Spirituality: The Convention Centre in Thimphu; August 5. There is a heavy calm in the room.

For the first time a forum of the Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies (RIGSS) is being held in the capital. It is the 15th in the series.

And then there is a light sound of a flute that reverberates mildly through the hall.  There is peace. There is calm.

Close to about 200 people are waiting for Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. It is “The Buddha Within” that the audience have come to understand, that will be explained by one of the few self-realised Indian yogis living today.

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is one of the 50 most influential people in India. Founder of the Isha Foundation, he is a spiritual master who is also a poet, an author, mystic, and a humanitarian.

“How joyful were you at the age of five?” asks Sadhguru. “And how joyful are you today?” A deep silence descends in the room.

A child has small intellect and that makes the child joyful, says the richly bearded mystic, cascading grey wafting gently in the air, almost musically. But the joyfulness that should mature into ecstasy with increased intellect in adulthood is somehow lost. “It has now become suffering. The sharper the intellect, the more the suffering.”

And quickly he adds that although there is nothing wrong in itself, it is just that the intellect is not stable. “The poor suffer from poverty, while the rich suffer from taxes.”

Sufferings can come to people quite easily and in myriad shades. As volatile as people are, we can get affected by an event that occurred in the far distant past and even by the uncertainty of the future.

“Suffering is not in your life, it is in your intellect,” says the yogi. “But if you are above this intellect, your suffering will vanish.”

Human suffering, says Sadhguru, has two aspects – physical and mental. As the body suffers from pain, the mind multiplies that pain it by a thousand times more, adding that it is the intellect mind that indeed triggers suffering.

He who transcends beyond intellect is Buddha. For Sadhguru, Buddha is the one who is above the body and the mind. He is the one who is the master of the body and the mind.

“Buddha is within you,” says Sadhguru. “Buddha decides what happens inside. Decisions are taken keeping oneself above mental and physical sufferings, and it is done consciously, not accidentally.”

To drive the point home, the old sage just as quickly adds: “He saw the mortal nature in us.” If people were conscious about mortal nature, the world would have been a better place because people would only be doing what matter to them the most.

Siddhartha Gautama was not the only Buddha, however. There were many Buddhas before Gautama; there were many during his time, and there would be many in the future. The problem today is that there are too many people doing too many things that do not even mean anything to them.

God, belief, and spirituality are very important in today’s world, says Sadhguru, and lamented that people these days are treating gods like insurance.  And he adds: People believe in God because they don’t know about God. People do not know about God because they have not been sincere enough.

Spiritual seeking becomes reality if one accepts and tells the truth, but do not believe and assume, urges the serene yogi. “Confidence without clarity is a disaster. Buddha did not ask us to believe and assume but to seek.”

Present among the audience were Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, the Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, ministers, and other dignitaries.

Rajesh Rai | Thimphu