In Conversation with the Mystic
Sadhguru in conversation at Munyonyo with BBC World Service Newsday presenter, Alan Kasujja, June 2016, in the run-up to International Day of Yoga
By Lulu Sturdy
“Your success in this world essentially depends on how well you can harness the prowess of this body and this mind” – Sadhguru
Sadhguru is a contemporary mystic and yogi, a living archive of knowledge, who probes the farthest realms of illogic, and yet is unfailingly rational and pragmatic in his approach. The result is a unique perspective on a world you thought you knew.
He is visiting Uganda for the first time, in June 2016, coinciding with world celebrations of International Day of Yoga, and can be encountered at a free public event at Munyonyo entitled: ‘In Conversation with the Mystic’ (details at base of page).
Alan Kasujja, the BBC World Service presenter for Newsday and moderator of the first Presidential debate, will be Sadhguru’s guest, exploring with him a range of fascinating topics with relevance to Uganda and the individual.
Sadhguru on International Day of Yoga
(Editor’s note: At the end of 2014, an unprecedented 177 out of a total 193 member nations of the United Nations pitched behind the resolution for an International Day of Yoga.)
Yoga essentially means that in search of wellbeing, you don’t look up. Because if you look up, you will hallucinate, you will start imagining things which are not in your experience. And above all, you do not know which is up and which is down.
In the last 150 years, most of humanity has looked up, and a small segment has looked out – gathering wealth and building palaces. But today, a large part of humanity is looking out instead of up. If we look out for human wellbeing, we will destroy the very basis of our existence, which is what we are doing.
We have different names for this – ecological problems, global warming, climate change – but human beings are just looking out in pursuit of wellbeing. That is all it is. The only ultimate solution, and the only way human beings will truly know wellbeing, is by turning inward.
This is what yoga means. Not up, not out, but in. The only way out is in.
And now, a situation has come where the leaders of nations are speaking about yoga. Not just in India, but in the highest international body – the United Nations. We definitely want to do something for International Day of Yoga that will make a big impact on the planet.
Sadhguru on What is Mysticism
What exactly do we understand by the word ‘mysticism? That which cannot be understood through logic usually gets termed mystical. Or in other words, that which you are unable to comprehend through the five sense organs gets labelled mystical.
Right now the logical dimension of thought is filtering life through the intellect. The logical process has become so dominant simply because right now perception is limited to the five senses.
The very nature of sense perception is such that it always perceives everything in bits and pieces. It always divides everything into at least two. It never perceives anything as one.
If you can see one side of your hand you cannot see the other side. This is so even if you take a grain of sand. If you perceive one part of it, you do not perceive another.
The moment you perceive everything through the five sense organs, the world gets divided. Only when there is a division, there is logic. If there is only one, there is no logic. The foundation of the logical mind is in dividing the world. If you do not divide existence, you cannot employ your logic. Sense perception and logical thinking are directly connected. They are complementary to each other.
That dimension of truth, which cannot be boxed into your logical mind, is being labeled “mystical.” When you say, “we want to explore mysticism,” you are saying that you are willing to go beyond your present levels of understanding and experience and look for the truth. Our logical minds will not be of use to us here.
Only what has been fed to you through the filters of your five sense organs is the content of your logic. And these sense organs are not reliable.
Today, neuroscientists are going to great lengths to prove that almost everything that you have known as true until now is false – what you see, hear, smell and taste is not true.
It is a big deception. Nothing is the way it seems. Physicists were telling you this to an extent, but neuroscientists are now confirming it to you. They can prove to you with experimentation that everything that you see around you – the shapes and forms, colors and sizes – none of this is true.
I think, way back, Indian mystics always said everything is maya (illusion). When we say something is an illusion, it does not necessarily mean that it does not exist. It simply means you are not seeing it the way it is.
As you know, what is light for you is darkness for someone else. What is darkness for you is light for someone else.
On this planet, there is more life which is nightlife – and I am not talking about city night life! I am talking nocturnal creatures, which outnumber the day creatures by far. If you and an owl sit together and start an argument as to which is light and which is darkness, it would take you into an endless argument!
Maya is not just on this level. Even the very shapes and sizes that you see are not the way they are. There are many tiny creatures which actually do not see you because they do not see sizes beyond a certain proportion at all. It is not relevant to their survival. You do not see all the microbes, do you? In the same manner, they do not see you. You are not important for them.
Our perception through the sense organs is very limited. What we refer to as the mystical is that dimension of life which we are unable to perceive through our sense organs or deduce through our logical process. When our logic fails, anything that does not look logical becomes mysterious. Right now because your perception is limited to the five senses, the mystical can only be a fantastic story that you either believe or disbelieve.