Akasha: The Most Mysterious of the Five Elements
Questioner: Hello (Testing the microphone). Namaskaram Sadhguru. Sadhguru one of the five elements pancha bhuta is akasha - space and in one of your You Tube videos I’ve heard you I mean you say ether… you mentioned ether about space in akasha. So once you… in your talk now in time travel you talk about space. So this ether and ___(unclear -space?) akasha I’m bit confused. Can you please elaborate on the ether part?
Sadhguru: I’m glad you are confused (Laughter) because confusion is a much better state to be than stupid conclusions that one makes, confusion means you’re still looking, that’s nice. That’s my intent to keep you confused (Laughter/Applause), yeah because I want you to be seeking always. Nobody said akasha is space, we said akash is ether - that’s not an appropriate translation but reasonably. Ether is not space, ether is a certain dimension of existence - subtle. When we say space, we are talking about kala or non-existence, we are talking about Shi-va – “that which is not.” When we say akash we are talking about that which is. Here you are… Here you are as a human being, there’re many levels from grossness to subtleness here. If you have constipation you still have something gross inside you, hmm? Above that there is little more refined aspects of body, above that there is a lungful of air, above that there’s a brain and thought and emotion and so many things. And there is life going in and out. And there is akasha involved. There is water, there is physical material, there is air, there is temperature, there’s fire and there is akash which makes this. Don’t try to understand that, just get this right (Referring to oneself) because this is made… this is a mini-cosmos. So if you perceive this right, you know that because today there is no question about this anymore.
We’ve always been saying this in the yogic dimension but today modern physics has come up with what is called as the constructional theory which is talking about how the design factor in the universe - whether it’s atomic or cosmic - is fundamentally same design. You as a human being with this kind of form, a grasshopper, an earthworm, a bird, a crawly creature somewhere - all of you have same fundamental design - from atomic to cosmic the fundamental design is same. The complexity and sophistication of how this design evolves into multiple forms is different. Your design is far more complicated and sophisticated compared to that of an amoeba but the fundamental design is still same, only the complexity is increasing.
So you don’t go about trying to observe the cosmos because you don’t have a gallery view of the Cosmos - you cannot. There’s no place where you can sit and observe cosmos. And in fact you cannot observe anything except what happens within you. Even if you take a telescope and look at the star, the star is happening only the way it projects in your mind, isn’t it? Yes? You don’t see any star. This is the reason why you see stars which don’t actually exist. Many stars that you see don’t exist but they’re projected in your mind in a certain way and that’s how you know it. Or in other words you only can experience this (Referring to oneself), or this is the only doorway through which you can experience anything.
Whether you want to experience the food that you eat or the air that you breathe or the people around you or the world around or the cosmos - you can only experience it the way this (Referring to oneself) is. If this (Referring to oneself) is very clear you will see it the way it is. If it has taken many forms and shapes you will see it in so many different ways. These days I think largely the mirrors have gotten flat, you know. Even now I think if you buy some cheap mirror you will look like this (Gestures) (Laughter), but if you get certain types of concave mirrors you can definitely reduce your weight in a day (Laughter). You just go stand you look (Gestures) you look like a dash on. (Laughter) So the mirrors give different impressions of who you are. Suppose you always looked at your face with a slightly distorted mirror, after some time you will assume that’s how you look. Yes or no? Yes or no?
Sadhguru: You think that’s how you look because every day you looked at yourself and that’s how you looked, and you think that’s how you look. So even now you think the world looks this way simply because that’s how it’s projected in your mind. If you evolve this mind to a more refined surface that there is absolutely no any kind of wavering in it, it is perfectly plain mirror then it will reflect everything the way it is but upside down, tch, you know in the mirror everything is like this (Gestures). So now you must have the intelligence to correct this without distorting it.
See most people ca… can’t turn a dosa around properly (Laughter). If they try to turn the dosa around it’ll become those kind of things. It takes certain skill to take something like this and turn it around without distorting it. So this is the problem with the mind, one thing is already it is wavy or choppy, whichever way you kept your mind but it is definitely wavy. You are seeing the world in the wavy mirror and it’s looking certain way, and most people have never attempted to turn it around because they think that’s how it is. When you want to turn it around it takes a certain amount of skill to be able to turn it around without distorting it.
So you have two problems. One is to first flatten the mirror so that it is undistorted, and now a much bigger task of wanting to flip it around without any distortion. So that is… we’ve not approached that in your life yet. First to make the mirror absolutely without distortions - we still working on that one, project 1 Tch (Laughs). Project 2 is more subtle, it needs skill. Project 1 needs perseverance, project 2 needs enormous skill. So akasha… nobody ever said akasha is space, space is Shi-va or Kala. Akasha is a certain dimension of physical manifestation - subtle. See, is there air in this hall? Please tell me, breathe and tell me. Air in this hall?
Sadhguru: Air in this hall? Yes. But you cannot see it, all right. You cannot see it but still it is there. Is this air very much a part of you as a life? Hmm?
Sadhguru: Those who do not say anything we’re going to throttle you (Laughter). It’s… it… Your life is spread all over here, isn’t it? This is physical. Even in this physical there are many levels of crudeness and subtlety, isn’t it? There’re very gross elements in the body, there are subtler elements in this body, there is thought, there is emotion, there is air that you breathe. Or in other words life is always from a hard core crudeness to many subtleties - depends how much you spread that is how much subtlety you have in your life. How wide your wings spread that much of subtlety is possible.
So now what we are referring to as akasha is a subtle dimension of life. If you suck out the akasha you cannot exist here, if we suck out the air from this hall you cannot exist here. Though you cannot see it still it is more vital than your hair, I’m sorry (Laughter). Because there is more spent… There is more money spent on hair-care on the planet, definitely lot more than the brain care (Laughter). You see where our values are (Laughs).
If you pull out all your hair you can still live, if I cut your ears you can still live, if I cut your nose you can still live. If I just suck out this air that you cannot even see - most of the time you are not even conscious whether it exists or not - if I suck out the air you cannot live for a moment, isn’t it? If we suck out the akasha you cannot live for a moment.
There is a very, you know there’s a temple in Karnataka in southern India which is called the Annapoorneshwari Temple. Anybody from Karnataka? You’ve been to Annapoorneshwari? So at the rear part of the temple where most people may not go because I am always poking into nooks and corners, others are all happy looking at the goddess (Laughter). There is an inscription in Halle Kannada - that means the old type of Kannada, which is over 3000 years old - there’s an inscription talking about how to design an airplane in a temple. And they are saying, “You can do like this but if you fly these machines it will disturb the ether in the planet.” If it disturbs the akasha - when they say akasha don’t think space - when they… they’re saying if you disturb the akasha, then human beings will not know peace in their life. Once akasha is disturbed, then psychological disturbances will become enormous. I think you are a living proof (Laughter). I think there was an old movie by Manoj Kumar which said Shor (Noise). Air planes and air planes and you know the disturbance that it’s causing and he is glad his ears went away one day (Laughs), something like that, yes.
So if we suck out the akasha, this physical body will not exist for a moment. So when we say akasha we are still talking about five elements, as you yourself in the question you mentioned among the five elements akash is one. So when we say elements we are not talking about empty space, we are talking about one more substance - like earth, like water, like air, like fire - we are talking about one more aspect of five elements. So do not mistake akash for empty space.