Living Beyond Yourself

“If you surrender this one thought, ‘What about me,’ life will happen in a torrent, not a trickle. Only if you do something larger than yourself, will you feel forever fulfilled.”


Though this Rally for Rivers has been on my mind for some time, only two months before the start, I spoke to our teams about it. Our teams function best when you set an impossible deadline and a killing schedule. That is what lets us go all out. It’s been like that for the last twenty-five years. If you want to create something that has never been done before, and that is of a certain scale and involves various aspects, everyone’s head should break. Because most people use their head like a cannon ball. It has to be fired by something – otherwise it won’t go anywhere. So it got fired, and the rally got propelled.

What we have achieved is the most incredible happening in recent times in this country. The sheer effort and energy behind it – this is the power of consciousness. I told someone some time ago at Isha, we are just a bunch of idiots doing incredible things. Very few of them are reasonably educated – the rest are all just like me. It doesn’t take any great intellect or qualifications to create something wonderful. It just takes absolute devotion towards what you wish to do. Once your energies get focused in one direction, everything works for you. In the yogic lore, they say the moment you touch the dimension of chitta, which is beyond memory, understanding, boundaries, education, or knowledge, then God will become your slave. The Rally is a demonstration of that – it has moved the entire nation.

Essentially, this proves that this matter has been on everyone’s mind somewhere, but who will bell the cat? It takes a fool to bell the cat, not knowing whether it’s housecat or a tiger. It happens with many situations. You thought that something was a house cat, and suddenly that thing roared and tried to bite your head off. Many people warned me that I am risking my reputation. I said, “I’m willing to risk my reputation and my life, because this is vital. We have to ensure that our rivers are flowing for our future generations.”

Not everything is going to get fixed because we were on the road for thirty days. It is not that tomorrow morning, all rivers will flow. What we need is a largescale movement that no one can ignore. This will not just remain an ecological effort. This will translate into a spiritual process for many who have come in touch with us. The process is essentially spiritual. Right now the goal is ecological, because you know, Gautama the Buddha got enlightened under a tree. I am planning large-scale enlightenment process. When that day comes, I want you to have a decent tree to sit under (laughs).

So until when will the rally be on? We will continue the missed call efforts until 31st of October. We have crossed twelve crore missed calls. That’s only forty percent of what I said last – thirty crore. These days I’m saying sixty crore. Because the number system was invented by Indians, we have the freedom to use it whichever way we want. When we are able to multiply our population four times in seventy years, why can’t we multiply the missed calls? This is not about a particular number. The important thing is every citizen should participate, irrespective of what they do in their lives. That is what gives this movement its strength.

This rally is without parallel, not just in India. Nowhere else on the planet has an ecological movement ever become so large. Generally, only fringe groups are fighting for some ecological cause. Because we started this off on the right note, saying this is not an agitation, this is not a protest, this is not against anyone, the entire nation responded. The media responded wonderfully. Never before in the history of independent India has anything been reported as the Rally for Rivers has been reported across the country, for thirty days. The national icons of film and sport responded. They made a big difference in the whole process. We wish to express our gratitude to all of them.

Above all, all you volunteers across the country, you are quite crazy. That’s a good qualification. If you don’t have a Mad Heart, you will die of a constipated life. Very little happens – that’s constipation. Much more was possible but very little happened in your life, that’s a constipated life. Life is not about what you have or what you don’t have. It is not about what you manage to gather or what you did not manage to gather. It is not about what you wore, where you lived, or what you drove – it is about the profoundness of your experience. The only wealth in your life is how profound your life is. If you sacrifice that for all the things you gather – where are you going to take this warehouse in the end? The only real wealth you can carry through life and death is profoundness of experience.

The only thing that you have in your life is life itself. Everything else, everything that comes up in your thought and your emotion is just your imagination. The profoundness of experience will work and leave you on a completely different level of life. You become a mature life. For many volunteers across the country, this one month has been by far the most profound experience in their lives. That is more important to me than anything else. What matters is that for thousands of people, their experience of life has become far more profound than what it was. And that profoundness happened because, knowingly or unknowingly, for some time, they forgot “What about me?”

Otherwise, people who think they are doing something important look absolutely constipated. If you do not know how to address the most serious aspects of life joyfully, life shall sit very heavy upon your heart. It will sit so heavy that when you are alive, you feel you are already buried. A lot of people do this to themselves. This is why they go sit in a pub, a bar, or a restaurant – to relax and breathe a bit. The rest of the time, they are burying themselves. I want you to know the joy of breathing freely every moment. If you want to know the joy, this is all you have to do: You must drop this one thought, “What about me?” I will tell you what about you – we will burn or bury you one day. The question is before that, how profound is your experience of life? That’s all it is. Profoundness does not happen due to the activity you do. Profoundness happens if what you create becomes bigger than yourself.

This can happen not only by doing a big rally across the country. This can happen with every single act you do. What you do is far more important than your own existence and your own survival – if you approach everything like this, then life will become super profound. If it is that profound, you will function like a superhuman being. Not because you became superhuman, but because your constipation got relieved. I am particularly choosing a nasty example because people are capable of ignoring something beautiful, like a flower or the moon. But a little bit of shit on their face, and suddenly they are conscious. So to make them conscious, you have to throw some shit at them. If you were constipated and then suddenly you got loose motions, you can’t believe you had so much shit in you. Similarly, if you have constipated your life with the constant thought of “What about me?” and then you take that off, you will see, suddenly the relief will be so big.

What is destroying the world today is that someone is doing something that destroys something, and everyone else thinks, “They are doing it, so what’s the problem – I can do it too. I’m not the only one doing negative things.” This is how we have destroyed a super mighty life like a river. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just take a boat, maybe from Allahabad to Kashi. Just to feel the river, what a mighty life it is. This will be the experience of your life. And we brought such a mighty life to its knees, thinking “Others are doing this, so I can also do this.” The little negative things everyone is doing eventually amount to a disaster.

Don’t think, “Everyone is calling – my missed call will not be missed.” This is a big problem with a lot of human beings – if they want to get something they become big; they claim their rights. If they have to give something, they become so small and humble. “After all, what can I do?” If you reverse the equation, life will change dramatically. The Rally for Rivers continues till the rivers flow. This will need dedicated people.

The next step in the Rally is to get the governments in the country to act. Yesterday, we presented the draft policy recommendations for the revitalization of India’s rivers to the Prime Minister. It’s a well-designed and wonderful documentation with many case studies on how rivers have been revitalized across the world, in various kinds of soils, various kinds of climates, and how it can be done in India – the whole science of it. It was received with utmost reverence and enthusiasm for the cause. But there is a lot more to be done to translate this into action. Unless we keep the throttle on, it may go on the back burner. They have a thousand issues on their hands on a day-to-day basis.

All of you must make your voices heard. Ten percent of what you speak and ten percent of the message that you send out every day should be about rivers. “But Sadhguru, my friends will think I’m a nutcase.” If you don’t do it, you are a nutcase. If you don’t understand that rivers are the source of life for us, you are a nutcase. This is like the proverbial story of the man cutting a branch of a tree while sitting on the wrong end. If he succeeds, he will crash. That’s exactly where we are right now. Unless we take action now, we will survive only if our economy and everything that we are doing fails. Is this not absolutely insane?

That is how we are going about in the world, not just in India. But India will get the first dose of disaster, because of the population pressure within the limited land we have. The world will get it too, but some are better organized, and they have built walls (laughs). So the Rally for Rivers must continue. I want all of you to respond and be active for the Rally on social media – if not every day, at least once a week.

When you see negative things, you can either become part of that or you grow beyond that. That’s up to you in every moment of your life. No matter what kind of situation you are placed in, you have three choices. Either you can use it to grow, or you can use it to make nothing out of yourself, or you can try to exclude yourself from everything. But without involvement, there is no experience of life. For life to become profound, involvement must be unbridled and indiscriminate. Calculated involvement will take care of your survival, but then what are you surviving for? Anyway you will die. Isn’t it better to be involved, and to experience life as profoundly as possible?

So the next course of action is towards getting this into a policy. One tremendous plus is that the different political parties have all come together for this Rally. We have crossed this one hurdle. The rest of it is legislative challenges, legal challenges, technical challenges, administrative challenges, and complexities of execution, which have to be addressed in detail. We hope to settle this in a few months, but we need people on the ground to lead this. Many states expect us to set up economic modules along the rivers, where we can show that shifting to tree-based agriculture is far more beneficial to the farmers than what they are doing now.

In the next few years, we need at least twelve hundred people across sixteen states to stand up fulltime and making things happen. Immediately, we need at least a few hundred people who are committed to act on the ground. In some states, even without a policy being passed, it will just happen. In some states, it will be a struggle. In some states, it will be an uphill task. But in the next five years’ time, if we set up successful modules that are large enough, we have done our job. After that, it is up to the nation and the people to what extent they take it.

We need young people to stand up. If you surrender this one thought, “What about me,” life will happen in a torrent, not a trickle. Only if you do something larger than yourself, will you feel forever fulfilled. If you do things that are smaller than you, life doesn’t happen without chemicals. Unless you get drunk or do something else, you can’t laugh, you can’t sing, you can’t dance. The entire world is moving in this direction. So many people have put in an effort into making this Rally happen – celebrities, sport icons, film icons, political leaders, volunteers, ashram inmates, and brahmacharis. Many have been working every day like this is the last day of their life. That’s the way to live. I want you to use this rally, in every possible way, to enhance your own life. Your life should flow along with the rivers. But you must come minus one thought – “What about me?”

Too many people do things that they don’t like to do just because they think it is their duty, and suffer it their whole life. Intelligent ones do what they love to do – they enjoy their life to some extent. But a genius learns to do what is needed joyfully. That is when your genius flowers. When it is no more about you, now there is a limitless way of looking at life. I don’t even have to tell people about many aspects of this Rally and many other things – it just happens. Not because I exercise my will over the world, but because I fulfill the will of the existence. This needs to be done, and those who do it with all that they have will find fulfillment.

I am with you.

Love & Grace,