Shakib Muyanja: It’s not every day that one gets their thirst for the mystical watered. But on the evening of June 12th, the residents of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, had a rare chance to do this, through Sadhguru. Sadhguru’s reputation for wisdom, wit and knowing had preceded him, so it was no surprise that the Speke Ballroom, Munyonyo was teeming with people for the event.
I had been looking forward to this event for a rather long time; my anxiety levels rose steadily every day when I learned that Sadhguru was taking some days off his busy schedule to be in Uganda, during his first official visit to Africa. Alan Kasujja, a presenter of Newsday on BBC, had the enviable task of interviewing a live Guru.
I arrived at 2.30pm for an event that was slated to begin at 5.30pm. I was surprised to find that people had already started arriving at the venue as early as 1pm! Isha volunteers were all over the place, putting final touches to an already well-organized hall, testing the sound and ensuring everything looked set.
The doors opened at exactly 4pm and as part of the seating team, I had a tough but exciting 1.5 hours. People literally poured into the hall, the looks on their faces betraying their anticipation and impatience. The general tone was that of suspense and curiosity. I had a chance to interact with several people and couldn’t help but notice their thirst for knowledge. Their dream of seeing a live Guru was going to be a reality in a moment’s time. I had a number of people requesting me to find vacant seats as close to the stage as possible. Unfortunately, it was practically impossible, as those seats had filled up first and fast.
Sadhguru and Alan Kasujja made their entrance into the packed hall shortly before 5.30pm, much to the delight of the audience. The necessary introductions were made and soon the talk was underway. Alan had a plethora of questions that were only limited by time. Every time a question was answered, it seemed to whet his appetite even more. Intrigued along with him was the audience. There were certain questions that created suspense so thick it seemed dramatic, with an obvious anticipation of how they would be answered.
Sadhguru had some really clever one-liners that were followed by serious clarifications after the loud applause. When asked about the age-old question of life after death, Sadhguru’s reply: “some things are best understood through experience”, solicited heavy laughter from everyone present. Humor of such nature, which punctuated the entire talk, kept the audience and Alan himself hooked, as well as impressed.
The question session with the audience saw a multitude of eager hands going up. Unfortunately, three hours were just not enough to quench everyone’s thirst and many questions went unanswered. I had the impression that I had been seated for about thirty minutes before it dawned upon me that the event was over. As it turned out I wasn’t alone in my sweet misery – people lingered around in the hope that maybe it was just a break. Leaving the hall, people were slow and hesitant, and I knew that an impression had been made. The number of people who registered for the next program was a confirmation of that.
To say that I was impressed would be an understatement. I was overwhelmed.