The brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi in December 2012, triggered nation-wide protests and rage among Indians. The terrible nature of the assault left the victim battling grave injuries to which she finally succumbed. In the wake of this incident, the courts sentenced the perpetrators to death.
Although this solution seems justified, is law enforcement really a permanent fix for a problem that seems to be very deep-rooted in today’s society? No, says Sadhguru. As he points out, “statistics say that 96% of the rapes happen within the four walls of the house. Law enforcement never gets involved in this. This cannot be contained by law.” The problem, he says is rooted in “investing too much in the physicality of life.”
In this video, he speaks at length about the issue of rape – why it happens and what are the most effective means of preventing such acts in society. Presented below are a few important snippets of his words.
Sadhguru: It needs to be understood that though there may be a sexual stimulus to rape, it is not about sexuality alone. It is about the power to possess. This wanting to possess comes from various things. A fundamental mistake that societies have made is, somewhere in the minds of the youth, the male youth, we have put the idea that the female is an object, a thing that you can possess. Either somebody’s father can give her away, and if he refuses you can take her. It’s still there, isn’t it? In the background, somewhere very deep in the psychological structure there is an idea that a woman is a commodity. A commodity is something that doesn’t have a mind of its own. So this is in some places consciously implanted, and many other places unconsciously implanted. But it’s deeply implanted in people’s minds.
Will Punishment Really Work?
Sadhguru: So essentially, the problem is rooted in investing too much in the physicality of life. If societies or human beings who are experiencing their lives a little more than their physical boundaries, these things would simply go down, just like that. Maybe not eliminated, but it would go down dramatically and considerably to a point where a few offenders can be dealt with, with punishment. You cannot deal with a vast majority of population with punishment. Suppose 10, 15, 20 % of people are committing crime in a society, you cannot punish 20% of the population. If it is 1%, you can punish them, you can deal with punishment. You want to hang 20% of the population? That’s going to be worse than rape.
So punishment, people think, is a deterrent. To some extent it is, maybe. For most people it is not. They will just try to do it more carefully. They will try to take more precautions about it. Maybe because they have to take more precautions, it will come down a little bit. But when it is happening in one’s mind, it means that when there is an opportunity it will happen in reality.
One Forceful Act Leads to Another
Sadhguru: Whether the crime, or violence, or forceful acts are committed against a woman or a man, or a child, it’s the same thing. If we approve one forceful act, the other one will naturally evolve out of it. This starts from the home situation. If you can force-feed your child, you can be forcefully sexed also, tomorrow. I want you to understand this, this is how it starts. If you think you can force-feed your child, if you think force is okay as long as you get to do what you want to do, then everything else follows. We don’t want to destroy the root, we just want to prune the surface because right now it hurts us. That is not a solution.
Sadhguru: There is a lot of looking at, that humanity has to do. One particular case of rape has brought the consciousness of the nation to a certain brink. Using this, it’s time that we look at the essentials of life.
The fundamental thing is that one wants to possess, humiliate, and subjugate another human being. This is happening because of a certain level of inadequacy, a certain level of incompleteness from within – that only by possessing something will you feel a little better. Whether to fulfill this possession you go shopping or you go raping, it’s the same thing. Something is inadequate, you want to fulfill this by getting something. This will find all kinds of ugly expressions. It will not stop at one thing.
So the solution is not in just containing it, the solution is in transformation of the individual human being. If the world has to change, the first thing is being willing to invest time for your own transformation. It is the main thing to do. If we do not transform individual people, you just have to do with a world full of criminals. Closet-rapist or street- rapist, not very different, isn’t it?
If this has to change, we need to understand that individual transformation is the most crucial thing. If we are not willing to invest in that, we just have to do with what we have and worse will come. Transformation means, who you are is not determined by other people’s opinions or other people’s presence. In this direction every parent must invest upon their children, to transform them into more inclusive human beings. Inclusion just means this – technically, who you are is not limited to the absolute boundary of your physicality. If it is little more, the very way you walk, breathe, and exist on this planet will be different, simply because your idea of who you are is beyond the boundaries of your physicality. If this one thing happens to the human being, suddenly he is different in every possible way.
So, investing in a spiritual possibility, a possibility beyond one’s physicality, is the only ultimate answer there is. If you want long term benefits, this is the long term answer.
Editor’s Note: Read Sadhguru’s insights into the basis of conflict, misconceptions about peace, and how each of us can help create a generation of peaceful human beings.