With his flowing white beard, it would be easy to assume that Jaggi Vasudev is old fashioned. But in a speed date with the mystic, we covered everything from why relationships fail to gadgets to suicide and overpopulation — all in a meditative heartbeat. Oh, and there was lots of yoga talk. For those who didn’t know — June 21 is the second International Yoga Day, and the Isha Foundation founder is not only leading a massive teaching drive estimated to reach 1.5 crore Indian students, he’s also doing a two day session with the United Nations. Also, hitting 6 continents and 80 countries with this initiative including our neighbours Nepal and China, it wasn’t surprising that Vasudev was quickly ushered in a snazzy Ford Endeavour that would take him to the airport en route to his next destination. We did manage to bow down and get his blessings first, and received a delicate flower in return, the perfect end to an unreal date with a mystic.
Let’s talk about love. It makes the world go round, it also ends in people committing suicide, and youth suicides are a point of concern
That’s only a few people in cities who are falling in love and struggling. How many couples do you know like that? These days, they don’t commit suicide, they promptly fall in love on the next street (laughs). On a serious note, we must understand — we seek a relationship for our well-being. That seeking for well-being should not lead to killing ourselves. We get so caught up in our emotions that we forget why we got into this relationship in the first place.
So how does one deal with heartbreak without damage to self?
Human beings seek relationships because they have needs to fulfill — physical, psychological, emotional, social, financial. Accordingly, we form those kinds of relationships with people. If a relationship does not work, it simply means that you must turn inward to fulfill needs. Looking outward may mean you are trying to squeeze happiness, but the person you are with may not be ready to be squeezed.
How do we channelise yoga to help with this?
Most people misunderstand yoga, they think it’s something physical, about balance and so on... Yoga is essentially the science of understanding the human gadget. You have the highest supercomputer. What is your phone — a Samsung?
No it’s a Xiaomi...
Which do you think is superior — your brain or that phone?
My brain. It keeps evolving. So I guess it comes without an expiration date?
Not just your brain, your body has tremendous electronics if you look at it from that perspective. The highest level of technology is the human system. Now I’m asking you, have you read the user’s manual. (Pause) If you have, then you should be able to be able to generate what you want within yourself — joy, ecstasy... if you can’t fulfill these needs, it means you haven’t read the user’s manual. Yoga means learning to read the manual.
A lot of youngsters are under the impression that yoga is something you do later in life. Is there a recommended age to start?
Yoga is a tool to equip oneself for wellbeing, so it needs to be started at the earliest possible time. Equip yourself when life is ahead of you, not behind.
We’ve seen floods in Chennai, the UK, most recently Paris. Is there a reason for this climate change?
We are definitely provoking it in every way. But our problem is not of ecology or of climate, but of population. We are too many. From the beginning of the 20th century where we were just 1.6 billion people to today 7.3 billion people. In India, in 1947, we were 33 million people, today we are 1.3 billion people, that’s four times over in less than 70 years. That’s irresponsible. So if we don’t consciously plan to bring down human populations, there will be no solution. But nature will find a solution in a very cruel way... for us. But if we do something consciously to bring down the population in the next 25 to 50 years time, then things will fall into place by themselves.
Would you say that’s India’s biggest problem - being overpopulated?
I’d say it’s our only problem!
You wrote about how the mindset that causes rape is inclined more toward authority than anything sexual. How do we change this?
It’s a tragic situation. We should realise that we are a society in transition. There was a time when girls would be married at 15. Now they are not married till 25 and 30. So this is the peak of their hormones. In our mindset we are in the past, but in our physical situation, we are in the present. What is causing these rapes? Humans have their needs. If you keep them suppressed, they will do something violent. We need to address this on a much larger scale - hanging rapists or putting them behind bars, that is not the solution. Yes, it needs to be done when it happens. But more importantly as a society, we need to understand why.
Why you can do upa yoga just about anywhere you are
It’s not a stretch
Upa Yoga is a simple yet powerful system of exercise that activates the joints, muscles, and energy system. Based on a sophisticated understanding of the body’s mechanics, Upa Yoga dispels inertia in the body’s energy and brings ease to the whole system
It’s an energy flow
Within the human system, the energy flows along 72,000 pathways called nadis. At the joints, the nadis meet and form nodes, making the joints storehouses of energy. Upa Yoga activates this energy and also lubricates the joints, creating an instant sense of alertness and liveliness.
It can get you going
Upa Yoga essentially means “sub-yoga” or “pre-yoga”. Because of its many immediate and evident benefits, the word Upa Yoga in Indian languages is commonly used to denote “usefulness.”
- Enhances vitality, focus, memory and productivity
- Stabilizes the body, mind and emotions
- Strengthens and stabilizes the spine
- Can relieve back pain, stress, anxiety and tension
- Can relieve from chronic ailments and improves overall health
- Enhances teamwork and communication
- Imparts a lasting sense of joy, peace and fulfillment
- Relieves physical stress and tiredness