Family Relationships – Are We Too Selfish?
Kunal Kohli: I come from a very lower middle class family. In the early seventies, when most women did not work outside the house, my mother had to do so to support us, because my father was not interested in working. She brought me and my sister up, sent us to one of the best schools in the country, and got my sister married. Not only financially, even emotionally, my father has not really been there for us.
Recently, he was in hospital, and when the doctors said, “There’s no hope,” I didn’t feel anything, because I don’t have that relationship with my father. And I started questioning myself – am I a bad person? Am I becoming like how he was? Then he became okay and was able to go home, and I still didn’t feel anything. If my mother gets a fever or anything else happens to her, I run to her. But here’s the man who is my father and I didn’t feel anything. Is it because he wasn’t there for me? Are our feelings even towards our parents selfish?
Sadhguru: There is no such thing as being selfless. Everything is self-ish. There is no other way. Your thoughts and emotions are essentially from within you, so they are bound to be self-ish. The question is only if you are stingy or generous with your selfishness. Does your selfishness only include those who are associated with your body in some way, that they must be your husband or wife or child, your mother or father, brother or sister, or in other words your family? Or is your selfishness larger, including the whole humanity, or even every creature?
It is not a question of selfishness. It is a question of being kanjoos [Hindi word meaning “stingy”]. You know, it means kam [Hindi word meaning “less”] juice – little juice. You do not have enough juice to feel for every life around you, so you only feel for a few people in your life.
When it comes to physical or financial aspects, maybe you can only take care of a few people. But when it comes to thoughts and emotions, there is no scarcity. You can reverberate with and respond to every creature in the universe. The problem is, there is not enough juice, not enough life in you. If there is enough life in you, you can feel for every creature, every insect, worm, plant, bird, animal – for everything. That is the way to enrich your life. Life is a brief amount of time.
Kunal Kohli: I’m not entirely in agreement with your “kam juice,” because I feel I have a lot of love to give. In fact, I might say something a little scandalous now – I think that monogamy may not be the right way, because there is so much love in everyone…
Sadhguru: That is not the juice I’m talking about. That is hormonal stuff. I am talking about the essential juice of life. When it comes to physical aspects, it is best they are limited. The physical never comes without a consequence. But that which is not physical has no consequence – it does not cost anything. What does it cost you to love that odd person whom you do not know? What is the problem in looking at him lovingly? Whether he gets it or not is his problem. If you are loving, it makes your life beautiful. The sweetness of your emotion is not about someone else.
Kunal Kohli: That I agree with.
Sadhguru: And it need not be instigated by someone else. Right now the problem is your joy, love and other emotions – everything that is beautiful about you – is on push-start. Someone else has to push it, only then it gets turned on. But there is a way to be on self-start. You can wake up in the morning being loving, joyful, and ecstatic if you are on self-start. Otherwise, someone has to do something for you to feel a little bit of exuberance within you.
When it comes to anything that is material and physical, there is always a limitation as to what you can do and what you cannot do. This is not your choice. This is the nature of existence. Physical things are always going to be limited. But there is no need to limit that which is not physical, unless you are so identified with your physicality that consequently, you limit everything else. This is what happens in the world. This is why this whole family business. I am not against family, I am just saying, enlarge the family.
Kunal Kohli: Well, if with this much of a family, we have these many problems, and we keep enlarging it, it is going to create even more problems.
Sadhguru: I am not talking about enlarging the family by bigamy or polygamy. What I mean is there is no limit to the emotions you can have. I cannot properly see the people in the gallery of this hall, but why not look at these vague faces in a loving manner? It does not cost me anything, but it makes my life beautiful. If I look at them in a suspicious way, it makes my life dicey. If I look at them in a hateful way, it makes my life ugly. Nothing happens to them – they are on the balcony.
Kunal Kohli: Are you saying that we give other people too much control over our lives, our emotions and our thoughts, whereas actually, how we think and feel is within us?
Sadhguru: It depends what you refer to as “life.” If it is about your work, your relationships, your family and society, your property and wealth, your thoughts and emotions – these are all only accessories to the fundamental life that you are. Only because you are alive, you gather all these accessories. Life is within you, throbbing all the time, whether you are awake or asleep.
Editor’s Note: Find more of Sadhguru’s insights about relationships in the ebook “Compulsiveness to Consciousness.”