Q: Who is a good human being? What are his primary duties towards himself/herself and society?
Sadhguru: As a human being, your only duty is that you grow to your full potential. If you grow to your full potential, your very way of being is absolutely useful. The best things will happen around you; there is no need for you to do any duty.
If you do not know how to make yourself happy, is there any possibility of you making the world a happy place to live in? If you do not know how to manage your body, mind and emotions, can you manage the world? It is not going to happen. If you do not know how to keep yourself, you will definitely not know how to keep the world. So, don’t worry about your duty, see how to nurture yourself to the highest possible level. Then you will do what you should do.
What is the relationship between your politics and your poetry?
First of all, whoever reads my poetry could never arrive at fundamentalist, absolutist thinking. If someone is attracted to my poetry, he or she is attracted to all of the metaphoric background that I throw up against violence. Dealing with political realities is part of what we need to do to survive as normal human beings. You have to acknowledge political realties as they are. There’s an old Jewish saying: if you meet the devil, take him with you into the synagogue. Try to take the evil of politics into yourself, to influence it imaginatively—to give it human shape. This is my attitude toward politics. I’ve often said that all poetry is political. This is because real poems deal with a human response to reality and politics is part of reality, history in the making. Even if a poet writes about sitting in a glass house drinking tea it reflects politics.
In The Blood of Others and All Men Are Mortal you deal with the problem of time. Were you influenced, in this respect, by Joyce or Faulkner?
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No, it was a personal preoccupation. I’ve always been keenly aware of the passing of time. I’ve always thought that I was old. Even when I was twelve, I thought it was awful to be thirty. I felt that something was lost. At the same time, I was aware of what I could gain, and certain periods of my life have taught me a great deal. But, in spite of everything, I’ve always been haunted by the passing of time and by the fact that death keeps closing in on us. For me, the problem of time is linked up with that of death, with the thought that we inevitably draw closer and closer to it, with the horror of decay. It’s that, rather than the fact that things disintegrate, that love peters out. That’s horrible too, though I personally have never been troubled by it. There’s always been great continuity in my life. I’ve always lived in Paris, more or less in the same neighborhoods. My relationship with Sartre has lasted a very long time. I have very old friends whom I continue to see. So it’s not that I’ve felt that time breaks things up, but rather the fact that I always take my bearings. I mean the fact that I have so many years behind me, so many ahead of me. I count them.
Q: Does it bother you when I ask you about yourself?
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Sartre: No. Why? I believe that everyone should be able to speak of his innermost being to an interviewer. I think that what spoils relations among people is that each keeps something hidden from the other, something secret, not necessarily from everyone, but from whomever he is speaking to at the moment.
I think transparency should always be substituted for what is secret, and I can quite well imagine the day when two men will no longer have secrets from each other, because no one will have any more secrets from anyone, because subjective life, as well as objective life, will be completely offered up, given. It is impossible to accept the fact that we would yield our bodies as we do and keep our thoughts hidden, since for me there is no basic difference between the body and the consciousness.