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“The most beautiful moments in life are moments when you are expressing your joy, not when you are seeking it”– Sadhguru, Founder, Isha Foundation. 

When the world is waist-deep in chaos, uncertainty, and ignorance, it is our privilege to have the Indian Yogi, author, and a world-renowned mystic Sadhguru answering and shining light onto the need of today.

A man with a vision to educate and share his piece of wisdom with his fellow beings, be it in regards to spirituality, environment, and lifestyle He has created platforms and channels to bring in the needed change and betterment. He has been awarded Padma Vibhushan, one of India’s highest civilian awards from the Government of India for his contributions to social welfare.

There is so much to learn and unlearn to be able to see the world and oneself as it is devoid of stigmas, taboos, and misinterpretations. Let’s hear from the visionary himself and fathom a new perspective. 

1. Namaskaram. I would humbly request you to shed some light on how you were venerated as Sadhguru.

Sadhguru: The word ‘Sadh’ means ‘within’, ‘Guru’ means ‘dispeller of darkness.’ ‘Sadhguru’ is not a title. ‘Sadhguru’ essentially means an uneducated Guru, in the sense that he does not come from a scripture or tradition, but from within. I do not know any scriptures, teachings or traditions. I just know this piece of life from its origin to its ultimate. In the Yogic culture, we have always seen that the way the human system is made is the way the whole cosmos is made. In terms of complexity, it may be different, but in terms of the fundamental design, it is the same. So if you know this piece of life, by inference you know everything that is worth knowing.

2. There is a lot of talk around spirituality. But still many are unable to conceive its true meaning. Why is the topic still so misinterpreted?

Sadhguru: Unfortunately, today, spirituality is the most misunderstood and misrepresented aspect of life. The way it is being presented worldwide, some of it is utterly ridiculous, a lot of it is crooked, much more of it is well-meaning but stupid. Some time ago in the US, someone took me to a spiritual expo where they were selling spiritual bath soap, spiritual toothpaste, and what not! This is like an Indian village shandy where they sell you a root that makes you invisible. People are desperately trying to make simple situations of life mystical. Any number of things have become spiritual except the human being – that’s the whole problem.

Spirituality is not about right and wrong or about God and heaven. Spirituality is about exploring the ultimate limits of who you are. Once you come here as a human being, all that is possible in this human being, every dimension that exists as you must be experienced, isn’t it? If you go without experiencing yourself, that’s a wasted life. 

Spirituality won’t happen because you read about it. When perception rises beyond the physical, when a person can go beyond his five senses, a true spiritual process begins.

3. There is always a debate around seeking the guidance of a spiritual Guru. How inevitable is the role of a spiritual guru? Can someone passively seek guidance like Eklavya did from Dronacharya?

Sadhguru: If you want to go to a place where you have not been before in your life, you naturally seek a guide. A Guru becomes relevant to you only when you have an aspiration to constantly enhance your life when you want to touch dimensions within you which you yourself have not been able to touch. When people hear the word “Guru,” they may have a lot of resistance, essentially because of a certain kind of mindset today, and also because of misuse of the word. I would say a Guru is like a roadmap. If you want to travel uncharted terrain, do you want to go without a roadmap? You can. Maybe you will anyway get there. But there are also chances that to reach a destination right next to you, you may go around the world and come, or you may never get there.

In the past, any number of expeditions took off from Europe in search of India, but only one Vasco da Gama reached India. The rest either turned back or got lost. So, you can always do it yourself, but you don’t know how long it will take. If you had a million years, it would be wonderful. But the human lifespan is so brief, it’s better to go with a roadmap. If you’re the adventurous kind, it’s perfectly okay, but you must just hope that you’re Vasco da Gama or Columbus!

So it is just a simple sense which makes you seek a guide. When the guide is about the inner dimension, we call him Guru because – “Gu” means darkness, “Ru” means dispeller. One who dispels the darkness is a Guru.

4. What does Isha Foundation stand for? What is the mission of this organization?

Sadhguru: We decided to form the Isha Foundation in 1992. In the last few decades, we have really pushed this organization as an instrument for individual transformation because a larger transformation in the world can only happen through individual transformation.

There was a time when in a society, a few people were spiritual and the rest just went to them for blessings and sustained their lives. Today, with the tools of science and technology, we have brought ourselves to a self-threatening situation where everyone in society needs to turn spiritual. Unless some sense of oneness touches people, especially the leadership on the planet, then self-destruction is a live threat.

A nonreligious, scientific spiritual process is the need of the hour. It is the need of the century, the need of the millennium, the need of eternity. Fortunately, we have tools to communicate with the whole world, which no one ever had before in the history of humanity. People say that we have touched nearly 2 billion people through our videos, and this will multiply in the next few years. Right now, at Isha, we are offering “One Drop Spirituality” – a simple process that anybody can teach to anyone without any risk. The goal is that every human being, irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, gender, or whatever else, must have at least one drop of spiritual process in them. Do not underestimate a drop. A drop is an ocean by itself.

5. How did Inner Engineering come to its existence? What does it truly aim at achieving? 

Sadhguru: One afternoon, I had a little time to spare between two business meetings and I rode up Chamundi Hill on the outskirts of Mysore. I went to a huge rock which was my usual place and sat there with my eyes open. Suddenly, I did not know which was me and which was not me. What was me was just everywhere. The very rock I was sitting on, the air that I breathed, the atmosphere around – everything had just become me. Every cell in my body was bursting with a new indescribable level of ecstasy. After this experience, initially, if I just looked at people, I would burst into tears because here I am bursting with blissfulness, but they are walking around miserably. Everything that I have, they also have within themselves but they are going about with a miserable face. So I started looking for ways to somehow rub off my experience on people. Because Yoga happened to me and became a part of my life from an early age, I thought I could use Yoga as a means to share this experience.  

I have no teachings or philosophy. Yoga is not a teaching or philosophy. It is a technology for inner evolution, to hasten human evolution to its ultimate possibility. Anyone who is willing to make use of it can make use of it. As there is science and technology for creating external comfort and convenience, there is a whole science and technology to create inner wellbeing. We are offering this as Inner Engineering, our basic flagship program. It is a way of engineering your interiority with scientific steps. You can change the fundamental chemistry of who you are, and create a chemistry of blissfulness.

6. What is your take on logical thinking? Are we bounding ourselves by practicing it to its extreme?

Sadhguru: Logic and intellect are like scalpel. You can use a sharp intellect to cut things open and look inward. By cutting itself, you will not know. It is by looking that you will know. And your intellect and logic can only cut, it cannot look. Your intellect can be used only to slice things open. It is not an instrument of seeing.

To see, you need intelligence, and intelligence is not logical. Right now, there are many ways to look at this body. One way to look at this body is, it is a complex chemical factory. There is a certain intelligence that is managing and conducting this whole dance of chemistry. Do you believe that you could someday logically conduct this whole chemical dance? You cannot manage a single cell in your body that way. So you understand the distinction and the limitation in which the logical intellect functions, and how the intelligence of life functions.

What you call as intelligence and what you refer to as creator are not different. The creator is just pure intelligence. Intelligence beyond logic is what you are referring to as God. If you operate just within the limitations of your intellectual logic, within the limitations and the framework of your intellect, then you will never know that which we refer to as the creator. You will just do the circus of life. Life is a circus when your intellect and your body alone are involved. Life is a dance when intelligence begins to play its role.

7. I am always fascinated by your thoughts on the human food habits of today. Are we really eating to live or living to eat?

Sadhguru: It is unfortunate that still there are so many people, including children, dying of malnourishment. India has the highest malnourished population in the world. But more people on this planet die because they don’t know when to stop eating. The problem is compulsiveness. Food is good for us. But if you don’t know when to stop eating then it becomes a serious problem. Fundamentally we are living an unconscious life, a compulsive life. All the wonderful things that come our way become serious problems simply because we do them compulsively.

When it comes to food, ask the body what kind of food it is really happy with. Try different foods and see how your body feels after eating the food. If your body feels very agile, energetic and nice, that means the body is happy. If the body feels lethargic and needs to be pumped up with caffeine or nicotine to stay awake, the body is not happy, isn’t it?

It takes a certain mindfulness and attention to learn to listen to your body. Once you have that, you know what to eat and what not to eat.

We are just looking at what is suitable for the system – we try to eat foods which would make you comfortable in the body. Whether you want to do your business properly or study properly or do any activity properly, it is extremely important that your body is at ease. So, the kind of food with which your body would be most at ease and would not struggle to get nourishment out of, that is the kind of food we should eat.

8. I recently wrote an article on Balancing Feminine and Masculine energy. I would really love for you to talk about the grieving situation of humans losing their true meaning to mere gender associations.

Sadhguru: Masculine and feminine are not about being physically male and female. The feminine can be as alive in a man as it is in a woman. These are two qualities. Only when these two qualities happen in balance, can a human being live a life of fulfillment. To use an analogy, if you call the root the masculine, the flower and the fruit are feminine. The very purpose of the root is to bring the flower and the fruit. If that does not happen, the root will go to waste. Survival by itself does not take care of everything. After survival is taken care of, the subtler aspects of life have to happen to you.

Generally, Shiva is the symbolism of ultimate masculinity, but you will see in the Ardhanarishvara form of Shiva, one half of him is a fully developed woman. This is basically trying to manifest that the masculine and the feminine are equally divided within yourself. If the inner masculine and feminine meet, you are in a perpetual state of ecstasy. If you try to do it on the outside, it never lasts, and all the troubles that come with that are an ongoing drama!

If one knows how to nurture oneself, both will be fully active and alive in every human being. If we let these two parts of us reverberate, as intensely as the other, each one of us can be a one-hundred percent man and one-hundred percent woman within ourselves. The whole science of Yoga is based on this, that you should not miss either the masculine or the feminine in you, because having just one of them will be a lopsided life.

9. I heard you speak about how humans need to shift their focus from religion to responsibility. Please elaborate on this for our readers.

Sadhguru: Right now, the biggest problem on the planet is this: if small things go wrong in your life, you think someone else is responsible for your misery. If big things go wrong, you think God is responsible. You yourself do not seem to be responsible for anything. In the coming decade, we want to change this approach, so that the world moves from Religion to Responsibility. Religion means responsibility is up there in heaven for everything that goes wrong in your life. The responsibility of who you are, what you are, what you are not, must move to you. It is time we take this responsibility – then we can do the best we can do. 

To attend to the issues in the world, one fundamental is that you are not an issue. We want to see that the world moves inward – not up, not out, in. ‘In’ is the only way out. Our goal is to see that the tools for transformation are not in the hands of organizations, gurus or some kind of authority, but in the hands of people. Every human being must have some tools for their self-transformation. It must become a part of our life. As our mothers taught us to brush our teeth, spirituality must happen as an essential part of Being Human.

10. What is your take on today’s parenting practices? The pressure on a child towards one definite goal sounds very shallow when the world has so much to experience and experiment with.

Sadhguru: Most parents do not cultivate the genius of their children. They are trying to drive their children in a particular direction. Do not drive. You cannot get rose flowers from a plant that is not a rose plant. It will come out with a different kind of flower. You should not expect rose flowers out of everything just because you like rose flowers. You have a new and fresh life in your home. We do not know what will come out of it. 

This is why I tell people that to bear and raise a child, you must have either enormous courage or enormous wisdom. Because a new life is not a small thing. If you see it as a phenomenon which blossomed in your body, came out and is growing – out of two cells, life is happening in front of you, taking shape – if you watch it with utter wonder and create the right kind of atmosphere, your child will grow into something beautiful. But they may not be the rose flower that you expected. They need not become what you expect because your expectations are coming from the graveyard of the past. Children belong to the future. 

11. Pandemic changed our notions around mortality. Why is death only dealt with despair?

Sadhguru: Only if a dimension beyond the physical becomes a living reality within a person, will one become free from fear of death. The physical is constantly under threat because it is always within limited boundaries. There is always a fear of losing anything which is demarcated. 

The physical body is a piece of the planet that you gathered. What you gather, you can claim it is yours, but you can never ever say, “it is me.” This is a loan we have taken from the planet. When the time to payback comes, if you made good use of the loan, you pay back joyfully. Otherwise, terror happens. Either we get this now through our intelligence, or we will get it from the maggots one day. This is the choice.

I am not wishing it upon you, but no matter how healthy, strong or young you are right now, tomorrow morning you may be dead, it is possible. If you strive to transcend your experience beyond the physical limitations of life, then fear will evaporate.

12. Your latest book ‘Karma: A Yogi’s Guide to Crafting Your Destiny’ talks about navigating our way towards a destiny with a better understanding of Karma. Please tell us more.

Sadhguru: The word karma has been misunderstood and misinterpreted in many different ways. Karma means action. Action means we are talking about your action. Every moment of our lives, there are four types of actions that are always on, both in wakefulness and in sleep. Physical action, mental action, emotional action and energy action are constantly happening every moment of our life. Now, the imprints that these actions leave within us accumulate over a period of time and form a tendency of their own. Or in other words, we are building an unconscious software within ourselves. As we build this unconscious software, our functions become more and more formalized and mechanical, and our responses become more and more conditioned. Because this is happening from within us and most people are not conscious about how this is happening, it makes you feel like another force from somewhere else is acting upon you.

When you say “my life is my karma,” what you are saying is that “my life is my making.” This is the most dynamic way to exist. India is the only culture where it has been clearly expressed that your life is not being made by some other force elsewhere, your life is being crafted every moment by you; it is your making. Only thing is, you are making it unconsciously. What you are doing unconsciously, if you do the same thing consciously, then you will become the maker of your own destiny.


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