What is Good, What is Bad?
Sadhguru looks at how good and bad is not really an existential reality, it is contextual to a particular society at a particular time. He explains how the best way to act is to work out of humanity rather than morality, looking to create good consequences for the maximum number of people.
Questioner: Most of the things we can control ourselves… within ourselves, within our body we can control ourselves. Then inherently every one of us would like to do good things in life. But why is that somebody does bad things, somebody does good things? Is there spiritually a solution to see that every one of us do good things and not bad things?
Sadhguru: See, there are no bad things and good things. If you really look at it carefully, there are no bad things and good things; people perform actions, some actions produce miserable consequences, some produce wonderful consequences, that's all it is. It is like this. Now every human being is in pursuit of his happiness. In pursuit of your happiness, we are doing so many things on this planet. We think right now India is developing or the world is developing, whatever, but if you ask the insects – Indian insects I am talking about, they are also citizens of this nation – they think we’re doing the most horrible things to them. If you ask the birds, they will think we’re doing the most horrible things to them. If you ask any creature on this planet, they will all say we are the most miserable creatures on the planet. Yes or no?
At the same time, most people around the world say they believe in God and all God’s creations are equal and this and that and all those, you know, you heard all these stuff. Now what is the good thing? There is no such thing; everybody is in pursuit of their happiness. You must understand… Do you know what is the highest title for a man in Tamil Nadu in ancient times? What is the greatest man in Tamil culture means, ‘Aayiram Yanai Konnavan’ that means ‘one who has slain a thousand elephants is the greatest man’. Veerappan got half way there (Laughter) but we said he is a criminal and we shot him dead.
So what is good, what is bad is only contextual for those times and those societies at a certain time, because good and bad is judged by what consequences it generates. It is not by the action. You people are cutting people’s bodies; this is like murder but with good intention. If the consequence is good it's called a surgery, if consequence is bad it's called a murder, isn't it? Same knife. Yes or no? With what intention and what consequence you create it.
So, you know about twenty percent of our time, resource and energy is spent in the prisons in South India and also in United States. People keep telling me, ‘Sadhguru, why are you spending so much time with these criminals? We are all waiting, we barely get to see you’ and all these stuff. I don’t see any criminals. All I see is, every human being is in pursuit of his happiness. The man whom you call as a criminal is also in pursuit of his happiness. Only thing is he is pursuing his happiness far more vigorously than you (Laughter) and you cannot blame him, he is also giving business to you. (Laughs)
So it is the consequence of the action. That’s why I said, ‘If you function with your humanity, not fixing your actions but only looking for a consequence, that is best for everybody’ whatever is needed you will do and that’s how it should be, isn't it? So instead of fixing your actions as good and bad, if you operate out of your humanity you are always looking for a good consequence for the maximum number of people. In that your actions will come out of your intelligence, not out of your morality.