The Isha Foundation has joined issue with Tamil Nadu Finance Minister P.T.R. Palanivel Thiagarajan, who had assailed its founder Jaggi Vasudev for demanding that temples be freed from the control of the State Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department.
In an open letter to the Minister issued by Isha volunteers, Isha Foundation said they were “appalled that a man of his [Jaggi Vasudev] stature has been subject to the Minister’s unparliamentary and uncalled for personal attack in a recent media interview [to The Hindu ] , calling him a ‘publicity hound’ and a ‘commercial operator’. It is deeply unfortunate that a person holding high public office should resort to name-calling of a highly respected public figure.This unseemly attack trivialises the efforts and dedication of millions of Isha volunteers worldwide who are working tirelessly in service of humanity.”
The letter said: “In true democratic spirit, Sadhguru and Isha Foundation have worked with various elected governments from across the political spectrum and will continue to do so for the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu. Cooperation and support have been the nature of our relationship with every government. We regret the deterioration of this culture and the poor standard of public discourse. This is certainly unbecoming of an elected representative and an honorable member of the State’s Cabinet.
The letter said that for nearly 30 years, thousands of volunteers of Isha Foundation have been working in Tamil Nadu to bring physical, mental and spiritual well-being to Tamil people through yoga, social outreach and ecological projects.
“The activities of Isha Foundation have always received great support from strong partners including the Government of Tamil Nadu,” it said.
According to the Foundation, several social development programmes were initiated for rural communities in health, education, holistic development and farmer welfare reaching over 7,500 villages impacting at least 11 million lives.
The outreach included Isha Vidhya, an education initiative for students of nine districts, the Rally for Rivers, an ecological movement, and increasing green cover “by contributing over 38 million trees,” it said.
The Foundation had also launched the ‘Cauvery Calling’ movement, as part of which 2.42 billion trees are to be planted in the Cauvery basin, benefiting not only the ecology but also more than five million farmers. “In 2020, under the Cauvery Calling project, farmers in the two States [Karnataka and Tamil Nadu] planted 11 million saplings in their farmlands,” it said.
“Over the last year and continuing into this year, Isha COVID Action has serviced the villages surrounding the Isha Yoga Center,” it added.
All of this work has been done with the support of the people and the Government of Tamil Nadu, it added.