NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Thought leader, visionary, philanthropist, mystic, and yogi Sadhguru presents Western readers with a time-tested path to achieving absolute well-being: the classical science of yoga.
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SPIRITUALITY & HEALTH
The practice of hatha yoga, as we commonly know it, is but one of eight branches of the body of knowledge that is yoga. In fact, yoga is a sophisticated system of self-empowerment that is capable of harnessing and activating inner energies in such a way that your body and mind function at their optimal capacity. It is a means to create inner situations exactly the way you want them, turning you into the architect of your own joy.
A yogi lives life in this expansive state, and in this transformative book Sadhguru tells the story of his own awakening, from a boy with an unusual affinity for the natural world to a young daredevil who crossed the Indian continent on his motorcycle. He relates the moment of his enlightenment on a mountaintop in southern India, where time stood still and he emerged radically changed. Today, as the founder of Isha, an organization devoted to humanitarian causes, he lights the path for millions. The term guru, he notes, means “dispeller of darkness, someone who opens the door for you. . . . As a guru, I have no doctrine to teach, no philosophy to impart, no belief to propagate. And that is because the only solution for all the ills that plague humanity is self-transformation. Self-transformation means that nothing of the old remains. It is a dimensional shift in the way you perceive and experience life.” The wisdom distilled in this accessible, profound, and engaging book offers readers time-tested tools that are fresh, alive, and radiantly new. Inner Engineering presents a revolutionary way of thinking about our agency and our humanity and the opportunity to achieve nothing less than a life of joy.
Praise for Sadhguru and Inner Engineering
“Contrarian and consistent, ancient and contemporary, Inner Engineering is a loving invitation to live our best lives and a profound reassurance of why and how we can.”—Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element, Finding Your Element, and Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative
“I am inspired by Sadhguru’s capacity for joy, his exuberance for life, and the depth and breadth of his curiosity and knowledge. His book is filled with moments of wonder, awe, and intellectual challenge. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in self-transformation.”—Mark Hyman, M.D., director, Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, and New York Times bestselling author
“Inner Engineering is a fascinating read of Sadhguru’s insights and his teachings. If you are ready, it is a tool to help awaken your own inner intelligence, the ultimate and supreme genius that mirrors the wisdom of the cosmos.”—Deepak Chopra
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About the Author
From the Hardcover edition.
Read an Excerpt
The Four-Letter Word
Once it happened . . . A customer walking into Shankaran Pillai’s pharmacy saw a man outside hugging a lamppost, his eyeballs rolling wildly.
When he walked in, he asked, “Who’s that man? What’s wrong with him?”
Shankaran Pillai replied, unperturbed, “Oh, that guy. He’s one of my customers.”
“But what’s the matter with him?”
“He wanted something for a whooping cough. I gave him the appropriate medicine.”
“What did you give him?”
“A box of laxatives. I made him take it right here.”
“Laxatives for a whooping cough! Why on earth would you give him that?”
“Oh come on, you saw him. You think he dares to cough anymore?”
Shankaran Pillai’s box of laxatives is emblematic of the type of solution being peddled all over the world today for those in search of well-being. It is the fundamental reason the term “guru” has become a four-letter word.
Unfortunately, we have forgotten the real meaning of the word. “Guru” literally means “dispeller of darkness.” The function of the guru, contrary to popular belief, is not to teach, indoctrinate, or convert. The guru is here to throw light on dimensions beyond your sensory perceptions and your psychological drama, dimensions that you are currently unable to perceive. The guru is here, fundamentally, to throw light on the very nature of your existence.
There are many spurious and dangerously misleading teachings in vogue in our world today. “Be in the moment” is one of them. The assumption is that you could be somewhere else, if you wanted. How is that even possible? The present is the only place that you can be. If you live, you live in this moment. If you die, you die in this moment. This moment is eternity. How are you going to escape it, even if you try?
Right now your problem is that you suffer what happened ten years ago and you suffer what may happen the day after tomorrow. Both are not living truths. They are simply a play of your memory and imagination. Does this mean then that in order to find peace you must annihilate your mind? Not at all. It simply means you need to take charge of it. Your mind carries the enormous reserves of memory and the incredible possibilities of the imagination that are the result of an evolutionary process of millions of years. If you can use it when you want and put it aside when you don’t, the mind can be a fantastic tool. To shun the past and neglect the future is to trivialize this wonderful faculty. So “be in the moment” becomes a crippling psychological restriction—it denies our existential reality.
“Do only one thing at a time” has become another popular self-help slogan. Why would you do only one thing when the mind is a phenomenal multidimensional machine, capable of handling several levels of activity all at once? Instead of harnessing and learning to ride the mind, why would you want to obliterate it? When you can know the heady joy of mental action, why would you opt for a lobotomy, for voluntary cabbage-hood?
The other phrase that has hardened into cliché through overuse is “positive thinking.” When it is oversimplified and used as some quick-fix mantra, positive thinking becomes a way of whitewashing or sugarcoating your reality. When you are unable to process real-time information and control your psychological drama, you seize on “positive thinking” as a tranquilizer. Initially, it might seem to imbue your life with new confidence and optimism. But it is essentially limited. In the long term, if you deny or amputate one part of reality, it gives you a lopsided perspective of life.
Then there is the time-honored business of exporting human well-being to the heavens and claiming that the core of the universe is love. Love is a human possibility. If you need a refresher course, you can take lessons from your dog. He is full of love! You don’t have to go to outer space to know love. All these puerile philosophies come from the assumption that existence is human-centric. This single idea has robbed us of all sense and made us commit some of the most inhuman and heinous crimes throughout history. These continue to perpetuate themselves to this very day.
As a guru, I have no doctrine to teach, no philosophy to impart, no belief to propagate. And that is because the only solution for all the ills that plague humanity is selftransformation. Self-transformation is not incremental selfimprovement. Self-transformation is achieved not by morals or ethics or attitudinal or behavioral changes, but by experiencing the limitless nature of who we are. Self-transformation means nothing of the old remains. It is a dimensional shift in the way you perceive and experience life.
Knowing this is yoga. One who embodies this is a yogi. One who guides you in this direction is a guru.
My aim in this book is to help make joy your constant companion. To make that happen, this book offers you not a sermon, but a science; not a teaching, but a technology; not a precept, but a path. It is now time to start exploring that science, working the technology, walking the path.
On this journey, the guru is not the destination but the road map. The inner dimension is uncharted terrain. If you are exploring terrain that is unfamiliar to you, isn’t it better to have signposts? You could find your own way, but who knows, it could take lifetimes. When you’re on unfamiliar terrain, it’s just sensible to take directions. On one level, that is all a guru is—a live road map. GPS: Guru Pathfinding System!
And that’s why there exists that infamous four-letter word.
Just to make things doubly easy for you, I thought I’d make it eight . . .
Table of Contents
The Four-Letter Word ix
A Note to the Reader 3
When I lost My Sense 7
The Way Out to In 25
Design your Destiny 40
No Boundary no Burden 48
"… And Now, Yoga" 71
A Note to the Reader 87
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is life changing for me in a very positive manner. I carry this everywhere I go.
Amazing and insightful. Already planning to read it again.
True to its name - Inner Engineering - is very much needed for this technology-ravaged world that only does outer Engineering. I am an engineer by profession and have always been a logical thinker. This book definitely challenged me on that front - I cant find a single flaw, cant find a single broken logic. Many things are not what we do culturally or maybe follow and act as a majority, however I cannot disagree with what Sadhguru says. I find in this book ways I can better my life, methods to take charge of my well-being, tools by which I can go beyond the logical realm. I for one will have to keep this book handy because I will need a constant reminder, a continuous plan or process so that I can get back on track since I find myself easily slipping off course.
My sister, brother and I spent our childhood war time reading. Maupassant, Baudelaire, Kafka, Hugo, Ionesco, Prevert, Daudet and many more great minds filled those dark days with gracefully weaved stories; an alternate world for us to sneak into, escaping the painful reality we were in. I was yet to find a book that could show me the wonder of life and prove that there is no need for an escape no matter what mess the world is in. 25 years later, there it is. Not for the faint-hearted, but for anyone who knows deep down that there is more to life than what we actually see.