Can Joy And Mysticism Go Together?
“If you are trying to be something other than what you are, you can never come to ease.” —Sadhguru
Questioner: Namaskaram, Sadhguru. I want to be joyful, but I also like depth. I like things mystic. If fun is giggling all the time, isn’t it superficial?
Sadhguru: Mystical things are all up, not deep. This is the most important dimension that I am trying to change in the world – you can address something most profound in a joyful way. Right now, even with Rally for Rivers, I am making sure a project of that magnitude is being done on the ground joyfully. There is substantial medical and scientific evidence to show that only when you are in pleasant states of experience, your body and your brain work best. So if you want to approach something profound, should you have a brain seizure, or should you have a working brain?
The moment you become dead serious, your brain is frozen; it does not work. If you want to approach mysticism, it does not mean you have to be dead serious with a long face. All mystics were joyful. If you want to seek something profound, you need a certain level of exuberant energy. If you are dead serious, what will you touch, what great things will happen? Joy does not mean you are always giggling. You can be joyful in such a way that tears will flow endlessly. On the surface, when you are with people, you giggle and laugh and whatever.
How to Be at Ease
Joy simply means you are in a certain level of pleasantness. Pleasantness means there is no friction in you. If you sit here, you are at ease. This itself is a great joy. Most human beings do not know how to sit here in total ease. Let us say I put you in front of this many people, you are too concerned about being someone other than what you are. If you are trying to be something other than what you are, you can never come to ease. You should work upon yourself, bring yourself to a place where the way you are is fine.
It is not that there is something wrong with everyone. It is just that they want to be someone else – that is what is wrong. The problem is this – not just in physical appearance, but also in speech and behavior – people are trying to be something other than who they are. I speak in a satsang as I would speak in the bathroom. Though I do not speak in the bathroom. I say this just because most people only sing in the bathroom. I sit in a darshan and sing not because I know music, but because I am shameless. Because I do not see anyone other than myself.
I am at ease because I am not made by someone’s opinion. In no way does someone’s opinion make me happy or unhappy. Whether people are saying, “Sadhguru, you are more than God,” or they are saying all kinds of nasty things, not for one moment does either this or that ever matter. If you think I am more than God, it is good for you. If you think I am nasty, the nastiness is only happening in your mind. You think I am fantastic because something fantastic is happening in you. That is wonderful. You think I am horrible because something horrible is happening within you. That has nothing to do with me – I am very clear about that.
Mystics Aren’t Boring
Mysticism does not mean becoming dead serious. Seriousness happens not because you are serious about something. Seriousness happens because you take yourself very seriously. You take your own thought, emotion, ideas, opinions, and philosophies that you nurture within yourself very seriously. If you take me seriously, you will not become serious. The way we use English language in India, if someone says, “My grandmother is serious,” we think she is on the way up. If you become very serious, we do not think you are mystical. We think you are boring.
Mysticism is an exploration. When you are joyful, you are not an issue in your life. When you are in pursuit of happiness, it means you are an issue – you are trying to find a solution for yourself. When you are joyful by your own nature, you are not an issue. Only when you are not an issue, will you seek something beyond concerns of survival.
There is no benefit to mysticism. It is just like science. Science has no benefit. It is technology which is beneficial. Science is simply the longing to know. Longing to know is a madness! To know something, people have died. Many scientists and aspiring mystics have wasted their lives and died. Others have died seeking, because seeking is of that nature. Truth is of that nature. When you seek, it may not reveal itself – it may open its mouth and swallow you. For people who go into space, there is no guarantee they will come back. Anything can happen. For what? You think they will get a discount on their toothpaste or something? Just to know! Just to see something new.
This is the nature of science. This is the nature of mysticism. This is only possible when you are not an issue, and you are not the concern. That will only happen when you are joyful. The first step in seeking mysticism is to make sure that you are not the issue in your life. There may be a thousand issues in your life, but you should not be the issue. Being joyful means that you are not the issue. You must do that to yourself, whether you are in pursuit of mysticism or you are just going to live simply – for both it is necessary that you are not the issue, that you are a joyful human being.
Moving from Survival to the Beyond
Do not look at joy as a qualification. It is a basic ambience that is needed for this life to flourish. For these trees to grow and bear flowers and fruits, we must keep the soil fertile. That is a basic necessity. Similarly, only if you are in a pleasant state of experience, will you seek big things. Otherwise, you are always trying to set up boundaries for yourself. You only want to do little things; nothing beyond that. When there is suffering within you, you will not seek anything big. As long as you are capable of suffering, you are self-crippled. The fear of suffering will keep you contained and controlled: “What will happen?” “Whatever happens, I still want to know!” – For that kind of madness to happen, you must be exuberant and alive.
This is called madness by people who are constipated. But it is only because of such “mad” people that science, adventure, geography, and things like that happened. The explorations of geography on this planet, of space, of technologies – everything happened because someone was willing to step beyond their comfort zone. They were willing to be uncomfortable, because they wanted to know the fulfillment and ecstasy of knowing something beyond the limitations of their present existence.
For that much hunger to come, you must live joyfully for a few years and understand that actually, whatever you are doing, the simple things that people are making a big deal about – getting a job, doing your job, building a house, getting married, having two children – are not big achievements. Every creature is doing it. A bird is building its nest, laying its eggs, hatching its young ones, feeding them, bringing them up, and they fly off within fifteen days. You are making such a big fuss about it.
In today’s world, for the first time in the history of humanity, our survival process is better organized than ever before. This is the time for mysticism. This is the time human beings should step out of their limits and look for what is beyond. So we are at the right time. Let’s make it happen.
Editor’s Note: Click here to read what Sadhguru has to say about Kailash, which he calls the Greatest Mystical library on the planet.
A version of this article was originally published in Isha Forest Flower January 2020. Click here to subscribe to the print version.