Being Part of the Solution For Poverty
Sadhguru looks at how poverty and hunger in India can easily be taken care of if everyone who is in a state of some capability stands up to make it happen.
Vinita Bali: Good evening, namaskar and a very warm welcome to all of us here. It is indeed an honor and a real privilege, Sadhguru, to have you with us for the next ninety minutes, during which time I shall do my best, as Moumita described earlier, to engage in a freewheeling conversation and we will explore I think a variety of concepts with Sadhguru – concepts around leadership, ethics, individual responsibility, a little bit of questions around spirituality and so on. So, without further ado, I want to start off by asking you, Sadhguru, what is the next step for Sadhguru?
Sadhguru: (Laughs) Dinner.
Vinita Bali: Dinner (Laughter/Applause)? I thought that was already over. So, we expect a more profound answer from you (Laughter).
Sadhguru: It’s a very profound answer (Laughter) because you can postpone many things in your life. You can postpone buying a home, buying a car, you can postpone your wedding if you want – it's a good thing (Laughter) – you can postpone your divorce, good to postpone your death. But you can’t postpone your dinner (Laughter). Right now, this is the ugliness, which is happening in this country. A whole lot of people are postponing their dinner today. This is the horrible situation that’s happening. So, do not consider dinner as not so profound, it’s very profound. If you are eating ten times a day, it’s not profound. If you are eating once or even twice a day, it is quite profound (Laughs).
Vinita Bali: So, you say something which is, you know, which is very close to my heart, you talked about dinner. We…
Sadhguru: No, no, dinner is about my stomach, not my heart (Laughter).
Vinita Bali: Okay. We’ll… we’ll get to the heart through your stomach (Laughter). You know we live in a world of contrasts, at least as I perceive it. You know, there is obviously the rich and the poor, there are the ones who are impoverished and the satiated. You know, we live in a country where three hundred million people go to bed hungry every night. How do we deal with these big social issues and what is the one message that you would like to give to all of us, where we as individuals can make our own little, big, whatever contribution to being part of the solution, rather than waiting for somebody else to do something?
Sadhguru: Now, you’re immediately getting into the missionary mode (Both laugh).
Vinita Bali: We can try a little bit of that.
Sadhguru: Yes, it’s a serious problem and an unfortunate problem because we are living in a land, which has over 12,000 years of agricultural history, probably the only place on the planet like this. As far as I know, except a few other places in South America, nowhere else on the planet was agriculture organized 12,000 years ago. So, we have enormous experience of agriculture, which means the science of producing food, and we are living in a land where twelve months of the year, you can grow what you want. Many farmers in Tamil Nadu take six crops. Four crops actually but in between the inter cropping, totally six products they are taking out of the same piece of land.
Vinita Bali: Right.
Sadhguru: Nowhere else on the planet this is really possible. In spite of this, half the people are hungry, simply because of apathy, not because of lack of food, not because that it is not possible to fulfill this. I feel a focused effort, in a matter of five years… five to eight years, very comfortably, we can crest this. It should not even take that much time but if we are determined, within five years’ time, it is possible to cross this and it’s important to cross this because when you say India, I know lot of poetry has been written about “Saare jahan hai (se?) achha” (Referring to a well-known Hindi patriotic song about India) – how beautiful it is, our mountains, our rivers, our whatever. But for 1.25 billion people, you neither have enough mountains nor rivers nor land nor even a piece of sky, believe me. The only thing that you have is people. If these people are well-nourished, competent, inspired, this can be the greatest miracle but right now, sixty percent of India’s population, even their skeletal system has not grown to full size or in other words, we are producing a totally underdeveloped humanity.
If your body does not grow to its full size, neither will your brains. There’s medical evidence to show that first four years of your life, if you did not get the necessary nourishment, your brain is approximately sixty percent of what it should be. So with half-brained people, the next generation, what nation are you going to build? You’re going to be a big disaster. If you don’t fix nourishment, we are going to be an enormous disaster. It’s waiting, it’s a silent bomb, it doesn’t make noise. Very quietly, it’s going to implode upon us. So, this is something that has to be fixed on a war footing. Must be!
Vinita Bali: So, what is the role? I know all of us as individuals have a role to play. We are all part of a corporate, an academic institution, part of a community and a society. So, what do you believe is the responsibility? I’m not talking about corporate social responsibility. I’m simply talking about corporate responsibility when it comes to being part of fixing some of the problems that you’ve just spoken about?
Sadhguru: (Laughs) I’ve… You know, we are very much involved with nourishment, education, health of the rural populations. I’ve been talking to many leading lights. Not much light out there (Laughter). Whenever I speak to a lot of people – not all of them, many of them – if I tell them, “You know, we are planting hundred and fourteen million trees, you could do something”, they’ll say… they’ll tell me a very passionate story, how they… his wife or his mother has a trust where she fla… planted one hundred and eight trees around their factory and how they have grown, how beautiful they are and how it’s… how they are enjoying it. In all this passion, I just (Gestures)… okay, what’s there to say. Hundred and eight trees are good, I’m not saying no, but if your capacity was only hundred and eight, I am… I’ll bow down to you. Your capacity is hundred and eight million, not hundred and eight, but you are satisfying yourself with hundred and eight. You talk about nourishment, you say, “You know what? My maid’s children, they were so malnourished. Three of them, every Sunday, we feed them” (Laughter). These kind of stories I’ve heard of great compassion and love (Laughs).
So, there is a whole culture of doing something for your satisfaction or doing something because you want to buy a ticket to heaven. I want people to come to a place where you being fulfilled should happen within you. If you want to go to heaven, please leave (Laughter). But if you want to be a solution, there’s another way to work. I fed two children and I feel very happy. It’s all right, I appreciate that, I’m glad for those two children but this is not a solution, this is only for satisfaction. So, it’s time at least those people who are in a certain level of capability, I would say… When I say capability, all of you will thinking, “Oh, okay, some big corporate leader.” I’m saying all of you are in a certain level of capability, who should see how to bring a solution, not do something for your silly satisfaction. You can be satisfied by eating food, by simply sitting quietly, by sleeping well, doing whatever. Satisfaction need not come through somebody else’s suffering. You don’t have to fulfill your satisfaction because of this… You know, somebody is suffering, that is not the basis of your suffering and if you buy a ticket to heaven through that suffering, I don’t know, heaven will turn into hell for pobabl… probably for you (Laughs). I hope it does (Laughter).