Sadhguru: Up Close and Personal
Sadhguru answers some witty and personal rapid-fire questions posed by VC Gopalratnam, Cisco’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) for its International Operations, Senior Vice President of Information Technology, and the leader for Global IT Services. They touch on if, or why, Sadhguru experiences anger or distress, whether he prioritizes intelligence or emotion, whether he prefers progress or perfection, and much more.
Gopalratnam: Can I ask you some rapid questions? One sentence answers, if possible.
Sadhguru: Rapid questions or rapid answers?
Gopalratnam: Rapid answers. So, in one sentence, can you describe India?
Sadhguru: A phenomenon.
Gopalratnam: What does yoga mean to you?
Sadhguru: Yoga is everything to me. And yoga means everything. Yoga means union – the individual and the universal meet. It is everything.
Gopalratnam: Which is more important – strategy or operations?
Sadhguru: This is like asking whether your right leg or your left leg is more important to reach your destination.
Gopalratnam: That is a good answer. Progress or perfection?
Sadhguru: The only thing they have in common is that both start with “P.”
Gopalratnam: Which do you think is more important, though?
Sadhguru: I do not believe in perfection, because the nature of life is such that there is room for constant evolution and development. The only thing that is perfect about human life is death. No one died imperfectly, but no one ever lived perfectly.
Gopalratnam: How about honesty or authenticity?
Sadhguru: Authenticity is not honesty?
Gopalratnam: Okay, intelligence or emotion? Basically, IQ or EQ?
Sadhguru: See, the source of all division in the universe is human intellect. Because it is a cutting knife and if you use it for everything, naturally everything is in tatters. And you see emotion and intelligence as something different. But, the fact of the matter is, the way you think is the way you feel.
If I think you are a wonderful human being, I would have sweet emotions towards you. If I think you are a nasty human being, I will have nasty emotions towards you. I cannot think you are nasty and have sweet emotions. Nor can I think you are wonderful and have nasty emotions. So, the way you think is the way you feel. I do not separate it within me.
Gopalratnam: How many hours do you sleep in a day? And what is your at rest pulse rate?
Sadhguru: How many hours I sleep, I usually do not decide – the world decides. For almost twenty-five years, I managed with two and a half hours, on an average. These days, I am much lazier. On an average, I must be sleeping four, four and a half hours per day. But that is not every day. Some days, I sleep a little more. Some days, I do not sleep. My rest pulse rate used to be thirty-two, thirty-three, at one time. These days, because of too much travel, not eating the right kind of food, eating whatever people give, and not enough sadhana, I think it is somewhere between thirty-six and forty-two.
Gopalratnam: Wow. Which basically means you never get tired, physically.
Sadhguru: I die at the end of the day, usually!
Gopalratnam: What have you mastered?
Sadhguru: Myself, I think.
Gopalratnam: What do you see when you see a person for the first time?
Sadhguru: The standard answers would be, “I see love; I see light; I see possibility.” I do not see people like that. In a work situation, I see them differently. But otherwise, if I just see someone, I do not really see a person – I just see life.
This may be a little disappointing or insulting for some people, but I look at people as I would look at a tree, a cow, a dog, or an elephant. When I look at a life, I just look at it as a life. It is only when I need to do something with the human beings, then maybe I look at their person and what I can do or cannot do with them. But otherwise, when I simply look at someone, it is just another life for me.
In terms of Information Technology, you may be ahead of an ant. But in terms of life, in what way are you ahead of an ant? It is as much life as you are. Their traffic lanes are better managed than yours. And they are ecofriendly, which you are now desperately trying to be. In my eyes, life is life. Only when it comes to activity, I tone myself down to see each individual as an individual. Otherwise, life is life for me.
Gopalratnam: When was the last time you got angry, and what happened?
Sadhguru: I cannot say I have been really angry at anyone. Maybe sometimes a bit distressed with the way people go about things, about their own life, and what they do to other people, but not really angry.
I have been distressed by looking at a few things that are happening in the world around – in the larger world, and also sometimes in our immediate surroundings. It causes some distress how insensitive individual human beings can be to each other and what they do. But I always used this distress as a way to see that some sort of solution comes out of it if possible. You may not be able to create solutions in all situations. But I do not make it into anger, because it is one hundred percent clear to me that my experience of life is one hundred percent determined by me.
I allow a certain amount of distress to happen to me so that I do not become too la-la-la. I am in a state of la-la within myself all the time. But because I have to work in the world, I tone down the la-la and cause a little bit of distress to myself so that I work as it is needed.
Gopalratnam: Do you consider yourself a Tamilian or a Kannadiga or a Telugu?
Sadhguru: This man is hell-bent on getting me into trouble!
Gopalratnam: You want to pass on that question?
Sadhguru: No, no. My mother tongue is Telugu – proud of it, but cannot talk much. I grew up with Kannada language because I grew up in Karnataka. But I chose to come to Tamil Nadu. What you chose is always above what you are born with, isn’t it?
Gopalratnam: Okay. When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Sadhguru: Well, this does not really fit the bill, but just two days ago, after thirty years, once again I rode into Mysore City on a motorcycle. This is not the first time, but thirty years later is almost like another life. It is not the same body, definitely. I used to ride for three days and three nights. Without sleep, without rest, simply I would ride. Only the motorcycle would get tired, not me.
So I rode these three hours plus into Mysore City on a motorcycle the other day, and it felt like the first time, though there were memories of many times before.
Gopalratnam: What do you think would probably surprise most people about you?
Sadhguru: Just about everything.
Gopalratnam: And then one last question. I know you are an avid golfer, and my boss, who is our global CIO, is almost professional level. He is a scratch golfer. Who, in your opinion, is the better golfer – Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus?
Sadhguru: Jack Nicklaus is still good. Tiger Woods has been a phenomenon like no other. He hit bad times, but recently, he has come back.
Gopalratnam: Do you have a handicap?
Sadhguru: My handicap has been declared as fourteen, six years ago. But a few days ago, I finished an extremely difficult course in Ooty, just one over. No one has done that course one over. I have it in me, but there is not enough practice or any kind of honing of skills. Simply, once in a way, I play.