What is the significance of Damru (drum), Trishul (trident) and the crescent moon on Lord Shiva’s head? What is the importance of Lord Shiva’s attributes? To this question, let’s hear the explanation from Sri Sri Ravishankar Guruji of Art of Living in his own words…
Shiva tatva is where there is no mind, and the Moon signifies the mind. When there is no mind then how can this ‘no mindedness’ be expressed and how can anybody understand? You need a little bit of mind to understand, experience and to express.
So, it is not a full moon, but it is a little crescent moon on the head which means there is only a little bit of the mind needed to express the inexpressible.
Shiva tatva is inexpressible; no one can find its root.
There is a story relating to this where Brahma went to find the head and Vishnu went to find the feet but no one could find anything. So the Infinity cannot be comprehended unless there is a mind.
You sit in meditation and you experience the nothingness, but then the thought comes, ‘I am experiencing this beautiful meditation’. Who experienced that? That is the mind. The mind cognizes, ‘Oh, I had good sleep’, or, ‘I had good meditation’.
So to express that inexpressible, you need a little bit of mind and that is why that little mind (crescent moon) is on the head. The head is all wisdom. Wisdom is beyond mind, but it needs to be expressed with a little tinge of mind and this is symbolized by the crescent moon.
Damru symbolizes the Universe which is always expanding and collapsing. From an expansion it collapses and then it re-expands, this is the process of creation.
If you see your heartbeat, it is not just one straight line but it is a rhythm that goes up and down.
The whole world is nothing but rhythms, energy rising and collapsing to rise again. So the Damru signifies that. Look at the shape of the Damru, from expansion it collapses and again expands.
The Darmru is also a symbol of sound. Sound is rhythm and sound is energy. The whole universe is nothing but a wave function, it is nothing but rhythms.
What does quantum physics say? It says the same thing – the whole universe is nothing but rhythms.
So there are no two things, there is only one thing. It is just one wave. This is what Adi Shankara said, there is only one thing.
If it appears to you as though this bulb is different, that bulb is different, the fan is different, then you are confused, you don’t know the reality. The reality is that there is only one electricity, only one main switch and if that is on, all the bulbs are on. If that is off, everything is off. So one thing runs everything and that is electricity. So this entire universe is consciousness or one energy.
Now is electricity good or bad? It is neither.
If you put your hand in the socket and you get a shock, is that good? But at the same time, if you get a shock, is electricity bad? No! It is stupid to say that electricity is bad because it gives so much comfort – light, sound, air, food – everything comes out of electricity. At the same time electricity is very harmful. If a high tension wire is passing from above your home, there is so much radiation which is very bad.
So electricity is neither good nor bad. This is what we must understand. That is why we say the Brahmatatvam or life is beyond good and bad. Good and bad is always relative, there is nothing evil or nothing good, it is all beyond that, it is all only one thing – this is called Tatva Gyan, the real knowledge.