Sadhguru looks at the difference between a materialistic and a spiritual person, and why spirituality is an irrevocable love affair with life.

Sadhguru: Some time ago, I was in Singapore, addressing the faculty of a premier management and administrative training college. Because I was hopping from engagement to engagement, just before entering the place, I asked, “What’s the talk about? What am I supposed to speak?” They said, “Something about leadership.” And as I was rushing into the college, I saw a banner with my picture which said, “A talk on leadership by an inspirational speaker from India.” So I just thought, what are the things which inspire people to do something, and when and why do people need inspiration? Only when you don’t really want to do something, you need to be inspired. If you really want to do something, you don’t need any inspiration. Do you need to be inspired to go for dinner? No, but some of you may need inspiration to wake up in the morning for sadhana.

When people are highly inspired, they can do great things – or they can do absolutely stupid things. Inspiration does not always come with wisdom. If we want to create something very purposeful and focused, we need more sensible, focused people who do not need to be inspired by anyone but who clearly know, “This is what we want to do.” If there is clarity of what we really want to do, our ability to create what we want is so much better than that of just an inspired lot. A group of inspired people are good for short-term activity. Long-term activity can only be done by those people who really want to do it anyway.

Materialistic and spiritual: What’s the difference?

The difference between a materialistic person and a spiritual person is just this: a materialistic person is like a dog that has a bone hanging in front of it to make it win the race. The dog runs faster and faster hoping to get the bone, but this never happens. A materialistic person is constantly whipped by external situations. A spiritual person does not need any external whipping since he is doing what he really wants to do.


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The spiritual process is a far more intelligent way to exist because it means you are in tune with the intelligence of the Creator. Whatever you can think up is in no way comparable to that intelligence which is creating this body, which is making a flower out of mud, mud into food, food into human body and human body into mud again; which is making the planets go round, and the galaxies function – that which is the very basis of creation. Whatever kind of very smart thoughts you come up with, whatever kind of equations or formulas you have produced are all attempts to understand the intelligence of that which is the source of creation.

Spiritual process is not a divorce from life. It is an irrevocable love affair with life.

What you think is science is just an attempt to understand the intelligence of the Creator. What you call technology is just a measly imitation of the technologies of life that already exist. So, what you think is human intelligence – the logical intelligence – is not comparable to the intelligence that is the basis of creation. If you are willing to become one with that intelligence which is the source of creation, then you are spiritual. Generally, materialistic life is not in line with that intelligence. Is it wrong? Is it wrong to eat food, to wear clothes, to have a building to live in? Is it wrong to do this and that? That is not the point. If you make the side dish of life into the main dish, it is a foolish way to live. We build a home, we wear clothes, we eat food, we do everything because we want to live, and live totally. We not only want to live, we want to know life in its entirety.

If you are only eating the skin of life, it is an unintelligent way to exist. Spiritual process is to eat the fruit of life, the juice of life, the core of life. We not only want to taste it, we want to know and experience it in its entirety.

Spiritual process: A love affair with life

Spiritual process is not a divorce from life. It is an irrevocable love affair with life. Why is it needed? Simply because it is a more intelligent way to exist. No human being would consciously want to be a fool. Even one who fools around does it to show how smart he is. But if you think you are an exclusive piece of creation, if you think, feel, and experience life as if you are alone in this existence, then your so-called intellect works against you.

It once happened, just after the French revolution. The French had perfected the guillotine as a machine to take off people’s heads. Because they had made the machine, they had to use it as often as possible. Wherever they saw a head, they felt like taking it off. One day, three men were brought for execution – a lawyer, a priest, and an engineer. They put the lawyer down on the board with a hood over his head and pulled up the blade – it did not fall down. Technology failure! According to the law, they had to kill him instantly. But now they had put him through the torture of waiting there and it did not happen, which meant tomorrow he might sue them – so they let him go. They put the priest on the board and pulled. Again nothing happened. They thought this must be divine intervention and let him go. The engineer chose to go to the execution without a hood. Lying down, he looked up and said, “Hey, let me tell you what’s wrong with this!”

If you are only eating the skin of life, it is an unintelligent way to exist. Spiritual process is to eat the fruit of life, the juice of life, the core of life.

This is how human intellect is working right now. This is a distortion from the intelligence of that which is the source of creation within us and in everything. Just in everything that you touch – the food that you eat, the air that you breathe, the earth that you walk upon, and the very space in which we exist – the hand of the Creator is obvious for someone who pays enough attention to it. The biggest thing that a human being can do is to be in tune with that intelligence and ensure that he does not distort the hand of the Creator. “Within this, can I live my life? Can I do what I want to do?” You can do everything that you wish to do and still not distort the hand of the Creator – if only you are in tune with it. If you are not in tune with it, you become an exclusive intelligence. The creation does not make room for that.

Initiation into a spiritual process means to stir up that intelligence within you which is the source of creation – you allow it to function. Don’t use your own stupid brain. This does not mean I am against the intellect. I am not. Today, there is a lot of artificial intelligence in the world. The computers are getting really smart, but no computer can ever equal a human being. At some point in future, a computer may be built to do just about everything that a human being is doing right now – but the computer can never compete with human stupidity. So we will always be incomparable!

Intellect is not the problem. The problem is that you become an exclusive intelligence, not an inclusive intelligence. The word yoga means “union.” Union means inclusiveness, to become an inclusive intelligence, so that your intelligence does not in any way distort the intelligence which is the source of creation within you and in everything.

Editor’s Note: The ebook “Inner Management”, contains more of Sadhguru’s wisdom on opening up a new dimension that frees us from external influences. Set "0" in the price field to download for free.

Inner Management