Interview special! A chat with Sadhguru: How do we live better in these difficult times?
We might be nearing the end of our nation-wide lockdown. But uncertainty and fear prevails, and with good reason. The number of people affected by COVID-19 continues to rise, and all we can do is pray, maintain our hygiene, and keep our surroundings clean. With our mortality more in question than ever before in the face of a worldwide pandemic, we turn to the man who seems to have all the answers — spiritual leader and mystic Sadhguru. After a spree of YouTube videos offering food for thought and intriguing titles like ‘Was the Corona Pandemic Predicted Centuries Ago’ and ‘Corona Doesn’t Want to Kill You’ (over 2 million views) released recently, the yogi and author of several books answers some of our questions. Excerpts from an interaction:
We live in uncertain times with a pandemic holding us ransom; how does one live each day with joy instead of fear?
You ask, “In these uncertain times, how can I be joyful?” You cannot depend on the outside to bring you joy because the outside never happens 100 percent the way you want it to. Joy is about how you are within yourself. As there is a science and technology to create external situations the way we want, there is a technology for inner wellbeing that can be employed to create your inner situations the way you want. If your mind and emotions take instructions from you, you would definitely keep yourself joyful.
And yet, without fear, wouldn't we end up putting ourselves at risk?
When things are not going the way you want them to go, that is when your capability is most needed. But if you are in panic, you are paralysed. When you forsake your capability when you most need it, would you call that an intelligent way to act? A human being who is joyful, sensible and responsible can deal with situations much better than one who is fearful.
How does one deal with self-isolation and the loneliness that comes with it?
If you are alone and feeling lonely and miserable, that means you are in bad company!
All human experience has a chemical basis to it. What you call as joy, misery, stress, anxiety, agony and ecstasy are different kinds of chemistry. If you have a chemistry of blissfulness, then whether someone is around you or not, you are fantastic. Yoga is a way to create a stable and blissful chemistry within yourself, and enhance your ability to deal with the ups and downs of life. Once your way of being is not determined by anything outside of you, there can be no such thing as loneliness.
Living in isolation as part of this lockdown is forcing many people to reconnect and grow deeper bonds. Others are getting a much needed breather from work or kindling new interests and hobbies. What are your thoughts on living one's best life during this unique time in history?
The most important thing is we are alive and we have a vacation. The virus has given you this chance. Let's put it to good use. If we put enough effort into these few weeks, we can come out physically fitter, mentally more stable, energetically stronger and spiritually more receptive. This is a good amount of time for you to become that wonderful person that you are aspiring to meet, that you are expecting everyone else to be. If you become that wonderful person, others can enjoy it, but above all, you will enjoy it. Concern is only of those who have livelihood issues.
What made you write a book about death?
In many ways, the entire world's population is right now strongly reminded of their mortal nature. But mortality is our constant companion always. So this is a book is for everyone - to bring an unadulterated understanding of this very important dimension of our life.
This is that sort of book where if you read bits and pieces over 30 days, you may not feel what it is. You must read as much as possible in one sitting so that it goes into you and sits in you like a lump; then you slowly digest it. When else would you get two to three weeks uninterrupted, just to sit and read? This is a very good time to do it. Mortality is staring us in our face.
Death; An Inside Story is published by Penguin India, INR 299.