Day 1 - 30th September 2011
Earlier this year during April-May, Sadhguru conducted a series of classes in the major cities of Tamil Nadu. Entitled Sadhguruvudun Isha Yoga, these classes drew crowds of 10 – 15,000 each, bringing people not just from the cities but even from far-flung areas surrounding the metropolises.
Salem was also scheduled to become a part of this tremendous offering, but time constraints did not allow it to take place. Eagerly waiting for an opportunity, the volunteers were overjoyed to invite Sadhguru to their town when the dates for the Salem program were announced in June. Since then, their tireless efforts have led to yet another successful program and an opportunity for thousands of people to have an experience of inner joy and bliss.
As has become customary with Isha Events in the past year, the program was preceded by a torrential downpour that soaked most of the city. Preparations had been in full-swing over the last one week, from setting up the hall, to placing chairs, to doing the decorations - all put on hold when the monsoon showers passed over the venue. Some ran to protect the hall materials, some ran to cover the registration counters, others just enjoyed the flood!
Volunteers quickly put up bunds around the hall parameter, to prevent the ground from getting wet. After the storm had subsided, it was back to business – after all it’s not every day Sadhguru addresses over 10,000 people in your town! The rest of the preparations went off without a hitch and the day arrived that the Salem volunteers had waited six months to see.
When Sadhguru walked in and graced the gathering, a certain stillness fell on the waiting crowd. Many of them had heard about Sadhguru from friends, family members and acquaintances, who had done his programs in other cities throughout the state. But none of it prepared them for seeing the Master in action! With his unique blend of wit and wisdom, one moment the crowd would be rolling with laughter, the next they would fall into a deep state of introspection and silence. Sadhguru closed the evening by initiating the participants into Isha Kriya – a powerful yogic process that allows one to experience life to his full potential.
Day 2 - 1st Oct 2011
Early morning, the 10,000 participants trickled into the program hall. As Sounds of Isha pervaded the space with the sounds of guitar, ghatam and flute, everyone took their seats. Some browsed through the Isha Kattu Poo magazine given to them, while others sat still with eyes closed. When Samskriti children began their chanting, they knew that Sadhguru would come soon.
Sure enough, Sadhguru briskly strode onto the dais, and the session began. The participants practiced the “Isha Kriya” and learned preparatory yoga asanas in a stepwise fashion. As Sadhguru illuminated the mechanics of the human system, and told jokes so the crowd wouldn’t become “dead serious,” it didn’t seem like a program at all, but a joyful symphony conducted by the Master.
A short break followed by energetic Kalari performances (a traditional Indian martial art) by the Samskriti children, accompanied by powerful drum beats, geared the crowd up for the next session.
Meanwhile, volunteers were found doing a variety of activities, from assembling the database of participants to manning stalls for different Isha projects, to packing thousands of lunch boxes. Despite the late nights and early mornings, the inspiring volunteers worked tirelessly to make the program a success.
After lunch, Sadhguru led an interactive session, walking up and down the ramp through the middle of the audience. He answered long-standing questions and showed the possibility to live life anew. The night closed with Sadhguru blessing dozens of baskets full of lilies, which were later distributed to each of the participants.
The whole day was an eye-opening experience for many volunteers, Isha teachers and Ashram residents. A member of the Sounds of Isha shares,
“I’ve been to other such programs in other cities, which were all equally amazing in their own ways, but I noticed something a little different about the Salemites. They were so quiet, calm and totally at ease, even on the first day, as if they had known Sadhguru for years. It was a pleasant surprise for me.” – SOI member
Day 3 - 2nd Oct 2011
Initiation day started with the participants being treated to an exuberant medley of songs from the Sounds of Isha drawing the participants to their feet. Next came a short break and when the participants re-assembled in the hall, the atmosphere took on a different quality as the initiation drew closer. Several preparatory processes were conducted and it was a sublime sight to see over 10,000 people becoming still, as the moment approached.
Then the initiation process begins. It was an awe inspiring sight. Sadhguru seated on the dais, utterly still, timeless; Thousands of people around him erupting as the seed of Shambhavi was sown into them, and they experienced previously unknown states of joy within them. The session closed with lively music and the participants then went to have their lunch, while the Samskriti children sung the Linga Bhairavi chants.
The participants reconvened for the evening session. But minutes after Sadhguru arrived, it started raining. It became stronger and as it beat down on the roof we had an uncomfortable moment where we thought Sadhguru would not be heard over the sound of the pounding rain. However, the audio was cranked up and Sadhguru’s voice was successfully projected to all.
Shortly afterwards, there was a momentary failure in the video projector screen, resulting in people at the back being unable to see. Sadhguru responded by jumping down from the dais, picking up a hand mike and continuing the class while walking down the ramp as if nothing has happened .
The participants were initiated a second time, after which Sadhguru walked amongst the participants as Yogeshwaraya was played, giving the opportunity for the newly initiated participants to have this darshan from close up. Many people were crying tears of joy and reaching out as Sadhguru walked past them . Then the mood moved from devotion to joy as Sounds of Isha started playing Alai Alai, and Sadhguru raised the whole situation to a different pitch, swaying and clapping as he walked back down the ramp , his eyes full of love as he walked back down the ramp, and then doing his own ‘Alai Alai’ dance.
The whole place became a sea of people dancing, crying and laughing with joyful abandon – Truly a ‘Wave of Bliss’
In yesterday’s update, someone shared how they felt that the people of Salem were so quiet and calm. You wouldn’t have thought so if you have been here tonight. I would just describe it as sheer exuberance on a mass scale, brought forth by Sadhguru.
And that too, in just 3 days! This was an event that Salem will never forget.