Noted fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani seeks Sadhguru’s insights about Indian culture, its fundamental basis and its original nature. Sadhguru elaborates on how the most unique facet about Indian culture is that it was crafted to support and nurture every human being’s ultimate aspiration.

 Tarun Tahiliani: What is this essence that has kept us together as Hindustan or Bharat? What has made it special?

Sadhguru: Let’s say you are alone in this room. Would your intelligence work better if I told you everything about this room, how it is, how it should be, how it can never be because it’s all God ordained, or would it work better if I don’t tell you anything about the room, I just leave you here for three days so you can explore everything and find out for yourself? Which way would your intelligence work better?

Tarun Tahiliani: The second.

India – A Consciously Crafted Ethos

Sadhguru: Definitely. If you are in a state of exploration and seeking, your intelligence would work better. The sages of the past who consciously crafted this culture saw that human ingenuity and human intelligence will always be perky and sharp only if you are a seeker. If you become a believer, it will get blunted.

This is something the world could never understand, that these people say “yes” and “no” to the same thing.

Tarun Tahiliani: That’s what we do. We are not sure if it’s “yes” or “no.”

Sadhguru: It is not that we are not sure. We know it is “yes” and “no.” Right now, I will ask you a simple question. You must tell me the answer.

Tarun Tahiliani: Oh my god! I am on the spot.

Sadhguru: You are. Are you a man or a woman?

Tarun Tahiliani: I have to think about it. I think I am a man. I am conditioned as a man.

Sadhguru: No. I am asking you a direct question. Are you a man?

Tarun Tahiliani: A man, yes.

Sadhguru: Yes. Now, the fact of the matter is you are a man, but the truth of the matter is you exist here because a man and a woman came together. You being a man does not mean your mother is absent in you. She is very much present. Similarly, just because somebody is a woman, the father is not absent; he is very much present. In India, we said “yes” to both. People may think we are confused, but actually, we are looking at it more profoundly. If you only look at the surface, you may see someone as a good guy or a bad guy. We never saw it that way. We know no human being is 100%, 24 hours good, or 24 hours bad. People vary.

Your focus should be how to get the best out of everyone who is with you. If you create the wrong situations, the best people will turn out to be the worst. If you create the right situations, the so-called worst will turn out to be fantastic human beings. If you say this guy is a good guy or a bad guy, you are looking at life as if it is a commodity. That is not how life is. When we say “yes” and “yes,” it is not out of confusion – it is out of a certain profoundness.

Tarun Tahiliani: I can see that. To go back to what I was asking you about – what defines the spiritual space that people recognize as Hindustan or India?

A Godless Country

Sadhguru: This is a godless country. Tell me, who is the god in this country?

Tarun Tahiliani: There are millions of gods.

Sadhguru: Yeah. Those millions of gods happened when our population was that much.

Tarun Tahiliani: Each one had their own. So it is up to 1.3 billion gods now?

Sadhguru: No, we lost our imagination somewhere on the way. We became shy of creating gods because other people laughed at us for having so many gods. This is again an inferiority complex. We should have been proud. “Yes, we have 33 million. What’s the problem? We are very rich.” I am one of the few who is continuing to create gods. This idea in other cultures that there is one god, looking like one big human being (of course a man, not a woman!) sitting up there and controlling the whole universe, came up because they thought existence is human-centric. We have never seen it that way. We know we are just a small speck in the universe, and tomorrow morning, if we disappear, everything will be just as fine.

External and Self-nurture

This is not a land that was based on morality. This is the most beautiful way to live because morality means persecution; morality means right and wrong. Once we think in terms of right and wrong, it is always I who is right and you who is wrong. With right and wrong, you create a prejudiced world. We never looked at life in terms of right and wrong. We always saw it in terms of every life having to find full expression. That needs nurture. Like every plant, like every animal, a human being also needs nurture – both external nurture and also self-nurture.

This goes for every life on the planet – how great or how puny it becomes does not depend upon whether it is good or bad. It depends upon how much nurture it finds from outside and from within. Because we recognized this, no good and bad, no right and wrong, no high and low were fixed. Everything was left open. This is spirituality.

Editor’s Note: For more of Sadhguru’s articles about Indian culture and the various customs associated with it, check out the Why We Do What We Do series. For more insights from Sadhguru, follow him on twitter and facebook.

This article is an excerpt from the Jan 2014 issue of Forest Flower, which is available at the Isha Download Store as a “name your price” download. Annual print subscriptions are also available.