Sadhguru, Isha Foundation
Sadhguru: A spiritual process is to burn the very roots of the animal in you and create a situation for the flowering of the Divine. One may not be able to see the fruit of that seed and effort immediately. A weed flowers within a few days but if you want a coconut tree to flower it takes six years. Only an impatient fool who doesn’t know the way of life will uproot a coconut tree in the fourth year thinking it isn’t yielding anything. If you really want to produce something worthwhile, it takes time. But if the seed is right and the way we nurture it is good, the fruit is bound to happen – there is no doubt about it.
What is Spirituality?
The word “spirituality” is one of the most corrupted words on the planet. It has been used and misused in a million different ways, largely because of ignorance and many times out of unscrupulousness. Because of this misuse, it has generated such a level of confusion and doubt in people’s minds about whether it is really worthwhile or not. It has created a phenomenal sense of uncertainty. Even after walking the path for many years, people have doubts because there has been so much ambiguity and such a level of misunderstanding.
Whatever we think in our mind can’t be spiritual. You can’t have a spiritual thought. Whether you think about God, heaven or liberation that is not a spiritual thought. Thought is essentially psychological, there is nothing spiritual about it. We can think about spirituality but thought can never be spiritual. It is like saying I have a spiritual little finger. The finger is plain physical. It can only be physical. Maybe I have made my physicality in such a way that my little finger and my whole body has become a conducive passage for a spiritual process, but still it is not spiritual. It is a good, physical little finger. It can be a block or it can be a gate but it is physical.
The physical is not against the spiritual. It is only because we have a physical body we are thinking of another dimension. Otherwise it would never arise. If we did not exist here physically, the need for a spiritual process would never have risen anywhere at all. So, physicality is in a way the fundamental of the spiritual but physical can never become spiritual. Similarly, the psychological and the emotional can never become spiritual. They are different dimensions of life, nothing right or wrong about them. It all depends how you use them. We can use this body as barrier and a trap or we can use this body as a passage. Similarly, we can use this mind as a misery-manufacturing machine or we can use this as a possibility for a spiritual possibility. But mind, body and emotion cannot be spiritual.
When we say spiritual, we are talking about a dimension which is not physical, which does belong to this realm. If all we are looking for is mental peace, that is not spirituality. People talk about spiritual peace. There is no such thing. Peace is of the physical and the mental. You can disturb the physicality and the psychological, you cannot disturb that which is neither of these two things. It is neither seeking peace nor does it need peace.
The Crafty Barrier
The integrated mechanism of body, mind, emotion and the physical energy together has made what you refer to as “myself”, physical. Though this integrated mechanism and the rest of the existence is the same material, because of its integrity and the way it is constructed, it looks absolutely individual right now – so perfectly individual that you can’t believe this and that could be one. Everything that this creation is, is just the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and space. The same five elements have become such a fantastic amalgamation and have become a human being. It is just the play of these five elements, but the play is so beautifully constructed it doesn’t need to draw from anything. It is so complete by itself that we begin to question the very existence of the creator. That means it is really perfect. If it couldn’t function without a morning and evening prayer every day, this is not a perfect creation. This is so perfect you can forget the creator. That is a real complement as to what a wonderful piece of creation this is.
Even if you blow bubbles in the air, the inside and the outside of the bubble is the same stuff but still it has a distinct identity. This individual nature is just like that. The inside is the same stuff as the outside but there is just one little crafty barrier – such a crafty barrier that you can’t see where it is. Whichever way you look at it there seems to be no barrier but there is a distinct barrier between the individual and the rest. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, it is still there – you tell someone you love them but the next moment it is thinking, “Is this guy alright?” It is from the same material. Water inside water, air inside air, mud inside mud, but the distinction is so beautifully crafted, you can’t understand how.
If we want to know the intricacies of this human mechanism, it is one way. If we just want to cross barrier, it is another way. But one who does not cross will never know. For one who does not break the barriers, there is no possibility of knowing. First comes breaking the barrier, then knowing, which is a much longer process. But if you just want to enjoy the freedom and bliss of crossing the barrier, it is much simpler than knowing because knowing takes much more. To break the barrier, all it takes is an intense dimension towards any one thing. This is not possible for people who are “multi-tasking.” That is a very common word nowadays.
People who are multi-tasking are going in five different directions at the same time. One who goes in five different directions obviously doesn’t go anywhere. He will do many things, in a social context people may clap their hands, but he will not move an inch within himself. I am not referring to multi-tasking the way corporates are talking about it. It is just that people are constantly shifting. They are constantly grazing all over the place. Animals who graze don’t go anywhere. The stomach becomes full but you don’t go anywhere. That is always the quality of grazing.
If one wants to go somewhere, one has to stick to one thing. Truth or the divine does not need your assistance. It will happen without you. It is just that you can deny it to yourself. People bring enormous amount of punishment, pain and suffering upon themselves, not necessarily because of a life committed to evil. Their life may be committed to spiritual wellbeing, but every day they choose and re-choose. They keep destabilizing themselves by constantly falling off and falling on. We will bring enormous trouble to ourselves if we do not allow life to form itself – if we keep disturbing that which is taking shape. Every time you choose and un-choose, you distort the course of your destiny. Maybe you un-choose the path you are on because of some situation that you experience as frustrating. But even if in a few hours you are again on, by un-choosing yourself for a few hours, you have destabilized the formation and course of your destiny.
A determined mind, a mind whose choice is permanent, will allow destiny to flow the way you have chosen. If you think something is worth it, there should be no turning back. If it is worth it, that one point should not change. On the way so many things will come and so many challenges will be there. If one has to successfully go through all these things, that one unchanging point is needed.
This is what Adi Shankara means when he says, “Nishchala tattve jeevanmukti.” For one who is unwavering in his intention, liberation cannot be denied. If there is no nishchala tattvam, there is no mukti; there will only be chaos. Nishchala tattvam is needed. Otherwise you will not transcend your limitations and the hurdles that come – every hurdle will look like an impossible mountain.
If the goal was fixed, if there is no other way and that is the only thing, people would never think something was impossible. They would always be striving for the possibility. That is what a spiritual seeker should do. That is the first and foremost thing that you must do – you establish one steadfast point such that, this one thing is not changeable. If you do not compromise on this, the rest of life gets organized behind you, not in front of you as a hurdle. Life will organize behind you and will support you all the time. Your faculties, your energy, the whole world will get organized behind you because you have nishchala tattvam.
Ranked amongst the fifty most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and a New York Times bestselling author Sadhguru has been conferred the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 2017, the highest annual civilian award, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service.