Release Date

December 8th, 2021

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Visionary yogi and mystic Sadhguru discusses the power and necessity of embracing self-determination and shares moving lessons from his latest book, Karma: A Yogi’s Guide to Crafting Your Destiny.

“So karma means you become the driver of your life. You are the maker of your life. It is not in some stars or some positions of the planet or somebody else will not decide this because somebody else may decide our physical situations, but somebody else cannot decide how we experience it.”

INSPIRATION

TRANSCRIPT

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Redefined is hosted by me, Zainab Salbi, and brought to you by FindCenter, a search engine for your soul. Part library, part temple, FindCenter presents a world of wisdom, organized. Check it out today at www.findcenter.com, and please subscribe to Redefined for free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

[introductory piano music]

What’s most important about life? What is the essence of life? Is it what we do, how much we earn, how many social media followers we have? Or is it, do we live our lives in kindness to ourselves and to others? Do we live our lives in love to ourselves and to others? In nearly losing my life, I was confronted with these questions, and it led me to the conversations that make up Redefined, about how we draw our inner maps and the pursuit of meaningful, personal change.

What is karma? Are we ruled by our karma, or do we have the ability to shape it? My guest this week says it is all in our hands. Sadhguru is known by millions as the yogi, mystic, and bestselling author of Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy, along with his latest book, Karma: A Yogi’s Guide to Crafting Your Destiny. He’s also the founder of the Isha Foundation, which has mobilized more than eleven million volunteers in more than three hundred centers around the world focusing on providing yoga programs for human transformation.

Sadhguru has the amazing ability to bring attention to both the importance of our spiritual health and agency, and why we all must tend to Earth’s ecological needs. Join us for this conversation with the wise and joyful Sadhguru, as he shares with us his wisdom about living life consciously and fully.

[music fades out]

I’m so happy to see you. And I’m so looking forward to this conversation, which I hope to lead to many more, I hope so. I have been completely immersed in your book and loved it, truly loved it. And I have a million questions about it, Karma: A Yogi’s Guide to Crafting Your Destiny.

Sadhguru:

I’ve written a poem about the Queen Zainab. When I was in Palmyra–before the war, I was in Palmyra. So there, about Queen Zainab, and I wrote a poem about her.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Because I have to tell you, I grew up with not liking my name, because it’s an old, ancient name, and when I was a child, I wanted to be called Jasmine or something like that. And over time, I came to learn about Zainab, and not only the Queen Zainab, but Zainab, the granddaughter of the prophet Muhammad, who was known for her courage and to speaking truth to power. And I love my name right now. I just . . . I was like, if I am after these women, I love it.

Sadhguru:

Because of associations, you’re a queen now. [both laugh] You’re the fighting queen, and I’m sure you’re fighting, too.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Well, it’s been a journey. It’s been a journey, I have to tell you, between balancing the warrior, fighter and between the gardener and the blissful states, and it’s been a journey. Here’s a question. First of all, why did you decide to correct the perception about karma that is out there in the world? Because you talk a lot about how it had “bad rep,” or–karma, that is, and one of the things is to correct it.

Sadhguru:

This is the most important thing that needs to happen to human beings, because as human species, in terms of life on this planet, we are literally on top of the world, that is we are the peak of evolution. That means this is the most sophisticated piece of creation that’s happened on this planet at least, in terms of intelligence, in terms of perception, in terms of sensitivities, everything. So if this is the highest product that this planet has, why this is such a misery, both to itself and to all other creatures on the planet? The level of suffering we have created to every other creature on the planet is unimaginable. If any other creature had done what we are doing to this world, we would’ve found a way how to exterminate all of them, poison them, gas them, do whatever you have to do. But it’s us right now. Why is it the most intelligent creature on this planet has become so destructive and self-destructive in so many ways, an endless amount of suffering?

Essentially, once you arrive at this level of intelligence and competence, you can only function consciously. And this is the only way you can do it. You can have to function consciously. But still most human beings are functioning unconsciously and compulsively. All the damage that human beings are doing to each other and to the world is essentially because of compulsive behavior. Compulsive behavior is in reaction or a consequence of accumulated stuff that you carry within you. This accumulation is what is karma. People don’t understand. They think, “This is how I am.” No, no, this is the way you made yourself from whatever came your way. In the same given situation, if there are two individuals growing up, same inputs to both of them, one will go this way, one will go that way.

If somebody has two children, they know this at home. Everything is . . . all inputs are the same, but one goes this way, one goes that way, because it’s about how you process this and what you make out of it. What comes your way in the world is not always your choice, but what you make out of it is one hundred percent your choice. If human beings don’t make this choice, they will go on . . . This is my experience. I’ve been talking to thousands of people around the world, large, very large influencers, political leaders, heads of state, scientists, and variety of people, particularly about this environment and stuff. Ecologically, we are launching some major movement called Conscious Planet. So they listen to it and they say, “This is fantastic, Sadhguru. This must happen. We must do it. This, this, this, everything.” When I’m just getting up, they say, “God willing.” I said, “Sit down again.”

Now, nobody told you God is not willing. When you don’t do it, don’t tell me God was not willing. Okay? This is our mess. We better clear it up. This has got nothing to do with any God. If God has anything to do with anything, it’s about creation. Wonderful creation was here. So this is our mess. We need to clear it up. So I keep making them say, “Let’s make it happen.” Please say, “Let us make it happen.” Don’t tell me God is willing or not. God is willing. The very thought that has come in our mind means God is willing. Don’t worry about him. You do what you have to do. So karma means just this. The word karma means action, your action.

So essentially, you are saying that your action—physical, mental, emotional, energetic actions that you perform—you can either perform unconsciously and compulsively or consciously. This is what will make human intelligence endure positive power. Right now, I see your second name is negative. I think for the COVID purposes, you got it. Huh? So this is not going to work. When you travel, you can’t say my name is Salbi.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

[laughs] That’s a good catch. For our audience—I mean, Salbi is an Arabic name, which actually, thank you for catching that, negative. And every time I go to an airport . . .

Sadhguru:

[laughs] Not COVID negative certificate. Don’t take it . . .

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Every time I go to the Middle East and the passport control people, they are like, “You’re negative.” I was like, “Yes, but I’m a positive person.” But now I have a new twist at it.

Sadhguru:

No, you must say, “I am COVID negative.”

Zainab Salbi (Host):

I am COVID negative, exactly. See, that changed the story. But here’s the question for me, because I agree. I really do agree that we come with the story in life. We each have our own story, and we have to . . . The choice of what to do with that story, whether that story was in our current consciousness or current memory or of our inherited memory, if you may, is still, we have a choice, what I’m hearing from you, that we do something about that story and we release it. Now, I tell you the . . . Yeah, please, go ahead.

Sadhguru:

I wouldn’t go down that lane, because see, right now, what is it that human beings suffer? Two most important faculties that sets the human being apart from other creatures are our vivid sense of memory and our fantastic sense of imagination. So people are so suffering what happened ten years ago. This means they’re not suffering life. They’re suffering their own memory. They’re suffering what may happen day after tomorrow already. This means they’re not suffering life. They’re suffering their own imagination. So this problem has risen, because human focus in the form of education and social situations has always been how to take control of somebody else. “I want to take control of you, but not my body, not my mind.” This is the whole problem. So karma means you understand the experience generation, right now, of misery or joy is one hundred percent my making. What you may throw at me is your choice. I may not have a choice about what you will throw at me, but what I make out of it is one hundred percent mine.

So this freedom, if you do not exercise, there is no such thing as consciousness. It is only one compulsive cycle, which drives you from one thing to another. So karma means you become the driver of your life. You are the maker of your life. It is not in some stars or some positions of the planet, or somebody else will not decide this, because somebody else may decide our physical situations, but somebody else cannot decide how we experience it. Right now, this invisible virus is determining our physical situations, where we go, where we don’t go, but this cannot decide how I am within myself. This is a hundred percent mine. Once you fix this one aspect, your ability to navigate through the world, if you’re joyful by your own nature, or in other words, if you have no fear of suffering, because you cannot suffer because you don’t allow yourself to suffer, once this is fixed, your ability to navigate through of the world, your ability to find solutions for external issues is phenomenally enhanced.

But right now, if somebody is going through these things of negative emotions and stuff, you yourself are an issue. When you are an issue, whatever you touch will become an issue. So it’s very important that in this world, there are many issues which need to be attended to, but you are not that issue. You are not the problem in this world. There are many problems, either this is a choice we have. You want to be a part of the problem, or do you want to be a part of the solution? If you want to be a part of the solution in every given moment in your life, it’s important you understand how you are right now is your karma or it’s your making.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

The question I have is how, because I can tell you how I did it. First, I went to therapy. Then, I went with Indigenous people and did sweat lodges and fasting and all of these things. Then, I meditated and all of that. It was a journey with a lot of intention and a lot of consciousness and a lot of work. Worth it. I do believe, and it’s possible to get to a state of freedom from that past, but how do you do it? Can someone do it without these tools? Can we consciously switch our mind to do it without the vision quest and the fasting and the sweat lodges and the plant medicine?

Sadhguru:

I’m certain the four days you had a Coca-Cola bottle, you were not on a vision quest totally without water.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

I did not have water for four days, no food, no water. But the Indigenous woman, the shaman woman, who came to check on me would have a Coke every day. And she would pop the Coke. And it’s like, “Hey, how you doing?” And she would drink it in front of me to test my will and to tease me. But I didn’t. But what I mean is I went to these extreme forms, which a lot of people don’t go through it, of inducing the state of whatever, of healing, I suppose, or spirituality. But I don’t think everyone is willing to do it or interested to do it or have the time to do it or have the money to do it, or all of these things. Is there another way to do it?

Sadhguru:

It may not work for everybody.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Exactly.

Sadhguru:

So what is the way? So where is the problem? Let’s identify this. There are only two banks of memory, your physical body and what you refer to as your mind. In the Yogic culture, we don’t even recognize anything called the mind because in today’s modern studies, they have made almost like brain is separate from the body. Brain is one more part of the body. Why are we thinking it’s separate and why are we thinking it’s independent of everything else?

Every cell in this body has enormous information. Right now, you are who you are only because of the information carried in every cell in your body. Otherwise, how would this body know whether you’re a man or a woman, you are Middle Eastern, or you are Caucasian, you are Black or white or whatever? How does it know? There is a genetic information, there’s evolutionary information. There is memory beyond your understanding. From the single-celled amoeba to this moment, everything that’s happened on this planet, in some way, is there in your cellular structure.

So there is trillion times more memory than what you can consciously hold in your mind. So we don’t separate body and mind. We say physical body and mental body. As there is a physical body, there is a whole mental body. Essentially, it’s all cased in the what we refer to as right-now physical body. So your thought, your emotion, your physiological processes that are happening, it is in these that you suffer in so many different ways. If life situation, one situation is not happening the way you intended or the way you want it, you say that is failure. If one life situation happens the way you want, then you say this is success.

So essentially, your prescription or your definition of success is life should happen the way you want. That is success. So this demand you have for the entire world, but how come you are not happening the way you want? If you happen the way you want, definitely you would keep yourself blissful, not in misery or suffering or anything. Nobody would choose that consciously. They think it’s inevitable and they have resigned themselves to it. They think there is no other way for a human being to grow without putting pins into that person.

Now, you want to stay awake. You can stay awake with awareness. Otherwise, there are yogis. What they do is they take small pins and put it in their nails so that they cannot sleep, just awake twenty-four hours of the day, or they take a scorpion sting so that all their nails will be dangling all the time and they cannot sleep. So is that the way to do it? Well, somebody might have done it that way and some results might have come, but that is not necessarily the way to do it. There are more sophisticated and better ways to do it.

There are simple processes in yoga, where if you sit here, your body’s here, your mind is somewhere else. What is you is elsewhere. Once there is a little bit of space between you and your body, between you and what you call as your psychological process, this is the end of suffering because suffering happens only on these two dimensions, physicality and mentality. These are only two things which can cause suffering to you. Once there is a little bit of distance, then you can use your body and mind to the best of your abilities and you don’t suffer anything because suffering is self-caused.

Situations may be caused by the world, but suffering, internal suffering, is always like, with our own intelligence, we are poking ourselves, but it is not about being incapable of suffering. It is about being beyond suffering because human intelligence and human faculties and human competence will work at its best. There is substantial scientific evidence to show this today, that it’ll work at its best only when you are in pleasant states of experience.

So joyfulness, blissfulness is not a goal by itself. It’s a necessary ambience for you to live a sensible life, because what we call as life is a combination of time and energy, [a] certain amount of time and energy. As you sit here, time is rolling away without our permission. We can’t hold it back. We can’t say, “Yesterday, I didn’t make use of it. Let me roll it back.” There’s no such thing. Time is rolling away.

Whatever we think we are doing, wherever we think we are going, as far as the body’s concerned, going straight to the grave. Unfaltering, isn’t it? Yes. So time you cannot roll back, but your energies, you can manage in such a way that your energies will be beyond your thought process, will be beyond your emotion, will be beyond the physiological, whatever may be happening in the body. And your ability to function will be well beyond all that.

This is why karma is important, that we need to understand what’s happening in the body. Right now, what’s happening in your body chemistry is your doing. You may be doing it unconsciously, just the way you sit, stand and the way you breathe, you may be doing it to you, but it is your doing because whatever happens within you, all human experience happens within you. It never happens out here. You don’t know what is out here. The way it happens within you is the way you know it.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Let’s talk about the culture I come from, which is the Middle East, because there was a line in your book that actually made me cry. And it’s about—

Sadhguru:

Only one line! I thought I wrote many lines—

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Well, one of them because—it’s true, many lines—but this one touched me deeply, and it’s talking about walls. You said that tragedy is that you are imprisoned by walls of your own making. These are walls and bars you have erected unconsciously, and which do not allow you to escape. You are the builder, but you have now imprisoned yourself in your own home.

Anyway, the point is what I really appreciate is my mother. I grew up with my mother, who would tell me “I can see the walls and the prison bars around me. They’re golden, but they are real.” And she couldn’t escape it. She tried to laugh, she tried to dance, she tried to commit suicide. She tried to do everything and she couldn’t escape it. I could escape these walls for two reasons, for a physical reason, because I literally, she pushed me out of the country, and also I escaped them by actually releasing myself from these walls of fear by telling my truth, by speaking my truth, and telling the whole world of the very things that captured me in fear my whole life, right?

And so, this wall thing made me reflect, on the one hand, I demolished my walls by speaking my truth and realizing I had been the prison guard to my own fear all this time, feeding my fear, nurturing my fear. And so, it was scary to break away from that, but I did it. But my mother, and the thousands, if not the hundreds of thousands, if not the millions of other women, and some men, and men and children who are in context where the walls are real and the prison and bars are real. And they’re not prisoners in a jail, but the society they live in or the culture or the family they live in, that fear is very real. How can they break away from that fear that is real, and does that rule apply to them?

Sadhguru:

See whatever you can name it by, you can just go on enhancing the vocabulary. You can call it fear, you can call it terror, you can call it depression, you can call it joy, you can call it misery, you can call it happiness, you can call it blissfulness, agony, ecstasy, whatever you want to call it. These are all just words. Essentially, if your mind is in a pleasant state. You start giving positive names. If your mind is in unpleasantness, then you start giving negative names, like Salbi.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

[laughs] I like it.

Sadhguru:

[laughs] Don’t do that.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

I like, I like.

Sadhguru:

So essentially it is about pleasantness of human experience. What if you just look at how human civilizations have been made. What is our idea of success? Pleasant atmosphere around us. If where you live and where you work is very pleasant, this is your idea of success, in many ways. Pleasantness may come because of wealth or relationships or money, or just inclusiveness. It may happen in so many different ways, but essentially pleasantness, when it doesn’t work for you here, you will think there is a pleasant place up there where you want to go.

When you don’t achieve any pleasantness here, then you’ll start saying, I need to go there where it is always pleasant. So that the promise has always been there in various religions in different ways. We’ll leave that alone. Right now, it’s journey is from pleasantness to unpleasantness or unpleasantness to pleasantness. So you can give any number of names. You can call it fear. You can call it stress, tension, terror, whatever you want. Let’s not go on getting lost in this vocabulary. The important thing is there is an unpleasant atmosphere. Now, the choice is whether I should also become unpleasant, or should I stay pleasant? Now the argument most of the people, “How can I be pleasant when everybody’s unpleasant around me?”

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Or when I’m worried. I’m worried about my family. I’m worried about my kids. Yeah.

Sadhguru:

See, that worry is there, whether you are in a war zone or in New York City.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

True. True.

Sadhguru:

You always have those worries. Those who want to worry will always worry. So if they’re so worried about their family, if the family is the source of their misery, they should have stayed alone. All right. I’m sorry. I know this may sound harsh, but let us come to the basics of it. I am not telling people how they should live. It’s their choice, how individual people live. But what you should do within yourself, what you should do within yourself I will not say. I will ask you a simple question, you and the entire world one question, if there is a choice between pleasantness and unpleasantness for yourself, what is the choice?

What you want for your neighbor sometimes may be debatable. But what want for yourself is a hundred percent clear, you want absolute pleasantness. When something is really, really pleasant, you say, wow, this is like heaven! Because you have an imagination that there is another place which is far more pleasant than this. But I’m saying, once you are in this state, that outside can decide what happens within you, are you not a slave?

Somebody or something can determine how you experience this life. Is this not the worst kind of slavery? So essentially, karma means breaking the shackles of that slavery. That somebody does not determine how you experience this life. Obviously you’ll make it the most glorious experience for yourself when you are the script writer for your drama. In reaction, there is enslavement. In response, there is liberation. Conscious response.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Conscious response is a liberation. I want to go into another thing that you wrote about in the book. It’s about truth. And in it, you say, “What we consider sacred becomes an authority. What comes from an authority becomes our truth. This kind of truth refers us incapable, paradoxically, of ever experiencing real truth.” Now we are living in a world where the meaning, just the word truth, is [a] highly contested concept. You know, I feel like we need to make truth great again, because right now it’s a, whoa, a charged word even. And honestly, my question for you is how do you define truth? What is truth means for you?

Sadhguru:

Say, if something, let’s put it this way, in India we have another word for truth, which is called dharma. Unfortunately, today people think dharma means religion. Dharma doesn’t mean religion, dharma means a law. So like there is Newton’s law, so physics. Well, there is a law of gravity. If you drop something like this on this planet, it’ll only go this way, it’ll not fly that way. But that is a relative reality if you’re on the planet. If you leave the atmosphere and drop something, it may not go this way. It go somewhere else or it may not go anywhere else. So there is something called as how to look at whether something works on all levels of life. In all levels of life, if something works, then we said, this is the law. This is the dharma. In English, we have translated as truth.

Why we are saying dharma is if you go by that law, you may realize the truth. Okay? You can only see the law. You cannot see the truth. Truth can only be experienced, but the law can be brought into your life as a process. So you understand, if you handle your mind and emotion and body like this, this will happen. The consequence is truth. But the problem is right now we have become such inconsequential life, simply because we are too interested in the consequence, not in the process. This is the fundamental work that I am doing with people, that you are devoted to the process, not to the fruit. Because if you are devoted to the action, you will not perform today’s action. I’m sorry, if you’re devoted to the consequence, you will not perform the action needed right now properly.

The only ways to perform this action well, what needs to happen as a consequence is the work of nature. Nature does that, many things does that, but your business is that what is in your hands, you don’t handle it right. What is not in your hands, you try to fix it all the time. This is why people are thinking the alignment of stars is determining the nature of their lives. Stars do not even know that you exist. And most of the stars that you are seeing in the sky actually don’t exist. Long time ago they have become gone, but you are seeing it because the light is still coming or whatever. So I’m saying we are trying to find meaning here and there simply because what’s happening within us is out of control.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Did you always have this knowledge or how did you come to learn it?

Sadhguru:

You know, when I was growing up, my father always—he’s a physician, so naturally he wants me to be a physician. If I don’t want to be, I should be an engineer. If I don’t want to be the next one, next one, whatever. So he is always worried you’re not getting qualified for anything. What will you do? I said, see if I’m qualified for something, I’ll have to do only that. If I’m not qualified for anything, I can do whatever I want. And that’s what I am right now. You know, I started painting because of the COVID, I never painted in my entire life. I painted a few paintings, I have about twenty-two now. Two of them got sold for a million and a half.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

No way.

Sadhguru:

Yes Zainab—

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Congratulations!

Sadhguru:

We did all that relief work in the local areas with that money.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

I love. Congratulations. Fantastic.

Sadhguru:

So I started painting only after the virus thing happened. Til then I had never in my life painted anything.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Was your father alive when you became a Sadhguru and the switch from the name you were born with?

Sadhguru:

He passed away just, well, in another few days, it’ll be, no, it was two years now in November. He was ninety-four. He lived well.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

How did he feel about his son not becoming an engineer or a doctor, but becoming a guru?

Sadhguru:

No, no, I didn’t become a guru. I got into business and stuff. So definitely in an Indian family at that time, in that generation, if you don’t become a doctor, you have failed. Already you have failed.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

I come from the similar culture.

Sadhguru:

[laughs] Become an engineer, you made up your failure. A little bit.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

[laughs] Believe me. I understand that completely. If you become an artist, you are definitely a failure.

Sadhguru:

So I got into business and naturally he’s unhappy about it for sure. But I started doing very well and I got into a variety of businesses. And for those days, very successful. And everybody in the town is saying, “oh, your son is doing so great,” because unfortunately he’s not that kind. He’s a very highly educated man. And not that, but still influenced by social opinions about their children. Not very much, not a bad situation like it is in many families, but still there is an influence. And there is some sense of thing that their son has failed because he’s doing this and that business. It’s successful, but still, he’s not a doctor, you know, kind of thing. [laughs]

So when I was going through this whole thing, that’s what I told him, you don’t worry about me. He said, how will you make a living? I said, don’t worry about me. Making a living is not an issue. I’ve lived in the jungle for weeks on end by myself. If I don’t like anything, I’ll just go into the forest and live. They were terrified of that proposition because many times I’d gone missing in the jungles for a few weeks and come back. When I come back home, people wouldn’t recognize me because from head to toe I would have insect bites. Sleeping in the jungle, all over the place.

So, well, a structured way of thinking that if only if you live in these situations, you will be happy, you’ll be successful. No. Success essentially means this, that you want pleasantness in the body, pleasantness in the mind, pleasantness in the emotion, pleasantness in the surroundings. That’s all you want. How you get there, maybe different people have thinking that “this is the only way to do it.” But what you are doing today, like you said, I’m an artist, maybe you wouldn’t be none of these things if you came here a thousand years ago. You would be something else. Maybe you would be just happy cooking a meal. We don’t know what. So the question is not about what we are doing, because what we are doing is largely a consequence of times in which we exist. It’s not all our doing. Today, we are doing what we are doing. Now, you’re sitting in New York, I’m here in Tennessee and we are talking. This is not just us. It is the times that allows us to do this. We wouldn’t have done this a century ago, or even twenty-five years ago, this wouldn’t be possible. So our actions need not be taken too seriously by ourselves because it’s a consequence of time.

Many, many fantastic, great human beings have come on this planet, but when they spoke, hardly ten people could hear. That was a reality of the situation. Today, last year, they’re telling me our video views are some 2.48 billion, B.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Wow.

Sadhguru:

Okay.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Wow.

Sadhguru:

So, shall I say right now I am the greatest in the world. Even a Buddha was not heard by 2.4 billion people. Is that the thing to say? It’s stupid. This is a consequence of the times in which we exist. All right? But does it mean to say wisdom has not come in this world? It has come thousands of times. Most of the time nobody heard them. Even if they heard them, they misinterpreted it and distorted it because there was no mechanisms like how we have today. This is why technology is such a great thing. When people told me about this and I was completely . . . I’ve never been really looking on internet or whatever.

So I never was interested. But when I found out this happened to me, I think 2004 or 5, I was here in the United States. Everybody’s on their screen. I said, “What is everybody browsing? What are they looking for? I never get the time to look at anything.” They said, in the world, what are they searching for? This guy who’s supposed to be some kind of an expert on this thing says very casually, said, “About 70 percent of the data is pornography.” I said, “What?” He said, “Yeah.”

Then I didn’t want to believe this. I checked with one more guy. He says, “Yes, somewhere around that, Sadhguru.” I thought, when we have a technology like this, that for the first time we can communicate with the whole world, all we do is pornography. And they tell me some 1.4 million children that year, below fifteen years of age, were sold on the internet. When we sell our children as human beings, we’ve hit the bottom. There’s no further, deeper place to go. You’ve really gone to the bottom. And we have such a phenomenal technology and this is what you do? So I said, “We must go. We must go online. It’s time.” Then from then on, we’ve been making so much noise online that today, even if you try to watch pornography, in between Sadhguru will come and say, “It’s your karma.” [laughs]

Zainab Salbi (Host):

[laughs] I love it. You hack the internet usage basically.

Sadhguru:

Because when we can, for the first time in the history of humanity, we can communicate with the entire humanity. Now, now, if we do not transform human beings, it simply means we don’t care. That’s all it means to me.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

That’s so true. And I have to tell you, that’s one of the things I really like about you. There is the wisdom, but then there’s all also the lightness about it. And there is also a matter-of-fact about life.

Sadhguru:

So it’s very important. You need to understand, for anything that we do internally, external situation is irrelevant. That’s why in all yogic practices, first thing is you close your eyes. Closing your eyes is your first thing to understand, to manage the internal phenomena, you do not need external help. Forest or New York City, both places, it’s the same self. It’s the same thing.

So this is why I said, when your attention is unprejudiced. When your attention is unbridled, that you not made a distinction between what is high and what is low, what is big and what is small, you are paying the same level of attention to everything. Then there is no forest and New York City. It’s all the same things. This happened. My daughter, when she was growing up, I made sure nobody teaches her anything.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

What do you mean, anything? Math, science, things like that?

Sadhguru:

Because she’s traveling with me all the time and I’m always staying with so many families. So this is a problem with the adults. When they see a child, their tongue will hang out. They want to teach something to the child. They want to teach one, two, three, ABC, or “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” something. So wherever I went, I told them, “You can play with her, you can be with her, but nobody should teach her anything.” They said, “What? If you don’t teach one, two, three, what will happen to this girl? She’s just traveling with you like this.” They said, “She won’t be able to count her fingers.” I said, “I don’t care whether she thinks this is ten or a million. What does it matter? She knows how to use her fingers and that’s all that matters to me. And I don’t care whether she knows ‘Mary Had a Lamb’ or not. And I don’t care whether Mary had a lamb or not. Okay.” So I said, “Leave her alone.”

So, because nobody taught her anything, she grew up thinking all adults are her friends. She never thought there is an adult and a child. She was one with everybody. By the time she’s four, four-and-a-half years of age, she knows over eight hundred names by name. She thinks they’re all her close buddies. These are all grown up adults. Because they can’t teach her anything, you can’t look down at her. What is there to look down upon a child? The only thing is some silly knowledge you got in the school or in the Google, right? Otherwise, what is there to look down upon a child? A child is as much as you are, or more actually.

Zainab Salbi (Host):

Absolutely. And their innocence have all the knowledge.

Sadhguru:

So when she became about thirteen years of age, one day, I wouldn’t have sent her to school, but my travels became so intense that I had to put her in a school where there’s least amount of schooling and there she was around thirteen and one day she came home and she was a little upset with what happened in the school. And then she said, “You’re teaching everybody so many things. You’re not teaching me anything.”

I said, “See, I don’t do things unsolicited. Now that you come, sit down.” I told her, “This is all it is. Never look up to anybody.” And she looked at me like this, “What about you?” kind of thing. I said, “Especially me. Don’t look up to me. If you look up to me, maybe you’ll nail my picture on the wall. It’s of no use. It’s very, very important that you don’t look up to me. You must see me the way I am. If you see me the way I am, there is a phenomenal lesson for you to know. But if you look up to me, then all you’ll have is exaggerated sense of who I am. And that’s not going to work for you anyway. And never look down upon anybody. Don’t look up. Don’t look down.”

As simple as it is, if you manage this one thing, your intellect becomes super alert and equanimous, not identified with anything. An unidentified intellect, an unidentified intelligence, is the real intelligence. The moment you are identified with something, it is a prejudiced intelligence, accordingly it’ll work. You belong to this nation. You belong to this race. You belong to this gender. You belong to this community, or this football club, that football club—all this, all the crime that you’ve seen in the world, all the genocides that you’ve seen in the world, all the wars that you’ve seen in the world, all the most evil things that you’ve seen on this planet is because of limited identity. This is me and that is you. Right?

Zainab Salbi (Host):

That is so beautiful. Truly, truly beautiful. What did your daughter teach you about life? What does she teach you?

Sadhguru:

She hasn’t. She’s a dancer. I hope someday she teaches me how to dance. [laughs]

Zainab Salbi (Host):

And you’re a good dancer. I’ve seen some of these videos. So she’s the one who taught you how to dance?

Sadhguru:

She’s a classical dancer. She’s trained. That’s all she’s done all of life. She dance, dancen dance. So maybe one day I will learn from her when I have the time.

[closing piano music]

Zainab Salbi (Host):

That was Sadhguru. You could learn more about Sadhguru’s work at isha.sadhguru.org and check out his latest project, Conscious Planet: Save Our Soil. Remember to subscribe for free to the Redefined podcast with me, Zainab Salbi. And for transcripts and other episodes, please go to www.findcenter.com/redefined. And if you ever want to learn more, you can follow me on Instagram @ZainabSalbi, or at FindCenter @find_center. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll be back next week for another conversation about life’s turning points and lessons learned. My guest will be one of our greatest meditation teachers and bestselling author Sharon Salzberg.

Redefined is produced by me, Zainab Salbi, along with Rob Corso, Casey Kahn, and Howie Kahn at FreeTime Media. Our music is by John Palmer. Special thanks to Trent Navran, Tara Pahwa, Alex Makkaveyev, Vinod Sitaraman, Neal Goldman, Caroline Pincus, and Sherra Johnston. Looking forward to seeing you next time.