Adiyogi - The Source of Yoga
How much do I want to read more? 7/10
A weird book. It starts with how a poet became a seeker a found in Sadghuru a new way to discover himself.
Then the book is about the first Yogi ever, who explored consciousness in depth for liberation, and teached for the first time ever Yoga, to seven disciples.
BEFORE THE BEGINNING
‘I am not spiritually educated,’ he has often reiterated. ‘I don’t know any teachings, any scriptures. All I know is myself. I know this piece of life absolutely. I know it from its origin to its ultimate nature. Knowing this piece of life, one knows, by inference, every other piece of life. This is not sorcery; this is science – the science of yoga available to everyone who cares to look inward.’
This is the portrait of the world’s first guru by a living guru, a chronicle of the source of mysticism by a mystic.
My curiosity was first piqued when I heard Sadhguru describe himself as a failure. ‘My dream is to enlighten the world, so I am bound to die a failure,’ he said. ‘But I will die a blissful failure. I can promise you that.’
who exactly is Sadhguru?
yogi, mystic, visionary, spiritual leader. The author of yoga programmes of antiquity and contemporary relevance. Public speaker. Environmentalist. Educationist. The founder of Isha, a spiritual organization with centres around the world. There are other avatars: golfer, trekker, poet, motorcyclist, scuba diver, aviator.
‘I was sitting on a particular rock. I had my eyes open, not even closed. And something began to happen. Suddenly, I did not know which was me and which was not me. The air that I was breathing, the rock on which I was sitting, the atmosphere around me, everything had become me. The more I say it, the crazier it will sound, because what was happening was indescribable. What was me had become so enormous, it was everywhere. I thought this lasted a few minutes, but when I came back to my normal senses, it was about seven thirty in the evening. Over four hours had passed, my eyes were open, the sun had set, and it was dark. I was fully aware, but what I had considered to be myself until that moment had just disappeared. Tears were flowing to the point where my shirt was wet, and I was ecstatically crazy. When I applied my logical mind to it, the only thing it could tell me was that I was losing my balance. But it was so beautiful that I knew I didn’t want to lose that experience.’
When he emerged, he knew that what had transpired, inexplicable as it was, was without doubt ‘the most beautiful thing that can happen to a human being’. The sceptic had turned mystic. And he knew life would never be the same again. ‘I saw it was possible to be naturally ecstatic without any reason at all. My whole effort since then has been to somehow rub this experience off on other people.’
‘It is quite simple, really,’ he said. ‘Just as there is an internet, there is an “inner net”. This is familiar to anyone who has looked deeply inward.
The way the individual is made is the way the cosmos is made. Both come from the same manufacturing unit. It is in the lap of that same darkness or emptiness that everything is born. All the work that has ever been done in the realm of consciousness endures. And it can be accessed. This “inner net”, or “introscope”, is my guide. It empowered me to consecrate the Dhyanalinga. It has offered me access to various aspects of Adiyogi’s wisdom and knowing when I have required it.’
People usually become heavy and serious with knowledge. But when knowing is transmitted as energy, not memory, the burden of knowledge is not on you.’
it is for Sadhguru the result of lifetimes of dismantling the self, as we know it.
Sadhguru often says, ‘you can turn this body into a powerful instrument of perception and knowing. You could download the very language of creation, the deepest mysteries of the cosmos. There is nothing special about it. It is not some great achievement. All it takes is paying some attention to one’s interiority. This is possible for everyone.’
I suspect I landed up with a guru because he is the only person I know who is more committed to my freedom than I am myself.
For many inspired by him, Sadhguru is a sage of unfathomable proportions.
‘Don’t look up to anything, don’t look down on anything.’
No suspicion or submission. Other options exist. Curiosity.
Why a guru? Why can’t you learn from life?
I could have replied that a guru unlocks those parts of you that are shut, sealed, forgotten, and unavailable to life. He helps open doors that you were too scared to open, as well as doors you never knew existed. And those aren’t the portals customarily uncovered by a psychotherapist.
this book might be a response to that question.
When I met Sadhguru in 2004, I knew a few things about myself. I knew that I found most of my answers in poetry and the arts. I knew I was lucky to be earning a living doing largely what I enjoyed. The boundaries between work and play were happily blurred.
But there were also many things I didn’t know about myself.
I thought poetry would eventually fill in the blanks. But poetry was also about blanks.
My omnivorous reading of philosophy wasn’t enough any longer. I was beginning to realize I couldn’t live out my life in one sliver of my cerebral cortex.
If I wanted to lead a less divided life, I had to start by accepting that I was lost.
And so, I turned seeker.
On meeting Sadhguru, he struck me as the first person I knew who combined intelligence with a palpable joy. And for all his knowledge of the self, he hadn’t lost any of his capacity for wonder. That helped to banish the intermittent doubts I had along the way about his avowed state of self-realization.
Above all, his joy wasn’t annoyingly monochromatic. He was capable of mystical insight and robust common sense. He could be wise and childlike, quiet and exuberant, profound and playful, meditative and impassioned, and I realized that none of these states were mutually exclusive.
His knowledge of the inner life seemed inexhaustible, but his appetite for knowledge seemed limitless too. He was the only ‘enlightened’ person I knew, and yet he didn’t act like he had arrived. He seemed to know about the nuts and bolts of the inner world, and yet he wasn’t jaded. It was evident in the curiosity and aliveness he brought to every moment in his life.
He seemed to be proof that innocence and experience could go together. Or, to use another metaphor, that nirvana and samsara – or the Garden of Eden and the fallen world – were more fundamentally connected than I’d imagined. It wasn’t that he was perfect. That would have been dull. He seemed – and this is the only word I could think of at the time – whole.
He wasn’t looking for acolytes. In fact, he didn’t seem to be looking, as far as I could see, for anything at all. His level of ease in his own skin intrigued me. Perhaps he was exactly what he was said to be: a free being?
If I wanted to begin a journey towards wholeness myself, I had to accept my uncertainty, my rooflessness.
The past twelve years with Sadhguru have been about realizing that there are other ways of ‘knowing’ than recourse to a book or to cerebral introspection.
Being around a mystic has been about glimpsing deeper sources of nourishment, subtler methods of self-understanding, of journeying towards authenticity.
In the first two sections, the voice is Sadhguru’s.
- Part One: he introduces us to Adiyogi and discusses his abiding fascination with this figure. tales from the vast reservoir of Shiva legend and folklore.
- Part Two: narratives, yogic and mythic.
- The final section: an invitation to travel with a mystic. It is a chance to see a world, however blurrily, through his eyes. It is a chance to hear him speak about ideas and images in ways that confound the boundaries between the mundane and the mystical.
PART ONE - ADIYOGI SADHGURU
Over fifteen thousand years ago, in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, where the snows are perennial and the skies terrestrial, a being appeared.
No one had ever seen anyone like him before. They did not know who he was, where he came from, what his origins were.
People gathered in huge numbers around him because his presence was quite extraordinary. It was clear that while he was on this planet, he was not of it. They waited, hoping for a miracle.
It was on this day that it was declared for the first time in human history that biology is not destiny, that it is possible for a human being to evolve consciously.
The finite can turn infinite. The particular can turn universal. Compulsion can turn into consciousness. It is possible for a piece of creation to become one with the source of creation. The human creature can become a divine entity.
The journey was about exploration – a fearless exploration of the profoundest depths of human consciousness. The ultimate aim was not God. The ultimate aim was liberation.
What Adiyogi transmitted to those seven disciples were the fundamentals of a science called yoga – union – a science of radical self-transformation that continues to live on thousands of years after that first exposition, a science that continues to empower human beings to blossom to their ultimate potential.
And that freedom, Adiyogi declared, is within the reach of every human being.