Sadhguru Addresses the UN – IDY 2016


Sadhguru: Good afternoon everybody, the Excellencies and Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for being here. Maxwell Kennedy: Good afternoon Sadhguru and good afternoon to your Excellencies and distinguished guests and to all the meditators who are watching on the internet right now. I’m so grateful to be here and it’s such a privilege really to be here. My name is Maxwell Kennedy and I’ve been… I learned how to meditate from Sadhguru a few years ago So, we are here at the United Nations and there are fort… maybe forty or sixty ambassadors here and seventy different countries and 7000 people and we are here to talk about Sustainable Development. So, why did you start with a chant? Sadhguru: (Laughs) The chant is an invocation. An invocation means – to perform different types of activities, we need to have our energies in different ways, otherwise… Most people have become competent in one way or the other but if you ask them to do something totally different, they will find themselves totally at loss. This is simply because their energies get directed in one way only. An invocation means you, kind of, make yourself malleable in such a way that for every different type of action, you need your energies in different parts of your system and you’re able to graduate that, calibrate that in such a way to perform that specific activity. So, when I sit here, what we need to do is different from what I was doing when I was walking down here. So, this is just calibration using sounds. If we have to know the meaning, it’s talking about how birth is sweetness but death is compassion; it’s a relief. We may think death is a terrible thing but aren’t we glad that someday we will die. Suppose we could not die, that would be terrible, isn’t it (Laughs)? Suppose we can’t die at all! And above all, it is talking about yoga in the sense, the chant is describing yoga as a way of transcending time. When we say transcending time, right now we have a sense of time only because we are so identified with our physical nature. Suppose we did not have a body, we would ha… would not have any sense of time. Our body is keeping time. Everything that is time, is cyclical but yoga is a dimension which wants to transcend, which helps you to transcend these cycles and make a journey beyond cyclical nature of life which is the nature of physical existence. Maxwell Kennedy: Thank you. I had a teacher at Harvard, who was a medical doctor. And he told me a story, that when he was a young doctor he went down to Mississippi and he saw children there in the United States – this is in the mid 1960’s – who were starving. And after that trip he went to Washington DC and he had… he tried to meet a group of senators and he went to one after another and none of them would talk to him. And on Sunday afternoon he got my father’s phone number at home. My father is Senator Robert F. Kennedy and my sister Kerry who runs the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial is here right now and my wife Vicki. So… But he got my dad’s number and he called and it was Sunday my dad’s with children and he said to him, “Well, all right, why don’t you come over and we’ll talk.” And after they spoke, my dad went to Mississippi to where this doctor had gone and when he came back he wrote this… he said these words, “…and there are others… “On the back roads of Mississippi where thousands of children slowly starve their lives away. Their minds damaged beyond repair by the age of four or five, in the camps of the migrant workers, a half a million nomads virtually unprotected by collective bargaining or social security, minimum wage or workmen’s compensation. Exposed to the caprice of fate and the cruelty of the fellowmen alike and on Indian reservations where the unemployment rate is eighty percent, and where suicide is not a philosopher’s question but the leading cause of death among young people.” So, after that trip, my father went back to the Senate and he worked with a group of others and they created the first food stamps program in the United States and that is kind of the development model that I’m used to. So, when I look at the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, my immediate reaction is to think are the Addis Ababa accords going to fund this or not? But you have a different approach. Can you talk about yoga in that context? Sadhguru: So, when we say Sustainable Development Goals we are talking about human well-being, addressing human well-being as seventeen different issues which concerns poverty, nourishment, health, women’s issues, environment, these kind of things. Essentially, we’re talking about human well-being. How can you transform the world without transforming individual human beings? This is the effort that’s going on in the world for a long time. We want to transform the world but we are not aiming at individual human beings. The world is just a word – it is just you and me. If there is no transformation in you and me, if there is no change in the way we perceive, experience and fee… think, feel and act in this world, how can you change the world? So, we can pump in money, we can have projects, they will all go up and go down. But only if we transform individual human beings on a large scale only then there’ll be true transformation. This is why yoga becomes a significant thing. Today, the United Nations taking this up… taking up this International Yoga Day is a very important step. I would say it’s a revolutionary approach because without transforming individual human beings, you cannot really transform the world because there is no such thing as – in reality. In reality there’s just you, me and someone else. If all of us change, the world has changed. If we refuse to change, we will be only talking about it. I’ve been to any number of International Peace Conferences and everybody is talking about world peace. In one of these conferences where there were over seventeen Nobel Laureates, I asked them a simple question, “Is it… Is it true that all of you are truly peaceful human beings? Can you put your hand on your heart and say ‘I’m peaceful’?” They admitted, “No Sadhguru, we don’t know how to be peaceful. But we want the world peaceful.” How is that possible? What… What you see as the world is just a larger manifestation of who we are. Maxwell Kennedy: Sadhguru, You can see all around the world in Brazil, in the United States, in L.A. where I live, people are doing yoga. And when we’re doing it, I’m stretching out my body (Sadhguru laughs) and trying to control my breathing. Can you explain what yoga really is and how that can help attain the SDGs? Sadhguru: See, this fundamental human longing for health, for well-being, for fulfillment of life, when you find a logically correct and scientifically ascertainable way, then we say this is yoga. Yoga means – in search… in pursuit of human well-being, we’ve been doing all kinds of things. We’ve been looking up for a long time, which has led to humanity being divided in the name of religions, castes, creeds, in so many different ways. Now in the last fifty years, I would say, we are looking out seriously and we are ripping the planet apart. All the environmental degradation that we’re talking about is just in pursuit of human well-being. In the last hundred years, definitely we are the most comfortable generation ever. But we cannot say we are well because (Laughs) we are not really well. People are not happy, people are not peaceful, that is not happening because we have not addressed the inner nature. So when it… when you address it in a scientific manner rather than by belief, by philosophy, by ideologies, you address human well-being in a scientific way – this is yoga. The word yoga literally means union. When we say union, what we’re talking about is, we’re talking about a scientific way of obliterating your… the boundaries of your individuality. When I say a scientific way of obliterating, the boundaries of your individual nature, what this means is – right now as we sit here, this is me, that is you, distinctly clear but we are breathing the same air, we are… we are a product of the same earth. What you call as myself is just a pop up on this planet and it’ll pop out. But in this little bit of time, we have divided this in such a way that we can’t meet. Yoga means you obliterate this individual boundaries not intellectually, not by belief, not by ideology but as a living experience. We launched a… I mean this (Laughs) was there on the video – we launched a very large-scale environmental project in Southern India. The fundamental for this came from this. This happened to me when I was in the university and recently about eight years ago when I… when I happened to be in my hometown and after a very long time one of my English teachers came up to me and said, “Now I understand why you would not let me teach Robert Frost.” I said, “Ma’am, why would I not let you teach Robert Frost? I like Robert Frost.” She said, “Don’t you remember, you didn’t let me teach Frost.” Then I remembered, she came one day – till then we were reading only English poets – she came and introduced the American poet and she said, “Robert Frost, such a great man.” And then she started off “Woods are lovely dark and deep.” I said, “Stop!” I said, “A man who calls a tree a wood, I don’t want to listen to this guy.” She (Laughs)… She said, “No, no, this’s a very great poet.” I said, “I don’t care how great he is. He calls tree a wood. I don’t want to listen to him” (Laughs). Then, when we wanted to start this process in Southern India, when we found that rivers were going dry and the ground water was sinking very rapidly, when I decided we will plant 114 million trees in Tamil Nadu, the simple thing that we did was – I took thousands of people, made them sit under trees and we set up a yogic process with which they experienced that what they are breathing out, the trees are inhaling, what the trees are exhaling, they are inhaling. And they realized one half of their lungs is hanging out there. Once they realize this, there is no stopping. Even today millions of trees are being planted on a yearly basis, all done by common people. Simply because we brought this yogic experience to them that they truly realized that one half of their breathing apparatus is actually out there, not here. So, bringing this experience into people that what you think as myself is not within the boundaries of your physical nature, it goes well beyond that, if this becomes a living reality, then fulfilling these goals that United Nations has for the world is… becomes much more possible than the way it is right now, where we are trying to push in one way but a whole lot of people are pushing in the opposite direction because they don’t even see it as theirs. Maxwell Kennedy: Thank you Sadhguru. I wanted to point out this incredible thing about the tree planting project is that Sadhguru insisted that the trees be planted on small plots of land, less than half an acre and half of the trees are fruit trees and then half of them can be used for firewood so that the people who live on these lands are benefited from them. They take care of the trees and those trees actually really grow. And one of the things that’s really working on is… is poverty. And when I look at the world today and I see, especially in the United States, this incredible gap between people who have capital and people who don’t. And it’s a very disturbing sign to me that this… the gap between rich and poor. Can you talk a little bit about how yoga would address that in terms of sustainable development? Sadhguru: See, we must understand this that we have chosen an economic model which is all about “everybody for himself or herself.” There is no larger commitment to humanity as such because that is market economy. Everybody does according to their own capabilities and skills and grab what they can grab. It’s literally shoot-and-scoot economy. But we’ve gone for this, simply because the socialistic, communistic ideas have unfortunately failed. Not necessarily because they are bad because human beings are not ready for it yet, that is- poor people who had nothing, wanted to share, the rich never wanted to share. So it became a joke in the world. If the rich had to… If rich had the consciousness to share, communism would have been a great idea. But the poor want to share, rich don’t want to share. So that is the same situation here and this is the same situation building up everywhere else in the world. Is this the best way to run the world? No. But do we have a better idea? No. So (Laughs)… because right now we are in that place. So, the only thing that we can truly do is that we bring what is this… what we are referring to as yoga as a living experience. Yoga does not mean twisting your body, yoga does not mean standing on your head, yoga does not mean holding your breath. Yoga means, in some way you have transcended the limitations of your physical nature. You are beginning to experience life as a larger possibility, not just this physical form that you are. Once this becomes a living experience, sharing and living together will become a common experience everywhere. Does it mean we’re going to start communes and everybody will live together? No. We can run businesses in a more inclusive way. We can create a more inclusive economic model and this need not be done by government policy. This can be done by private individuals because there are companies which are almost as large as nations today. There are companies which budgets – which are bigger than nations. So it is very much possible that business can be run in a more inclusive way. Right now, we are thinking only of profit. Our idea of profit is very short-term kind of idea. If you really want to run your company, if you are thinking in terms of your company prospering in the next hundred, two hundred, five hundred years continuously, then it’s very important that you make your customer your partner, that you make everybody else in the society your partner. Whatever you are manufacturing or whatever you’re selling or whatever the business is – whether you’re selling a safety pin or a computer or a spacecraft – essentially the business is about human well-being. If this is… this comes into the consciousness of every business person, if this comes into the consciousness of building every business that essentially this is about human well-being, we do it in so many ways but fundamentally it’s about that, if this awareness and consciousness is instilled in the businesses on the planet, then you can find the capitalistic way of living need not mean disparity, can mean wellbeing to everybody. Max Kennedy: Sadhguru, I read the other day that for every dollar in government investment in developing countries that there are seven dollars now in private investment. So, how do we use yoga to yoke in the private corporations that are looking just at their bottom line to end up really having development that’s fair and just? Sadhguru: In the last twenty years I have largely focused on the business leaders because there was a time a few hundred years ago where the most influential leadership on the planet was religious leadership. Later on, when the military machines built up in a big way, the military leaders dominated the world. In the last hundred years, democratically elected leaders have become the most dominant force. In the next fifteen to twenty-five years you will see the business leaders will be the most important or influential leadership on the planet. The good thing about business is that, a businessman is willing to make a deal if the deal is good, no matter who you are. I’m saying the old prejudice of “I cannot make a deal with somebody” is going away and they’re willing to make a deal. Now, anything is sustainable only if it is beneficial to both the parties. Nothing can be sustained either in the market place or in marriage unless it’s beneficial to both the parties. Only when it’s truly beneficial to both the parties, this can be sustained. This is slowly sinking in to the business leadership. I have seen in the last twenty years prominent business leaders, their way of thinking is very, very different than what it was. My essential work has been to move individual leaders from their personal ambitions to a larger vision because a larger vision means then the business is sustainable for a long period of time. If it’s just your personal ambition the world will work against you. If you have a larger vision the world will work with you, this is the big difference. So, this is something that is slowly sinking in. You will see… If you see annual meetings of major businesses what they are talking, if you look at the Economic Forum, if you look at various economic… you know, assemblies on the planet, you will see they are all beginning to talk about a larger vision – how to make a difference rather than how to make a profit. This is become the language of the business these days. It still has to manifest in a big way but at least the language has changed from profit to making a difference. Maxwell Kennedy: Thank you. Sadhguru, When… when you look at societies all across the world there is a huge gap between what’s available to women and what’s available to men. The Sustainable Development Goals address this – how…what’s the role of gender equality in yoga? Sadhguru: See, yoga means transcending your physical nature, on one level. If you transcend your physical nature, where is the question of being a male or a female? You being a male or a female is relevant only in a few spaces in your life – in bathrooms and bedrooms, rest of the places I don’t see why you should recognize somebody as a man or a woman? Why are we identifying people with reproductory organs? If you must use a body part at least use the brain (Laughter/Applause). I think a small gender difference that is there between us to fulfill a certain aspect of our life is being stretched too far. I think this is from another period where it was not possible for a woman to participate because of variety of physical situations in the world and that is largely leveled today in most parts of the world and it’s rapidly changing everywhere I would say. I think a more active effort is needed, at least by law in most nations it is hundred percent equal, by practice there is still discrepancies which has to be worked at. I feel it’s a generational thing, once the older generation moves out, the younger generation is not looking at it that way anymore, at least I see that in all the Asian countries. It is only people beyond sixty years of age who think on… in this mode. The younger people are not thinking that way anymore. Maxwell Kennedy: Thank you. Sadhguru, I’m just gonna ask you one more question because I wanna save time for the audience who’ve been waiting to talk to you. Can you tell about how you conceive the world in thirty years? Sadhguru: What I see is for the first time, for the very first time in the history of humanity, human intellect is sparking like never before. More people on the planet today can think for themselves than ever before in the history of this human existence. So, once human intellect begins to spark like this, unless something is logically correct and scientifically verifiable, it will fail in future. You may be willing to listen to a few things but your children are not going to listen to anything that does not make sense to them. It does not matter from what authority it comes from. Or in other words, we are moving into a era where authority cannot be the truth, truth will be the only authority in future. We are getting there because everybody is beginning to ask questions and people are not afraid to ask questions anymore. So, this is bound to happen. Once this happens, human aspiration for well-being has to have a logically correct and scientifically ascertainable methodology. And it’s of tremendous importance that today the International Yoga Day has been declared in the last one year. It was mooted by the Prime Minister but it was almost like the world was waiting for it as they mentioned hundred-and-seventy-seven countries, never before in the history of United Nations, all of them agreed upon one thing as they agreed upon yoga. It looked like they were waiting for it. Yes, the world has been waiting for a scientific and a logically correct solution for human well-being. The aspiration for human well-being will not stop. Unless we provide a proper, scientifically structured methodology then people in terms of well-being will move towards chemicals. This is a deep… a grave concern in the world, the number of people moving towards alcohol and drugs in the last twenty-five years must be… maybe five hundred to thousand percent more than what it was twenty-five years ago. This is mainly because in pursuit of human well-being there are no logically correct answers to their questions. That is the reason why human beings are seeking these kind of solutions. Unless we provide this, this is a natural progression. I see in the next thirty years to fifty years there will be a big movement towards a scientific process for inner well-being and this is a right time to be here at this forum and this yoga becoming a worldwide thing. We must understand yoga is not an Indian thing. If you want to call yoga Indian then you must call gravity European, okay (Laughter/Applause) Because… Yes, it… it originated from that place because India is one place where for a few millennia we had uninterrupted time to look deep inwards and to look at the human mechanism in utmost profoundness as to how this (Referring to oneself) functions, what is the ultimate possibility within this human mechanism. This has taken a few millennia to understand and arrive at this possibility. And yoga… I want this message to go – “The science of yoga is not just about health, it’s not just about fitness, it is an ultimate solution for every aspect of human existence.” There is different types of yogas. Yoga can be taught in different dimensions – the ultimate possibility of raising beyond our physical nature, the ultimate possibility of knowing life in its fullest way. The word yoga means union. The word yogi means one who has experienced this union. We need not one, two, five yogis, we need millions of them, who have a sense of union with the rest of the universe, particularly those who hold responsible positions in the world. They must come to this experience because leadership essentially means you have the privilege of touching other people’s lives. What you think, what you feel and what you do, every single thought, emotion and action either makes or breaks people’s lives, that’s what leadership means. When you are given such a privilege it’s very, very important that you are in a state of yoga that you experience life around you as yourself. If we… If any of us feel the work that we’re doing is important, the first and foremost thing is we must work upon ourselves (Applause). Permanent representative of Nepal: I come from Nepal, from the Eastern hills of Nepal, a place… an environment which is extremely conducive for yoga. And I also come from a family and community practicing yoga. But then I’m always worried about this question of accessibility. It has to do with the commercialization of yoga today. The commercialization and hundreds and thousands of different types of yoga getting into the heads of young minds and different ages of people mostly also in terms of fashion… in the forms of fashion, what would be your wise guidance to us to deal with the perhaps unnecessary or over commercialization of yoga. Sadhguru: Whatever becomes reasonably popular, there’ll be enterprise around that. You shouldn’t be surprised when you step out on the Times Square, people will be selling yoga T-shirts and yoga whatever, whatever, okay (Laughs)? We shouldn’t be distracted or disturbed by these things. This is a part of a social thing – it happens. At the same time, the core of yoga is not disturbed in any way. On the surface there are small distortions here and there. I would say, for the larger public to start with… Like, this year, when you know, about four months ago, when I came to know that over 9000 children below eighteen years of age committed suicide in India and over 1700 below thirteen years of age committed suicide, it… I just thought if our children start committing suicide we are doing something fundamentally wrong. A child is a fresh life. A child is an exuberant life. A child should be a bundle of joy but instead of that they’re deciding to take their own life which is deeply disturbing. This is not a statement about the child who took his life but this is a statement about all of us – what are we doing with our societies? So, off the cuff I said let’s touch 10,000 schools. But today, with the cooperation of various state governments we are touching nearly 30,000 schools, over 20 million children. Why I’m saying this is, why this has become possible is because we are offering what is called as Upa-Yoga. Upa-Yoga means pre-yoga or sub-yoga. Why this effort towards Upa-Yoga is, if you offer yoga, however innocuous the practice may look to start with, it has a spiritual dimension to it. Transmitting spiritual dimension to an unconscious population, who are not ready for it and without a certain level of expertise in the teachers could be irresponsible over a period of time. So, we are teaching Upa-Yoga which has mainly physiological and psychological benefits and here you can’t do anything wrong. It’s on the video. All the teacher has to do is make corrections and make sure people are not doing it wrong. I think it’s a good way to spread yoga in the world is through Upa-Yoga. Upa-Yoga… the word Upa-Yog in Indian languages today has acquired the meaning of being useful, but actually its originates from this that it’s a pre-yoga or sub-yoga or a start-up… start-up yoga it is. And it’s best to start that way with large populations because when you start off an unconscious spiritual process for people, many of them may not be ready for it, even if it’s a good thing. Even if good thing happens to you when you’re not ready for it, thing’s may (Laughs) not work very well. So, Upa-Yoga is a… a very distinct way and a safe way to take yoga to the world large scale. After this happens, once they feel the benefits, once they experience what difference it makes, they will naturally seek yoga in a more serious manner and that is when yoga should come into their lives. This could solve the concern that you expressed. But at the same time, somebody is doing something funny in the name of yoga, it doesn’t concern me because those things will always happen. But it’s good that even commercial establishments are talking yoga. This means it’s really on (Laughter/Applause). Speaker: I will now call upon Mister Herman Bravo who is the President of the Yoga Club right here at the UN. Mister Bravo you have the floor. Nata Menabde: I have spent five years of my life in India before coming here in New York. And of course, for me it’s something very special to be here today at this day. And it’s special because I… You mentioned Sadhguru, that we cannot call or compare and say that yoga is Indian. But, it comes from India. And indeed it is India’s gift to the human kind to all over the world. And it is very special because of that. And I could see the impact of yoga practice on communities in India, so it makes a difference. And this is why, this is such a great gift of civilization. The whole country in India, every quarter of it breathes essence of yoga. And it is the civilization calm of yoga that has moved me when I was there. In my work, we are dealing with health issues. It is no news now that yoga is very good for health. But we also know now that health is no longer stand alone
one of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is actually determinant for any other goal to be achieved.
Therefore yoga has a very different meaning and different, indeed, interconnecting nature because it does help people to feel better, live better, breathe better, act better, unite better, come into interconnectedness which is indeed essential for sustaining our planet and connects planet to the people. So therefore, of course, we know today, proven through many clinical trials that yoga helps in many conditions – mental health conditions, depression, heart conditions,many other conditions, joint and so on. So this is not new. But there has been traditional resistance to integrate yoga practice and other perhaps traditional medicine practices which are of course available world-wide but known also in India, to integrate them to the allopathic medicine. And this resistance is slowly being overcome We as WHO are trying to put our support into this process. Recently, this year in May, in fact India has signed an… I would say, landmark agreement with the World Health Organization to promote traditional medicine, yoga included and to ensure quality and safety of these traditional practices. But more so, to integrate these practices into our health services, primary health care and all other services that we know. So, it is now deeply understood that, as all of human beings need some or another kind of health services – be it vaccination, if they are very healthy or any other more serious services. They also need to practice yoga because it prevents many illnesses, it also gives peace of mind. It teaches us how to cope with all those different things that modern life, stress puts on human brain. And therefore, we to stand forward and we want to support promotion and inclusion of yoga into medical practice all over the world. We will collaborate with India on that. But my question to you would be is there any good secret beyond of what you have said, how we can bring this different dimensions of health together, integrate them in a better way and make sure that yoga is no longer seen as something separate from what we do in health services traditionally? Thank you. Thank you very much for being here today (Applause). Sadhguru: When our commitment has to shift to health, not to a particular system. People are married to a particular system most of the time and they defend that system at any cost, no matter what. Every system in the world has something to contribute but instead of being committed to health we are committed to those systems. Because of this, there has been a lot of dislocation in how health can come about. So, in Southern India, in the rural part of Tamil Nadu we brought this about – these five dimensions, Allopathy, Siddha, Ayurveda, Unani and Yoga together practice along with naturopathy way of doing things. It has done miraculous things to the populations. We were the first pilot project by the Ayush project when it started ten years ago. Now Ayush has become a Ministry. I think yesterday or in the last week they have declared a Ayush University which means Ayurveda, Yoga, Siddha and all these things put together. This we started almost fifteen years ago and today it is an active part. What we have done is, we have medical vans which go with a… an allopathic doctor and a Siddha doctor plus we have created over one-hundred-and-twelve or thirteen village gardens where we grow herbs over hundred… hundred and odd different types of herbs in a common piece of land where people are taught how to make use of it. For small things like stomach ache, headache, fever for the children, diarrhea, these kind of things all our grandmothers knew how to treat this. Unfortunately, even for these, people are going to the doctors today. And the way it is being treated with elaborate medication. Generally, in rural India the cost of the medicine, if you fall sick for fifteen days it takes a year for you to recover, with… The economics of the family gets hit for almost a year. If fifteen days somebody is down and they visit the doctor, and the volume of medication and treatment that happens, kind of economically sets them back quite a bit. So, we have… our commitment is to health, not to a particular system. And right now the government of India is doing serious efforts to integrate this thing and we’ve been doing this for over fifteen years very effectively. I must tell you a simple thing in rural India which can be… I was… Just last one week I was in Africa. Even there I thought this is something that’ll work. We created what is called as a Wave of Health. About simple things – how health can be created with… within the family, for every family. One of the things that was done – I won’t go into all the details – one simple thing we did was, every home should have a Papaya tree, a banana tree, a Murungu tree and a patch of greens. This transformed health situations in such a big way. You won’t believe, such a small initiative, such a simple initiative, what a difference it has done to peoples’ lives. Like this, small initiatives can be brought because considering the economics of those families, it’s very important we need to come up with solutions that works for them. In this, yoga practice has a significant role because creating a vibrant… healthy, vibrant and effervescent population is very, very important to fulfill these sustainable goals. If we don’t create that kind of population we will be only talking about sustainability, it will not happen. We need to create this. And the goal is the tools of self-transformation should not be in the hands of a guru or an organization or some other authority. The idea is to bring this into everybody’s life. Like today, everybody owns a toothbrush which has created oral health, just like that everybody should have some tools for self-transformation. It is with this kind of commitment that we are going ahead and there is a big support now in the world. Wherever we go – in the remotest parts of Africa that I was there in the last one week, it was incredible to see that all of them know about yoga. I know this twenty-five years ago when I went into rural India, in a big way, they knew what is coco-cola but they did not know what is yoga (Laughter). But today, in the remotest part of Africa people know what is yoga. This is transformation in many ways (Applause). Speaker: I now give the floor to Mister Rajiv Lalla who has joined us all the way from Texas. Rajiv Lalla: If you could help us understand the role of Sadhguru, of a teacher, not in the true academic sense where a STEM professor teaches me science and technology, but rather coming from humanity and that union among all of us. Sadhguru: (Laughs) When you say a Sadhguru, you’re saying an uneducated guru, that’s what it means. Because you don’t go… come to a Sadhguru to know about the scriptures, you don’t come to Sadhguru to know about rituals because the only thing that I know is I know this piece of life (Referring to oneself) from its origin to its ultimate and this’s all I know. By knowing this, by inference you know just about everything because everything is made the same way. Today, there is something called as a Constructional Theory where they’re talking about how the atom and the cosmos are essentially, fundamentally same design, only the sophistication and complexity is multiplying. So, the amoeba and you and me are made the same way, only the complexity has multiplied. Having said that, in what way is a guru relevant means – you’re trying to walk an unchartered terrain. Every year, I trek in the Himalayas in Nepal and Tibet. Once you go into the mountains, that illiterate Sherpa who is there, who has not been to school but if he says “right” you turn right, if he says “left” you turn left. You better do that otherwise you won’t come back (Laughs). You do that because he knows the terrain. The same goes for this. This is just an inner terrain. It’s best to walk with somebody who’s already walked the path, otherwise simple things will become complicated. What is next door, you will go around the world and come back to it. All this complication about… For example, today if you utter the word meditation, people think something very difficult to do. To put it simply, first of all the word meditation, English word meditation does not describe anything in particular. If you sit with your eyes closed they’re saying (Laughs) you’re meditating. With your eyes closed you can do japa, tapa, dharana, dhyana, samadhi, shoonya, there are any number of things you could do or you might have just mastered the art of sleeping in vertical postures (Laughter). It happens (Laughs). So, when we say meditation, we must understand, it’s not an act, it is a quality. It is like you want flowers in your garden, if you want flowers in your garden you don’t have to sit there and do flower meditation. You don’t have to think flowers. You have to think soil, manure, water, sunlight – have nothing to do with flowers but if you do those things flowers will happen because it’s a consequence. Right now, because we have gotten into this madness of being a goal-oriented society, we are interested in the flower, we are not interested in the plant. This is the fundamental that the yoga will change within you. You understand that you have to handle the process right for a consequence to happen. So, in yoga there is a saying that if you’re goal oriented, your one eye will be on the goal, that means you will find your way only with one eye, which is an inefficient way of doing things. If you use both your eyes to find your way, it’s much more efficient. So, why is a guru needed? It can be done without it. I… I’m asking you a simple question – even to learn ABC, the alphabet, you needed a teacher. But you could have learnt it by yourself, maybe you would have taken a lifetime, but the teacher taught it to you in a month or two, that’s a big difference. So, like somebody was talking to me and they asked what is this Guru about. I said, this is the GPS, a living GPS – a Guru Positioning System, you know (Few Laughs)! If you want to find your way, it’s best… in unchartered terrain, unknown terrain, it’s best to walk with somebody who has already done the terrain once or many times, otherwise simple things will become very complex (Applause). Denise Couture: How do you see the UN system, meaning the secretarial staff who work here, the diplomats from the different countries, business and the NGOs, civil society who try to implement the SDGs, how do you see yoga bringing us all together. Thank you so much (Applause). Sadhguru: This is being said again and again about peace. See, we need to look at this. When we say peace or mental peace as people are talking about it, today even so-called spiritual leaders are talking about peace being the highest goal in one’s life. But I would like to ask you, please look at your life and see, if you want to enjoy your dinner tonight, even if you are not ecstatic at least you must be peaceful to enjoy your dinner. If you want to enjoy the people around you at least you must be peaceful and happy. If you want to enjoy your walk on the street you must be peaceful and happy otherwise this is not possible. So, what is very fundamental to… A fundamental requirement in our life, unfortunately we are pushing it as an ultimate goal of our life. To be peaceful is not the highest thing, it is the most basic requirement. If a human being cannot even be peaceful there is really nothing that they can do. This means that you are not even able to harness your body and mind the way you should. To look at it from one perspective, all human experience has a chemical basis to it. What you call as peace is a certain kind of chemistry, what you call as joy is another kind of chemistry, blissfulness another, ecstasy another, agony another kind, anxiety, fear, stress, tension whatever you call it. Every human experience has a chemical basis to it. We have not been thought about how to deal with this (Referring to oneself). When I say how to deal with this – as is… as a technology if you want to look at this (Referring to oneself) as a machine, this is the most sophisticated piece of technology on the planet. The question is to deal with this high level of technology have you read even the user’s manual, that’s a question? Yoga means it is the user’s manual of how to conduct this one (Referring to oneself). I would say when you ask this question – how to bring all these diverse people together in this organization, it’s best to start with the simplest process which does not even need a specific allotment of time. This is where Upa-Yoga will become useful. People can sit in their work spaces and right there they can do it, three minutes, anytime they feel like it. It does not need a specific condition, it does not need a specific time, if they see the benefit which they definitely will, in a matter of two weeks’ time they will see a distinct benefit doing it wherever they are. It does not need any kind of specific discipline or time or other conditions required for normal… the proper yoga to be done. I think this would be a good way to integrate them because this predates all religion. This is not about you versus me. This is why I said this is not Indian because a science cannot be Indian. Yes, it originated from India, as Indians we are proud of it but it does not belong to India. The very fact that United Nations has declared an International Yoga Day means India has gifted it to the world. It does not belong to India anymore. We (Applause)… It’s… It’s not something that we have to possess and identify with. The significant aspect of my personal work has been to remove all the frills of culture that yoga had acquired through this millennia of transmission. Slowly whatever you do in a particular culture it will acquire cultural frills. So, one thing is to take off all the cultural frills and present it as an absolute science and a technology for well-being. This is an important thing in an organization like this where there are people from every nation, there are people from every kind of denominations, every kind of faith, every kind of beliefs, every kind of ideologies, it’s very, very important that yoga is brought as a proper science not as a cultural thing, not as an Indian thing, it’s very important to do that (Applause).