Sun Sign: Virgo
Also Known As: Sadhguru
Born Country: India
Born In: Mysore, Karnataka, India
Famous As: Yoga Guru
Spouse/Ex-: Vijyakumari (M. 1984–1996)
Father: Dr. B.V. Vasudev
Mother: Susheela Vasudev
Children: Radhe Jaggi
Founder/Co-Founder: Isha Foundation
Jaggi Vasudev, often referred to as ‘Sadhguru,’ is an Indian yogi and mystic who founded the ‘Isha Foundation,’ a non-profit organization which offers yoga programs around the world. A multi-faceted personality, he is also an author, motivational speaker, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher. Born to an ophthalmologist who worked with the ‘Indian Railways,’ he moved frequently because of the nature of his father’s work. As his family moved frequently, he fell in love with travel, adventure, and also developed a curiosity to explore the unknown. As a child, he became fascinated with nature and would often escape to the jungle near his home and spend hours, sometimes even days, in the wild. He also developed a life-long love for snakes as a result of his childhood experiences. As a youngster, he fell in love with motorcycles and traveled to various parts of the country on his motorcycle. After graduating from college, he went on to become a successful businessman. A spiritual experience at the age of 25 made him rethink his life’s purpose. He eventually realized his true calling and went on to become a yoga teacher. He then opened the ‘Isha Foundation’ to teach yoga. Over a period of time, the foundation became involved in various social and community development activities.
Childhood & Early Life
Jaggi was born Jagadish Vasudev on 3 September 1957, in Mysore, Karnataka, India, to Susheela and Dr. Vasudev, in a Telugu speaking family. He has a brother and two sisters. His father worked as an ophthalmologist with the ‘Indian Railways’ and the family moved frequently due to his father’s job.
He was an active, curious, and intelligent child who fell in love with nature and adventure. As a young boy, he would often venture into the nearby jungle and spend hours observing the wildlife, especially snakes.
He became acquainted with Malladihalli Sri Raghavendra Swamiji, a prominent yoga teacher, at the age of 12. Swamiji taught him a set of simple yoga asanas which he regularly practiced without even a single day’s break.
After completing his schooling, he enrolled at the ‘University of Mysore’ and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. While in college, he became interested in motorcycles and traveled a lot.
After completing his college education Jaggi Vasudev embarked on a career as a businessman. Smart, intelligent and hard working, he soon opened several businesses, including a poultry farm, a brickworks and a construction business. He was a successful businessman by the time he was in his mid-twenties.
His life changed drastically on the afternoon of September 23, 1982, when he had a spiritual experience that forced him to re-evaluate his life and priorities. He was sitting on a rock in Chamundi Hills when he had a very intense spiritual experience that lasted for about four-and-a-half hours.
Within weeks of this experience, he asked his friend to take over his business and embarked on an extensive travel in order to gain insight into his mystical experience. After a period of about one year, he realized that he should teach yoga and spread the knowledge of yogic science.
He started conducting yoga classes in Mysore in 1983; there were just seven participants in his first class. Over a period of time, he began conducting yoga classes across Karnataka and Hyderabad. He refused payment for the classes and managed his expenses from the proceeds he received from his poultry farm.
In 1992, he founded ‘Isha Foundation,’ a non-profit spiritual organization offering yoga programs under the name ‘Isha Yoga.’ Founded near Coimbatore, the organization became very popular over the years. Today, it offers yoga programs not only in India, but also in countries like the United States, England, Lebanon, Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, Uganda, China, Nepal, and Australia.
‘The Isha Foundation’ is also involved in various social and community development activities. In 2003, it established ‘Action for Rural Rejuvenation’ (ARR), a multi-phased program aimed towards improving the overall health and quality of life of the rural poor. The program aims to benefit millions of people in thousands of villages across Tamil Nadu, India.
The foundation also established the ‘Project Green Hands’ (PGH), an ecological initiative in Tamil Nadu in 2004. The objective of the project is to plant 114 million trees throughout Tamil Nadu in order to increase the forest cover in the state.
Jaggi Vasudev is a world-renowned figure and has spoken at the ‘United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit.’ He delivers speeches at various events around the world. He has also addressed the ‘World Economic Forum’ in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
A prolific author, he has penned over 100 titles in eight different languages. He is also a talented poet and loves composing poems in his leisure time.
In 2017, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi inaugurated the 112 foot Adiyogi Shiva Statue designed by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev at the ‘Isha Yoga Center.’ The same year, Jaggi also launched the ‘Rally for Rivers,’ a campaign to tackle the problems caused by the scarcity of water and pollution of rivers.
He founded the ‘Isha Foundation’ through which he conducts all his yoga related programs and initiates social and community development activities. With more than nine million volunteers, the organization works in tandem with international bodies like the ‘Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.’ The organization has its presence felt in several countries across the world.
Awards & Achievements
His ‘Project Green Hands’ (PGH) was awarded the ‘Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar’ by the Government of India in June 2010.
In 2012, he was named among the 100 most powerful Indians by ‘The Indian Express’ for his contribution in the field of environmental protection and for encouraging public participation in ecological issues.
In recognition of his contribution to the field of spirituality, he was awarded the prestigious ‘Padma Vibhushan,’ India’s second-highest civilian award, by the Government of India in 2017. In 2019, he was ranked 40th in the ‘50 most powerful Indians’ list by ‘India Today.’
Personal Life & Legacy
Jaggi Vasudev married Vijaya Kumari in 1984 and has a daughter named Radhe. His wife died in 1997. Radhe is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer. In 2014, she married a classical vocalist named Sandeep Narayan at Jaggi’s ashram in Coimbatore.