Q: With the technology people have now, they are used to taking snapshots, using Instagram and all these things. But in many cultures that are not as exposed to this modern technology, they are nervous about having their pictures taken because they think that a photograph can steal their soul. Does having your photo taken impact your system in some way?

Sadhguru: This comes from a certain understanding. If you have a photo of someone, you can do positive things such as blessing that person. But if you can do positive things, somebody can do negative things also.

In India, if you go to a black magic artist, he will just ask for a photo because a photo is a certain geometry. If you understand the geometry of a person’s picture, you can create a geometry which will enhance him, or you can create a geometry which is going to destroy him in some way. Because of this, in those cultures where this awareness is there, people do not want their pictures to be taken. 

The Geometry of a Photograph

Sadhguru holding a Rudraksh during the Yogeshwar Linga Consecration, 2017 | Can Your Photo Be Used to Affect You Negatively?


An image has a geometry of its own. For example, take a picture of me, maybe even a book cover if you do not have a proper photo, but ideally not a reprinted photo. Just hold your rudraksh and see how it behaves. Then download an image of some serial killer. Check with the rudraksh and see how it behaves. It will happen very differently. 

There are certain pictures where I am in a certain state when pictures have been taken. Take an image like this, even if it is folded, so you do not know what is there, and then you create a few placebo pictures – an empty page, a grasshopper or a tree – mix them all up so that you cannot see what it is on the surface. If you have been meditating for a certain point of time and you touch each one of them, probably many who have been initiated by me will immediately recognize which is my picture. 

If they simply touch it, they will know, because even the two dimensional or flat surface of the picture has a unique geometry which it is exuding. If somebody knows how to read this geometry, he can create a geometry either to enhance you or to create trouble for you. 

So, wherever such arts were popular, people said, “I do not want my picture anywhere because I do not want to become vulnerable to somebody else. My enemy wants to come and take a picture. I do not want my picture in his house because we do not know how he will use it.” Out of this concern, people would not allow pictures to be taken. 

Photographs in Temples

Another aspect is, in India, in certain types of temples, they do not want pictures to be taken. One reason is because the deities are consecrated in a certain way. For example, there are two different dimensions of the divine feminine: Kali and Gowri. Kali does not want pictures taken because a lot of work has been done for her to exude the strength of darkness. 

Do not understand darkness as in the Western context, as something evil or some force which is going to damage you. Darkness means the basis of creation. If you look up at the sky in the night, maybe the stars are what catch your attention, but the biggest thing in the night sky is darkness. Creation has happened out of this darkness. So, when a deity is consecrated as Kali or Kala, having pictures taken could have an effect.

Photos of Linga Bhairavi and Dhyanalinga

Collage of Dhyanalinga (Left) and Linga Bhairavi (Right) | Can Your Photo Be Used to Affect You Negatively?


But if you take pictures of Linga Bhairavi, though she is Kali, there is absolutely no impact on her because she is consecrated in a certain way. What you do around her will not impact her way of being. If the fundamental things that need to be done for her are taken care of, the rest of the things do not really affect her.

In Dhyanalinga, we do not allow people to take pictures, but that is not because he will be affected by this in any way. It is simply because we do not want to turn the temple into a tourist place. Satsangs are already turning into a tourist place because half the people are busy taking pictures! We do not want that to happen in the temple, so for this social reason we stop it. But Dhyanalinga will not be affected by that, and neither have I been depleted because of constant photography!

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.


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