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dattaswami

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  1. Career or the Propagation of Spiritual Knowledge? [Dr. Nikhil said: Swami, I am unable to concentrate much on the propagation of Your spiritual knowledge due to the pressure of my job. The concepts of Your spiritual knowledge are really amazing and deserve propagation. But the results of the propagation activities are not seen due to my insufficient attention to the propagation.] Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! The job is the basic stage on which both the dramas of worldly life (pravṛtti) and spiritual life (nivṛtti) can be enacted. If one has a good lot of property, then thinking of leaving the job can be justified. It is also justified, if one does not have a family to take care of, like Śaṅkara, Vivekananda etc. But, having entered into family life, one should not go back. Even Arjuna tried to withdraw from the war, before the war began. He did not try to withdraw from the war after it started. Moreover, worldly life is essential for an ordinary soul, even though the soul is interested in the spiritual life. Worldly life, including having a job and so on, provides variety in life. A change is needed, now and then, for a person involved in spiritual activity. While you are eating sweets, a hot dish becomes necessary, now and then, to provide a change. The point is, whether you are eating sweets continuously and using the hot dish only as a side-dish or whether you are continuously eating hot dishes and using the sweet dish as a side dish. So, what matters is, whether your main activity is worldly life and you are using spiritual life only as side dish or whether your main activity is spiritual life and you are using worldly life only as a side dish. Of course, worldly activity is very much essential to support you and hence, you must be mainly engaged in the worldly activity and use spiritual activity as a side-dish. But, in course of time, the worldly activity becomes a very easy routine activity, due to your long experience. This is called as yoga (Yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam—Gita). Until you become skilled in worldly activity, you have to concentrate mainly on the worldly activity. At any stage, try to do your best for the propagation of spiritual knowledge, which is God’s work. You need not bother about the result of your work because, God is not bothered about the result of your work. God can achieve the result, just by His will, in just a fraction of a second. Hence, God does not aspire for the result of your action. He only sees whether you have full sincerity and full dedication in His work, as much as possible. It is only for testing your interest, sincerity and dedication to His work, that He has assigned the work to you. He has not assigned the work to you for the sake of any result. His service is not like target-oriented marketing job. His service is only dedication-oriented. Hence, you should never worry about the result of your work done for God. If God Rāma had wished, Rāvaṇa would have turned into ash and Sītā would have stood by His side, in a fraction of a second. All the drama of building the bridge on the sea was done by Him only to test the dedication, devotion, sincerity and interest in the hearts of the angels towards Him. As you know, the angels were born as monkeys to serve God. The occasion was only an opportunity meant to prove the sincerity of the angels towards God. It was not actually about building the sea-bridge, at all. Among knowledge (jñāna yoga), devotion (bhakti yoga) and service (karma yoga), knowledge is the most important. The jñāna yoga or knowledge is like the right path along which your vehicle is moving. It is the most important aspect. The actual movement or journey of the vehicle is karma yoga and the speed of the vehicle is bhakti yoga. If the path is wrong, both the journey and the speed of the vehicle totally go waste. God is incarnating, again and again, to remind the devotees about the right path, because devotees often slip from it due to the influence of wrong guides. Preaching the right spiritual knowledge is the main program of any Incarnation of God. The director of an institute gives right direction to his staff, so that the institute can progress in the right way. Hence, the director is the most important person and he holds the topmost postition. In every generation, God incarnates because the direction once given by Him is frequently misinterpreted and twisted by wrong preachers (Sa kāleneha mahatā, yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa—Gita). Whenever devotees slip from the correct path due to wrong interpretations, God incarnates to redirect them to the correct direction (Tadātmānaṃ sṛjāmyahaṃ—Gita). Hence, God said in the Gita that the propagation of correct spiritual knowledge gives Him immense pleasure (Jñāna yajñena tenāham…—Gita). Everywhere in the Gita, God has praised the propagation of the correct spiritual knowledge, which is greatly needed in every generation (Nahi jñānena sadṛṣaṃ…, Sarvam jñāna plavenaiva…, Sarvaṃ Karmākhilam…, Jñānāgniḥ…, Śreyān dravyamayāt…etc.). Every time and everywhere, everybody is putting in a lot of effort for attaining devotion and performing sacrifice and service. Hence, there is no need to propagate devotion, service and sacrifice. Only the missing correct direction needs to be propagated. So, Śaṅkara, Rāmānuja, Madhva, Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, Vivekananda, Jesus, Buddha, Mahavir, Prophet Mohammad etc., worked only for the propagation of the right spiritual knowledge and they became the most beloved devotees of God. All these preachers were actually Incarnations of God acting in the roles of devotees. A devotee can connect more freely with another devotee. If the Incarnation expresses Himself as God, that free connection with the devotees will get suppressed. Hence, all the Incarnations of God always act as devotees and as ideal examples for other human devotees to follow. Rāma was the topmost Incarnation because He never exposed Himself as God, but instead, always behaved as an ideal human being, without doing any miracle.
  2. Who are the destroyers of the soul mentioned in the Esavasya Upanishad? Shri Balaji asked: Respected Swamiji, Could You kindly clarify the third verse of the Īśāvāsya Upaniṣad? The verse, “Asūryā nāma te lokā…ātma hano janāḥ”, is a warning, describing the the fate of the slayers of their own souls (ātman). Who are these destroyers of the soul (ātma hanaḥ)? Is it just people who fail in the path of worldly justice pravṛtti as said in the first verse, “Tena tyaktena buñjīthā ma gṛdaḥ kasyasvit dhanam” or does it also extend to people who do not strive for niṣkāma karma yoga as said in the second verse “Kurvaneha karmāṇi...na karma lipyate nare”? Sincerely, Balaji Swami replied: The people mentioned in the first verse are the same people implied in the second verse. The second verse is the extension of the first. If a person commits suicide (destroyer of the soul), such a person will fall into a dark hell forever. Human life is the most precious life granted by God. It is a chance given to the soul to develop spiritually. The person who ends his own life is rejecting and destroying the gift of human life given by God and is insulting God. The reasons for committing suicide are mainly worldly and are the most stupid reasons. Millions of human generations have passed and millions are yet to come. The stupid soul gives unnecessary and meaningless importance to the petty issues of this illusory world and puts off the life-lamp, which is mainly meant for earning the grace of God. Suppose a person is travelling in a train to a city where he has to face a job-interview for a very high position. In the train, the person gets into a quarrel with a fellow-passenger over a seat. The person gets very emotionally upset and jumps out of the train and kills himself! Does he have even a trace of wisdom? Such a person is the king of bloody fools, who gives the topmost importance to silly issues, forgetting the topmost issue, which is the main aim of human life! Apart from cases of suicide, a person (soul) who spends his entire lifetime on worldly issues, without ever thinking about God, is also committing suicide, in a sense. Such people too can be said to be killing their souls (ātma hanaḥ). These are the kind of people that are mainly referred to in this verse. By merely thinking about worldly issues, they are ruining the main aim of life, which is spiritual development. Thus, the verse is related to both ruining one’s spiritual life as well as committing suicide. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website:Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  3. How can we confidently answer difficult people who impose false beliefs on us? [Shri Balaji asked: Respected Swamiji, Namaste. Many times, when we meet strangers, they might act like good persons. Sometimes, they might even pretend to be great devotees, just to fool others or due to their ego or over-confidence. Perhaps, some of them might even be genuine and might have the best of intentions. But in a short meeting, it is difficult to know the reality of people. So, usually, I end up giving the benefit of the doubt to them and assume they are good. But if these persons are elders, they sometimes try to dominate us by getting angry or threatening to curse or not give their blessings to us. Sometimes, I hear elders threatening that all spiritual practices done by younger people are of no use unless they get the blessings of their elders. How does one handle such difficult people? Also, how does one develop one’s intuition to understand people’s real nature or intention? How can one fearlessly give a strong response, even when they try all kinds of tricks to dominate and subdue younger people? Sincerely, Balaji] Swami replied: Every person is an individual soul with an ego. The ego makes the person think that he or she is preaching true spiritual knowledge or a true philosophy. The person also expects others to become his disciples and accept and follow him. It gives pleasure to the soul. No one wants to always remain a disciple and receive knowledge from a divine preacher. It makes the person feel inferior to become somebody else’s disciple. This mentality makes people behave as if they are preachers and preach their own philosophy to others. They want to preach to others, at least for some time before they die. That is why you find many elders, especially when they are old, wanting to preach to others. This itch (kaṇḍūti) to preach to others and turn them into their disciples exists in almost all souls. However, this does not automatically make their preaching true. Shri Paramahamsa once asked a preacher “Did you get permission from God to preach this type of spiritual knowledge?” Neither age nor the experience of the preacher make their preaching true. Generally, people quote longstanding traditions as the authorities for the spiritual knowledge they preach. But Śankara said that no matter how many centuries darkness has existed in a closed room, it instantly vanishes with the first ray of sunlight from an opened window. The darkness cannot claim its right to remain in the room, just because it had existed in the room for so long. It has to exit the room, the very instant sunlight enters. Similarly, the false ignorance must vanish as soon as it faces true knowledge. It does not matter even if that false ignorance has existed for generations together or the preacher is very old and experienced. Śaṅkara was a young man of about 30 years, when He performed the funeral rites for His mother, in spite of being a saint. Since He had broken tradition, He was severely criticized by the priests at Kāladi (His native place), who were much older than Him. But Śaṅkara retorted to them “Your foolish traditions do not apply to Me since I follow true knowledge. Your arguments fail before Me as a knife meant for cutting vegetables fails to cut a stone (Śilāprayukta kṣurādivat…)”. The general rule (dharma) is that a saint shall not perform any rituals related to any family member, because he is supposed to have given up family life for the sake of God. But Śaṅkara was the only son of His widowed mother and she had made Him promise that He would perform her last rites. It was on that condition that she had allowed Him to become a saint and carry out the divine mission. Śaṅkara’s divine mission on earth was of critical importance for mankind. So, in His specific case, the general rule had to be amended. The general rule was superficially amended for the emergency, while maintaining its subtle essence (Āpaddharma-dharma sūkṣma). The elderly priests only had superficial knowledge, whereas, Śaṅkara knew the essence of the true knowledge. The essence of all rituals is that souls should pray to God for protection. People’s egos get hurt when their long desire to preach to some disciples fails. This especially happens when very young people try to reveal true concepts to their elders. To remove the ego of such elders, Śaṅkara said in a verse that the preacher is very young and His disciples are very old (Vṛddhāḥ śiṣyāḥ gururyuvā). Śankara lived only for 32 years, and yet became the Preacher of the world (Jagatguru)! Never yield to false concepts, if you thoroughly know the true concept. To satisfy the ego of elders, you can act as if you are yielding. If you sense ego and rigidity in a person’s arguments, you too should remain firm on your true ideas. Externally, you can act as if you are yielding to the person. You might perhaps succeed in finding the non-existent horns of a rabbit, but you can never convince a person who is rigid about his ideas, irrespective of what his age is. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  4. Is the resurrection of Jesus false? Shri Ahsan Habib, Dhaka asked: You have said that Jesus did not die on the cross and that, with the help of His disciples, He escaped to India, where he died at the age of 85. So, does it not mean that His resurrection was false? Swami replied: What do you mean by resurrection? If it means rising from the dead, there is no problem in saying that Jesus was resurrected after three days. There are different versions of the life of Jesus. As per one version, Jesus died on being crucified and rose from the dead again. Then, after His resurrection, He travelled to India and lived for many decades, during which He interacted with many Indian philosophers. Finally, at the age of 85 years, the inevitable death of His mortal body took place and the tomb of Jesus exists in the Himalayas, even today. There is no audio-video recording of the life of Jesus which can be treated to be the accurate record of His life. Whatever most people think is true about the life of Jesus is also one of the versions, which is based on someone’s writings. But it is also claimed that the writings of the disciples of Jesus have been modified by the Church. In that case, all the various versions regarding the life of Jesus have an equal probability of being true. We can accept any version that does not conflict the divinity and spiritual knowledge of Jesus. If the version that Jesus lived in India after His resurrection is bringing Hinduism and Christianity closer, why should it not be accepted? There is another version that Jesus did not die on the cross due to His miraculous power. Written records mention that when Jesus was thought to be dead on the cross, a Roman soldier pierced a spear into His side, to confirm that He was dead. Since Jesus did not react in pain, He was believed to be dead, after which He was brought down from the cross and moved to the cave. But it is also mentioned that blood gushed out from the injury made by the spear. Blood does not gush out from a dead body, when it is pierced, as per medical science. Hence, some people believe that He was not dead when He was brought down from the cross. He remained in the cave in an inactive state and rose on the third day as stated by Him before His crucifixion. He had spoken of the church being destroyed and rebuilt in three days. The word ‘church’ in His statement denotes His divine body and the reconstruction of the church in three days meant His rising from the dead. Surviving the crucifixion, remaining in an inactive state for some time and rising on the third day, were all certainly possible for Jesus, who possessed God’s miraculous power. In fact, anything is possible with the miraculous power of the unimaginable God, who had merged with the human body of Jesus. With the miraculous power of God, it is very much possible that Jesus did not die on the cross. It is also possible that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. It is even possible that Jesus died at the age of 85 years and subsequently, began to appear to devotees in an energetic form to devotees all over the world. There is also no reason to reject the version that Jesus, with His living physical body, ascended to heaven. The unimaginable miraculous power of the unimaginable God who had merged with Jesus, allows any of these possibilities to be true. There is no need to condemn any of the above versions or even any other version, as long as the version does not contradict the divine power and divine knowledge of Jesus. There should be no objection to the claim that Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day also because prior to His crucifixion, Jesus had already resurrected a devoted follower, Lazarus. It proves that Jesus possessed miraculous powers. If He was capable of raising others from the dead, it is not hard to believe that He was capable of rising from the dead Himself. Whether He died on the cross and rose after three days or He did not die at all, there is no doubt that He was seen by His disciples alive, in physical form, after three days. Thomas even touched the wounds where nails were driven into His hands to confirm that it was indeed Jesus who had risen. There is agreement between all versions, on this point that Jesus was seen alive, in a physical body, on the third day. The next question is whether Jesus exists even today in a living physical body. In the long time from the resurrection to this day, I do not think there has been any case, other than that of Thomas, when the existence of Jesus in a physical body was confirmed. Whenever Jesus has appeared to anybody, He has only appeared in energetic form and not in human form. The soul enters an energetic body after the natural death of the human body and this is the divine law of God’s creation. At the time of the crucifixion, Jesus was about 32 years old. After the resurrection, He probably lived in the physical body upto the age of 85 years. Then, as per the divine law of creation, the mortal body died and He was buried in the tomb, which is seen even today in the Himalayas. Interestingly, there are records of Jesus being with His parents only upto about sixteen years. Then He left home and returned only when He was about thirty years old. In this period of fourteen years, He did a lot of penance in association with several sages in the Himalayas. The Hindu scripture, Bhaviśya Purāṇam, speaks about the arrival of Jesus in India after His resurrection. In this scripture, Jesus says to king Śālivāhana “I am the Son of the Lord and I was born to an unmarried woman. I have propagated spiritual knowledge in a foreign country…”. (Īśa putraṃ ca māṃ viddhi, kumārī garbha sambhavam, mlecchadharmasya vaktāram…). You can find the influence of Hindu philosophies on the spiritual knowledge preached by Jesus, which is in line with His long stay in India. Jesus said that He is the Truth and Light, which means that He is God Himself. This is the philosophy of monism (Advaita). Jesus said that He is Son of God and this concept belongs to the philosophy called qualified monism (Viśiṣṭa Advaita), which is an intermediate stage between monism and dualism. Jesus also said that He is the messenger of God, which indicates perfect dualism (Dvaita). In the philosophy of dualism, the soul is different from God and is said to be a servant of God. But the soul referred to in the philosophy of dualism is not an ordinary worldly human being. The servant or messenger of God stands at a very high level of spiritual progress, far above ordinary souls. These three philosophies existed in the Veda and corresponding statements can be found in the Veda. The philosophy of Jesus, which matches with the three philosophies of the Hindu Vedic religion is reflected in the three famous statements of Jesus: (1) I am in the Light (dualism), (2) The Light is in Me (qualified monism, which is an intermediate stage between dualism and monism) and (3) I am the Light (monism). | Shri Dattaswami | Shalivaahana Iishaputtram cha maam viddhi, kumarii garbhasambhavam, mlecchadharmasya vaktaaram =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  5. Was Jesus Christ Lord Krishna Himself? Shri Ahsan Habib, Dhaka asked: Hello, I was reading your article about the Incarnation of God. I wonder, what if, Jesus Christ was Lord Krishna Himself! Could you please explain your point of view? Kind regards, Ahsan Habib (Sabuz), Dhaka. Swami replied: All Human Incarnations of God, belonging to all religions, are one and the same, since the unimaginable God present in each of them is one and the same. But it does not mean that Krishna is Jesus Himself. The unimaginable God is like the gold metal from which various ornaments are made. From the standpoint of gold, both the golden chain and the golden bangle are one and the same. But from the standpoint of the design of the ornament, the bangle is different from the chain. Thus, there is an internal unity in the external diversity. The messages given by all Human Incarnations appear to be different because the cultures of the followers to whom they were preaching, were different. But the internal essence of all the messages is one and the same. With that said, there are also certain external similarities between Krishna and Jesus. Both Krishna and Jesus had some connection with domesticated animals in the early parts of their lives. Krishna, right after His birth, was taken to a family of cowherds, where He grew up rearing (bringing up) cows. Jesus was born in a stable (shed), among domesticated animals. In both cases, the devilish kings killed newborn babies in the town, in an attempt to kill Krishna and Jesus respectively. Both Krishna and Jesus performed miracles initially, to attract devotees. Both preached excellent spiritual knowledge. Both met with a cruel death in the end. Krishna was shot dead by a hunter, while Jesus was crucified. But these external similarities are not of much importance. All Human Incarnations of God preach excellent spiritual knowledge, which is essentially one and the same. That knowledge is given by the same absolute unimaginable God who has merged with selected human media, to become the Human Incarnations. The same electric current passes through different devices causing different effects. In the bulb, it causes the bulb to glow and give light. In the television, it shows television programs, which involve a display of moving images as well as sound. In the fan, it causes the rotation of the fan, leading to a circulation of the air. Thus, even though the functions differ, the internal force carrying out these different functions is the same electricity. Similarly, different Incarnations descend on earth to carry out different divine missions, as per the requirements in each time. But the essence of the spiritual knowledge preached by them is the same. It involves common concepts such as the concept that God exists and that He punishes sinners and rewards the doers of good action. The ultimate Preacher, preaching through the various Incarnations is the single unimaginable God. You can have any number of imaginable items, but only one unimaginable item can exist. Even if you try to imagine multiple unimaginable items, they all finally result in a single unimaginable item, which is the unimaginable God. That single ultimate unimaginable God alone exists in the different human media (bodies) of the various Incarnations. The external media follow different cultures, speak different languages and give different examples in their preaching to suit the different cultures. But the essential spiritual knowledge preached by them is common since it comes from the unimaginable God alone. If this main point is realized, all religions are correlated and there will be world peace. Every religion says that their God created this entire earth and humanity on it. If the Gods of each religion were different, there would be several earths containing several different human races. But unfortunately, there is only one earth with only one humanity on it. This proves that all mediated Gods mentioned by different religions are internally, the same unimaginable God, who has created this one earth, having this one humanity on it. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  6. What is the duty of a woman in the world? Smt. Rupa Murthy asked: Padanamaskaram Swamiji! I really admire your different perspectives and the underlying meanings of Your discourses. I have a few questions, which I have presented below. My questions are related to a woman’s duty in this world. What is most important in a woman’s life? Is dealing with a toxic relationship considered great? Or is being a mother considered great? Or is pursuing a career great? A woman can successfully manage all such roles together, only if she finds a proper life-partner and a supportive family (in-laws), which is almost not possible in today’s life. No mater how many achievements a woman may make in her life, she is treated well, only if she becomes a mother. I am not able to figure out why marriage and kids are given so much importance in a woman’s life. Being a career-oriented person and seven months pregnant, I am not able to enjoy my motherhood, due to all such questions. Are all these questions arising in my mind because of the situations I am going through? Is this a test of God? Am I on the correct path? I am entangled in all these thoughts and am confused. How can a woman balance both motherhood and her career, with minimal support? Please help me and remove my ignorance, Swami. Regards, Rupa Murthy] Swami replied: God is the basic support of both worldly life (pravṛtti) and spiritual life (nivṛtti). Several confusing questions have surrounded you like several tigers surrounding a cow in the forest. If you want to solve all these conflicts and worldly issues, you must surrender to God totally and develop immense devotion to God. It alone will channelize your mind in the proper direction. Marriage and children are important, not only for a woman, but also for a man. To rectify family problems after getting married, one must be devoted to God. God will certainly help. One must be careful before selecting one’s life-partner. But having selected one’s life-partner and having started one’s married life, intense devotion to God alone is the path to solving family problems. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: www.universal-spirituality.org) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  7. How can one remain happy and ethical throughout one's life? Kum. Amudha asked: Dear Swami! How can one remain happy in one’s life even in difficult times. How can one be good and ethical, at all times? At Your Divine Feet. Amudha. Swami replied: The only way that your wish will come true is when you accept the existence of God and develop devotion to Him. Devotion is developed when you come to know the true details and divine qualities of His personality. If one is always inspired by God and is certain that God will punish sinners, one will stay away from sin. As a result, one will remain free of misery. This is because, misery or stress is only the fruit of sin. If you hurt a good person, it is sin. Also, if you remain silent and peaceful towards a bad person, even though you are capable of controlling him, it is a sin. If you avoid sin, God’s pleasure will reach its climax. Such a life leads to nivṛtti. When all your responsibilities are taken by God, you will be the happiest person in this creation. You will enjoy continuously, throughout every birth of yours in this world. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  8. Is it alright for vegetarians to consume mushrooms? Shri Manikanta asked: Padanamskaram Swamiji! Are mushrooms considered vegetarian food or non-vegetarian? Please enlighten us on this point. Manikanta Swami replied: The main issue is to ensure that the food you eat is not obtained by causing an animal to suffer the agony of being killed. Mushrooms are fungi. Scientists do not classify fungi as either plants (botany) or animals (zoology). We even consume foods containing bacteria such as curd from milk. Mushrooms do not exhibit pain and suffering as an animal or bird does, when it is killed. Therefore, mushrooms can be consumed as food. They contain a lot of proteins and other nutrients and are even good for diabetes patients. Since they do not exhibit the pain of death and they are good for health, there is no sin in consuming them. Plants do not have a nervous system to feel pain and hence, vegetarian food is free of sin. Bose suspected that awareness might exist even in plants. Goddess Pārvatī even gave up eating the leaves of plants during her penance and hence, was called Aparṇā. Jains even wear masks to avoid germs from accidentally entering their noses and mouths and dying. But we need not go to such a micro-level. If we follow non-violence at the macro-level, it is sufficient. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  9. How can one distinguish between God's plan and human free will? Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: Swami, can you please enlighten us regarding the difference between God’s plan and the free will of mankind. Can you extend the same concept of God’s will to various human actions like deforestation and killing of animals resulting in the extinction of some animal species like gorillas, etc? Swami replied: It is said that anything that happens, happens only by the will of God, due to His omnipotence. But this omnipotence of God cannot be exploited by us and twisted in wrong directions. If a person kills somebody and says that the murder happened by the will of God, since everything happens only by the will of God, the judge will say that he too is giving a death sentence to that person by the will of the same God! Even when the omnipotent God comes down as a Human Incarnation, He follows the traffic rules while walking on the road. He does not stop all the traffic by His omnipotence until He crosses the road! He can prove His omnipotence by stopping the traffic, but He will be criticized for being a mad and egotistic administrator of the world! Killing any bird or animal is the greatest sin, unless your life is in danger because of it. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  10. Is human colonization of Mars, God's plan or human ambition? Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: Nowadays, we are hearing so much about scientists trying to study the planet Mars, as a possible planet to host human life and other life forms. There are many theories where they are predicting that humans will, one day, live on Mars. There is a saying I have heard since childhood, “Without Lord Śiva’s order, even an ant will not move a step”. So, is this human colonization of Mars, God’s plan? Or is this just human ambition, which could possibly lead to their own destruction? There are conflicting opinions regarding this. Swami replied: There are living beings on the planets already, but the living beings are energetic beings. They are souls living in energetic bodies, which are not seen by us with our eyes, due to the will of God (māyā). Even if we go to Mars and live there, there will be no interference of the energetic beings with us. Even on earth, when we go near burial grounds, ghosts, which are also energetic beings, pass through us without any interference. Sometimes, ghosts even live in our houses without any interaction. Ghosts appear and interact with us only by the will of God. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  11. How can Hindus explain the multiplicity of Gods to people of other religions? Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: One of my Christian friends asked me “Why does Hinduism have so many forms of Gods and Goddesses? We have only Jesus Christ. Muslims have only Allah. Buddhism has only Lord Buddha and so on. How can one keep up with so many forms? Are you supposed to just pick whom you like and focus on that form”? How should I answer such questions? Swami replied: The above question regarding the multiplicity of Gods in Hinduism itself contains the answer because the questioner asked “Are you supposed to just pick whom you like and focus on that form?” Hinduism is a micro-model of the macro-world. What you see in the world, you also see in the Hindu religion at a micro-level. In the world, you have picked up the form of Jesus since you liked it and you are focusing on it. Did you ask other people in the world, “Why are there so many forms of God existing in the world when Jesus alone is God?” Some other person has picked Allah, who has no form. Some other person picked Buddha. Note that even Allah is a mediated form of God because the unimaginable God entered in a medium of formless light. The external form chosen by the devotee is as per the devotee’s personal taste. The external form does not merely mean the physical features of the body. The external form includes the internal mental qualities, in the case of the Human Incarnation of God. Both the body and the qualities constitute the external form because the internal form existing in any Human Incarnation of God is the same unimaginable God. Human Incarnations differ in their external forms in terms of the physical features and the colour of the body along with the mental qualities. But the internal unimaginable God in all of them is one and the same. If you take two ordinary human beings, God does not exist in them. In that case, the body is external and the mental qualities are internal. But in a Human Incarnation, God exists in the human medium. God is internal and both the body and the mental qualities become the external medium. Of course, the noble qualities are commonly present in all Incarnations, but their modes differ. There are three modes, which are sattvam (peaceful), rajas (active) and tamas (dormant). Human beings differ in their tastes for these modes. The divine qualities present in an Incarnation can be expressed in any of the three modes mentioned above. So, when I said that the internal qualities in Incarnations differ, it means that the modes differ. Rāma was very calm and peaceful, whereas Krishna was very dynamic. But both have the same divine qualities. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  12. Is plastic surgery done to improve one's physical features, a sin? [Reply to a question by Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli] Swami replied: Plastic surgery might become essential for professional reasons. A beautiful film actress got plastic surgery done to make the tip of her flat nose a little long and lean because she has to act in beautiful roles. For ordinary life, it is not necessary since real beauty is about the person’s internal qualities. It is not about the external body. Do you know that Hanumān is called the most beautiful (sundara). In the Rāmāyaṇa, the chapter called Sundara Kāṇḍa is about the efforts of the most beautiful Hanumān. Love based on internal qualities is always eternal. Love based on external beauty fades away in old age. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  13. Is euthanasia or mercy killing wrong or a sin? Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: Is euthanasia or mercy killing wrong or a sin, particularly in the following cases: Case 1: Sometimes, a cancer patient at the hospital is told by a doctor that, with a lot of effort, they can prolong their life by 6 more months or a year, at the most. But the patient opts for no more suffering from chemotherapy or any other types of medical interventions and choses to lead the remaining life in doing what he or she likes. The patient chooses not to fight for living a little bit longer and instead, makes peace with his or her upcoming death. Is this wrong? Should patients always choose to fight as hard as they can, to survive? Are such patients supposed to accept this suffering as a consequence of their previous birth sins and go through it, so that nothing is carried forward to their next birth? Case 2: If a patient is in a coma and their family is asked to sign the papers to end the patient’s life, by removing the life-support system, is it wrong if they do so? Nobody knows whether the patient would have ever come out of the coma or not. Some people cannot afford the medical bills of keeping the coma patient alive. Can humans decide in such a case whether or not to end another person’s life? Case 3: Some people who own pets, chose to end their pet’s life because they cannot bear to see their pet’s suffering. But is it acceptable to God if a human being goes to a vet and ends the pet’s life? Or should a pet owner let the pet suffer? Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! Under such circumstances, which of the various possibilities gets chosen depends on each individual case. The option that finally gets chosen is based on the specific nature of the sin done by the soul, either in the past birth or sometime back, in the present birth. As per the Gita, the individual soul is born everyday and hence, every day can be considered to be a new birth, in case you do not believe in rebirth. If the judgement of God is that a soul should experience mercy killing, it will take place. If the judgment of God, based on the soul’s sin, is that the soul should continue to suffer without mercy killing, it happens so. We cannot make a generalization that is applicable to all the souls because souls commit different sins, in different lives and that too, with different intentions. The nature of the punishment for a specific sin is an exact reflection, of how the sin was committed and it has the same kind of twists as the sin. The punishment given to one soul differs from the punishment given to another by a very narrow margin since a similar marginal difference exists in the way the souls committed the respective sins. It is said that Mahatma Gandhi once advised the mercy killing of a cow since it was having a complicated delivery and was suffering immensely. People say that, as a fruit of that intense sin, he was also shot dead. Intense deeds yield fruits in this birth itself. The analysis of the soul’s deeds and the soul’s qualities in the form of intentions, is very very deep and very very complicated. There are several subtle interfering parameters involved. The correct judgement can only come from the omniscient God. Whatever finally occurs in each case, should be taken as the final conclusion of God. The cycle of deeds and punishments is deeply complicated as told in the Gita (Gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ). The right decision in each case, is not as simple as you had expected. It is highly specific to each individual case and requires an analysis of the three dimensional network of several subtle parameters, some of which are seen and some of which are unseen. Whatever finally happens, is always as per the sharp analysis and decision of God. We can make some approximate inferences about what actions the soul might have done in the past, when we analyze the final judgement of God. So, we can infer the action based on the final result, but we cannot decide, what the right result should be for a certain action, due to our extremely limited intelligence. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website:Universal Spirituality for World Peace ) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  14. Are gay relationships acceptable from a spiritual standpoint? Smt. Priyanka Seethapalli asked: What is your take on legalizing gay marraiges? It is already legal in some states in USA and we see many gay couples who are even raising children together. There are some people who say that all gay people will be condemned to hell and parents disown their own children when they come to know that their children are gay. There is so much social taboo and shame in accepting gay people. Swami replied: Any inborn defect in this life is only the fruit of some sin done in the past lives. A person who mocks at a eunuch, is born as a eunuch in his next life. If the eunuch is reformed in this birth and becomes a strong devotee of God, God will remove the defect and bless the soul even using His miraculous power, if needed. The case of a gay person is highly unfortunate because God created a difference between males and females, so that both can engage in legitimate sex in order to give birth to the next generation. The continuity of the human race is the sacred mission of God and hence, legitimate sex is treated to be holy. It is even depicted on the walls of temples and praised in the Veda (Prajātantuṃ…) and in the Gita (Dharmāviruddhaḥ…). Homosexual attraction is possible as in the case of male sages who were attracted by the astonishing beauty of Rāma. So much was their attraction to Rāma that they wished to become females and embrace Rāma. But remember, the sages only wished to embrace Rāma. They did not wish to have sex with Rāma. Their desire was fulfilled by God when they were reborn as the female Gopikās in their next birth. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  15. Is it sin for a rape victim to abort the fetus? [Reply tp a question by Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli] Swami replied: Rape is the sin of the rapist and not the sin of the raped lady. There is no need to have an abortion, provided the husband of the lady agrees. The unborn child in the womb of the woman is not a sinner. So, why should it be killed? If the lady does not want to raise the child herself, she can deliver it and give it for adoption in an orphanage run by a charitable institution (anātha āśrama). =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
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