Barkha Dutt With Sadhguru: Of God-men and Con-men
NDTV Consulting Editor Barkha Dutt engages Sadhguru in a conversation during the Penguin Random House “Spring Fever Festival” in Delhi. Sadhguru speaks about how a Guru is not about creating miracles, it is about bringing about human transformation.
Barkha Dutt: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Your story is well-chronicled but what is of interest to people is that you started off as…
Sadhguru: I haven’t read that book, I don’t know, I hope she’s written nice things about me (Referring to Arundhati Subramaniam’s biography of Sadhguru called “More Than a Life”).
Barkha Dutt: She’s written a very brilliant, Arundhati’s… Subramaniam has written a very brilliant, very brilliant book.
Sadhguru: No, she’s brilliant but what’s she written about me (Laughter/Applause)?
Barkha Dutt: I… One of the things that she has said is that you give great space for dissent, you like a good argument, that you’re not an… you’re not one of those dictatorial gurus (Sadhguru laughs).
Sadhguru: I don’t know where is a dictatorial guru, I think the… most people have not met a guru, they have just seen calendar images and made conclusions. I don’t think they have met any genuine guru. There are a whole lot of people who should have been temple priests who are good entrepreneurs and they’ve become gurus today – that’s different, okay? (Laughs)
Barkha Dutt: Temple priests…
Sadhguru: No, no, see…
Barkha Dutt: … who have become good entrepreneurs.
Sadhguru: No, I’m saying…
Barkha Dutt: Just another word of… way of saying they’re charlatans.
Sadhguru: That’s a strong word. Maybe that’s enterprise (Laughter). I am not a (an?) enterprise. So because I am not an enterprise, I want everybody to ask whatever the damn question they have, it doesn’t matter how ridiculous or how intelligent, how nonsensical it is, it doesn’t matter. If the question means something to you, it means something to me. It doesn’t matter how brilliant it is, if it doesn’t mean anything to you, I am not willing to listen to it.
Barkha Dutt: But you’re saying that many, many people are… who are positioning themselves as gurus are really only elevating themselves and fooling people. I’ve…
Sadhguru: (Laughs) No, I didn’t say…
Barkha Dutt: Okay, I’m saying that.
Sadhguru: I’m saying (Laughter)…
Barkha Dutt: But…
Sadhguru: (Laughs) The thing there is there is a vacuum, somebody is trying to fill it.
Barkha Dutt: Yes. And Sadhguru, you have been…
Sadhguru: Are they qualified to be that? Questionable thing.
Barkha Dutt: But a very genuine concern – and you have been on some of my television programs where we have spoken about this – is whether god-men are often con-men? And how does this lady here (Gestures towards somebody) know the difference between who’s a god-man and who’s a conman and is a human being capable of being a god-man? Do you think of yourself as a god-man?
Sadhguru: (Laughs) Why are you underestimating that lady (Laughter/Applause)?
Barkha Dutt: Okay, let it be my question (Sadhguru laughs). How do I spot the difference between a god-man and a con man if I don’t even believe that humans can be godly? I think humans can be brave and wonderful and inspiring and… But I don’t think that they have magical powers.
Sadhguru: See, did you ever see God having magical powers?
Barkha Dutt: No, I’ve never seen God.
Sadhguru: No, then why are you saying he must have magical powers (Laughter)? So first of all, this god-man is essentially a media-coined word. Nobody claims that he is a god-man, okay? Some are goddamn men, that’s different (Laughter). Nobody… I don’t think anybody has personally claimed, “I am a god-man.” I have not met anybody like that. Now, that is a… That’s another kind of profession, putting labels on everybody, you know (Laughs). Leaving that alone, what is it? This is a culture - you must understand this, it’s unfortunately all mixed up today – this is a godless culture, you must understand this. There has never been an idea of a god in this culture. Only in competition with what came from outside, because we saw they could rule us, they were dominant and we thought we have to imitate their ways, we also started making it up to some extent, not successfully though. Yes, but we know the technology of god-making. When I say technology… We are using the English word “god” but that word doesn’t exist in India, here we call them devas.
What a deva means is – see today media is projecting Tendulkar as a cricketing god. It’s very appropriate to this culture because if somebody excels beyond a certain level in any field - he may be a sportsperson, he may be a warrior, he may be an artist, he may be anything - if he excels beyond what normally average human beings think is possible for them, he goes, they recognized him as a deva and he’s worth looking up to because he becomes a guiding light for them. That’ll anyway happen, whether you like it, you believe it, you don’t believe it.
Barkha Dutt: Sure.
Sadhguru: In every field, somebody rises, he becomes the light for the rest of the people.
Barkha Dutt: Yes.
Sadhguru: So similarly, in the inner spaces… When I say the inner spaces, the quality of your life is not determined by what kind of house you live in, what clothes you wear, what car you parked outside, what things, jing-bang happening around you, no, this moment how joyful, peaceful, blissed out you are within yourself. Now if I sit here, we’re sitting here in the same space, breathing the same air, probably we ate the same kind of food – I don’t know what you eat (Laughter) – but if I sit here now with my eyes closed, the way I am within myself, I will not exchange this (Laughs) for anything in the universe.
Now, when people see, no matter… The number of things I’m managing is insane. Everybody thinks, “Sadhguru, is it possible? You must go crazy someday.” All volunteers, over three million volunteers, enterprises, businesses, okay, projects, mega-projects on the street, all kinds of activity going aroun… around the globe. If anybody has to go nuts, it’s me, okay? Because all run by volunteers. Run by volunteers means nobody is trained for the job and you can’t fire them for inefficiency because they’re volunteers (Laughter). All right (Laughs)? And anytime, they come in anytime and do great things, anytime they’ll walk away, all right? And nothing should collapse. Till now, I must tell you this, as we are sitting here, this day, probably little over three hundred and odd programs, Inner Engineering programs are happening in the world. Never in the last thirty-three years, one program has been abandoned or has failed (Applause). That…that takes enormous management but nobody will ever see me getting angry or miserable or tensed out or stressed out.
Barkha Dutt: You’ve never lost your temper?
Sadhguru: You want me to now (Laughter) (Laughs)? Do I look like I’m incapable of that? It’s not that, it’s not that I’m incapable of anger, it's just that I have never given that privilege to anybody. I’ve not given this privilege to anybody – they can make me happy, they can make me unhappy, they can make me angry, they can make me miserable, no. I kept (Applause) these privileges to myself.
So people… you’re talking about miracles or whatever. People ask me, “Sadhguru, everybody… in very ashram, miracles are happening. You are beating all the miracles down. If we say something happened, you make us look like fools.” No miracle. I say, “What? You want me to pull a pigeon out of my pocket” (Laughter)? If I pull a pigeon…
Barkha Dutt: But there are…
Sadhguru: No, if I (Laughs)…
Barkha Dutt: …gurus…
Sadhguru: If I…
Barkha Dutt: …who claim to do that, who have been challenged by rationalists…
Sadhguru: No, I’ll come to this. If I pull a pigeon out of my pocket, I have a shitty pocket (Laughter) and you have a bird (Both laugh) – what are you going to do with this? You come to me, I will show you the miracle. I have thousands of people, who are working seven days a week, sixteen to eighteen days… eighteen hours every day. In the last two… five-ten years, not a single moment of irritation, agitation, anger in their life. This is a miracle (Applause), this is a miracle we want to manifest. You don’t want a miracle? ___ (Unclear)
Barkha Dutt: I agree, this is a miracle.
Barkha Dutt: And not that pigeon. Do you have a pigeon in your pocket (Sadhguru laughs)? Okay (Laughs).
Sadhguru: I told you I don’t like a shitty pocket (Laughs).