Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

Sadhguru explains why it is so important that a spiritual seeker must be straight with himself or herself: “What I know, I know, what I do not know, I do not know”.

Sadhguru: When we say a spiritual process, we are not talking about jumping to conclusions and assuming things that we do not know. If you are straight enough to see, “What I know, I know. What I do not know, I do not know”, you are already a spiritual aspirant. The fundamental aspect of spirituality is just this – “I am not so flaky in my head that I make up things. I am willing to come to terms. What I know, I know, what I do not know, I do not know.” Once you see this, the very nature of human intelligence is such that it cannot live with “I do not know.” It wants to know. Once wanting to know comes, seeking will come. Once the seeking comes, finding a way could happen. That is why, once you are on the spiritual path we refer to you as a seeker.

But right now, it looks like the whole world is against this simple “I do not know.” Nobody likes “I do not know.” Whatever we do not know we just believe. The reason why every human being on the planet is not a natural mystic is because you went out shopping too early. It once happened, Shankaran Pillai got arrested and was brought to court. The judge asked “What happened? Why have you been brought here? What are the charges?” Shankaran Pillai said “I just went Diwali shopping a little too early.” The judge said, “That’s not a crime, that’s being judicious. What do you mean too early? When did you go?” Shankaran Pillai said, “I went before the shops opened.”

No Readymade Answers

You go shopping too early in the sense, before you can barely pronounce your name, you already know who god is, who his wife is, how many children he has, his address, his birthday, what he likes, what he does not like – you know the works. Instead of giving you these silly suggestions and answers, if your parents and society had nurtured this, that you actually do not know anything – where the hell you came from, where you will go, you do not know both – if they nurtured “I do not know,” then every human being would have been a mystic on this planet because human intelligence cannot be satisfied by just eating and sleeping. Naturally it wants to know. People think this is a problem but this is a possibility too. You can either see it this way or that way. Some people think it is the problem, but it is a greatest possibility, that human intelligence cannot be put to sleep just by eating well, sleeping well, and living well.

“I do not know” has been destroyed because you believe the readymade answers you have for all the fundamental aspects of life.

“I do not know” has been destroyed because you believe the readymade answers you have for all the fundamental aspects of life. When you destroy “I do not know,” you have destroyed all possibilities of knowing.

Maybe you think I am taking away your gods! I am not taking away your gods. It’s like this, once, there were two young brothers who were very energetic. When young boys are very energetic, they will be in constant trouble. If they are a little sedate they will be nice boys. If they are very energetic they will be in constant trouble because they want to put their hands into everything that you do not dare to.

These boys are in constant trouble, and the whole neighborhood is talking about them. The parents are very embarrassed that everyone’s talking about their children. So they want to fix them. You can produce children because it is just a question of reproduction, but you definitely do not know how to fix your children, isn’t it? This is a secret nobody knows. So they decided to take these children to the local parish priest. They decided to take the young one first because together, they are very strong. They took the young boy into the priest’s office, made him sit down there and left. The priest walked in with his long robes, glanced at the boy, ignored him and walked up and down dramatically.

If you want to get somewhere you have to be in touch with reality. Otherwise you will not get anywhere, you will just hallucinate that you know things.

The priest was thinking up a strategy. Then he thought, “If I just remind this boy that God is within him, all his mischief will go away.” People who have never raised children in their life always have fantastic ideas. People who have raised children know there is no damn idea that works. If you have the necessary love and patience, you create a protective atmosphere and wait it out so that they grow out of one stage after another. But people who have not raised children always have fantastic ideas.

The priest believed if he just told the boy, “God is within you,” all his mischief would evaporate. So, suddenly, he stopped in midstride and with a booming voice said, “Where is God?” The boy looked bewildered. He looked all over – because if he is somewhere, he must be in the priest’s office. Then the priest saw, “Okay, he is not getting it.” So he wanted to give him a clue. He leaned over the table and pointed at the little boy. He is indicating to him, “there he is.”

Again, the priest asked, “Where is God?” The boy looked even more bewildered and looked under the table. Then the priest saw he was not getting it at all, so he walked around the table, came to the little boy, put his finger on the little boy’s chest and said, “Where is God?”

The boy just got up, bolted out of the room, ran to the place where his elder brother was and said, “We are in real trouble.” The older brother asked, “Why?” He said, “They lost their God and they think we did it!”

So, I am not taking away your gods. I want you to know, if we work hard enough on you, we can make you believe just about anything – even the most ridiculous things on the planet. From the day you were born, if I told you my little finger is God, then when I raise my little finger, divine emotions will overflow. Or from the day you were born, if I went on telling you this same little finger is the very devil himself, terror will arise within you.

Once you believe something that you do not know just because a book or someone says so – with all due respect to all the books and the great men of the past – still, suppose I tell you something that you do not know and which is not in your experience, the only choice you have is either to believe me or disbelieve me. If you believe me you do not get any closer to reality. If you disbelieve me you still do not get any closer to reality. If you want to get somewhere you have to be in touch with reality. Otherwise you will not get anywhere, you will just hallucinate that you know things.

There is enough intellect in the world today to cultivate a certain level of awareness in people to see: what they know, they know and what they do not know, they do not know. This is a simple way to exist. If you cannot be straight with anyone in the world, that’s a social issue – it’s up to you. But if you want to progress spiritually, at least take one single step in your life: be absolutely straight with yourself.

Editor’s Note: Rooted in the timeless wisdom of the yogic sciences, Isha Kriya is a yogic practice created by Sadhguru to help an individual get in touch with the source of his existence, to create life according to his own vision and ambition. Available as a free guided meditation online and with written instructions as well, it has the potential to transform the life of anyone who is willing to invest just a few minutes a day.