When India thinks success, why are we still looking west? In this conversation with actress Manisha Koirala, Sadhguru explains that in today’s world, only economic success is recognized. As this success comes to India, it is equally important to nurture a sense of history and pride to strengthen the nation for future generations.
Manisha Koirala: One question that really comes to me very strongly is that we, you know, India and Nepal is very rich in culture and spiritual heritage. Instead of taking pride, why do we always look towards West? And whereas I find lot of West is looking towards us for answers, but we, I feel, are constantly looking towards West. Your views on this, Guruji.
Sadhguru: I’m sure at least almost all the men – ninety-five percent of the men – are in Western clothes right now. Ladies are a little better (Laughter). Why is this? Because we must understand, there is no substitute for success. You may talk philosophies, you may talk culture, you may talk so many things, but there is no substitute for success. Right now, in many ways, West has become the symbol of success. So if you’re successful, even though the temperatures are thirty-eight degrees today, you must be in jacket and tie (Few laugh). I’m not commenting on their clothes, I’m saying success is the ideal always. Without… What is successful, that is what everybody will aspire for. So we need to understand this. Another aspect of success is today, success means economic success. People are not recognizing any other form of (Fumbles) success anymore on the planet. There used to be a time, if you came into a town and said,
“Oh, he’s a big man,” maybe he was a wise man, maybe he was a very creative man, maybe he was something else. But no, today if you say somebody is a big man, it means he’s got big moneybags. So, in a way we have transformed the entire world into economics, that is the most important subject everywhere. So it doesn’t matter. There’s no point struggling with it. We have to come to terms with it and see how to ride it. So we need economic success. You’ll see, as India becomes more economically successful, you will see things Indian will become more prominent. It's not the other way round. People think that if India becomes economically successful, everybody will become Westernized. It's not true, unless by then we have completely lost the ethos of what India is. If we did not lose that, then definitely, as economic success comes, manifesting who we are becomes equally important. To take pride, there are certain mechanics. First of all, when you… you mentioned the word nation, nation is not just a geographical boundary. It is an idea that we must infuse into people’s minds. It must burn as a pride in people’s hearts, then only there is a nation. If you just draw a pencil line on the map, it doesn’t become a nation. So to build pride, there is… there has to be history. No nation has as much history as we have. But our (Laughs) children as… When you were studying in school, you studied nothing of… to be proud of. If you just look at it…
Recently, I was talking to the Education Minister in Tamil Nadu. For example, everybody knows about Cambodia, Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat. These temples are the engineering marvels – even by today’s standards, most incredible things that human beings can create. Tamil kings went there and built it. From first standard to twelfth standard, does any Tamil child even read one line saying that our ancestors went there and built this? No. We only study how people came and conquered us, raped us, looted us and this is what we study. A fourth standard child in Lebanon will know – fourth, fifth standard, those three years they study this - every one of them know Indian labor, Indian sculptors, Indian yogis and Indian elephants came to Lebanon 4200 years ago and built the Baalbek temple, which is a phenomenal structure even today. Every child in Lebanon knows it, to a point there are thousands of people in Lebanon, who take their first name as Hind. Here we shout Jai Hind, there’s no one “hind” here. But in Lebanon, there are thousands of people named Hind because they feel these people from somewhere came and built this temple and even today, there are thousands of people by that name. you go to Palmyra, Aleppo, Damascus. All these places are living history that over 8-10,000 years ago, these cities were built by taxing Indian traders – by taxing them. So you can imagine what is the volume of traffic that must have been happening to build entire cities based on the tax that was collected from the Indian traders. Ask any Indian child, have they read anything about it? No. Nothing of pride. So, I (Laughs) must tell you this, I’m not saying this with pleasure but today, if the Western countries open up their visa regimes, I think seventy percent of the Indians will swim across the oceans and go away. So you’re not running a nation, you’re running a (an?) open prison. Nation is when “I want to be here and make things happen” – this is a nation. “I want to run away. Because there’s no other way, I’m staying here” – this is not a nation. If we want to make a nation, we have to build that pride. Pride will not suddenly drop upon us from the skies. We have to show our children what all great things we have done in the past. Okay, we have fallen here and there, but now it's once again time to bring back that glory. If we don’t create that pride, if we don’t create a sense of history in people’s minds, particularly growing children and youth, how will you build… bring pride? First opportunity they get, they will leave the country (Laughs). See, going out of the country is not a bad thing. You go there to learn, you go do… to do business, you go there to do whatever. But are you running away from a horrible situation, or are you going by choice - that is the question. I’m not saying nobody should go out. We have enough population to populate the entire world, so we can go out (Laughter). Going out is not a crime. I’m saying we are escaping. Escape happens from a prison, not from a nation, isn't it? So, the… this sense of escaping from the country, that should go away. If that has to go away, we cannot be forever talking about our past glory either. Past glory is good to build pride, to create a present and a future. We have to do that. Right now, India, as a nation, is in a position of advantage only because of the demographic dividend we have. In everything else, we are way behind most nations, let's understand this. We are. But we have a demographic dividend, that we have the maximum number of youth. But if we do not cash in on this in the next fifteen to twenty years, once again it’ll be a slide down. It may take another fifty years or hundred years before we get that opportunity once again. So right now, in the next ten to fifteen years, what we do matters for you and the future generations of this land.