Only if you learn to give totally will you know life in its totality, Sadhguru explains. He discusses overcoming the calculations and stinginess of the mind and heart.

Sadhguru: Great movements, revolutions, phenomenal things which have changed human life on this planet have happened not because something came thundering down from the heavens. When the necessary attention was paid, little things, done by a handful of people, blossomed into a phenomenal process.

Only one who gives totally will know life in its totality. Others will not know it.

If you give it enough attention and energy, what beats in one human heart – one human being’s thoughts and emotions – can inspire the whole world. For example, Mahatma Gandhi started his movement with just a handful of people. This handful snowballed into millions in a short while and became a great movement.

If you give the necessary attention, focus and energy towards small things, it can snowball into great avalanches. It is just that normally, most people are not given to that kind of passion to pay attention to something continuously. They pay attention intermittently, so it never picks up that kind of momentum. But if you pay sufficient attention to just one idea, thought or emotion, it can become a phenomenal process for an individual and for the whole of humanity.

Too Kanjoos for Life

One reason why the majority of humanity lives a mediocre life is because they are stingy and kanjoos about everything. They cannot smile fully or express themselves fully. When you are that kanjoos, life is also very kanjoos with you. Even if you sit and meditate for a thousand years, it will only give in a small way because you are so kanjoos.


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You cannot give yourself to anything absolutely – that is the whole problem.

Once it happened, not in this life but in a previous life, Shankaran Pillai was a great kanjoos. One day, his house caught fire – so he left two missed calls at the Fire Station!

I see people doing this even with me. It is not one’s fear. It is not the imminent danger of you being swallowed by something which limits you. It is calculation. A stingy man’s calculations are unbounded – they just go on and on. If they get one fruit, they would like to cut it into a million pieces and gives one millionth of that fruit to somebody. Cutting a fruit into a million pieces could take half a lifetime. That is what is happening. To give little, people take a whole lifetime. Because of this, nothing happens. You may go to any number of ashrams, see any number of gurus, go to any number of temples and do any amount of rituals, you stand on your head, you meditate – nothing happens; because you are so stingy. You cannot give yourself to anything absolutely – that is the whole problem. This life happens in a certain totality. Only one who gives totally will know life in its totality. Others will not know it.

The Consequence of Calculation

When people have to get something, they lose all logic. When they have to give something, they get perfectly logical! This calculation is killing humanity. This excessive calculation about everything has made human beings – who could have lived like fragrant flowers – go around like thorns. If you ask them, “Why?” “You know, I got pricked yesterday, so I am a porcupine right now.” When this sense of calculation enters the human mind, they do not have to jump off a mountain. They are anyway half-dead. They are already on the path of suicide.

Dissolution is the ultimate solution. If you dissolve yourself in the process of breathing and living here, then you are a solution for everything.

People keep asking me this question: “We all come from the same source. Why is it that one flowers and another does not?” It is simply because they are saving for the future. This is like a listless dog which hides his bones here and there and then forgets where they are. People have hidden all the wonderful nature that a human being could hold deep within themselves for the future because they are going to heaven and they want to be loving and joyful there!

If you keep a ship in a harbor or a dock, it is very safe, but unfortunately a ship was not built to be kept in the harbor. A ship was built to sail the oceans. Those who are constantly trying to be safe and to save themselves and everything that they have for the future, those who do not have a present, where will a future come for them? If you are missing the present, when the future comes, what makes you think you will not miss it?

There is a story about Gautama the Buddha. Not a true story. It is a story. They say when Gautama attainted to nirvana and moved towards the gates of ultimate liberation, mukti, his back was facing the gate, not his face. So they asked him, “Why, Gautama, all your life you had this problem. In the world, everybody is trying to become a king, everybody is trying to earn money and live in a palace. There also you went backwards. You moved from being a king to a beggar, from a palace to utter poverty. There also you were on reverse gear. Now because somehow you did well, we opened the gates of ultimate liberation to you. Why are you turning your back to them?” Gautama said, “I have no intention of entering the gate, that is why I am looking the other way. I am just waiting for everybody to pass before I go. I am not in a hurry. I think it is a little unaesthetic for me to pass before others go.”

People are always trying to find a quick-fix solution to divert themselves from the stinginess of their mind and heart. How many of you in the last 24 hours, smiled at someone or something in such a way that tears came to your eyes? Why so kanjoos just to smile? You will not get dehydrated if you drop a few tears. The problem is calculation. You want solutions. There are no solutions. Dissolution is the ultimate solution. If you dissolve yourself in the process of breathing and living here, then you are a solution for everything.

Dissolving in Giving

Dissolution will not happen with calculation. Dissolution will happen in giving – just giving every moment of your life. Just becoming a process of giving. If that is not there, you do not dissolve. If you do not dissolve, there is no solution.

I want you to try this: In the next 24 hours, you must know at least one moment of total giving. You must give in such a way that everything in you should melt. One moment of giving in 24 hours. Can you do that?

Editor’s Note: Looking for more inspiration from Sadhguru? Get Sadhguru’s wisdom delivered daily to your phone or other device – Subscribe for free to Daily Mystic Quotes.

A version of this article was originally published in Isha Forest Flower June 2008.