Q: Is art an expression of selflessness, selfishness or self-centeredness?

Sadhguru: Today, because of the disparities in society, we are raising a pitch of things like selflessness and service. These would be of no value to anyone if everyone was doing well. These are important only when someone is down.

Be totally selfish – “My universe, I want it this way.” This selfishness is fine.


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I really do not know what selflessness, self-centeredness or selfishness mean, because I do not think anyone has ever clearly defined selfishness. I know spiritual teachers are always talking about it but people have only been deceiving themselves for ages. When your existence here and your perception of people and the world around you is rooted in yourself, how can you be selfless? Nobody can be selfless. If you try, you will only pretend to be selfless.

Tell me, can you do something that is not selfish? “I want all of you to be blissed out” – this is also about “I want.” It is still selfish. A mother takes care of her child not because of selflessness but because of a deep selfishness, because that is what gives her most joy and happiness. Someone is willing to die for his country not out of selflessness but with a very strong sense of selfishness because that is what is going to fulfill him – that is why he does it. And there is nothing wrong with being selfish. It is just that people are generally kanjoos (miserly) about their selfishness. At least in your selfishness, be utterly, absolutely selfish. The best that you want for yourself, you want that for the entire universe. Be totally selfish – “My universe, I want it this way.” This selfishness is fine.

The problem is not of selflessness or selfishness, the problem is of limited boundaries that people set – what is you and what is me. This is what yoga is about. The word “yoga” means “union.” What is you, me, this, that – everything has become one in your experience.

Coming to creativity, if something beautiful has to come out of a human being, the most important thing is a certain sense of abandon – who you are has been forgotten for a moment. That is when you sing beautifully, dance beautifully, paint beautifully, that is when you can do something beautifully. Today, because we have been overtaken by the European mode of doing things, we think of systems all the time. Systems will work, but too much of system will kill you in the end. If you learn to do something with abandon, it may not turn out the same way every time, but there is beauty to your action – not because of the result, simply for the action.

If you have no sense of abandon in your life, you will suffer life after some time. Everywhere, the world has been infected with mindfulness right now. This country has always invested in how to be mindless in your activity, that your mind does not come in. If your mirror is well-polished, you become a reflection of the creator; or at least a reflection of the creation.

Editor’s Note: Find more of Sadhguru’s insights in the ebook “From Creation to Creator”, available at Isha Downloads. Pay what you wish and download it. Enter “0” or click “Claim for free” for a free download.