Chapter 7Twenty-First-Century Polymaths

The Polymath is endangered, though not extinct.

– Peter Burke, A Social History of Knowledge

A Vanguard of Disruptors

Yogis are often perceived as the most specialised of human beings. As mystics in pursuit of a metaphysical reality they must renounce or at least emancipate themselves from the physical reality. They are so committed, so disciplined, so consumed by this one task that excelling in any other worldly pursuit seems unthinkable. According to the celebrated twenty-first-century Indian mystic Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, this is a flawed assumption. Sadhguru is one of the most famous yogis alive. He developed the ‘inner engineering’ programme and through his Isha Foundation established one of the most popular meditation retreats worldwide.

Yet here is a man of action – a social entrepreneur who plays golf seriously, writes books on gastronomy and lives a life of adventure riding motor bikes, handling snakes and climbing mountains. It's what he calls the ‘wild life’. Though he claims not to be a man of learning, his erudite conversations with world-renowned neuroscientists, educationalists, journalists and artists have been widely broadcast. He has authored over a hundred books in eight languages on a range of topics.

Despite the impact of a dominant paradigm of specialisation on social, intellectual and spiritual development, there remains a vanguard of polymaths who insist on thinking, being and operating differently. Sadhguru ...

Get The Polymath now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.