Deepak Chopra and Sadhguru on Crafting a Conscious Planet
Sadhguru: Namaskaram Deepak. Wonderful to be talking to you. This is almost, I don’t know if it’s threeyears since we met and spoke , twoand a half years…Deepak Chopra: That’s right. Sadhguru: Wonderful ,. . Deepak Chopra: That’s right. It’s always a privilege, always an honor. Sadhguru: Please tell me, you’re the doctor. You’re the boss here . Deepak Chopra: No, it’s always a privilegeto be in your presence and I’ve, lookingat your initiative for a conscious planetand you can count on any support from me andfrom the Chopra Foundation. Our goal has always been to reach a criticalmass for a more peaceful, just, sustainable,healthier and joyful world. And obviously, we can’t do that unless wetake care of our own ecology which is inseparablefrom the ecology of the world. Sadhguru: It is but because I’m a horriblypragmatic person ,. Deepak Chopra: It’s true, you are pragmatic. Sadhguru: I’m just looking at, you know, rightnow when we… because I would definitelynot approach ecology as something separatefrom myself, in my life, in my experiencenor with people around me but in the largerworld. . . I think because the situation is so dire,because the biodiversity is collapsing, theway it is collapsing. If we want next few generations to see, whatI see is, I don’t believe the planet is inany kind of danger or anything. That’s all our imagination, but human lifewill suffer immensely in the next three, fourgenerations if we don’t make the corrections. Even if you made the corrections for all youknow, you may be only postponing the suffering. Maybe you don’t want to give it your childrenand grandchildren but you don’t mind fivegenerations later they getting it. We don’t know that’s not in our hands. Our plan is at least for the next generationwe must leave a better space than the waywe made it right now. In that context, what I saw was, I’ve beenlooking at these various, you know, data fromUnited Nations from various universities andeverything. What I see is, this is all PhD stuff. On the… on the ground, if you really askpeople, if they have water shortage todayin Chennai, they know there is water shortage,but they don’t think that’s an ecologicalproblem. They think that’s a political problem. They think it’s a social and political problem. They don’t think it’s an ecological problem. So in that context, people are aware, to someextent, there is water shortage, there isthis, that, there is pollution in the city. If you give them enough water and give cleanair in the city, they don’t care a damn theentire world is burning up, they don’t carea damn, that’s where people are. So in my opinion, tell me if I’m wrong, Ibelieve only one to two percent of the populationis reasonably conscious about what’s happeningin terms of the damage we’re causing to theworld. Rest of the people either don’t know or don’tcare. Another two, three percent are only consciousabout air pollution in the city, water shortage,this, that; things that directly affect them,not things that are happening, which are seriouslydamaging to the planet. And when I say damaging to the planet, I’mnot somebody who thinks planet needs to besaved by us. If we just sleep for twenty-five years, everythingwill be back to normal, okay . That’s all it is. So in… not in that context but as a fundamentalresponsibility to at least leave everythingas it was given to us, when we were born howit was, at least to that level of ecologicalcleanliness we must bring… that much biodiversitywe must put back, because particularly themaximum damage has happened in the last fiftyyears. In terms of loss of biodiversity, seventypercent of the vertebrate population is gonein last fifty years, which is crazy. And one in five of the species which are onthe planet right now are under some kind ofthreat. So with all this happening, I thought takingthe world in segments of latitudes like equatorialclimate, tropical climate, subtropical andtemperate, like this, all the nations whichare in that band of latitude, at least sixtypercent of the population should know whatare the five things that must happen in ourcountry; what are the two to three thingsthat should never happen in our country. I’m saying everybody who is walking on thestreet should be conscious of it. Only when that happens, because nearly ninetypercent of the nations are in some way democraticin their own style of democracy. They are in some way democratic. Democratic process means about today… about5. 26 billion people have franchise that meansthey can elect their governments. Among these 5. 26, I’m… my aim is at leastthree billion people, if they… if you canmake them conscious – what are the fivethings that must happen in their nation – ifthey see anywhere on the street they mustknow this is not happening. What are the things that should never happenin their country – they must know this. That means it will become an election issue. So I am looking at all the top three politicalparties in all the nations in the world. We want to approach them and make sure; seethey will not make ecology the number oneagenda in their manifestos. In their election manifesto, at least numbertwo item must be ecological concern. So only when this happens, budgets will getinvested, government machinery will be behindit. Without this, what I do, what you do, whatsomebody else does, is all patchwork for amassive issue. Because unless it happens globally, ecologicalregeneration doesn’t happen in local bitsand pieces, it needs to happen at a much largerscale. That will only happen when governments investtheir budgets. No government… democratically elected governmentsare unwilling or hesitant to invest in ecologicalconcerns, mainly because these kind of thingswill yield results only in fifteen to twentyor twenty-five years, long term investmentbut their lifetime is only four to six years. So they are only thinking what they can dowithin those four to six years. Nobody is willing to invest in something longterm, unless a majority of the populationstands strongly behind that and says, “Thisis what we want. ”If that comes from the people only it willbecome part of the policy. Once it is policy, there will be budgets andthere will be government machinery that iswhen real things happen, otherwise organizationsand foundations can do as much as they want. But ye…I’m not saying it’s useless, it is very, verynominal, it’s not really phenomenal. If something phenomenal has to happen, I feelin the next three to four years it must comeinto the policy of every nation, at least,if economy is number one item, number twoitem must be ecology. Deepak Chopra: Sadhguru, as you said, youare a practical man, you are a pragmatistand this is the most practical thing I’veheard with reference to ecological sustainability. So count my support, count the support ofour foundation and our network – we arehappy to serve in any way. You did mention the PhDs but even the PhDsare wrong because they’re not seeing the issuewhich is directly at hand, which is our health,is directly connected to ecology and the healthof future generations; now we know a lot aboutwhat is called ‘epigenetics’ and how genemodification occurs as a result of environmentaldamage. Even the COVID-19 mutation is a result ofdamage to the ecology. So, as we can see right now, it’s becomingobvious by the way, that as we have been sequesteredin our homes, the ecology is repairing itself. The birds are singing, the fish are returningto their dead lakes, even the canals of Veniceare seeing fish, you can see the stars atnight in polluted cities and it’s also becomingobviousthat an oil-free economy is possible , we are seeing that, when the whenthe price of petroleum goes down to less thanzero, you know something is happening. So the COVID-19 is a message from the planet–“Human beings, unless you fix yourselves,you are in danger. ”As you said, the planet will take care ofitself. Every eco…ecological expert that I havespoken to says that, “If humans disappearedfrom the planet, life would flourish on thisplanet in five years. If insects and bacteria and viruses disappearedfrom this planet, life would stop in fiveyears. ”Sadhguru: Life will end , life willcompletely end. Deepak Chopra: So our health, our economy,social unrest, social unrest, social justice,economic justice, economy, peace, conflictresolution are directly linked to what youare saying. If we don’t do it,we are doomed. Sadhguru: No, the greatest conflict that ishappening right now is what we call as oureconomic engine. Deepak Chopra: That’s right. Sadhguru: Which is… which is a bulldozerengine, which is bulldozing everything. And if you really look at it, you know, Ihave been talking to lots of business groupsand other things. I’ve been just reminding them, see, this isnot just blaming anyone person, all of us,every one of us, the way we’ve been driving,we are drivers without steering wheel in ourhands. We don’t know where we are going. We simply throttle on, no steering. We don’t know where we are going, we are justgoing. It takes a microorganism for you to stop,you don’t have brakes. You don’t have brakes, you don’t have steeringwheel, you are just driving. Does anybody know where are we planning togo as humanity, as economy as nations?What are we trying to do?There’s really no plan, we are only hand tomouth. We did all this science, technology, everythingthinking we will live, long term well-beingbut we are still living hand to mouth; everyday stock market will tell whether we willsurvive or not survive , it is likea barometer going up and down every day creatinganxiety for thousands of people all over theworld. So, in many ways this is a reminder, yes,but the important thing is, see this virusright now because I have so much communication,television, internet, everything, virus hasbecome larger than life. Otherwise many times this could have happenedin the past and nobody even noticed. It happened, some people got fever, some peopledied, some people went on and life went on,on this planet. It could have happened a thousand times butnow because of communication, we are seeingan enlarged version of the virus which iscoming like a wrecker ball towards us ,with thorns in it. So, it is looking like hugely, hugely magnified. I am not trying to belittle the danger attachedto it, already unfortunately more than 400,000people are estimated to have died and many,many others are in hospitals, _____ you know, at risk. I am not trying to say it is nothing but itis mainly because one thing is concentrationof human populations, another thing is ourability to move from any place to any placewithin a day – I can be in United Statesor another place. So whatever happened in Wuhan, within probablyweeks it’s all over the place. So this would have never happened five hundredyears ago – if it happened in Wuhan, thereonly it would… ten people will die and therest will recover and whatever will happen,that’s all it would be. So in many ways, it’s our lifestyle and evennow, as far as you should know better butfrom whatever I have got from various doctorsand scientists, they are saying every dayon an average one-hundred-and-twenty-eightscientific papers are being published aboutthe virus, about a microorganism hundred-and-twenty-eightpapers per day, for last two months it’s happening , that means we are breaking the microorganism’scharacteristics into that many parts and studyingit in so many little, little parts . That means actually we know nothing aboutit. The only way we have done some successfulcontrol of this is by controlling human behavior. We’ve done nothing about the virus. Fanciful talk about, what is this, vaccineis happening. But if we come up with a good treatment protocolthat itself is a miracle. If we have a good treatment protocol, “IfI get the virus, I will not die, I can recoverwith a few days of treatment,” – if thatmuch assurance comes, people will go aboutdoing their business. Right now we’re talking about how to completelyeliminate the virus, do this, do that?I don’t think so, we should eliminate thevirus because what benefits it has withinitself we are yet to realize; we’re only seeingthat it’s uprooting some lives. Yes, it is tragic for those who have losttheir loved ones and those who have lost theirlives. It’s not a joke, but we don’t know what itis hiding within its process because, as youknow, and almost every other medical personneland today because of internet, almost everybodyknows a large part of us, is virus, bacteria,microorganisms. A large part of us, there is more of themthan us, compared to the cells which havemultiplied from our parentage and the numberof viruses and bacteria’s and microorganismswe have, is much, much more. So, they are, they are living with us, theyare us, in many ways. You cannot say there is something that isme and there is something that is microorganism,it’s all mixed up. So without them we cannot exist, but withoutus they can exist. So, what great things they will do for us,we don’t know. There is some research telling us that hundredmillion years ago, this whole human placentacame mainly because of a virus infection. So it is a virus which gave us this placenta,which gave us the possibility of reproducingsuccessfully and the mother’s womb what happens. All those complex creation process that happensin our mother’s wombs is mainly, was instigatedby a virus. So we don’t know what this virus will bring,maybe we will grow horns or a tail or wings,I don’t know what , let’s see, youmust tell me you are the doctor . Deepak Chopra: Well, our current science asyou said; first of all, you said somethingvery important. The virus is a very small bit of genetic information. That’s what it is. It’s a very small bit of genetic information,which has now devastated everything from economy,to health, to politics, to international relationships,etc. This little bit of genetic information hasdevastated the world. You also said some of this alarm may be exaggeratedbecause of the way, you know, we communicateand it’s so easy now to get the information…Sadhguru: Some of the television channelsin India, the virus is coming like this, likea wrecker ball at you . Deepak Chopra: That’s right…That’s right. But here’s the advantage of this – justbecause we can communicate and we’re doingso right now, we actually, through technologyare rewiring the global brain, the planetarybrain, through technology and this communicationis very important. And these actions are very important becausewithout this conversation, we would only bein a panic mode. But with this conversation, we are seeingpossible solutions and you are offering avery practical solution. Here’s the important thing to remember whenwe go for practical solutions is, even aswe take the practical solutions we have tosee the direct connection between the geneticinformation in our body and again, you usedanother word, maximum diversity of geneticinformation. The genetic information in our body, ninety-ninepercent is actually bacteria and microorganisms,ninety-nine percent, maybe ninety-five percent. Sadhguru: You’re making… you are makingme feel like a virus huh!Deepak Chopra: Well we are, you (SadhguruLaughs), Sadhguru you and I are the awakeningof bacterial and virus consciousness (SadhguruLaughs). One day, the viruses and bacteria said, “Youknow, let’s use this organism, Homo sapiens,as our host, and then we can survive. ”So we are actually the host for… for thegenetic diversity of the planet, we are thehost. If we ruin it, we ruin ourselves because wedepend on this genetic entanglement of geneticinformation, all life on this planet, notjust human life, plant life, animal life,all life. You said, in the mother’s womb, we were shapedby these microorganisms. But actually, as we journeyed out into theworld we absorbed everything. In fact, these days when people do smart…smart obstetricians, when they do caesareansection, they actually take all the secretionsof the mother and they put them on the baby’sbody. They put them in the mouth, in the nose sothat the baby can inhale these microorganisms,can smell it, can swallow it and be coveredby it because our lungs and our intestine,our entire body depends on it. Sadhguru: So is that being done as a standardpractice?Deepak Chopra: Say that?Sadhguru: Is that being done as a standardmedical practice?Deepak Chopra: Among the smart obstetricians,yes. Sadhguru: Oh…Deepak Chopra: Right now they are recognizingthat in urban cities, thirty percent of themicrobiome has disappeared. So if I’m bo… if somebody lives in New YorkCity or Chicago or Delhi, for that matter,thirty percent of their microbial geneticinformation has disappeared and it is disappearing. And this is directly linked to chronic diseaseslike diabetes, heart disease, hypertension,strokes, indirectly to cancer, autoimmuneillness, and propensity to premature agingand all kinds of human problems. Ninety percent…ninety percent of chronicillness is dysbiosis which means dysfunctionalbiodiversity of genetic information in ourbody, and the people who are getting sickby the way, the people who are even now youngpeople who are getting sick, they have whatare called acute inflammatory storms in thebody. So inflammation goes out of control in thebody because they are panicking. They are panicking, they are stressed, theyare agitated, they are worried about money,they are worried about their jobs, the deathand morbidity and we have published on this– I’m happy to send you papers. The mortality and morbidity of this virusis directly linked to stress, panic, sympatheticoverdrive and agitated minds. And that’s why we need more than just a simple,simplistic vaccine solution because if wehave a vaccine, a year from now there’ll beanother mutation, the vaccine doesn’t do anything . It doesn’t look at the problem. Sadhguru: See that is very… very clearlydemonstrated in India, that of all the caseswe have, over sixty percent of the cases andover eighty percent of the deaths are onlyin five cities. Deepak Chopra: There you are. Sadhguru: In that villages where we are here,not a single case in all these villages aroundus but only in Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad,Delhi and one more city …Deepak Chopra: Bangalore?Sadhguru: Bangalore, not much, Bangalore they’vecontrolled well because of door-to-door management. Deepak Chopra: I think it’s obvious now withthis that, you know, ecology is the main issueof our times, the air is our breath, the…the oceans and waters and the rivers are ourcirculation. The earth is recycling as our body. Even the atoms in our body were forged inthe crucible of stars. So, you know, you have a personal body, youhave an extended body, they are both yours. The planet is your body!It’s recycling as the ecology and the geneticinformation and the micro-diversity of theseorganisms and we are not looking at that,we are looking only at vaccine. Sadhguru: You know, there is… there is somethinglittle more basic than this genetic information,even pre-that is the elemental stuff in theworld. So the entire yogic system, the basis of yogicsystem is called Bhuta Shuddhi that is takingcharge of the five elements of air, water,earth, fire and space. So these Pancha Bhutas are five elements,taking charge of that is the entire yogicsystem. It’s funny because today I had asked everybodyto, you know, our… our traveling group whichis normally referred to as Ishangas, who goout and teach and spread the thing. They are all here now for last two months,so I told them to do sadhana, their morningsadhana outdoors, they were all doing outdoor,in front of the Adiyogi statue but in thelast few days the monsoon winds have pickedup, it’s very heavy here. Like it will touch fifty kilometers per hour,sometimes up to seventy kilometers per hourin gusts and also mildly raining, anytimeit will rain. We are very close to the mountains. So by today morning I went to see, how arethey doing their sadhana in this wind andrain but only a small number were there. I asked, “What happened?”They said, “Too much wind. ”So I put them up now that from tomorrow, I’m,I’m praying to the rain gods that every daymorning five to eight it must rain and allof you must be doing your sadhana in the rain. It’s very important. This is not a boot camp to harass you or something. Because if you distance yourself from theelements, you are gone. You may be alive but you are gone becauselife doesn’t throb in you, no realizationwill be possible. Because if you want to touch the peaks ofyour consciousness, everything must be on. Right now, if survival itself becomes a challengefor you, what peaks will you touch?You will not even be interested. When survival is in question, nobody is interestedin anything. So it’s very important that your survivalis not even a concern. If you sit here, everything is going on. If this is happening, then only you will wantto explore different dimensions of life. So from tomorrow on, everybody is there infull rain and heavy winds doingtheir morning… Deepak Chopra: That’s beautiful, that’sbeautiful. After all that’s the meaning of yoga, right?To be in touch with the source of all existence. And you’re right, you know, the Pancha Bhutasprecede all genetic information and that alsocomes from one undifferentiated consciousness. And if we want to, we want to be intimatewith that consciousness, then Yoga is theonly way. Yoga is the only way, in all its dimensions. Sadhguru: We are …we’re doing everythingpossible. You must also join hands with us to changethe image of Yoga. Because I know in California, maybe I don’tknow how it’s in San Diego, at least in LosAngeles, Yoga means lulu lemon pants and youknow, one day is my cycling day, another dayis my jogging day, one day is my Yoga say,that kind of stuff. So we are seeing how to change the image ofYoga, that Yoga is a comprehensive scienceand a process to bring this unity becausethe very fundamental is unity. What you are talking, all this time, is justthat, that there is no separation. But separation has happened mainly because,you know, it’s the magnanimity of the cosmos. It’s the magnanimity of the creation thatit gave you an individual experience thoughyou’re as small as a virus compared to thecosmos. What virus is to you, you’re just that, aspeck of dust but to this speck an individualexperience has been given. This is not something that you did. It is just the magnanimity of creation thatwe can sit here and feel like an individualexperiencing all these things. But once we take this individuality rathertoo seriously, suddenly we will get imprisonedin our own individuality. Individualism is imprisonment. This imprisonment is not just creating mentalstructures and emotional turmoils. This is destroying body’s ability to livestrong. Living strong is not happening to most peoplesimply because they have become cubicles oftheir own that their individuality has becometoo strong. And people, unfortunately, largely I’m sorryif I say something wrong. Medical fraternity has not recognized thatwhat you do with your mind and emotion willinevitably draw… build a cocoon around yourselfand a cocoon is not a protection, a cocoonis a coffin. Deepak Chopra: Well, I have nothing more toadd, you’ve said everything. Just one phrase encapsulates everything, “YogasthKuru Karmani” established in yoga, performaction. This is the call of the moment and thank youfor leading it Sadhguru, thank you.