Q: Sadhguru, can we create another Agastya Muni today?
Sadhguru: One thing that we know about Agastya Muni is that the other six sages felt he was diminutive and ugly. So those of you who think you can be Agastya Muni – these are a few basic qualifications! Agastya was a Tamil man – short, stocky and dark. Those qualities are not a problem. The important aspect of the making of an Agastya or any of the Saptarishis is they spent their entire life that we know of in sadhana – preparation, preparation, preparation. It is said they did eighty-four years of sadhana. Eighty-four is significant in terms of the internal mechanics of the system and the cosmic process. They covered the entire range of what can be done with a human being. They touched all the eighty-four aspects, and they worked upon these and prepared themselves.
How long was the actual teaching where Adiyogi propounded everything to the Saptarishis? The numbers are probably more metaphorical than factual. Maybe it took twelve months or twelve years or one hundred and forty-four years. We do not know. But everything that can be explored was explored only with these seven people – Adiyogi refused to do that with Parvati. Though he gave her an experiential possibility, he did not give her the science of it because he did not see the same level of preparation. He saw these seven as absolutely fantastic receptacles, so he shared everything with them. Well, he divided the knowing into seven parts and sixteen ways each. Then he set up the final test of surrendering those sixteen ways to him – which we are still symbolically doing in the form of Guru Pooja. Their preparation and their focus towards the ultimate was so immense that they were willing to just throw down everything that they had earned over so many years. Only because of that they became who they became.
Building Yourself Up
In other words, this entire legend is telling us that the Saptarishis did not drop from the sky. There was no special birth – nobody is talking about how the stars rose and thunderclap happened when they were born. Nothing. Just a normal birth. Nobody knows where they were born in the Indian subcontinent. Some women would have delivered them somewhere in some insignificant place. They did not drop from heaven; they built themselves up. That is what is significant about their life story and about yoga and sadhana: no matter who you are, how the hell you were born, who your parents were, what kind of karma you have – if you are willing, you can build yourself up.
Even the biggest trees in the forest have built themselves up, isn't it? Now we look up at a huge tree with great wonder, but just a few years ago it was probably only a sapling. Those who do not understand this think it just happened from somewhere, because they are generally absent. They are so lost in their own psychological games that they do not pay attention to anything. I want you to just imagine in the last sixty years how much this tree in the forest would have had to go through to survive the rampaging wildlife, the dry seasons – fighting for nourishment and getting what it wants to grow up and stand tall. Because food does not get served on a plate for him. He has to grab the sunlight from the other trees, he has to grab the nutrients from the soil. For him, it is a phenomenal sadhana, isn't it? But he built himself up, and today we have to look up to him with open-mouthed wonder.
Similarly, we have to look at Agastya and the other Saptarishis with open-mouthed wonder, because these human beings do not look human. They look too special, but they built themselves up. The aspiration, the determination, the unyielding focus without any support, how they worked and worked even as they were neglected – this preparation is the most important aspect about them. It did not matter to them if they had to come back and do eighty-four lifetimes of preparation; they were willing to do it.
In Grace and Unwavering
Let us say Agastya Muni was from a local village here and he just vanished. He went to Himalayas to be with Adiyogi. What do you think the villagers were talking about Agastya? Do you think they were praising his parents saying, “Oh, your son is becoming a great sage”? No. They were making fun of his parents, saying “Your idiot boy, where is he?” Even if he came back after whatever number of years, do you think they would have been thrilled to see him? Excited that he had gone to Himalayas, met Adiyogi and returned? No, they would have laughed at him as he came back in a loin cloth looking like a wild creature. Now, we may look at the man in terms of what he became with open-mouthed wonder, but in his time, there was no recognition or appreciation. Nobody clapped their hands for him. Everybody thought he was a nutcase who left his parents, the irresponsible boy who ran away. Through all that, never wavering – just being on, on, on – that is Agastya Muni. One thing is his direction was set, and another thing is no matter what happened, he chose to remain in grace, never wavering from what he was doing.
So if you want to become an Agastya Muni… if you can emulate this, why not?
Editor's Note: Sadhguru describes about another great being, Adi Shankara, who he was, why his origin is a symbol for the core nature and strength of this nation, and how what he stands for is relevant in the world today. Sadhguru also draws parallels between contemporary science and what Adi Shankara said over 1200 years ago.