Q: Sadhguru, you said that there used to be quality control in spirituality earlier but a thousand years of foreign subjugation has destroyed those checks and balances. Would you elaborate on this please?
Sadhguru: The checks and balances came from within. There was no external authority to check whether a spiritual process was genuine or not, whether it is used in the right direction or not. It was self-governed. It could be self-governed simply because the spiritual process was not an isolated aspect. The spiritual path was not followed by just a fringe group of people. Spirituality was mainstream. This has never happened in any other part of the world. Religion has happened, but an active spiritual process for a large segment of society has never happened anywhere else.
In the same town, there would be many gurus, each speaking different things but none of them in conflict with anyone else. This naturally led to a very democratic process of doing things because it was widespread. And people had the option to sit in one place one day, another place the next day, and still another the day after. Gurus were not insecure. They wouldn’t prevent anyone from going anywhere. They said, “If you don’t think this is the best place, don’t be here. Go where you want.” I am saying that even today. The only problem today is there may not be enough places for you to explore. But in the past, when this kind of ecosystem was present, there naturally were checks and balances because there were so many people in society who were in profound states of experience. If somebody said something wrong, everyone immediately knew this is not it.
A Qualified Audience
For example, let’s say you learn Indian classical music. You can go and sing in Atlanta, they will clap their hands. You can sing in Delhi or Mumbai, they will clap their hands. But when you go to Chennai and sing, if you make one little mistake, they will get up and leave because the audience is so qualified and steeped in music.
Chennai is the only place where in December and January, for an entire sixty days, there will be five concerts every day taking place in a hundred different venues. People go from concert to concert, concert to concert. Such a culture is not present anywhere else on the planet. This could be a huge event that attracts audiences from around the globe, but they will not promote or advertise it because they are such purists. They say, “If you have a sensitive nose, you will come for the fragrance. If you don’t have such a sense, we don’t want you to come!”
Similarly with the spiritual process, there was a qualified audience. But when invasions happened, the most qualified people were the first ones to get killed because invaders not only want land, gold and women. They understand clearly that unless they impose their religion upon you, you are not fully taken. So, the first thing they did was destruction of the spiritual process.
This happened primarily in the northern plains of India, where many masters had to move into the Tibetan plateau for survival. This led to a huge dislocation and so today, many people who should have been astrologers, priests and even conmen are claiming to be Gurus. Because there aren’t enough realized beings, a lot of entrepreneurs have come up. Some of them have good intentions, but good intention armed with ignorance is potentially dangerous – more dangerous than evil if you ask me because good intentions give legitimacy to ignorance. Many ignorant people are nice. You can marry them if you want but you don’t choose them as your Guru because they will take you down the drain.
Making Truth Mainstream
If we want to bring quality control back, the first thing we have to do is make spiritual process mainstream, where there are millions of people who are practicing, who know by experience and can make a distinction between what is real and what is not real, between what will lead to their liberation and what will entangle them. If there is a qualified audience, then a cleanup will naturally happen.
Truth should become mainstream. Right now, lies have become mainstream, truth is fringe. Initially, people lie with some hesitation. As days progress, they start lying with more confidence. After some time, everybody knows everybody is lying but because it is mainstream, it is okay.
If truth is mainstream, if somebody utters one little lie, everyone will see it and it will get obliterated by itself. I am hoping everyone, especially the young people, stand up and make truth mainstream.
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