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Jaggi Vasudev is the Ducati-riding guru for the Modi Age

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16.03.2019

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev (as well as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Baba Ramdev) to “inspire people towards greater democratic participation”, he was only recognising the guru’s unofficial endorsement of him. Over the past few months, Jaggi Vasudev has tweeted and spoken on a number of subjects that show a remarkable congruence with the BJP’s agenda, whether it is on democracy not being used to ‘point fingers’ or on the ‘ease & benefits’ of GST. All these are usually accompanied by photographs where he is posing with his arms outstretched like a spiritual Shah Rukh Khan.

He has spoken against the continuation of Article 370 and supported Major Leetul Gogoi’s tying of a Kashmiri youth to his jeep in 2017. He has condemned the Pulwama attack and criticised “motivated groups spewing venom all the time”. He has echoed Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar’s criticism of Rahul Gandhi’s “petty politics” and announced that homosexuality should not become an identity to parade on the streets. He believes women of menstrual age not being allowed inside the Sabarimala temple is a matter of discretion rather than gender discrimination. In a conversation with actress Kangana Ranaut, he controversially declared that “people who claim to be liberals are actually fanatics. If you don’t agree with them, they will finish you.”

He has faced backlash for soft-peddling BJP’s agenda, with some Twitter accounts even posting old stories, which questioned his wife’s “mahasamadhi”. Others have questioned the call centre for his river rally being the same as the one used by the Gujarat government on several occasions when Narendra Modi was chief minister.

But it has made little difference to the guru or his devotees. For the seven million volunteers of the Isha Foundation, which Sadhguru began in 1992 in Coimbatore Tamil Nadu, he is the man who has given them a new way of living, a feel-good pick-me-up for these troubled times. If Baba Ramdev is the king of a swadeshi empire and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has acquired a man-of-peace persona, Sadhguru is emerging as the guru of the good life for post-millennial India.

Through a combination of an active YouTube channel with over 2.5 million subscribers, regular tweets to his nearly two million followers, an Isha Foundation programme on campuses called Youth and Truth, several wealthy patrons whose homes he often commandeers, and prolific appearances at media summits, Jaggi........

© ThePrint