Yogi, Mystic, Motivational Speaker
CURATED BY : +44 others
I have been doing yoga for one and a half years now. The more I wait, the more frustrating it becomes. How do I know where I am on the spiritual path? Up to what level have I reached?
All levels are relative. Do you want to be one step above someone else? As long as this is in your head, there is no spirituality. When the frustration builds up sufficiently, when you think, “To hell with this yoga, I am not getting anywhere,” just keep doing it. The yogic process is structured in such a way that you cannot do it without being alert. The day you remain alert without being interested in getting anywhere, something will explode within you. As long as you keep thinking, “What level am I at?” You are still in the rat race — you do not go anywhere. You have to make it in such a way that every aspect of your life becomes yoga. Sitting, eating, sleeping and everything is yoga. Yoga means that which allows you to reach your higher nature. Either you use your body, mind, emotion and energies to entangle yourself, or you use these four faculties to liberate yourself and to move into higher dimensions of blissfulness. The body, mind, emotion and energies are all functioning at different levels for different people. The proportions of this concoction are unique for each person, but it is the same four ingredients. Unless you do yoga that handles all four in an appropriate proportion for you, you will not move ahead. There are many reasons why it takes a different amount of time for different people. Do not worry about that. Just do the practice. If you do not know how to just do it, do it as an offering. “This is not for me. I will just do this everyday, dedicating it to my Guru.” That is a simple way to remove this rat race mentality. Life will not yield to you because you desire it. Life will yield to you because you make yourself capable — because you do the right things. On a certain day, a man fell into a septic tank, up to his neck in filth. He desperately tried to climb out but could not. After some time, he started screaming, “Fire, fire!” Neighbours heard this call and called the fire brigade who promptly came rushing. They looked all over the place — no fire. Then they found this man in the septic tank, pulled him out and asked him, “Why were you screaming ‘fire’? Where is the fire?” The man retorted, “If I had said, ‘shit, shit’ would you have come?” You have to do the right things, otherwise the right things will not happen to you.
Who is a seeker?
When you identify yourself as a seeker, its basic qualification is that you are humble. Believing means you made up things you don’t know. You also need 100 people to believe the same thing. But a seeker is always alone. For variety of issues in the universe, whether it is religious or otherwise, the most fundamental problem is you believe something and I believe something else, and we are bound to clash somewhere.
Is spirituality is actually the way forward for well being?
It’s always been the way forward when human beings seek. In any aspect, human beings go way forward when only they seek. The greatest disaster is that people with no clarity have great confidence. People with no clarity become super confident because they believe something.
Why is there so much violence, despair and misery all around us?
It is only because you people write about the same people. If I have to be on the front page I have to do miserable acts. You don’t write about joyful things. If you get on-top-of-the-world headlines you just have to kill 50 people in some terrible way. You can’t be on the front pages if you save 50 lives? I believe problems need to be attended to, but it is solutions that need to be promoted, not the problems.
How do you look at the democratic process the world over and in India? Are you satisfied with the outcomes?
You can’t actually compare India with the world. See, democracy is not the best way we create the world. But the most beautiful thing about democracy is the change of power happens without blood shedding. Because everybody’s voices are heard. It is a cacophony. Sometimes even for simple things, 10 years are needed. Still, it is worthwhile because ultimately it is the people, who have to live; it’s the people who have to decide.
You have fought for a lot of causes including rivers. Why do you think environment or education are low-focus areas for media, policy or everyday governance?
I don’t want to say anything about intelligentsia because I am not able to find them. They are all highly motivated people, motivated towards something that they believe in. Intelligentsia doesn’t take sides. Indian intelligentsia has seriously taken sides. Environment and education are on the backburner because they don’t give you TRPs, neither have they won you elections, so media and political leadership don’t focus on it. I have been continuously pushing for these issues for the 25-30 years, and I am finding better purchase only now because the government is a little more willing to listen to us. For instance, the river rallies I have been working on, Niti Aayog has sent notifications to all the states that it should become a policy. We have been pushing for education reforms for quite some time. The government has announced that only 50 per cent of the time in school will be for academics, and the rest will be for sports, other skills, music, art and other things. To build infrastructure for that will take time. At the policy level, it is changing. By the time you are 18, you must be going to a university, or else you must go for a one year of skill development. Or you go to paramilitary, military training… for one year, you must develop a sense of mental focus and physical fitness. This is simply absent. So we need to develop institutes for these on a large scale. If we don’t have a plan for our youth, we don’t have a plan for the nation.
How much wealth should one earn during a lifetime?
Instead of saying how much should one earn one should say how much wealth should one generate and that too as much as possible because it benefits everyone. Earn means you want to get it and go somewhere. You are not going to take it anywhere. So the only thing is you generate wealth.
What is the future of capitalism?
Capitalism is already dead. We are talking about market economy. Capitalism existed when only a few families held the capital. Now it is a market economy. That means if you have an idea and show some competence to execute that idea, you have the capital.
As there are a plethora of fake gurus, how does one wisely choose a guru?
You should not choose. You should just seek to know and what works you will come your way. The important thing is to make your longing for truth very profound. If you do that, you may find your guru in the pillow.
How does one make India Vishwaguru once more?
That is a grand idea. The moment you claim you are Vishwaguru, everybody will reject you. The most important thing is this is a land of human genius. We did not thrive in the past because of our organisation. We have never been an organised, mechanised country. We have been an amorphous nation. Sometimes, we have 150 political entities. Sometimes, 600 entities. Sometimes an empire grows, and half the subcontinent gets occupied. We have been like an amoeba, growing and dividing. When all this was happening, people who were staying here and outside were recognized as one nation. Though our political borders were so amorphous, we have always been one nation. So the power of this nation has been an individual genius, not organisation. So even today, this is all you need. If you don’t produce great human beings, you will not be a great nation. Because Indians by nature are such that you cannot organise them too much. If you try to organise Indians too much, they will become dull. They don’t know how to be a part of an organisation. So if we want the world to listen to us, we must rise and shine. You want to be a lighthouse, but if there is no light, you will just be a tower in the dark.
Since you are an ascetic who takes a lot of interest in nation building let me start by asking about the separation of Church and State. Is the ‘Nation State’ concept in the Indian context somewhat different from Western concept?
First of all, we don’t have the Church in India, that is, an organised setup except for the Christian church which is a small entity. The rest of the so-called religion, what we call as the Hindu religion, has never been an organised process. That’s its strength and its weakness. The only reason why this Hindu way of life has survived these 1,000 years of invasions and occupations is because nobody knew where the head is. If they knew where the head is, they would have cut it off. Because it was a billion-headed Hydra, whatever they did, it still lived on. So, this whole idea of separating church and state doesn’t even arise in this country.
Identifying the State with religion, will that not have negative effect on administration?
How do you say that just because I practise something I will definitely impose it on you? Everybody practises something, isn’t it? Somebody drinks alcohol, and he becomes the chief minister. So will you suspect he may impose it on everybody? Actually, they are; you’re not questioning that! So somebody who meditates, will he impose it? Definitely, he will recommend it. It’s for people to take it or leave it.
You are a votary of reforms in agriculture and business. If you were to rate the Modi government on a scale of 10, where will you rate him?
Economy wise, certain bold steps have been taken, politically unpopular but economically good. Our tax revenues have increased and more people are paying taxes, that point has gone across well. I think the infrastructure building has been on supercharged. I only wish it could be further speeded up by allowing private agencies to build infrastructure. We’ve still not taken such bold steps. We are still a little afraid of going 100 per cent market economy. Somewhere in our head, still we have this welfare state idea. We take one step; when we find some difficulty we step back into socialism, again and again. If we want to succeed, we must make up our mind, which road we are taking. I am not a fan of capitalism, but that’s the only thing that has succeeded in the world. We are the fastest growing economy, but is it fast enough for these 500 or 600 million people who are not eating properly? No. This speed is largely driven by a few industries. I feel this should be driven by agriculture, which is very easy to do and the most practical thing. You can multiply farmers’ income. The problem with agriculture right now is that there is no scale. Everybody is farming two acres, five acres, whatever. You cannot scratch 2.25 acres and make it into a commercial success. It is simply not practical. You need scale, so as a part of this, we got some relief for the Farmers Producers Organisations (FPOs) which is a very positive thing. In this country, the rules were like this — if all of us are doing farming separately, in our own two-acre, five-acre land, no tax. But if all of our farms together and scale up 30 per cent tax.
What do you have to say about the terror attack in Sri Lanka?
Do we need to change our systems?
Are you worried about the future because of artificial intelligence?
Is this the best time in history that we are living in?
Why is it important to make the fashion industry sustainable?
What is the importance of weaving and the weavers?
Why are natural fibres important according to your opinion?
Do you believe that the fashion industry could influence shift out clothing patterns?
Will the fashion industry survive?
What should the fashion industry do in order to sustain natural fabrics?
What is the purpose of practising Yoga?
Have you suffered in your past life?
Does competition help us grow and evolve?
What is the meaning of competition both for individuals and society?
Could you speak about the intersection of science and mysticism in the world?
Is it necessary to fit everything into the parameter of logic?
How to know the boundaries and limitations of our intelligence?
Could you elaborate the basis of experience of time?
What is that ‘you’ that can be separated from the physical?
How would you describe a psychotic break or a depression?
What do you think is human potential?
What do you have to say about human compulsiveness?
What is the importance of constant joy in human lives?
How do you help people to understand the privileges of the nature of human experience?
What was your dream with motorcycles?
My dream was to go around the world on my motorcycle
What is your view on Janta Curfew?
What is the responsibility of citizens during this Coronavirus crisis?
In these challenging times, it is the responsibility of every citizen to stand up and do what best we can do in individual capacities and assist the local administration in fulfilling their responsibilities.
What are your views on the Ayodhya case?
It shouldn't have come this far, it's very difficult for any jury to take a call on this. So now what is a highly emotional issue, they are trying to handle as a real estate issue and whichever be the judgement, somebody will be unhappy
How would you comment on battling against COVID-19, immunity, and Janata Curfew?
I think generally the immune system of a person living in India is far more resilient compared to that of a person living in the West mostly because of the living conditions. But, this is not a proven fact.
What would you like to say about Ayodhya dispute case?
We belong to one nation and it is important we get a solution.
What would you like to say about the violence that took place at JNU on Sunday?
Involving universities in violence instigated by political and religious forces Unacceptable. Let young people focus on building their lives not get entangled in political warfare of this sort
Any messages you would like to convey on North-East Delhi riots?
Whatever the issues there are Peaceful and Democratic ways to settle them. There are big fights for India against Poverty, Corruption, Malnourishment, and Terror threats. Do not expend the Nation fighting among ourselves.
We are living in uncertain times with the COVID-19 pandemic holding us ransom; how does one live each day with joy instead of fear? And yet, without fear, wouldn't we end up putting ourselves at risk? How does one deal with self-isolation and the loneliness that comes with it?
You are asking, “In these uncertain times, how can I be joyful?” You cannot depend on the outside to to bring you joy because the outside never happens 100 percent the way you want it to. Joy is about how you are within yourself. As there is a science and technology to create external situations the way we want, there is a technology for inner well-being that can be employed to create your inner situations the way you want. If your mind and emotions take instructions from you, you would definitely keep yourself joyful. When things are not going the way you want them to go, that is when your capability is most needed. But if you are in a state of panic, you are paralysed. When you forsake your capability when you most need it, would you call that an intelligent way to act? A human being who is joyful, sensible and responsible can deal with situations much better than one who is fearful. All human experience has a chemical basis to it. What you call as joy, misery, stress, anxiety, agonny and ecstasy are different kinds of chemistry. If you have a chemistry of blissfulness, then whether someone is around you or not, you are fantastic. Yoga is a way to create a stable and blissful chemistry within yourself and enhance your ability to deal with the ups and downs of life. Once your way of being is not determined by anything outside of you, there can be no such thing as loneliness.
Living in isolation as part of this lockdown is forcing many people to reconnect and grow deeper bonds. Others are getting a much-needed breather from work or kindling new interests and hobbies. What are your thoughts on living one’s best life during this unique time in history?
The most important thing is we are alive, and we have a vacation. The virus has given you this chance. Let's put it to good use. If we put enough effort into these few weeks, we can come out physically fitter, mentally more stable, energetically stronger and spiritually more receptive. This is a good amount of time for you to become that wonderful person that you are aspiring to meet, that you are expecting everyone else to be. If you become that wonderful person, others can enjoy it, but above all, you will enjoy it. Concern is only of those who have livelihood issues.
Why is India’s fight against coronavirus a positive one? How do you see the post-coronavirus world? What are the lessons of COVID-19 for India and humanity?
Though our systems may not be as strong or money rich as other nations’, we are managing better than most in this emergency because of the resoluteness of the leadership and the clarity with which they are responding. Our police and medical personnel are putting their lives on the line providing essential services. The majority of the population in the country is following instructions and doing a wonderful job of slowing down the spread of the virus. We don’t know when post-coronavirus will come to be. So, it is important that we maintain social distancing and respiratory etiquette, not just during this lockdown period, but for life. These are all things which were well established in our culture. This kissing-the-cheek and hugging culture we have imported in the last 10-15 years. Otherwise we would always greet each other by putting our palms together in namaskar. And even today in most villages and small towns in southern India, when speaking to someone within a two-feet distance, they cover their nose and mouth as a mark of respect. It is time to understand the value of these customs and bring them back into our lives.
In some interviews you have used ‘karma’ as a negative word and you talk about dissolution of Karma? What does that mean? You have said that everyone must find their own way. So, is having a guru essential? What is the role of a guru?
Karma is the basis of your existence right now, the glue that binds you to your physical body. If all your karma is dissolved, this moment you will shed your body. So, karma is not a negative word; it is not your enemy. It is just that if the glue is too sticky, it holds you to the body too tightly. Let us say you are wearing very tight clothes; after some time, there is no distinction between you and your clothes. But when you wear very loose clothing, you are always aware that it is not you. So the spiritual process is about warming up the karma a little bit so that it melts, and you wear your body a little loose. Then you are aware that “I am not this.” Once this becomes a living experience within you, you exist here with a different kind of freedom. Now, why is a Guru needed? A Guru provides you with the necessary tools for this fundamental aspiration within you to become free. A Guru is like a live road map. Can you do without a road map? Yes, you can, if you are the adventurous kind, but to find a place which is just next door, you may go around the world, come back and still not find it. Above all, you are trapped in a self-created prison. The nature of the prison is such that you do not even realise that there is a possibility beyond the the way you exist now. This is why spiritual traditions insisted on outside help from someone who is not in the same limitations. Because it is an inside job, you end up needing outside help.
You talk about ‘being liberated and enhancing life’s possibilities. Could you elaborate on that concept? Aren’t some limitations socially imposed? Can one live completely without limitations? Is that a reasonable goal for a human being to aspire to?
There is something called your “ability to respond.” There is another aspect of your life which is your “ability to act.” You are mixing up these two dimensions. Your ability to act is subject to so many laws and various kinds of limitations – physical and mental capabilities, life energy, social realities, economic situations, and many more factors. But your ability to respond, your responsibility, is not subject to any law or any limitation. But most people have put a limit on their ability to respond – instead of being a limitless consciousness they have become a constipated being. When your ability to respond is limitless, you will not limit yourself because of boundaries you have set up in your mind - everything that you can do, you will do; what you cannot do, you do not do. Your experience of life will become beautiful and your action will happen to the fullest extent that you are capable of. This is the simplest and easiest way to experience and express your own divinity because what you call as God, or the Creator is just limitless responsibility.
Is there an increasing clash among religions across the world? Has religion become a divisive force? According to you, Hinduism is…?
Unfortunately, religion has become the main source of conflict everywhere in the world, taking the maximum number of lives and causing the maximum amount of pain for thousands of years. Initially, religions were just a method to turn inward or to create inner wellbeing. They all started out as a spiritual process, but slowly over a period of time, in their eagerness to become organised, they lost their fundamentals. Now religion has been reduced to a set of rigid belief systems. The moment you believe one thing and I believe something else, conflict is inevitable. If you think, “No, I believe in my God, but I am not a violent person; I will not fight with anyone,” this is just short-sightedness. If someone provokes you sufficiently, you will fight. Whether the conflict happens with swords or guns, or with words, ideas and emotions, it is still a conflict. About Hinduism…there really is no such thing as Hinduism. This term and concept was coined only in recent times. When the Persians came, they introduced the word “Hindu,” derived from the Sanskrit word “Sindhu,” to denote the people who live beyond the river Sindhu. Essentially, what you call Hindu is a geographical and cultural identity. It had never been the intention to organise it into a religious identity. There is no belief system to the Hindu way of life. Someone can worship the God of their choice, someone else can choose not to worship anything and still be a Hindu. Essentially, this whole Hindu civilisation is rooted in the spiritual ethos of each individual seeking their ultimate liberation as the fundamental goal in life. God is just one more stepping stone that you can use or skip towards your mukti. In the East, spirituality and religion were never an organised process. Organisation was only done to the extent of making spirituality available to everyone – but not for conquest. It is only recently and due to external influences that this geographical and cultural identity has attempted to transform itself into a religious identity, but it is still not successful because the Hindu way of life, which is referred to as Sanatana Dharma or universal law, is all-inclusive in nature.
Do you think the human community is moving in the right direction? If not, are we at a point where big change is possible? Having met so many political and economic leaders, are you hopeful about humanity?
Human life is not an independent life. Only when the lives of the insects, worms, birds and animals are functioning well will our lives function well too. In these last few weeks of lockdown, the Delhi air is clean, and people can see the Himalayan peaks from Punjab for the first time in 20 years. I’m sure all the animals are thinking, “The human virus seems to be gone. Let’s make the planet great again!” All this is simply because in this little break, the human footprint has been minimal. In a way we are living as if we are the last generation on this planet. The United Nations estimates we will be 9.7 billion people by 2050; if that happens, it does not matter what wealth or education we have – we will not live well. Now that this virus has come and reminded us of our mortality in a strong way, this is the time to look at addressing the human population. Instead of making predictions that by 2050 we will be 9.7 billion people, we can make a plan that by 2050 we will be four billion people. Because we cannot curtail human aspirations; we can only curtail human population.
You have followers from every stratum of society. What do you think makes your construct of spirituality stand out and be so highly followed?
In the pursuit of inner wellbeing, some people believe something, some people adhere to some philosophy, some people go to the temple, the mosque, or elsewhere. Different people do different things, but it is essentially based on their belief. Isha Foundation is a non-profit, international organization focused towards offering inner well-being in a scientific manner, not with philosophies, ideologies or belief systems, but with tools for transformation. It doesn’t matter what you believe or disbelieve – if you learn to use the tool properly, it works. Today, Isha Foundation has a very large family around the world. The essence of our work has been to take away the cultural trappings from the spiritual process and present it as a science, as a technology. We are hugely accepted in all kinds of forums basically because we don’t subscribe to any particular religion or belief system.
Mental health diseases are on a rise today, why do you think that is so? What can be done to curb this?
Mental illnesses are growing like never before because we are pulling out all the social and cultural supports that people have without replacing those supports with alternatives. If people become conscious and capable within themselves, everything would be fine even if you pull out all the supports. But without giving them that competence, if you just pull out the supports, people will crack up. The human body is a very complex chemical factory. Managing it from the outside is very difficult. You could manage it from inside, but you must have access to your insides! Yoga gives you access to the very source of creation throbbing within you. The most phenomenal engineer is within you. It is from this basis that we offer Inner Engineering – engineering your interiority to take charge of life.
Social media was intended to bring people closer, today it has become a tool for anti-socialisation and mindless engagement. What are your thoughts on device, disease, and disconnection in this light?
Today, eighty percent of social life is happening on Facebook for a lot of people, not in their neighborhood. Because it’s very easy to have a social life with faceless people! They are having 2500 friends, but in their life, they can’t make friendships with three people. I am telling you, we are creating a sick humanity. Why do people have such a compulsive urge to post pictures of themselves and whatever thoughts come to their minds on social media? Essentially, this is because their experience of life does not go beyond the boundaries of their thoughts and emotions. Life can be significant only if you enhance your ability to experience beyond your psychological and emotional framework. The extent to which you are able to experience something depends on how conscious you are. If you turn up your intensity, your consciousness will increase as well. You will start perceiving things that you never thought possible until this moment. But the real problem is compulsive behavior and not social media.
There is much talk about mindfulness today in the Indian corporate scenario. Despite belonging to a tradition of mindfulness, why has it failed to permeate our workplace?
You must understand this mind is not a simple instrument. It has a million different levels to it. If you try to watch your mind, if there is any effort from you, that effort is coming from the mind. You are using the mind to watch the mind – that is, you are trying to catch the thief with another thief. But the basis of meditation is to set up the distance between you and the process of the mind. You don’t try to watch the mind. You just sit there. After some time, a distance has arisen. You are not watching what’s happening in the mind. It’s just passing. Whatever Gautama Buddha spoke about mindfulness, and the way it is happening today is very different. The Western mindfulness is more an analysis of the mind. There is no need to analyse the garbage. We want to go beyond that, isn’t it? So, I would say you should not do any mindfulness, just live mindlessly. People are trying to practice mindfulness because they are desperately trying to be aware. Awareness will not happen to you because you aspire for it. You must generate the necessary energy. If your energy is at a higher plane, awareness is very natural.
In India, there have always been Gurus. Today the concept has become fashionable. What are your thoughts on this?
Today many people have gone Guru shopping. A Guru is not a person. A Guru is just a device. The whole process of self-realization means someone has transcended his personality and then carefully crafted a personality as it is necessary for the kind of role that he wants to play. When it is a conscious construction, it is just a device. It is not bondage anymore. Any moment, he can just pull it down. A Guru is not here to give intellectual teachings because that which is not in your experience cannot be taught to you intellectually. It can only be taught to you by taking you to a different dimension of experience. To take a person from one dimension of experience to another dimension of experience, you need a device which is of a higher level of intensity and energy. That device is what we call as the Guru.
A lot of cases have been filed against Gurus which has created a negative perception. How does one choose a Guru?
Here and there, there have been a few exploitative forces. Because of that, there are some sections of media trying to paint the whole spiritual process as exploitative - it is not true. There are thousands of gurus who are doing absolutely fabulous work. Unfortunately, corruption has seeped into the sphere of life. That does not mean all has gone bad. Now about finding a Guru – don’t try to choose your Guru. If you deepen your longing, the guru will find you. Because if you try to choose a guru, you will try to find a guru with whom you are comfortable, who supports your ego. The very nature of the Guru’s work is to befriend you in such a way that he can stomp on your ego and still you can't run away. When you sit with him, everything in you feels threatened, but at the same time you badly want to be there – then he is your Guru. Because if he does not threaten your limitations, then what is the point?
How do a person control his/her anger?
How do a person control his/her anger?
What is the difference between Desire and Vision?
How do we identify Good people and bad people?
How would you define a meaningful life? How can one make his life more fulfilling?
Everything that we do is in some way contributing to someone’s life. If you see how to make this a conscious process of contributing to everyone’s life through your work, then your life will be very different. Contributing does not mean that you will not make money in your business. If you constantly see how to give your best to everyone around you, then profit will happen—you don’t have to worry about it. Contributing is not about money or material—it is basic volition of your life. If you make your life into a contribution, then your life will become truly meaningful and worthwhile because you are creating what you care for. If you are creating what you care for, then it will be a joy to go to work every day. With this, you will never die of stress, believe me. You may die of exhaustion, but you will not die of stress. That is a very good thing. The moment you are seeing how to contribute, the moment there is a certain pleasantness of experience within you, your body and mind will function at their best. There is substantial scientific and medical evidence to prove this. If your body and mind are not functioning at their best, do you believe you will attain success? Success is a consequence of harnessing all that you have to the best possible result. If this has to happen, you must be in a pleasant state of experience. Then the more you do, the better you should feel. This will only happen to you if you are always looking at how to make a contribution to everything around you.
Why are we here? What do you think is our purpose in life?
If you were feeling really ecstatic, would you ask about the purpose of life? You are asking this question because in some way, the experience of life is not good enough. Most human beings have become a bundle of thoughts, emotions, ideas, opinions and prejudices. That means your psychological drama is hijacking your life. Most of the time, you are only thinking about life, not living it. You have come here to live life, not to think about it. Don’t try to invent all kinds of purposes for life. If you explore the nature of this life that you are, you will know that life does not need any purpose, life is too phenomenal by itself. If you experience this life in its fullness, life is a purpose unto itself.
We often hear stories of people who committed suicide soon after they reached the pinnacle of success. Why is modern life so stressful?
We usually think of “success” in terms of what we could do and where we will stand in the world. What I see is, generally successful people are far more stressed and suffering a lot more than the not-so-successful people. Success means essentially, you are sitting on a good perch. So if someone sits on a perch which they are not equipped to sit on, success kills you. If one is successful because of social trends, educational qualifications or family backgrounds which carry him to certain places, then he suffers constantly. If you want to enjoy your perch, it’s very important that before you engineer situations for success, you first engineer yourself. Essentially, people’s stress and suffering have nothing to do with success or failure. Stress is happening to you not because of the work that you are doing. All that is happening because you have not learned how to handle the basic faculties of your body and mind. Every human experience has a chemical basis to it. You may call it stress, anxiety, bliss, or ecstasy, but everything has a chemical basis to it. As there is a science for external well being, there is a whole science as to how to create your inner chemistry. Yoga has many methods through which you can create the right kind of chemistry where being peaceful and joyous comes naturally to you.
Why do human beings sometimes experience an existential crisis? How can one overcome it?
Everything has become a crisis in people’s lives. Adolescence was a crisis, finding a career was a crisis, midlife is a crisis, old age will be a crisis. So when are they not in a crisis? If they sense a little bit of a crisis, that is when most people freak out. Especially for a crisis, it is all the more important that you function at your best at that moment, but that is when most people give in. This dimension can be easily transcended if a person is willing to invest a certain amount of time upon themselves. If you think what you are doing is important, then the first thing that you need to do is work upon yourself. Various types of methods are available through which every human being can do this. There are ways to improve the very way the fundamental life force within you functions—there is a whole science and technology for this.
Since many decades, human beings have been referred to as resources, especially in the business context. However, now the perception is taking a shift and they are being referred to as possibilities. Can you share more about the new perception? Why do you believe that human is not a resource?
A human being is not a resource - a human being is a possibility. It is just that there is always a distance between a possibility and a reality. What an individual human being will become essentially depends upon whether we can unfold this possibility or not. If you consider a human being as a resource, then once we pick up a resource, we already know its qualities. We know what it can and cannot do. In other words, it is a quantity. There is a phenomenal difference between a quantity and a possibility. A possibility means it is yet to be. Human beings have essentially come in a seed form. A seed realizes its potential only if it finds fertile soil. With the right kind of soil, one seed can make the entire Earth green. So, when you have a human being on your hands, if you think of them as a resource, you will never unfold their genius. This is like making an auto-rickshaw out of an airplane. What could take you to great heights, now you are using it in a mundane way and you think, “This is it.”
How can businesses make the shift from looking at human as a resource to human as possibilities? Why is it important for them to make that shift?
Once we were doing a program for a major international company and their top twenty-five executives were with us for three days. Our volunteers were there and they will neither eat nor sleep if something has to be done – they will be on all the time. So, these executives were watching them and they asked me, “Sadhguru, where do you get such people?” I said, “You don’t get these people – you have to make them.” They asked, “How do you make them?” I said, “You must make them fall in love with you.” “Oh, how do we do that?” I said, “First you have to fall in love with them.” They said, “Oh, they don’t pay us for that!” Right now, you slog in your workplace and go home and love somebody. No, I'm not telling you to start an affair in your office! But, you spend more time in your workplace than with your family, if you are a successful human being. Can you be in a place for more than fifty percent of your life without involving yourself and suddenly go home and fall in love with somebody? It is not going to work. At least you can practice in your office, if nowhere else.
How will this new concept of looking at human as possibilities change the way companies look at HR function?
Unfortunately right now, most businesses and industries are thinking only in terms of quarterly balance sheets – but balance sheets are very devious. You would have seen, in the last twenty-five years, the same instrument which would have cost you 10,000 rupees, costs ten rupees today. Why couldn’t you have made it for ten rupees on the first day? Because it had to evolve. That is one hundred percent true when it comes to a human being – you need to allow that being to evolve. If you want to handle people, first of all you must understand there is a way to get the best out of a human being. Today, unfortunately, many people and event management schools are saying that unless you are stressed and pressured, you will not produce your best. However, there is enough scientific and medical evidence to show that a person will be at their peak performance only when they are in a pleasant state of experience. When you are in unpleasant states of experience, the best will not come out.
As we have seen in the past, the definitions and approaches keep on changing with time, until when do you think the perception of looking at human or talent as possibilities will live? And how do you think this concept will further evolve in coming years?
If you set up an atmosphere where everyone is doing their best, you will not need any management. It will simply happen. You can witness this at the Isha Yoga Center – everyone is giving their best all the time. You do not have to drive them – you will have to stop them and make them rest. Otherwise, they will go on endlessly. We are on seven days of the week because we are doing what we love to do. So, where is the question of taking a break from that? But for this to happen, the people who lead have to set that example and inspiration, and above all set an atmosphere of love and joy. This is the best way a human being can blossom into a higher possibility. But for this to happen, the first thing is you must stop looking at human beings as resources. They are not material that you can use and do something else with. It is a dimension of life. If you nurture it right, it will blossom into something tremendous. As I mentioned earlier, human beings are in a seed form. Whether you make a seed into a big tree or crush it is up to you. But if you make it into a big tree, it will bear much fruit. Otherwise, you will see very little.
Can one live completely without limitations? Is that a reasonable goal for a human being to aspire to?
How can it not matter? Does it not affect your life? People have been preaching that we should achieve joy, happiness, that the most important thing for a person is to become free. All these things are important because when you’re happy you feel free, when you love, you feel free.
Does happiness come from freedom?
Not necessarily. Freedom is way beyond happiness. When you are happy you feel a little free so you go for that. When you are in love you feel free so you go for that. Whatever gives you the sense of freedom you go for that. Because ultimately the only thing that matters is to be free. We seek bondage because it gives us a sense of security. Being married also gives a sense of security and purpose. Is this not also a bondage? What you are saying is that the creator’s creation is not good enough and you have to paint it to make it good.
By imposing civilization, are we not imposing limitations on ourselves?
By imposing civilization, we can see the necessity of the situation and not be bound be it. Playing a role is not the problem, becoming the role is a problem.
Why do you call a spiritual undertaking a science?
A systematic approach is what makes it a science. When we systematically explore the physical world we call it a physical science. Similarly, when we systematically approach the inner world, we call it an inner science or yogic science.
What principles should we live by?
Drop the principles. All principles are a substitute for a lack of consciousness. If you were aware, you would live life as it is necessary to be lived now. If awareness is missing, you are trying to replace it with morals and ethics. If your humanity is on full swing you wouldn’t need morality. Only because there are so many ways we suppress our humanity, you need morality to be good.
You have used ‘karma’ as a negative word and you talk about dissolution of Karma? What does that mean?
Karma means literally ‘action’ but generally we mean ‘past action’. How what we have done in the past affects what we are today. The things you have done with your body, with your mind, with your emotions and your energy since the time of your birth is deciding what kind of a person you are, how you see things, how you experience things. is it not? The impressions of that are what cause the bondage. Because you can have only a limited exposure in your life, you will be limited. So unless you free yourself from this, you cannot look at all the enormous possibilities out there. The past is ruling the present and future. You are recreating your future just like the past. So karma is like old software- it is written into your system. Unless you become free from that there is no choice in your life. There is no such thing as good bondage and bad bondage. You can know life only through perception not by thought. When we talk about a spiritual process, we are trying to move from the psychological to the existential. What you think is just your creation. Just experiencing life the way it is and not the way you think it is. It is not easy to shake off because you yourself have created it.
You have said that everyone must find their own way. So is having a guru essential? What is the role of a guru?
A guru is like a road map. You can travel by yourself if you want. Vasco da Gama and Columbus sailed by themselves. Of course, Columbus landed in the wrong place and that’s where you are! When you are traveling uncharted terrain, it is good to have a road map. It is also possible to go without one but to find something that is right next to you, you may go around the world and come back. But if you go with somebody who has already traveled the path it is much easier. If you want a wild and adventurous time, you can go by yourself. We don’t know how long it will take.
For many people it is the religion which is a road map. Could we survive without it?
Religion is a road map to get lost. All religions started somewhere as a spiritual path but somewhere along the way they get so twisted and turned with local culture and politics that after 1000 years it is no more a road map, it is completely distorted.
Do you think the human community is moving in the right direction? If not, are we at a point where big change is possible?
Growth is always individual. This is the whole thing. People are always asking “what is your idea of a peaceful world?.” Do you think if we remove all the guns in the world we will have peace? People will just shoot with their mouth. Unless there are peaceful individuals the world will not be peaceful. And creating peaceful individuals is an enormous task. Going on the street, putting up banners is easy.
Having met so many political and economic leaders, are you hopeful about humanity?
I have great trust in humanity. I have turned around so many people- convicts, murderers- I have seen any number of them change their lives; I don’t see why these leaders can’t be turned around. Am I hopeful? No. I am trustful. I am trustful that the simple message of inner transformation that we hold in our hands can transform any kind of human being.
How do you feel about the many layers between you and the people you are trying to reach? Now that the organization has grown to such an extent do you feel you are still effective?
I had kept it very curtailed, I had not allowed it to grow because I didn’t want a huge organization around me. I always wanted it to be a small band of people who can do this. But now I have allowed it to grow because I found them effective. Definitely in South India we have a big impact. People in small ways have found better ways of living, more harmony in their lives, in their families, in their society. Recently, a minister went to a taluk where we have been working for some time. A group of people gathered. The minister asked, “Tell me what are your problems.” They replied, “We have no problems!” The minister coudn’t believe it. Normally when a minister visits there are always petitions and problems and complaints. 70% of the population of the village was doing yoga. The minister got so rattled he sent a bunch of people to investigate this ‘yoga’! What we are doing is just a drop. The problems are so enormous, whatever we do is just a tiny drop. I wish much more could happen.
How would you distill the complexity of the world into its most basic element?
I would say live it totally. When I say live it totally, I am not saying party every night, Before you fall dead, all dimensions of life you must explore and go. There are such enormous possibilities within you. Most people are living such a miniscule portion of what they are capable of. They are not exploring so many dimensions. It is every human being’s birthright that he must know who he is before he dies. If human beings realized the immensity of what is to be a human being there wouldn’t be so much god talk in the planet.
How can education help create peaceful and sustainable societies?
There is a whole effort in the traditional Indian education systems about establishing a universal identity before children start their education process. Because education is seen as empowerment, before you empower them, the first thing is that they have a cosmic identity. This is called Aham Brahmasmi. If we have national, racial, religious and ethnic identities, which all boils down to the family and then to the individual human being, then we are establishing a strong sense of limited identity and expecting peace will happen. This cannot happen in the very nature of things because this identity is what our intellect will function around - whether it is of gender, race, religion, or nationality, inevitably our intellect will work only towards protecting our identity. That is why always in the East, we established a cosmic identity because only then your intelligence will work towards integration, towards a universal consciousness.
What are some of the learnings that we can take and apply from Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings towards creating peaceful societies?
If you look at Mahatma Gandhi, he was not talented or anything special. He could not successfully practice as a barrister in India, which is why he went to South Africa. But suddenly, the man made a commitment towards something. He became so committed that he became a giant. This is all that happened to many people who are historically known as great beings. They were living with a limited identification, and then, all of a sudden, an event occurred that broke their identities so they were able to relate to a larger process happening around them. They did things that they themselves could not imagine possible. Being committed is just something we have to decide within ourselves. Whatever happens, life or death, one’s commitment should not change.
Are current education systems equipped to facilitate the development of a culture of peace? Why or why not?
Without peaceful human beings, there is no peaceful society, nation or world. Above all, when we as individual human beings do not know how to be peaceful within ourselves, what are we talking about world peace? Because what you see in the world is just a larger manifestation of what is happening in human minds. Unless we create peaceful human beings, there cannot be a peaceful world. Unfortunately, our education systems have become completely divorced from this. We are only interested in placing our children in a factory-like situation, where everyone is pushed through the same extruder and they are supposed to fall out in the same shape. But that is not how human beings are made. So what can we do about it? My entire life’s work is about individual transformation because without that there is no such thing as changing the world. The world, society, and nation are all just words. The reality is just you and me, and how we are within ourselves right now. From the very beginning, competition or one being above the other has become the way of our education. Instead of each child exploring how to unravel the genius within, this destructive pursuit of how to be above someone else is violence. There may be efforts to being peaceful as a moral quality but the ambience of ruthless competition breeds violence.
What changes need to be brought about to current education systems to achieve peaceful and sustainable societies? What role can teachers play?
Modern education is oriented towards exploiting everything. The focus is what can we get out of every life of this planet. That’s not going to lead to human wellbeing. This is not the right kind of education. Our focus should be what can we do for every life on this planet. This inspiration is completely missing. If we have to change this, first of all we have to change our economic module. What is significant in our life has to change which is not going to change right away. When economics and money is the biggest value in a society, competition is inevitable. Where there is competition of an intense kind and it gets more and more aggressive, many fall by the wayside. Now when it comes to teaching, you do not have to be an expert in a particular subject to teach. All you need to be is a loving human being, who is inspiring for the children to be with. If you ask children why they took to a certain subject, most of them will say it was because of one of their teachers. If it was a teacher they loved, they naturally loved the subject also. This is how a child functions. Altering human consciousness is not about the content but about the context. To change the fundamental context as to why we are educating ourselves has to change from exclusive one-upmanship to an all inclusive approach. This needs care to establish a very inclusive identity from an early age.
What do you imagine the 21st century classroom to look like?
Soon, a simple gadget will know more than the entire university knows. Schooling as we know it, in the next ten to fifteen years’ time, could become absolutely meaningless, because knowledge-wise everything will be available. The burden of carrying information, assimilating it and expressing it in the world will soon be gone. So maybe there will be no such thing as a 21st century classroom. The day is coming when children need not go to school at all. Instead, this is the time for human beings to truly unravel and explore their consciousness.
What role can technology play in our education systems to help create a culture of peace?
Because of technology the power of one’s muscle has been neutralized. It is how much intellectual power you have that is deciding things right now. Again, as muscle power was taken by the machines, if intellectual power is taken by the machines, naturally human beings will dig deeper into their consciousness. If everything that you can do a machine can do in future, that will be a great day. Now we look at life in a completely different way which will be very, very significant. In fact, for the first time, we will become human beings! Once our focus turns inward, a culture of peace is a natural consequence.
What are some of the key values / skills and competencies individuals need to be equipped with to deal with the pressures of an external environment?
The only problem in your life is the world is not happening the way you think it should happen. A bit of it happens your way, a bit of it my way, a bit of it somebody else’s way. The world is always going to be like this, it’s never going to happen 100% the way you want it. That’s not the problem. The biggest problem is this you are not happening 100% the way you want. If this one person was happening the way you want this person to be, definitely you would keep yourself blissful not miserable. When you are an issue yourself how can you deal with the world? Only when you are no more an issue you can deal with the outside issues to the best of your ability. This is why my work is to offer tools and methods from the yogic sciences for every individual to manage one’s own body and mind to their full potential.
What is ‘inner transformation’? How can it help achieve happiness in individuals?
Happiness is an inner situation. It blossoms from within and finds an external expression. The happiness is within, but we have kept the stimulus outside. Let’s say you owned a car in the 1940s. When you bought a car, along with it you have to get yourself two servants, because morning you have to push-start the car. But today all your cars are self-start. It’s time you put self-start on your happiness – that situation in your family, work or the world need not push your happiness to get it started. Every human experience is rooted in a certain type of chemistry that you carry at that moment. What you call as peace, joy, stress, love are just different kinds of chemistry. Inner transformation, or what we call as “Inner Engineering” is a simple method to create the right kind of chemistry. If you fix the dynamics of what how this human being functions, then being peaceful and happy would come naturally to you.
Why do we call our country Mataram ie, Motherland?
How to deal with the uncertainty of life?
How do I remain positive even when I know that my future is uncertain?
What is the best way to lead a life?
How do I overcome my fears?
What are your views on being a visionary?
What is the fundamental concept of joy according to you?
How do I not get bothered by other people?
Do you think ‘one life, one partner’ is a thing of the past?
How do I understand myself better?
How do I work on myself when life does not happen the way I want it?
Is there anything that you wish to change about yourself?
Is there anything that you wish you could change about the world?
What is your greatest acheivement?
Which is the one thing that you enjoy doing?
How do I set my life’s goals?
How does building a personality help in achieving one’s goal?
When is the best time to set goals in life?
Could you share your views on building one’s personality?
What is meditation all about?
Do you believe that we all have a God-given purpose in life?
How do you see life?
How do I understand the purpose of my life?
Is it important to have a purpose in life?
Could you share your views on self-respect?
Should we listen to our gut feeling?
Is it actually possible to forgive someone? What are your views on forgiveness?
How do I cope with situations when I feel confused?
Stop bullshitting yourself. Learn to say “I do not know”. What is wrong with that? I do not know carries a tremendous possibility. The moment you destroy “I do not know” you destroy all possibilities of knowing. The very longing to know you destroy. Confusion is better than stupid conclusions. In confusion, there is still a possibility. In stupid conclusion, there is no possibility.
It would be great if you could share your views on ‘Soul’.
I know any number of teachers are feeding you with philosophies and explanations for everything that is not in your experience. People have been talking about Gods and heavens and spirits and souls with great confidence and authority. Are they talking about something they have seen?
You say that we need to do things the way they actually work. Could you share an example to explain it better?
One day a man fell into a septic tank. Right up to the neck. He tried to get out desperately but he couldn’t. Then after sometime he started screaming, “Fire, fire, fire!” Neighbors heard the fire screams, called the fire brigade. The firemen came and looked everywhere, no fire. Then they found him in the septic tank, pulled him out and then they asked why were you screaming fire?’ Then he said, “If I said ‘Shit, shit,’ would you have come?!” So just working hard will not do. You must do the right thing otherwise it doesn’t work. Action should be whichever way the situation demands.
Is it a wise idea to follow the Vedas blindly?
Being a seeker means no matter what the Vedas said, what Krishna or Shiva said, you have to know the truth in your own experience.
You have a countless number of followers. What is your way of motivating them?
I am not interested in sending people to heaven. I am interested in making people in such a way that, even if they go to hell, nobody can make them suffer. That’s freedom, isn’t it? “I want to go to heaven, I want to go to heaven,” is a huge bondage. Suppose you land in the wrong place. Suppose someone hijacked your airplane on the way to heaven. He didn’t crash it; he just landed it in the wrong place. You’re finished, aren’t you? You’re always living with something that can be taken away from you by somebody or something. True liberation is when nobody can take away anything from you.
How do I naturally find expression to my ultimate possibilities?
The word “Isha” means “that which is the basis of everything.” Nothingness is the basis of everything. If you look at the world as various reverberations, then silence is the basis of everything. If you look at the world as various forms, then the formless is the basis. If you look at the world in terms of measurements, then the limitless is the basis. If you look at the world as something or everything, then nothing is the basis. Isha is that formless basis of creation or formless divinity. Anga means to become a limb of that. Anyway, you are a limb of that which is the basis of existence – you are just not aware of it. Human ignorance is such that each person becomes a world by himself or herself. Every simple transaction becomes complex just because every human being is a creation by himself or herself. And not only that – they consider themselves as bigger than creation. Because they are so big, whichever way they move, they clash with something. Their everyday walking through life becomes a hazard. What we want to do in the form of programs is to ease this hazard – if not to absolutely remove it – so that people can naturally find expression to their ultimate possibility.
What do I have to do, so that you take care of every aspect of my life?
People see you as an extended limb of me – you must live up to it. The most important thing is not to look at people with two eyes that support the duality. “She is nice – she is not nice. He is good – he is not good. She is okay – she is not okay. He is rich – he is poor. This is all right – that is not all right.” All this rubbish. You must learn to see only with one eye, that everyone is the same. Once there are people in front of you, your life is no more about you. If you just bring this into you, I will take care of the rest for you. If you learn to keep yourself aside, if you learn to keep your likes and dislikes, your wants and your judgments aside, if you simply stand there as an extended limb of me, I will take care of every aspect of your life.
Should we listen to our mind? How do you describe the ‘mind’?
The content of your mind is not your choice; it is decided by where you are. Everything that is around you gets into it. You have no choice about what you have gathered. And what you have gathered in your mind goes far beyond your present levels of perception. Whatever you are exposed to has been absorbed by the mind. It just soaked up everything that it came in touch with
Could you share an aspect of Isha Yoga programs?
One aspect of Isha Yoga programs has always been to maintain a certain dimension of aliveness in what is being offered. It is not about a teacher delivering a bundle of information, but bringing a live quality into the process. To experience something far bigger than yourself, happening through you, is a tremendous possibility. A woman will deliver a baby and in her experience, it is immense because she cannot create life, but it is happening through her. As a teacher, something even more fundamental than physical life can happen through you, even if you have no idea what it is.
Do you believe turning into a vegetarian would be of any benefit?
If you listen to your body, your body will clearly tell you with what kind of food it is happy. But right now, you are listening to your mind. Your mind keeps lying to you all the time. Hasn’t it lied to you before? Today it tells you this is it. Tomorrow it makes you feel like a fool for what you believed yesterday. So don’t go by your mind. You just have to learn to listen to your body. Every animal, every creature knows what to eat and what not to eat. The human species are supposed to be the most intelligent on the planet, but they don’t even know what to eat. Forget about how to be, human beings do not even know what to eat. So, 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. Just experiment and see, when you eat vegetarian food in its live form, what a difference it will make. The idea is to eat as much live food as possible – whatever can be consumed in its aliveness. A live cell has everything to sustain life. If you consume a live cell, you will see the sense of health in your system will be very different from anything that you have known. When we cook the foods, it destroys the life in it. Eating foods after its process of destruction does not give the same amount of life energy to the system. But when you eat live foods, it brings a different level of aliveness in you. If one eats lots of sprouts, fruit, and whatever vegetables that can be eaten in a live condition, if you bring in at least thirty to forty percent live food – things that are alive – you will see, it will sustain the life within you also very well.
Should we always listen to our mind? What if it takes us the wrong way?
Now it is because of your mind you heard of a word called spirituality. Yes? It is because of your mind that you are able to understand what I am talking to you right now. So someone who is your friend, don’t make an enemy out of him. Please look at your life and tell me, is your mind your friend or enemy? You are who you are only because of your mind, isn’t it so? You made a mess out of yourself, that’s up to you. If you want to be without it, it’s very simple; you just need a big knock on your head. The mind is not the problem. You don’t know how to handle it, that’s the problem. So don’t talk about the mind, just look at the inadequacy with which you are trying to handle it. Without any grasp or understanding over something, if you try to handle it, then it will become a mess.
Why do you ask people to chant Asatoma Sadgamaya?
I generally insist that whenever there is a meeting in Isha, they chant Asatoma Sadgamaya. This is not about establishing a culture. Asatoma Sadgamaya is an invocation and a reminder to see if what you create works for everyone’s wellbeing or not. This applies to everything we create – be it within ourselves in terms of thoughts and emotions, or on the outside to make money, do business, and earn a living, or, on a larger scale in terms of politics, economics, wars, etc. Whatever the situation, the fundamental question is, is it working for everyone’s wellbeing or not? Or at least, is it working for a large number of people? If you want to do something the way it works, you have to figure out the truth about that aspect of life, both in terms of the world around you and your inner nature.
Is it necessary to be logical?
The mind is always about the past that you have accumulated; it is never about what is happening now. It is a useful tool to handle the materialistic aspect of life but if you employ it to handle your whole life, then it’s a total mess. If you look at it logically, even getting out of bed in the morning will look like a huge feat. Then you have to brush your teeth, eat, work, eat, work, eat, sleep; again tomorrow morning the same thing. For the rest of your life, you have to do the same thing over and over again. Logically is it worthwhile? Not at all, isn’t it? If you look at your life’s experience, maybe you saw the sunrise and it’s worthwhile. Maybe you saw the birds in the sky, the flowers blooming in your garden or your child’s face, then maybe it’s worthwhile. But if you look at it logically, moments of extreme logic are moments of suicide. If you become extremely logical you will become depressed and self-destructive. Right now with a logical mind, you are trying to perceive the nature of life. You can try as hard as you want, it is not going to happen. If you want to perceive the nature of your life, you must be willing to look beyond the limitations of the logical mind. Otherwise, it is going to be one long, endless, fruitless struggle. It can never get you to a solution. It can only increase the complexity of the problem.
According to you, what is the purpose of meditation or sadhana?
Fundamentally all sadhana is aimed at ironing out the logical mind so that you become like a piece of mirror. Once you become a piece of a mirror, you can reflect anything. If God comes here, he can also be contained in you. The sun comes here, it can also be contained in you. Anything can be contained in you because you have no face of your own. Spiritual sadhana does not mean you making yourself into something other than what you are. Spiritual sadhana simply means erasing the false faces that you have created for yourself, so the mind becomes like a plain mirror which reflects everything just the way it is, without any distortions.
What is the meaning of true love?
There is really no such thing as conditional love and unconditional love: it is just that there are conditions and there is love. When you talk about love, it has to be unconditional. The moment there is a condition, it just amounts to a transaction. Maybe a convenient transaction, maybe a good arrangement – maybe many of you made excellent arrangements in life – but that will not fulfill you; that will not transport you to another dimension. It is just convenient. When you say “love,” it need not necessarily be convenient; most of the time it is not. It takes life. Love is not a great thing to do, because it eats you up. If you have to be in love, you should not be. The English expression “falling in love” is very significant. You don’t climb in love, you don’t walk in love, you don’t stand in love, you fall in love. You as a person must be willing to fall, only then it can happen. If your personality is kept strong in the process, it is just a convenient situation, that’s all. We need to recognize what is a transaction and what is truly a love affair. A love affair need not be with any particular person; you could be having a great love affair, not with anybody in particular, but with life. What you do, what you do not do, is according to circumstances around you. Our actions are as the external situation demands. What you do outside is always subject to many conditions. But love is an inner state – how you are within yourself can definitely be unconditional.
What is the significance of Rudraksh?
If you have chosen to purify your life, rudraksh is a good tool, an aid, a little support on the way. When somebody is walking the spiritual path, he wants to use every little support that he can find on the way to see that he enhances himself, and rudraksh is definitely a very good support. Rudraksh is the seed of a particular tree species which usually grows at a certain altitude in the mountains – mainly in the Himalayan region. Rudraksh has a very unique vibration. You might have noticed that when you go to a new place, in some places you can fall asleep easily whereas in certain other places you cannot fall asleep even if you are physically tired. This is because if the situation around you is not conducive to your kind of energy, it will not let you settle down. A rudraksh is a very good support because it creates a cocoon of your own energy. It is a very good tool for a person who constantly eats and sleeps in different places. A rudraksh is also a kind of shield against negative energies. It is possible for some people to use negative energies to cause harm to somebody else. There need not be a huge fear about such things, but a rudraksh is a kind of protection from that.
What is friendship to you?
Probably my idea of friendship is too old-fashioned, or I don’t know if it was ever in fashion. Maybe it is a little silly, maybe it is not socially savvy, but in terms of life, I think my ability to bond with anything or anyone deeply – whether it is a tree, a place that I sat upon, a piece of land, a rock or people – has in many ways been the key which has opened up dimensions of life and nature to me. So, for me, friendship is not an advantageous transaction or give-and-take, for me friendship is a certain overlapping of life.
How do I overcome the fear of death?
If life happens, death is a natural process. Being afraid of a natural process is unnatural. This fear has come because of a certain sense of ignorance and unawareness. We are not in touch with reality and we have gotten deeply identified with this body. This has happened because we have not explored other dimensions. If we had explored and established ourselves in other dimensions of experience, the body would not be such a big issue. But now our whole experience of life is limited to this body. No matter what kind of teachings other people give you, whether somebody tells you that you are atman, paramatman or whatever else, your experience is limited to the physical body. So the fear of losing it is natural. But if you establish yourself in other dimensions of experience, the body becomes an easy thing to handle. Life or death won’t make such a big difference.
What is the meaning of Karma?
Karma literally means action. We are referring to past action. From the moment you were born till this moment, the kind of family, the kind of home, the kind of friends, the things that you did and did not do, all these things are influencing you. Every thought, emotion and action comes only from past impressions that you have had within you. They decide who you are right now. The very way you think, feel and understand life is just the way you have assimilated inputs. We call this karma.
What is intensity? How does intensity help in our lives?
intensity means just going by the way of life. If you just exist here as life, pure life, it will naturally go to its ultimate nature. You are creating a huge hurdle in the process of life reaching its natural goal by becoming a thought, emotion, ideas, opinions, prejudices, anger, hatred and so many other things. If you just remain a piece of life, you will very naturally reach your ultimate nature. It is not something that you have to strive for or struggle for. This is the reason I have always been saying – just maintain your intensity, the rest will happen. You do not have to look for the way to heaven. Just maintain your intensity. There is nobody who can either take this life to its ultimate nature or stop it. We can delay it or we can just allow it to go very quickly without any obstructions. This is all we can do. Any spiritual process is about allowing it to happen as quickly as possible. You do not have to call for gods to come and help you, you just have to become life and nothing but life. If you can just exist here as life is, you will naturally be there.
If we want to be at ease, what should we do or practice?
What is your message for this generation?
How do we deal with our insecurities?
How important is it to set goals in our lives?
Do you believe that introverts can be successful in the world?
How do we differentiate between the thoughts of our heart and our brain?
How do we choose the correct careers for ourselves?
Is it OK to be jealous of other people’s success?
Share with us your views on marriage. What is the purpose of marriage according to you?
How did you experience enlightenment?