In Sanskrit, there are two specific words for knowing. One is gyan and the other is another is vigyan or visheshgyan. All that you can perceive and know through the five sense organs is gyan—knowledge. The word vigyan is loosely used today, but what it means is visheshgyan or an extraordinary way of knowing. If you perceive that which is beyond your senses, if you are able to assimilate that knowing, that is visheshgyan.
Why is going beyond one’s senses and knowing needed? If you use the word “need” in terms of whether something is necessary for your survival, it is not needed. If you had been born a chimpanzee, it is definitely not needed. But you have evolved into a human being. Wanting to live like a chimpanzee does not work anymore.
Human intelligence and awareness has come to a place where it cannot limit itself to the ambit of survival. It has to look. This is not a problem, it is a possibility. Every possibility seems like a problem to those who are not willing to take on the possibility. This is a phenomenal possibility but most human beings are treating it like a problem. And they are trying to solve the problem by constantly raising the bar of survival.
Look back at your own lives and see what your idea of survival was twenty-five years ago, fifteen years ago, and today. The bar has constantly been raised. In every segment of society, survival has been raised to a place where even billionaires are struggling to survive in their community. I have, at close quarters, seen multi-billionaires still behaving like beggars. Their mindset is that of a beggar who sits on the street every day, thinking, “How many more pennies can I gather?” The numbers are different but the experience of life is still the same because you raised the bar of survival.
When I go to the United States, I find that in the most affluent nation on the planet, people cannot change the course of their life when they wish. Everyone is enslaved for a minimum of thirty years because they have a thirty-year housing loan, a five-year car loan and so many other things. Even if they find something really phenomenal that they want to pursue in their life, they can only do it after thirty years. For Indians, it is their children. In the West, it is the debt that holds them back. They are just fixed. This is not a good way to structure our lives. The idea of affluence is that you have the freedom to change the course of your life and do what you want to do.
No other generation has had as many conveniences and comforts as we do today. Nobody ever had homes as big as we do, nobody ever drove chariots with five hundred horses—even the emperors couldn’t do that. Instead of leaving this as survival and seeing the rest as an exploration of life, we are just raising the bar. In your life, you must fix it somewhere—“This is my survival. Beyond this, what do I want to do?” If you pay enough attention to the nature of your life, the longing to know the subjectivity of your existence will naturally become the prime goal. Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, a bestselling author and poet. He was conferred the Padma Vibhushan in 2017. Isha.sadhguru.org