I woke up this morning to a strange controversy surrounding a quote by Sadhguru. Tweets on his twitter comments section and a number of popular social media handles were ridiculing him for copying a quote of French philosopher and Novelist, Jean Paul Sartre and presenting it as his own. There were voices demanding apology and hurling the worst form of insults one would imagine on the spiritual leader. Mind you, these were all Indians and not French.
For the uninitiated, Sadhguru is a spiritual leader of international repute who has represented the country at several global platforms like the UN and the World Economic Forum to name a few. He was recently awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour of India. He is also the man who is revered by millions across the globe and belongs to my state of Karnataka. He is one of those rare popular figures who are loved by Kannadigas and Tamilians alike and symbolizes the brotherhood between the two states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, which have had differences due to Kaveri water sharing dispute. Apart from being a mystic, he is also a NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLING AUTHOR and a wonderful poet.
Coming back to this controversy, the quote shared by Sadhguru under the hastag #sadhguruquotes is: “If you are alone and you are getting bored, obviously you are in a bad company.”
— Sadhguru (@SadhguruJV) December 27, 2017
At first instance anyone would blindly believe it to be a case of copying, content theft. Does that mean Sadhguru, who has debated with several renowned scientists, politicians and actors and generated a certain spiritual seeking in the ignorant minds, copied a quote from a little-known French Philosopher and shared it publicly? Didn’t he realize that in the era of information and technology, where ordinary public has grown to be way smarter than they used to be, he would be exposed online, bringing disrepute to him and his organization?
Upon little research online, I started getting exciting results. I realized that Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and inventor, who lived in the 17th century, actually said the exact same thing in a different manner with a different choice of words.
He is indirectly suggesting that one should not feel miserable when one is alone. And misery is in a way a manifestation of boredom. If you are bored for a longer duration of time, you are bound to become miserable.
Then I chanced upon this quote by Rumi:-
The entire cosmos is inside you, is what Sadhguru has said repeatedly in a number of discourses (May not be in the exact same words). His entire life has been an offering to make us all realize this one thing. Does that mean Sadhguru even copied Rumi? Turn Inward, is what I have heard him say on a number of occasions. A majority of his videos on life transformation suggest this. The enlightened Buddha had implied an almost similar thing as quoted by Blaise Pascal, thousands of years ago.
Just type “enjoy when you are alone Buddha” in Google and you will find a quote which is attributed to Buddha. “If you want to be strong, learn to enjoy being alone,” said the great being.
I have never heard Sadhguru take any credit for the discourses he offers. He comes across as a humble being who credits all his knowing to his Guru. Our Yogis had known the cosmos by meditation and Yoga. All that there is to be known is already said by Patanjali in his Yoga sutras which dates back to thousands of years, Sadhguru has remarked on a number of occasions. He has also on a number of occasions revealed how his enlightenment happened. It was atop the Chamundi hills. He has even said on record that he can simply close his eyes and sit without keeping a tab on time and that is when he is at his best. It all sounds too difficult to believe. But we do believe many things that science says without understanding the logic isn’t it? So, his understanding and experience of life and the cosmos is far more refined than most of us. It would be childish to assume that he would have copied a French philosopher to gain only a few likes and shares on twitter or Facebook. Or to make his followers praise his wit and intelligence. For, he is far beyond such trivialities. In the midst of this unwanted controversy, we shouldn’t forget the essence of the quote. This one quote has the power to transform our lives.
One parting thought: Should we believe that only those people who are labelled as thinkers or philosophers are capable of writing such deep meaningful quotes? Long back during my school days, a close friend had once confided in me a profound secret. We had quarreled, and he sat on a different bench, all alone, the whole day. At the end of school he confided in me that, “He was in a bad company that day as he felt lonely and bored. He liked my company more.” Only because we were in a remote school in a backward region of Karnataka, and we weren’t any philosophers or thinkers, and lived in an era when Information Technology wasn’t even heard of, nobody recorded his quote. Or else I am sure Sadhguru’s quote would have been considered a copy of my friend’s creative work or maybe not as nobody appreciates the creativity and wittiness of an Indian. For us, French, Greek and Mayan Philosophers’ words mean a lot. Because the Mayans had predicted the end of the world in 2012 and it got us all excited.