Leela – Dance or Death
Sadhguru looks at the essence of what Krishna’s leela means, while answering a question on why dance and music are such a big part of it.
Questioner: Sadhguru, I was wondering whether you could talk about music and dance, which seems to be a big part of Leela. And how do we cultivate receptivity towards that dimension of life?
Sadhguru: It is not that Krishna was always singing and dancing - that was just one part of his life. What is important is that you make your life process into a dance. In the yogic culture, the process of creation or shrishti has always been depicted as a dance of energy, or a dance of five elements. Today, even modern scientists indirectly describe the whole energy process as a dance. Likewise, there is the dance of dissolution. Creation is a dance, – and dissolution also is a dance. It is a scientific fact today that everything in existence is a dance of energy. Whether it is a joyful or a torturous dance is for you to decide, because you have the possibility of using your discrimination to either make yourself blissful or make yourself miserable. But the play of energy is on, all the time.
This is what Leela and Krishna are all about – being “on” all the time – consciously, not compulsively. When life situations compel you, when you act out of compulsion and not out of choice, then it is a great burden to be switched on – you would rather be switched off. Whenever you want to be switched off, unknowingly, you are inviting death. Death may not come straight away; it may come in small measures, because your mind is not vibrant, intense, and focused enough that the moment you wish it, you will fall dead right there. It has happened to people – someone was having a great fight with someone and in great emotion and anger they said, “I want to die,” and they just fell dead, because they wished for it at that moment, and their mind had the intensity to make it happen.
Since your mind does not have this kind of focus and intensity, whenever you want to avoid life, death will happen piecemeal. Most people were really alive when they were young, but except a handful, as they grow older, they are not as alive as they used to be anymore. They may be successful, doing well in the sense that they have money, families, children – everything, but death has happened to them piecemeal. When for example, I happened to meet some of my school and college friends after many years, and I slapped their back and talk to them the way I used to 30 years ago, they looked at me strangely. They were almost 60% dead and could not understand this liveliness.
In so many ways, you try to avoid life and cause a little bit of death to yourself, on a daily basis. That is why, over time, most people do not carry the face of life but the face of death. If someone is around, doing something for them, people may smile, but if they are alone, by themselves, they are the face of death, because they have been inviting death in small measure, moment by moment, on a daily basis.
The whole purpose of Leela is that you are “on” 24 hours a day. You do not choose what is good and what is not, or whether to participate or not. If you do this for some time, you will shake off death. Life is a dance of energy. If you consciously allow yourself to do so, you will dance with it. If you think life should dance in a different way, you will kill yourself in the process. Life is just dancing. A few things may happen your way, but that is not important. The important thing is you are alive and you enjoy the dance of life.
The main reason why you are not in tune with the dance of life is you believe that you are super smart. The cleverest man in the world is always the biggest idiot when it comes to life. You may have your property, your bank balance, or whatever else, but you have missed life.
Editor's Note: Watch the Leela series, where Sadhguru explores the life and path of Krishna. Available as a free webstream – one part every week.
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