Youth AND Truth at Columbia University with Sadhguru
Eager to spend an evening with Sadhguru and probe into the truth about a multitude of topics, Columbia business and engineering school students filled into a packed auditorium on April 29th. Excited to attend the third of Isha’s “Youth & Truth” events in the US following sessions this year at Harvard and University of Michigan School of Business, students came with questions on everything from finding purpose to divides in community groups to sexuality and food!
The evening began with the Dean of Students, Zelon Crawford, offering a warm welcome to Sadhguru and reciting one of his poems, called The School. The sentiment of the poem raised the question of going to school to become a cog versus going to learn about the true nature of the self and becoming “Me, Myself, and what is beyond Me.”
Panelists Varud Gupta, author and Columbia alumni, Alex Mirachi, second year business student and Adrianna Samaniego, first year business student, sat opposite Sadhguru, starting off with a number of questions around finding purpose. He told students that they should figure out what their aptitude is and do something useful. “Do whatever you want, just do it well”, he jollied in his characteristic style drawing applause from the hall.
The next set of questions turned to the growing divide between different community groups. Sadhguru first addressed the idea that these divides are growing. He pointed out that these divides have always existed; it is just that now they are coming to the surface. He went on to explain that injustice is just a consequence of an immature society and limited identities that people have taken. He said, “The moment you take up justice as a cause, then you will see divisions happen. You vs. Me will happen. Once that happens, even for the right reasons, all the wrong things will happen.”
One of the panelists opened up about being part of the LGBT community and asked Sadhguru about sexuality. He replied, “Sexuality does not need marketing. It’s been on for a million years without any marketing. Why are you publicizing it?” He went on to say that what individual people do with their bodies is their business and that it is not a public debate.
In response to a question around food becoming a philosophy, Sadhguru explained the mechanics of how different foods behave in the body, down to the hours that different types of food take to fully digest. He reminded students that much of the food available today is “dead food” that has been dead for many months. He ended the discussion by adding, “Don’t go by what I say. Don’t listen to anybody when it comes to food. Just learn to listen to your body. Eat what kind of food your body is most comfortable with.”
When questioned about competition, Sadhguru urged students not to look at life as a race but rather to focus on the process of doing. He joked with them that if life is a race then they must get to finish line first. “How deeply you’re engaged with the details of today will determine the quality of what we create tomorrow. If you do not engage yourself with the process of today – if you succeed in your goal you will be miserable. If you do not succeed, of course you will be miserable.”
More questions were asked from the audience and the topic of business came up. Sadhguru talked about how some businesses today are built on people’s problems and encouraged young people not to go into the business world as a victim of what is existing right now. “If we want to change the world, how we do business has to change.” Adamantly, he told the students it is not the success of military or politics which makes a nation, but the success of business. “So how we are conducting our business is important. If you don’t transform the business leaders, how the hell are you going to change anything?”
Ending the evening with a discussion about intelligence and the magic of existence, Sadhguru explained that memory is not intelligence. He reminded students that in the next 5 to 10 years, everything related to information gathering, remembering, and analyzing information will be done better by a machine, joking that his phone can do 10 PhD’s in a day. “Unfortunately most human beings are muddled with their own logic and stuck in it so badly that they do not feel and enjoy the magic of their existence.”
Following the event, one student from the teachers college talked about how profound the event was for him. He had been following Sadhguru on youtube, watching several of the previous “Youth & Truth” sessions before coming. “I think I didn’t even blink my eyes,” he said. “I was like so focused. So I really enjoyed it.”
Another shared that she didn’t know much about Sadhguru coming into the event but came on the recommendation of a friend. “I came in kind of blank” she said, “I was really impressed by it. He just cuts right to the heart of a lot of things and that was really impressive to me.” She admitted some of the answers surprised her and thought it was good for her to be exposed to other ideas. “I feel like I’m going to be thinking about some of the things that were talked about for a while.”
Speaking about her experience of the event, a graduate student studying in film said, “It was amazing. I instantly felt Sadhguru’s energy, his grace as soon as he entered the room. And I just felt it was a huge privilege and blessing to be here. So I’m so happy he was actually here at Columbia. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
Youth and Truth, a campaign to empower the youth of today, is a platform to allow the youth to directly connect with Sadhguru. There are 76 million young adults whose aspirations and capabilities will determine America’s future, which invariably reflects the world’s future. Offering no advice, morals, philosophies, or teachings, Youth and Truth gives young people access to Sadhguru’s razor-sharp intellect, which cuts to the core of every question and helps the questioner get to the truth about the issue. This platform is an attempt to equip students with clarity to help them make life choices that will allow them to explore their full potential joyfully.
Watch the full talk here:
Editor's Note: Watch the Youth and Truth #UnplugWithSadhguru playlist, a comprehensive compilation of Sadhguru’s talks and interactions with the youth and students of India. New videos will be added to this playlist as more videos are released from the Youth and Truth events, so remember to visit this playlist again!