Q: Gurudev, in the Upanishads, we usually find references of Samit Pani (ritual of offering dry sticks to the Master). Gurudev, could you please tell us, what is the significance of this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Samit is the stick which is ready to catch fire.
Here, it is a symbol of being ready, so that when the knowledge is given, you just grab it.
Samit Pani has many meanings. One is, ‘Be Attentive’; second is, ‘Ready to Give Hundred Percent’.
You know when Samit (dry stick) is put in the fire it burns totally without any residue.
So, the meaning of Samit Pani is, ‘Be prepared to absorb the knowledge and live it. Give your hundred percent.’
Samit also means, ‘Go (to the master) with Stability.’
A student needs some stability and endurance. If there is a little difficulty, and the student runs away, then that student cannot study anything.
Usually it happens, after the first year of Medical College or Engineering College children just want to wash their hands off and want to run away. Hasn’t this happened to you?
How many Engineering and Medical students have felt like that? This is because it appears to be very tough. But you have to go through that. You have to stand that tough time.
So Samit Pani is also keeping that equanimity and endurance.
In earlier days, they used to say, ‘Don’t go with an empty hand. When you go to a Guru, go with something.’
The Guru is going to give you knowledge, so what you can do, is exchange it with a little stick. Give something in exchange, because knowledge flows with an exchange. Something comes and something goes.
So like this, there are many meanings for Samit Pani.
Going to study with zeal, enthusiasm, and dedication, and being ready to receive knowledge; ready to undergo toughness.
There is also a proverb that says, ‘If you are a student then there is no pleasure for you. And if you are a seeker of pleasure, then there is no knowledge for you.’ So, a student will have to go through hardship.
This means, if you are just pleasure loving, you can’t be studious.
In English, the word studious means, being much focused and not running after pleasures or comfort, but going beyond the comfort zone.