The response to Sadhguru’s brief visit to London in mid June was overwhelming. An extraordinary audience of more than 550 packed the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in West Kensington for the launch of the book Midnights with the Mystic on 13 June 2008. The event was recorded by Doordarshan and Rayat TV.

Following the book’s huge success at the US launch in May, the UK distributors Deep Books were eager to arrange an event with Sadhguru at the earliest possible date. At only 10 days notice, Isha UK meditators and volunteers swung into action to spread the word. Once the doors opened, the 300-seat auditorium quickly filled and newcomers were soon being ushered into an overflow room where they first saw a live transmission of meditative music from Yatheesan Selvakumar on flute and Premakumar on Miruthangam. More people who could not find seats either were waiting in the hallway.

“The response was way beyond anything we could have expected,” said Nathalie Zabbal, a volunteer and Isha Yoga teacher for Isha UK. “We were overwhelmed and very gratified that people travelled from all over the country to hear Sadhguru at this rare public event.”

Sadhguru spoke warmly and with great humour to a mixed audience of meditators and guests, ably crossing boundaries of differing spiritual experience. “Mysticism is anything you don’t understand,” he said, outlining the choice to deepen the longing to know, either by fruitlessly exploring the ever-growing complexities of our universe, or by turning inwards and becoming meditative in the search for realization. After taking questions he signed books in the packed foyer.

A number of very successful private meetings also took place over the weekend, and on Sunday morning, 250 meditators gathered for a Sathsang with Sadhguru at Bancroft’s School Sports Hall in Woodford Green, just east of London, despite closure of the Central Underground Line serving nearby stations on that day.

It was Father’s Day in the UK, and volunteers made and signed a huge card for Sadhguru which said: “To the one who is father to the whole world.” “Are you going to make me responsible for all that?” he quipped.

At lunch after the Sathsang, some of the meditators shared their feelings about Sadhguru’s visit:

If you took away all the spiritual and energetic aspects of everything that Sadhguru does and simply listened to what he has to say, and looked at what he does, he would still be one of the most remarkable people you could imagine ever living. In terms of the numbers of people that he’s affected – even just GreenHands, planting five million trees with one million people, and what that’s done socially as well as ecologically – is absolutely mind-blowingly stunning. Just based on the pure pragmatics he’s got to be one of the most astounding human beings ever. So today I’ve just been feeling waves of gratitude that he exists and even that I know him. –  Alex

To use Sadhguru’s own words, it’s like the open opening lines from the Carpenters’ song: ‘We’ve only just begun’. We’ve just become public in the last three years and raised the profile. Here, today, his warmth and love could be felt palpably by all the participants. In response to one questioner he said: ‘Remember, I am your friend.’ Like many people present, I left the event inspired and deeply moved.- Lawrence

I’ve been involved with Isha for almost two years now, and I’ve been doing my practices regularly and find benefits now and again, but irrespective of whether I’m finding benefits or not, I keep on doing it. I never had this feeling about Sadhguru being omnipresent in my life all the time, but recently I felt as if, although my practices were getting better – sharper, every time I get in touch with Sadhguru, in a way, he wakes me up to say: ‘You’ve got to stretch more; you’ve got to do more,’ and this time had plenty of that, and for that I’m really thankful because I needed that.-Arun