Why Do We Go For A Pilgrimage?
Summary: There is a unique life within you. This life has been decorated with so many influences, from parents, family, friends, society, education. Now, you are only focusing on these decorations, your experiences, memories and relationships - and have forgotten about life! By adding the decorations, you can bring convenience into your life, but you can not enhance your life. A pilgrimage is wearing yourself down about this falsehood. You have started believing that these decorations themselves are You!
article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org
Drop the Excess Baggage
Q: Sadhguru, you said that if we go to Kailash as travellers we are just going to wear the mountain path out a little bit more, whereas if we go as pilgrims, the difference is that we wear out something inside us a little bit more. How do we wear ourselves out a little bit more so that we are ready for Kailash?
Sadhguru: What is it that you call as “myself”? You are not a real thing. You are a collage of experiences, memories, relationships, qualifications, and of course your Facebook account! You are piecemeal. If you just keep everything aside and learn to walk as a piece of life, there is something within you which you did not get from your parents, your friends, your family, your college or your qualification. It is only to decorate that one thing that we gathered a body and everything else in our lives. But now these decorations have become so big that we have forgotten what we are decorating.
It does not matter what someone is doing in their life – someone is getting drunk in the evening, somebody else is drugged out, somebody is sitting in the temple and singing bhajans, somebody is meditating, somebody is wanting to go to Kailash, somebody is busy wanting to make money – every human being is only trying to enhance their lives and they believe this is what is going to accomplish that.
By adding things you can bring convenience, but you cannot bring enhancement of life.
The way we have found to enhance life is to decorate it. If you wear one pair of clothes it is nice. Maybe while you are in the mountains you are wearing four, one over the other, because of the weather. But will you wear twenty-five layers of clothes just because you have them? And how do you wear twelve pairs of footwear?
This decoration becomes bigger than what we are decorating because somewhere, we believe that by adding things we will become more. By adding things you can bring convenience, but you cannot bring enhancement of life. When I say “things”, I mean everything, including people, relationships, and whatever you think is yours. You added all these things to your life thinking they would enhance you. This gives you a false sense that everything is perfect, but if one part of it collapses, then suddenly you will feel like nothing.
If one person dies in the world and that person happens to be someone very dear to you, suddenly everything is broken. All that happened in the world is 7.4 billion people minus one. This sounds ruthless and without any emotion, but that is not the point. I am not devoid of emotion. I hold wonderful relationships with people, but why is it that only if this person dies, everything is broken, and if another person dies it does not matter?
This is where the poison of prejudice has been fed into us in so many different ways from very early childhood. They told you, “We three people are one. Those other people are not one with us.” This is called family, the first crime, and then it builds up into many layers – society, religion, race, nationality. Now we wonder why people are fighting and why there is so much violence. Well, this is what we have built.
Bricks or Gold Makes No Difference
Whether the edifice is beautiful or ugly does not matter. The problem is, you are carrying a ton of bricks. When it sits on your head, weight is weight. Suppose I give you one ton of gold – will you carry it on your head?
It does not matter whether you carry a ton of rock or gold; it is the same thing when you are under it. It will still crush you to death. Whether you think what you are carrying is beautiful or ugly, if it is on your head, it suppresses everything that is human.
Filtering the Poison
Wearing yourself down is just about the falsehood that you have built. The personality that you have built is just a collage of things that you have gathered from outside, which were never you and never will be you. Right now, you believe they are you. If a piece of it is taken away, you feel like a part of you has been broken. Because of this, people experience a very profound sense of grief, depression and many things – which can destroy human beings completely. But this is something that you made up in your mind, yet you believe it to such an extent that it can destroy you completely.
Poison does not always enter you through the food that you eat or what you drink. Just a thought, an idea, an identity, an emotion can poison your entire life.
When we said Shiva is Vishakantha, that means he has a filter for all the poison. Poison does not always enter you through the food that you eat or what you drink. Just a thought, an idea, an identity, an emotion can poison your entire life.
What are the things which have poisoned you? You call something poison only because it destroys life. Your ideas, your emotions, your thoughts, your identities – in how many ways have these things within you destroyed life? You feel psychologically deprived in some way, and you think that by attaching all these things, you will become strong. Nothing like that will happen. At one point, they will give you a false sense of being full, but inevitably at some point, either they will disillusion you or death will do it. One way or the other, it will happen. Does it mean that there is no value for human emotions and thoughts? I want you to look at this as profoundly as you can. Within you, is it your emotion, or your thought, or the life that you are which is most valuable right now? Life, isn’t it?
But for a simple thought or emotion you are willing to die. That means you are seeing life upside down. Life does not mean just staying alive. Someone who is absolutely unscrupulous will surrender everything to stay alive. I am not talking about that. It is only because there is a life burning here that a thought, an emotion, a body, a clothing, a relationship and everything else matters. Once you mistake a consequence for the cause, then instead of planting a seed, you will plant the tree upside down.
In India, there is a tradition that you may have heard of. Today, if you go to Kashi, you go by train or land in an airplane, but at one time, people always used to walk to Kashi. Even today in Indian weddings, there is a symbolic Kashi Yatra. The groom who is just about to be married pretends that he wants to go to Kashi. That means he has realized all these relationships do not matter, so he is going to seek his ultimate nature. But then, they get him married. The significance of this yatra was that people were walking all the way in pursuit of their inner wellbeing. If someone has to simply walk two to three thousand kilometers from different parts of the country, it needs a certain sense of purpose, and that purpose was so significant within them.
They always walked away and went to Kashi, and because it was so far, they would never come back. Very rarely someone went to Kashi and actually returned. The rest went at a certain age and they never came back. That is why, even today, the tradition continues that people want to die in Kashi. This entire process signifies that, somewhere, you understand there is a difference between what you are and what you have gathered.
If you want to walk up the mountains, the lighter your baggage is, the better. Even if you are not willing, as you slowly huff and puff up the mountain, you will throw away the baggage. You decide what you want to throw. I will not tell you. But whatever is excess baggage, please throw it because going up the mountain with excess baggage is going to be very painful. Walk light, because the air is thin, and you cannot walk if you are heavily laden. Tonight, before you go to bed, sit quietly for at least five minutes by yourself with your eyes closed and just see all the things you have gathered since your childhood – in thoughts, in emotions, in things, in people. Whatever you think is excess baggage, throw it out of the tent, and tomorrow morning we will walk.