Occult and Mysticism

Sadhguru explains the difference between occult and mysticism, and looks at what it takes to explore the mystical dimensions of life.

Last week, Sadhguru looked at how occult was avoided on the spiritual path. In this week’s article, Sadhguru explains the difference between occult and mysticism, and looks at what it takes to explore the mystical dimensions of life.


Mysticism and occult are often mistaken to be the same. People think mysticism means some magical acts have to be performed. If you take the mystic on the planet, Adiyogi himself never once performed anything magical except to reach out and communicate with a few people who were dear to him. He walked the planet like everyone else.

Occult is the younger brother of mysticism, who jumps the gun and does things faster. It is like you are slogging through the books in a university but your younger brother is full of money and is living his life already at the age of 18 because he joined the local gang. But he is going to places where you don’t wish to go, and may end up in a place where you definitely don’t want to be – either in prison or dead. You could say occult is mysticism’s younger brother gone wild. If you look down from the mystical path, occult is right there but you don’t go after it because you are going in another direction.

Science and Technology

If you have to use an analogy – occult is like technology, mysticism is science. The essence of science is to know what the nature of this existence is. But for most people today their understanding of science is technology. Technology need not necessarily be wellbeing. Technology could be heading you straight down the drain but you may not realize it because you will be going hi-tech – in style – so you may think you are doing well. Science means you want to know everything the way it is, you want to perceive and decipher life the way it is. Technology is just misuse of existence most of the time. I am not against technology. Technology is a beautiful thing which has liberated us physically in many ways, but right now our idea of technology is to use just about anything and everything – the whole existence – for our wellbeing. We know how to use a microbe, we know how to exhaust the planet – we have learnt to use everything – but we do not know how to be well.

Mysticism is like science. Mysticism is essentially a way to know the existence, your own nature, and the relationship between what you call “myself” and what you call the cosmos. Mysticism is a way to know and realize that “There is no such thing as me and the cosmos, there is just me or there is just cosmic reverberation.” To know this, not as a knowledge, deduction, or philosophy, but as a living reality – this is mysticism.

What Is The Takeaway?

What can you do out of mysticism? Can you make a living? Maybe not. Then what is the point of all this rubbish? To tell you frankly, there is no point. It is just that there is no point to life, that’s what you need to understand. The point of life is life itself. There is nothing more here than knowing life. How deeply, how profoundly have you known it is all there is. There is no takeaway.

Unfortunately, the whole modern world revolves around “What is the takeaway?” I want you to know, when you fall dead, there is no takeaway. Death is a clear statement that there is no takeaway in this life. Mysticism means you understood that there is no takeaway so you decided to make the best out of it now. Making the best out of it does not mean eating all you can eat or drinking all you can drink. It is not the actions of life which are enriching and fulfilling, it is the depth of experience. How vibrant, how possible you became as a life, that’s all there is.

When a human being comes to a state where he need not takeaway anything, only then mysticism is a possibility. It is not for people who are thinking of what they can make out of it or how they can show it to other people. This is for someone who has hit that dimension of life where there is no body, no mind and no external influence – pure life! The longing of life is to touch everything – that which is seen and unseen. Mysticism is just a fulfillment of this longing.

Editor’s Note: If you liked this post, don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series on occult.

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6 years 1 month ago

Mysticism is life's fulfillment and Sadhguru is the ignition. Bless us all Shambho

6 years 11 months ago

this article is very touching, don't know why... deep respect to Sadhguru

5 years 11 months ago

Goodnight ! Please don't takeaway my sleep.

6 years 11 months ago

“There is no such thing as me and the cosmos, there is just me or there is just cosmic reverberation.” Not correct entirely. As long as you are in the body form, there is 'me' and the 'cosmos'. When you leave the body, 'just cosmic reverberation' or better still just the cosmos.

5 years 3 months ago

Namaskaram Sadhguru there was time when Ganesh idol was drinking milk , could you please throw some light on it Sadhguru

6 years 11 months ago

the cosmos created life to feel the life or to be a life?

4 years 9 months ago

It is, actually great wisdom. The young wild brother made it easy for himself on expense of anybody else. The older brother still has to go the long way. A society allowing the evil way to triumph has literally damned itself. On closer inspection that is why our 'modern democracies', at least in Europe & USA, are causing so much more suffering than even the 3rd Reich did. We considered us better, but never earned that status, and consequence already comes gunning for us with a passion and a vengeance.

6 years 11 months ago

"It is not the actions of life which are enriching and fulfilling, it is the depth of experience" - this could have come only from someone who has treaded on the path of wisdom. Thanks Sadhguru for sharing this profound insight.

4 years 9 months ago

I think the cosmos reduced energy or divinity into what we consider life to get rid of the spoiled and unworthy parts...

6 years 11 months ago

Hi subhash, I wish you look deep into the profoundness of what Sadhguru is quoting and not just with your mind and free flowing thoughts.

6 years 11 months ago

Subash, it seems you know more about cosmos and existence , at least that piece you told is great eye opening. Respect your knowledge and corrections.

6 years 11 months ago

This is exactly what you need to find out. The whole point of the vedas was to find out who is this "Me" you are talking about. Is it just the body, is it the mind, is it the emotions as sadhguru says? Turns out it is some thing more than that. When you are in this body there is still a reverberation, isnt it? So investigate more.

6 years 5 months ago

What about Karmas? The only take away are the Pabha, Punya karmas with associated vasnas after death of this body.

6 years 4 months ago

No clue for common people...

6 years 1 month ago

Mysticism a way to start Sadhguru is the ignition :-)