Addressing a group of students and faculty at the IIT campus in Chennai, Sadhguru answers a question on whether we have to renounce everything to follow a spiritual path.
Sadhguru explains that whenever a person strives for higher possibilities they leave certain things behind and later clarifies that even students have taken up renunciation by sitting in the classroom and studying.
Questioner: Sadhguru, as you told about the thing that we have to enhance our capabilities. Whenever I read about literature regarding great men of India, I always find that they have renounced all their family and life in order to achieve this perfection. So as students, what are we supposed to do with
Sadhguru: When you’re a student you must renounce everything else t hat’s what you’re supposed to do. Anyway, it’s not renunciation; this is a complete misunderstanding. Right now, you know, like I go back somewhere where I meet my university time friends and school time friends and they’re little thrown off balance with me. I’m with them as I was even then. Nothing has changed with me but they are little… some of them are quite successful, very successful many of them, some of them are reasonably successful, whatever, the failures you don’t get to meet them, we don’t know where they’ve gone. So it’s easier to trace the successful people in the world, you know? Others you lose contact.
So even these people who are well… well-to-do in their lives, they’re little thrown off by my presence because they’ve heard so much about me these days and then they get nervous and they pull out their cigarette and, ‘Can I smoke?’ I say ‘You smoke if you want,’ then they say, ‘No,’ and they keep it. ‘You don’t smoke at all?’ I said, ‘No, because even these days we’re trying to make even automobiles which don’t smoke why would I smoke? I don’t smoke, I’m eco-friendly machine.’ ‘You don’t drink also?’ ‘No, because I’m always… look at my eyes and see, I’m always stoned, where is the need to drink? So, no I’m always blissed out, so I have no need to drink.’ ‘Oh, you don’t do anything?’
Their idea of life is… their idea of life after being successful, their idea of life has been condensed to this, that if they smoke ten cigarettes a day and they have a drink in the evening they’re successful, otherwise anyway they cannot sleep, okay? Otherwise they’re anyway not able to sleep. So such people will think I have renounced smoking and drinking and whatever no, this is not renunciation, this is just that if you choose something higher… See, right now there is somebody on the street, your age boys are walking around, loitering, they did not go to IIT, they did not go to any college – they look at you and think you have renounced because day and night you’re looking at the book and studying, they’re having fun on the street corner. In their eyes, in their perception, you have renounced everything. You have actually.
They go to cinema every day, they tease all your girls who walk on the street, they smoke, they drink, they do whatever they want to do with their life at your age, but you are… you are a renounced character, you are here through the night, sitting up, reading books, listening to these people it’s worse than renunciation! But in your mind you know you have not renounced, you have only chosen to do something which you feel is better than that, isn’t it? The same thing. Somebody chose to do something that they saw as better, as a higher possibility for them, somebody who’s at a lower level of life thinks they have renounced. Nobody renounced anything.
Editor’s Note: Subscribe to the official Sadhguru YouTube channel to watch new videos every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.