Book Review: Inner Engineering
A Yogi’s Guide to Joy
Spiegel & Grau
“Fun” isn’t usually the first word to spring to mind when it comes to the writings of Indian gurus, but that description applies to the latest in a long list of books by Jaggi Vasudev, better known as Sadhguru. As the founder of the international spiritual organization Isha Foundation, Sadhguru has honed his ability to communicate mystical concepts in an informal, accessible way while speaking at institutions like the UN, TED, Google, Harvard, and Microsoft. That skill is evident in Inner Engineering, which makes use of jokes, Mullah Nasruddin–style stories, and section headings like “When the Shit Hit the Ceiling,” all while presenting perspectives and practices designed to further the author’s stated goal of helping “make joy your constant companion.”
After offering autobiographical information that includes an account of a time when he claims to have undergone a permanent shift in consciousness, Sadhguru imparts various insights that have emerged from that state of heightened awareness. Among these are the principles that all human endeavor stems from the desire for joy, that enlightenment is a recognition that all experiences come from within, and that enjoyment is maximized when one becomes willingly and actively involved in life.
Having laid a conceptual foundation in Part One, Sadhguru then goes into the specifics of yogic practice, suggesting several methods of working with the body, mind, and energies. Part Two of the book covers everything from diet and sleeping habits to more esoteric subjects such as the chakras, Tantra, and various types of samadhi states.
With its blend of modern language and ancient yogic practice, Inner Engineering seems at least partially geared toward younger readers. Paradoxically, the author’s use of present-day symbolism and terminology is traditional in itself: As he points out, “The truth is timeless, but the technology and the language [that spiritual teachers use] are always contemporary. If they weren’t, they would deserve to be discarded.”