God is just a Stepping Stone
Sadhguru looks at how in Indian culture, mukti or liberation was always the highest goal, and even god was a stepping stone towards that. He looks at how this culture was a complex array of spiritual processes, towards this goal, where every individual had the freedom to create his or her own god.
in this culture we have never had one authority to spread spiritual process because this is the only culture on the planet without a religion of its own. (Laughs)
‘Oh! Are we not Hindus?’ Hindu is a geographical identity. It’s a... it’s a name given to you by people who saw the edge of this land. They saw the river Sindhu and they called you Sindhu. When the Persians came, they mis-pronounced, as they mis-pronounce many things and they said Hindu. They said Indu and Indu over a period of time degenerated into Hindu. So Hindu is essentially that culture which was born out of the river Indus, is called Hindu. So it’s a geographical and cultural identity, never was a religious identity. It’s only when people came from outside, who came with concretized ideas of religion, they had to give you also one name. ‘So we are this, what are you?’ ‘We are all over the place.’ (Few laugh) They couldn’t understand that, ‘You must be something.’ So that is how Hinduism was born; otherwise, in the same place, a million things existed together. In the same house, (Asks aside) how many gods do you have in your house? Two dozen? Tell me. At least two dozen, isn’t it? And if you are a family of five, five of you can worship five different gods and have absolutely no problem about it. (Laughs) We didn’t even think it’s a problem, till people came from outside and told you ‘our god’ and ‘your god’ – till then we did not even think it’s a problem. You could be worshipping this god right here, I could be worshipping that god right there, another could be sitting with eyes closed, another could be singing, another could be dancing but we still thought it’s all okay, everybody can do their thing.
So, there has never been a religion in this land. The only godless country on the planet is India. (Laughter) Yes, really, I want you to look at this carefully. We have thirty three million gods and goddesses – that happened when our population was thirty three million. (Laughter) Now we are 1.2 billion but we lost our creativity. (Laughter) Yes. Because outside forces came, particularly western forces came and they started making a feel... making us feel ashamed of our gods. Too many gods! (In mocking voice) ‘There’s only one god,’ as if it’s a superior idea. If you can create one, why can’t you create a million? You have not seen your one God, right? If you can create one, why can’t you create a million or a billion? It's just a question of creativity, isn’t it? So does it mean to say ‘nothing beyond me exists?’ That would be a stupid way to conclude. As you sit here, you know you did not create yourself. Yes or no? Can you digest your food or digestion happens? It happens. Are you breathing or breathing happening? Are you beating your heart or is it beating? I can go on to your liver and kidney and everything, even to the spleen. Even the tiniest thing in your body you are not running it, isn’t it? It is happening.
Are you spinning the planet or is it spinning by itself? You’re doing nothing. You people in Delhi, you think you are running the whole world. (Laughter) Doing nothing, just tit-bits; everything vital is just being done. Yes or no? Everything that’s vital to life is being done. You just have to sit here and just enjoy the spin; (Laughter) for that, how many problems! (Laughs)
So, this is a land which clearly understood God is our making; that’s the reason why in this culture God is not the goal, mukti is the goal, liberation is the goal, ultimate freedom is the goal, God is never the goal. Yes or no? You don’t like it? Because you’ve forgotten; otherwise mukti is the goal, isn’t it? Mukti means what? Liberation – freedom from everything, including God. (Laughter) You are using God as a stepping stone if you need it. You can grow with God or without God. This is the only culture on the planet where in any of our Indian languages, there is no word for a heretic because we never thought anybody is a heretic. We never imagined that there can be somebody like that. Because we did not have any established belief systems, everybody can do their own thing; most plural and democratic process for thousands of years.
So it’s only because of outside competition, we are also trying to organize ourselves into a religion and it’s a total failure, it’s just not working. (Laughs) How hard they are trying to organize all of you! It’s not possible, because you go to one temple, he goes to another temple, you like this god, they like that god and you keep shifting also. (Laughter) If this god doesn’t work, we’ll go to that god. If that God doesn’t work, we’ll go to this one. (Laughter) Flexible. So, the spiritual movements were started for human liberation. This is not about God. Nobody in the planet, no human being is interested in God, please understand this. People are interested in God because they believe he is a solution for their life, isn’t it? Yes or no? You think if you go to God all your problems will go away, your health problem will go away, your mental problem will go away, wife and husband problem will go away, you... you can pass an examination without studying, (Laughter) you can... you can succeed in business without working, so many things, incredible things but it’s about you, isn’t it? Yes or no? It’s about you. So when it’s about you, we were straight forward enough to address it straight. We said this is about our liberation, this is about our wellbeing, this is about our ultimate wellbeing, not just immediate well-being. So, this is a culture which looked at it this way, so it is a complex array of spiritual movements. Many have died unfortunately.
In the yogic system it says, when… when somebody asked Adiyogi, ‘How many paths can be there,’ he says if you use your system and go, there are only one hundred and twelve but if you go beyond your system, how many atoms are there in the universe, that many doorways are there. So, thirty three million is not good enough; if each one of you had your own god, your gods would never fight, isn’t it? You have your god, he has his god, he has his god, she has her god – would there be a fight? Behind one god if ten people gather, there’s going to be a fight, isn’t it? (Laughs) ‘My god versus your god.’ So we gave the freedom to create your own god. There is something called as Ishta Devata, you can choose your god. If you don’t like any, you can create one. Yes. You suddenly like the tree in your house, you can start worshipping; nobody in this country will think it's funny or weird. Anywhere else if you do it, you will be... they would be burnt alive but now they would throw stones at them across the fence because they think you are a heretic, you are worshipping a tree. You like a stone in your garden, you can start worshipping that; nobody thinks anything odd about it; it’s perfectly fine because there is not a single atom in the existence without the hand of the Creator in it.
Every cell in your body is doing complex activity not because of you, isn’t it? The source of creation is functioning through that. Every atom, all this complex movement of proton, neutron electron happening - you doing it? The hand of the Creator is very much in it. So every atom is a doorway to the beyond. Because of this, so many varieties of spiritual movements happened. It’s unfortunate, so many have died in the last hundred years, so many, but still the variety is fantastic. If you… how many of you have been to place... places like Kumbh Mel and things like that? Have you been to Kumbh Mela? The big one that happened in Allahabad, have you been to that? Hundred and... After hundred and forty four years it comes. If you go and see there… you must go! The next year it’s coming in 2013. You must go and see. Don’t go there for mukti, to take a dip in the Ganga and don’t pollute it. (Laughter) Just go there, you will see India. Okay? An India of another dimension, which today the educated population of the country are completely missing. It’s incredible, incredible, I’m telling you.
People are putting their last penny and traveling from somewhere just to be there for two days and go. I’m saying it's that level of people where hundred rupees would mean like what a million would mean to you, that’s how much a hundred rupees will mean because they are below the twenty-nine rupees. (Laughter) Okay? That kind of people, putting everything that they have, they come with their families just to be there because somebody has told them on that day if you take a dip you will attain mukti, not that you will see God, not that God will come and give you a heap of gold. You will attain mukti. Still eight hundred million people in this country are actively seeking liberation, knowingly or unknowingly. It’s an incredible thing, nowhere else on the planet there is such a phenomena happening that there are human beings longing to go beyond their present level of existence, consciously. Nowhere else such a thing has happened.
When Mark twain, the American... you know Mark Twain? When Mark Twain visited India, he spent two and half to three months in India. He had a good guide who took him around and he... he basically landed in Sri Lanka then he came to South India and he moved up a little bit. He met good people and when he left… There is a book written by Mark Twain, many of you might have read it, about, you know, travelling along the equator or something. What’s that book? There is a book about his travels along the equator; he travelled around the world. So, he said, ‘Anything that can ever be done, either by man or god has been done in this land.’ This is one of the best compliments India has ever received. And that is so. In terms of understanding the mechanics of how a human being is made and what we can do about this, nowhere else has anybody looked at it with the profoundness that it has been looked at it in this culture, nowhere else. I am not saying this being biased that I am born in India, so I have to ‘boo, boo, boo.’ This is not about you being Indian or not Indian, this is about a profoundness of knowledge which is gone awry, you know, lost its tracks or losing its track slowly. Unless we put it back on the right thing, humanity will lose something tremendous because today we know how to call on the phone and talk to somebody in America, but we do not know how to communicate with this one (Referring to oneself) yet. Our communication technology, information technology has hit the ceiling but what information do you have about the nature of your own existence? Nothing.
We know how to do many things. We can go to the moon but you don’t know how to simply be here. So, this technology of inner well-being has been explored with as, you know, absolute profoundness. This knowledge should not be lost. Only if this knowledge flourishes on this planet, material and economic well-being will translate into human well-being; otherwise you will have everything and you will have nothing. Just to give you an example what’s happening to India right now. In the last year 2011, when the Diwali came, we call it Deepavali. When the Deepavali came in South India, the same day as you here, about 127 crores worth of alcohol was sold on one day in Tamil Nadu. Out of this, twenty one crores worth of alcohol was sold in one small town where a population is about six to 6.5 lakh people. Why means – this is the Tirupur town. You’ve heard of Tirupur? It’s a hosiery town. It’s an export-oriented town. Everybody here, their incomes are at least three times that of everybody else in the state. So if money comes, they are going to get drunk and stay in the gutter. Forty two percent of the Tamil Nadu’s population is going diabetic. So if money comes, you will buy disease. So if economic well-being does not translate into human well-being, it’s meaningless.
Moving from poverty to affluence is a hard journey. Whether it's for an individual or a society or a nation, it is a hard, uphill task. After you get there, the deception of it - you work hard all your life and get there and all you get is a disease, all you get is addictions, all you get is misery, all you get is broken minds, all you get is stress, it is a great deception. So when people achieve economic well-being, human well-being also should happen. If this has to happen, without an element of spiritual dimension in them, it cannot happen. They may be following an organized spiritual process or by themselves they might have found something but without an element of spiritual process, there is no way anybody can translate economic well-being into human well-being. This must happen - as economic development happens, it is very important parallely spiritual possibilities are widely available to every human being; otherwise life will deceive you in such a bitter way.