The Power of a Question – Why Youth and Truth?
Sadhguru: Years ago, when I was in university, I stood up and asked a professor to give me her notes so I could photocopy them. It would save her the trouble of dictation and me the trouble of attending class. I was, of course, banished from class immediately. And that was precisely what I wanted!
What I did was inappropriate, and I certainly would not recommend it. It is just that the classroom was synonymous with the dictation of notes, and I was not planning to become a stenographer!
Being sent out of class was not a new experience for me. I had found school boring as well, because nothing the teachers talked about seemed to mean anything to their lives. As a child, I spent the greater part of my day intently watching an incredible variety of aquatic life in a canyon outside my school. Later, when my parents found out, my biological explorations were dismissed as messing about in a “rainwater drain”, and I was summarily returned to the classroom.
Never Short of Questions
Am I recommending truancy? Certainly not. But what I am pointing out is that young people have questions – lots of them – that seldom get addressed. The unimaginative adult world is busy preaching to them about grades and careers and money, but little else. I remember carrying a million questions in my head all the time. My father often threw up his hands in despair and said, “What will this boy do with his life?” What he never realized is that I was never short of things to do with my life. I found the classroom dull, but I was passionately interested in everything else – the way the world is made, the seasons, the physical terrain, how the earth changes when it is ploughed and the crops start germinating, the way people live. My life was full of fascinating questions.
Young people have never been short of questions. Over fifty percent of the Indian population is below the age of twenty-five. This means the questions are many. These 650 million youth – their aspirations and capabilities – will determine the future of our country and the planet. But, most young people are struggling with the impositions and pressures of a society they never made. We have the shameful distinction of having one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth between 15 and 29. A student commits suicide every hour in India! This is a shocking statistic that must compel us to pause and ask ourselves where we have gone wrong.
In the days to come, I intend to spend time with young people. The intention is not to offer them advice or moral instruction. Those sermons did not help me when I was young. All I can offer is clarity – the clarity that dawned on me at age twenty-five simply because I had questions and was unafraid to live with them. To live with questions without drawing conclusions: this is the tremendous adventure of life.
The Possibility of "I Do Not Know”
It is a tragedy that the world does not realize the possibility of the state of “I do not know.” That capacity for wonder is snuffed out early by beliefs, assumptions and certainties that masquerade as knowledge. We forget that “I do not know” is the doorway – the only doorway – to knowing.
This is the doorway that stands before youth today. It is the doorway to a profound life adventure that many jaded adults have forgotten. We need youth who dare not only to ask questions, but are willing to invest their lives in finding solutions. Our individual and universal wellbeing depends on this.
Editor's Note: Whether you're struggling with a controversial query, feeling puzzled about a taboo topic, or just burning with a question that no one else is willing to answer, now is your chance to ask! Ask Sadhguru your questions at UnplugWithSadhguru.org.
A version of this article was originally published in Speaking Tree.