Yoga & the Pineal Gland: Stability and Ecstasy
Sadhguru discusses the significance of the bindu, a specific spot on the pineal gland, and the reason that yogic sadhana always aims first for stability rather than ecstasy.
How the Pineal Gland Controls One’s Mood
Sadhguru: As scientists explore the nature of the human mind, and as we find better instruments to look at the nature of the human brain, one thing is becoming very clear for modern psychologists and neuroscientists: there is much more to be known about the human mind than they know right now.
As there is medical physiology, there is a whole yogic physiology. One aspect of yogic physiology that aligns in some way with modern neurosciences has to do with the pineal gland. This gland was always recognized as being associated with the agna chakra. Today, neuroscientists say that the secretions of the pineal gland control and moderate one's moods and experiences. If you have a very stable and sufficient pineal secretion, having a pleasant mood within yourself is not a problem.
Both medical sciences and street-side drugs have made it clear that chemicals can create pleasant and unpleasant experiences within you that are very real for you. Others may dismiss it as you causing it to yourself, but actually, you are causing everything to yourself. The only difference is whether you cause it with or without outside help. If you simply become ecstatic right now, you are causing it to yourself without outside help. If you cause the same thing with outside stimulation, it may be the same thing experience-wise, but the end result could damage the system. And such an experience will not result in any kind of consciousness. Unconscious experiences, however big they are, are of no significance for one's evolution, growth, and transformation.
Many Cultures Were Aware of the Bindu
A little-known aspect of yogic physiology, which is totally absent in modern medical sciences, is something which I constantly keep “on” within myself, called the bindu. “Bindu” means a tiny point. It is a particular spot on the pineal gland surrounded by a certain secretion. If you touch the bindu, it will release secretions that make your body comfortable and make you feel ecstatic. To activate the bindu, there is a certain point at the back of your head. So many cultures around the world have recognized this, and there is an understanding that that point needs to be protected and activated.
In the Hindu way of life, when young Brahmin boys are initiated into spiritual sadhana, they shave off the hair on the rest of the head and leave a tuft at this point. In many other parts of the world, if people are doing a certain type of activity which they believe is spiritual, they want that spot to be covered, so they started using small caps or some kind of a cloth. Everywhere in the world, at some point some people would have been aware and probably spoke about it. I really do not know what they have said, but I have noticed people doing these things. If there is someone who comes from the Jewish culture for example, have they told you something specific about why you should wear this cap?
Meditator 1: When you do a spiritual practice, you go to the synagogue, and you wear the cap to show that you are just a human being and you are not the divine. So, it is a sign of respect and a separation between you and the God that you are worshiping.
Sadhguru: Somebody else have something to say?
Meditator 2: It's more of a connection, to remind you that there is a divinity. You're always wearing it so you don't forget. It's not necessarily a separation, it's more a reminder of the divinity within you or around you.
Sadhguru: I do not know when the neurosurgeons will come upon the bindu. Even if they come upon it, because it is so small, they may ignore it. But if you pay attention to your system, it is there all the time. But do not start imagining these things!
Ambrosia and Poison
You will see, many times when people are in certain meditative processes, they become overwhelmed because the “glass of ambrosia” inside is tipping a little bit. They have still not learned how to drink from it in sips. If you give a glass full of water to a small child, he will spill it all over the place when he drinks. Similarly, their glass is tipping because they do not know yet how to sip gently. If they do the necessary sadhana, slowly after some time, they could consciously drink from it. Once you can consciously drink from it, every cell in the body and every moment of your life is ecstatic.
But the bindu has two sides to it. These two interpretations that you gave are interesting. Both could be right – distorted, but they could be coming from a certain understanding. The bindu has another point to it which also has a secretion but is poisonous. If you tip the wrong side of the glass, then poison will spread through the system. It is not like poison that you drink. It will spread through the system in such a way that, for what looks like simply no reason, you are miserable. A lot of people have done that to themselves. You could call that depression. You are miserable because you tipped the wrong side of the glass by doing improper things with life.
There are many cultures around the world which have been aware. Some wear caps, some have tops, some have taken other kinds of care. You will notice the level of mental imbalance in those cultures is always lower.
First Stability, Then Ecstasy
No matter what you are pursuing in life – money, wealth, power, God, or enlightenment – what is it that you are seeking? Essentially, what you are seeking is an ultimate sense of sweetness within you. Either you hit it accidentally or consciously – that is the choice you have.
There are many simple processes and methods that are devised not to go towards that ambrosia which is in every human brain, but to bring the necessary foundation within you that, when you hit it through grace, you do not go crazy. Too much sweetness can drive you crazy, unless you are sitting on a stable foundation.
In yoga, the initial phases of sadhana that you do are aimed at stability, not ecstasy. Stability is more important than ecstasy. If ecstasy comes before stability, you are heading for a crash. If ecstasy comes after stability, it is fantastic. The yogic system has devised the practices in such a way that everything is aimed at stability to start with.
The Processes of Ecstasy Were Never Written
The processes of ecstasy were never written down or transmitted as a teaching. It is only in the presence of a certain being that those things happen – because they are very subjective, and it is best they are not written down. In some books on tantra, they have tried to write it down, which I feel is very irresponsible. Suppose you read a book where the first two chapters talk about some simple practices to stabilize yourself and the last five chapters talk about simple practices to take you to ecstatic levels – which one will you do? You will be asking for trouble. These are usually ignorant people who have done some guesswork around the real thing and tried to write down something about it. People will not go for stability, they will go for ecstasy – and they will break up. You cannot hold your system if it is too ecstatic unless you have already worked for your stability.
Never aspire for anything that is not yet in your perception because you will aspire for the wrong things. Just do your sadhana. That is why traditions have always been insisting on trust – simply because if we explain something beforehand, naturally you imagine the wrong things and go for it. Do not worry about that. Just do the practice every day. It will produce results. If you did not know how a plant grows, if I show you a lump of filth and the beautiful flower and say, “These two things are the same. This comes out of that,” would you believe me? There would be no way to convince you. It takes a crazy sense of trust. That is why we usually do not talk about all those things. Because this cannot be logically worked out. This needs a little fixing of life.
A man walked into the court. He was the defendant. The judge looked at him and asked, “Do you have a lawyer?” The man said, “No, but I have some good friends in the jury.”
This is how it is. You cannot logically work this out. That is why the Guru came into the picture, because a little fixing is needed. Without the fixing, you will not jump. You will stand on this side forever. Without a little fixing, nudging or shoving, you will not cross the line.
Editor’s Note: The word "tantra" creates many misconceptions in the modern mindset: of immorality, sex and clandestine activity. In the video "Tantra – Being an Instrument of Life," Sadhguru redefines tantra, restoring it to its original scope and dimension as an ancient technology for ultimate transformation. Purchase and download at Isha Downloads.