What should a 20-year-old do in life?
Sadhguru answers a question from a college student about what he should do to live a life of truth, involvement and fulfillment.
Questioner: I am a twenty-year-old university student striving to live a life of truth, involvement, fulfillment. How should I and people my age balance the inner path with the outer world, be… going to school, getting a professional career or spending more time at the ashram? (Few Laugh)
Sadhguru: (Laughs) See, all of us have to live in this universe. No choice about it right now. But university is a choice and that’s why you’re asking this question. (Laughs) How much time? Education is of value to do certain things, but what should we be doing - as individual human beings, as a generation of people, what should we be doing in our lives? Because people do not know what they should be doing because they never open their eyes and look at the rest of the world, they will take on odd purposes.
This lady comes to me, somewhere (Laughs) - let me not tell the geography, people may start guessing who she is and what she is (Laughs) - this lady comes to me and says she is going through a hairdressing course, some two-year course in some university, something. And, she felt it’s a calling. God told her that “You must become a hairdresser.” You must show your head to her. (Laughter) (Questioner is bald) This twenty-year-old university student, if others did not notice… you saw his hairstyle? (Laughter) If this becomes everybody’s calling, what will hap to… happen to her profession? Tch… (Few laugh) I am saying to…
(Laughs) This happened. Two nuns went to the grocery store. They bought many things and one of them said, “Would you like to have some beer?” The other one said, “Yeah, for sure. It’s been a long time. But… how are we going to face the salesperson there?” This one said, “You don’t worry. I will take care of it.” She went there, picked up a twelve-pack case of the beer, took it and put it on the counter in front of the salesperson. This salesperson raised his eyebrows and looked at her – “Nun buying beer!?” So she said, “No, no, we use it as a shampoo for our hair.” (Laughter) So, the salesperson without batting an eyelid made the bill and also kept a packet of pretzels and said, “You can use this as the curlers.” (Laughter) So, God communicates to people and says, “You must become a hairdresser.” Tch… What a vain man he must be (Laughter) to be sending out these kind of messages to people! (Laughs)
You know, somebody went to war. A destructive purposeless war and when he was asked why, he said, “God told me.” You remember? Not so long ago. Long time ago, many times they were told. We thought in recent times, he has come to his senses, (Few Laugh) but even in twenty first century, he did it.
So, is there a God-given purpose? I want you to know… See, we generally run the ashram as meticulously as possible, but do you think we know how many gros… grasshoppers reside in this lawn? Do you think our garden department is aware of this? You think so? (Laughs) Definitely not. What makes you think God is aware of you? Such a huge cosmos. (Laughter) You are less than a grasshopper, (Laughs) looking at the size of the cosmos. (Laughs) This fancy idea that God is telling you to become a hairdresser… you guys in waiting for this lady? (Laughter)
So, people are inventing things like this and making it up. What I would say is as a young man I want you to open your eyes and look at the world. Right now, please see what is the most needed thing in the world right now. You don’t do some fanciful thing that you like to do. You must do what’s most needed, isn’t it? Isn’t it so? If you get carried away by situations - people become like this - it’s useful, but it is not the basic thing. Today, you saw a train burning. So, you want to become a firefighter. Tomorrow you saw something, you want to become that. In reaction… in emotional reaction, you choose to become something. It could be useful on some level. But now when most young people cannot think, you are thinking, “What should I do with my life?” When such a thought has come, I would say spend little more time on it, not being influenced by anybody or anything. Simply look at it - what is it that the humanity needs most? What is it that the world needs most today? I want you to recognize that. The only thing that needs to be fixed on this planet is human beings. Everything else is fine. Isn’t it so? Isn’t that so?
You don’t have to train tigers. You don’t have to tame the wildlife. The only thing that needs some fixing is human beings. If you fix this one species, this is a beautiful world, isn’t it? (Laughs) So, if you see that - you must see, not me seeing; because I have seen that, I am doing this. If you see that, you must do that. If you think the most important thing is to conquer the moon, India is sending out its moon machine soon. (Laughs) We can put you on that. (Laughs) But, what is the point? I am not saying it’s not important. Well, the Americans claim they’ve landed on the moon, world did not change because of that. Chinese are going to land in 2014, nothing will happen, believe me. You don’t think… You don’t think the shape of the moon will change because Chinese land on the moon. (Laughter) 2015, Indians are going to land. Nothing is going to change because of this. Some… maybe we will set up our… instead of floating satellites, we’ll set up fixed satellites on the moon. Then our televisions sets will work only once in twenty eight days, that would be great. (Laughter) We don’t know what will happen. (Laughs)
So, what is the most important thing that needs to happen right now, because humanity is hurtling itself towards a precipice. It’s a cliffhanger right now. We could fall off anytime - one mistake, we could fall off. “Oh, it’s all right. That’s also another way to correct itself. Nature has its ways.” If you think that way, no problem. Whatever happens, you can see some good in it, okay. This is the dastardly humanity which does this. They are usually passed off as very good human beings. If suppose a million people die tomorrow in this world, “Tch… it’s all for the good, you know, population control.” You won’t say that if it happens to you, isn’t it? You won’t say that if it happens to somebody who is near and dear to you. It happens to somebody, population control. These… these things are going on, people are talking this language. If you want to do population control, there’re more sensible things to do. Yes? (Laughs) If you want to do population control, there’re more sensible ways of doing it. This is not the way to do it.
So, you look at this. You will see… If anybody opens their eyes and simply looks unprejudiced look at the world, you will see the only species which needs to be fixed and contained right now is human species. We need to make some drastic changes with them. Otherwise, they are going to finish this off and they are also prospecting in other planets. They are not only going to finish one, they’re aiming for the whole solar system. (Laughs)
So, I would say all young people, not just you, must take a break from what you’re doing. Just caught up - because you did… you did school you went to the college, because you did college you went to the next thing and the next thing and you end up with a Ph.D. - what to do? (Laughter) It’s dangerous, you know? Because, the education scientists are saying, if you go through twenty years of formal education and land up with a Ph.D. or something, seventy percent of your intelligence is irrevocably destroyed. (Laughter) Yes. You will become a very knowledgeable idiot. (Laughter) And today, knowledge has no use because whatever a Ph.D. holder knows, a high-school kid can open the internet and talk the same language. (Few Laugh) You can’t even look smart anymore with what you collected, isn’t it? Because… just about anybody will talk these things because it’s all over the place.
So, are you preparing for a university or the universe? That’s (Laughs) where you have to live, unless you want to become an academic. I am not saying these things are wrong, but human beings… sensible human beings must invest their life towards what is needed most, isn’t it? Not some fanciful thing that I want to do or you want to do. You can do whatever, joyfully or miserably, isn’t it? And just because today you think, “By doing this, I will be happy,” if you go, don’t ever think you will stay happy by doing that after some time. Everybody when they got their first job, what a beautiful day it was! (Few laugh) You went to this mangy little office, sat there and wow! (Laughter) Tch, how it felt! You are a bloody cur… clerk, but you felt like you are on top of the world. But after a few years, sitting behind the same table, it’s taking your life - the same job, the same marriage, the same situations – they’re taking your life. At one day, it looked like heaven. After some time, it looks like hell, isn’t it? Not because there’s something wrong with those jobs, simply because you’re doing it for the wrong reason, you’re just doing it for the wrong reasons, that’s all.
So, now that you are twenty, though you lost your hair, at least you have not lost your head, you’re thinking. (Laughs) Now that you’re thinking, I would say take a few weeks off. We’re willing to give you the space. Just stay, uninfluenced by anybody, just look at it. There are many things you will want to do right now because of immediate compulsions. You are broke right now. You think the first thing is to find a job or some other compulsion within you, you think the first thing is to do this. Beside your compulsions… Suppose, you had none of these compulsions, what would you like to do with life, that’s what you should do. You should not decide your life and the course of your life based on immediate compulsions. You decide in your life, if you do this for hundred years and look back, after hundred years if you look back, is it still worthwhile? You do that. There are many others who would like to be you. Tch, “Oh, I wish I was twenty and I wish I could think what to do at that time, I did something.” There’re any number of people here. Now that you are twenty and you are fortunate that you’re thinking and it’s fortunate that you are here, it’s time you think straight before you do anything. (Laughs) (Applause)