What is the biggest problem facing the planet right now? Humanity's population explosion. Sadhguru looks at the need to control our population growth to save ourselves and the planet. "If future generations have to live well, we have to conduct our lives consciously," he reminds us.

Full Transcript:

Questioner: Sadhguru, I have heard you speak in many ____ (Unclear) about the problems of how population ____ (Unclear) and I am in a state where I have to start planning a family and I am in a lot of confusion because I ____ (Unclear) child ____ (Unclear) not having children but I wanted to know what I could do best. And if I adopt a child I am really confused for the child if my family can accept ____ (Unclear). And I have lot of pressure on me ____ (Unclear)

Sadhguru: From whom?

Questioner: From parents and…

Sadhguru: Oh!

Questioner: So… and I’m really confused.

Sadhguru: Do you remember when you were growing up, when your parents… When you were a child, when you were a little girl and then you were an adolescent and as you grew up, did you see your parents, whenever they looked at you, in tears of ecstasy and joy? No. How did you see them?

Questioner: Angry.

Sadhguru: Angry. So angry and tense and agitated about many things that you were. They just want to make sure that you don’t get away. (Laughter) They want you to go through all that. So pressure… it doesn’t matter, pressure. It is just that… One thing is for yourself, another thing is for the world. Bearing a child… Please sit down… It is not that children are wrong. We were all children some time ago. It's not about children being right or wrong, it's a stupid question, it's not even a thought, okay, it's a silly thing to think whether they're right or wrong. It is just that there was a time when a woman would easily have a dozen children in her lifetime. Hmm? And it was normal. Three, four of them died; seven, eight of them lived, that was normal. Now, most women who have children here probably have two; some of them slipped through and they became three. (Laughter) Generally most women have… is there any… Are there lots of women - leave the women who are over 50-60 years of age - the younger women, is there anybody who has four, five children here? Almost nil, isn't it? But if you ask this question about 50 years ago, almost any woman in the region of early 30s would have five children or six children.

So you… somewhere you got… got your sense in place, you decided that instead of having six, let’s have two or one. So if your sense can work to that extent, right now we are in a place where if we have to feed, clothe and offer a decent life for this seven billion people, we need… For the standards that we’re thinking of, for the standards that most pep… most people are aspiring for, we need to outsource our resources from at least another three Planet Earths. We need at least three more planets. We could do that; it's just that they aren’t there. If they were there, no problem, we could have gone and towed one planet close to us and used that planet, but there isn’t any other. So till we find such one, it's good to hold your reproduction, isn't it? Till we find extra planets where we can export our people, it's good to hold back your reproduction, otherwise nobody’s going to live well on this planet. It doesn’t matter what technology you bring, it doesn’t matter what you do, nobody’s going to live well on this planet if you continue to increase. When I say continue to increase, I want you to understand the volume of increase that we have caused. In the beginning of 20th century we were only 1.5 billion people on this planet. In one century, in 110 years we are reaching towards seven billion people. And we are technologically more capable than ever before. What thousand men couldn’t do… could do, today one man can do because of the machines and other things that we have.

In a space where 10 people could live, today one person lives if he can afford it; otherwise you have to just pack them into slums. If they can afford it, the homes are becoming bigger, rooms are becoming bigger, everything is becoming bigger. In the beginning of 20th century – this is somebody’s estimate, I don’t know how far it is correct – for every 10,000 people on the planet there was one toilet. Can you imagine the queue in the morning? No, they didn’t queue up, they just went wherever they wanted, it was very organic, it was good for the plants, it was good for the crops and it was okay, there was enough privacy; people could go on the field, one person sit there, another person sit there, another person sit there, (Gestures) there was enough distance and privacy, visually there was enough privacy. (Gestures?) (Laughter) There was enough odorous privacy because there was space.

Today if a village people… village full of people have to go out and shit, they have to sit facing each other. (Laughter) You will see this in this village. Please drive now, 07:30, 8 o’clock you drive, on the street side people sitting there, (Gestures) (Laughter) just like this. It's not a joke, it's… it's a disgraceful way of existence, you know, simply because of overpopulation, I'm telling you. If there was… If we had remained at 1.5 billion, oh, with the present technology, you know how we would have lived? Each one could have lived like a king, isn't it? With the available technology and resource, capabilities that we have, 1.5 billion people today, each one could have lived like a monarch. That is a dream, that’s not gonna happen.

Now United Nations predicts that by 2050 we’ll be 9.6 billion people. At 9.6 billion people, even if we live at… even if the earth is exploited at its present rate or much more, each one of us have to live with 40% less resource than we are living right now. When I say resource, don’t think of some fancy things – I'm talking about food, water, air – these resources you will have to live with 40% less, that means nobody is going to live well. Yes? Just a few people who control a few things will be okay, all others will suffer in an immense manner. And we have reached a point, everybody who gets pregnant in the next 20 years is almost… it's a crime. This may sound like extreme. Either you consciously control this or nature will control it in a very cruel manner, do you understand? Millions will die in an extremely cruel manner. So this is all the choice you have – as human beings either you consciously control or in a very cruel manner nature will anyway control. Is planet in danger? Planet is not in peril, it is only human life. Either if human beings become conscious enough and control this, they can live sensibly, but we wouldn’t have had these two cuties. (Laughs) Huh?

Yes, every time we can think like this, we see a child playing, ‘Oh, if we control this, there won’t be…!’ I will tell you, I want you to go and see in the villages, in the slums, the potbellied children, all the cuteness on their face – there is no cuteness, it's pathetic. If they're not fed properly, if they're not taken care of properly, there is nothing cute about a child, it is pathetic, disastrous and tragic to see a child which is malnourished, to see a child which is uncared for, there's nothing cute about it, and you will see millions and millions of them across the planet. Yes? So just by individual fancy going on doing things, humanity cannot afford it anymore. It's time human beings function consciously, that just coming to zero percent growth is not good enough, we have to go into a minus, only then in the next… instead of projecting by 2050 we’ll be 9.6, why can’t we determine that by 2050 we’ll be 3.5 or four billion people?

If you become four billion people on this planet, all your ecological problems will be gone, we don’t have to… I don’t have to waste my time and my life planting trees! I'm not a tree planter; I want to remind you again. (Laughs) I'm doing it because if we don’t do it, we’ll be dead. If you don’t do it, the land will die. If the land dies, all of us who can afford it will run away to another place; those who cannot afford it will die. Yes or no? Many villages in Tamil Nadu, people have just left the whole villages abandoned. Villages which were… which have seen human habitation for thousands of years, they have vacated the villages and just moved away; many villages in Tamil Nadu, this is a fact. And it'll happen all over the place – those who can afford will run away, those who cannot afford will die. And I want to tell you, majority of the people cannot afford it. Isn't it so? Hmm? Those who can leave the country and run away, they will run away. Or those who can run away to higher places, they will run away. Those who cannot will face very cruel life.

So human being means doing everything consciously. What is this compulsion about having a child? One thing it is biological. Biologically having a child is not a pleasant experience. Let me tell you, if you don’t believe me, ask somebody who’s delivered a child. It is just the fulfillment of being involved with something. It is the fulfillment of seeing something as a part of yourself. If you are willing, you can know this fulfillment with just about anything in your life. If you're committed and involved with something in your life, that fulfillment is very well taken care of. As you yourself say, you did not see fulfillment on the faces of your parents every time they saw you, you saw anxiety, you saw anger, you saw distress. They’re talking out of their compulsiveness, they are not talking of conscious well-being. Because they did it, they think you should do it. No. You don’t have to do all the mistakes that they did. You know you’re a mistake – I'm sorry! (Laughter) No, that’s not the intention.

This is not a campaign against children; this is a campaign for the future children. If future generations have to live well, we have to conduct our lives consciously. Conducting our life consciously, one major part of it is right now, because you can’t expand the planet, you have to decrease the population, there is no other way. Either you do it or nature will do it. When nature does it, it's not going to be nice; it's not going to be nice at all.