Power comes in many forms, not just political and economic. Here, Sadhguru addresses the many misconceptions about power, explaining that it need not be a path to corruption. Instead, he explains, power offers a possibility to create that which endures beyond oneself.
Sadhguru: To be powerful is a possibility to create because nothing can be created without power. It is only when power becomes a means to dominate that power becomes ugly. Unfortunately, as most human beings have not found any sense of deep fulfillment within themselves, they are constantly hankering for dominance.
We need to understand that power is not just political or economic power – there are various ways to be powerful. There is the power of love, the power of compassion, the power of meditation, the power of self-absorption, the power of surrender, the power of selflessness, and above all, the power of being human.
One House, Two Kingdoms
When I was about 5-6 years of age, I was deeply drawn to my great-grandmother. Everyone else thought she was crazy because in many ways, she was considered too weird to be in the family. I did not think she was crazy. I liked her very much. My grandfather was the richest man in the town. They lived in a very large home where every day, guests came in and out in dozens. It was a huge place.
My grandfather, a very rich man, would run his own kind of “kingdom”. He would sit at the front door, usually at 6:30 in the morning, and it would go on till 10:30-11:00. The first thing was feeding the beggars. Every day in the morning, all the beggars in the town were fed one meal. Usually, about 500 of them were served in front of the house. This was for the accounts to buy a ticket to heaven. It was well-accounted every day as to how many beggars had been fed that day. Then came his financial transactions. He had lent money to practically everyone in the town. All those who had not paid their interest would have to come in the morning.
At the rear door, my great-grandmother ran her kingdom. People who came to my grandfather, came because they could not help it – because he had money and power. The same people, after they were done with him and been through the terrible experience of dealing with him, would find their way to the rear door where my great-grandmother was sitting. She had nothing to give, but everyone wanted to be there with her for at least a few minutes and go. She ran her own kind of kingdom.
I was very fascinated by these kingdoms at two ends of the house, and somehow I always felt my great-grandmother’s kingdom had more grace and beauty about it. People came there because they wanted to come there. People went to my grandfather because they had to go there, they had no other way. I am sure those people, if they had enough money, would not have looked at him, but now they had to go to him for so many things, and because he controlled so many things in the town. People came to him because of the power of money, but they came to her for love, just for an embrace from her.
A Powerful Presence
To be powerful is not a folly. It is very important that every human being should be a powerful human being because the opposite of being powerful is being powerless or weak. Weakness should not be celebrated just because power has been misused by some.
Power by itself is not corruption. When human beings hankering for dominance get hold of power, it becomes a source of corruption. If human beings have a deep sense of fulfillment within themselves and are seeing what they can create for everyone’s wellbeing, then power is a wonderful thing, and every human being should be a powerful human being.
To be powerful need not necessarily mean to be powerful over someone else. You can just be powerful in your very presence. The more absent one’s personality becomes, the more powerful his presence becomes. This is the essence of spiritual sadhana, that if you dissolve your personality, your life presence becomes very powerful. Life is a powerful process. If you want to fulfill that, you have to be a powerful human being.
When you have a powerful presence that is beyond your personality, this presence can leave imprints which are forever. This is the power of the spiritual beings of the past. Though they have been gone thousands of years, their work still continues because if you use the power of your muscle, your work has a certain lifespan. If you use the power of your mind, your work has a much larger lifespan. If you use the power of your innermost core, your work is eternal.
So the most enduring sort of power is realizing the power within. When I say power within, I am talking about that dimension which is the very basis of creating your body, that dimension which creates you from within. This is the very source of creation. That is ultimate power. Once you seek this power, once you know this power, once you have access to this power, then power is not corruption, power is Divine.
Editor’s Note: The “Power to Create” meditations for Peace, Love, Health, and Success (also known as “Chit Shakti”) enable each one of us to become our own alchemist, by empowering us to transform long cherished desires into reality. Try them out!