Written by Yogi Vishwajeet (Kashi)
Surrounded by 20,000-foot snow-capped peaks, I set off on a 4-day solo trek through the Himalayas. It was the Spring of 1999 – I had just finished engineering school and was on a quest to discover my roots and find myself. Instead, I got lost.
Three days in, I was forced to turn back due to deep snow on the trail. Lonely and disappointed, I descended below the tree line. Distracted by the change of plan, I took a wrong turn in the forest and ended up falling down a hillside. Here I was, scared, unable to walk, and lost in the middle of the Himalayas! On my hands and knees, I crawled and tumbled along a stream, eventually to a river where I came upon a remote, isolated village. A farmer helped me in, and there I took refuge to recover from my injuries. It took a week for my pain to settle enough to make the daylong journey out on horseback to the nearest jeep trail from where I journeyed on to Rishikesh thinking it a good place to recuperate and learn some Yoga.
On my first morning at the renowned Yoga Niketan Ashram, I showed up to the Yoga class. There on the podium, smiling, was a small Indian man with long curly hair and wise, all-knowing eyes. He spoke no more than twenty words of English, but he laughed and spread joy down the rows of cotton woven mats.
I was curious about him and followed him after class to his verandah behind the Yoga hall. We poured water through our nostrils as he taught me Jal Neti and we laughed some more. The routine of the Ashram was regular, the meals simple. We slept when it got dark and woke with the sun. We bathed by pouring buckets of cold water over our heads. Whenever I had a chance, I sought out the company of this jovial Himalayan yogi. In his presence, I felt like I had finally found what I was looking for on my trip to India.
When I left, I didn’t think I’d ever see him again, but within a year, I heard his laughter again down the telephone line. Synchronicity had brought him to Toronto and to a neighborhood just blocks away from my parents’ home. We met regularly, and though I had moved to Detroit, and then Los Angeles, over twenty years, Yogrishi Vishvketu became my dearest friend, brother, life advisor and guide on the path of Yoga.
Over this time, I focused on my business career, while Vishva-ji continually trained me in Yoga. I started off as an engineer, and post-MBA became an automotive executive. I then moved on to the tech industry where I started several multi-million-dollar businesses, all the while maintaining a regular morning Yoga practice.
After a particularly successful stock cash-out, I took the plunge and started a California technology company, a long-standing dream of mine. But eventually the going got really tough and my world was falling apart. Feeling emotionally lost, I went on retreat with Vishva-ji in the Laurentian mountains in Canada and lamented my business challenges.
He smiled and responded cryptically, “Vishwajeet, you do more yoga business – your business will be ok.”
It took some years for this prophecy to materialize. My business world had to fall apart completely for me to finally embrace the Dharma Vishva-ji always saw in me –– a teacher of the Vedic tradition to the business world.
In this 20th year of our friendship, Vishvketu-ji and I are launching a book –– The Business Casual Yogi: Take Charge of Your Body, Mind and Career, through Mandala Publishing. The book is filled with the teachings that Vishva-ji often shares during trainings, around the Puja fire, during Satsang and at retreats. I have faithfully taken his wisdom and teachings and collated them into book form so that we can spread this incredible knowledge and system for self-improvement beyond the Yoga community.
The book integrates the science of Yoga with the teachings of Ayurveda, Vedanta and leadership principles. Though it is positioned for the working professional, where consciousness is often severely lacking, Akhanda Yogis will find here a treasure-trove of stories and gems from the Akhanda lineage. Students of Vishva-ji will find this a powerful way to go deeper into his teachings and also learn to better contextualize them for many of the people they might be serving in the working world.
Please support us in pre-ordering The Business Casual Yogi and let your friends and family know about it. We hope to spread the wisdom and light of Yoga, and radically transform the lives of people both inside and outside of the Yoga world. This book provides a long-awaited bridge, and this pre-order time is critical to get wide global attention on these teachings we hold so dearly. Help us get this momentum started. It is up to us to share this incredible path and life wisdom far and wide!
Yogi Vishwajeet (Kashi)