samadhi Yoga under Rishi Prabhakar. It bothers me that Sadhguru did not mention this any time. If there is nothing to hide, why not describe his past clearly? He mentioned trivial details about his life many times. Isn't it curious that he leaves out this important detail? But I give benefit of doubt to Sadhguru and I hope someday he would clear the air on this. Till then, to comfort myself, I wrote this blog post.

But I do understand that many Isha devotees do not care about this fact. You did not. One of my friends did not. I am completely fine with that. I do not judge you or my friend. I just request you to not judge me too and try to understand! Thank You!

Raghuveer said...

Just my personal views,
Sadguru and his wife were teachers of SSY of Rishi Prabhakar I have attended their one week course in early 1986. No doubts or questions about it. What I am looking for is whether I get what he says he can provide. Personally I am not here to trust or distrust Sadguru. To begin with I trust to the extent that he will provide the path that he promised. Doesn't bother one bit if he mentions SSY or presents himself any which way he does, as long as he can show me the path......

Phanindra KSM said...

@Raghuveer

Yes, you are right. If we are just looking for utility/benefits, it does not matter whether we trust Sadhguru or not. The Kriyas and the teachings work even if we do not believe in Sadhguru. But then, it just becomes a deal with emphasis on "what I am getting out of it". In ordinary life, and in spirituality especially, trust is everything. No one does even business with an untrustworthy person, even if the "offer" looks profitable. Hypothetically, let us assume Sadhguru is proven as a fraud. Then I doubt anyone would care for his teaching and methods, however "beneficial" they may be.

Anonymous said...

I am baffled by your allegation against Swami Nityananda. It has been more that year that he has been cleared of this allegation. This article may enlighten you http://hinduismnow.org/blog/2016/02/17/nithyananda-video-is-a-fake-sun-tv-coo-hansraj-saxena-confesses/

Phanindra KSM said...

@Anonymous: I apologize if my comments on Nithyananda bothered you. I was merely stating an incident, not alleging anything. I read the link you shared and it is good to know that Nithyananda is being cleared off the scandal.

Anonymous said...

Hello Phanindra,

Just wanted to clarify something. I am the anonymous commenter who posted the link http://halfcenturywisdom.blogspot.com/ on October 20, 2016 at 10:48 AM.

However, I am not the author of that blog post. When I came across that blog post, I thought it has some insights that you and your readers may be interested in. I very much appreciate the impartial analysis and truth seeking mission of your blog and posted the link for your possible further analysis.

Unfortunately there is no contact information on that blog.

Thank you for responding back to me, as I am not the author of that blog post, I cannot provide any more details. May be the original author of the post will come forward with more information to clarify their position. I sincerely hope they will do so....

As a final thought, I very much appreciate you posting Sri Raviji's response even if he is not providing clarification on some of the questions you asked. But his response is very profound. By getting involved in analyzing these incidents, we may get emotionally entangled and create negative energy within us. Sri Raviji's response helps us to be impartial and unattached observers and truth seekers.

Thank you, and please continue this mission.

Phanindra KSM said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for the clarification! Much appreciated. My thoughts on that blog post (http://halfcenturywisdom.blogspot.com/2016/08/a-chance-encounter-that-stirred-me-to.html) -

It has tone of truthfulness but at the same time it makes too many claims which cannot be verified. Some of the claims (e.g Vijji fearing that she would be killed by sleeping pills and her subsequent house-arrest) seem plain wrong, given the known facts. There are many witnesses who have interacted with Vijji before her death and there are even witnesses when she passed away. So they would have noticed her fear or she would have confessed her fears to someone there. If she was arrested in the Ashram, they would know that too. So unless we assume all the people in the Ashram have taken the side of Sadhguru and lied (which I do not think is likely), the narrative in the blog does not ring true.

I agree that Raviji's advice is very wise. As Arundhati Subramanian put in the last chapter of her book "Sadhguru more than a life", the acid-test of finding the right Guru is that we become less dependent on him as the relationship grows. So if we are less attached to the personality and the past of Sadhguru and more engrossed in the teaching and practices, that is the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Phani you have the patience man. Am certain you are practicing a concoction of kriyas from various gurus. You can delete this post, if you'd want to. But I wanted to msg you :)
God bless you.

Phanindra KSM said...

@Anonymous: Thanks! Do I know you? I do read many Gurus but I only do Isha's Shambhavi Mahamudra kriya!

pramodrama said...

A true guru is someone who makes you independent. BTW I am curious to know if there any disciples who have attained enlightenment.Have'nt seen any second generation of gurus from Isha

Great Expectation said...

Stupid article. what a waste of time & talent & resources.

Shanmugam said...

Hi Phanindra,

I have been a huge fan of Isha and Sadhguru and a spiritual seeker too.. I don't really find anything wrong with he being a teacher of SSY and taking some techniques from there to give a more alive version of it. I think Sadhguru has not disclosed it because it is not really that important to reveal and may even cause confusion. I also have a feeling that he might have used many techniques by Osho and prepared a wonderful concoction of Isha Yoga as we know today. Because a lot of his messages are very similar to what Osho has talked. I have written about it in more detail here: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/sadhguru-on-osho-the-two-diamonds-to-discover-your-inner-self/

His efforts in bringing a better society and planting trees all over the state is definitely awesome. We don't really know how a personal life of an enlightened person really is and our judgement regarding an enlightened person's intentions is definitely out of scope for unenlightened people like you and me..

I recently got into an argument with somebody from the background of Vedanta.. I told him that 99% of people leave the body when attaining enlightenment because there is no karma left. Both Sanchita karma and prarabhda karma are completely dissolved and they have to consciously create Karma to keep the body alive. Sadhguru has said this in his talks and gave given the Ramakrishna's desire for food as an example. Osho has also said the same thing and gave the same example in the book called "Secrets of Yoga"..

But the guy who is from Vedantic background argued that enlightenment doesn't empty the prarabdha completely and the enlightened person has to burn out the prarabhdha gradually throughout the rest of his life. Once the prarabdha ends, that is when they leave the body and not right after their enlightenment. Many sites online about Vedanta also say the same thing... Do you have any idea about this which will clear up the contradiction? I believe in Sadhguru's words but I need more clarity on this subject.

Subodh Prasad said...

Gr8. Enjoyed, learnt also something, Gyan, allegations, good logical oratorship of gurus- they start with - you are unhappy. Then followers come and listen some helping logic and above all, they meet so many new persons and enjoy Group Energy, then they get bored, come out for 6 months or a year. They again go for group energy. It is ok. In the book Siddhartha, hero does not join Gautama Bush as he did not want to listen the experience of Enlightenment from Buddha in words, he wanted to experience. He left. Our gurus, if and only if have experienced Enlightenment, how the devotees will experience. By Priya, they will get group energy only, feel happy and will say to other I have done ------ and also Art of living. Why to know the atma, purpose of life or any difficult technique, why not just live?

Phanindra KSM said...

Hi Shanmugam,

Yes, Sadhguru seems to derive from Osho as you explained in your blog. Regarding Rishi Prabhakar, there may be some
specific reason why Sadhguru didn't acknowledge him. In Guru-Shishya tradition, a Guru's contribution is always acknowledged. Rishi Prabhakar may not be a Guru to Sadhguru in a real sense, but it is still fair to acknowledge him by name for whatever he provided.

I too learnt recently that Vedanta has a different take on Karma after enlightenment from what Sadhguru said. I do not know whether this is a contradiction or something that can be reconciled. But people from different schools always had different perceptions on enlightenment. So both Zen and Vedanta belief in enlightenment which is based on a "leap in knowledge" (hence it appears sudden) and people retain their body after enlightenment.

Trisula Siripurapu said...

Blogger Phanindra mentions, trust is the most important thing between a Guru and a Shisya. Just for arguments sake, let us say, Guru is not trustworthy and Shisya is trustworthy. Shisya is trustworthy to the extent that he is one apart from entire humanity. Now, the world starts viewing him as special. Let us add a few more qualities like say, devotion or dedication. Again let us say Shisya takes these qualities to the extremes. Now the lines start getting blurred. World starts viewing Shisya as accomplished or may be even a Guru. The point I am trying to make is, if in your mind you attribute certain qualities to God, say, God does not doubt any one, or see a difference between one human and other or is compassionate towards everyone or accepts everyone equally with their flaws then what is preventing you from becoming God is the very fact that you are doubting a fellow human being (Sadguru) etc etc. remember this journey is about you, use the Guru as a tool for self introspection. People who usually are doubters or some other questioners here usually come around, not when they are virile, but when they are senile and life energies are slipping away. They then hope and pray that somebody throws them a rope so they can reach the other shore. All doubting, all questioning, in fact, all activity of the mind has to cease to know the truth. Until the dance of your intellect or the ego is on, ultimate does not happen. Remember... the moral standards that you hold onto are the creation of your mind and collective mind of society. It has no relevance in existence.

Anonymous said...

It's better not to take any courses with Isha or even go anywhere near, only because the founder practices black magic and there are plenty of suspicious deaths at his ashram. There are other amazing organizations in India to learn yoga, meditation and be in a spiritual path. Unfortunately there are these evil one's and people usually get sucked in as they go by a bit of experiences from the courses which is easy to create ...

Phanindra KSM said...

@Anonymous: How do you know Sadhguru practices black magic? Is it just a guess or do you have any proofs?

Phanindra KSM said...

@Trisula: Thanks for the comment! Your advice is essentially the same as what Raviji gave. I agree it is a wise one - don't judge your Guru and use the tools he offers you etc.

To eat the fruits of a tree, one need not enquire about the background and qualities of the tree. Sweet fruits are enough to eat! But can a Guru-Shisya relationship be reduced to such an utilitarian one? Possibly. But I would think it is a much deeper relationship.

And I think we should always be open to question a Guru, however great he may be. Not a questioning based on defiance and arrogance but a questioning that is a seeking of truth. Yes, there is the caveat that our mind is limited. But if we do not question, we are giving "falsehood" a free pass.

Rand said...

A few observations Regarding Sadhguru,
I also found Sadhguru very interesting, charming, intelligent, quick witted and his initial message very simple and attractive.
His initial message claims to only be about a technique that will be very helpful to anyone. He claims there is no philosophy or religious aspects only a simple technique.
Before very long though he introduces philosophy in many layers. Diet, sleeping, climate, population problems and opinions on almost every subject. This is certainly his right but it conflicts with the original claim. Religion is also very evident in the many practices and rituals, many based on Hinduism ( although he claims Hinduism to not be a religion) . Practices like consecration and the use of lingas and words like sacred this and sacred that certainly sound religious to most. Again this is his right but seems to indicate a much more complicated path then the original pitch.
If you watch the many videos you soon notice conflicting statements he makes. One example is " I'm in total bliss all the time" vs " I am totally bored all the time".
Although he mentions attainment is instantly available to anyone, ISHA is a many levelled, long, expensive road of seminars ,retreats and ever more important techniques and a heavier commitment of time and money seemingly without end.
Upon inquiry with an ISHA representative about the BSP program with a little probing I learned you would have to relinquish your car keys and cell phone for the intense secluded Three day program. It also was obvious that sleep would be little and diet would be controlled. If you wanted to have your car keys back and leave you would first need to discuss your reasons with several of the leaders, but then if you insisted you could leave.
Sleep deprivation, constant activity and control of your every action may certainly cause some kind of reaction or " peak over the wall" this also may be achieved with psychedelics, but these are blunt instruments by many standards and may not suit some people.
A few facts regarding ISHA financial statements some available online at "FAQs.org" regarding Tax Exempt organizations. In 2013 ISHA income was $5,247,000 up from $3,826,000 in 2012. Expenses for 2013 was $2,882,000. One expense item that catches any business minds attention is "other expenses" usually a small percentage of most statements. In This case it is close to $1.6 million or more then 55% of all expenses? With no breakout of details? In contrast Grants to foreign organizations was a small $474,000 .(going back to India?)
Assets were $13,880,000 that is mainly land and buildings which are held in Tennessee and California. By 2014 this asset value grew to $17,101,634.
Make of these figures what you like, just realize most of the money you pay is going to hard asset accumulation in the USA.
If ISHA and Sadhguru help you on your way, great, he seems to have some good thought process's and techniques, but it might be prudent to understand and learn as much as you can about any guru or preacher wanting followers, money and time from your family and life.
If you want the long and winding road that is your right and maybe your best choice but remember even Sadhguru has suggested the answers you seek are really only a breath away.
Another wise man suggested If you like the path of discipline and long effort that is fine , enjoy ,we have eternity, but the truth is always available and ever present and can be yours instantly. But don't worry if you are not seeing it just now, we do have eternity. And the journey can be very interesting and exciting can't it? And any ways when you do finally see it all as perfect and clear then what are you going to do?
He never encouraged long suffering followers and suggested caution with anyone who did, one of my favourite sayings of his was (paraphrasing) >once you've received the message, hang up the phone and get on with your life<.

Love and peace
Rand

Unknown said...

I completely agree with you. I had started listening to his speeches to see if they make sense. To be honest, yes he is good with his talks but when I heard him talking about his enlightenment and his wife's Mahasamadhi which is quite doubtful when you read about his life and see the way he lives. Plus I started reading his book Inner Engineering and in first couple of chapters of his book he has just spoke about himself, literally blowing his own tantrum. I wonder if people lose their modesty after being "enlightened"! What a hoax

Phanindra KSM said...

@Rand:

Rand, Thanks for the comment! BSP is a very different program, you need to experience it to know why the restrictions were put. But that said, I can understand that some people find the restrictions "too much". I agree that Isha financials are not disclosed to the general public to gauge how they are spending the money they receive. But I doubt there will be any misuse, though there may be inefficiencies in spending. In the end, everyone should decide their relationship with Isha & Sadhguru. Some may want to dedicate their entire life to Sadhguru's mission while others may be happy with just the inner engineering course & Sadhguru's videos.

As for the quest for "enlightenment", yes, there is this danger of doing more and more advanced programs with a goal to achieve spiritual heights without cultivating the necessary "mindset" that defines a spiritual man. In the Vedanta tradition of India, it is believed that "only knowledge can cure ignorance and lead to enlightenment". Sadhguru subscribes to Raja Yoga school where certain Yogic techniques can lead one to heightened states of awareness. Such experiences are often quite blissful and so people are lured to do more and more of them. Even in Raja Yoga school, enlightenment is a "jump", it is beyond all samadhi experiences. Sadhguru himself admitted this once.

@Unknown: I would not call Sadhguru a "hoax" without definite information. He is somewhat flamboyant, I agree, and some people do not like it.

Rand said...

@Phanindra KSM
"But I doubt there will be any misuse" regarding ISHA money.
You may feel that way, but I suppose we then must then discuss and define " misuse". Philosophy again darn it.
I only point out there is a lot of money being collected by ISHA and Sadhguru and the vast majority of it is being spent on land and buildings in the USA. (Financial details are very hard to find regarding India operations, although a few are available they seem vague.)
As long as participants paying this money understand where most of it is going and are not under any illusions.
Gurus amassing large land holdings and hard assets particularly in the USA are not new. But It certainly is a long way from the simple living Guru in a blanket who sends devotees away to live their lives after a visit or two.
"Only knowledge can cure ignorance" This is good advice, how much knowledge do ISHA followers have ,or are allowed to have ,of their own organization?
Any we'll run respectable company has detailed , open and accountable financial information. Where are ISHA's?
The charitable statements online are allowed to leave huge gaps in detail and create more questions then they answer.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a seminar or annual meeting displaying all of ISHAs financial details and showing how every dollar is spent, "difinite information" why not? Annual meetings are the norm in most charities and certainly in any business.
It is your life and your money and your most valuable asset time.
I appreciate your blog and this discussion, thank you very much.
Rand


Phanindra KSM said...

@Rand:Yes, I agree that Isha should be more open on their spending. Annual disclosure you suggested is a good idea.

Vidya said...

Thnx fr the superb research. I was quite confused whether to really call myself his follower.especially with all the controversy surrounding isha foundation.my husband brings all the controversial news to me !but this is exactly wht I told him...I cannot agree more with ravi ji. ..jus continue sadhana without judging ...thnk u so much I am relieved

Phanindra KSM said...

@Vidya: My pleasure! This post was intended to provide a balanced opinion on this topic and I am glad that you found it useful. I am also thinking to write a post on the recent land allegations on Isha.

Trisula Siripurapu said...

@Rand
You mentioned in your reply the following:
'If you want the long and winding road that is your right and maybe your best choice but remember even Sadhguru has suggested the answers you seek are really only a breath away.'

If that is the case why don't you get enlightened in one breath and show others how to do it?
What sadhguru means is, for some people with the necessary awareness and intensity, it will happen in one breath. Others need to work up their intensity through some technique or other.
What most people don't realize is that not everyone becomes a teacher. You can read a bunch of books and start your discourses but you cannot gather masses that stick with you unless there is something else in you.

As a simple experiment, please pull this stunt yourself, become a Guru and see how long you can keep up that act.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing.

Rand said...

@Trisula
I don't think there is any disagreement , there are many roads, take the one you want or perhaps need.
Not every one wants followers, teachers come in many forms.
Enjoy your day.
Rand