Final Round


chapter 12

Final Round

We can make this life the last one for you but we cannot make this the most wonderful one. That only you have to do. For that, you must do sadhana. You must promise
me that.

One Drop Spirituality

When I was twenty-five, suddenly, this big spiritual experience burst upon me.  After that, I thought I would teach the whole world how to live ecstatically—truly in ecstasy. I thought this is it, what is the problem in teaching it? Everyone can get it. But now as age is catching up and my hair is turning grey, I have matured. Now, I am thinking if we are not able to teach them to live well, at least let us see if we can teach them how to die well. I am very concerned about this because I see most people on the planet die badly. Those who learn how to live well, wonderful for them. But at least if other people learn how to die well, it would be great.

Teaching people how to live well takes a little more work; we may not be able to do it to everyone. But at least they must die well. This is important because the period of life in a disembodied state is much, much bigger than that in an embodied state. When a being is disembodied, whether their experience of life becomes heavenly or hellish largely depends on how they die. Not entirely, but largely.  So even if we cannot teach the whole population a way where they can live beautifully every moment of their life, if we can at least teach them to manage the last moment of their life sensibly, then this will see them through disembodiment very beautifully.

People may believe they are living well, but they are not. They live in good homes, drive good cars, wear good clothes, but they think they are living well because they look at other people who don’t have the same things and feel happy about it. This is not living well. This is a sick life. They feel happy by comparing themselves with someone who is not doing as well as them. This is all the joy most people have in their life. So I don’t call that as living well.

For me, living well is if you are able to sit here in such a way that nothing matters; whether you have something or not, even whether there is food to eat or not, it does not matter to you. You are just fine. It is not that you are incapable of earning your food and other things, but that does not decide who you are right now. What kind of garment you are wearing does not decide who you are right now. What kind of house you are living in does not decide who you are right now. How someone else treats you does not decide who you are right now. What someone says to you does not decide who you are right now. How you are looked up to or looked down upon does not decide who are right now. If you are like this, you are living well for sure. Wherever you sit, your experience of life will be beautiful.

I have been particularly concerned about this because in the recent past, I have seen some people who were dear to me going in a very bad way. These were not people who had failed, but people who believed that they had lived very well. Everything that they wanted in life happened for them. They got educated, got a job, got married, had children, their children grew up, they got married and settled abroad and had grandchildren. For most people, this is their dream life. Their lives worked out according to their dreams, and when they came to the final phase of their life, the last mile of their life, they were completely out of sorts. They were completely broken people and died in a bad way. About 90 per cent of even those who believe that they are successful and are living well also die badly because modern societies are neither aware nor have they taken care of this important aspect as to how to die well.

So I felt we should impart at least a simple spiritual process which can be imparted in a few minutes so that people can handle at least one moment of their life sensibly, wonderfully. My dream is still that people should live blissfully—it is possible. But, you know, many of them have given up, many of them are diehard miserable people. Do what you want, they are determined; they want to invest in their miseries. So now I am beginning to think, ‘Okay, if we cannot teach everyone how to live blissfully, at least they must be able to die well.’ It is a horrible compromise, but you know there are seven billion people. You can never get seven billion people for seven days, three hours a day, to sit, learn and do these practices in their life. It is not going to happen. We still hope that people will go for it. But in case they are diehard miserable people, at least let them have the dignity of dying well—not dying confused, not dying bewildered, not dying miserably. At least this must happen.

I thought I would never do this in my life, but you know I am getting practical. I am coming to terms with this reality because between possibility and reality there is a distance that not everyone is willing to walk. And unless someone is willing, there is no way you are going to do this. You can coax them, you can cajole them, you can, you know, push them around a bit; beyond that, you cannot do much. If you go beyond that, they will leave. I have no illusions about that. Almost anyone, if you push people beyond a certain point, they will all leave, I know that.

If we had them in an airtight can, then I would not give up that possibility of making them live well, but we don’t have the whole world’s population in a can. Even at the Isha Yoga Center, it is not so.

At the most, we can have a handful of people in the airtight can, whom we can push all the way. But I am sure we can teach everyone how to die well because it does not take so much time. It is simple, it is easy and I am finding ways where, whether they are willing or not, we can teach them. We can put something into them which will come into play when that moment approaches.

The spiritual process is about helping people to die well, not only to help people to live well. Helping people to die well does not mean assisting them to die as euthanasia supporters advocate. Helping people to die means helping people to manage the moment of passing from physicality to beyond, from being embodied to being disembodied, in utmost awareness and grace. If one wants to exercise this choice by oneself, a certain amount of preparation is needed. There are many methods to cultivate this awareness in life so that when the moment of death comes, it will carry you through in grace. But otherwise we can create that moment for every human being if that human being is willing to cooperate and willing to pay some attention to themselves now.

This is how most of the initiations were done in the past. A yogi would sit in one place and initiate people like this. What happened? Nothing. Someone may argue, ‘Nothing happened in my life.’ It does not matter. When that moment of passing approached, it would come into play. It is not that we have also not done this. We have, but not actively so. Now we want to do it actively on a massive scale so that there will be something in everyone’s life. If it does not play up right now, at least when that moment approaches, it will play up, for sure.

Many times, people who are very old and ailing ask me to visit them. Or sometimes there are people who find that their parents have reached a very ripe age and are suffering, who send me a picture of them. If I see there is enough maturity in them and they are asking me not to make them well but to release them, or if their Prarabdha Karma is nearly finished, then, if I visit that person, or if I look at the person’s picture, within seven to eight days they will be gone, as without software that life is anyway on the very edge.

However, it works both ways too because sometimes it is good to stretch someone’s life and sometimes it is good to curtail their life. It is like this: let us say, you are travelling in a boat. Once you reach the other bank, you must get off the boat. If you still don’t get off the boat for some reason, then drifting will happen unnecessarily. So both may have to be done. Sometimes you stretch their life because this person has not reached where they should reach but has run out of steam, and sometimes they have reached but still have steam, so you have to release it. Both are needed in life.

Is it possible that they will be liberated? Someone being liberated for good is possible only when someone has run the full course of prarabdha. Now when everything is over, they are in a certain space where there is a karmic break. There are many people who die of old age; they may have lived as utter fools, but in the final few days, suddenly, there is a new sense of wisdom within them, a new sense of awareness about them because their karma allotment has finished. 3 Just the minor things are left and the next quota of karma has not come in yet, so that is a blessed period. Even for a person who lived an ignorant life, you will see that suddenly they know, ‘In the next three days I will die.’ Such people can be dissolved very easily because they have come to that blessed state where there is no karmic burden. There is a stock somewhere else, but here there is a little space of no karma. We can help them die consciously rather than in an unconscious state. If there is a conducive atmosphere, dissolution is possible. They can be liberated. But when they die of disease before the Prarabdha Karma is complete, if one tries to dissolve them, it is not going to work. Nor will I do such a thing. All we can do for them is help them to die with awareness; then they will have a little enhanced life somewhere else.

Is it possible to do this even if this person does not know me? See, when I am talking on this level, I am not talking about myself as a person, as some bundle of habits and patterns and things. As a person, you may know me or not, but at this level, there is no one who does not know me, because here, that which I call ‘myself’ is you also. In that dimension, there is no individual person. So it does not make any difference whether as a person you know me or not. I have often said that I have initiated more people that I have not met than those I have met. This is also like that.

Once You Made a Mistake of . . .

The moment of death is a tremendous possibility for someone to intervene. I could help you die well, but I could help you to live well too! It is better you live well, not just aim towards dying well. If you are planning on coming back a hundred times over, you can live a stupid life. But if you want this to be your last life, especially then you should learn to live well. The last lap must be the best lap, isn’t it?

When things have come to a head, when the situation has matured to such an extent that it has become life and death and nothing else matters, then it is just one moment’s work for me. But how long you are going to take to get there is up to you. You could make it happen this evening, or you could wait for a few lifetimes. Once you have come to me, I will not give you the option of a few lifetimes. But you can wait until the end of your life. If you keep postponing it till then, when death comes knocking, you will be hopeless. When death comes knocking, all of a sudden, you will find this body does not mean anything. All your qualifications will not mean anything. Your husband, wife and children will not mean anything. Your fancy clothes will not mean anything. You will be hopeless. Like a vulture, I will wait for that moment, because, then, you will become willing. But if you are intelligent, if you have any sense in you, you will create that willingness right now.

If you do not create that willingness within you, you will resist what needs to happen. When you have a discretionary mind, if you come here with walls of resistance, we will try to wear it down. It may not be completely gone, but we will wear it down. This is a long and tedious process. One who is dead does not have a discretionary mind, so it is very easy to influence him, compared to you. It is like this: you are a hardcore ghost with a body. A ghost without a body is easy to handle in comparison because he has no discretionary mind. He will receive whatever you say. The only thing is that you cannot speak in English with him because he will have lost his ears along with his body! So you need to speak to him in a different language, but he is willing to listen. He is absolutely willing because he has no discretionary mind. He cannot set up a resistance. So we say something sweet to him and he will become sweet immediately and we can do what needs to be done with him. But if you are willing, you need not wait till then.

Those who have given themselves totally to me, even for a single moment, they do not have to worry about their Liberation. Liberation is assured. To live gracefully or not, that is not assured. That is something that you have to earn, but Liberation is assured. So how does this work? One common word which has always been prevalent in the spiritual arena of the East is the word Maya. We don’t use it, but it is a fantastic word. It says exactly what we want to say, but it has been so horribly abused over time that we generally refuse to use it. Maya means that the way you are existing right now, your perception and understanding of life, is illusory. The most essential part of this illusion is your idea of you as a being or an individual. It is illusory. Now, if I asked you, ‘Are you connected to the Earth?’ you say, ‘Yes.’ It is not true. It is true, but not true in your experience. It is true, not because you are plugged into the Earth, but because you are a piece of the Earth. But because of your inability to drop the illusory idea that you are only connected to the Earth and not a piece of the Earth itself—you exist as an individual.

At the Isha Yoga Center, the reason why all the brahmacharis are with heads shaved, all wearing the same clothes is because if they turn around, they should not know whether this is them or that is them. But even in the little things, like the way they apply the vibhuti on their foreheads, they want to do it in their own style, even though everything else is the same. In the process of living in the world, everyone is constantly trying to strengthen their fences, strengthen their boundaries. Brahmacharya means you are on the path of the Divine. What is the way of the Divine? The way of the Divine is that there is no individuality. It is a universal process. So if you sit here even for a moment, without strengthening your boundaries, it would be fantastic. You cannot do that with a tree. But you could easily do that with me, for various reasons. Nothing is wrong with a tree, but because neither the tree nor you are conscious, and two unconscious entities cannot come together, they will always remain two separate bubbles of their own, even though the atmospheric transfer between the two is happening.

So this illusion that you are a separate entity is a big problem. The idea of sitting with a Guru is that you sit without boundaries. If you simply sit, it will happen. So I said if you sit with me for even one moment, if you can be with me totally, then it is done. It could have happened in the form of an initiation or it could have just happened because of a look. It can happen even when they have never ever seen me but they just heard about me. There are many people like that. They have not even seen me physically. By just seeing a picture, they opened up. Any number of people have experienced this.

The whole process of being with something means just this, that you did not fix your boundaries for a moment. If you can do it for a day—that you did not fix any boundaries, you are simply here—we will worship you because that which does not have boundaries is Divine. So not a whole day, if you have experienced this state without boundaries for even one moment, there will be no more rebirth for you.

I avoid saying certain things because I am afraid that you may turn lazy tomorrow morning. But if you have for one moment—not for hours and days—just for one moment if you have really been with me, this is your last life. But with this assurance, I don’t want you to turn lazy. Your last life should also be the most wonderful one. We can make this life the last one for you, but we cannot make this the most wonderful one. That only you have to do. For that, you must do sadhana. You must promise me that.

Once we were trekking to Mt Kailash. During the day we were trekking and in the evenings there were satsangs.  This was a small group of people, so the atmosphere was quite informal and we were talking about many things—life, the afterlife, alien life, and all that. So an American meditator asked, ‘Sadhguru, it has been great for us to be your disciples. How does it feel for you to be our Guru?’ Only an American can ask this! I said, ‘See, it is fantastic to be a yogi, I wouldn’t be any other way. But being a Guru is frustrating because what can be done in a moment, people make it a lifetime.’ If you give yourself to me for a moment, I can ensure that you are really dead. You know if someone shoots you with a gun, you will pop up again somewhere. But if you give me permission, I will shoot you in such a way that you can never pop up in another womb again. Just one moment—not lifetimes!

Once you made the mistake of sitting with me, in some ways you are already fixed, unless you really want to fall off and want to really go against it within yourself. Otherwise, in many ways, you are sorted. I don’t want to interfere with your life. But your death, I usually hold it in my hands . . .


AbhishekamSprinkling or pouring of water, milk, etc. Often used in religious, Yogic or ceremonial contexts, particularly in Tantrism. A ritual of empowerment also used to denote initiation in general.
AdiyogiThe first yogi, one of the many epithets of Shiva.
AghorisOne of the ascetic sects of Shaivites. Their practices are often severe and grisly and contradictory to that of orthodox Hinduism.
Agna ChakraThe centre of knowledge and Enlightenment, the Agna is one of the seven major energy centres of the human body. Physically located between the eyebrows, it is also known as the ‘third eye’.
AgnisRefers to the five fires of the body.
Akaal MrutyuUntimely death.
AakashRefers to the sky or ether. One of the five elements of Nature.
AmmaMother. A reverential way of addressing a woman.
Anahata ChakraThe heart centre, one of the seven energy centres of the body.
AnandaBliss, unconditional joy.
Anandamaya KoshaThe innermost body or the bliss body.
AnatmaLiterally, ‘the soulless one’.
Annamaya KoshaFood-formed sheath, or the physical body, made up of the five gross elements or bhoota s—earth, wind, water, fire, ether—which are restored again into their initial states after death.
AntyeshtiThe final ritual to be done for the deceased.
Apana Prana/VayuOne of the five pranas in the human body.
ArjunaA hero of the great epic Mahabharata to whom Krishna imparted the Divine message of the Bhagavad Gita.
Atharvana VedaThe last of the four Vedas that expounds the technology of using physical energy to one’s advantage.
AtmaIndividual being, the supreme soul, or Brahman.
AumThe primordial sound made by chanting the sounds A-U-M.
Avighna YantraA spiritual energy form to remove obstacles, available at the Isha Yoga Center.
AiyyoCries of desperation in southern Indian languages.
BabajiMahavatar Babaji, Indian saint and yogi, believed to have lived in the 2nd century AD .
Bala YogiChild yogi. Refers to someone who attains Enlightenment at an early age and usually does not retain the body for long after that.
BhishmaThe grand old patriarch of the Mahabharata.
BhootaA ghoul or ghost. Also refers to the five primary elements of Nature—earth, wind, fire, water and ether.
BhrumadhyaA Yogic practice where the eyeballs are focused between the eyebrows.
BrahmachariBrahman means Divine and charya means path, so, one who is on the path of the Divine. Usually refers to one who has formally been initiated into monkhood through a certain energy process.
BrahmacharyaThe path of the Divine. A life of celibacy and studentship on the path of spirituality moving towards the highest modifications of the senses. One of the stages of life as per the Varnashrama Dharma.
BuddhiThe faculty of discrimination, analysis, logical and rational thought; the intellect.
BudubudukuA traditional gypsy soothsayer.
ChakreshwaraOne who has attained mastery over all the chakras.
Chamundi HillsA hillock in Mysore, where Sadhguru had a deep spiritual experience.
ChandalaSomeone who deals with the disposal of corpses. Also a Hindu lower caste, traditionally considered to be ‘untouchable’.
ChaudiA kind of disembodied being.
DhritarashtraThe Kaurava king under whose rule the Mahabharata war took place. Also the father of Duryodhana.
Dhyana/DhyanamSanskrit for meditation.
DhyanalingaA powerful energy form at the Isha Yoga Center in India, it was consecrated by Sadhguru exclusively for the purpose of meditation.
DoshaDefect or blemish. Specifically refers to defects in the physical, mental or energy bodies.
GandhariA prominent character in the Mahabharata. She was a princess of Gandhara and the wife of Dhritarashtra, the blind king of Hastinapura, and the mother of a hundred sons—the Kauravas.
GandharvaA class of celestial beings who are usually gifted with extraordinary talents such as music and dance.
GhatThe bank of a river, where people usually come to bathe, wash and swim.
GitaLiterally, ‘song’. Here it refers to the seven holy books, of which Bhagavad Gita is the most famous one.
Gnana YogaKnowledge, perception, discrimination; one of the four kinds of Yogas.
GomukhLiterally, ‘cow’s mouth’; a place in the upper Himalayas, the location where the glacier forms the river Ganga. The glacial form has melted in a way that it resembles the face of a cow.
Gyan/Gnana/GnanamKnowledge, perception, discrimination
HomaA Hindu ritual in which oblations or offerings are made into fire.
JeevasamadhiA Yogic practice where one ends one’s life by burying oneself or immersing oneself in water.
KalabhairavaOne who has mastery over time; a fierce form of Shiva.
KapalabhatiA Yogic practice that involves forceful exhalation.
KavachaA shield.
KinnaraA kind of a celestial being.
Klesha Nashana KriyaA cleansing ritual performed at the Isha Yoga Center to cleanse the aura.
KriyaLiterally, ‘act, rite’; refers to a certain class of Yogic practices; inward action as opposed to karma, external action.
KumbhakaBreath retention during Yogic practice, especially in the practice of pranayama.
KurukshetraAn extensive plain near Delhi, scene of the great war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, as it took place in the Mahabharata.
Linga Bhairavi YantraA spiritual energy form for the well-being of the family, available at the Isha Yoga Center.
MahaAn adjective or prefix meaning great, mighty, powerful, lofty, noble.
MahabharataA historic Indian epic that took place almost 5000 years ago.
Mahamrutyunjaya MantraA sacred Sanskrit chant that is supposed to ward off death.
MahasamadhiThe highest form of equanimity that entails the complete dissolution or neutralization of the personal in the universal, whereby all traits of individual nature are transcended. Also known as Nirvana and Mahaparinibbana in other Eastern spiritual traditions.
MayaDelusion, the veil of illusion which conceals one’s true nature, or conceals reality. It is used in contrast with the absolute reality.
MettiTamil word for toe ring worn by married women in India.
MrutyuSanskrit for death.
MrutyunjayaVictory over death.
MuktiRelease, Liberation, the final absolution of the Self from the chain of death and rebirth. The highest goal of all spiritual seekers.
MuladharaLocated at the perineum, the Muladhara is the foundation of the energy body.
MumtazOne of the wives of the medieval Indian emperor Shah Jahan, in whose memory the famous Taj Mahal was built.
NagaLiterally, ‘serpent’; a symbol of the Kundalini coiled at the base of the spine; one of the secondary types of life forces (prana).
NamaskaramTraditional southern Indian greeting.
NirmanakayaLiterally, ‘one who has manufactured one’s body’; refers to accomplished yogis who materialize and dematerialize at will.
NirvikalpaLiterally, ‘without qualities’. A type of samadhi, or equanimity, beyond all qualities or attributes, where a person’s contact with their body is minimal.
OjasSubtle energy.
PalaniA southern Indian town that is famous for its Murugan temple.
PandavasThe protagonists of the Mahabharata.
PisachiA kind of disembodied being.
PranaThe fundamental life force.
Pranamaya KoshaOne of the five sheaths of the human body.
Prana VayuOne of the five pranas of the body.
Prarabdha KarmaThe portion of karma that is allocated for a particular lifetime.
PretaA kind of ghost or being.
RudrakshaSacred beads; the seeds of a tree (Elaeocarpus ganitrus roxb) found mostly in the Himalayan region. According to the legend, a tear from Lord Shiva fell to the Earth and from it grew the Rudraksha tree. Known to have many medicinal and transcendental qualities, a Rudraksha mala is one of the few possessions of an Indian spiritual seeker.
RunaLiterally, ‘debt’; in this context, it refers to the debt of relationship.
RunanubandhaThe bondage caused or the debt accrued due to the debt of relationships.
SadhakaA spiritual seeker who has undertaken spiritual disciplines, usually under the guidance of a Master.
SadhanaLiterally, ‘tool or device’. Spiritual practices which are used as a means to Self-Realization.
Sahasrara ChakraThe chakra, or energy centre, of the human system located at the fontanelle, or crown, of the head.
SamadhiDeep state of equanimity, one of the eight limbs of Yoga. Greatly celebrated in the Indian spiritual tradition, the experience of samadhi is therapeutic and deeply transformative in nature.
Samat Prana/Samana VayuOne of the five pranas of the body.
SamskaraRitual, in the general sense. Denotes rites such as the birth ceremony, tonsuring, marriage, cremation, etc. In Yoga, it stands for the indelible imprints in the subconscious left behind by daily experiences.
SamyamaA confluence of the states of dharana , dhyana and samadhi. Here, it refers to the eight-day meditation programme conducted by Sadhguru, where one is transported into explosive states of meditativeness. This programme is a possibility to shed lifetimes of karma and experience deep states of meditativeness and samadhi.
Sanchita KarmaThe whole volume of karma of a person.
SantaraAn ancient Jain practice of progressively fasting to death.
SanyasaOn the path of spirituality, a stage of life as per the Varnashrama Dharma. The withdrawal from the world in search for Self-Realization.
SatsangLiterally, ‘in communion with Truth’; a congregation of seekers.
SavikalpaLiterally, ‘with qualities’. Used to refer to a type of samadhi, or equanimity, with qualities or attributes.
Shakti ChalanaA kind of Yogic practice taught at the Isha Yoga Center.
Shambhavi MahamudraA Yogic practice taught by Sadhguru.
ShariraLiterally, ‘body’.
ShivayogiA name borne by Sadhguru in two of his previous lifetimes.
ShoonyaLiterally, ‘emptiness’. An effortless process of conscious non-doing, Shoonya meditation is an extremely powerful and unique form of meditation taught by Sadhguru in a ‘live form’ at the Isha Yoga programmes.
ShraadhaAnnual death ritual of the Hindus for one’s ancestors.
SiddhasanaA dynamic Yogic posture or practice. The mainstay sadhana of brahmacharis at the Isha Yoga Center.
SmashanaHindu cremation ground.
TantraLiterally, ‘technology’; in this context it refers to the technology of spiritual transformation. Commonly refers to a spiritual path in India.
TantrikA practitioner of Tantra.
TapovanA place above Gomukh, on the banks of the Gangotri, the glacial origin of the river Ganga.
Taraka MantraA secret and powerful mantra for Liberation that is whispered by Kalabhairava into the ears of those who die in Kashi.
TeerthakundA consecrated body of water at the Isha Yoga Center.
Udana Prana/VayuOne of the five pranas of the body.
UttarayanaThe period of the year from the winter solstice in December to the summer solstice in June.
Vanaprastha AshramaOne of the stages of life according to the Varnashrama Dharma. People usually live away from their families during this stage, mostly in the forests.
VasanasTendencies or inclinations; subliminal traits in a human being, the residue of desires and actions.
VedaRefers to the oldest portion of the Hindu scriptures.
Velliangiri MountainsThe sacred mountain ranges in Tamil Nadu, in the foothills of which the Isha Yoga Center is located.
VibhutiSacred ash that is made by burning cow dung; this is usually consecrated with the energies of a powerful deity before it is used. It is often smeared over certain parts of the body, especially the forehead and over the chakras.
VignanaScience or special knowledge, in traditional terms.
Vignanamaya KoshaOne of the five sheaths of the human body.
VisheshSpecial or extraordinary.
VishuddhiOne of the seven major chakras, Vishuddhi is the centre of power and vision. It is located at the pit of the throat.
Vyana Prana/VayuOne of the five pranas of the body.
YakshaCelestial disembodied beings who are believed to inhabit secluded places.
YamadootaAgents of Yama, the Hindu God of death.
YantraLiterally, a ‘tool or a device’; in this context it refers to an energy form, which can be designed and consecrated in different ways to bring prosperity and well-being to one’s life.
YatraTravel, journey, pilgrimage.
YudhishthiraThe eldest of the Pandava princes, known for his virtues.





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