Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I have never seen hell, so I can’t say that He has created one!
Let us see this from a knowledge perspective.
There are two types of knowledge; one is based on Chemistry, and the other on Quantum Physics.
Chemistry, is based on the study of different elements, which have different atomic and molecular structures, and different characteristics.
In Quantum Physics, everything is considered to be just one wave function, it is all atoms only. It says, forget about the Periodic Table (the tabular arrangement of chemicals based on their atomic, molecular structure, and nature); there is no iron, copper, zinc; everything is just one wave function.
To say it simply, we can say, all this is wood. The floor is wood, chairs are wood, doors are wood, windows are wood, roof is wood, the whole building is wood; everything is wood - this is Quantum Physics. Chemistry is: the chair is not the table, the table is not the door, the door is not the roof, and the roof is not the floor; they are all different - this is Chemistry.
These are two different sets of knowledge needed in life. The knowledge of differences, diversities, definite objects and their qualities, and the knowledge of oneness.
Diamond and charcoal are virtually made of the same substance, but people wear diamonds on their ears, and not charcoal. In life, there is one aspect in which you see diversity, and there is another aspect where you see only the oneness; both are essential.
When you see that everything is one, meditation happens and that is samadhi; there is no two.
There is air inside the body, and outside the body. Every cell of our body is porous, and it is all space. Our skin is like a mosquito net, do you know that? If you take a piece of skin, and see it under the microscope, it is like a mosquito net. There is a lot of space in between.
How is a mosquito net made? It is made up of several holes put together; it is all empty space. Similarly, our body is full of the space element. You cannot say space is different, it is all the same, it is one. (There are three qualities of space, but we will come to that later, it is a higher knowledge.)
Recognizing that everything is one is Vedanta, meditation, samadhi.
What is the use of this knowledge? It helps you come to the present moment. You are lively in the moment, now!
What does not allow you to experience the oneness, the truth of Quantum Physics? It is the mind or the memory that clouds our vision, and does not allow us to see the vast sky.
How does that happen? Whatever has happened till this moment, it does not exist right now! In the flow of time, events happen, and they move away. No event stays. E.g., as we sit now, this is an event. It will finish in half an hour, we will go to our room, and this event will be gone. What stays is the impression of the events on the mind, in the memory.
As an event happens, the mind holds on to its impression. Thus, even as a new event comes, the mind is unable to see that afresh, because something is already written on it. It is similar to writing something on a blackboard. If some things are written on it and not completely rubbed off, then you cannot write new things. Even if you do, nothing makes any sense; similar things happen to our mind.
So how can we bring our mind to the total present moment? By understanding how the memory works.
What is the memory? The memory is like a dream. Every dream is nothing but a memory, an impression in the mind.
When you wake up from a dream, what do you say? ‘Oh, it was a dream’, and you put it behind, whether it was a pleasant dream or a nightmare. When you wake up, you say it is gone. Similarly, in any moment when you wake up (to the reality of the Oneness or absolute), the life force gushes in, and you see that whatever happened till yesterday is like a dream. The shift in your alertness, awareness, consciousness happens right away, and then you reach Quantum Physics. You switch from the Chemistry of Periodic Tables to the Physics of Quantum Nature. You realize, ‘Oh, everything, all events are just a dream! The whole world is a dream.’
What is this world? This world is an experience of the five senses.
Your experience of the world is through sight, smell, taste, touch and sound. All the knowledge that you hear is through sound. All that you read, you take it in through your eye sight. As this realization happens, no trauma can stay in you. Immediately energy gushes in and you realize, ‘Wow, this is so beautiful!’ A new dimension comes to life!
This is an exercise for you to practice.
For some time, suddenly wake up and see that everything that has happened till this moment is like a dream. Drop it! Have this doubt, this could be a dream; I am going to wake up from this dream in a few minutes.
When you recognize this whole thing is a dream, then suddenly all that anxiety, anger, sadness and sorrow, which is a result of hanging on to unpleasant events, disappear. Everything disappears and you become so free. When you surrender from inside you feel, ‘Wow, I am so free!’
To experience that ultimate freedom, what do you need to do? One day just shake your head and say, ‘This whole thing is a dream!’
This is only to kindle your awareness. As you are going into the dining hall, don’t tell me, ‘If this is all a dream, why should I eat?’ No, you have to do that!
Once, one of the great masters of our holy tradition, Adi Shankaracharya was telling his disciples that this whole thing is a dream. As he was walking, a mad elephant started coming behind him; so, Adi Shankaracharya started running.
Somebody later told Adi Shankaracharya, ‘You say that everything is a dream. The elephant was a dream, then why did you run?’
He said, ‘My running was also a dream!’
If you have a dream cake, you need a dream knife to cut it. You can’t take a real knife and cut a dream cake.
So, there are different levels of existence; this is truth. It is called the Principle of Duality. This is also true but there are different things. A cannot be B, B cannot be C, C cannot be D. However, all of them are letters. If you say letters, A is a letter, B is a letter, C is a letter; all are letters in that category. If we recognize these two dimensions in life, our life becomes stable.