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Avadhanis: Accessing the Mind’s Incredible Capabilities

Sadhguru: Today, many modern scientists arguing that human brain is not capable of doing two things at the same time. I'm a living example that they're all wrong. I have twelve, fourteen tracks running in my mind, all the time. Intellect is only the surface aspect, it is a veneer, in the huge volume of intelligence that makes us who we are. If you look at the evolutionary dimension of life upon this planet, why a human being is dominating this world – though physically we are weaker than many other creatures on the planet – is simply because in some way, we have become more competent than others. So, the competence of being human is greatly reduced when there is no clear distinction between what is memory, what is imagination, what is sleep, what is wakefulness. There are five major points of receptivity in one’s mind. These are centers of memory, centers of imagination, centers of right perception, centers of perversion, and centers of sleep. If you practice classical yoga, these five dimensions will be distinctly separate in your experience. If it is not separate, what happens to you is when you want to remember something, your imagination plays havoc with your memory. When you want to imagine something, your memory will constrain you from really proper dimension of imagination. When you want to sleep, you will have dreams; when you want to be awake, you will fall asleep. This causes a whole lot of confusion and inefficiency of life. I'm not talking about you being efficient in your profession or in your office or wherever else; that also yes, in that way also it manifests. But more than that, inefficiency of life. When I say ‘inefficiency of life,’ this life will not function with the effervescence and exuberance and exploration that life is that it can explore many dimensions within itself. This possibility is greatly reduced simply because this mix-up has happened in people's experience of life. Classical Yoga is very, very focused on separating these things. If you separate these things, you can become what is called as an ‘Avadhani.’ In ancient times, there were many people; today, there are a few; some of them are called Ashta avadhanis, which means they have eight types, eight capabilities that is at… at a single moment, at a given moment, they can do… perform eight different actions, like they can compose poetry; at the same time, they can do a very complex mathematical problem; at the same time, they can smell perfumes, and decide which is which; at the same time, they can taste many things and say whatever they have to say about it. At the same time, they can do many things like concerning with all the five senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. Many actions they can perform at the same given time. Eight type of actions, if you can perform, you are called an Ashta avadhani. If you can perform ten types of actions, you are called a Dasha avadhani. If you can do one hundred types of actions, you're called a Shata avadhani. If you can do a thousand types of actions, you’re called a Sahasra avadhani. Sahasra avadhanis have been very, very rare. People say that Agastya muni was a Sahasra avadhani, that means he could do thousand-and-eight things at the same time. So this avadhanis are not just legend. There have been ma… many in the past, which are well recorded incidents. Vidyapathy, in Andhra Pradesh was a Dasha avadhani. Through him an entire culture of Dasha avadhanis developed in Andhra Pradesh. Even today, in the villages of Andhra Pradesh, there are Ashta avadhanis and Dasha avadhanis in quite a good number. Siddhachandra was a Shata avadhani. He performed one hundred types of actions under the scrutiny of Akbar's court, the Emperor Akbar's court, and he was honored for this and given the title of Shata avadhani because he performed one hundred functions. And in modern times, there have been people who have performed one hundred different actions, like Ravi Chandra Bai, who was a Gujarati Jain, who is a Shata avadhani. Thirukkural Rama Kanaga Subramaniam was Shodasha avadhani that means he performed sixteen actions at a time. These are all documented incidents, but there are many others, who come from certain tribes, who've been doing this. It used to be a common thing in India that people would come and set up a small situation in the village where a few hundred people gather, and they would perform many actions at the same time, which looked quite miraculous. But this is just to demonstrate the capacity of human memory because human memory is not limited to articulate memory that we're talking about. Articulate memory is just a thin layer; the rest is a profound dimension. Our body carries a trillion times more memory than what you can articulate in your mind. Today, there are many (Laughs) modern scientists, unfortunately, arguing that human brain is not capable of doing two things at the same time, you can do it best, only if you do one thing at a time. I'm a living example that they're all wrong. I have twelve, fourteen tracks running in my mind all the time. Do I look distracted, disturbed or stressed (Laughs) because of that? No! You can perform any number of things because of this. It is not even that you have to consciously pay attention to it. If you open up a certain track and leave it, it goes on by itself. This is the nature of… nature of human intelligence. You are not sitting here and conducting your renal functions or your liver functions, or your spleen working or not; you're not doing this. Aren’t all these many things happening at the same time? Isn't there an intelligence within us, which is capable of doing all these things? It is just that most human beings are understanding human intelligence as just as intellect. Intellect is only the surface aspect, it is a veneer, in the huge volume of intelligence that makes us who we are because we are made from within. All the intelligence that is needed to create this body, to create this life is intrinsic to us. It is not something that happens from outside. It is intrinsic to us. It is just a question of access. If you want a living intelligence, if you want to exist as a living intelligence, one thing you should not do is you never, ever form an opinion about anything. That means you're always an active intelligence. You're looking at everything the way it is. An opinion means you have given up your ability to experience; you have become opinionated, or an impression of the past is overruling the reality of what is there right now. This is what an opinion is. But unfortunately, we have created societies where unless you have an opinion, you’re considered dumb or stupid because you have no opinion, but that's the smartest thing you can do. That is the most intelligent thing you can do is that you did not subscribe to any opinion. You're willing to look at everything just the way it is.

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