Answering a question on how to avoid becoming corrupt, Sadhguru explains that even without the positions that people take on, corruption is there within them. The very basis of corruption comes from one's own individual identity. Going beyond this means to enhance the boundaries of your corruption to the boundless or the cosmic.

Full Transcript:

Shankar Sukumar: Sadhguru, I have a very difficult question. For me, it’s a very difficult question. Generally power corrupts everybody, including me, but I am now in a very spiri… very special spiritual path because I’m your devotee. I want to avoid power overruling me, making me corrupt, and… and I don’t want to be slave to that power, whatever power I’m having.

Sadhguru: A… Are you also a prime ministerial candidate (Laughter / Applause)? There’s so many of them in the country today, I thought you also (Laughter).

Questioner: Umm, I… I can’t answer, but if you desire I can be one, I have got all the qualification (Laughter). Why not? I… I’m with you for fifteen years – that one qualification is more than enough, Sadhguru. That’s what I feel. But anyway, my question I… Can I ask Sadhguru, with your permission (Laughter)? I’m getting confused, because when I see you… I’ll go ahead with my question with your permission, Sadhguru. See, I don’t want to get corrupted with the power and since I’m on a spiritual path, I need your special advice. How to not get corrupted with the power, what little power I have? Power is entirely corrupting the whole world – you know it – but I don’t want to get trapped in that crazy thing. Can you advise me, Sadhguru? Namaskaram Sadhguru.

Sadhguru: Fortunately, there’s no danger of you becoming the Prime Minister (Laughter). Power doesn’t corrupt, whoever said that. People are corrupt. When they get empowered, it becomes super visible. When they’re somewhere, the microscope is not on them, so you don’t see it. When they come to a positions of power, their corruptions finds volume, a different dimension of expression. But someone who is not corrupt will not become corrupt because of this or that. First of all let’s understand what is corruption. The moment (Laughs)... Fundamental definition of corruption, okay? Later on I’ll come to the political definitions (Laughter). The fundamental definition of corruption is just this – if there is something called as ‘me’ and there’s something called as you, corruption has started because what is me is more important than what’s you, isn’t it? Yes or no? Once 'me' comes, what is mine and what is not mine will come. Once ‘this is mine’ and ‘this is not mine’ comes, corruption is deepened. If you get very attached to ‘what is mine’ and ‘what is not mine,’ then it’s well established. Like this, it goes on.

So all I have been trying to do all these years is to make corruption galactic. The problem is it’s happening small scale. You’re talking reverse, because you said you are my devotee, not a disciple – that means you don’t learn anything (Laughter). You only (Laughs) “Sadhguru, Sadhguru, but I don’t listen to you Sadhguru, but I love you.” Tch (Laughter). All right, I value that, it’s wonderful, but it’ll be good if you listen also. At least it’ll be good for others (Laughter). If you’re a devotee, it feels wonderful for you. But if you learn, it’ll be good for others around you.

So, all I have been saying is let us make corruption cosmic because the nature of who you are is such, you have to identify with something. If you identify with just this body, one level of corruption. Then you will get married and identify with two bodies, another kind of corruption; corruption multiplied. There is a… There is a thing that used to go out – not anymore, because things have changed now in this generation – in the previous generation when we were in school, college, there was a thing going around in the universities. It’s like this. When you’re a student, everybody is a communist. The moment you find employment, you become a socialist, you know? The moment you get married, you become a capitalist. The moment you get children, you have become corrupt (Laughter). Because (Laughs) when your identification is with this body, you’re already corrupt but it’s so small scale, nobody notices it. Or everybody accepts it, “Oh, it’s natural.” But when it becomes two, the corruption becomes little bigger. People can see the conspiracy. Family is the first form of corruption. Yes. I’m not speaking against it, I’m just telling you.

It is so because suddenly what is ours and what is not ours becomes important. Then comes community, then comes nation, then comes race, then comes religion – like this, different levels of corruption. Essentially corruption means whatever thoughts of well-being, acts of well-being that human being is able to commit, he’s excluding somebody, isn’t it? Yes or no? Yes? Right now there is something here – I want to give little more to this person, little less to this person -this is corruption, isn’t it? The more strongly you’re identified with what is me and what is mine, you have become more corrupt. Only thing is it may be… The question is whether it is socially accepted forms of corruption or not.

When… If something happens to your family, your children, when buckets of tears will come – when children are running around without clothes or food in their belly on the streets, no teardrop ever came to you, no thought came to you – you’re corrupt… essentially you’re corrupt. If we make you the Prime Minister, your corruption will be reported in the media. Yes (Laughs). Right now your corruption is not worth reporting because it doesn’t have so much consequence to other people. But I’m saying if bucketfuls of tears will come if your child’s life is in danger and a whole lot of them running on the streets, not one moment of anything, that means you’re hardcore corrupt. Yes or no? You don’t like it? It’s okay (Laughter). I’m not standing for election, only he (Laughter).

So power doesn’t corrupt – people are corrupt. Anything that you empower gets blown up into larger dimension of corruption, that’s all. So don’t wait for a Prime Minister… Don’t wait to become a Prime Minster and then check out whether you’re corrupt or not. Now! Spiritual process means just this – when you utter the word that “I am a devotee,” what it means is that “I have either dissolved or I’m willing to dissolve” at least. When you say, “I’m a devotee,” what you’re saying is, “There is nothing here that is me or mine. I’m willing to dissolve. If I have not, I want to dissolve.” So if you’re a devotee you must become the Prime Minister, because if you’re a true devotee, there is no question of you becoming corrupt just because y… you’re made the Prime Minister. If you’re made the Prime Minister of this planet, there is no danger; if you’re a devotee. Why do you think we’re striving hard to reach the powerful in the world is just for this. If you become meditative, if you become a devotee, then you’re incapable of being corrupt – how can you be? Corruption is not lack of morality. Corru… Corruption is essentially a limited identity, do you understand?

I was… I was saying this somewhere recently. You know, I was… I had… I’ve had the misfortune of spending a certain amount of time with some of the most corrupt people in the country (Laughter) here and there, not always, fortunately. But it… Because they are in positions of power and responsibility, that’s the work. They are the object of our work. Only because you’re corrupt, I’m with you. If you were enlightened, why would I bother to sit here and talk to you? It wouldn’t be necessary, you know. Yes? So I was traveling somewhere with this person whose father is… Everybody knows him in the country. I don’t want to mention names (Laughs). So he has four children. So this person was crooning about how their father loves them and how he gives this, how he gives that. I know how corrupt the father is, but the family thinks he’s so wonderful, “He loves us so much” – because he’s robbing the whole nation (Laughter). So I listened to this thing about their love affair. As the love affair stories went on, it was distressing. Then I said, “If it is left to your father, I think he will cut this country into four pieces and give it to the four of you, because he loves you so much.” And the shocking thing was, the person did not even realize what I’m saying (Laughter). Literally saying, “What’s wrong with that? Our father loves us.”

Corruption is not always a conscious thing. Most of the corruption on the planet is because you’re identified with something limited. Limited identity is corruption. The moment you’re identified with ‘what is me’ and ‘what is mine,’ you are corrupt… essentially corrupt. If you become the Prime Minister it will be visible to everybody. Every single act that you do has huge impact on millions of people, so it is seen. Right now, between your right hand and left hand you made one superior, one inferior – in this state if you become a Prime Minister… (Gestures), isn’t it? This is superior hand (Gestures), this is inferior hand (Gestures), you know. So in this state, how can you not be corrupt? You’re corrupt; with empowerment it becomes more and more visible. That is why we are aiming at the powerful and the people who are in positions of responsibility and power, because if you at least make their identity little larger… See, if you make your identity yourself, you will rob the person next to you. If you make your identity for your community, you will do good things to your community at the cost of some other community. If you’re identified with the nation, you will do good things to your nation at the cost of another nation. Yes or no? But that is not perceived as corruption, but it is corruption.

The whole world is full of corruption – one against the other all the time, isn’t it? ‘What is mine should do well, what is yours should die’ – this is corruption, isn’t it? So it is not that power corrupts. I don’t know who said that. People are corrupt. Power (Laughs)… With power, corruption finds expression. With power, everything finds expression. If you’re intelligent, your intelligence will find expression. If you’re loving, if you become powerful, your love will find expression. If you’re corrupt, your corruption will find expression. Without changing the basic quality of who you are, you want to fix the outside – no. There is a tree which produces flowers, there is a tree which produces thorns – the more you empower both of them, one will produce more flowers, another will produce more thorns.

So let’s fix the… our pedigree first properly… properly. If you fix the… your pedigree first from where you’re coming… Have you come from your biological identity or are you… have you… do you want to live here with your divine identity? That’s the choice you have. If you’re identified with the biology of who you are, you will be anyway corrupt. How can you not be? Because biology is a limited process. If you’re identified with this, everything outside will be outside. If you’re identified with the Divine, when you say, ‘I’m a devotee’, that’s what it means, that ‘I have dissolved all my limited identities and my identity is with only one thing.’ If it is so, you should become the Prime Minister of the world and it’ll be great; world will be fine. Not one’s well-being at the cost of another – well-being as it can be for all life on this planet, that’s when you’re not corrupt, isn’t it? But there’s no election for the world right now. Spare India – don’t stand for election (Laughs).