The summer heat may have you longing to lounge by the seaside. Even if you can’t hit the beach, feel free to enjoy these tales of the sea – ocean incidents from Sadhguru’s life.
Sadhguru: The first time I went to the ocean was when I was about four or four-and-a-half years of age. It was in Thiruchendur. Every year or alternate year, our whole family – not just the immediate family, the larger extended family – all traveled together. My grandfather used to organize a tour for all of us – one big van and three or four cars with cooks and the works.
Usually, it was a temple tour to Tamil Nadu or Kerala. In one of those trips we went to Kanyakumari. There, for the first time in my life, I saw this big ocean. I just loved it so much that they could not get me out of it.
Thiruchendur has a grand Murugan temple, which the town is famous for. My family wanted all of us to go to the temple, but I wasn’t interested in it at all. All I wanted was to run into the ocean. But after it was dark, they did not want me to get in. They were worried I might catch a cold or get washed away. But I made such a big ruckus that they let me be there with one of the car drivers. I remember I stayed in the ocean till it was late in the night. I do not know until what time, but it was quite dark. The waves kept coming at me and coming at me, and I was so ecstatic.
I cannot forget the Thiruchendur ocean. Even now, when I hear the word “ocean”, the first memory that always comes to me is Thiruchendur, late in the evening after sunset. After that trip, I did not miss a single chance to go to the ocean. When I traveled along the coast, I always camped on the beaches. I never went into a hotel room. I just went and slept on the sand.
Running to the Sea
When I was about eighteen, I read this classic story about a boy who stows away in a ship. When we were young, my friends and I always planned to run away from home. We were constantly planning how we would do it, where we were going to, what we were going to do and all these adventures.
In that book, it was written that when you run, you must run to the sea. They were talking about an “English run away”. In England, where else can you run? If you run, you must run to the sea. But we started thinking like that in India. In India, in those days, if you ran away, you ran to Mumbai. But we were so influenced by this book, we were always planning to run away from the house to the sea. We were constantly making elaborate plans about how we would get onto some ship and go away to this or that place. Every little place that we read about in our geography lesson, we were going to go away there. There was an endless amount of talk like this amongst us.
None of us ran away from home, but when I was eighteen, I decided to start a fishing company. It was to be a modern fishing company. The purse seine net – a kind of fishing net – had just come out. Nowadays, purse seine fishing is considered very destructive because it traps all the young ones and all kinds of life. But at that time, it was a new innovation and I thought I would get into purse seine fishing. I told my mother that I wanted to go for fisheries training. She said, “What? You are going to become a fisherman?” I said, “Yes and I have already named my company as Majestic Fishing Company!”
A big fight ensued in the house. My father said, “No way. You are not going to become a fisherman.” But I went anyway. I took a bus from Mysore to the town of Karwar where they were giving a 12-day training. Everyone else there were regular fishermen – they had their catamarans and everything. This training turned out to be on a completely different level than I thought it would be. It was lots of physical work, but I went through it.
I did not have much money with me. The money I had was just enough for my food for that period. I had no money to take a room, so I just slept on the beach every day. If you have tried this, you will know it is nearly impossible to sleep on the beach – the waves make such a noise all the time. But I managed to sleep there.
However, all the physical activity in the training used to make me very hungry. Fortunately, they gave us one meal in the afternoon during the training. One bad meal, but a meal nevertheless. It used to be one heap of brown boiled rice and one watery fish curry – just water and chili powder with one little fish in it. I ate that in the afternoon, and by night time, I would be terribly hungry. Fortunately, I had brought my money expecting to pay for both lunch and dinner. But since lunch was free, I had the equivalent of lunch and dinner during dinner and survived. I slept on the beach, did the training and came back, but the fishing company never happened!
Addicted to the Ocean
So the ocean always drew me. I even cycled to the West Coast from Mysore. On the West Coast, there is a place called Handigona. “Handi” means pig in Kannada. For some reason, this beach was called “Pig’s Neck.” It was my favorite beach. Much later, when I got married, I took my wife Vijji there. She was around twenty-two at that time. She had lived in Bangalore all her life and had never seen the ocean.
That part of the coast is generally very phosphorescent for some reason. When we went there and camped on the beach, with each wave, you would see millions of these small glittering flashes wash on to the shore. That night was a full moon night, and as the night got darker and the tides got bigger, it was like these huge waves of phosphorous coming at you.
Vijji sat with me, looking at this and she was petrified because of the phosphorescence and the size of the waves that were building up. She had never seen anything like that. She was really terror-struck and started shivering. Whatever I said, it was not getting through to her. Then I held her hand and told her, “Relax, the waves are not going to get you. They come only till here. It is alright.”
We sat through the whole night just looking at this. After that, she went crazy about the ocean and would want to go to the ocean all the time. She got addicted to the ocean that night!
The Ultimate Frontier
All life came from the ocean. The first life form on this planet was water life. Our Puranas say this, Darwinian Theory also says this. Life developed in water, crawled out and then started developing on land. Even now, two-thirds of the world is under water. We tend to forget this and think the Earth is all land, but land is a minor part – it is the ocean which is the major part.
When we could not fly, the ocean was the ultimate freedom. The biggest thing we could think of was the ocean. When people took off on sail boats or ships, it must have looked like an endless journey. Even if you sail for months upon months, you still do not get anywhere. Until we realized the planet is round, we thought the ocean would take us to the end of the world. At that time, the ocean was the ultimate frontier. Now we can fly, so things have changed and we have lost the fascination for the ocean. Space has become the ultimate frontier. Our attention has turned in a different direction.
Editor’s Note: Searching for more travel tales from Sadhguru? “Himalayan Lust” amalgamates Sadhguru’s discourses during yatras to the Himalayas. The book is a blend of the specific and the timeless. It is a chance to make a pilgrimage on the page, traveling through the unpredictable but fascinating terrain of the Master’s words. Download the preview chapter, or purchase the ebook at Isha Downloads.