If you have attended his talks or watched his YouTube videos, you will know that Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev (60), has the ability to respond to any question — be it current affairs, spirituality, well-being or environment — with an enviable ease and calm. He speaks to Suman K. Jha on the rich and wealth management; economy, CSR, and judicious use of natural resources.
How much wealth should one earn during one’s lifetime?
Wealth is just one of the tools towards human well-being, not the whole of it. Wealth means making our surrounding pleasant for ourselves. But today, in pursuit of wealth creation, we are destroying the very planet upon which we live. Whether you make a safety pin or build a computer, you are digging it out of the planet. Individual human beings and humanity as a whole must decide how much to dig and how much the planet can take. We have to look at how much is sensibly manageable. Instead of thinking of wealth creation, we need to think of creating human well-being!
Do those (who have enough wealth) have a responsibility towards the less well-off?
If you have, you can give and that is wonderful, but you should not talk about making others give. If someone has made money, paid taxes, and comply with the nation’s laws, whether they want to build a cancer hospital or paint themselves gold is their choice.
Charity is neither sustainable nor is it a solution. Nobody wants to feel his well-being depends on charity. He wants to feel worthy, and that he is part of the process of economic prosperity. So, what is needed is investment. Charity means you only give what you think you can spare. Charity will always be a drop, investment is a chunk. So, investing in healthcare and education for the disadvantaged is not charity. It is investment that creates quality human resources and expands markets, furthering the scope of the economic engine.
Why does Hindu philosophy not encourage wealth creation? Critics say this discourages entrepreneurship.
This is not a culture that has been shy of the economic process. Till 250 years ago, India was the planet’s largest economy. Just about anybody who could build a ship in Europe wanted to come here. At the same time, there was not a single Indian without a spiritual practice, because at that time, spiritual process was not necessarily transmitted by a guru or an organisation. In every home, there was a spiritual process.
India became a vibrant economy, without a sense of conquest. Our success was not to the detriment of someone else. This culture has always stressed upon equal measure of attention for both internal and external well-being.
India will soon become the fifth top economy of the world. How does one minimise the divide between the haves and have-nots?
The haves and have-nots have happened not because of someone being born poor or born rich. It is just that socially we did not collectively take the responsibility of making sure everyone has something. What is needed is a more inclusive economy. If we want a gentler and more compassionate economic process, it is not charity but inclusiveness that is needed. If there is no sense of inclusiveness in individual human beings, there is no way that the systems they create or actions they perform will lead to inclusiveness.
Today for the first time in the history of humanity, we have the necessary technology, resource and capability to address every issue — of nourishment, health or education — on the planet. The only thing that is missing is inclusive consciousness. Tell me, how do you bring same parity between people when only 1.53 per cent have been paying taxes till recently. No wonder there is resistance to GST, as there is no escape.
How can Indian corporates become more socially responsible?
The days of CSR are over. Both the corporation and the individual come armed with certain capabilities. It is important to see how human potential and corporate capability can be combined to create a productive enterprise.