Sadhguru discusses spirituality as self-annihilation, a possibility to destroy the individual and become the universal.
Q: You talked about carrying awareness from one life into another. The only thing that you carry forward is awareness. Is there an end to this process? Is there a beginning? Was I a blade of grass at some point? Was I a monkey, was I a lizard, was I a rock on a mountain? It is all forms of energy after all.
Sadhguru: A blade of grass, I do not know; monkey, I will not dispute! The question is a bundle of confusion – awareness, energy or carrying awareness beyond what you call as life right now. Where did life begin? Where does it end? Where it began, let us leave that at this point because it is already here. What you consider “myself” is already here. The beginning was obviously not caused by us, but going beyond has to be because of us. It has to be a conscious process. There is no other way.
“If everything is energy, where did I spring from?” You never sprang up, you just anointed yourself. “Does it mean to say I am not real? Are you telling me that nonsense about everything being maya [illusion]?” No, it is just that life is happening. How did this life begin to happen? Take planet Earth, for example, which has its own individuality compared to other planets. As you have your own individuality compared to other people, so does this planet. No matter how many forms life takes, it still has the capability to take on a unique form – a unique quality about itself. Whether it is the whole planet or you as a person, an ant, your own little finger or even the hair on your head, it has a unique quality about itself.
From Earth to Earth Again
At the same time, this uniqueness does not last forever. You as a person, being here – you as a body – you know it will end one day. Right now it is unique. When it ends, this body will not retain its uniqueness anymore. It will become a part of the earth. We call this Mother Earth simply because we understand that, in some way, we have come from it. This body is just a lump of earth taking on a different form and doing all these things. One day it will sink back and become earth. This body is just a lump of earth taking on a different form and doing all these things. One day it will sink back and become earth.
However, the earth is still retaining its uniqueness compared to the other planets. But as your body dissolves into the earth, the earth will also dissolve into a larger lap and become that – whatever that is. Right now, because you have no perception of that, we are referring to it as Shiva. As we have repeatedly said, the word “Shiva” means “that which is not.” When we say “that which is not,” it does not necessarily mean that which does not exist. It means that which is not in your experience right now. Only physical creation is in your experience. That which is the basis of creation is not in your experience. So that which is the basis of creation is being referred to as Shiva – that which is not.
That which is not became that which is, and took on a certain quality of its own. In that, millions of forms came up. All of them took on their own individuality for some time. Right now, when you are busy or active in your life, it is everything. Tomorrow morning, if you fall dead, suddenly life becomes something else. This person who was so active, doing all those things, suddenly disappears, but everything is still fine. Only the thoughts and emotions of those close to you are disturbed. But as far as existence is concerned, everything is perfectly fine because nothing has happened. The body sprang up, played for some time and went back – just like a little wave in the ocean. It rolls and falls back. In your individual experience or in the experience of people around you, this is a great calamity. All these calamities exist only in your thoughts and emotions, they have nothing to do with life. Only when your awareness and aliveness has risen beyond your thought, emotion and body, only then the question of going beyond also arises.
Bursting the Bubble
Right now, your awareness is limited only to these dimensions. So the question of carrying it beyond this life does not arise. But if your awareness is perfect – if your awareness is very clear between that which is physical and that which is not – that is the end of it. If one leaves the body in full awareness, it can happen only out of choice. When one is aware, everything is a choice. Only when one is not aware, everything is a compulsion. If you are truly aware, being in the body and not being in the body also happens by choice. Once such a choice has come, that is the end of the game. What was functioning as “me” will not exist anymore. Everything has become as it should be, as it was. Spirituality does not mean growth, it means self-destruction, self-annihilation.
Whatever I say verbally is bound to be wrong, but as an analogy, you can say it is like the rivers we have been passing. This river that you see now is Mandakini; what you saw just a little while ago was Alakananda; what you saw yesterday was Bhagirathi. Down at Hardwar, the foothills of the Himalayas, everything becomes Ganga. All these rivers had their own individuality. But in Hardwar, they lose their individuality and take on another kind of individuality. The Ganga flows into the ocean and there it too loses that individuality and becomes the Indian Ocean. And if you look deeper, there is no Indian Ocean or Pacific Ocean. It is just an ocean.
Similarly, if your awareness separates the physical from that which is not physical, everything merges as one. It is like children blowing bubbles. If you blow a bubble, there is air in it. This air has a certain individuality because it is in the body of the bubble. The moment the bubble bursts, where is that air? Similarly, once you burst what you refer to as “myself” with your awareness – if you know how to burst the physical that is holding life energy in a certain bondage – then energy is just energy. It is a sea of energy.
So spirituality does not mean growth, it means self-destruction, self-annihilation. This is not about physically torturing yourself. It is about destroying the individual and becoming the universal. This is why Shiva is worshipped. He is the destroyer. If you are not a destroyer, you have nothing to do with spirituality.
This extract from Sadhguru’s discourse on spirituality.
Editor’s Note: Amalgamating Sadhguru’s discourses during yatras to the Himalayas, “Himalayan Lust” is a blend of the specific and the timeless. It is a chance to make a pilgrimage on the page, travelling through the unpredictable but fascinating terrain of the Master’s words. Download the preview chapter. or purchase the ebook at Isha Downloads.