In this week’s post in the Why We Do What We Do series, Sadhguru talks about the contradictions inherent in the Indian way of life – total chaos overlying a deep sense of harmony.

Sadhguru: India as a culture, with all its apparent disorganization, used to be very organized deep down. It functioned very systematically. Even today the nation has not broken down completely simply because of that deep in-built cultural organization. With all the surface disharmony, there is something deep which holds things together. It is not the government, the law, or the infrastructure which holds society together in India. There is something in people which still keeps things rolling. With the level of poverty that people face in India, still maintaining some sanity, going on with their activities and celebrating their festivals takes a different kind of in-built mechanism which was put in by the culture.

Western organization means everything is so organized. Then everything will happen like a machine…

The beauty of our culture is that it is disorganized. But if you do not find harmony in the disorganization of what it is, then a disharmonious mind, a disharmonious body, and a disharmonious social situation takes away all possibilities from a human being. Let’s say you happened to go into your kitchen and everything was mixed up – you do not know where anything is. It may be fun for a day trying to find everything, but if it happens every day and if you have to do it in a certain time-bound way, it takes away a lot of possibilities in you. Just trying to fix your morning coffee becomes a full-time job. That is the kind of situation we have created in the nation. Doing simple things has become a full-time job for intelligent people who could be doing a lot more. In small communities, in certain corporations, industries and businesses, people are getting organized in small ways and in small units. But this organization is coming in a very westernized way, which is again extremely stressful for the human being.

Western organization means everything is so organized. Then everything will happen like a machine – everything will be happening, but no life will be happening. It is very easy to give a hard and fast rule, “Just do this.” Everything looks organized but then when life does not happen, people have a huge longing to break the rule. This is what is happening in the West. For no reason, a whole segment of population is striving to somehow break the rules that are working well simply because life feels restricted in the whole process of organization.

The spiritual paths in India lived totally disorganized because they did not want anything to be suppressed. Right now, we do not have enough space in the country to be too disorganized. If it was just one person per square kilometer, you could act crazy. But when there are this many people, how you place every step matters. With the kind of population and spaces available around us, I think a little more organization would make life much more saner than what it is right now because if you allow too much life to happen, things will collapse. Maintaining that balance – allowing enough freedom for life to happen freely, but still you are organized enough so that you do not waste the fundamental human potential within yourself has always been the essence of my focus when it comes to people and activity. Yoga as a science and a practice is such that if people bring this into their lives, they can maintain an inner organization even if the outside situations are going totally crazy.

Editor’s Note: Don’t miss Sadhguru’s other posts on Indian culture.