FOR the past 12 years, I have led an annual pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, undeniably the most mystical mountain on the planet. Centuries ago, Adiyogi or Shiva, the greatest yogi of all time, bequeathed his prodigious knowing to seven disciples. He was largely successful in transmitting the immensity of his wisdom, but not entirely. When he could not find another human being who could grasp the incredible mystical profundity and versatility that he embodied, he decided to simply merge into the mountain. That magnitude is Mount Kailash.
All the dimensions of yoga, the very mechanics of life, as it were, are preserved in one single source, making it the most phenomenal fountainhead of arcane wisdom imaginable. This is the greatest mystical library on the planet—not just a repository of information, but a living library.
Each year pilgrims ask me the same questions: what is the best way to approach this sacred site? How can we be most receptive to its reverberation? I tell them time and again that devotion is the best way, particularly in a place like Kailash where tremendous activity in the field of human consciousness has been happening for thousands of years. Does this mean you have to be devoted to Shiva? No. What inspires devotion in you is not the point. You are devoted to something, that’s the point.
Devotion means being devoid of yourself, or at least a little less full of yourself. When you are too full of yourself, nothing can enter you. But where there is devotion, there is heightened receptivity, and life could suddenly explode within you in a way you have never imagined possible.
Of the four basic dimensions of body, mind, emotion, and energy, emotion is the easiest thing to crank up to the highest intensity. Intensity in the body or mind needs lot of sadhana or practice. Intensity in energy needs a tremendous amount of rigour and grace. But emotional intensity is something most people are familiar with. So when we say ‘devotion’, all we’re trying to do is raise our emotional pitch to its ultimate peak. If you don’t know emotion, devotion is impossible. Most people can very easily be cranked up into anger, if not love. That is fine too. If you can maintain even anger for 24 hours, you could end up enlightened! But human emotion keeps wavering.
A young man once went to a rabbi and said, ‘I don’t know what to do. I try to practise all that you taught me but I can’t help it. Every day, all I end up doing is sinning.’ The wise rabbi just looked at him and replied, ‘Sin strongly.’ And that’s really all that it takes! Anger is an ugly thing. But if you maintain even intense anger for 24 hours, you will get enlightened. I promise you that. It is a hard path. To do so, you need a phenomenal amount of energy. But it is the fickleness, the lack of intensity and focus that is the problem, not the direction.
Essentially, it’s about doing what works. Suppose you want to catch fish, you don’t tie a stone to the string, throw it in and hope a fish will bite. If you really want to catch fish, you use the right kind of bait. You sit with the right kind of attitude. Meditation is like fishing. You have to just sit there, motionless, alert. If you’re moving around, talking to your friend, the fish won’t bite. You have to just sit for hours, unmoving, silent, very conscious about your every action. A genuine seeker does the same thing.
In a sense, devotion is just a way to trick the Creator! If you are truly receptive, the Creator has no choice but to accept your invitation. He knows that you have nothing to give really, nothing that is truly yours. But he’s wise, he plays along!
So, I tell people, you can choose your way. Either you walk to Kailash with absolute devotion or absolute anger. Both are fine. Both ways it will work. Whatever you are doing, if you do it strongly enough, you will, at some point, hit a dead end. And that is your destination. For that’s what the Divine is: the ultimate dead end.
Sadhguru, a yogi, is a visionary, humanitarian and a prominent spiritual leader (www.ishafoundation.org)