Don’t play for India, just whack the ball: Sadhguru to Indian team
At 2.30 pm today, when the Indian team enters the Mohali’s PCA Stadium, among the 27,500 spectators in the stands will be a spiritual guru, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, the founder of Inner Engineering and the organisation around it, Isha Foundation. His advice, however, will not be restricted to the Indian team, the Pakistanis can take inspiration too. “The players who are playing the game shouldn’t think about India,” he told me a day before the match as I walked with him in the scenic surroundings of the Delhi Golf Course. “They shouldn’t play for India. They shouldn’t play for the nation. They shouldn’t play for diplomacy. They must just whack the ball to the boundary.
His bigger point over a game of golf was on the intersection of sports and spirituality.
“It’s like your fancy camera,” he said, pointing to the camera that I was clumsily using for the first time. “The more you know about it, the better you can use it. Why is that not true with this gadget (pointing to his body). This is THE gadget. The more you know about it, the better you can use it. Will it come handy in a game of sports? Sure. Is there any doubt about that?”
But what happens when you play competitive sports, “the kind you will be watching tomorrow at Mohali?” Does it still remain ’spiritual’? How, for instance, can a game be played to perfection when the players’ minds are clouded by distractions like winning, politics, diplomacy and so on?
“When you play a game, you want to win,” he said. “If you don’t want to win, you can’t play a game. When I play a game, I want to win — I really want to win. That’s why I play. But if I lose, it’s OK with me. That’s the beauty of the game. It’s a wonderful thing that without wanting to win you cannot play but if you are not willing to lose you cannot play either.”
Complete attention is the key. “You can do your job half-heartedly,” he said. “You can be married half-heartedly. You can even fall in love half-heartedly. But you can’t play a game half-heartedly. You won’t be there if you play half-heartedly. It’s absolute involvement. Without involvement, there’s no game. If there’s no involvement, there’s no spiritual process. And spiritual process is an intense involvement with life. Sport is a good training ground for spirituality, not the other way round.”
So as India and Pakistan go out there and whack the ball and as millions across the world watch the match on TV, I would be watching more than the game. As I left Sadhguru to complete the course, I thought it was time for me to pick up my squash racquet and hit the sports club.
To see the full interview, click here.