Sadhguru – “I was born with an imprint of mountains in my eyes.”
I literally lived on my motorcycle. When I rode somewhere, I never checked into a hotel, I just slept on my motorcycle. I would put my bag on the motor cross and handle bars, lie down and have a sound sleep. People used to ask, “How can you sleep? You will fall down.” I would say, “Don’t worry, I may fall when I’m walking, but I won’t fall off my motorcycle.” It was such a big part of everything that I was doing.
Mysore is the hometown for a particular type of motorcycle known as the Jawas. Many motorcycle enthusiasts were mad about motorcycles, always looking to fiddle with the engine to make it go faster. We would assemble on our motor cycles under a huge banyan tree – getting off was sacrilege. Someone called us the Banyan Tree Club. We discussed all kinds of things and even printed a small, monthly journal called the Banyan Tree Club Journal.
There was a time when I crisscrossed India on my motorcycle. I had even gone up to Nepal. At the border, they asked me for my papers. I didn’t know I needed papers to leave the country’s borders, so I asked, “What, papers? I don’t have any papers except my motorcycle license.” They said, “No, you need a passport.” I never thought I needed a passport to go somewhere. I thought my motorcycle could take me everywhere. I turned back and tried going another way, but that check post said no too.
My dream was to go around the world on my motorcycle.
I thought I would do some business, make some money and then ride off. I kept my motorcycle in full trim, thinking in two or three years, I can sell the business off and ride away – which I never did because something else happened.
From my infancy, there were always certain mountains in the background of my eyes. When I was sixteen years old and discussed this with my friends, they said, “You’re crazy! Where are mountains?” That was when I realized no one had mountains in their eyes except me. For some time I thought I should find out where they are, but then I ignored that idea. Suppose there is a spot on your spectacles, you get used to it after a while. It was just like that. It was only much later when a whole flood of memory came back to me, and when I was looking for a place to establish the Dhyanalinga, that I started looking for that particular peak in my eyes.
I traveled everywhere. I made at least four trips on my motorcycle from Goa to Kanyakumari and back again. Somehow I believed they must be in the Western Ghats. On every road and mud track from the range of Karwar down to the Kerala border in Karnataka, I have probably ridden thousands of kilometers.
Then just by chance I came to a village outside Coimbatore. As I drove down a bend, I saw the Seventh Hill on the Velliangiri Mountains. There it was, the mountain I had seen since my childhood. From that day they disappeared from my eyes.
If you ask me, “Which is the greatest mountain on the planet?” I will reply, “Velliangiri Mountains,” because for me these are not just mountains. I was born with an imprint of these mountains in my eyes and they have haunted me since. They lived within me and have been my very own navigating system, my GPS. These mountains were not a pile of rocks for me. They were a reservoir of what I needed to know to create the Dhyanalinga.
When I was very young, Raghavendra Swami, a yogi popularly known as Malladihalli Swami, used to come to my grandfather’s place. I was about twelve years old and he was about eighty-one. At the time, I could climb anything. At my grandfather’s house, there were wells in the backyard, which were just six or seven feet in diameter and about 120 to 130 feet deep. The water would be sixty feet below the surface. One of the sports among us boys was to jump into this well and climb back up. If you made one mistake, you would hit the rock walls and that would be the end of you. None of the kids could climb as fast as me. One day, this eighty-one-year-old man jumped in and climbed out faster than me. When I asked how he did it, he said “Come and do yoga with me.” That is what inspired me to learn some simple yogic practices.
Once we attach the word “yoga” to anything, it indicates that it is a complete path by itself. We say hatha yoga, but we will not say asana yoga. Of course, if you come from the United States, they say anything! People say “recreational yoga,” “health yoga,” people refer to it as an art form – they think they are doing a service to yoga by saying it is an art form. No. The moment you attach the word “yoga,” it indicates it is a complete path by itself.
The word “yoga” essentially means, “that which brings you to reality”. Literally, it means “union.” Union means it brings you to the ultimate reality, where individual manifestations of life are surface bubbles in the process of creation. Right now, a coconut tree and a mango tree have popped up from the same earth. From the same earth, the human body and so many creatures have popped up. It is all the same earth.
Yoga means to move towards an experiential reality where one knows the ultimate nature of the existence, the way it is made.
Yoga refers to union not as an idea, a philosophy or as a concept that you imbibe.
“This is me, that is you.” The boundary is clear; there is no question of you and me being one. It actually causes damage to the individual if you intellectually see everything is one. People do all kinds of silly things because they got this idea that everybody is one, before somebody teaches them a good lesson and then they see, “This is me, that is you. No way to be one.”
If yoga becomes an experiential reality, it will not bring forth any immature action. It will bring forth a tremendous experience of life. Individuality is an idea. Universality is not an idea, it is a reality. In other words, yoga means you bury all your ideas.
Sadhguru interview series originally published with permission from Isha Foundation.
“Inner Engineering is neither a religion, nor a philosophy or dogma. It is a technology for wellbeing. One does not have to believe or disbelieve, just have to learn to use. Technology will produce results irrespective of who you are” – Sadhguru
Photo credit: Isha Foundation
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