Mystic guru to appear at USF

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev was not always a spiritual person. In fact, he would call himself a skeptic.

“Spirituality was the last thing – if it was there at all – in my mind,” he said. “But one day, a certain experience happened to me that changed the very fundamentals of who I am.”

A long time ago, he said, he was sitting on a hill near his town in India. An inexplicable ecstasy – one that he would devote his life to maintaining and allowing others to experience – came over him.

Vasudev will continue that work at “Mystic Eye: Visions of the Beyond” this weekend at the USF Soccer Stadium. The conference addresses how students can achieve happiness and offers a chance to promote his book, “Midnights with the Mystic: A Little Guide to Freedom and Bliss.”

Cheryl Simone co-wrote the book about her experiences with the mystic guru during a week he spent at her home in the mountains of North Carolina.

Since his experience on the hill, Vasudev has been named one of India’s 50 Most Influential People and has served as a delegate to the United Nations Millennium Peace Summit and World Peace Congress, among others. He is the only person to ever speak at the annual World Economic Forum four times.

However, Vasudev said he is “not trying to be useful to people.”

“If you ask a tree how he feels to know that he’s spreading his fragrance and making people happy, I don’t think a tree looks at it that way,” he said. “I am just like that, and it is just my nature to be like this.”

Admission to the event, which is Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p.m., is $150 for students and $250 for the public.

The conference, expected to draw thousands, will aim to “answer life’s deepest questions,” Vasudev said. The event is hosted by The Isha Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Vasudev.

“There is an innate intelligence and competence within us that is the very maker of who we are,” he said. “If only you had a taste of that intelligence, you would live your life magically. That is what my work is about, to bring that access to people’s lives.”