JRD Tata, whose family is among those responsible for building the basic foundations for Indian industry, was once asked if he wanted India to become an economic superpower. He replied, “No, I do not want India to be an economic superpower. I want India to be a happy country.”
The aspiration that you want your nation to be a superpower is very silly and childish which has caused immense damage to the planet. Today, people are actually making the argument that without nuclear weapons in the world, there will be no peace—which is unfortunately true. Me holding a gun to your head, you holding a gun to my head and both of us did not shoot—this is not peace, this is madness. Right now, this is how we are trying to achieve peace on the planet; and someday, somebody will shoot. If they get a little sleepy and squeeze the trigger, the whole world will explode. It need not necessarily happen out of intent, it can just happen.
In the 1960s, because of a phenomenal amount of suspicion about each other, the US and the USSR each believed that the other was going to use nuclear weapons against the other. They came so close to using their own nuclear weapons. If you read the classified information that they are releasing today, their thought process looks like that of a bunch of total lunatics. How close they brought the world to absolute destruction just because of this madness in their heads is incredible!
This whole aspiration to become a superpower should go. India needn’t be a great power. No country needs to be a great power. Instead, every country should be a powerhouse of wellbeing for everybody who lives there. Every nation should aspire for their wellbeing. For wellbeing, resources and other things are a little scarce, so there will be some competition. We will pull and push, which is okay. That will happen among human beings. However, you do not have to pull out your gun, only to have someone else pull out a bigger gun and become a superpower.
Unfortunately, that is the way the world works right now. The US has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet a few times over. So, if you have enough nuclear weapons to destroy even the other planets, you are a bigger superpower than they are. I wish a little bit of the teeth of all the superpowers are taken away and all of them just aspire for the wellbeing of their people. Superpowers are ugly and too full of themselves.
India should be a country of wellbeing, where our standards of wellbeing are different from just a vulgar sense of wealth and conquest. Conquest and robbery are not different things. If it is done by an individual, it is called burglary. If it is done by a gang, it is called dacoity. If it is done by a nation, it is called conquest or regime change.
Our aspiration should be to become a sensible, gentle nation, which creates wellbeing for itself and as far as possible, wellbeing for everyone in the world. We have spent thousands of years evolving a spiritual ethos in this nation. India as a nation is very unique. There has been a certain sense of awareness and wisdom to this mass of people that we right now refer to as India, which is very hard to find anywhere else. You may find it in individual people, but a large mass of people having a certain unconscious awareness of many aspects of life is not there anywhere else in the world. So it would be horrid for Indians to aim nuclear weapons at every nation and say, “We are a superpower.”
Power does not mean having the biggest army in the world. Power means that everybody in the world looks at you for guidance if they want to live well. People always looked east when they thought of living well. This culture has always had this power. So India should aspire to make every nation meditative.
Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and a bestselling author. He was conferred the Padma Vibhushan in 2017. Isha.sadhguru.org