Yogi, mystic and visionary, Sadhguru is a spiritual master with a difference. Absolute clarity of perception places him in a unique space, not only in spiritual matters but also in business, environmental and international affairs. Sadhguru established Isha Foundation, a non-profit human-service organisation, with human well-being as its core commitment.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Isha has undertaken several initiatives to address the mental and physical health of all. This includes offering practices to improve immunity, providing safety kits and food to frontline workers, and offering cremation services and transportation for the deceased. Here, Sadhguru talks about nation-building, the role of social media in driving spiritual growth, and more. Excerpts:
How has Isha Foundation, according to you, helped in nation-building?
A nation is not its land and buildings — it is its people. If we, as a nation, have to rise and be empowered, the first and foremost thing we need to do is empower the people. Empowerment does not mean amassing material wealth or technology. It is an entirely inner process, a spiritual process.
Of all the degenerations we have suffered, the most damaging is that the nation has been deprived of its greatest strength — producing exalted beings who are rooted in a different dimension of existence and whose very presence is a blessing to the planet. One example that the world is familiar with and whose fruits we continue to eat today, is Gautama Buddha. As a prince, perhaps he would have had a few more wives and children and ruled over his little kingdom. But as an enlightened Master, in many ways he has changed the course of life on the planet.
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 the people, especially to the leadership in 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. 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.
You are also an advocate of wealth creation. How do people strike a balance between one’s material and spiritual growth?
Life comes as a whole. There is no such thing as materialistic and spiritual. This distinction of what is material life and what is spiritual life has come from a certain level of ignorance. When you sit here, can we separate whatever you are referring to as the spirit in you from your body? Your body is the material; it is the earth. So, how can you separate the material and the spiritual? There is no spirit without material, and there is no material without spirit.
Whatever material that we handle — our homes, relationships, money — are external arrangements that we make in our life for our external convenience, comfort and joy. Similarly, whatever inner arrangements we make for our inner wellbeing is spiritual. Can you live if you have fantastic outside arrangements but internally you are a mess? Or if internally you are blissful but you have no food to eat? Both of them need to be organised. But with how much balance? The priority that you give to each is an individual choice. According to individual needs, one has to do it.
Social media is an important part of modern life. Do you think it plays a role in making people aware of spirituality?
For me, social media is a tremendous tool. I can sit here and talk to the entire world. When did we have such a possibility before? So if we want to transform humanity, this is the time. Whether we are going to mess ourselves up or transform human population with social media is left to us. Once I spoke to a social media expert in the US who told me that 70 per cent of the content accessed on internet is pornography, and that millions of children, below 15 years of age, are sold on the internet every year. When I heard this, I decided to get on social media. Now, I am everywhere making more noise. It is against all my aesthetics, but I have made myself like this because we have to turn this around.
Technology should deliver to humanity that which is positive, not negative. When we have the power to speak to the entire world, we have to speak the right language so the future generations imbibe what is best for them.