The Magic of Three
Composer and singer Shankar Mahadevan, of the musical trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, ponders about the power and significance of the number three. Sadhguru discusses the fundamental basis of human experience, which is rooted in the triad of past, present and future.
Shankar Mahadevan: The three of us have been composing music for the last twenty-three years now as Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. One thing that has always fascinated me has been the concept of three. I see the association of the number three with various aspects like neutron, proton, electron and Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh. So, what is the relevance, importance, and effect of three?
Sadhguru: Namaskaram to the trimurti of Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy! Well, there is trimurti, trinetra, trishula, trikala – all these things are an evolution of ideas from the fundamental experience of human life.
Essentially, human experience of life happens between memory, which belongs to the past or bhuta-kala; our experience, which is always vartamana or the present; and our imagination and aspirations, which are of the future or bhavishya. The many aspects which spring from these three experiences were crystallized in our culture as “tri”: trinetra, trikala, trishula, and you guys, trimurtis.
But this fundamental needs to be understood that all these three dimensions exists in vartamana. Past and future actually exists now, because it is only now that you can remember and imagine.
There is a lot of teaching going on around the world – particularly in United States, but it has also hit the western coast of India – about “Be in the moment.” These people are worshippers of the present! But I do not understand why somebody is telling you to be in the moment, because you cannot be anywhere else. Where else can you be other than in the moment. We are anyway rooted in vartamana.
What these people are saying is, “Do not think about the past, do not think about the future.” It took millions of years to bring this level of cerebral capability, to have a vivid sense of memory and a fantastic sense of imagination, but somebody is telling you, “Let’s junk all that and be like an earthworm.” I have nothing against an earthworm – it is a very ecofriendly creature – but all this evolutionary work that has happened to bring us to this level of cerebral capability should not be surrendered to some simple philosophy.
The reason people are saying, “Be in the moment,” is because they are not suffering life, they are suffering their memory and their imagination, the two most fantastic faculties that a human being has. This is the fundamental of their misery – people can suffer what happened ten years ago, and they can already suffer what may happen the day after tomorrow!
They want to surrender these faculties because they do not know how to handle their thought and emotion. If you could remember joyfully, and imagine things with great exuberance and ecstasy, why would you want to surrender that? It is just that your memories and imagination have become compulsive. They are creating a world of misery. So people are talking about how to forget the past, how to not think about the future. This is not the way to conduct human life.
It is very important that all these three dimensions are there, the trikala, the trishula and trinetra. These are the three dimensions of seeing and experiencing life. And we are very glad the trimurti of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy are there. Please make some wonderful music!
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