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The Business of Promoting Hatred Towards Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

These famous lines — “You can like him, you can hate him, but you can’t ignore him” — have now been applied to so many people in modern times that it has become a cliché. And the cliché has found a new favorite in Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev of Isha Foundation.

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is in an enviable position being loved by millions of people across the world and hated by varied segments of people. The people who absolutely love him and would blindly accept what he says would include:

  • Millions of Isha Meditators around the World
  • Quite a few Scientists and Doctors
  • A few Right-Wingers in India
  • Some Political Parties in India
  • Armed Forces across India
  • Common people

He is also hated by a few people:

  • Atheist ideology peddling political parties (Communists, Dravidian Parties, etc.)
  • A few hard-core Hindus
  • Christian Missionaries and Islamic Jihadi Organizations
  • Naxals and Pseudo-activists
  • A few Scientists and Doctors
  • Common people

Some of these segments of lovers and haters actually overlap and make for an interesting observation.

Let’s look at some of the reasons for this love and hate relationship in detail …

Why do people love Sadhguru and Isha Foundation?

Some common reasons seem to be:

  • He is the Guru one has been searching for
  • His yoga teachings have worked miracles on physical health
  • The Isha Foundation’s medical & rejuvenation treatments (Ayurvedic and Siddha) worked wonderfully
  • Spiritual experiences gained from his yoga programs were mind blowing
  • Volume of social work done by Isha Foundation and its volunteers is phenomenal and appreciable
  • What he talks makes absolute sense and is very inspiring
  • He is very patriotic and strives to work for India
  • His Foundation conducts many free yoga camps across the world every year
  • He does not abuse other religions or political parties, etc.

Why do some people seem to hate Sadhguru and Isha Foundation?

Some reasons that people hate Sadhguru for seem to be:

  • Political / Religious ideological differences
  • Perception about commercializing spirituality
  • Perception about presenting a corrupted view of Hindu religion
  • Differences in opinion on treating diseases and on science he talks about
  • Perception about environmental damage
  • Creating monks in a society where marriage is the norm, etc.

The Mechanics of attacks against Isha Foundation and Sadhguru

Broadly the haters of Sadhguru and Isha Foundation can be categorized under the following masks:

  • Ideological differences
  • Opinion differences
  • Social reasons

There are two primary methods used to widely attack Sadhguru and his Isha Foundation.

(1) Credibility Questioning

a. The man (Sadhguru)

b. The process (Isha Yoga / Inner Engineering)

c. The organization (Isha Foundation)

(2) Slander via conspiracy theories

It is important is to note the channels through which such attacks are carried out:

  • YouTube channels
  • Pseudo-social activists
  • Pseudo-rationalists
  • Print Media
  • Digital Media
  • Social Media groups

How to Interpret Articles or Videos about Isha Foundation and Sadhguru?

Whenever a print or digital media publishes an article or a video about Isha Foundation and Sadhguru in a negative connotation, they do one or more of these:

  • As if written by someone else and the magazine takes no responsibility for someone’s opinions (Examples are posts by so called social activists in media)
  • Without verifying whether it is factually correct or not (Examples are articles citing river interlinking being promoted through Rally For Rivers)
  • Stating they tried to contact party X and that they did not respond whereas no such contact might have been initiated (Examples are stuff regarding tribal land encroachment)
  • Relating Isha Foundation or Sadhguru with completely unrelated incidents in that area (Examples are relating the Isha Foundation to death of a person or an elephant in human-elephant conflict somewhere else in the Coimbatore district)
  • Asking a seemingly general question in a negative connotation (Example: Instead of asking ‘is it true that Isha Foundation did not having building permissions’, asking ‘how is the state government permitting Isha Foundation to construct buildings rampantly without any permissions?’ asserts that the wrong-doing from the Foundation where it is not so)

Whenever the same media posts something positive about the Foundation or Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, it resorts to these:

  • Just post the fact but will not have any appreciation for the good work done
  • Simply question the intention behind doing a good act. The intention is simple — “Leave out the good work and put more doubts in people’s minds”.

So, whenever you read any article or see any video about the Isha Foundation and Sadhguru, here are a few tips to weed out the fluff:

  • Is it giving a positive opinion or negative opinion?
  • If positive, is it merely a statement of facts or is also having the author’s opinions?
  • If negative, is it a statement of facts or is it mixed with opinions? If so, what stands out when the opinions are removed and only facts are considered?
  • Are all the facts from all the parties represented? If not, what could be the intent of not doing so?

Choice of Words against Isha Foundation and Sadhguru

Whenever you see any of these words, quickly remove the fluff and look at the crux of the issue — it might end up being nothing but a loose bunch of opinions.

  • Fraud, Charlatan, Cheat, Drug Dealer, Rich, Looter, Thief, Usurper, Killer

These are used to just hit the credibility of the person in question. 90% of the time when someone uses such words, they have no justification for it or proofs to offer. Just because someone is accused of something does not make them guilty of the crime. The crime has to be proven. But common people will not think this way and may start associating the person with such words over time. That is the psychological trick being played here.

  • Encroached Tribal lands, Destroyed Forests, Occupied lands of poor people, Questioned, Pulled up

This is usually an attempt hit the credibility of the organization in question. Most of these accusations have been rebutted in public domain but those who oppose the organization will blindly keep repeating the allegation without even bothering to look at the counter responses and their validity. Again, this is used in the context of marking someone a criminal just because they are accused, even before proving their crime.

  • Pseudo-Science

This is used whenever Sadhguru talks about something from the Indian culture’s perspective. It is generally used to both discredit the person as well as the cultural context from which it is said. Typically, whenever science is invoked, people may think that as the truth. But it is not so as will be proven later in the series while dealing with some of these ‘pseudo-science’ claims. This is the most recently adopted attack tool against Sadhguru.

  • ‘Godman’

If one carefully looks at the articles or videos that attempt to portray Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev in a negative connotation, they would not address him as ‘Sadhguru’. Instead they attribute the terms of either ‘Godman’ or ‘religious leader’ or just call him ‘Jaggi Vasudev’. This is part of a broader tactic to discredit his persona because the typical Indian Psyche would consider a Guru at a higher pedestal than oneself and think twice about talking ill of them. But strip-off that pedestal and it becomes easy to abuse him.

How do common people see and understand Sadhguru?

When I say common people, am talking about the 90% of India which may have access to only FaceBook, WhatsApp or YouTube as their means of entertainment and information. They most likely are not literate enough to form their opinions based on detailed research.

For such people, the most valuable sources of information are hearsay from people they know, hearsay from TV or news media, YouTube videos, memes and information spread through WhatsApp groups. So, it is important to understand how the popular media in Tamilnadu is trying hard to spread hatred towards Sadhguru and Isha Foundation.

How does the Tamilnadu media portray Isha Foundation and Sadhguru?

We will take one magazine alone that seems intent on writing about the Foundation with negative connotations primarily. (You can also do this experiment by yourself)

Just look up the word ‘Isha’ on ‘Vikatan.com’ website (it is one of the Tamil magazines with a decent public reach). We can look at the data points behind the list of articles published by Vikatan magazine over last few years and interpret why there have been some spikes at certain times.

Feb 2017

  • 11 posts in this month
  • This coincided with the unveiling of the 112 feet Adiyogi Shiva’s statue in Coimbatore
  • The rush was also because of political environment in Tamilnadu which was heavily against BJP. During this time, many articles were written citing false environmental violations by the Isha Foundation.

Sep 2017 & Oct 2017

  • 9 posts in this time
  • It coincided with the launch of ‘Rally For Rivers’ initiative by Isha Foundation.
  • Several issues were raked up including Isha Foundation’s own so-called environmental violations, flaws in the Rally For Rivers policy and went on to attacking Sadhguru & his family

2018

  • 7 posts in this year spread across the year
  • 2018 saw the launch of the Youth and Truth program where Sadhguru visited many colleges across the country interacting with the student community.
  • So, the strategy appears to be to keep planting negative opinions through the year.

Sep 2019

  • 5 posts in this month
  • It coincided with the launch of ‘Cauvery Calling’ initiative by Isha Foundation
  • Same tactics as in 2017 were followed questioning the efficacy of the project and personal attacks on Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.

What the local media effectively tried to achieve was to create a specific image about the Isha Foundation and its founder, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev in people’s minds. This is not an isolated phenomenon for ‘Vikatan’ magazine alone but is common across many media houses owned by vested interests in India.

It is clear that whenever Sadhguru or Isha Foundation goes for a big project in the social or spiritual domains, vested interests start attacking them. The hits start about one month before the launch and continue till one month after the launch of such projects.

So, if one wants to truly understand any particular article or video regarding Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev or his Isha Foundation, it is important to keep in mind these fundamentals and read / listen to whatever information comes their way.

Of course, if one wants to blindly believe what they hear or see, all this is of no consequence anyway.

Here is a recent video on a similar topic..

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