The superficial obsessions of modern society may soon drive us mad. Sadhguru explains that we can only bring profoundness into our lives when we realize the mortal nature of who we are.

Sadhguru: Normally, yogis always use the ash they pick up from cremation grounds. The next alternative, when they cannot get it from the cremation ground is to use cow dung. You must translate it into the masculine gender, then you know what it is indicative of!

Those who are trying to dodge their mortal nature are obviously full of bullshit. That is why we made vibhuti with cow dung. The next level of vibhuti is made of the chaff that comes from rice husk. If you burn rice, it will not give out the kind of ash that you can use. It is only the husk which does that. This is indicative that the body is not the core substance, it is just the husk. Vibhuti is a constant reminder of the mortal nature of life – it is like you are always wearing mortality on your body.

Remember You Are Mortal

Profoundness will enter you if you realize the mortal nature of who you are. Two men who were over 80 years of age met. Looking at the last name, one guy recognized the other and he said, “Did you go to war, World War II?” The other said, “Yes.” “Where were you?” He mentioned a particular place in Europe. “What battalion?” He mentioned the battalion. “Oh my God! Don’t you recognize me? We were in the same foxhole.” Oh, they hit it off! They talked and talked and talked. They saw only about 40 minutes of intense fighting in World War II, and then the war ended. About those 40 minutes, they spoke for over four hours. And then when they exhausted everything that they could speak about those 40 minutes, one asked the other, “What have you been doing since the war?” “Oh, these 60 years, I've just been a salesman.”


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One who has not realized the eternal nature, he must at least realize the mortal nature.

Those 40 minutes are so profound you can discuss it for hours because your mortality was hanging right there in front of you every moment. Every bullet that went by is mortality missing you by inches. When mortality was so close, the bond they made was so profound. All their life, those 40 minutes have been the most profound experience. After that, he has just been a salesman.

One who has not realized the eternal nature, he must at least realize the mortal nature. All spiritual process is just bad entertainment unless one realizes the mortal nature and confronts it. Only then the longing to go beyond becomes a genuine force.

We can create living structures that do this – Dhyanalinga is one like that. If someone is there with it, in many ways it makes you absent. Death is not the end of the world, it is just you not being around. The world is getting progressively better without you! Because a large part of human societies have refused to address this one aspect, they have become so profane, so superficial, so much on the surface. If you are on the surface because of survival reasons, it works in one way. But if you are on the surface after survival has been taken care of, you are heading towards mental degeneration.

A World Going Nuts

If you want to make the whole world go mad, just remove anything that can be considered profound. Feed them well, give them drink, comfort – everything. In a century’s time, almost the whole world will be insane. If you provide all the necessary things for everyone in the world and remove all those things that they could pursue with any sense of profoundness, a whole generation of people will go insane. You can see this in affluent societies around the world. Even in India, you will see insanity mainly in the cities, not in the village, because there is no time to go crazy in villages.

If that demand for profoundness is not there in the activity that human beings involve themselves in, for sure they are heading for insanity.

Madness is a luxury only the rich can afford. Because certain things have been taken care of, you can drive yourself nuts. If we have to ensure that this should not happen to human populations, not all of them may take to spiritual sadhana, so it is important that we set up everything we do in the world, whether it is art, music, dance or whatever else, in a certain level of profoundness. If that demand for profoundness is not there in the activity that human beings involve themselves in, for sure they are heading for insanity. It may not be an individual phenomenon after some time, it may become very common.

Most people see problems only after they blossom. But if you see a seed, you can see the kind of plant and fruit that will come out of it. Only someone completely ignorant of life waits for the fruit to come, two people eat it and fall dead and then they know it is a poisonous fruit. One who knows the ways of life, if he looks at the seed carefully enough, he knows what this seed will produce. How else do you think our ancestors realized what to eat and what not to eat? How else do you think we identified just a few hundred things that we can eat out of millions of species of plants? It is not that they ate everything and many people died, so they realized this is the thing to eat. No, they took it in their hands and with close observation, they knew this could be eaten, this could not be eaten.

Consulting Mother Earth

There is a beautiful temple in southern India, in Karnataka, called Annapoorneshwari temple. This is built according to a certain science with seven layers. It is a powerful place. Behind the temple, in the local language it is written that during the pre-vedic times, they realized they could make a tube-well and get pure water to drink rather than drinking from ponds, which could cause various infections as the water may not be clean.

Profoundness will enter you if you realize the mortal nature of who you are.

They could do it, but they did not, because they realized that if each one of us put a tube or a hole into the earth, after some time Mother Earth’s integrity will go. The way the whole planet is communicating, every atom is communicating with the other, making a whole lot of things happen. The amount of neurological activity happening in your brain cannot be compared to the amount of activity happening in the planet, on the atomic and subatomic level. The earth has a zillion times bigger brain than you. So you must consult her. Someone who has the brain the size of a planet, is it not better to consult them than to use your petty little brain? Those people did consult, and Mother Earth said, “No.” So they said, “No, we should not do it.”

I think this is wisdom – doing what is really good for us long-term, not doing whatever we are capable of today and then regretting it tomorrow, which has become the way of our science and technology today.

Editor’s Note: Find more of Sadhguru’s insights in the book “Of Mystics and Mistakes.” Download the preview chapter or purchase the ebook at Isha Downloads.