Spreading Economic & Inner Wellbeing Together
Sadhguru: Today, society is in transition, moving from one level of economics to another. This is going to happen dramatically in the next few years’ time. We hope it is going to penetrate into the rural areas, and it will. The point is just that if we facilitate it, it will happen very well. If we do not facilitate it, it will happen forcefully and painfully, but it will anyway happen.
We are seeing how the stock market is touching new highs. These are not just numbers, this is indicative of where we are going. The monetary systems and investment processes in the world used to always bypass India because they were afraid of us – of our corruption, our inefficiency, our way of goofing things up and not completing anything we start. That image is changing dramatically and the money markets are moving towards India now, and you will see things changing very, very rapidly. This is bound to happen.
When the financial situation changes, we must also be ready for very dramatic cultural changes in society. Along with financial freedom, the fundamentals of a particular culture always change. When every individual gets the choice to do whatever he wants to do, it is extremely important that we empower that individual with the necessary awareness to make the right choices. For most societies, a scourge of problems came along with economic affluence because the necessary awareness was missing in individual people to make the right choices.
Instead of economic progress bringing wellbeing to humanity, generally, one generation of that nation or society suffers from uncertainty, unable to make the right choices. The United States for example is the most affluent country on the planet right now. During the 1930s, they went through a very bad depression where even food became a problem for the citizens. Then World War II came, and that was a great upheaval which took millions of people away. The generation after the war worked really hard and got the country back on the rails. In the 1960s, economic upsurge was happening but that generation of people made all the wrong choices and for about 15-20 years, the volume of indulgence in drugs, alcohol and other things threw the society off track and almost derailed the whole nation. Then again from the 1970s to 1980s, they recovered.
Making The Right Choices
The spiritual process is one way of ensuring that people have the necessary awareness to make the right choices. When affluence comes, they won’t lose their head. This is very important. Poverty is a horrible problem. But the moment they get out of it, a lot of people tend to lose their head and get into a different kind of problem. We would like to see that the economic upsurge that is happening in the nation is enjoyed by people because this is a starved population, starved for everything.
So, spreading this awareness and empowering people to be able to make the right kind of choices is extremely important. We need to really hasten this process as the economic upsurge is happening. We are talking about 9 to 10% growth in the coming years, which is phenomenal. Sustaining 9 to 10% growth continuously over a period of time is not a simple thing. But at the same time we need to ask this fundamental question: 10% of how much? For 1.25 billion people, the volume of our economy is unfortunately very small. It is growing now but still it is extremely small.
Western economic analysts cannot understand how people are even eating with this kind of economics. They cannot understand how a man can earn one dollar a day and eat…We are letting our farmers commit suicide, that is the only reason we are eating. For everything else prices are fixed, but somehow we always believe food should come free. That was okay when almost 95% of us were farmers. Now, 60% are farming and to feed the remaining 40%, the 60% are starving. That is not at all good. What this means economically is, to feed 100 people, 60 people are cooking. That is not a good distribution of manpower either. If, for 100 people, 6 or 8 people are cooking, okay. If 10 people are cooking – alright – bad cooks or an elaborate meal, whichever way. But if 60 people are cooking, that is not a good way to run the economy. But this is the process of shifting from subsistence farming to cash crops.
What we are going through right now is a painful process, and the brunt of pain will be taken by the poorest and the weakest, always. It needs to be cushioned in many ways, which we as a nation are yet to do, but one fundamental thing that needs to happen is that people begin to think a little more clearly, with a little more focus. It is most essential that their thinking is not influenced by their caste, creed or religion. They must think straight. The spiritual process becomes a powerful tool in making this happen.
Making India a home, not a prison
There was a time, about 500 years ago, when everyone wanted to come to India. Vasco da Gama, Columbus – he made a mistake – but all of them wanted to come to India. Thousands of ships set off, taking an enormous risk. They wanted to come to India somehow because it was the richest economy on the planet. In the past 250 years, we went down, really down. I was just flipping the morning newspapers and I found that in the football world rankings, India is rated at something like the 150th country. Wow! The football team doesn’t decide everything but things like these are barometers which show how people are. This is an indication of how healthy, focused and organized people are.
500 years ago, everybody wanted to come here. Now, everybody wants to leave. It is once again time to make it in such a way that everyone wants to come here. It is beginning to happen, but not enough at all. This will not just happen because of the stock market touching certain levels. How we conduct ourselves is what will decide whether someone wants to come to this country or run away from it. We don’t want more people in this country but we must create a situation where people want to come. If everyone wants to leave your house and go somewhere else, that means your house is in a terrible condition.
It is still so that most people would like to leave the country. We need to spread a culture where right from simple things like how you park your footwear to how you walk and drive on the street, how you speak to people, if these things alter, then people will want to come. We need to make that happen. Otherwise, we are holding people in the country because we are afraid they will all go away. That’s a prison. If everyone wants to come in, that’s a home, that’s a nation.
We need to do that and that is not going to happen just because we have desires for it. Concrete, proper work needs to be done on all levels. Economic work is happening in a big way, it is moving in the right direction. But what has to happen in the country on the cultural, social and individual level, and consciousness-wise, has to happen at an equal pace, if not at a faster pace. If it doesn’t happen, good economics will bring more pain than wellbeing.
We have to make it so that everyone who walks on the street, walks with a little more awareness and concern for the person who is next to him. Are you up to it? Just quietly, everyone must constantly be aware that this needs to happen. Wherever you are, you must be constantly conscious. Every activity that you do, you must see that this should spread. Then the world would be a different place.
Editor’s Note: “Bha-ra-ta: The Rhythm of a Nation” includes more of Sadhguru’s insights on Bharat, its past, present and future, and the profundity of its culture. The ebook is available on a “Pay As You Wish” basis.