We are in the second phase of Dakshinayana, the sadhana pada. This is the best time to work upon yourself. If you allowed the natural cycles of life to function within yourself without too much imposition of your own psychological and emotional cycles, it would be natural for you to intensify many aspects of yourself in this season. In every part of the world, in every culture in some way, people are trying to ramp up what they are doing in this time of the year – whether it is Far Eastern cultures that celebrate the equinox moon, the ancient Egyptian culture that talk about the rising of a new sun in December, or Western culture, which has taken to very organized forms of religion. Today, it largely means eating, drinking, and fund raising, but essentially, Thanksgiving and Christmas meant ramping up your sadhana or becoming conscious of the need to turn inward by slowing down external engagement.
The yogic science has explored in depth what this time of the year is doing to our systems, and how we can step up the yogic practices so that when springtime comes, there will be flower and fruit. After the land is soaked by the monsoon rains, the vegetation, the trees and plants, are working hard to put their roots deeper and wider into the earth. You don’t see much on the surface, but down below, a lot of work is happening now, as the plants are doing their best to find sustenance. Those who work really hard will flower best when the springtime comes. Just because human beings can prance around a little bit, you have become too far removed from the earth. If you had roots, you would clearly understand you are a part of this planet.
These feet that allow you to walk are an evolutionary upgrade. It is like every day, they are offering upgrades on your phone, so you don’t value them anymore. Similarly, this evolutionary upgrade to be able to walk upon the earth is a great blessing, but a whole lot of human beings don’t use it for their wellbeing. Now people think the best of life is elsewhere – they are looking heavenward. The cycles of this planet and this solar system play upon you in many different ways, and you can make use of them. You can even do without that, but, if the intent is to get to the destination, why go upslope when you can get there downslope?
This is a good time, and this year in particular is good in many ways. You must keep this life burning intensely every moment. If it becomes wimpy, it doesn’t go anywhere. People normally burn with desires, passions, longings, and ambition. Nirvana means purposeless burning. Not trying to get anywhere, not trying to make anything out of it – simply burning. The purpose of life is life alone. Life should touch its peak. That means you must be full-on. No one can save those who are trying to save themselves. This life can only be lived. We have misunderstood living as action. Living is a phenomenon that is happening within us.
When people say “my life,” most of them are talking about their job, their family, the car they could not afford, or the house they mortgaged their lives for. They are talking about everything other than the life within. In your life, “life” should not mean your food, your clothing, or your activity. “Life” means this life that is burning within you right now. To keep this life fully on is the only business. Activity is just a consequence of the requirements of the moment. We will do whatever is needed. The important thing is to keep this life on a full-on process, because you can’t save it or stretch it. Those who try to save it won’t have it.
There are various devices to become full-on life – these yogic processes have to be revved up. If this life is full-on, others will think you are superhuman, because they have never been full-fledged human beings. They have been a bundle of thoughts, emotions, ideas, opinions, prejudices – never full-on life. If you are full-on life, the universe will cooperate. In the yogic lore, it mischievously says that if you access the full depth and dimension of who you are, “God will become your slave.” That is the fundamental nature of the life that we are. As human beings, we have been unshackled, unlike other creatures.
The trees are beautiful, the birds chirpy and nice, they can fly and you cannot fly, but they can only think of eating, reproducing, and dying will happen anyway. They cannot aspire for anything bigger than that, because it’s not intrinsic in them. Nature has removed stops for you. But out of habit, you hold on to the stops, not recognizing that you have evolved. The memory from the times when you were a tree or some creature upon the tree still rules you. Just as the childhood memories are still there in some way, the evolutionary memory is still there. And if you allow it, it rules you. It still makes you think like a monkey.
It takes some work to recognize this phenomenal blessing of evolution. Otherwise we can’t see it. We think we are like any other creature and struggle with the same silly things forever. At least ninety percent of the world spends their entire lifetime thinking about food and survival. They do not recognize their own evolution compared to other creatures. If this much brain developed, if this much intelligence flowered, if this much consciousness became possible, we should have at least transcended the survival process.
The whole life is planned around how to earn a living, how to build a shelter, how to reproduce. Evolution has released us from being a creature that crawls on the ground to become a creature that can do just about anything. Not recognizing this phenomenon of human evolution is a crime against life and creation. It has taken a billion years to get you to this place. Why still behave like you did a billion years ago? The entire yogic system is about recognizing and empowering the evolution that has already been done within us. You don’t have to evolve now – the evolution has already happened. You only need to recognize and stand on top of that evolution, not underneath it.
Whole philosophies and political ideologies have been created around survival, as if that was the ultimate goal of human life. Those who are surviving well early in their lives come to a point where they don’t know why the hell they are surviving. That’s when they start doing freaky things. Well-to-do societies tend to start doing freaky, self-destructive things, simply because they don’t know why the hell they are surviving. When survival is in question, people act as if they had a God-given purpose to fulfill. They think they have to get this job; they have to get this education; they have to get this much money; they have to build this house. If everything is given to you at birth, at some point you want to do something self-destructive, because you realize all this is not getting you anywhere.
These last three months of Dakshinayana, I want you to burn full on. It’s not about what you do – this life within you should burn full on. “What if I die?” Well, that’s what you are living for. You will die one day. It’s just that before you die, life should be full-on. We have made too much of ourselves – that’s the biggest problem. We don’t seem to understand that we are a passing generation. How many billions of people have sat here before us and sank into the earth. But while we are here, we think this is it. It is not. If this life burns full on, what this phenomenon of life is becomes apparent. Only when the lights are fully on, do you see what is there. Just like that, only when this life is fully on, will you see what is in it. Otherwise your thoughts, emotions, and activities cloud your vision and keep you busy.
This is what I want the young people to know. I don’t want you to spend your lives thinking about whom to marry, where to eat, where to work. Whoever the hell you marry, after some time, you are going to make a mess out of it – not because there is anything wrong with the other person – just like that, because it takes not only love but a lot of management. Till December 22nd, do not spend a single thought or emotion on “What about me; what will happen to me?” In the end, you will die; there is no suspense anymore. Right now the only thing is to rev up life. With the constant concern of “what will happen,” life is going by, and nothing happens. If you want something to happen, life within you has to find nourishment. This will not happen by thinking about it but by nourishing it well.
You must live strong. Strong not in terms of muscle but in terms of life. Strength is not about how much you can push something or someone. It’s about being strong within yourself. Strength not of the mind, strength not of the body – strength of the life that you are. Once life is burning strong within you, if you do something in the world, it will do wonderful things; if you don’t do anything, it will do miraculous things to the world.