Q: Namaskaram Sadhguru, I would like to be honest and straight. But I find that people who are cunning make it faster in the material world. So what do I do about it?

Sadhguru: We do not know what is the nature of your work, what kind of transactions you are involved in. In some transactions, cunning is the law. Suppose you are involved in negotiating between two nations. Being straight is not going to work. Cunning is the law, isn’t it? It is always about outsmarting the other. Is it the right thing or the wrong thing? This is not for me to decide or you to decide. It is a reality of our times.

Make a Living or Make a Life?

If I am cunning, will I succeed? Try and see. You may get cornered. If you cross some lines, you may get imprisoned. If you do not get imprisoned, you may get shunned by other people. Before you try anywhere else, try this with your family. It is better to experiment in a safer atmosphere! Every day, deceive them with something. For some time, they will be fooled and you will get a few things. After some time, when they know what you are doing – which they will know – you will see that slowly you do not belong to the family any more. They may tolerate you for some time, but you will never be included. If it crosses certain limits, they know what to do with you.

When it comes to give and take, if you are very clever, you can take more.

Creating an atmosphere of trust, creating this confidence in everyone that, “You can trust me. Maybe you cannot trust my judgment, but you can trust my integrity” – if you create this, you will see your life will become smooth in the society in which you live. Maybe you will make a little less money than someone else, but your life will become smooth. Otherwise, so many things will be after you.

When it comes to give and take, if you are very clever, you can take more. Some people, with their extra cleverness, may manage a better life than someone else. You may make a living. You will never make a life out of it. People of good times, you know what’s happened! Do not succumb to that.

Know the Ease of Living

When you lie, when you cheat, you may make some money – I am not questioning that – but considering the amount of effort needed in your mind, it is not worth it. Suppose you tell one version of something to one person, another version to someone else and a third version to a third person, do you know how much extra work you have to do in your mind? If you want to know the ease of living, it is important that you maintain a trustful atmosphere around you. Otherwise life gets super-complicated and many people go crazy after some time.

In a love affair, you give everything that you can. You don’t care a damn whether you get something or not.

In recent times in India, a lot of people who lived flamboyant lifestyles are either in prison or in hiding here and there. At one time, people thought they were having a good time – not anymore. Things will catch up with you. Even if the outside does not catch up with you, even if you successfully manage the outside, the inside will catch up with you.

This unnecessary extra activity in your mind itself will catch up with you. Your entire life will become a transaction. That means you are a marketplace. A marketplace is not a beautiful place. Maybe there is profit, but it is not a beautiful place because it is about how I can give less and take more. This is not a love affair. In a love affair, you give everything that you can. You don’t care a damn whether you get something or not. And there is beauty to this. There is life.

Life Has No Take-Away

Above all, how profound is your experience of life? How much you have gathered would matter only if you could transport it with you when you die. I was speaking in London and a very prominent group of people were there. After I spoke for an hour-and-a-half, one man said, “All this is okay, but what is the takeaway?” I looked at him and said, “At the end of your life, whatever is the takeaway, that is the takeaway here also.”

There is no takeaway with life. Have you been touched by this life or not? Have you known tears of much tenderness? Have you known love?

In some communities in India, during burials, if a person weighs around fifty kilograms, it is a rule that we must put one hundred kilograms of salt beneath the body and above the body, so that every bone will dissolve and become a part of the earth as quickly as possible. But in Western societies, people are boxing them up so that maggots can eat them from inside! They do not want to merge. First, the wood has to melt. It will take a long time. These days it is chemically-treated wood, so most of them will never merge with the earth. Especially if you make a golden casket for yourself, you will never merge. And of course, somebody is going to steal it after some time and throw you all over the place!

Do not get too smart with life. You got ten rupees more than someone, but you missed life – I do not think it is smart. You wore more gold chains than someone else, but you missed life – there is nothing smart about this. This is the dumbest thing you can do.

There is no takeaway with life. Have you been touched by this life or not? Have you known tears of much tenderness? Have you known love? Have you known joy? Have you known ecstasy? Above all, have you known the innermost core that is making all this happen?

Editor’s Note: Find more of Sadhguru’s insights on inclusive economics and creating businesses for human wellbeing in the book “Ambition to Vision.” Available as an ebook and on Amazon.