The Hindu

A yogi's take on how to be happy

19 July, 2004

 FOR THE yuppies of Chennai who could take time off from their hectic work schedule, it was a pleasant evening on Thursday with Jaggi Vasudev, promoter of the idea of "inner engineering for effortless living."

The Now generation men were in western clothes. Most of the women wore Punjabi suits.

They were all Round-Tablers, a group of persons below 40, come together for doing voluntary service.

The 'round table discussion' centered around, seeking to achieve the sublime state of happiness - an ageless, much-touted idea.

The yogi said he spends 20 per cent of his time with prison inmates in India and the United States because they are "oscillating among emotions.

A criminal pursues his happiness more vigorously" and hence is in natural conflict with others. He does not call the inner being a soul. It is energy that flows out of every person. He sprinkled his speech generously with anecdotes that included examples from the lives of animals. "If at the age of five you were happy should you not be ecstatic at 30?" he asked. "We seem to be working more than our parents and grandparents yet we are not happy. We are more stressed out and unhappy."

He believes people live accidentally and not consciously. Technology has destroyed happiness. "The smile on the face of the Indian beg-gar is bigger than that on the face of a Chief Executive Officer," he noted. His organization, Isha Yoga Centre, is currently working with corporate houses in an effort to improve the lifestyle and enable the executives live a healthy life.

"What we did in pursuit of happiness 50 years ago seems destructive today." People had in their hunt for happiness and pleasure brought the planet to the brink of extinction. "On an unhappy day you want to commit crime... Aren't we responsible for our actions?"People desire for control of the outside world. "The morning begins with the share market. We try to hold on to happiness but it crashes. It is time to put your happiness on self-start." Just as technology was designed to make life easy it is necessary to reengineer the inner self for comfort. "If you find a dimension within you, you will be joyful by nature. Otherwise life will be accidental and joy a rare visitor." Joy is not in profession, marriage or people around them. "Look into yourself. You're yourself. What you are suffering from is your freedom; the struggle to be known as a good human being."

A participant asked what they could do if someone else was responsible for the action. He said, "People live on accumulation. Your body is an accumulation of food and your mind an accumulation of experiences. Learn to live, as you would learn to drive a car. The drive will not be jerky."

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