In our Summer 2019 issue, we were delighted to interview the renowned Indian mystic Sadhguru, who spoke to us about his Inner Engineering programme, enlightenment, the yogic path, the role of business leaders in society, and more.
Technology of Spirit
Exploring Inner Engineering with mystic Sadhguru
by Aisling Cronin
Interviewer: Brendan Ringwood
Sadhguru is an Indian yogi, mystic and visionary who has dedicated himself to the elevation of the physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of all people. He has spoken at a number of prestigious global conferences, including the World Peace Summit at the United Nations and the World Economic Forum.
He has created an effective methodology for healing called Inner Engineering, based on yogic principles. He says, ‘as there is a science and technology to create external wellbeing, there is a whole dimension of science and technology for inner wellbeing. Inner Engineering is neither a religion, a philosophy nor a dogma. It is a technology for wellbeing. One does not have to believe or disbelieve, just have to learn to use. Technology will produce results irrespective of who you are.’
Sadhguru has frequently commented on his belief that society is ‘overripe for a spiritual process.’ His fundamental vision is to offer ‘the science of inner wellbeing’ to every human being. He describes this as a form of science that helps a person to realise the ultimate potential they hold within. Sadhguru’s vision has given rise to a multitude of projects, programs, and methods: all of which aim to raise human beings to the peak of their potential, so that they are exuberant, all-inclusive, and in harmony within themselves and the world.
We met Sadhguru recently to learn more about Inner Engineering, his thoughts on the yogic path, and the higher vision he holds for his work. He is planning to visit Dublin in October – details will be announced on his website very soon.
How would you explain Inner Engineering to people who might not know anything about it?
It is a technology for inner realisation. The reason Inner Engineering works is this: throughout history, people have tried to handle their inner world through belief systems. Religion would be an example of this. Later on, when their religions or belief systems did not work – when they conflicted with their logical minds – they turned to philosophy, then when philosophy didn’t work, they turned to ideologies: Marxism, communism and so on. This is a consequence of humans being unable to come to terms with illogical things which we were asked to believe for hundreds of years.
When you look at what happened in Stalin’s Russia, to take one example – where millions of people were put to death for not believing in the prevailing ideology – you see that this was a desperate attempt to defend that ideology.
Now, after many centuries, we have reached a point where more human beings are thinking for themselves, and simply ‘believing’ has become more difficult. This is why Inner Engineering is offered as a technology: you don’t have to agree with it or disagree with it. You don’t have to ‘worship’ it. We offer the Inner Engineering program online, for people to work with it and download it. Then the workshops I do are designed to help people go deeper into the technology.
As Inner Engineering is based on yogic technologies, I wanted to ask you, what is your understanding of the yogic path?
Yoga is a science based on understanding life. There are many ways it can offer enlightenment. When Adya Yogi, the first yogi, offered these technologies, he offered them in 112 ways. He said, there are 112 ways through which a human can realise their ultimate nature. He trained seven disciples in advanced scientific methods for many years, and when his wife saw this, she asked him, ‘what about me? Why am I being left out?’ He asked her to come and sit on his lap. For a moment, she resisted because she felt he wasn’t taking her seriously enough, but he assured her that this was not what was happening. So she sat with him, their energies merged – it was as though he became half man and half woman, and so did she – and through that, she experienced direct enlightenment.
For some people, he went through elaborate explorations of science or technology that took decades, and for other people, he went through direct energy transmissions. To others, who were like extensions of his own being, he said, ‘don’t bother striving for enlightenment. Just be here with me. That’s all.’ It was all about people’s different levels of evolvement and intuition.
So that is why, for me, the yogic path can include many different ways of achieving enlightenment.
How would you describe your mission? What does the name ‘Sadhguru’ mean?
‘Sadh’ means ‘from within.’ This is not a title, it’s more of a description. Think of how there are different types of doctors – if you have a dental problem, you go to a dentist, if you have an eye problem, you go to an optician. In the same way, ‘sadh’ means a guru whose direct experience comes from within, so you go to him if you want to know something about the inner world. You wouldn’t go to him if you wanted to know something about astrology, or about scripture. There are other gurus for that – other teachers who can explain those things better.
My mission is to help expand people’s understanding of their inner experience.
Could you talk a bit about relationships? Our ideas of romantic love often revolve around it being able to solve all our problems, but for many of us, it actually doesn’t. Do you have any thoughts on this?
A human being has needs: physical needs, psychological needs, social needs … and we often attempt to meet all of those needs through other people. There was a time when the financial need of a woman had to be handled through a relationship with a man. That still happens. It’s only changing now. Socially, also, a hundred years ago, there was no way a single woman could simply exist in the world – she would end up being hitched to somebody, and that’s just the way things were done. This is only the second generation where we’ve had women able to fulfil their social and financial needs themselves.
This is a good thing: people should be able to consciously decide which needs they want to fulfil or not. Take the physical need, for example: people often find that when they’re highly intellectually engaged in something, that need fades into the background and doesn’t have a strong influence in their life anymore. It is all about asking yourself, which need do I want to fulfil? Do I need another person
How would you describe your vision for the world?
My vision is based on helping others to realise their true nature. When you find yourself in a position where your work – your thoughts, your emotions, your decisions – are able to influence many, many people, then you must equip yourself with tools that enable you to carry out that job well. If your work is important, you need to work on yourself.
We have reached a point in the world where business leaders are starting to have a lot of influence. When you look back at human history, thousands of years ago, religious leaders were the people with the highest influence in society, but as the world’s military machines became more organised, our military leaders became more significant.
As democracy has established itself, our democratically elected leaders have become more prominent. What we will see, in 20 to 25 years’ time, is that business leaders will become more prominent: they are the ones who will decide everything on this planet.
Right now, the business leaders have an albatross hanging around their neck. Everyone thinks business leaders are ‘out to get you’: just wanting something for themselves and not caring about other people. This is what I’m trying to change with my work: to mould these leaders from personal ambition to a larger vision. Our programs have been implemented in many businesses across India, and many governmental departments also. This Inner Engineering technology has worked with a lot of business leaders in the country, and as a result, they’re crafting their businesses in a different way.
It’s a big world, with many people in it, and it’ll take time for significant change to happen. But in about 20 to 25 years, you will see business leaders talking about larger interests in the world, rather than how profitable their businesses are.
Sadhguru on Freedom
The moment you use the word ‘freedom’, you must understand that freedom has consequence. Freedom is a result of responsibility. Out of responsibility, freedom will come. Freedom does not mean that I can do whatever I want with you. Freedom means I can be with you the way I want, within myself. The energies we set in motion can function beyond human will. When I pass away, the work I have set in motion will continue on.
Sadhguru’s Inner Engineering program is available online – just visit isha.sadhguru.org to access the program and learn more about it. He is due to visit Dublin in October. The exact details are yet to be confirmed. Keep an eye out for the information on his site!