Questioner: Sadhguru, the next question is something that we sourced from the audience and it’s been a personal question as well. Which is that when we’re on this journey of life, we tend to set a lot of short-term goals and when we don’t achieve them, we don’t know how to deal with failure. And that is something we all deal with a lot at U of T in specific, but in that moment when we can look back and say, “Yeah, this is fine,” but in that moment, how do we hold our ground and how do we learn to see the bigger picture?
Sadhguru: Oh! Should I tell you about my failures? Hello? No, you’re not interested. I have some fans who want to know about my failure.
Well, when I was ten, eleven, the only thing that I had in my mind is – I just want to go somewhere, I don’t know where. So, those days if I got five rupees, five rupees was lots of money. I bought a little bit of bread and disappeared into the jungle. Just walked around, caught a bunch of snakes, I observed everything from insects to worms to animals to everything. When I ran out of food and became difficult after three, four, five days – came back.
By then there was a lot of unnecessary excitement in the town. Police complaint, searching all over the place, looking into the morgue, all kinds of things. And then I came back and they were all… this thing, but I’d left a note. They just ignore my words and do everything else. So, after a few times, they got used to that, and I also grew up. So, I didn’t know where, but I just wanted to go somewhere. All I knew was somehow the known situations was kind of containing me. I just wanted to go somewhere.
The moment I got a bicycle, I cycled across South India. When I got a motorcycle I crisscrossed India many times, and I was stopped at the national borders. So, I decided the only thing is I do some business, make some money, and ride across the world. Where? I don’t know, simply want to ride. So, I thought I’ll get into business. So, I got in, became far more successful than most people would imagine in a short span of time. So, one to another, I started half a dozen businesses, became very successful, everything. Then everybody was clapping their hands, except me. They were all clapping their hands because I was making more money than other people. I was getting little [serious], like that because I got into this business because I wanted to ride away.
But business after business I put one finger, now both my hands were stuck in it – making money and everybody clapping hands, but I was not clapping hands. I did not think it’s a great thing. I think it’s those five years which people think are very successful for me – were the five years when I did not do what I really wanted to do. But everybody else thought I was doing great. That’s how world is, you must understand. When you’re doing great, they think you’re doing no good. When you think you’re doing no good, they all think you’re doing great. So, you must know, whose interest is in their hearts.
So, then one afternoon it so happened, I burst into an ecstatic state, for no reason every cell in my body bursting. And then I look at myself, what is happening to me? Am I going off my rocker? Am I losing it? What’s happening? But I know I don’t want to lose what’s happening because it’s too fantastic. If I simply sit here, I’m dripping ecstasy. Then I pay attention to it. What is it that’s happening to me? Then I realize, if I don’t mess with my mind, I’m just ecstatic.
Even now, just see – it’s just the cerebral activity that you’re not able to deal with, isn’t it, which causes so much all this. If you know how to distance yourself from that, this life will burst into ecstatic state.
When you were a five-year-old girl, simply jumping around. Simply because there was not much cerebral activity. Simply, life was a joy just to be alive, isn’t it? Even now you will become like that, if you know when to keep your cerebral activity on, when to keep it off. When I realized, if you don’t do anything, you will become ecstatic. Then I thought, what’s the big deal? I will make the whole world ecstatic. On that day, the world’s population was 5.6 billion people.
Then I sat down and made an elaborate plan – how I will make the world ecstatic because it’s so simple. If they don’t do anything, they will be ecstatic. I didn’t think people are so invested in misery, that it will take lot of coaxing. Then I made a plan in two and a half years’ time, I can very easily make the world ecstatic! I thought I’ll execute this plan. Because you are a consulting business person, I’m telling you. I had everything clear cut, because this is this simple. If I talk to them, why will they deny ecstasy? They will all go for it. Huh, thirty-eight years – hey, don’t do this, you’re clapping at my failures!
So, people today say we have touched somewhere between eight hundred to nine hundred million people, but that’s not my idea of the world. Population has grown to 7.6 billion people. Now, I know I will die a failure, but I am a blissful failure. Okay. Because, first is – I learned how to fix myself, before I do anything in the world. If you fix yourself, will you fix yourself in a pleasant way or unpleasant way? Pleasant way. So, if you become joyful by your own nature, then you do something in the world.
Depending upon the times in which we exist – we must understand this, never underestimate this. Depending upon the times in which we exist, we do certain things, or world allows us to do certain things, isn’t it? Today, you’re in university, all of you here, because this is twenty-first century. If this was twelfth century, maybe you would be fighting a war, maybe you would be plowing the land, maybe you would be doing something else. So, you being a university is not your achievement, it is the times. You have some role, you have a stake in it, but it is the times which is allowing you to do this, isn’t it? Historically, at what time we are born is deciding most of what we do. So, do not make that a big affair.
First and foremost thing is to grow this one [self], this piece of life to its highest possibility. If you grow this one to a certain level of capability, competence and well-being, this will do something in this world, according to the times. Instead of that, what you’re trying to do is, you’re trying to upgrade your activity without upgrading the machine [self]. It is like you took an old beat up pickup truck – I won’t name the brand because they’re just across the Great Lakes – you took one old beat up truck, pickup truck you have, but you suddenly got a desire, you want to go into the Formula One racing. You went! Now your four wheels will be going in four different directions. You want to get onto the track, at least buy a standard Ferrari. Hello? If you have an upgraded machine, is your activity naturally upgraded I’m asking you? But without upgrading the machine, if you upgrade activity, upgraded activity is creating enormous suffering, isn’t it?
See those of you who are thinking, it’s very hard to be in the university, I can take you back home and make you plough the land. Very easy! You don’t know what it is! So, I’m not trying to make fun of things. But I want you to understand the privilege of being in the times in which you are, where our survival process is better organized than ever before in the history of humanity. Yes or no? Hmm? Yes or no? Are you materially not living better than your parents and grandparents? Unless your father was a Maharaja in India or something? You’re common! So definitely, you’re living better than then, isn’t it?
Especially, all of you, young women who are here, I want you to acknowledge this, that this is the best time to be a woman on this planet. It never was this good. Well, still there are issues which we have to improve, no question about that. But isn’t it better than ever before? If we do not acknowledge what we have, we will not create what we want – just know this.