Sadhguru looks at how there are two ways to identify the Dancer in the cosmic dance – either we lose ourselves in the dance or pay absolute attention.

Sadhguru: The cosmic dance is so perfect that we almost forget the Dancer – but there can be no dance without a dancer. We cannot see the dancer because our vision, our attention has become so surface-oriented. To identify the Dancer in the dance, either you must get immersed in the dance so that you also become the dance – you are not a spectator, you are it – then you know the Dancer by experience; you are touched by Him. Or, if you want to know the Dancer in His full depth and dimension, if you want to know the source of the dance – that which is the basis of the act – then you must be able to pay absolute attention.


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This may seem contradictory: on one level, I am saying you must plunge into the dance; on another level, I am saying you must be able to watch with utmost intensity. It is just that when you look at it in a fragmented way, if you cut it down into pieces and then look at it, everything seems to be contradictory.

Two Ways To Know The Dancer

If you are totally involved in the dance, totally involved in the act itself, that is one way of knowing. Or, if you know how to keep away from that, if you are absolutely uninvolved in the act but you are able to observe the act totally, if you can decipher the difference between the act and the actor, the dance and the Dancer, that is also a way of knowing. The second way takes much more awareness, sharpness, intensity, maybe training too, so it is easier to become part of the dance. Slowly, as the rhythm picks up, as you get sucked deeper and deeper into it, one day you will not know which is you and which is the dance. Once you are a part of the dance, you cannot miss the presence of the Dancer. It is just that people invent obstructions, hurdles and barriers where they do not exist.

The cosmic dance is so perfect that we almost forget the Dancer – but there can be no dance without a dancer. 

On a certain day, Shankaran Pillai himself decided to visit Isha Yoga Center. Being who he is, he was taken on a tour and put up in the first floor, because it has the best view in the whole ashram. The person who brought him to his room pointed at the mountains and said, “We are putting you up here because this place has the best view.” Shankaran Pillai looked at the mountain and said, “Yes, sure… This place would have had the best view, if only the mountain was not obstructing.” This is what people are doing to themselves – you do not understand that the mountain is the view. Once you become like this, there is no possibility of you being part of any act; you can neither be aware and just watch it, because that takes a different kind of dispassion, nor can you jump into it and become a part of it.

If you want to be absorbed and travel fast, you must become a devotee. Otherwise it will take a long time. But no one can make you a devotee. There is no teaching or training as to how to make you a good devotee. Stand like this, say this, say that – that will not make you a devotee. By doing this act or that act, by uttering these words or those words, you will not become a devotee. If you allow yourself to become a process, if you allow yourself to become part of the dance, then somewhere, when the source of the dance touches you, you will naturally become one. There is no other way to be.

Editor’s Note: Yaksha, a 3-day festival of music and dance, is celebrated every year at the Isha Yoga Center. It features live classical music concerts by musicians from across the country. Catch the live webstream of this year’s celebration.