Questioner: How can I find out what is my duty to society? I went to business school, I had a job offer from a multinational and I said, “No, this is not it, there is more to what I want to do and I came here to find out.”

Sadhguru: When I visited one of the top business schools, it was shocking for me that they are teaching people, “What you cannot count does not count.” No, only what you cannot count, counts. What you can count is of minimal importance in your life. What you can count is essentially what you can get. With what you can get, you can make a living. You cannot make a life out of it. Do you want to spend your life just making a living, or do you want to make a life out of it? This is the choice that every human being has.

Unfortunately today, most human beings spend their whole lifetime just making a living because their living is so unnatural and expensive. They buy a house, thirty years they are mortgaged to the house – not the house is mortgaged, you are mortgaged to the house. They buy a car, they are mortgaged ten years. Even their education loan is taking fifteen years to clear. Just today, there is some news in the paper; they are saying in the future, from now onwards, every third human being born on this planet may live up to 100 years. And he will generally finish his education by the time he is 32. He will clear his education loan by the time he is 50. He will get married when he is 45 and he will retire at 70 or 72. After that, for the next 30 years, of course, he has health insurance. So, he will go from doctor to doctor.

the only and only way you can experience life is to become more and more conscious.

If you want to make a life out of this, do not think in terms of what you can do for the society. If you do something really wonderful to yourself, then naturally you will want to share it with everybody, it is inevitable. If something really wonderful comes your way, don’t you want to share it? Only those things that you can count, you do not want to share. Those aspects of life which you understand that you cannot count, that means it will never deplete. Those things you can count and accumulate, always, the fear is it will go away. If you collect a million rupees and keep it, the fear is only one million is there, it will go away if you bring it out. If you had joy in you, ecstasy in you, knowing in you, enlightenment in you, you know it cannot go away, so there is no need to lock it and keep it. That is when you can really reach out and do whatever is needed to be done.

What you should do with the world is not what you like. What you should do with the world is what the world needs, isn’t it? What is needed should be done, not what you like. Always, this has been propagated, particularly in the western societies. “Doing what you like is freedom.” You must understand your like and dislike is a certain level of compulsion. If you cannot do what you like, you will suffer. If you have to do what you do not like, you will suffer. It is a serious compulsion – it is a trap. If you invest your life in what you like, you are getting into a deep trap. You will see what you do not like will torment you all the time.

Do not bother about what you like. First of all, don’t set it up like that. Just do what is needed. If you are doing what is needed, everything is fine all the time. There is no question of compulsiveness. Naturally, you become conscious. If you are always looking at what is needed, you will become very conscious. And the only way, and the only and only way you can experience life is to become more and more conscious. If you become less and less conscious, you cannot experience life. Only if you become more and more conscious you can experience life. If you are really conscious, everything becomes fantastic. If you become really unconscious, you are dead.

So the choice is not between what kind of life; the choice is between life and death because consciousness is the only way life can happen. Unconscious means you are moving towards death in installments. And if you invest too much in what you can count, you will become more and more unconscious. There was a sage in Karnataka, his name was Allama Maha Prabhu, a wonderful sage, he wrote thousands of poems. In one poem he laments, he says if a man is drowning, you can still talk to him. If a man is bitten by a snake, you can still talk to him. But a man who is bitten by wealth and money, you cannot talk to because he has become so unconscious.

If you can have a few bucks around, it makes things a little simple and easy. Beyond that it has no consequence. It is what you cannot count which makes the difference. So invest your life in what you cannot count. Whatever you do, you will be a great contribution to the world.

Love & Grace,

Excerpted from Darshan, 13 November 2012, on the occasion of Diwali.