Social Justice Through Individual Wellbeing – Mr. Pravin Gordhan In Conversation with Sadhguru

Social Justice Through Individual Wellbeing – Mr. Pravin Gordhan In Conversation with Sadhguru


Sadhguru: Good evening. Good evening, everyone. I said good evening. Participants: Good evening (Sadhguru laughs).
Sadhguru: Ok, that’s better. Pravin Gordhan: Let me firstly
on your behalf, South Africans, and indeed on behalf of government,
welcome Sadhguru to South Africa. But the pity is, he’s only staying here for a very
few hours, but nonetheless, welcome (Applause). Sadhguru: Thank you (Laughs). I’ve seen the people, next time you
must show me the lions (Laughter). Pravin Gordhan: Well, we can show
you more than the lions. (Laughter) It’s a privilege to firstly be sitting next to an
eminent and learned person such as Sadhguru. So thank you to the Isha Foundation for their
very kind invitation to be here this evening. Secondly, June, Sadhguru, is a very
momentous month for South Africa. Tomorrow is the sixteenth of June. And forty years ago, very brave young schoolchildren,
in today a very well-known township called Soveto… stood up for justice, stood up for fairness and stood up to their right to
have education in the language of their choice. It’s an event, which led to loss of young lives. But it’s also an event that was
a pivotal moment in our history, because young people then left South Africa
to join political movements like the ANC, which was banned at the time outside the country. Young activists ended up in Robben Island, a
famous prison, which I’m sure you’ve heard of… Sadhguru: Yes
Pravin Gordhan: …where Mr. Mandela, and others were imprisoned for many years, and gave life to the struggle for democracy that
Mr. Sooklal was talking about earlier on as well. The twenty-sixth of June is also an
interesting day for South Africans. That’s the sixty-first anniversary, if I’ve got
it right arithmetically (Sadhguru laughs)… Sadhguru: You’re the Finance Minister (Laughter). Pravin Gordhan: Others do the calculations (Laughter). The sixty-first anniversary of the formulation of
the Freedom Charter, the first lines of which say, “South Africa belongs to all who live in it,
black and white” and set out – you’ll find it very interesting – the kind of vision of a future South
Africa that you have for the world – a world of well-being, a world of justice,
a world without poverty and a world, where economic and political systems serve a
vast majority of people rather than a narrow few. But the last point I want to make by way of
introduction is that we sit in an interesting complex, called Emperor’s Palace. Now, I don’t know what you… what’s your relationship with casinos,
but there’s one not too far away (Laughter). Sadhguru: I had to walk through it (Laughter).
Pravin Gordhan: You had to walk (Laughter)? But Emperor’s Palace, around the early nineties
or part of it, was called the World Trade Center. And this is where what was referred
to earlier on as CODESA took place, which is the negotiations for today’s South Africa,
what we then called the future South Africa. And in the period December 1991 to approximately
December 1993, we argued, we debated, we negotiated, we broke down negotiations, we rebuilt negotiations. And at the end of the 1993 period, we
had negotiated an interim Constitution, which served as the basis of our first democratic
elections on the twenty-seventh of April, 1994. So the casino, you can forget about – the history is quite important that we created
collectively for all South Africans in this period. But so, perhaps the first issue that one
could ask about is, what is the relationship, which you strive to build between
inner well-being and outer well-being? Does inner well-being necessarily
convert itself to the kind of social justice, that you envision for billions
of people across the world? And what kind of inner re-engineering is required, to make all of these people
activists by tomorrow morning? (Laughter) Sadhguru: Namaskaram. I’m very much conversant with the struggles and
the pains and very profound sense of suffering, that a large segment of the population of this
part of the world has seen in recent history. The sacrifices, the sufferings, the wounds,
the deaths, the loss that people have suffered, believing that there will be a better tomorrow – it is those people, who do not worry about today’s
comfort but tomorrow’s well-being for everybody. What hardships they’ve been through,
unspeakable things have happened – men, women, children. But it’s important that we honor
their sacrifices, their sufferings. At the same time, without resentment we
look forward to creating what they aspired for, because when pain is inflicted upon human beings,
people think it’s natural to become resentful about that. But resentment, anger, frustrations… – these are all poisons that we drink and we
expect somebody else to die (Few laugh). Life doesn’t work like that. If we drink poison, we die. As Pravin has already articulated, this has been… There are many freedom movements
that we have seen in the twentieth century – many nations – but the freedom struggle of the South African people, and the freedom struggle of India have been
very unique happenings in the history of humanity. And you must take pride, in many ways, India’s
freedom struggle took birth in South Africa (Laughs) – you must take pride in that (Laughs) – maybe for the wrong reasons. But this is what we need to understand. What the world throws at us is not
always in our hands, unfortunately. But whatever it throws at us, what we
make out of it is one-hundred percent ours. If we do not empower ourselves to be able to do this,
then we will be always seeking for an ideal situation. And ideal situations have never
existed in any society, ever, believe me. It is just that people who had vision, people who had
strength, people who had necessary commitment, those people turned every situation into well-being,
for the larger well-being of the people. But there never have been ideal situations
for any society, any nation, at any time. Some have faced harsher
situations than others, of course. But still, there is no such thing as ideal
situation because in every society, there is a whole lot of people, who are whining eternally,
about what is not okay about it (Laughs). Pravin Gordhan: We have that in South Africa too
(Laughter). Sadhguru: Ah, this is not just about South Africa – as a generation of people on this planet, we are the
loudest whiners ever because we got social media. (Laughter) Every whine is heard around the world (Laughs). Pravin Gordhan: And very quickly (Sadhguru laughs).
Sadhguru: Yes. So, bringing inner well-being, how is it important? When external situations are harsh, then people will always ask this question,
because they will become skeptical, “Me being peaceful, me being well,
how will it translate?” We must understand this – everything that we create is just
a manifestation of who we are. If we do not strive to transform who we are, what
we create will always be that, that we will not want. We may go with short-term goals of wanting
something, but it will not bring what we want, because we have not made
ourselves what we want, first of all. If I am not able to manage my mind, how do
I manage a society, how do I manage a nation, how do I manage a world? If I am not able to create the kind of
human being that I want within myself, how do I create a nation or a world the way I want it? So, inner well-being is not an esoteric discipline, for somebody who’s given up
everything and sits in a Himalayan cave. Those of you who’re thinking,
“Oh, I will do yoga, I will do meditation… Let me go to a Himalayan cave”, let me inform you,
all the caves are taken, there are no caves (Laughter). Pravin Gordhan: We have many caves
in South Africa as well (Laughter). Sadhguru: No, no, but it’s… it’s only in
Himalayan cave it happens (Laughter). You need a mountain on top of your head (Laughter). Pravin Gordhan: That we don’t have to offer (Laughter). Sadhguru: But human hearts and human
minds have still remained like dark caves. It is time to bring light to those caves. If the cave of your heart, the cave of your
mind is lit by you being a shining being, then the world will for sure shine because we cannot
produce a society very different from who we are. What we are, is what our society will be. To be able to make inner well-being
not an exclusive right of a few people… As external well-being, economic well-being, some
time ago was the exclusive right of a few people, for which many great men have fought,
many great men have sacrificed, many great men probably were snuffed out
before they could reach their greatness. Similarly, it is important today that inner well-being
becomes a possibility for every human being. In that context, this step, the International
Yoga Day is a very significant step. It is not just for one-day photo op yoga. The idea is to make sure every human being has
tools of self-transformation in their hands, not… These tools for transformation should not be in the
hands of a guru, or an organization, or an authority, but it should be in the hands of every human being
because this is something that you have to use. For a long time, we have handled human
well-being with promises elsewhere. It doesn’t matter what’s happening here, when
you go somewhere up there, wherever that is, and because you’re in the Southern hemisphere, if you
look up, obviously you’re looking up the wrong way. (Laughter) Nobody knows in this cosmos… In this cosmos, does anybody know
which side is up, which side is down? Is it somewhere marked, “This side up” (Laughter)? But with these promises, we have held people down,
with these promises, we gave hope to people, with these promises, we have postponed
people aspiring for what they want now. A time has come, where humanity is reaching a point,
where human intellect is sparking like never before. More people can think for themselves than
ever before, in the very history of humanity. When such a thing is happening, if whatever we offer
is not logically correct and scientifically verifiable, it is not going to live. You may be still under the
influence or a hangover of the past, but your children are not going to listen to
anything that doesn’t make sense to them. It doesn’t matter from which authority it comes, – god spoke, guru spoke, scripture spoke,
some other authority spoke, whoever spoke… Pravin Gordhan: Or politicians spoke (Laughter). Sadhguru: I thought I will leave you out of that, Sir.
(Laughter) I just vaguely said “some other authority”. Whoever spoke, if it doesn’t make sense, the future
generations on this planet are not going to take it. This is a good thing because this means the future of
the world is such that truth will be the only authority, authority will never be the truth,
which is a great step for humanity. And yoga as a science, as a technology,
can play a significant role in this. Yoga has no cultural frills attached to it. Through millennia of transmission,
it has acquired cultural frills. The most significant aspect of my work,
personally, has been to take off all the frills, so that it comes to you as a pure science
and a technology that you can make use of. Why I’m insisting on the word technology is – the nature of technology is such,
if you learn to use it, it works. You don’t have to believe it, you don’t have to trust it, you
don’t have to pray to it, you don’t have to appeal to it. If you know how to use it, it works. So, will this be useful to create external well-being? If we do not create human beings, who are of
balance, who can be fired up but not imbalanced… You must understand this. Most of the time, people who’re fired up, people
who’re competent, people who can do things, they’re all the time imbalanced. In a state of imbalance, the best of you will not come. There is substantial scientific and
medical evidence to show you today that, if you are in a pleasant state of experience, your ability
to use your body and your brain is greatly enhanced. You know this from your experience anyway. After all, our ability to transform external situations, our ability to succeed in whatever
endeavors we take up in our lives… is essentially about how well you
can harness this body and this mind. And this can be done by a scientific approach to it, rather than hoping that it will happen somehow,
from some other source.

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