Transactions of Life
This is the transcript of an extempore speech that Sadhguru gave to a gathering of meditators at the Isha Institute of Inner-sciences in Tennessee on 16 Oct 2016. Sadhguru speaks about how incentives and opinions can take one through society but not life, and how one needs to pay unprejudiced, intense attention to open up the doors of existence. Sadhguru also shares his poem called “Transactions of Life.”
Transcription of Darshan with Sadhguru on 16 Oct 2016 at the Isha Institute of Inner-sciences
W hatever sphere of life you may be in today, there are incentives; for everything, there is an incentive. For sure you’ve heard of “pay for play.” Even if you have to speak... Right from childhood, if you must eat, there is an incentive. If you must study, they will set up an incentive. If you must go to school, they will set up an incentive. If you have to pray, of course there is an incentive, always. All sorts of incentives. If you do this, you will get that. If you don’t do this, you will get something else. Carrot and stick, heaven and hell, all are incentives of different kinds.
This happened: there was an old Jewish gentleman, whose son was a cardiologist. And it so happened this man had a cardiac issue, and he had to go through a major surgery. His son decided to do the surgery himself. So just before putting him into anesthesia, the old man said, “Just to remind you – God forbid should something go wrong, you must know your mother will come and live with you and your wife.” Incentives to do the right surgery. For everything, there is a prize. But one must understand that in trying to get all these prizes, the most fundamental thing is missed. If you live your life wonderfully, there is no prize for it. Nobody is going to give you a gold medal in the end. In fact, if you live too well, they may not even bother to send you to heaven, because you already lived well. Because most human beings don’t have a taste of life in them. Most of the time, their lives are spent in gathering things or accumulating thought and emotion or things. “No, Sadhguru – I’m only thinking about you.” Somebody is telling me this – that’s even worse. You found a new toy; it’s of no consequence. What you think about is of consequence only if it becomes a tool of transformation. What you think about is of consequence only if it leads to the blossoming of the life that you are. If what you think about is a diversion, if what you think about is a substitute for the life that you are, then it’s no good. Not just no good – it’s destructive.
Today we’re doing this to the world in so many ways. We’re doing this to ourselves and to the rest of the humanity in so many different ways. I’m not commenting about you. None of you look like fashion models. It’s a good thing, I’m saying. You’re looking like a regular woman, as women should look. Because most fashion models don’t look the way you see them in the pictures because that is called photoshopping. Everything is made up. Everything is made up in such a way that unfortunately a whole lot of women are driving themselves nuts trying to be photoshopped. They don’t know that what is printed in the magazines is photoshopped. Poor ladies just desperately trying to look like that which is physically impossible. So many have driven themselves to madness; much misery and torture they have caused to themselves by putting themselves under the surgeon’s scalpel. Many have even killed themselves. All because we have unrealistic expectations as to what somebody should be like. Or what something should be like. Because when we talk about the body, we could call you “something” – because it’s physical.
Men are trying to be supermen. Women are trying to be photoshopped. This is life – what is within is life. The only intention that is naturally infused into this is that it needs to blossom to its fullest. What is the fullest for this is neither better than somebody nor worse than somebody. This is full by itself. This is a full-fledged life. This is not a life which has come into existence in comparison with something. This is a full-fledged life by itself. But today, social survival has become more important than existential survival. Existentially, this is a complete life. Socially, this is a comparative life; survives only by comparison; survives only by other people’s opinions. Those people’s opinions who don’t have a sense of who they are, first of all. They’re busy passing opinions because once you live in a society, you must have an opinion about everything. Otherwise you are no good. Because having an opinion is considered intelligent. Let me tell you, having an opinion about anything means you’re just stupid. Because you’re trying to construct a reality of your own. Because you don’t see reality as it is. If you have to live here without forming an opinion about anything, the only way you can exist is with enormous attention.
Attention, an unprejudiced attention opens up doors. Opinion closes doors in your perception. “Oh, this is like this; that is like that; that is like that.” Doors closed. If you simply pay attention, doors will keep opening. The way to open the doors of existence, the way to open doors for every dimension of life is with an intense sense of attention. Without intention, without incentives, simply attention will open up doors. But the moment you form an opinion about something or somebody, those doors have closed for you. Living here in this existence with all doors open is intelligence. Living here, systematically closing all the doors of existence upon yourself, is a grave. It’s a coffin. Once you have an opinion and you can’t change it, it is like the lid of a coffin. Once it’s closed, you can’t open it. Because from inside, there is no opening for that one. Once you are in a coffin, you’re at the mercy of somebody. Somebody else may open. But you cannot open. So we’re busy, constantly seeking other people’s opinion, trying to make substance out of this with other people’s thoughts, idea, opinions, and emotions. Life within cannot be sustained with opinions. Life is not sustained with your thought or somebody else’s thought, with your emotion or somebody else’s emotion. Because this is beyond all that. This life needs to reverberate with the rest of creation. It’s only in being in sync with the creation and the source of creation that this life will blossom. Otherwise it will acquire many things – so many things. One day, the juggling of these things that you have gathered will drive you nuts. Usually, you die before that. It’s a good thing, you know.
If you make everybody live for two hundred years, believe me, ninety percent of the people will go crazy. Fortunately, you die before that. This happened. An eighty-four year old woman went to the divorce lawyer, and she said, “I want a divorce.” He looked at her. “Ma’am, at your age, you want a divorce? How old is your husband?” “He is eighty-nine.” “How long have you been married?” “Sixty-seven years.” “But now after sixty-seven years, when you’re eighty-four and he’s eighty-nine, you want a divorce? What for?” She said, “Enough is enough.” Someday, you have to say “enough is enough” – otherwise, you will go crazy, you know. So before you say it, usually a compassionate companion called death will come. Otherwise you don’t have the sense to say “enough is enough.” Somebody has to put a full stop on you. If, if, if, if… how many times should I say this “if?” If you had any sense, you would say, “Sadhguru don’t say ‘if;’ you just say ‘when.’” You’re saying it three times – that is three lifetimes. “If, if, if.” What a waste. If you come to your senses; if you come to your senses; if you come to your senses – how many more times? Seven times? Choose all the auspicious numbers. Zero is very auspicious because it’s the mother of mathematics. If you come to your senses… when I say “senses,” I’m not talking about the word “sense” as you’re using it. Only because your senses are functioning, you have some sense of perception, isn’t it? You’re perceiving light and darkness only because your eyes are functioning, isn’t it? So when you come to your senses, that is, you don’t make conclusions by the accumulations that you have gathered. Your ideas, your thoughts, your emotions, the impressions of life upon you, you don’t make a conclusion. You just came to your senses. You see everything the way it is.
Do you understand? The term “when you come to your senses” does not mean you arrived at some new intelligence. You cannot. Where does intelligence come from? There is no such thing. It is just that you kept your accumulated nonsense aside and you started seeing things, hearing things, smelling things, tasting and touching things, just the way they are – not the way you imagined. Not the way you remember, but just the way it is. If you simply see everything as it is, you come to your senses. So if you come to your senses, that means you can sit here just as life. Not as a man, not as a woman, not as this or that that you think you are, but simply as life if you simply sit here. Fortunately, we have senses through which we can perceive. Creation need not have given us this, you know, because we’re just a speck in this cosmos. For this speck, what fantastic senses that you can see, you can hear things, you can smell, taste, and touch things. Isn’t it fantastic? So the day you come to your senses, that you simply see things the way they are, not the way you think it is; the day you come to senses, you will see everything as it is. That is when you see a tree, you see the life that it is. You won’t call it a “wood.” Wood is your idea, isn’t it? Wood is your need. You need furniture at home, so wood. Otherwise you would see a fabulous life standing there, isn’t it? Much bigger than you. You never took a tree in your lap, but you could always go and stand in the shade of the tree. So it’s a much bigger life than you are. But you have a need for furniture. So it’s a “wood.” Similarly, I don’t want to go into other examples – life will turn ugly.
There are too many things… because of your needs, because of your compulsions, you have objectified too many things. That means you’re not in your senses. If you are in your senses, you will see everything just the way it is. Now this process of spirituality, if it is about changing attitudes, it’s no good. Let’s say you become more loving; because I’m using this as an example, because it’s so much talked about in America, how it is so important to “love thy neighbor.” He is laughing because he knows who’s in the neighborhood. If your thoughts and emotions are not instruments of your liberation, if these are accumulations which will bog you down after some time, if these are accumulations which will make you prejudiced, if these are accumulations which deny you an experience of life, you’re better off without these thoughts and emotions. “No, Sadhguru. I’m having pure emotions towards you.” People have been wherever I go, “Sadhguru, you’re great. Sadhguru, I love you.” If your thoughts will help you, if a certain orientation of your thought will help you to blossom, I bless you – be there. If your emotions will help you to blossom, I bless you – be, stay in that emotion. If your ideas are just devices for you to blossom, I bless those ideas; let them be there. If your actions are again instruments for you to blossom, I support those actions. If you think that I’m great; if you think that you love me; if you worship me, only if it is going to help you to blossom, I support all that. If it is just one more new way to get tangled up, I have no regard for your love. Because I don’t value your thought or your emotion or anything except the life that you are.
My only intention is that you must blossom into a full-fledged life, because that’s all this life is about. Not that you have emotions, not that you have thoughts, not that you have some other nonsense going that doesn’t mean anything in terms of life. If you don’t get me now, when you are embraced by death, you will know it doesn’t mean a damn thing. But if this life has blossomed, truly blossomed, then you will see Mr. Death doesn’t come your way – cannot come your way. Because this is a life fully blossomed. When life is fully blossomed, it doesn’t belong to anything. When it doesn’t belong to anything, it can’t be taken away. Because you belong here, you can be taken away. Because you’re stuck to this, you can come unstuck. If you’re not stuck, if you don’t belong, but you have become a blossoming of life. Because when life blossoms, the boundaries of individuality are gone. Once the boundaries of individuality are gone, you live both at the same time – life and death. Life and death are just transactions going on.
Just an hour ago, I was sitting there thinking; suddenly I forgot that today there is a Darshan. And suddenly, when somebody reminded, I said, “Okay, let me write something, and this is a small poem called ‘Transactions of Life.’”
As trees take on many hues
A Colourful Celebration of the
Coming death. As Colourful
leaf floats down to impregnate
the earth that is only reclaiming
the nourishment that infused into
the tree. The transactions of life
and death. A continuum of cycles
of the physical world. When done
with the exuberance of life gives
One a sense of joy. When bereft
of the needed exuberance and lassitude
takes on to become a morbid
depressive death. Let the leaf
fall. To fall willingly when it
is time is Grace. Know the Grace
of fall time. And it is not about
the Colourful leaf but of Life.
This is, these cycles of fall and winter and spring and summer, these cycles of childhood, youth… should I mention middle age? Middle age, old age, and package. You pack properly, in this country at least. For that also you need wood. So childhood, youth, middle age, old age, package. Again transactions of life and death. Cycles of the physical existence. One will want to rise above these cycles only when one becomes conscious. I’m using the word “conscious” not as another level of thought process as it is being talked about or propagated in the world. Today consciousness, the word “consciousness,” from the sixties… which meant something else at that time… Now replaced with mindfulness. What the hell is your mind full of? Doesn’t matter. “No, Sadhguru. I’m thinking about God.” Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter what you’re thinking about. The question is only, does your thought function as a way to fertilize your blossoming? “No, I love God.” Doesn’t mean a damn thing. Does your emotion facilitate blossoming of who you are? “No I don’t do bad things. I only come to temple and do worship.” Doesn’t mean a damn thing. Do your actions lead to your blossoming? Does your thought, emotion, and action facilitate the blossoming of this life? Or does it make it constipated? Does it make it opinionated? Does it make you feel better than others? Or does it make you just an exuberant reverberating life?
So what you think, what you emote – particularly if it’s towards me – all this is relevant only if you are using these thoughts, this emotion, these actions so that you can reverberate with me. Why I’m using the word “reverberate” is because you can only reverberate with reality. You can think falsehood. You can emote about things that don’t exist. But you cannot reverberate with that which does not exist. To be conscious means you can only be conscious of that which really is. You can’t be conscious of something that is not there. But you can think about something that is not there. You can emote about something that is not there. You can go on doing actions about something that doesn’t even exist. But you cannot be conscious of that which does not exist. To be conscious means your silly mind has been kept aside. Your mind being full or you being mindful is not being conscious. You can only be conscious of reality. You cannot be conscious of that which is not real. Well, I’m very conscious of my body. If you pay enough attention, you will see in your very attention your body will dissolve. Your body cannot take too much attention, I want you to know. I know, body today is all about seeking attention. But your body cannot take too much attention. If you pay enough attention, you will see you become bodiless. But you pay little attention and then you hallucinate or you fantasize. If you pay intense attention, bodies will dissolve.
The physical cannot take attention beyond a certain dimension. If your attention becomes absolute, all physicality will dissolve. Only that which is really true will exist. So this is what being conscious means. Mind is accumulations; without accumulation, your mind is worthless. Why everybody is eager to educate themselves is because of “How much can I gather, soonest possible? How much can I gather in my mind?” Because you know, your mind is worthless unless you gather a lot of stuff. Being conscious means you kept all that you have gathered aside. And you’re simply one with the reality that is there. You’re just conscious. So consciousness cannot be replaced with mindfulness. You know who’s man’s best friend. Don’t say woman. Man’s best friend is a dog. Why dog… Now even woman’s best friend is also a dog. They’re getting elevated. This is not an evolutionary process. Dog became man’s best friend simply because when man lived in constant sense of danger, dog saved his life. Because a dog is far more mindful than you. He is far more mindful of the physical reality than you are. You may fall asleep, but he is alert to every little sound, every little smell, every little movement that happens around.
So when you lived out in nature, when you lived in constant danger, your life depended on the dog. So he became your best friend. But once again, now that you’re living totally cloistered in the confines of your homes, once again dog is becoming your best friend. Because you closed yourself up to everything and everybody, now dog is the only friend left. Do what you want to him, when you come back home after a few hours, he’s still your friend. There is no human being like this. You can experiment if you want. Just before going to office, kick him around a little bit; he gets scared or he gets angry and he goes sits somewhere. But come back after eight hours, he’s your dearest friend once again. No human being is going to bear this with you. You try something like this with somebody, you’re finished. So dog’s position has changed in the world. Being a best friend – yes, but for a different reason today than what he’s qualified for usually. His qualification is he’s far more mindful than you, so he was a great friend to have when you lived in wilderness, when you lived in situations of danger. So he became your best friend, and now he’s becoming your best friend for a completely different reason. Every dog has a day of his own. But when will the humans have their time?
Our time is not when we have destroyed the entire world and sit on pile of ash. That’s not our time. We dominate the entire world and all life on this planet. That is not our time. Our time is as the trees blossom to their fullest, as the flowers blossom, when human beings blossom, that’s our time. “When is the season, Sadhguru?” “In which yuga will it happen?” Americans will postpone it to spring. Indians will postpone it to the next yuga. Sat Yuga has to come. That is, you know, many thousands of years later. As you gather more history and more culture, you will become capable of postponing things in thousands of years. If you don’t have much sense of history and culture about you, you will postpone in terms of seasons. “Winter time, so I’m suffering. When spring comes, I will be fine.” But when you have a huge sense of history behind you and a tremendous amount of culture around you, then you will postpone it in thousands of years, because the memory goes back so long, the cultural memory. But it doesn’t matter whether you postpone it by one moment, or you postpone it by one millennium. There is no difference. Because tomorrow never comes.
I’m sorry if I’m sounding like James Bond. He picked it up, alright. There is a big joke going on in India right now because a former James Bond is advertising for Pan Parag. Pan Parag, for those of you who do not know, is a concoction of betel nut and some little bit of some kind of opioids and stuff which is known to cause mouth cancer in hundreds and thousands of people. Now the former James Bond is advertising for Pan Parag. With the Pan Parag box, he’s knocking down people and doing things, and discovering the secrets of the plots against humanity. It is definitely a plot against humanity, Pan Parag. The worst plot against humanity is that tomorrow is a better day than today. This is the worst plot against humanity. That tomorrow is a better day than today. People call this hope, I call this hopeless. The moment you think tomorrow is a better day than today, you can live in a perpetual sense of deception. Tomorrow will always be a better day because tomorrow never comes. I’ve been telling you in Karnataka in southern India, in the rural Karnataka, there is a certain superstition where they believe in the evening, when the sun sets, before, you light your lamp – you must light a lamp. Oil lamps used to be lit when the sun is setting; before that, an oil lamp must be lit. If you don’t light your lamp in time, then there are evil spirits which are waiting for that dark house without a lamp and they will enter.
So just as a precaution – you know, this is an ancient form of insurance – just as a precaution, just in case, you delayed the lighting of the oil lamp and evil spirits entered your house, so people will write on the doors of their homes in red paint always “Nale baa.” That means “come tomorrow.” So evil spirits come. They usually don’t knock on your door, but they see, “Oh, this house is tomorrow.” Of course, you want them to go to your neighbor’s house. They will go away thinking they come to your house tomorrow. Because tomorrow never comes, evil spirits never come into your house. It’s a good logic. So the greatest evil on the planet is that you have a hope that tomorrow will be better than today. Once you do this to yourself, it’s gone. This we’re starting on these little wonderful lollipops who are sitting here so patiently, the dear children. Unfortunately, we’re poisoning their life, telling them, “After something happens, you will be wonderful. After you finish your education, you will be doing great. After you get a job, you will be great. After you get married, you will be great.” After you’re gone… it for sure will be great. No, no, no. The moment you create hope, you become hopeless.
Hope is necessary for those minds which have become depressive. Those who have become slaves of their own thought and emotion, for such people, hope is an important tool, or so they think. But for this life, this doesn’t need hope. This needs exuberance. This needs to reverberate with everything around now. And it can only do it now. It cannot do it tomorrow. You cannot live tomorrow. You can only live now. You can think of a tomorrow. I’m not saying you should not plan for your tomorrow. But if you’re very exuberant and alive and joyful right now, you will see you will come up with five crazy plans every day. If all of them fail, you will become even more exuberant. But if you are depressive, you can’t complete one plan. You try to plan; halfway down the plan, you start living the plan right there. This is the way of a depressive mind. You try to plan something; halfway down the line, you already start living the plan. When you start living that which is not real, somewhere it is bound to collapse. When it collapses, you will suffer. This is how people can suffer a day which is yet to be. They can suffer a tomorrow, isn’t it? Or you have already graduated and you can suffer the day after tomorrow? If you are an undergrad, you suffer a tomorrow. If you’re a graduate, you suffer a day after tomorrow. You’re a PhD means you suffer millennia which are yet to come.
So this spiritual process is not about becoming freaky. This is not about morning to evening mumbling something that nobody can understand. This is not about worship. This is not about love. This is not about changing attitudes. This is about becoming in sync with life so that this life will find its full-fledged existence. This is all you can do. Rest is all falsehood. Your gods and devils – all made up in your head. And now if you’ve found a Sadhguru, and you’re also elevating him to godliness, he’s afraid that he may be nailed anytime. Because once he becomes god, he is nailed to the walls in your house. If he’s a reverberating presence in your life, great. But you’re preparing to nail him to the wall in your house, no good. Find somebody else, please. I’m not eager to be nailed in your house. I don’t want to ascend. I will diffuse when I die. Is it okay? “Oh, Sadhguru. We thought you will go there in heaven and wait for us.” No. I will diffuse – I will not ascend. I’m not a promise – I’m a living existence. A promise is always of tomorrow. Now if you’re willing, now we can reverberate together. If your life is about tomorrow, you may go to heaven. You won’t find me there, because I found a better place than that. I’ve found a better place than silly heaven where they will eat without bodies and copulate without bodies. I don’t like this kind of fantasies. You are ready for reality? Or you want something fantastic which is not true?
Reality… “Oh, I came back to reality” means “I came back to a drab, nonsensical place.” This is how people have understood reality. No. Reality is the grandest place. Your imagination is a constipated expression of reality. Is reality feeding on your imagination, or your imagination has picked up something from reality? Which way is it? Your imagination picked up a small iota of reality and thinking that is everything. No. Reality is the grandest place. “I had a great time. But then, after the weekend was over, I came back to reality.” This is how the word “reality” is being used. Let’s change the context of this. Reality means the most magnificent thing that is happening. So this is about reality. This is not about fantasy. This is not about hope. This is not about tomorrow. This is about now.