India will be playing Australia in the ICC World Cup semi-final on March 26. In keeping with the cricket mania, Sadhguru looks at what it takes to be a cricketing legend, and why sport can also be an opportunity for spiritual growth.

Read in Telugu: వరల్డ్ కప్ గెలుచుకోవటానికి ఏమి కావాలి….????

Sadhguru: Swami Vivekananda once said, kicking a football will take you closer to the Divine than any amount of prayer. Because you can pray without involvement, but you cannot play sports without involvement, and involvement is the essence of life. “Being a sport” means you are willing to play. Willing to play means you are involved or alive to the situation in which you exist, and that is the essence of life. In the normal course of life, if there is anything that is truly close to a spiritual process, that is sports.

You, the bat, and the ball

As children, we played a game simply because we enjoyed it. However, gradually, sport has evolved into an investment opportunity. Take the cricket World Cup for example. For many players, as they become more involved in the championship, they forget the play. In fact, play becomes work.


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Only when players enjoy playing can they perform at their best. Playing for India means fulfilling a billion people's expectations, and that is not easy. When players start playing to satisfy other people's expectations, their minds are stressed and their physical activity also becomes limited.

You never play a game to lose, you always play a game to win, but if you lose, it is all right with you.

When you are at the crease, it should be just about you, the bat, and the ball. It is not even about cricket, India or one billion people. You don’t have to try to beat the opposing team. All you have to do is hit the ball.

In the human mind, there is perception, memory and imagination. There is memory of the game, there is imagination of how you will carry the cup, and there is the reality of a ball coming at you. People are not able to keep these things separate. You can fancy with memory and imagination but it is only reality that you can handle. The reality is, the ball is coming and you have a bat in your hand, and you have to hit the ball the way it deserves – not the way India or someone else deserves it.

You don’t win any game well because you want to win. It is only because you do something right, that it works. There are established methods with which you can keep this clarity of mind. You don’t have to spend 12 hours a day. If you spend 20 to 30 minutes a day, you can do miraculous things for yourself.

When a man is truly happy and carefree, he can engage in incredible physical action. This is the main aspect of yoga. Action can simply flow out of a person as the game demands. This way, they can respond with agility to whatever the other team throws at them.

How is a cricketing legend born? Surely not because the team he played against was incompetent. For such a player, co-ordination is at its peak. He knows what he wants in his life. He is so committed to what he wants that it becomes a reality. If our cricketers can organise their energies, bodies and minds in such a way that they get more focused, everything happens for the best.

The sacredness of sport

The sacredness of a sporting event is that individuals rise beyond their limitations, achieving a state of abandon that is usually known only at the peak of spirituality. Thus, sports have always been a part of Isha. All our programs have an element of play – as to play is to live, and to live is to play.

The fundamental of any sport or game is: if you want to play a game, you must have the fire of wanting to win, but also the balance to see that, “If I lose, it is okay with me.” You never play a game to lose, you always play a game to win, but if you lose, it is all right with you. If you maintain this fundamental with every aspect of life, you are a sport. And that’s all the world expects from you – that you are a sport. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whatever kind of situation you are in, you are still a sport.

Image courtesy: Mahendra Singh Dhoni batting, Wikipedia