Q: Gurudev, in the fifteenth chapter of the Gita, there is a description of a tree which is upside down. The branches are in the ground and the roots are in the sky. Can you please explain the significance of this? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a symbol to signify that your origin is the Divinity; the consciousness. That is your roots.
The mind and all its paraphernalia are like the branches. And all the different types of rhythms in life, all the different emotions, etc., are like the leaves. They don’t stay permanently, they wither away.
So, if you are focusing on the leaves, and you forget to water the roots, then the tree will not remain.
In a transit lounge what do you
do? You keep your luggage and
start eating. You use the
bathroom and everything, but
you don’t open your suitcase
and hang your clothes all over
the place. You keep your things
packed. This world is just a
transit lounge. Don’t mistake it
to be your home.
So, it says, ‘Asvattham enam su-virudha-mulam asanga-sastrena drdhena chittva’
(Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 15, Verse 3). Notice that you are not these different emotions, these different aspects of life. Feel the distance from all these branches and retrieve back. That is what it is saying.
Otherwise we get so immersed in the outer, that we forget the main root.
You need to prune the tree otherwise it goes here and there. So prune all that, and know that your origin is somewhere up.
Adi Shankaracharya has said this beautifully, ‘Suramandirtarumoolanivaasah sayyaa bhootalamajinam vaasah sarvaparigraha bhogatyaagah kasya sukham na karoti viraagah’
He is saying, ‘My original place is in heaven, I have come here just for few days; just to have fun. Today I have just come for the purpose of relaxing, but this is not my original place, it is somewhere else.’
The thought itself – My home is somewhere else, I have just come to visit, creates a distance inside you.
This world is a transit lounge.
You know, in airports and railway stations there are lounges, and in a lounge what do you do?
You keep your luggage and start eating. You use the bathroom and everything, but you don’t open your suitcase and hang your clothes all over the place. You don’t do that in a transit lounge. You keep your things packed.
So this world is just a transit lounge. Don’t mistake it to be your home.
Q: Gurudev, out of the Ashtalaksmi’s there is one by the name Vijayalakshmi. You said that we need Vijayalakshmi. It is the energy to win or succeed in anything. Can you please elaborate on this? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I think I have spoken enough on all those eight Lakshmis.
The intelligent people don’t elaborate on anything too much. They only give little clues as essence.
It is said, ‘Alpaksharam asandigdham sara-vat visvato-mukham.’
Alpaksharam means, just a few words.
Sutras are like that; it has the essence and is multi-dimensional. It has many dimensions. And that is how intelligent people communicate, with just a few words.
Only the less intelligent will give long explanations for nothing.
Some of the books that you read, they go on for pages after pages after pages. I tell you, all that they need to write is one line. That is it!
All the ancient Rishis, that is what they did.
‘Heyam dukham anagatam’; that is it, finished!
‘Tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam’; finished!
Your origin is the Divinity;
it is your roots. The mind
and all its paraphernalia are
like the branches. And all the
different types of rhythms in
life are like the leaves. They
don’t stay permanently, they
So, if you are focusing on the
leaves, and you forget to water
the roots, then the tree will not
Q: Gurudev, is being in the state of love higher than enlightenment? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Higher and lower, all these dissolves even much before.
There is nothing higher or nothing lower; this ladder disappears.
Just imagine you are in space, in the universe. Where is up and where is down? Where is east and west? There is nothing. There is no higher or lower.
Q: Gurudev, where do emotions arise from? Are they of the body or of the mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Emotions are in the mind, but there is a corresponding hormone or sensation in the body. So it is a combination of both.
If your adrenal gland starts working very fast, then you feel fear and nervousness. All those emotions rise up.
So different hormones or different glands produce different emotions. It is neither this or that, it is everything together.
Q: My son has been diagnosed with bipolar for five years. He is my only son and I have been suffering every moment of his pain. I was a very happy woman before this but now I am on 150mg of anti-depressants.
Now, I want you to assure me there will be no sicknesses like manic depression or any other sicknesses that are incurable.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, I understand your pain.
Sometimes a little depression comes and a person is given heavy doses of medicines and then it becomes worse. I have seen this happening.
Small simple depression turns into manic depression and then they put them on Lithium.
The whole medical fraternity is so confused about this issue. That is why mental health is so important.
All of you here, you should put your children and your friend’s children into the Art Excel, YES and YES+ programs. Somehow make them do pranayama and meditation.
Do you know how this happens? First there is a little stress in the mind, and then that starts building up and building up and then it becomes so big that it snaps all the important connections in the brain. That is how the whole thing starts.
We need to attend to this at a very early stage. Prevention is better that cure. And to prevent this you need to keep your children happy and teach them how to handle their negative emotions and the negativity in them. This is very important.
Q: Gurudev, for a seeker, what is the importance of good company? And if such company is not available, then what should one do? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you feel you are strong enough and you can influence your company, then change them. Make them to be like you. But if you are not that strong, then move away from bad company. You are free to do that.
The intelligent people don’t
elaborate on anything too
much. They only give little
clues as essence.
Intelligent people communicate,
with just a few words. Only the
less intelligent will give long
explanations for nothing.
Q: Gurudev, is it auspicious to have a Peepal (Bodhi) tree at home? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is very good and very auspicious. Having a Bodhi tree in front of your home is like having God himself standing there.
This is what Lord Krishna says, ‘Among the tree, I am Ashvattha’, (Peepal or Bodhi tree).
The Bodhi tree is so significant because all 24 hours a day, it gives out only oxygen. So it is very good to have this tree in front of your home.
There are people who say that it is not very good to have a Tamarind tree in front of the house. I don’t know what vibration it has, but this is what is said.
Now if there is a Tamarind tree in front of your home, I would say, don’t cut it down, just plant something else around it.
Q: Even though we have received so much wisdom from you, I am not able to live it fully? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: At least if you are able to live it partially, I am happy. Even that will do. You will keep moving up, inch by inch.