The Spiritual Significance of the Equinox
Sadhguru explains how in the yogic tradition, the equinox is seen as a day when one has the best possibility of transcending the limitations and compulsions of one's physical longings. Shiva is said to have sat as an Ardhanari - half woman and half man, because masculine and feminine are on an even keel on this day.
Sadhguru: Today is the equinox - this is the spring equinox. All of you know what it means in terms of the celestial equator. That is an imaginary line drawn above the earth’s equator which is also an imaginary line - dividing this planet into northern and southern hemispheres or that point where the magnetic field of the northern pole and the southern pole alter in different ways. How things behave in the northern hemisphere - the different fields of energy, how they behave in the northern hemisphere and just crossing over the equator, how they behave, is entirely different.
So on this day this celestial equator is in perfect alignment with the sun. That means all the influences upon the planet are at an equilibrium. The word equinox is trying to suggest that equal amount of daylight and night - that’s not entirely true. It’s not exactly twelve hours, twelve hours but generally true with a little bit of margin on it, depending on which part of the world we are in. But the significance of equinox for the human being is - on this day the masculine and the feminine is it an even keel. In the yogic tradition this day is seen as a day when one has the best possibility of transcending the limitations and the compulsions of one’s physical longings. Transcending the lustful compulsions within the human body, the possibility of that is at its best on this day. Shiva sat as an ardhanari. That is, he was half woman and half man because both are even today. The play of the energies on this planet are on a (an?) even keel this day and another day in September which is 23rd or… between 21st and 23rd of September.
So this is the day when women are on equal keel with the male (Laughs). Other days I mean they’re dominant (Laughter). It's a level playing field within our own system and whether socially, economically or otherwise the only thing that we can provide is a level-playing field for everybody. You cannot make people equal, it's never going to work but you can provide an equal opportunity. An equal opportunity simply means a level-playing field. So this is the day when the two fundamental forces which play within us as Ida and Pingala, as masculine and feminine, as Shiva and Shakti is on an even keel. This is a good day because it is a level-playing field. One will not dominate the other.
Traditionally it is considered as a day that is free of prejudice. Why it is considered as a day fee… free of prejudice is – prejudice essentially arises in our minds because we are overly identified with something. We’re here coming down to a very basic aspect of being masculine or feminine. If you’re too identified with being masculine you will have a masculine prejudice; if you’re too identified being feminine you will have a feminine prejudice. So this day is considered as a day on which one can be free of prejudice. All other prejudices are an outcome of this fundamental prejudice because this is physiological in nature. The very way our bodies are made, one has become superior another has become inferior. From this prejudice arises everything else.
So on this day Shiva is sitting half man, half woman - unprejudiced. Not one more than the other, equally divided between masculinity and femininity. There are… (Laughs) There are many types of sadhanas for different… different times of the year. We’re looking… At least a small band of people – I don’t trust everybody will do these things - at least a small band of people, at some point we can lead them through these three hundred and sixty-five days – different, different dimensions, accordingly doing different things. But most people having trouble with their basic sadhana – adding more things is meaningless. If basic sadhana has become like your breath, simply there with your life that there is no effort in it, then other dimensions could be added. What is the point? Particularly when all kinds of upstarts – there are people going about and saying, if you simply get up in the morning and laugh, “Hahahahaha, hahahahaha, hahahahaha,” three times, you’ll get liberated. You know there’s something called as laughing yoga. You can start barking yoga, if you want (Laughter). Yes (Laughs).
When such ridiculous things are being done, if I talk about three hundred and sixty different ways of doing things (Laughs) we’ll get labeled as extremists. But if you want to know the intricacy of life in its full depth and dimension – not somehow you lived and died – you want to know it all. If such a longing comes then it needs attention to everything. If you simply close your eyes and sit here you must know which day of the year it is, even if you’ve been kept on in a dark room in sadhana for twelve months – if you simply sit here without – not like Robinson Crusoe marking it on the floor. That is the way of a prisoner or somebody who is trapped. If you’re conscious, just by feeling the way it is, you should know which time of the month it is, which time of the year it is, which time of the day it is. That means your…you as a life, is in perfect sync with the larger dimension of life.
When I say larger dimension of life, it is… it's (Laughs) - we don’t have to go back to yogic lore anymore. Modern physics is clearly, clearly telling you that everything that’s pulsing within your body is in some way a reflection of the cosmic pulse. There is no anymore doubt about this. There’s no debate about this because enough scientific evidence has been gathered about these things. So if it is so, if this is just a small reflection of everything else, if you see clearly you must see everything in the reflection, isn't it? If you hold a mirror to the mountain you can see the mountain in the mirror. It is just that the mirror should be clean, not covered with muck or uneven. If it's a plain mirror, kept clean, you can see the mountain, you can see the sky in the mirror. You can see the sky through your window even if it's only this (Gestures) much, isn't it? You can see the world through your two eyes, so small. You don’t need this big (Gestures) eyes to look at the world.
So, you don’t have to become a huge piece of life to reflect the cosmos within you - just an alignment. So, all these things are relevant only to those who are paying enormous attention to light…life. That life means so much to you that you want to know it in its every minutest possibility. If that is so, yogic system has a sadhana for every day of the year. Every dimension, every position of the planet there is a different sadhana so that you are aligned and you’re able to reflect it the way it is, not the way you think it is – untouched… untouched by the corruption of your thought. When I say untouched by the corruption of your thought process - because thought need not have anything to do with life. It can be induced into you. We can say some rubbish to you and that rubbish can go on endlessly in your mind. It’ll…It has nothing to do with the reality of the existence. Simply it can go on.
Thought can come to you as simply gossip. It is the most harmless form of thought – gossip. Or it can come to you as an ideology – now it's getting little strong. Or it can come to you as a philosophy – it's getting much stronger. Or it can come to you as religion or it can come to you, the worst form is, it comes to you as the word of God. Now you’re fully corrupted. Because now you ca… cannot deny even the silliest thought. You have lost even the discriminatory process that you cannot even see this is stupid. It's stupid but it's holy, is… (Laughs)? So, once you’re corrupted by thought you have no sense of life, simply your own psychological process is more important than the whole cosmic dimension of the existence.
So equinox is the time to become unprejudiced. The fundamental process of prejudice is you’re getting identified with your body to start with, and the next leap - it’s a huge, you know… I don't know if… I don’t think that’s possible today in today’s education system. When we were in school, at that time if a child is good at studies he would get double promotion, you know? From second standard he does not go to third standard, he goes to fourth or fifth sometimes – double, double. So from identifying with the body to identifying with the thought is a many fold promotion into corruption. The moment you’re identified with your thought, you’re a lost case because you've fallen out of Creation, you’ve fallen out of reality. From reality you’ve fallen into your own illusory rubbish. So once you fall into your own nonsense you’re free to drive yourself crazy whichever way you want.
So equinox is a day to bring balance to di… this, to not be identified with this or that, not even being a man or a woman, not even being human or another creature – just to sit here and throb. I want you to keep your eyes open and fix a point about four feet away and without moving your eyeballs, simply… Don’t stare like this (Gestures) - gently. Just hold your gaze steady at one place. Four feet away from you, just hold your gaze. Not at me. I’m many more feet than four. Just hold your gaze unmoving for some time.