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Sadhguru: Blending Pseudoscience with Pro-BJP Narratives

Sadhguru has faced criticism for promoting pseudoscientific ideas, environmental violations, and his close political ties, raising questions about his credibility and intentions.

CELEBRITIES

Aashish Verma

6/21/20245 min read

The Controversial Rise of Sadhguru: From Yoga Teacher to Business Mogul
(All the information have been gathered from authentic sources and have been duly hyperlinked)

Jaggi Vasudev, popularly known as Sadhguru, is a renowned spiritual leader and founder of the Isha Foundation. Sadhguru's journey began in 1974 when he learned Siddha Samadhi Yoga in Bengaluru. By 1992, he established the Isha Foundation, which has since grown into a massive organization with a global presence.

However, Sadhguru's rise hasn't been without controversy. His Isha Foundation built a 150-acre campus in Coimbatore's ecologically sensitive area without necessary permissions. Allegations of illegal constructions, harming forests, and disrupting elephant habitats have marred his reputation. Despite these issues, Sadhguru has cultivated strong political and celebrity connections, further bolstering his influence.

Financially, the Isha Foundation earns significant revenue from various ventures, including e-commerce, wellness products, and expensive spiritual tours, while benefiting from tax exemptions as a public charitable trust. Investigations reveal questionable financial practices, such as reclassifying product purchases as donations.

Sadhguru continues to maintain a powerful presence both in India and internationally, with ongoing legal battles and critical investigations highlighting the complex interplay between spirituality, business, and legality in his empire.

The Bharat vs. India Debate : The Recent Anti-India Rhetoric of Sadhguru

Sadhguru, the founder of Isha Foundation, has often been in the limelight, not just for his spiritual teachings but also for his contentious stances and alleged political affiliations. Recently, his tweet advocating for the exclusive use of the name ‘Bharat’ over ‘India’ sparked criticism from various quarters, including notable personalities like Dhruv Rathee. This push for renaming the country, although seemingly patriotic, reveals deeper issues of political alignment and a troubling narrative that undermines the inclusive identity of the nation.

In his recent tweet, Sadhguru stated, “We should have reclaimed the name ‘Bharat’ when the British left our shores. A name will not do everything but it is important the country is named in a way that reverberates in everyone’s heart.” While this sentiment might resonate with some, it appears to be part of a broader strategy that aligns with the BJP’s agenda of creating a cultural and historical revisionism.

Dhruv Rathee's response encapsulates the frustration of many who view this as an unnecessary and divisive issue: “Can you stop your Anti-India agenda Mr. Jagadish Vasudev? Everyone knows that both India and Bharat are written in our constitution but just for politics, you are playing this dirty game of divide and rule.” This criticism highlights the concern that Sadhguru's statements might be serving a political purpose rather than a genuine patriotic cause.

Allegations of Land Grabbing and Environmental Violations

Sadhguru’s Isha Foundation has faced numerous allegations of land grabbing and environmental violations. Critics argue that the Isha Yoga Center was built on forest land and within an elephant corridor, violating environmental norms. Although the Foundation denies these claims, maintaining that it adhered to legal requirements, the controversy persists. There are also accusations regarding the acquisition of tribal land, which the Foundation similarly refutes, insisting that no land was forcibly taken.

These allegations are not trivial. They suggest a pattern of using political connections to circumvent laws and regulations, raising questions about the ethical foundation of Isha’s operations.

Political Patronage and Unfair Advantages

Sadhguru’s rise in prominence coincides with the BJP’s ascent to power, leading to accusations of receiving undue advantages from political patronage. Critics claim that his close ties with the BJP have facilitated the Isha Foundation’s operations, granting them privileges and protections not available to others. This relationship has fueled suspicions of a mutually beneficial arrangement where Sadhguru’s influence is leveraged to support BJP’s ideological and political objectives.

Promoting Dangerous Practices

Adding to the controversy, Sadhguru has, on several occasions, promoted practices that are scientifically questionable and potentially harmful. Notably, he has influenced followers to consume substances like cobra poison and mercury, which are toxic and pose significant health risks. Such endorsements not only endanger public health but also cast doubt on his credibility as a spiritual leader committed to the well-being of his followers.

The Influence of Sadhguru: How a Spiritual Guru Became a Powerful Public Figure

On December 30, 2019, amidst widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a video on Twitter featuring Jaggi Vasudev, known as Sadhguru. In the video, Sadhguru expressed support for the CAA and NRC, highlighting his significant influence. This incident exemplifies Sadhguru's popularity, raising questions about how a spiritual guru became so prominent that his opinions are retweeted by the PM, he mingles with Bollywood celebrities, and his foundation boasts 7 million volunteers worldwide.

Sadhguru, like other modern spiritual leaders, defies the traditional image of a guru. He rides motorcycles, plays golf, and flies helicopters. His foundation, Isha Foundation, has acquired considerable wealth and property. Modern gurus, including Sadhguru, share common traits: they claim to possess unique knowledge, maintain a distinct appearance, have devoted followings, and their pasts are often obscure.

Sadhguru's influence extends to political and social issues, where his views often align with those of the Modi government. Despite lacking technical expertise, his opinions on diverse topics such as the Cauvery River, Jammu and Kashmir, and the National Education Policy are highly regarded. His Rally for Rivers campaign, despite good intentions, has faced criticism from experts for proposing ineffective solutions.

Sadhguru’s widespread influence raises concerns, particularly when his followers, including business leaders and political figures, accept his views without question. This creates a cycle where political leaders enhance the guru's status, leading to greater influence and further political engagement. This dynamic, seen with historical figures like Dhirendra Brahmachari and Indira Gandhi, is now evident between Sadhguru and PM Modi.

The Pseudoscience : Another Dimension of Sadhguru

Sadhguru often speaks confidently about pseudoscientific ideas. His influence on YouTube India, where he promotes unverified claims, has grown over the years. Let's examine some of his statements critically.

Healing a Fractured Leg and Asthma: Sadhguru claims he healed a fractured leg and chronic asthma by sitting with his eyes closed for an hour. This extraordinary claim lacks any supporting evidence. Without proof, such statements should be viewed with skepticism. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Water Memory: Sadhguru asserts that water has memory and can affect well-being based on how it is viewed. The idea of water memory has been debunked and lacks credible scientific support. Claims like this, which contradict established scientific knowledge, need rigorous evidence to be taken seriously.

Different Milk for Male and Female Babies: Sadhguru suggests that a mother's milk differs depending on the baby's gender. He even claims that in the case of twins, each breast produces different milk. This claim has no scientific basis and demonstrates a misunderstanding of how the body functions. Critical thinking involves questioning such assertions and seeking reliable scientific evidence.

Misuse of Scientific Terms: Sadhguru often uses scientific terms incorrectly to give his statements an air of credibility. For instance, he talks about "memory" in DNA, confusing it with genetic information. This misuse of terminology can mislead people into accepting false ideas.

Association with Scientists: Sadhguru sometimes appears at scientific conferences or with respected scientists, like Michio Kaku. However, such appearances do not validate his pseudoscientific claims. The content of his statements should be judged on their own merits and the evidence supporting them.

Financial Motives: Sadhguru's followers often see him as a virtuous person who cannot lie or be mistaken. However, he has financial incentives to maintain and grow his influence. His organization benefits from people believing in his claims, which is why critical thinking and demand for evidence are essential.