For last 5 months, I have worked to promote a program called Inner Engineering by Sadhguru. I am just one volunteer and on this blog I don’t carry any brief from the organization. I have always written what to me is important with utmost frankness. And that is exactly what I intend to do this time as well.
This volunteering time for me is one of the most significant, because when you meet people with unbeatable commitment against all odds, that could easily put normal people through tremendous misery – you see life in ways you didn’t know about. More importantly, it humbles you.
For me, my spiritual pursuit culminating with my alignment to Sadhguru Jaggi’s way of Isha Yoga has been the fruuctifying of yearning that stemmed from religious foundation. For years, I have been asking questions and trying to look deeper than I could find myself in the beginning. No matter how hard I tried, there came a time when I realized that my own inquiry suffered from inadequacy.
When I first walked out of the Inner Engineering program in 2009, I was clear that indulgence in “Spiritual Entertainment” has to end. It would be foolish to be satisfied talking of Liberation in coffee talks when one is no closer to it. Knowledge of joy and being Joyous are two entirely different things. Settling for the former at the expense of the latter is utterly foolish!
On Thursday May 3rd, Sadhguru addressed a gathering of Houstonians. Instead of molly-coddling, the way people are used to from the Gurus, he gave a reality check. His words were direct, clear and profound. I personally thought that there was no room for any distortion. But, I had completely under-estimated the creativity of the human mind.
Since that program ended, there are people who have been sharing messages which have raised hackles in the Houston community. Since, the message from Sadhguru to Houston community has been handled so irresponsibiy and often from emotion as opposed to rationality, I would like to place my own experience and my understanding in that context.
So, let us start directly with the message and its points. It will bring a lot of things to clarity in the process.
One person had the following issues:
- He doesn’t believe in GOD. His comments were “it must have been mispelled for DOG”
- He ridiculed GITA that he never even studied.
- He almost insulted everyone that asked a question
- His comparison of life and death like coming to Houston and going back to India. Creation of life is a miracle.
- He converted the gentleman’s question on the existence of life and reincarnation to “Who am I?” and ridiculed the question.
- He used the words like “HELLL AND DAMN” several times. We do not use those words either at home or in Public.
This is not a one-off message, rather this cue has been taken and drummed up by incessant emails sans much understanding.
God and Dog
The question came from the audience about “Unconditional Love”. Commonly, Unconditional Love is a product of “professional Spiritual circles”. It is very common for “Professional Spiritualists” to talk of things like Divine Love and Unconditional Love easily but loosely. Sadhguru first questioned the validity of the assumption of “Lack of conditions” in love as the questioner or most people have experienced. Don’t you have conditions in love?
One experiences love is known and understood. We know it is a sweet and a pleasant emotion. Nowadays, in people’s life love has become so less that, Sadhguru said, they have exported it to heaven. Love, a human emotion, has been assigned divinity simply because human beings have become incapable of love all the time.
He then went on to suggest that ideas like “God is Love”, “God is Compassion” etc do not come from direct understanding. One has not seen God. Don’t know what He/She/It is like. Then how can one say what God is like? On the other hand, we know that at least “Dog is love”. We come home, our dog comes and welcomes us every day. We know humans are capable of love, we know our dog is capable of love, but from DIRECT EXPERIENCE, we don’t know if God is indeed love. This last one is an assumption.
He then suggested maybe in your hurry, you have misspelled Dog as God – as the epitome of love. So, why can’t we be content to acknowledge what we definitely know and what we don’t?
This is where, the story of God and Dog in Houston came from.
Insult to Gita
The tragedy with those who call themselves as “Hindu Activists” is that if Shri Krishna came himself and tried to explain Gita, these people will tell him that he doesn’t know Gita properly. Worse, they will proceed to explain what Gita really means to Krishna himself!
Ask any Bhagwad Gita “fan” about the central purpose and precept of Gita, and s/he will say it is “Moksha”. I have met many people – Activists, Acharyas, Priests, and Intellectuals – who have read Gita many times over (it includes me). With all due respects, none of them are “Mukt” (or Jeevanmukt like King Janak).
If Moksha was the central aim of Gita, and if none of the greatest writers, Acharyas etc are NOWHERE near Moksha, then it could be either one of two things:
- Either they are not reading Gita, or
- If they are reading Gita, then they have failed Gita.
The Acharyas who like to talk of Gita for hours, if such people have not even touched Moksha, and if the message itself was designed or crafted for Moksha, then why is it that way?
The thing is that Bhagwad Gita is NOT in an Acharya’s Mind, but in Krishna’s word. Bhagwad Gita happens in Shri Krishna’s “Vachan” or words. What happens in an Acharya’s Mind is not Gita.
It doesn’t matter what words the Acharya is reading. What is important is what is in his mind. And, THAT, is not Gita. For, years have passed and despite many times of reading the text, the learned man is not mukt. Gita is (not was) a message that on just ONE reading should take you to Moksha right away.
Gita teaches us to do good – this was another remark made about Gita. Honestly, I have never found Gita talking anywhere about being “Good”. Why?
1. When one says “I want to do Good”, what one is really saying is that “I want to do an action that will yield a good result”. Good, is not the adjective for the action. It is the adjective of the result. One who is attached to “Doing Good” is really attached to the result, because Good is the adjective for the result and not action. Of the many messages, the message on detachment from result is one of the main messages in Gita. So, if one closely looks, any person who has read Gita and yet swears by “Doing Good” is schizophrenic. But the one who claims Gita “teaches being good” is really insulting Gita!
2. Another way to look at this is also to know what “Being Good” means in Gita itself. Being Good is the Sattvik Guna. Like this there are Rajasik and Tamasik gunas. Therefore, there are 3 Gunas. Gita also talks about going beyond Maya. Maya is called “Trigunmayi”, which means “that which has 3 Gunas”. In the run up to the popular verse “Karmanya vadhika Raste….”, Krishna explains how doing “Sakam Karmas” will not lead a person to Moksha, that is why a person has to go beyond the Maya. A Maya, that encompasses Sattvik as well.
So, pray, how does Bhagwad Gita EVER teach to “Being Good”? In fact, teachings of “being good”, have been imported into India from outside. Bhagwad Gita does NOT teach one to be good, but to be liberated!
Insulted the Questioners
If your entire pride resides in your question, then one should stay away from asking them. Only when your question is coming out of your ignorance, yet yearning to know, then one stand up and ask questions.
To break one’s ignorance and “mind chatter”, a Guru tries to jolt a person out of his / her assumptions and presumptions about life and creation. It is a tradition that any Guru worth his name has done. But if one holds one’s pride so dear, then such a person shouldn’t go to a Guru. Guru is not an Entertainment channel. He is a Liberator!
It is ironic that someone who wanted to dispel darkness of ignorace felt insulted when he was given a spiritual answer with humor to boot. Either the person lacks sense of humor or sense of reasonableness or both!
I am not sure what Spiritual credentials, the person who got insulted had, but we may get some idea of how some other Gurus have treated beings of great Spiritual fame. Let us look at what Sage Vasistha says to Shri Ram in “Yoga Vasistha”, when he asked a question which didn’t represent the teaching that was being provided by his teacher.
RAMA asked: Holy sir, does a yogi’s physical body then become an ethereal body?
VASISTHA replied: How many times have I told you, O Rama: yet you do not grasp it! The ethereal body alone is: by persistent fancy, it appears to be linked to a physical body. Just as when an ignorant man (who thinks he is the physical body) dies and the body is cremated, has a subtle body, even so the yogi on being enlightened while living, has an ethereal body.
The physical body is only the creation of one’s ignorant fancy, and is not real. There is no difference between the body and the ignorance. To think they are two – this indeed is samsara.
The ruthlessness of Sage Vasistha keeps on in the entire dialog, which is a Question & Answer session with Ram.
If molly-coddling is one’s idea of Spiritual Guru, then one shouldn’t even come close to any. It can be very injurious to one’s ego. If one wants to bloat one’s ego, then avoiding a Guru – the one who doesn’t molly-coddle – is the best thing to do.
But if one is such, then one shouldn’t also start talking about Spirituality while arguing so eloquently for one’s ego from the other side!
Life is a Miracle, but not treated so
For someone who has not seen the other side of “death”, he will surely say all sorts of things about death. If only one could see both sides of the life, one could say if Life and Death are two different things or one. Sadhguru simply said, that one who has never left Houston while his friend has left Houston, then for the person who stays in Houston, the person leaving is as good as dead. Why? because you are not going to see the person again and you have no visibility into the life of this person outside of Houston.
It is similar with death. One who has seen only Life “on this side”, doesn’t know death completely. For a person who has not understood that body is ignorance and something that needs to be shed (precept from Gita) – Death will also seem to be a bad thing.
Question: ‘Who Am I?”
Reincarnation is a concept that that inherently says, that LIfe – which is in the experience of that which never dies and has never been born – is the only truth. That which never dies, just as Krishna explained, how does Life and Death become different?
To know the process of that dimension, which is neither born, nor does it sleep, one has to know it. Right? What is it that neither dies, nor is it born, and that which we should know? Our Atman, as per Gita. What is Atman? Your real self.
When Krishna says ‘Arjun, there was never a time when you or I weren’t there, and there will never be a time when we will not be there.” What is he talking about? Will the body be there? Or something else? That which he calls “himself”, he is saying that will remain always.
So, to know how one’s own Atman will behave, one has to know it first. How can you know Reincarnation – Atman’s journey – without knowing what Atman is?
For example, if I tell you to go on a journey in special bus, you should know what the bus is? If you don’t know it, you may go and sit in a car, and go somewhere else.
To approach reincarnation, without understanding “Who Am I?” is not even possible.
Use of Words like Damn and Hell
It is suggested that these words are not even used at home, how does a Guru utter them? Morality and Spirituality have nothing to do with each other. As we have seen “Being Good” and “trying to do good” is against the most important precepts of Bhagwad Gita itself. Why?
Because Bhagwad Gita is about Spirituality and not a Personal Development book. It is a shame that we are trying to bring Bhagwad Gita down to the level of a Personal Development best seller, and Krishna to the level of Tony Robbins!
Somehow, certain groups in Houston who attended the May 3 program suddenly turned hyper-Puritanical – a-la Conservative Christians. The words they had issues with were – “Damn” and “Hell”. And apart from that, they had issues with jokes he cracked to help drive in a point.
The hyper conservative Tea-Party Religious in US always raise hackles on trivial issues to bring down Obama. It could be his name or where he is born etc. And somehow they end up tying up the most trivial things to the morality of the entire society! But this bunch of Houstonians are even worse, they even lack sense of humor.
For this group of people has even raised arms at the jokes that Sadhguru came up with. These so-called “Bhagwad Gita Enthusiasts” take their Ego far too seriously! Quite obviously they have a long way to go before they can even put the most fundamental truth of Gita into practice. Meanwhile, if you are talkin’ God, please talk to us with a poker face and in politically correct semantics, because we love our identities and egos.
As for words, one often wonders what these so called “Bhagwad Gita Enthusiasts” would have done, had they been in Shri Krishna’s times! For example, in Gita – Krishna says that those who memorize the Vedas by heart (शब्दार्थ) without understanding the Essence (भावार्थ) are मूढ़ (Idiots). Use of words like Idiot – which is what मूढ़ translates into in English, wouldn’t have played well with the oh-so-Puritanical so-called Hindus of Houston.
I am not one who would argue that people like the ones who sent out messages are fanatic or idiots. They are not. They have a reason why they are pursuing something and speaking out. But doing activism in Hinduism without adequate foundation in EXPERIENTIAL SPIRITUALITY is the greatest guarantee for destroying what is most important in Sanatana Dharma. Because, in absence of that understanding, you will end up destroying what is the core and save what was not important.
Krishna today would not come weilding his Sudarshan, he comes trying to do things in ways that very few can. He manifests in beings that are extraordinary. If only someone could spend just 24 hours with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, one would know that this group of Houstonians have actually tried to give a lecture on Gita to Krishna himself in many ways. Such is the arrogance and ridiculousness of Hindu Activism today.
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