In a recent Darshan at the Isha Yoga Center, Sadhguru talks about the brutal gang-rape that happened in New Delhi on December 16th and triggered nationwide protests. Sadhguru says - "It's not about sexuality alone, it's about the power to possess."

In part 1 of the talk, he points out that punishment is not a serious deterrent for most people. He dissects the complicated issue of rape and takes us to the root of the problem. Sadhguru's words offer insight and come at a crucial time as the Delhi gang rape victim dies in Singapore hospital.

Full Transcript:

Sadhguru: So… there’s been one unfortunate subject, which should not have existed but right now it’s become a national debate, which is rape. Because of a certain horrible incident that happened in New Delhi, the whole country is talking… talking about rape. So, this needs to be understood that though there may be a sexual stimulus to rape, it is not about sexuality alone; it’s about the power to possess. This wanting to possess comes from various things. One fundamental mistake that societies have done is somewhere in the minds of the youth… the male youth in the world, we have put the idea that a female is a… an object… a thing that you can possess. Either somebody’s father can give you away; if he refuses, you can take it. It’s still there, isn’t it in the background?

Somewhere very deep in the psychological structure there is an idea that a woman is a commodity. A commodity is… if something doesn’t have a mind of its own, that’s a commodity. So, this probably in some places, consciously implanted; in many other places, unconsciously implanted, but it’s deeply implanted in people’s minds. Without taking this away - just one more law - hang the rapist, castrate the rapist is not going to really produce results.

And where does this come from? They did a very wonderful thing in the ancient Bharat or India - the Hindu law proclaimed a man cannot go to heaven without his wife. You must understand the significance of this. I want you to understand the significance of it a few thousand years ago. In many ways today, the playing field has been leveled for man and woman not because of any great social evolution but because of technology - the technological development which has made a woman being capable of participating in many global activities. If there was no technology, if it was a question of your physical strength which carried you from place to place, then definitely a woman would be still very homebound - not that she shouldn’t be home - I’m saying being home is one thing, being home-bound is one thing. Being home is nice; being bound by home is a different thing. (Speaks in Tamil - not transcribed)

So, yes definitely when somebody perpetrates a violent act, they need to be punished but still if you want a better society not just better laws - a law or a punishment is only relevant after things have gone wrong - hanging somebody, doing something else is still not going to fix somebody’s life. If we want to see that things don’t go wrong, there may be no absolute fix, but definitely there is something called as ‘Lowering the percentages’ or ‘Heightening the percentages’. When you’re dealing with the larger world, it is only question of ‘Lowering the percentages’. Maybe there is never going to be an ideal society where no such thing will happen, but in striving towards that possibility - the most important thing is we need to understand… right now the chant that we were doing is just about that.

Still in most minds, a woman means body parts, an accumulation of body parts. Yes? A breast, a navel, a curve, long hair, something. That’s why many of you have short hair these days. (Few Laugh) One part of it you’ve gotten rid of. It is still a sum of body parts. Why is a woman a sum of body parts in someone who is not a woman is - essentially this is springing - this is not just with the man, with the woman also, but she doesn’t conclude; she does not make the same conclusions that a man makes but she is also bound by the same limitations.

The moment the boundaries of your physicality becomes ultimate boundaries of life - you do not experience your breath, you do not experience any transaction that’s happening to keep you alive. This (Gestures) you think is ultimate boundary. If this is ultimate boundary - if I look at this, those who look like just like me, they are enemies we would like to get rid of. Those who look different, those who seem to have different kinds of body parts are something that you want to possess. So essentially, the problem is rooted in investing too much in physicality of life. If societies or human beings were experiencing their lives little more than their physical boundaries, these things would simply go down just like that. Maybe not eliminated but would go down dramatically and considerably to a point where a few offenders you can deal with them with punishment.

You cannot deal a vast majority of population with punishment. Suppose ten, fifteen, twenty percent of the people are committing crime in a society - you cannot punish twenty percent of the population. If it’s one percent, you can punish them - you can deal with punishment. If it’s twenty percent you cannot deal with punishment. It’s not going to help. You want to hang twenty percent of the population? (Laughs) That’s going to be worse than rape and that’s not going to help. So punishment, people think is a deterrent. To some extent it is maybe; for most people, it is not - they will just try to do it more carefully. Yes? They will try to take more precautions about it. Maybe, because they have to more precau… take more precautions it may come down a little bit, but still what’s happening in one’s mind and how it translates into life is the next step. But it’s happening in your mind means when there’s an opportunity, it will happen in reality.

Right now, it seems there are over five hundred rape video games, very popular. The video games go like this… this very popular video game goes like this - a mother with two daughters is in a railway station and the video game is about how to rape the mother. If you successfully do it, you’ll get one of the daughters. This is a video game commercially being sold; bought in millions; secretly people playing these games in their homes or offices or wherever on their computers.

We are nurturing a sick world and we expect it to not to happen in the railway station. It will happen. This time, it’s happened in a bus and this time, it happened in the capital city so it’s big news. Whole country and the media is on, fine. Attention was needed for this, but if it happened in somewhere… some local place, in some village, in some little town it would be just one more statistic or it does not even become a statistic because nobody reports such things.