Earn or Urn a Living?
Sadhguru: In my whole life, I never thought of earning a living. My dear father used to break his head, “This boy has no fear in his heart. What will happen to him?” I used to wonder, “I thought fear was a problem, but now not having fear is a problem!” According to the dictates of the time I was supposed to become a doctor because my father was a doctor. But at the age of ten I told him, “That’s one thing I am not going to be. I am not going to be a doctor. I will never apply for a job in my life. I’ll walk into the forest and dig something and eat, but I’ll not apply for a job.” He asked me, “Why? What’s your problem with a job?” I told him, “I am not going to sit behind a table and earn a living. I’ll never ever do that in my life. If it’s necessary I’ll walk into the jungle. I know how to live in the forest.” I had already lived in the forest. I ate honey, termites, this and that – I managed. I knew I could manage because there was enough forest left for me.
Somehow I found it disagreeable that I should apply for my living somewhere else.
Even an ant which has one-millionth of your brain is capable of earning a living. What is a human being’s problem with such a big brain? Earning a living is a petty thing for human consciousness but unfortunately, the whole of humanity is investing all its energies and intelligence in just earning a living. All human genius has been smothered to death simply because everyone is thinking, “How do I earn a living?”
It is not that you shouldn’t earn your living, but it need not occupy the entirety of human consciousness.
If you just earn, earn, earn and die, all you will get is an urn! Maybe an expensive urn.
If you manage your body, mind and energies properly, you can earn a decent living with four hours of work a day.
You must always be looking at what is the greatest thing you can do with this life. My father thought I was utterly irresponsible but I was not irresponsible. I was pursuing life. I wanted to know what life is and I pursued my passion.Wherever I sat, I wanted to know what it is. I practiced that full-time.
Sadhguru: I had a construction business for some time but after a while somehow it didn’t gel with me because right from my childhood, the forest, the wild animals and the mountain madness were always a part of my system. And I was flying hand gliders at the time so I wanted to go somewhere where there was a slope.
I looked for a really remote place and found a farm that was 32 kilometers from Mysore. I bought this land because I wanted to grow coconuts. It was a semi-forested, beautiful piece of land but it was dry so no one wanted to do any agriculture on it. When I said I was going to grow coconuts, they all thought I was crazy.
The land was full of parthenium, which is a kind of invasive weed. This was a big problem in the whole area and people were employing lots of labor to remove these little bushes. I just saw this as a good opportunity. I let the parthenium grow to the point where it flowers and is just about seed, then I got a couple of people to just cut all the parthenium instead of uprooting it. Cutting is much easier than uprooting and I wanted the bushes to grow again because they were good mulch.
Then I dug 5-feet-by-5-feet pits to plant the trees. That was a big laughing matter in the village because everyone generally digs 3-feet-by-3-feet pits to plant coconut trees. Every day I did something new and the villagers were looking at what stupid thing I would do next.
I took all the cut up parthenium and covered up my coconut pits. People thought I was crazy to let the weed grow on my land, but because of the mulch, I didn’t need to water my trees much because the soil was always kept wet.
After I had planted my trees, I couldn’t get an electrical connection for the electric water pump because my farm was so remote. So, I went to the local potter and ordered about 370 huge earthen pots. Then I made a small hole in each of them and stuffed some hay in the hole so that the water drips drop by drop. I just made my own drip irrigation and that was enough because of all the mulch. I had become a big joke in the village by this time but then they saw that slowly, my coconuts were growing wonderfully well.
Then I decided to dig the well on my land. Generally, according to traditional logic, you are supposed to dig at the lowest part of the land. I chose to dig at the highest part because looking at layout of the land and the rock formations, I somehow felt there was water there.
People were only looking at their piece of land and judging what is higher and lower. But if you look at the larger layout of the area, the higher portion of my land were still a low-lying area. So, if I strike water there I can just pump it out and it will flow throughout my land easily.
If I was to do it at the lower portion of my farm, I would have to pump it up, build a tank, create distribution systems and all sorts of things. So I started digging my well and struck water at eighteen feet.
All these things were considered miracles because people couldn’t believe that all the “idiotic” things I was doing were working.