Head of Isha Foundation speaks on progressing from personal ambition to vision for the greater good
By Geeta Goindi
Washington, DC, May 1, 2018 – Sadhguru, a yogi, mystic, visionary, best-selling author with millions of followers around the globe delivered an inspiring talk, ‘Ambition to Vision’, motivating an attentive audience on Capitol Hill to seek the greater good.
“We have to move the world from ambition to a larger vision, an inclusive vision. Only then will the human potential get unlocked” and “our intelligence will work for us”, he said.
Speaking of sickness and joy, Sadhguru lamented that “most of the time most human beings are enjoying what others do not have, not what they have. They want exclusivity. You enjoy what others don’t have”, he said, looking around a packed room in the Capitol Hill Visitors Center.
“When you seek exclusivity which is the nature of ambition, you begin to enjoy what others do not have. This sickness is deep-seated in our society mainly because this is the nature of the intellect – to perceive everything only by comparison”.
The mystic cautioned that knowledge by comparison is not reality, only a distortion of perception which is needed for survival. “The nature of the sense organs and the nature of the intellect is you can perceive everything only by comparison. When that is the case you will always want to see how you can be better than somebody”, he noted.
Sadhguru bemoaned, “The possibility of holding a vision and creating what is actually needed for the making of a fantastic life on this planet is lost simply because all of us are continuously in this ambition mode”.
He asserted, “It is not about you being better than somebody. It is about you exploring the depth and dimension of a full-fledged life”. Noting that the current generation has so much more materialistically than their ancestors, he underscored, “It is very important that this life becomes a full-fledged life”.
Sadhguru was headlining an event hosted by the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), an organization working towards strengthening US-India commercial and strategic ties, headquartered in Washington, DC. On hand, was Dr. Mukesh Aghi, president and CEO of the Forum, who introduced the accomplished speaker.
Born Jaggi Vasudev, Sadhguru, 60, heads the Isha Foundation which is supported by more than 9 million volunteers in over 250 centers worldwide. The work of the non-religious, non-profit service organization headquartered in southern India covers: conservation including planting trees and rejuvenating India’s rivers; education with a focus on computer skills; health and well-being. Here in the US, he has established the Isha Institute of Inner Sciences located in McMinnville, Tennessee, dedicated to raising human consciousness and fostering global harmony through individual transformation.
In 2017, Sadhguru was conferred with the Padma Vibhushan, the highest civilian award accorded for exceptional and distinguished service, by the Indian government.
For someone who describes himself as “uneducated”, his words are profound and wise. “If you want to know well-being ‘in’ is the only way ‘out’”, he says. “Spiritual process is not about looking out or looking down. It is about turning inward”.
The visionary leader offers pragmatic solutions to modern-day problems. He is an articulate speaker who makes the air around crackle with energy, whose talks are peppered with humor and replete with anecdotes.
He told the audience on Capitol Hill how everyone he met in America was talking about stress management which has also become a fad in India. “I could not understand why someone wants to manage their stress”, he mused. “We manage our family, finances, whatever is precious to us. It took me a while to grasp that people have assumed that stress is a part of their life. Stress is not a part of your life”, he emphasized.
Yet, he continues to hear, ‘My job is stressful, my family is stressful’, to which he responds, “We’ll take away your job, we’ll take away your family. Do you think you will be stress-free? No”, he says emphatically.
“Stress is simply because you don’t know how to manage your body, your mind, your emotions, your chemistry, your energy”, he told the USISPF event. “When you live accidentally, being stressful and anxious is very natural”, he said.
“We have not learned how to conduct this life. We know how to do everything in the world, but we don’t know how to conduct this life. Whatever happens, suffering happens. Essentially, there is no stress, there is no anxiety, there is no depression. It is just that your intelligence has turned against you”.
Sadhguru reiterated that “human beings should learn to do everything consciously, not as a habit which cannot be changed. That is the significance of being human”, he said, which sets people apart from creatures.
Noting that the automation of machines is a good thing, he warned, “automation of human beings means we’ve lost it completely. The potential of being human has been wasted”.
Given that technology is changing rapidly, he predicted that in the next 25 years, one’s ability to do math, to analyze, to logically arrive at any conclusion will be meaningless as even a simple machine will be able to do the same.
“Whatever you can do with your intellect, machines can do better than you. But, whatever you can do consciously, no machine can do”, he explained.
Isha Foundation offers programs and “techniques to be human” as long as people can invest 20-30 hours of their time over three days or more, Sadhguru told the gathering on Capitol Hill.
“I can show you people who have been bereft of anger, agitation for a decade or more. This is the kind of miracle we need in the world”, he said.
One of his quotes reads, “You can become completely intoxicated just on life. This is a shift from vine to divine”.