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.
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.