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HTLS 2016: Human ambition accelerating environmental degradation, says Sadhguru

Sadhguru warned that our ability to do things will destroy us.

HTLS2016 Updated: Nov 15, 2017 12:36 IST
Aditya Dogra
Aditya Dogra
Hindustan Times
HTLS 2016,Sadhguru,Environmental degredation
Sadhguru, founder of ISHA Foundation, at HTLS 2016.(Gurinder Osan/HT File Photo)

Man’s unquenchable ambition to acquire everything is threatening the very existence of this planet, spiritual thinker Sadhguru said on Friday, making a strong case for protecting the environment to save mankind.

“We, as human beings, have acquired enormous capabilities in the past hundred years, we have changed the face of the planet…war, destruction, environmental degradation is all because of man’s ambition,” Sadhguru said at the 14th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

“This means that our very confidence, our conquests are slowly turning against us. If our enemies were to destroy us, it is understandable, but it is our abilities and ambition that actually will,” added the 59-year-old mystic who is also a best-selling author.

Born Jaggi Vasudev in Karnataka, Sadhguru is the founder of a non-profit organisation Isha Foundation that works in the area of environment, rural education and propagation of yoga as a way of life.

“Life-giving things on the planet have been turned into commodities, because of our urge to conquer the air that we breathe and the food that we eat.”

Known for his love for nature, Sadhguru said: “Life-giving things on the planet have been turned into commodities, because of our urge to conquer the air that we breathe and the food that we eat.”

He mentioned the “classic monkey story” about a simian cutting the branch in was sitting on and added, “Our ability to do things will destroy us”.

He also recalled an anecdote about his English teacher who he met recently, 30 years after refusing to take poetry lessons from her.

“I cannot read the work of a man who refers to trees as woods,” he said, referring to a famous poem by Robert Frost to underpin his message that “vision without clarity” is just ambition.

He said the human race is destroying the world in the “process of fulfilling our individual ambitions”.

“Knowingly or unknowingly, many of us are ambitious and always want more. Conquest is one way of doing things, inclusion is the other way. In conquest, you are bound to what you conquer, in inclusion you are free of what you include,” he added.

Replying to a question on the government’s move to recall high-value banknotes, Sadhguru said he supported the action.

“It is a good step...Over 60% of the money in our country was underground. With this step, at least 40% of it will be out,” he said.

“It will be very good for our economy in the international arena. We have been a developing nation for too long. It is time India became a developed nation, now.”

Watch | Sadhguru talks on ‘Leadership: From ambition to vision’ at HTLS 2016

Read | HTLS 2016: Demonetisation gains uncertain, says Noble laureate Paul Krugman

First Published: Dec 02, 2016 14:42 IST