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This month, we bring you the second part of the immensely enlightening
conversation between Deepak Chopra and Sadhguru. With the question, “Where
Does Consciousness Come From?” they go into the core of spiritual seeking.
In our Lead Article “The Other Side of the Mirror,” Sadhguru likens the mind to
a mirror, on the other side of which lies the very source of our existence. He
not only explains the connection between time, space, and the mind, but also
suggests practical methods to get to the other side.
In this month’s Mahabharat article, Sadhguru addresses a question about the
scriptural image of the last avatar of Vishnu, Kalki, coming down on a white,
winged horse at the end of Kaliyuga. On page 10 et seq., Sadhguru reveals “The
Truth about Kalki.” The question of reality or imagination also features in our
first Musings article, though in a different context. Have you ever asked yourself
if your “Ishtadevata” is real? If so, this article is for you.
Also in this issue: an overview of Sadhguru’s recent events in pictures; an
update on Isha’s Government School Adoption Program in Andhra Pradesh; “A
Yogi’s Legacy” – how the mahasamadhi of a yogi impacts the space he chooses;
and “Beyond Comfort” – how hatha yoga supports absolute involvement and a
different kind of “toughness.”
With this month’s recipe, a traditional Gujarati “Bottle Gourd Muthiya,” we give
you a sneak peek into Isha’s new recipe book A Taste of Wellbeing that will
be launched this Mahashivaratri. To adequately prepare yourself for this great
night of Shiva, Sadhguru has devised a special sadhana. For more details, see
page 20 and visit the Isha Blog. We are looking forward to having you with us for
the most exuberant celebration of the year in Isha!
The Editorial Team
Contact the Editorial Team:
Isha Forest Flower, Isha Yoga Center, Velliangiri Foothills, Ishana Vihar Post, Coimbatore – 641114
2 | ISHA FOREST FLOWER
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR
New Year Discourse by Sadhguru
IN CONVERSATION WITH THE MYSTIC
Where Does Consciousness Come From?
The Truth about Kalki
Deepak Chopra in Conversation with Sadhguru - Part 2
The Other Side of the Mirror
New Year Discourse by Sadhguru
Part 15: The Truth about Kalki
ISHA HATHA YOGA
Part 25: Beyond Comfort
Reality or Hallucination?
A Yogi’s Legacy
Sadhguru on the Transformative Impact of Mahasamadhi
NEWS & EVENTS
Sadhguru in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
Recent Events in Pictures
A Success in Andhra Pradesh
UPCOMING PROGRAMS & EVENTS
Yaksha & Mahashivaratri 2016
Isha Yoga – Program Highlights
This Month: Bottle Gourd Muthiya
The Buddha Is in the Home
ISHA FOREST FLOWER | 3
Where Does Consciousness Come From?
Deepak Chopra in Conversation with Sadhguru – Part 2
Indian American author, public speaker, and physician Deepak Chopra is undoubtedly one
of the best-known figures in the holistic health sector. He met with Sadhguru on 18 October
2015 for a conversation on “Ancient Wisdom in Modern Times.” The talk was moderated by
Chandrika Tandon, a Grammy-nominated singer, former partner at McKinsey & Company,
and founding chair of financial advisory firm Tandon Capital Associates. Here is the second
excerpt of this exceptionally profound encounter.
Chandrika Tandon: Dr. Chopra, could you talk to
us about what stops people from experiencing a
state of yoga?
read English literature just for fun because I like
the language, otherwise the most profound stuff
that I read is Asterix.
Deepak Chopra: For some of us who were
educated in a scientific world view or in a world
view that emphasizes recycled information,
it is difficult to come to an experience of
being because we identify with our perceptual
experience. We identify with our intellect, our
mind, and our ego, so it always seems a struggle,
until one day, you stop struggling and you are
there. As Sadhguru said, he never identified
with anything. Once you identify with thought or
perception, with sensation or emotion, then you
are in time. Thought is in time but being is not
Why I am saying this is, modern science is trying
to mathematically deduce reality – everything
has to fit into math. A scientist will deduct
everything and come to the conclusion that
the entire universe is one, but that is not in his
experience. A religious person will say that God
is everywhere and everything is one, but he only
believes – that is not yet in his experience. One
makes deductions, another is rooted in belief. A
yogi is a hard nut who does not want to deduce
or believe anything. Unless it becomes real
within him, it is not a reality for him. Because
of this approach, I never found the need to read
anything spiritual. If I read something, it may be
a news magazine, literature, or something else,
but never anything spiritual, because I do not
wanted to clutter my own clarity with anything
from outside. The only thing I know is, I know
this piece of life [referring to himself] from its
origin to its ultimate. And if you know one piece
Chandrika Tandon: Sadhguru, your thoughts?
Sadhguru: I am completely spiritually uneducated.
I have to admit that I have read neither the Gita
nor the Vedas nor the Upanishads nor even the
Yoga Sutras. I have never studied anything. I
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of life absolutely, you seem to know everything
else by inference.
There is a certain theory prevalent today, which
is known as Constructal Theory. It implies that
whether it is an amoeba or a human being, the
atomic or the cosmic, the fundamental design
is the same. It is just the sophistication and the
complexity that is multiplied. If the fundamental
design is the same, if you want to know the
entire universe, you just have to know yourself,
and this is the only thing that is always available
and accessible to you. Right now, you believe
that you can see me sitting here, but that is
not the fact of the matter. Light is falling upon
me, reflecting, going through your lenses, and
becoming an inverted image in the retina – you
know the entire story.
If you see me, you see me only within you.
If you hear me, you hear me only within you.
Light and darkness, pain and pleasure, joy and
misery, agony and ecstasy happen only within
you. If someone touches your hand, you think
you are experiencing their hand, but you are
only experiencing the sensations in your own
hand. In other words, your entire experience
is happening within you. The very seat of
experience is within you. You must be able to
determine what is happening within you at
least – it must happen the way you want it. If it
does, your ability to create what you want in the
world is also tremendously enhanced. This is not
because you know the world, but because you
know yourself. This is why realization used to be
held as the highest goal in this culture. You must
understand it is realization – not an achievement
or an attainment. Realization means it was
always there, but you were stupid enough not to
see it, until suddenly one day you saw it.
It seems when Arjuna asked, “Where is this
intangible, unperceivable truth that you’re talking
about?” Krishna laughed and said, “It’s at the tip
of your nose.” Now there are many schools of
yoga where people intensely focus on the tips
of their noses and are getting headaches. “The
tip of your nose” is being used as a metaphor to
indicate it is the most obvious thing. If you pay
attention to the nature of your existence – not to
your thoughts, emotions, or arrangements of life
around you – it is the most obvious thing.
Chandrika Tandon: Dr. Chopra, can you give your
views on this?
Deepak Chopra: Sadhguru is one of the few lucky
ones. I have known two other people who said
like him, “Thank God I never read anything.” One
was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He always used to
say, “Thank God I never read anything, because
it would have cluttered my mind.” And the other
was Krishnamurthy, who would say that the
more you read, the more you clutter your mind.
He also said, “I’ve never read anything.” That is
unusual. Such people have fallen into existence
or awareness. I struggled.
I read all the scientific literature, medical
literature, psychology, Jungian psychology,
every single translation of the Bhagavad Gita, the
Rig Veda, the Yoga Vashistha, Kashmir Shaivism,
Vedanta – all of that. They said exactly what
Sadhguru is saying. But for me, as a person who
was trained to look at things scientifically, it was
both a struggle and a need, because reality is not
a map and yet, science gives us maps. The Yoga
Vashishta gives us a map, Patanjali gives us a
map, the Bhagavad Gita gives us a map. Some of
us need maps.
At our center, we are teaching people to sit
transcendence, or awareness. We have been
doing it now for 25 years, but in the last 5 to 10
years, we have been able to look at the brain,
gene expression, cell markers of aging, telomere
length, inflammatory markers – in other words,
everything that is happening in the body at
a biological cell level. 23,000 human genes,
3.3 million bacterial genes – actually, your body
is more bacteria than it is human cells – it is a
microbiome. We are looking at those genes, we
are looking at the epigenome, which is the shell
ISHA FOREST FLOWER | 5
of proteins outside the genome, and how these
work together, and what we find is remarkable.
In the beginning, no one would believe us, but
now we have collaborations with Harvard,
UCSF, UCSD, Duke University, and Mount Sinai
School of Medicine. Through digital technology,
we can look at a blood sample and tell you the
gene expression, if you occasionally experience
samadhi or not, if your mind is quiet or not, if you
fall into a place like where Sadhguru is.
Sadhguru: Even whether our parents experienced
this or not.
Deepak Chopra: Parents too. In fact, the epigenetic
shows that your experiences are not in your brain
or body – your experiences are in a non-local
consciousness which is not in space–time. One
of our collaborators in Mount Sinai, Eric Schadt,
does genomic expression, RNA transcription, and
what is called the transcriptome. He can actually
show you the genetic signature of people who
are experiencing samadhi.
This is the first window that is opening into what
we call sanskaras or vasanas. For example, you
have two identical twins – they have exactly
the same genome, but they are not the same
people – they have different personalities.
Where is the seat of this personality – where
does it come from? This is why science opens
the window to what people actually already
knew in our tradition.
Sadhguru: Science has evolved because of a
series of realizations, which have happened in
small spurts. Without grasping the entirety of
it, realization has come in bits and pieces. We
say a particular scientist discovered something,
but actually they only observed or realized some
aspect of the way it works. Knowing the physical
dimension of how things function allows you to
do many things in the physical world, which you
see in the form of technology today.
Deepak Chopra: Science has brought us now to
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what we call the door of the sub-empirical.
The sub-empirical is less than 0.01 percent
of the un-manifest, which is scientifically
unknowable – because how do you measure
something that is totally un-manifest? It does
not belong to space–time.
There are two prominent open questions in science
today. Number one is, “What is the universe made
of?” The answer is we do not know because 96%
of the universe is invisible. This is what they
call dark energy and dark matter. Those are just
words – they do not know exactly what it is. One is
expanding the universe – the other is contracting
the universe. Only 4% of the universe is atomic.
Of that 4%, 99.99% is invisible interstellar dust,
which has not become stars and galaxies. The
visible universe – all the galaxies, the billions of
stars, the trillions of planets – is only 0.01%. Now
that 0.01% is made of particles, but when these
particles are not interacting with other particles,
they disappear – they become waves. So what
is the universe made of? Nothing – and this is a
The second open question is, where does
consciousness come from? Scientists are
struggling with this because they think
consciousness is a production of your brain, just
like bile is a production of your gallbladder, or acid
is a production of your stomach. This is called
the “hard problem of consciousness.” When you
look at something, what comes to your eyes are
colorless photons, what goes to your brain is
an electrical current, and what happens in your
brain is chemistry. You are not experiencing this
as chemistry or electrical currents though, but
as a three-dimensional reality in space–time.
No one knows how that happens – they keep
struggling and struggling. If I ask you to imagine
a beautiful sunset on the ocean, there is no
picture in your brain. The assumption that the
brain produces consciousness is just an idea –
no one has ever proven that. Consciousness is
not in the brain. The brain, the body, the mind,
and the whole universe are in consciousness.
You cannot get at it through a system of thought.
The Other Side of
Sadhguru on a Deeper Level of
Time as an experience is relevant to all of us
because we are mortal. Everything that you think
you are in terms of body, mind, and emotions, is
a product of memory. Every level of memory –
evolutionary, genetic, conscious, sub-conscious,
unconscious – is calibrated in terms of time.
In some sense, the solar system has its own
memory which in turn reflects in every life, every
animate and inanimate form in this system –
everything is shaped by the system as a whole.
self. You can contemplate your thoughts and
emotions, but you cannot contemplate the self.
Your existence cannot be contemplated – it can
only be experienced. The mind is reflecting the
world around you, but there is no experience of
you as a life. But the most important thing in this
existence right now for you is you are here.
When there is no experience of the self, when you
have not touched life on a deeper level, there is
no question of experiencing the source of the
If you are totally absorbed in your physiological self. Most human beings only experience the
or psychological processes, you are a product kaleidoscope that is happening on the mirror of
of time. Being a product of time means being the mind. They keep digging into their memory
repetitive – your original nature will never find either to make themselves happy or make
expression. This is the reason why since the themselves unhappy. Whether it is joy or misery,
time of Adiyogi, we have been talking about the source is what is happening in one’s mind.
consciousness, because consciousness means
transcendence of cycles of time. You may be
aware of the world outside, but you are not
You see the world because it is reflected
conscious that you as a life are here. You
in your mind. But the mind never reflects
experience the world and its people, but you have
no experience of the self.
Your mind and your body are a product of the
world and its people. Your original nature is not
in your experience because it is on the other side
of the mind. In a way, your mind is like a mirror.
It may be a distorted one, but still a mirror. You
see the world because it is reflected in your
mind. But the mind never reflects the self. I am
not talking about your physical or psychological
What is happening on the mirror of the mind keeps
you engaged for a lifetime and more – the same
thoughts, the same emotions go on endlessly.
Today is a reminder that you have an expiry
date. Another moment, another day, another
year should not pass without you knowing life.
You will know life not with food, drink, love, or
ISHA FOREST FLOWER | 7
pleasure. The only way to know life is if you get
to the other side of the mirror. On this side of the
mirror, you can only see drama – you cannot see
life in its essence.
There are many ways to approach this. One
simple thing you can do is the Isha Kriya. When
you say, “I am not the body. I am not the mind,”
it means “I am not a product of memory. I am
not an accumulation. I must be something
more than that.” Your aliveness comes from the
fundamental source that is on the other side of
your mental mirror.
I want you to make a sustained effort. Wherever
you are right now, close your eyes and check –
are you here? Thoughts and emotions are there,
the body is there, but are you really here? To
experience that, you can employ a few simple
methods. The reason why for ages, anyone who
wants to be spiritual foregoes food for periods
of time is not to torment oneself. When you are
really hungry and you simply sit, you will see
there is a clear distinction between you and your
body. Then when you eat the first morsel of food,
there is a feeling of pleasantness spreading
through the body. Or when you are really thirsty
and you drink a glass of water, the entire being
Just stay with that pleasantness. It is not about
the stomach being full or the thirst being gone.
It is about the pleasantness of experience that
is caused from within. The mind chooses the
experience, but it cannot cause the experience.
Something within, what you call the self or the
life within you, causes the experience.
There are two aspects in this context – sensation
and experience. Sensual pleasantness is not
the real thing because the senses do not create
the experience. Let’s say you drink a glass of
water. The thirst is being quenched, coolness is
spreading in your body, but it is not about that.
Enjoy the sensation, but the important thing is
the pleasantness that occurs on a deeper level.
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Choose something that causes pleasantness
within you – whether it is the breeze, the breath,
water, food, or anything for that matter. Try to
stay with this experience of pleasantness, if only
for a few seconds to begin with, without thoughts
and emotions. Slowly, you will shift to the other
side of the mirror.
When time is rolling, you are a complete product of
memory and time. During sandhyas or transition
periods, there is a certain break, a certain
space, there is a little room to go beyond that.
The sandhya kalas, four times a day, are such
opportunities. For your own system, the most
important transition periods are the moment you
fall asleep and the moment you wake up. In this
transition, there is a little gap. We want to make
use of this gap.
There is no difference between life and the
source of life. Life is the source of life. There
is no place in the universe where creation
and the Creator exist separately. A separation
between life and God only happens in the
As you come awake, a certain pleasantness
spreads through the body. If you remain with
this pleasantness at that moment, the entire day,
your mind will dip into pleasantness. If your mind
does pleasant things to you, you will do pleasant
things to the world around you. Similarly, when
you are about to fall asleep, pleasantness spreads
through the body. It takes a little effort, but if you
notice this pleasantness, your sleep will be of a
completely different quality, dreamless, because
you will be on the other side of the mirror.
Most people only know sensual pleasantness.
They are not conscious of the pleasantness
of something much deeper happening within
themselves. The fundamental idea of doing
closed-eye processes, any kind of meditation, is
to lower the input for the mirror. If there is no
input for longer periods of time, the mind will not
reflect anything. Then it will be easier to get to
the other side.
There is no place in the universe where
creation and the Creator exist separately.
A separation between life and God only
happens in the human mind.
What you experience now is just a reflection of the
mind. Reality is on the other side. The other side
is not a product of time and space. Everything is
here and now. The entire cosmos is right here.
It is a simple process, but because you are so
busy with your own psychological drama, life is
completely missed. Because it is missed, life is
punishing people with repetitive cycles.
Once you are here, the most important thing is to
have a powerful experience of life. Right now, you
know everything except life because you are only
looking at the mirror of the mind as it reflects the
world, not at the basis of all experience within
you. With every inhalation, every exhalation, with
every step you take, when you sit down or stand
up, when you eat or drink – with everything, there
is an opportunity to watch a certain pleasantness
spread in the system. Not on the sensory level –
a much deeper experience.
Every misery that you go through is your own
making. The life within knows no such thing as
unpleasantness. Unpleasantness can be of the
sensory body, or, most often, it is of the mind.
Once you fall on the other side of the mirror,
whatever happens are just surface waves here
and there. Once you know this experientially,
you will become a devotee of life. That is what is
needed in the world today. Instead of becoming
devotees of God who are willing to take the lives
of others, people should become devoted to life,
which anyway embodies the source of creation.
If you pay attention, somewhere behind this
huge, colorful statement that the mind is making,
life is constantly making its own statement. You
need to get in touch with that. To know this
aliveness is the most important dimension. If
you experientially know that you are here right
now, if you capture one moment, you capture
eternity. If you capture one moment, you capture
the entire cosmos.
Most people are unconscious of this experience
because their psychological drama, their
emotions and thoughts, override it completely.
The powerful processes we teach are essentially
devices to get to the other side of the mental
mirror and have a taste of life – life that is not a
product of memory, not a product of time, not an
accumulation – life that is the basis of life. There
is no difference between life and the source of
life. Life is the source of life. There is no place
in the universe where creation and the Creator
exist separately. A separation between life and
God only happens in the human mind.
This article appeared on Sadhguru Spot of 6 January 2016.
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