Using an exercise from corporate management, Kiran Bedi asks Sadhguru to address India's strengths and weaknesses as a nation.
Recorded live on June 6, 2014, during the "In Conversation with the Mystic" event with Dr. Kiran Bedi and Sadhguru.
Kiran Bedi: When you analyze the making of a nation, its making of an organization making of a nation, one of the first few things we do is a SWOT analysis. We do strengths, we do weaknesses, we do opportunities and we do threats. Any making of an organization or a nation. I thought let me put across to you – what is the SWOT analysis of making of a nation, let’s say Bharat, India. What are the strengths of India, what are the weaknesses of India, what are the opportunities we have and what are the threats we need to…Let's first look at the strengths of India.
Sadhguru: I would bring it down further to an individual. What is needed to build a successful individual, the same things are needed to build a successful nation, it’s not any different (Laughs) (Applause).
Kiran Bedi: Right. Yes.
Sadhguru: If one knows how to build a successful human being of himself in every way – when I say successful, not that just you made money, not just that you get a ranking, not that you just got elected, no. A successful human being means in every way you’re complete. If you make this, you… the same replica is for the nation, in the sense if want to be a good human being to start with all your four limbs should be limbered up and nice, strong and fine.
The four limbs of a nation is just this – the executive, the judiciary, the military and the civil services – all of them must be limbered up and agile. We must do some yoga with all of them. We must knead them. They have all become, you know if you can't fold your elbow, your elbow stuck here, your this thing is stuck here – these are useless limbs. When you have pain in your limbs, you’ll wish you did not have those limbs, isn’t it (Laughs)? That’s what is happening right now. We wish we did not have them many times because they’ve become such a pain. So keeping them limbered up, these four limbs is very important and the five senses must be on (Laughs). Five senses of… See, always a nation will be successful only when people’s aspirations are kept alive. If people lose their aspiration, it's a finished nation, okay.
There must be enormous aspiration and people should see a piece of the sky. They must see it's a possibility, it is not an empty dream. If it becomes an empty dream they’ll go to hallucinogenic drugs. They must see a piece of the sky that it's worth making the effort always. So to nurture an aspiration and to create the possibility that within your lifespan you can get there is very important and also make people’s aspirations into national aspiration and nation’s aspiration into people’s aspiration. And a strategic sense as to where we are, is not living in a utopian idea of well-being, which we have done (Laughs) unfortunately – having a strategic sense of where we are, what are the things to make a nation happen? For example: when we made the nation – this is not a commentary on some mistakes that people might have done because in retrospect we can say many things. In those times they did what… I believe they did whatever they thought was best.
For example we have been trading with the rest of the world for over ten thousand years. If you go to Syria – in many parts of Arabia, particularly Syria, unfortunately it's in such a mess. I wanted to do this Indian trading route, the Indian traders how they travelled, so I drove through Syrian Desert myself and we went. It was a fantastic thing, experience. Wherever you go stories of Indian traders, eight thousand years ago – the Aleppo City, which is completely in rubble right now – one of the most beautiful cities was built only on the taxes that the Indian traders paid, okay? Everywhere… in the Syrian schools they’re studying about how Indian traders and engineers and all kinds of people coming eight – ten thousand years ago. Is there any such story in India?
Kiran Bedi: None.
Sadhguru: Do you know? No Indian child ever reads about it.
Kiran Bedi: Yes.
Sadhguru: You go to Lebanon – there’s a place called Baalbek which is a 4300 year old Phoenician temple. Every child in fifth, sixth standard in Lebanon in school, they all study that Indian builders, Indian sculptures, Indian elephants, Indian labor and Indian yogis came and built this. A huge massive temple, each stone…some of the foundation stones weighing three hundred tones. They transported it up the mountain and built this, Indian engineers of that time. We have lotus flowers hanging from the ceiling. Obviously there’re no lotuses in Lebanon, it was sculptured by the Indian sculptures. Every Lebanese child knows this. Does any Indian child… any of the Indians, have they heard about it?
Over a thousand years ago Tamil kings went to Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. If any of you… most…many of you might have seen this – you will feel proud of being human if you see the works that’s been done. It's the largest religious building on the planet, Angkor Thom. Does any Tamil child in Tamil Nadu up to twelfth standard read a line about it in his textbook? No.
When you don’t build pride, how do you build a nation? If you do not build pride, you cannot build a nation. If you are not proud of who you are why the hell should you stay here? Right now if the more advanced countries, western countries open up their visa policy, eighty percent of the Indians will swim across the oceans and go away (Laughter). That means… if eighty percent of the people want to go away and you’re holding them by force, it's a prison. You know about prisons (Laughter). We’re holding them. No, people should want to be here, everybody wants to go away and we are holding them. That’s not the way to run a nation.
Kiran Bedi: So is that your main weakness from strength? Strength is healthy people, inspired people. Is your weakness is un…
Sadhguru: Yes. It is a serious weakness in the country.
Kiran Bedi: Rootless people. You’re talking about people who have no roots. They don’t understand their roots, they don’t understand their history, they don’t understand their culture. ___ (Unclear)
Sadhguru: They…it is not that… no, they are not rootless people, they have root. They know their roots but they’re little ashamed of their roots, they’re hiding their roots and they’re all wearing denim pants just to hide their roots (Laughter).
Kiran Bedi: Sadhguru, they don’t know the roots. Sadhguru, this is a fact they don't know the roots.
Sadhguru: They may not…
Kiran Bedi: No, no in our schools which we run, in our schools which we run, many of that ninth standard, tenth standard coming from different kinds of schools. Primarily government funded schools. First thing which one of my director… teacher said “Can you write an essay on Mahatma Gandhi?” Sadhguru, you’ll be shocked to hear – I am talking only of Gandhiji – the essay… the question was what is… what is the name of the wife of Mahatma Gandhi? Do you know one of them wrote – can you guess? (Laughter) I don’t even want to mention the name (Laughter).
Sadhguru: Don’t tell me. (Laughter)
Kiran Bedi: So Sadhguru, you can goad just now what's wrong with our… so that’s our weakness you are talking about, it’s rootless. And these are government schools, these are – well, there’re some private schools too I am not only boxing the government schools – but this is the school, this is the teacher of the day who is not teaching my new generation who is going to be a skilled generation, a leading generation, does not know the name of the wife of Mahatma Gandhi. We all had, they had tears. Do you know what we did after that Sadhguru? We took them to Tees January marg, we put them in a bus saying all right, “Aapko patha nahi, chalo.” So we took them to Tees January marg. Do you know what Sadhguru? They came back crying saying sorry “Humko dubhara aise likhnahe.” This is what happened, because whose fault is it, what do we do? We do remedial education. They are already in main government schools. In main government schools. We do only…we are not doing grassroot education. So is that the key weakness, rootless?
Sadhguru: I…I would like to repeat this. We are not rootless but people who occupied us for so long somehow managed to bring a certain sense of shame about our roots which is… which has to go. See, Mahatma Gandhi is part of a movement, which is not even history, which I would call it present, okay? It is just the backend of our present stage. He is not really history that way. He is still so close to us in time, I’ll say. Even today all our roads and here and there, so many… any… almost in every town there’s one MG road. Maybe people think it's Michel Jackson’s road or something, I don’t know (Laughter). It may happen, that’s different but still I wouldn’t consider Mahatma Gandhi as history, he’s still part of… people who’ve seen him are still alive, okay?
Kiran Bedi: If they won't know about Gandhiji, what would they know about…
Sadhguru: They don't know about his wife, that’s all right we… (Laughter) Usually we…
Kiran Bedi: Sadhguru, you are being kind to them. They didn’t even know, you are being kind to our teachers today. This is what’s happening.
Sadhguru: I am not…I am not trying to be kind or cruel to them, all I am saying is tch, this is… picking up names, this-that is different but everybody knows Mahatma Gandhi’s face and everybody knows he was important for our nation, that much even a village child knows it, which is I feel all right. But I am talking about a much deeper thing, that is as a land, as a people what are we good at? Have we been good at something? No. We’ve been only occupied for thousand years; we’ve been looted, we’ve been raped, we’ve been robbed – this is only we’ve done. We’ve done nothing that’s worthwhile. That’s not good.
We have to educate our children to show that we have done tremendous things. Just two hundred and fifty years ago we were the largest economy. Whole of Europe was thirsting to come to India and even, you know wherever they went, they called people Indians. Whether they went to North America or wherever because they were all aspiring to come to this place because it was the wealthiest nation, it was the most knowledgeable country, it was the best place to be. Everybody wanted to be here.
Kiran Bedi: Who teaches them? Who teaches these youngsters?
Sadhguru: These things have not been taught because our history has been written by…
Kiran Bedi: Who is at fault?
Sadhguru: Because our books are written by the English. Okay? History is written like this to dominate you.
Kiran Bedi: No, but it’s NCERT. (Laughter) It is no more English writers, it is Indian writers. You bring yoga in.
Sadhguru: But your brains are in Greenwich Mean Time. (Laughter) You ask anybody – I see on the news channels, in…among the ministers everybody talking “Okay I was in Cambridge in this year, where were you?” “I was in Oxford.” (Laughter) Only now I am seeing people who studied locally seem to be somewhere (Laughs). You will see this is the pride “Okay I went to Cambridge where did you go?” “Oh I was in Oxford.” Okay?
Recently… I will tell how it is. I was in Hyderabad, a journalist wants to interview me and she is telling me a piece of information – it seems the Sheffield University in UK made a study on the vibrations of the sun and they measured these vibrations, they are exactly the same vibrations which will happen when you utter the sound AUM. She said, “Sadhguru, you must say this.” I said, “I will not say this. I am not going to say this. I’ve been telling you for thirty years – many yogis and mystics have been telling you for thousands of years and it’s not valuable, Sheffield University tells you it's valuable, I am not going to… I don’t need authentication.” (Applause) It works for me. You just look at me, it's worked hundred percent, okay? It's worked.
Everything that we do, the sciences of this nation, the essential aspect of what this Samskriti is has worked brilliantly well for us for thousands of years and we know it works, we don’t need any authentication but right now we have created a world, unless it's authenticated by the West - even the yoga that you’re doing here is only rebound from the American coast. People (Laughs)… people think yoga was invented by Madonna (Laughter).
Kiran Bedi: I recall in the prison assignment when I brought in yoga as a part of the day’s regime many persons of certain communities or certain people didn’t want to do it. They thought it is linked with a particular faith. Till their own teachers came and explained to them that this is for your larger good, it's mind, body, soul in harmony. How do you dispel this?
Sadhguru: See, this is what I want to tell you. For thousands of years we’ve been the biggest traders, okay, from this country. The largest exports were from India for almost many thousands of years. Nobody ever thought of exporting in such large quantities. So both with goods and gods, we’ve been very good, okay? (Laughter) We can export both, we don’t have to import either (Laughter). We’re very good both with goods and gods. Our ability to create goods was systematically broken, our industry was broken, our business systems were broken. It's all right, I am not complaining, let it happen because… we let it happen because we did not take care of one of the limbs. There was no military wing.
Kiran Bedi: Military wing?
Sadhguru: Yeah when invaders came you could not defend your people because...
Kiran Bedi: That’s right.
Sadhguru: …you were singing music, you were meditating, you were doing things (Laughs).
Kiran Bedi: Exactly, yes.
Sadhguru: Nice, you were in mathematics, you were in astronomy, you were all this.
Kiran Bedi: You were not united either. You were not united, there were so many, they were fighting each other.
Sadhguru: That is also there but I’m saying essentially you didn’t have the martial power to defend yourself.
Kiran Bedi: Correct.