Sadhguru says religious
intolerance only on TV

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By Smita Prakash (ANI Editor)

NEW DELHI: Founder of Isha Foundation Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev said that there is a “lot of heat” in television studios, which is being exaggerated to suggest that there is rising religious intolerance in the country while underlining that the last one decade has been free of major communal violence.
In an exclusive interview with ANI’s Editor Smita Prakash, the spiritual leader spoke of his college days, saying that “major riots took place in the country” while contrasting with the past 10 years “when no major communal riots took place in the country”. Isha Foundation founder Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev recently arrived in India after covering a 30,000-km lone motorcycle journey across 27 countries as part of his ‘Save Soil’ campaign.

New Delhi: ANI’s Editor Smita Prakash during an interview with Isha Foundation founder Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev over various issues including religious intolerance, India’s image before the world, in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)

“I think we tend to exaggerate things quite a bit. Yes, there are a few issues which have come to debate and there is a lot of heat on television channels. You don’t see it anywhere on the street. You walk across Delhi or any village in the country, there is no such intolerance or such violence or anything,” Sadhguru said when he was asked about the claims of the rising religious intolerance in the country.
He strongly advocated action against people involved in violence while underlining that there’s “exaggeration” about the heat in the tv studios on discussions on issues with religious undertones.
“There are some consensus issues where there are some debates going on. They are all in a court of law. You should allow the law to go its way. But now once you get the momentum, people are excited to go all over the place and in case, there is an election or something in the area, people use that to do these things,” he added.
Sadhguru’s comments came close on the heels of violent incidents reported from Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Recently, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed that there are rising attacks on people at places of worship in India.

New Delhi: Isha Foundation founder Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev during an interview with ANI’s Editor Smita Prakash over various issues including religious intolerance, India’s image before the world, in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)

The Isha Foundation founder recalled his graduation days when communal violence incidents were considered “normal”.
“But I feel these things (communal violence) have come down significantly in the last 25 years. When we were in university, there was not a single year when there was no major communal riot in the country. Every year, there used to be somewhere, major (riots). I have not heard (of communal violence) in the 5-6 years atleast or maybe 10 years. You have not heard of such things. Some flashpoints have happened, unfortunately. But large communal violence, as we thought as normal for this country to face, you are not hearing that which is a very positive thing,” he added.

New Delhi: Isha Foundation founder Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev during an interview with ANI’s Editor Smita Prakash over various issues including religious intolerance, India’s image before the world, in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)

Sadhguru further stated that there are people who are looking for trouble all the time. “I think that the law should contain these people because, in all the communities, people want to take care of their lives, they want to educate, find jobs, and make a good living. Above all, women in their families want to live well. They don’t want their men to be bickering and quarrelling… They don’t have time and patience nor do they intend to have in that direction. Such elements are there everywhere,” he said.
When asked whether he confronts questions about secularism in India, the spiritual leader stressed that “some people with their own vested interests talk about it but the word India commands much more respect now than ever before”.
“A lot of people think Indian elections are the most fantastic thing in the world. In the USA, they don’t trust their own election system. They think our system is lousy and India is doing great. This is the common refrain that I hear. There are few people with strong views because of their own vested interests who talk about this and that. But generally, I think the word India commands much more respect now than ever before,” he said.

Gun violence in US related to

mental health of youth: Sadhguru

Founder of Isha Foundation Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev said that the gun violence in the US was related to the mental health of the youths.
He said that the violent culture in the US is rising because of the content of television shows, movies and video games. “Mental health and violence are very connected. I am asking — have we not made violence a very popular thing? A five-year-old is playing a video game. What do you think, he is doing? You think he is playing badminton; he is shooting somebody. Most of the time he is shooting something. From the age of five till 18, if I am that child, if I go on shooting on the screen when I become 18, would I like not to graduate to something more real?” said the spiritual Guru.
Recently, 21 people were killed, including 19 children and two teachers after an 18-year-old opened fire in Robb Elementary School of Uvalde in Texas.
Sadhguru further narrated an incident, stressing on the rise of the mental health conditions post-COVID-19 pandemic.
“I met a lady psychiatrist; she said in my 20 years of practicing psychiatry, nobody ever came and asked this, but, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, many young girls came and asked her ‘can you suggest where we can learn yoga and bring some balance to our ourselves’. That search for inner balance has kind of touched people. A few people have hung on with it, others have just forgotten it, thinking that they can settle it with a glass of beer,” he said.
The Isha Foundation founder was recently in the US as part of his ‘Save Soil Movement’ – a global movement to increase awareness about deteriorating soil health and bring about a conscious response.
The movement was started by Sadhguru in March 2022, who embarked on a 100-day motorcycle journey, passing through 27 countries. June 5 marks the 75th day of the 100-day journey.
Sharing his experience of the US on a motorbike journey and screening the culture there, he said that there is a disconnect between youth and their happiness, and their well-being.
He also flagged the violence being promoted on various platforms. “Look at all the movies that you make, the television stuff that you make. If you and I have an argument, the only way is that I pick up something and crash it on your head or bash up your face or shoot you on the head. Isn’t this the way every disagreement is settled in most movies, television serials, and everything? We are setting up that example, this is the way of settling every argument, every disagreement, while the whole process of civilization is even if we fundamentally disagree with the basic aspect of the life — we can still sit down and talk it out, debate and if we cannot, we can move little away,” he said, adding “this is civilization, but, are we not reversing that in our television screen, cinema screen, and video games screen? Are we not seriously trying to reverse the basic process of civilization where instead of bashing your face, I can talk to you.”
Regarding gun violence in India, Sadhguru said, “It’s not on a large scale because only urban children in India get to do those things. Even in that, only a percentage of well-to-do children get to do those things. It’s not as widespread as in the US.” (ANI)