Questioner: Namaskaram Sadhguru. Sadhguru, one of the five elements, pancha bhuta, is Akasha – Space. And, in one of your YouTube videos, I’ve heard you, I mean – you say ether. You mention ether about space in Akasha. So, once you, in your talk now, in time travel, you talk about space. So, this ether and Akasha – I’m a bit confused. Can you please elaborate on the ether part.
Sadhguru: I’m glad you are confused. Because confusion is a much better state to be than stupid conclusions that one makes. Confusion means that you are still looking. That’s nice. That’s my intent, to keep you confused. Yeah! Because, I want you to be seeking, always.
Akasha is ether. It’s not an appropriate translation, but reasonably
Nobody said akasha is space. We said akasha is ether. It’s not an appropriate translation, but reasonably. Ether is not space. Ether is a certain dimension of existence; subtle. When we say space, we are talking about kala, or non-existence. We are talking about Shi-va – ‘that which is not’. When we say akasha, we are talking about ‘that which is’.
Here you are – here you are as a human being. There are many levels from grossness to subtleness here. If you have constipation, you still have something gross inside. Above that, there is little more refined aspects of body. Above that there is a lung full of air. Above that there is a brain, and thought, and emotion, and so many things. And, there is life going in and out. And there is Akaksha involved. There is water, there is physical material, there is air, there is temperature, there’s fire and there is akasha which makes this.
Don’t try to understand that. Just get this right. Because this is made – this is a mini cosmos. So, if you perceive this right, you know that. Because, today there is no question about this anymore – we have always been saying this in the yogic dimension. But today modern physics has come up with what is known as the constructional theory. Which is talking about how the design factor in the universe – whether it is atomic or cosmic – is fundamentally same design.
From atomic to cosmic the fundamental design is same
You as a human being with this kind of form, a grasshopper, an earthworm, a bird, a crawly creature somewhere – all of you have same fundamental design. From atomic to cosmic the fundamental design is same. The complexity and sophistication of how this design evolves into multiple forms is different. Your design is far more complicated and sophisticated compared to that of an Amoeba. But the fundamental design is still same. Only the complexity is increasing.
So, you don’t go about trying to observe the cosmos, because you don’t have a gallery view of the cosmos. You can not. There is no place where you can sit and observe cosmos. And, in fact you can not observe anything, except what happens within you. Even if you take a telescope and look at the star, the star is happening only the way it projects in your mind, isn’t it? Yes? You don’t see any star. This is the reason why you see stars which don’t actually exist! Many stars that you see, don’t exist. But they are projected in your mind in a certain way, and that’s how you know it. Or in other words, you only can experience ‘this’. Or ‘this’ is the only doorway through which you can experience anything.
You want to experience the food that you eat, or the air that you breathe, or the people around you, or the world around you, or the cosmos – you can only experience it the way ‘this’ is. If ‘this’ is very clear, you will see it the way it is. If it has taken many forms and shapes, you will see it in so many different ways. These days, I think largely the mirrors have gotten flat. You know! Even now, I think if you buy some cheap mirror, you will look like ‘this’. But, if you get certain types of concave mirrors – you can definitely reduce your weight in a day! You just go stand – you look! You look like a…
So, the mirrors give different impressions of who you are. Suppose you always looked at your face with a slightly distorted mirror – after some time, you will assume, that’s how you look. Yes or no? Yes or no? You think that’s how you look. Because everyday you looked at yourself, and that’s how you looked. And, you think that’s how you look. So, even now, you think the world looks this way – simply because that’s how it’s projected in your mind. If you evolve this mind to a more refined surface – that there is absolutely no any kind of wavering in it, it is perfectly plain mirror – then it will reflect everything the way it is, but upside down! In the mirror, everything is like this [inverted]. So, now you must have the intelligence to correct this, without distorting it. See, most people can’t turn a ‘dosa’ around properly. If they try to turn the dosa around, it will become… Those kind of things. It takes certain skill, to take something like this and turn it around without distorting it.
So, this is the problem with the mind. One thing it, already it is wavy, or choppy – whichever way you kept your mind. But it is definitely wavy. You are seeing the world in a wavy mirror, and it is looking certain way. And, most people have never attempted to turn it around, because they think that’s how it is. When you want to turn it around, it takes a certain amount of skill to be able to turn it around without distorting it. You have 2 problems. One is to first flatten the mirror, so that it is undistorted. And now a much bigger task of wanting to flip it around without any distortion. So, that is – we have not approached that in your life yet. First to make the mirror absolutely without distortions. We’re still working on that one.
Is this air very much part of you as a life? Those who do not say anything, we’re gonna throttle you! Your life is spread all over here, isn’t it? This is physical. Even in this physical, there are many levels of crudeness, and subtlety, isn’t it? The very gross elements in the body. There are subtler elements in this body. There is thought, there is emotion, there is air that you breathe. Or in other words, life is always, a hard core crudeness, to many subtleties. Depends how much you spread, that is how much subtlety you have. How wide your wings spread, that much of subtlety is possible.
If you suck out the Akasha, you can not exist here
So, now what we are referring to as Akasha, is a subtle dimension of life. If you suck out the Akasha, you can not exist here. If we suck out the air from this hall, you can not exist here. Though you can not see it, still it is more vital than your hair. I’m sorry! Because there is more spent, there is more money spent on hair care on the planet – definitely lot more than the brain care! You see where our values are. If you pull out all your hair, you can still live. If I cut your ears, you can still live. If I cut your nose, you can still live. If I just suck out this air, that you can not even see – most of the time you are not even conscious whether it exists or not – if I suck out the air, you can not live for a moment. If we suck out the Akasha, you can not live for a moment.
There is a very, you know there’s a temple in Karnataka in southern India. Which is called the Annapoorneshwari temple. Anybody from Karnataka? You’ve been to Annapoorneshwari? So, at the rear part of the temple where most people may not go – because I am always poking into nooks and corners – others are all happy looking at the goddess.
There is an inscription in Hala Kannada, that means the old type of Kannada, which is over 3000 years old. There’s an inscription, talking about how to design an airplane, in a temple. And they’re saying you can do like this. But if you fly these machines, it will disturb the ether in the planet. If it disturbs the akasha, when they say akasha, don’t think space. They’re saying if you disturb the akasha, then human beings will not know peace in their life.
If you disturb the akasha, then human beings will not know peace in their life
Once akasha is disturbed, then psychological disturbances will become enormous. I think you’re a living proof. I think there was an old movie by Manoj Kumar which said, sure airplanes and airplanes and you know the disturbance that it’s causing and he’s glad his ears went away one day. Something like that, yes?
So if we suck out the akasha, this physical body will not exist for a moment. So when we say akasha, we are still talking about five elements. As you yourself, in the question you mentioned. Among the five elements, akasha is one. So when we say elements, we are not talking about empty space. We are talking about one more substance like earth, like water, like air, like fire. We are talking about one more aspect of five elements. So do not mistake akasha for empty space.