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  1. Why am I not able to recognize and love You like the Gopikas? Discourse Podcast Shri Bharat Bandi asked: Namahshivaya Shri Datta Swamy. I am Bharath Krishna, MTech student from Amrita University, Coimbatore. I am a student of Dr Nikhil sir who is your devotee. He has been guiding myself and another student in understanding all your discourses. We have been reading all your discourses till Divine Discourses-6. Swamy most of my life I knew God existed but nobody gave me the right definition of God so I behaved as an atheist. After seeing so much pain in people's life I have concluded that God created this world but he doesn't care about us. So, I thought I will gain power and do the Justice. This changed after meeting my beloved sadguru AMMA (Shri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi). I learnt about God from one of her disciples and finally understood what god is. After learning more about God from your Discourses I have changed completely. I have always considered that you are responsible for all the pain that I have gone through in my life. Now I have very well understood that without that pain I would have been with very bad character. Thank you very much for whatever you gave me in life but I have one doubt left which is disturbing me continuously. I have learnt from you that Gopikas got liberated because they showed perfect devotion. I also should have existed that time. Why was I not able to recognize you and why am I not able to love you? You have created all of us when you created this world. You told that everyone had perfect knowledge during the initial days of creation and everyone was happy. If the knowledge was perfect then they should have got liberated that time itself. If they are liberated they will have ananda even while they suffer but it is not the case. I got this doubt because gopikas got liberation 5000 years back but I didn't. That means you created all of us different. If you have created all of us in a similar way then all of us should have got liberated at once. Swamy I myself know that I am missing something in this. I am asking all this because of my Ignorance. Please forgive me and enlighten me with your answer. I can't sleep because of this doubt of mine and that's why I had to ask. It is hindering my progress in the spiritual path. I desperately want to know where I have mistaken. Padabhi Vandanam Datta Swamy. Swami replied: Gopi means the soul which hides its love for God from the surrounding worldly atmosphere, in case it opposes the soul in its spiritual efforts. You have worldly bonds with your family members and relatives. These people expect you to love them since their love for you is based on the happiness that you give to them. This is clearly told in the Veda (Aatmanah kaamaaya sarvam priyam bhavati). It means that the people with whom you have worldly bonds, love you only for the sake of their own happiness, which they derive from you. Naturally, they fear your love for God. They are afraid that your love for God might, in some way, damage or reduce your love for them, which would result in a reduction of the happiness they derive from you. It is a natural tendency of any human being. A newly-married devotee used to attend the spiritual gospels (satsanga) delivered by Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. As a result, he would return home to his wife late in the night. His wife started objecting to his coming home late. The wife’s objections became more and more severe as time passed, leaving the devotee worried. Finally, the worried devotee reported this matter to Paramahamsa while Paramahamsa was walking up to Panchavati, the place where He meditated upon God. Paramahamsa’s ascending to Panchavati indicates His moving from the world to God. He immediately replied to the devotee plainly “Then, leave your wife”. The devotee stood there dumb-struck and waited till Paramahamsa returned from Panchavati. Paramahamsa’s descent from Panchavati indicates His returning from God to the world. This time Paramahamsa listened to the devotee’s problem, patted him on his back and said to him that He had already told this problem to the Divine Mother and that it would be solved. True to the words of Paramahamsa, the devotee’s problem got resolved. The internal essence is that you have to reject worldly bonds for the sake of God if necessary, as the last resort. One day, Paramahamsa was killing bedbugs while sitting on His cot. A devotee saw this and asked Him if it was not a sin to kill living beings. Paramahamsa told him that the bedbugs were disturbing Him while He was sitting on the cot for meditating on God. He also said that He would commit any sin for the sake of God. This shows that God is the highest goal; greater than anything and anybody (Na tatsamah …—Veda). In this case of the bedbugs, there was no other alternative than killing them since they are parasites and cannot be stopped from sucking a person’s blood. Such a step is the extreme last resort and has to be adopted only when there is no other peaceful alternative. In the case of Paramahamsa’s devotee, he did not have to leave his newly-married wife. But this extreme step had to be taken by Ramanuja, since He found no alternative. Preferably, one can hide one’s devotion to God from the family so that they are not hurt. Secrecy is recommended in spiritual efforts (Aatmaanam rahasi sthitah). Hiding one’s devotion to God, one can express false devotion to the family. It is just acting since one’s entire love is directed to God. But such acting is not a sin because it is done for the sake of God. It is the best way to solve the problem without hurting other souls. This procedure was followed by the Gopikas. They gave butter to Krishna secretly. They danced with Krishna in Brundavanam at midnight secretly. Keeping the secrecy of the divine love for God is the best way. We should learn this point from the Gopikas and implement it in our spiritual effort, if necessary. Only a soul implementing the principle of the Gopikas, can be called as a Gopika in the real sense. We should analyze and take the points that are useful for our spiritual progress. Simply listening to the superficial story of butter and Brundavanam is of no use! Before pursuing one’s devotion to God secretly, one should try to convince the family and try to turn them into devotees of God too. If they too become devotees, there is no problem at all! It is the highest fortune if the family members also become devotees and cooperate with your spiritual efforts. In the case of the newly-married devotee of Paramahamsa, he had tried all these methods and failed. Hence, he was in the need of God’s help, which was extended by the Divine Mother on the prayer of Paramahamsa. One should always take the essence of any story described in the secondary scriptures (Puraaṇams). That essence should be implemented in one’s own spiritual efforts to derive the benefit of salvation from one’s worldly bonds, which results from one’s intensive attachment to God.
  2. How can we be responsible for our deeds when the planets influence our minds? Discourse Podcast Shri Parikshit, a lawyer from Delhi asked (on the phone): Are the planets not influencing our minds to do good or bad deeds? The planets have Lordships of houses like wealth, house, issues, wife, job etc., and also have natures (Kaaraka) like knowledge, work, wife, children etc., when their periods come it is said that they influence these aspects. Then, our works are destined by the planets and we shall not receive punishments for our sins done by us due their influence, which is the destiny. Swami replied: We are doing good deeds or bad deeds based on our own inherent nature. This is stated repeatedly in the Gita as “prakrutim yaanti bhuutaani..., prakrutistvaam niyokshyati..., Prakruteh kriyamanaani, gunaih karmaani..., kaaranam gunasangosya...” and so on. God and the planets are neither the doers of our deeds nor do they influence our deeds. They also never give any fruit to us unless we perform the corresponding deed (Na kartrutvam na karmaani…—Gita). Our nature depends on our qualities which we have picked up from our surroundings in this birth or carried forward from our previous births. The planets are only giving us the fruits of our own deeds. The fruits have been arranged in a regular cyclic fashion by God so that we receive some good fruit followed by some bad fruit of our own actions alternately. This alternate arrangement is done so that we can get maximum enjoyment from life. Enjoying only good fruits i.e. pleasant experiences; one after the other, will lead to boredom. Similarly, experiencing the bad fruits of our actions i.e. difficulties in life; one after the other, will lead to depression. The alternate arrangement provides maximum enjoyment like enjoying a full meal in which one eats sweet and hot dishes alternately. As per our acquired natures, we are born in zodiac signs, whose Lords have a similar nature. Note that we are not referring to the inert planet. We are referring to the nature of its Lord or presiding deity, who is known by the same name as the planet. For example, the Lord of the inert planet, Mars, has a hot and angry nature. So, souls of a similar nature are born in the zodiac signs, Aries or Scorpio, which are ruled by Mars. It is very important to understand that Mars does not induce anger into the soul but the angry soul is born in the zodiac sign ruled by Mars. Hence, our natures are not influenced by the planets. We are merely born in the zodiac signs ruled by the planets having a similar nature. The different astrological periods (dashaas) are the times when we are supposed to receive the fruits of our deeds as arranged by God in our life. Destiny means that you must receive the fruit of your deed at the appropriate time as decided by God. You can never escape it. You are destined to receive the fruits as per the constitution of God. But the concept of destiny is confined to enjoying the fruits of your deeds. It does not extend to your performing the deeds. You perform the deeds only as per your qualities, which make up your nature. If you kill some person and state in the court that you have killed him due to the influence of certain planets on you, will the judge be satisfied? The judge will say that you are receiving the punishment for your crime based on the influence of the same planets! People often exploit spiritual concepts. For example, some say that every incident happening in this world is destined since it happens only by the will of God. Then the judge will say that he too is giving you the punishment for your crime based on the same will of God! God is responsible for every deed in the sense of supplying the energy required for the deed. He is not responsible for the direction of the deed, which alone decides the fruit. Electrical energy is supplied to your house by the government expecting that you will use it for good purposes like putting on lights and fans. If you misuse the electricity or if you put your fingers in the plug point, you will receive a shock. The government is not responsible for the electric shock, and will not compensate you for the damage! God is like to horse that carries you from one place to the other. But the direction of your journey is decided only by you, and the fruit, which depends on the direction taken, shall also be enjoyed by you alone. If you go to the forest, robbers will rob your money. If you go to another city where your relatives and friends live, you will be received by them with pleasure. The horse that takes you either to the forest or the city as per your direction, is not responsible for the fruits that you receive. The meaning of the Vedic statement “Abadhnan purusham pashum” is that the souls have bound God to their deeds, as a horse is bound to a cart for a journey. Binding the horse to the cart does not mean that the horse is responsible for the direction taken by the cart. The driver of the cart, which is the soul, alone is responsible for the direction. Swami Vivekananda said that you can change your destiny and that destiny is in your hands alone. This means that you can stop the chain of punishments for your sins provided you put forth the effort to undergo reformation. Reformation has three steps. The first is intellectual and it involves gaining spiritual knowledge and digesting it fully. It naturally leads to the second emotional step which is the repentance for one’s wrong deeds in the past. Finally, the third and final practical step is the non-repetition of the sinful deeds throughout one’s life. The third practical step proves that one has actually reformed. If the spiritual knowledge is gained and properly digested, repentance and non-repetition of the sin are natural consequences. The digestion of spiritual knowledge does not take place simply by gaining it. After gaining it, you have to propagate it in the world. This repeated propagation confirms and strengthens the concepts in your mind resulting in their digestion and assimilation by your soul. i.e. they become part of your inherent nature. Swami Vivekananda made this statement from his own experience. He was involved in the propagation of the true spiritual knowledge preached by Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa throughout His life!
  3. How can I maintain undistracted brahmacarya on the spiritual path? Discourse Podcast Shri Sriraag asked: Namaste Swamiji, I have been following some sadhana for few years now with a resultant experience of ananda. My mind has been vacillating with the desire to follow brahmacharya throughout my life (I am 23 years old now). While I have to admit that I have failed in keeping up this ideal in the past year, I wish to regain my purity somehow and keep my mind on the Divine throughout my life. Kindly give your guidance regarding effective means of maintain brahmacharya and not getting distracted on the path to God. Deepest gratitude for answering our questions. Pranaam. Sriraag Swami replied: Sage Narada asked God Brahma “Who is the unshaken celibate (Brahmachaarii) in this world?”. God Brahma replied that Shri Krishna is such a celibate. How is this possible, when Krishna had married one thousand six hundred princesses? A Brahmachaarii is commonly understood to be a celibate. Celibacy only means the avoidance of sex. But the actual meaning of Brahmacharya is far beyond celibacy. The correct meaning of the word Brahmacharya can be derived in two ways. The first way is Brahmanah Vedasya charyaa Jnaanam iti. We split the word Brahmacharya into brahma and charya. Here, the word Brahma is taken to mean the Veda. Brahma or Brahman can be used to indicate anything that is the ‘greatest’ in its category. The Veda being the greatest among scriptures has been said to be Brahma in the Gita (Brahmaakshaara samudbhavam). Charyaa means movement. But in Sanskrit, verbs indicating movement also mean knowledge (Gatyarthaanaam dhaatuunaam jnaanaarthakatvaat). So here, Charyaa means possessing the true spiritual knowledge. Now putting the meanings of brahma and charyaa together, the meaning of Brahmacharya is acquiring and subsequently possessing spiritual knowledge. The second way of deriving the meaning of the word Brahmacharya is Brahmanah paramaatmanah charyaa Kriyaatmakasevaa Jnaana prachaararuupena iti. Here Brahma means God. Charyaa means practical service by propagating true spiritual knowledge. So, Brahmacharya means serving God by propagating true spiritual knowledge. Krishna was a Brahmachaarii based on both the above definitions of the word Brahmacharya. He possessed true spiritual knowledge and He also propagated it through the Gita. Since the Gita is the best spiritual knowledge, Krishna is called the real unshaken celibate (Brahmachaarii). It is a misunderstanding to think that avoiding sex is Brahmacharya. Eating food, drinking water, sex and sleep are the biological needs of the material body, which have no connection with real Brahmacharya. As long as the biological needs are met without disturbing basic rules of justice (pravrutti), Brahmacharya is unrelated to these biological needs. If one is engaged in God’s work, such a devotee is the real celibate. Thus, we should understand the true meaning of the terms used in spiritual knowledge and proceed practically on the correct path in our spiritual journey.
  4. If souls are God’s inert instruments, does it not violate their freedom and make it unfair to punish souls for their sins? Discourse Podcast Shri Krishnaraj.V.S wrote: Dear Sir, With reference to the above message, i would like to seek clarification for the following: The reply by Swami is, Quote “The real Speaker is God Datta alone. The audience has awareness just like the Speaker. The only inert or ignorant instrument in between God Datta and His live audience is Myself, who lacks even a trace of knowledge.”Unquote Most spiritual books and gurus say on similar lines that man should consider himself as an instrument of God. The above logic raised a question for which I could not get a convincing answer. The question is, if man should only be an instrument, then what is the purpose of his creation ? If anything good or bad happens, should he attribute the same to God and refrain from exhibiting his emotions? Should he be only a puppet and suppress his emotions? Why I am raising this point is that, most discussions /forums put forth the view that god has given freedom because, he doesn’t want humans to be programmed dolls. If god has given really freedom to humans, then what is the point in humans thinking that they are mere instruments of god. Thinking us as mere instruments imply that our freedom is not real freedom. 1. If the freedom we are enjoying is not real freedom, god can as well make us dolls so that evils are totally curbed. The point is, god wants us to be mere instruments and also make us to suffer by allowing evil. This is not just. 2. Assuming ourselves as mere instruments will not hold good in practical life. If a person commits a sin and if he says that, i am merely an instrument and god should be held responsible, will it be acceptable in court of law? For me above mentioned points deter to think that we should be mere instruments of god. I may be wrong also. If I am wrong , kindly clarify what could be correct? Regards, Krishnaraj.V.S] Swami replied: The source of your question is the confusion between Nivrutti (divine life) and Pravrutti (worldly life). The statement given by Me is related to Nivrutti and not to Pravrutti. Freedom is given to all human souls, who are responsible for freely choosing to perform good deeds or bad deeds in Pravrutti (Svabhaavastu pravartate —Gita). Even here, God preaches to the souls through ethical scriptures and also directly in the form of Human Incarnations. His preaching clearly describes which deeds are good and which are bad. In Pravrutti, the human being takes the credit for the fruits of his good deeds, and tries to throw the blame for the fruits of his bad deeds on God! Pravrutti belongs to all of humanity whereas Nivrutti belongs to an extremely small number of climax devotees to God, who have surrendered to God totally (Tameva sharanam gachha —Gita). Especially, when divine work of God is to be done by a climax devotee such as delivering excellent spiritual knowledge, God merges with that climax devotee and generates that excellent spiritual knowledge through that devotee. Here, the planning of the divine program (Samkalpa), choosing the appropriate direction in its execution, and providing the energy for doing the work, are all actually done by God alone since it is entirely God’s work. God does His own work through that climax devotee and gives the credit to His climax devotee. The climax devotee in turn always passes on this entire credit back to God since the real credit belongs only to God. The climax devotee always says that he or she is a total zero whereas God is the all-in-all in such divine work. This point which applies only to the extremely small number of exceptional devotees cannot be extended to all the other general human beings. In Pravrutti, while doing a good deed or a bad deed, the planning of the action, and choosing the direction for how it is to be executed, are done by the human being. Only the energy required for the work is supplied by God. A simile for this is that God is like the horse taking you to any place as desired by you. The horse merely provides the energy for the journey by doing the work of pulling the cart. This simile comes from the Veda which says “Abadhnan purusham pashum”. The planning and choosing the direction in doing the work is your responsibility alone. You may choose to go to a forest and get robbed or you may choose to go to a city in which your friends live, and enjoy happiness. The fruit of the work depends on your planning, and the direction chosen by you in executing the work. Hence, the fruit goes to you alone, and not to the horse. In Pravrutti, the horse (God) only acts like inert energy. You have complete freedom in planning and deciding the direction of the work. You have not given a chance for the horse to contribute to the planning and choosing the direction. Hence, you are responsible for the good and bad fruits of the work done as per your choice. In the case of the climax Nivrutti devotee, he or she has surrendered to the horse (God) in all the three steps of planning the work, choosing the direction, and obtaining energy for performing it. You cannot mix the cases of climax devotees with the other general human beings and arrive at confused conclusions. The teacher teaches the lesson to all in the class without any partiality. If the majority of students in the class are undisciplined, they may fail. A few disciplined students will pass the examination. You cannot mix the cases of both the disciplined and undisciplined students, and arrive at a common conclusion. The freedom of choice too was given by God to souls since the souls were bored after living in continuous discipline for a long time during the Kruta Yuga. By giving them freedom, the divine Father made all souls, who are His children happy. At the same time, in the interest of the welfare of His children, He has taken all necessary steps to guide them on the right path. He has guided humanity by giving the ethical scriptures. Moreover, He preaches the true spiritual knowledge to humanity directly by coming in the form of Human Incarnations in every generation. Under these circumstances, if one blames God, it is only the climax of ignorance!
  5. Vedic Accents Do Not Bring Any Fruit Discourse Podcast Dr. C. Annapurna asked: Please clarify once again the topic of “Indrashatru” mentioned in Veda, which is referred by you in the recent messages. Swami Replied: The Vedic scholars of the Puurvamiimaamsa philosophy lay a lot of emphasis on the recitation of the Veda with the correct accents, even if the meaning of the Veda is not understood. They say “Yathendrashatruh svaratoparaadhaat”, which means that the demon, Vrutra, was killed because of the wrong accent used in the recitation of the Veda. Vruta had forced the sages to perform a ritual worship for gaining victory over Indra, the king of angels. In Vedic recitation, every syllable is to be recited with one of three accents called svaras. These three svaras are anudaatta or the lower accent, svarita, which is the middle accent and udaatta, which is the higher accent. To bring victory to Vruta, the enemy of Indra, the sages were to recite a prayer with the words “Indrashatro vardhasva” which mean “May the enemy of Indra flourish”. But the sages, who were in support of Indra, changed the upper accent (udaatta svara) from the word ‘Shatro’ to the word ‘Indra’. With this seemingly unnoticeable change, the meaning of the sentence became exactly the opposite. It now meant “May Indra, the enemy (of Vruta) flourish”. In the battle that followed, Vruta was killed by Indra. Quoting this incident, priests focus on blindly reciting the Veda with the correct accents. They justify it by saying that the meaning of the words in the Veda depends on the accent. They go to the extent of saying that even if the meaning is not understood, but the Veda is recited with correct accents, the desired results are received. They say that the mere sound accents of the Veda bring the desired fruits. In short, according to them, knowing the meaning of the Veda is not necessary. Using this argument, priests try to convince people to support their blind recitation of the Veda without knowing its meaning. Actually, the word compound ‘Indrashatru’ used in the above sentence, is made up of two words, Indra, which is the name of the king of angels, and Shatru, which means enemy. It literally means ‘Indra-enemy’. This word compound can have two meanings based on the rules of Sanskrit grammar: 1) The first meaning is ‘Indra who himself is the enemy’ (Indrashchaasau shatrushcha). This type of a compound is called Prathamaatatpurusha samaasa. 2) The second meaning is ‘the enemy of Indra’, who is Vruta (Indrasya shatruh). This type of a compound is called Shashthiitatpurusha samaasa. In the texts of grammar, it is not told that the difference in meaning is based on the accent. The difference in meaning comes as a result of the intention of the person who uses the word. The above theory claims that the meaning of the word changes with the accent, irrespective of the speaker’s intention. No such point is mentioned in the texts of grammar. Let us assume that the priests had the intention to favour Indra and hence, Vruta instead of winning the battle got killed. So, if the result is based on the intention, there is no necessity of the accent! You might argue that both intention and the accent together are necessary to yield the result. But in both Vedic and non-Vedic ritual worships conducted by priests, when they declare their intention (Samkalpa) for performing the worship, they never use any Vedic accents. The declaration of the intention or Samkalpa is usually done before the worship in which no accents are used. If both accent and intention are necessary for the result, then such worships should never yield any result. But results are obtained even when the Samkalpa is declared without accents. Note that while performing any type of worship, Vedic or non-Vedic, the statements describing the Samkalpa are not from the Veda and hence, they do not possess the Vedic accents. Actually, God gives fruits in response to the prayers done. But the sanction of results by God is based on His independent discrimination. God does not give results for the prayers based on the Vedic accents or the intention of the praying devotee. If the prayer is justified, God gives a positive result and if it is not justified, God keeps silent. In this case, Vruta was a bad demon and Indra is a good angel. God always supports good souls. Hence, God gave the opposite result in which Vruta was killed by Indra instead of the reverse. God is neither bound by the inert sound-accent nor by the non-inert intention of the soul. He does not give results mechanically and cannot be bent by either intention or accent. In the above case of Indrashatru, God favoured Indra because Indra is a good soul. Incidentally, the accent in the prayer and the intention of the sages coincided with the decision of God to support the good side. This is called the Kaakataaliiyaka nyaaya, which means that when a person stood under a palm tree, a crow also came and sat on the tree at the same time, and right then a palm fruit fell on the person. The fruit fell on its own because its stem had become weak. The person thought that the fruit fell because the crow sat on the tree. In reality, it was only a case of coincidence in which the fruit fell just after the crow sat on the tree. There was a similar coincidence in the story of Vruta. The changed accent of recitation and the sages’ intention coincided with God’s independent decision to support Indra. This coincidence is exploited by the priests to support their blind recitation of the Veda since they neither know the true meaning of the Veda nor do they want to explain it to the public.
  6. Unintentional Sins And Suffering in Life Discourse Podcast Smt. Bindiya Chaudhry asked: I am Parikshit's wife who already is a devotee of Swamiji and I too am one. There is a question that is boggling me. First shat shat pranam to the all mighty Swami Dattatreya the unimaginable God. Some sins are obvious like killing someone or hurting, but how do we save ourselves from committing non obvious sins that lead to our sufferings? Can one live a human life without committing sins? If sins are unintentional how do we avoid their repeat in future? I am currently suffering from a deep problem and am asking Swamiji for forgiveness for my sins. Is forgiveness possible in the same human birth?- Bindiya Chaudhry w/o. Shri Pariikshit, Lawyer, Delhi. Swami replied: Sins done unintentionally, like accidentally stepping on and killing ants while walking on the road, do not yield punishments. When the intention is absent, the person is not directing the work towards sin, and so the fruit of sin also does not arise (Jnaanaagnidagdhakarmaanam, Padmapatramivaambhasaa—Gita). The inert energy needed for doing any work is supplied by God and it is never linked with the fruit since it is inert. It cannot have any intention which gives direction to the work. Intention is part of awareness and awareness has two sides: The soul or Aatman is the basic inert energy that produces awareness The individual soul or Jiiva is the produced awareness and is a bundle of thoughts. Aatman is inert energy (Sthaanurachaloyam—Gita). It is not touched by the fruits of deeds since it cannot have any intention. This Aatman is the limited amount of energy present in the finite human body and is like a drop of water. The same inert energy or Aatman is also qualitatively the material of the entire cosmos, which is like the ocean. The difference between the Aatman present in a body and the entire inert energy in the cosmos, is only quantitative (Nityah sarvagatah—Gita). Jiiva or the individual soul is the awareness in the form of a bundle of thoughts. It is responsible for the intention, and giving direction to the work. Unintentional sins are excused because in case of such actions even the Jiiva, which is responsible for the intention, remains silent. Since the Jiiva is not involved in the deed, it can also be considered as inert like the Aatman. Hence, in unintentional deeds no fruit is given to the Jiiva. When a sin is done with intention, the Jiiva gets the fruit since intention always belongs to the Jiiva. When ants get crushed under the feet of a human being, the fruit of sin does not arise and reach the human being, since the case is similar to ants getting crushed under a car on the road. There is no difference between an inert car and the human being in this case since the intention to kill is absent in both. On the other hand, the case of intentional sin leads to punishment. Further, a person, who plans to kill somebody, is a worse criminal than the person whom he employs to kill another. Of course, the employed person is not like an inert car since he takes money to kill and commits the sin of killing. But he is a criminal of a lesser grade. He too will be equally punished due to his intention of earning money through sinful means. Your husband, being a lawyer, can explain this point with more clarity. In the case of sins done with intention, the direct doer of the sin, the employer of the direct doer, the promoter and the supporter; all share the fruit of the sin equally (kartaa kaarayitaa chaiva, prerakashchaanumodakah...). According to the divine constitution, the lawyer who supports the sin through his arguments for the sake of earning money, and a corrupt judge who supports the sin through his biased judgement, also share the sin equally. Even if there is a total failure of justice in courts run by human beings, the judgement of God does complete justice. Four Types of Work Let us consider the four types of work mentioned in the Gita. Karma yoga is God’s work done by a devotee on the path of Nivrutti to attain the abode of God or Brahma Loka. Karma is good social work done by the devotee on the path of Pravrutti to attain temporary good fruits in heaven or in this world. Both karma and karma yoga are often used in the same sense, but they differ tremendously. Vikarma is sinful action. It is the deeds that should not be done, and if done, the fruit of such sin is punishment in hell or sometimes punishment in this world itself. Akarma is inaction. Inaction or the avoidance of action should be applied only to the case of sinful action. In other words, only sinful action should be avoided. Avoiding good worldly action or avoiding the work done for God, is not recommended (Karmanohyapi boddhavyam—Gita). Karma, which is doing good deeds for the sake of selfish enjoyment, and vikarma, which is sin, are related to each other and they constitute the phase of Pravrutti. Both are done for selfish enjoyment. As long as the desire for selfish enjoyment is limited, the person performs karma or good deeds, whereas when the desire reaches its climax, it leads to sins. It is for this reason that Shankara opposed Mandana Mishra, the Puurvamiimaamsaa, for following the path of doing deeds (Yajna) to attain temporary heavenly enjoyments. During that time, the philosophy of Puurvamiimamsaa had fallen to such a low level that the followers had begun to say God does not exist (Devo na kashchchit...). Meaning of Inaction in the Gita In the Gita, total inaction (akarma) is mentioned in a verse (Sarvaarambhaparityaagii), which is misunderstood by people. They feel that the verse recommends that we should avoid doing any worldly work. In another verse, Lord Krishna also says to Arjuna that he should only do God’s work (Matkarmaparamo bhava—Gita). This is correct only in the case of an exceptional Nivrutti devotee. In the case of ordinary human devotees, it is not possible to stop all worldly work and only work for God. Of course, the devotee of Nivrutti indeed follows this line of thinking, and he lives as a renounced saint, begging for his food. But in the case of Pravrutti devotees, who are not saints, the practical worldly problems make them perform some worldly work. They have to do some professional work for their livelihood and maintaining their family (Shariiraayaatraapicha te—Gita). They also do some social service for the welfare of the world (Lokasangrahamevaapi—Gita) but they do it for selfish reasons. Of course, social work also forms a part of Nivrutti, which is God’s work. Helping people through the propagation of the spiritual knowledge of Pravrutti and Nivrutti is a necessary aspect of God’s work. But social service, which is done for selfish fame without devotion to God, or which is done for the sake of enjoyment of worldly or heavenly pleasures, is quite different. It cannot be treated as perfectly good action, although it is not sin. In any case, the maintenance of one’s body and one’s family are basic responsibilities. Social service in the form of the propagation of spiritual knowledge is also an important part of God’s work. The Gita does not recommend giving up such necessary and good actions (Niyatasya tu samnyaasah...—Gita). The Gita says that one should give up all intentions (Yasya sarve Samaarambhaah—Gita) so that all actions get dropped (Naivakurvan na kaarayan—Gita). These verses must also be taken in the sense of giving up the intention of doing sinful deeds, which will naturally lead to the stopping of the sinful deeds. It certainly does not mean giving up good deeds or God’s work. The same authority, the Gita, which says that one should give up the intentions that cause the deeds, also recommends doing certain actions. So, one should clearly understand that it only recommends giving up sins and not good deeds or God’s work. A person who gives up sin and performs good deeds for the welfare of the world in order to get fame or to reach heaven for selfish enjoyment, is in the middle-state between sin and Nivrutti. The person doing sins is far from Nivrutti, while the person doing good deeds for selfish reasons is relatively closer to Nivrutti. Earth is better than hell and heaven is better than earth. But the abode of God is far higher than even heaven. If the devotee does social service due to his devotion to God and not due to the desire for heaven, then that devotee reaches God. A person doing good deeds only for the enjoyment of heavenly pleasures, returns to earth and continues to rotate in the cycle of repeated births (kaamaatmaanah…, Kshiine punye…—Gita). Whenever the Gita preaches inaction, it always applies only to the three main types of sins, which are known as the three main gates to hell. They are illegal sex, violence and greediness. These sins are always to be avoided (Tasmaadetat trayam tyajet—Gita). Sin (Paapam) and merit (Punyam) are decided based on a deep analysis of various factors. Lust (Kaama) is a sin. But lust in a justified worldly bond is not a sin (Dharmaaviruddhah kaamosmi—Gita). In an unjust and illegal worldly bond, even a trace of mental love or lust is sin. Violence or hurting is a sin. But killing demons is not a sin. Similarly, when a preacher hurts a person in order to lead him or her on the right path of justice, it is not a sin. The sin lies only in hurting good people or in the violence done towards them. Greediness is a sin. But when due to the greed, one avoids unnecessary and wasteful expenditure, it is not a sin. It is a sin if due to one’s greed, one avoids making necessary and justified expenditures. Similarly, greed which causes a person to earn money through corrupt means is sin. Hence, deep analysis is very important (Buddhiyukto jahaatiiha—Gita) in deciding what is sin and what is not sin. Reformation and Salvation Reformation is a golden opportunity given by God to us. It consists of three steps. The first step is related to knowledge. It is realization or Jnana Yoga, which is identifying the sin through analysis. The second step is related to emotions and it involves sincere repentance before God with deep devotion to Him, which is Bhakti yoga. The third and final step, is the practical step of Karma yoga in which you should not repeat the same sin in your life. Many fail in the third step. It is of no use because the third step is practical and the first two steps are merely theoretical. A person can be said to be reformed only when he does not repeat the sin practically. Some clever people try to exploit this concept thinking that they will reform their souls, just before death! Such over-intelligence brings double punishment as no one can cheat God since He is omniscient! It is perfectly correct to say that a soul cannot remain idle; simply keeping silent without doing any action. This is clearly told in the Gita “Nahi Kashchit kshanamapi”. Even the Veda recommends action “Kurvanneveha karmaani…”. God never asks you to become inactive like an inert stone. Such inactivity is not only impossible but is also useless in the spiritual path. You have to learn both activity and inactivity in life. Inactivity should be applied in the context of doing or even desiring to do a sin. In other words, one should avoid doing or even desiring to do a sin. Activity should be applied by ordinary human beings following Pravrutti in doing good deeds that help society. Activity should be applied by exceptional devotees following Nivrutti in doing God’s work. The Gita stresses on both activity and inactivity in the context of these two separate paths respectively. In both these paths, you should do the work without getting attached to the fruit due to selfishness. When you are detached from the fruit of the work, you can do the work perfectly by concentrating your entire energy on the work (Karmanyevaadhikaaraste—Gita). Devotees like Shankara, Meera etc. jumped straight to God’s work, avoiding all worldly work from their very childhood. It is a direct jump to salvation from the worldly bonds which is called as Saakshaanmukti and is attained by forming a very strong bond with God. Devotees like Ramanuja, Janaka etc., walked towards the same goal of salvation from worldly bonds passing through all the four states of life, which are known as the Aashramas. This gradual walking towards the goal is called Kramamukti and is applicable to the majority of human beings. Severe Punishment Without a Serious Sin Sometimes, we are punished here severely, even though we have not committed a sin, which is deserving of such a severe punishment. We get confused in such a situation thinking that God is cruel and a sadist. Such thinking is only due to our ignorance. In fact, the punishments for our sins are usually given only in the upper sub-world called hell. The reason is that we should not be disturbed in this sub-world called earth or Martya Loka while performing our worldly and divine duties. The upper worlds and sub-worlds are called bhoga lokas, which are places for enjoying the good and bad fruits of our deeds. Earth, on the other hand is called a karma loka, which is a place for doing deeds. This is the general rule, but there are some exceptions to the rule. One exception is that intensive sins done here are punished here itself immediately. Another exception is that sometimes, the punishment for a sin committed in the previous birth is received here on earth. This happens in the case of killing animals for food. The killed animal thinks while dying that it too will kill the killer in the same way. So the animal of the previous birth is reborn as a butcher while the butcher and the consumers of the meat in the previous birth are born as animals and are killed by the butcher. In both these exceptions, the soul receives severe punishments here due to intensive sins committed previously in this birth or in the past birth respectively. The case mentioned above, in which the soul is severely punished here in spite of not having done an equally severe sin in this birth, is different from the above two exceptions. In this case, since no severe sin has been done in this birth, as per the general rule, the soul should not be punished here for any sin done by it in the past birth. Why then is the soul punished here severely? This case is covered under another exceptional rule. Note that God is all-in-all. He is the Maker of the rules, and is beyond all the rules. Whenever He breaks any rule, it is only for some good purpose. All these rules regarding a soul’s deeds and the rewards and punishments for the deeds are only for the soul’s reformation. God does not give any punishment to a soul out of revenge. He is the Doctor who is treating the patient. The soul is the patient, who is to be cured. Sometimes, God feels that a person will be benefited and his or her reformation will progress better if some punishment is given at a certain time. So, He brings to the present life, a punishment which the soul was supposed to face in a future lifetime. It is like the premature withdrawal of a deposit from a bank, which leads to a loss in the value of the deposit. So the punishment, when preponed to the present, reduces in value. This is a benefit to the soul. Additionally, it accelerates the reformation of the soul. So, the soul gets a double benefit! This exception is made in the best interest of the soul. It is like the Supreme Doctor, God, deciding to increase the dosage of antibiotics for a patient, deviating from the regular treatment plan, to speed up the recovery of the patient. This exceptional rule, like all other rules related to the administration of the deeds of souls, clearly shows the loving kindness of God, the Divine Father for the souls, who are His children.
  7. Is There One God or Many? Discourse Podcast Shri P.V.N.M. Sharma asked: Why are there different Gods in Hinduism whereas there is only one God in other religions in this world? Swami replied: Hinduism, a micro-world that represents this macro-world. This is because, Hinduism itself is made of several sub-religions, which resemble the different religions in the world. This macro-world is one unit created by God. Within it, Hinduism is one sub-unit followed by some people. So, you cannot look at the world and Hinduism as separate units. After all, Hinduism, other religions and the whole world are created by only one single Entity called God. The original absolute God is unimaginable since He is beyond space and time. He constitutes the unimaginable domain. For the sake of understanding, it can be said that the unimaginable domain includes the unimaginable God and His unimaginable power. But in reality, both the unimaginable God and His unimaginable power are one and the same. This is because, once we say that an item is beyond our imagination, we cannot say whether it is one or two. So, even if we speak of many unimaginable items, they all refer to the single unimaginable item or domain, which is God. When the Veda declares the monism of God. i.e. when it says that there is only one God, and when it rejects the plurality of God, it is referring to this single unimaginable domain. Statements like “Ekamevaadvitiiyam Brahma” and “Neha Naanaasti Kimchana” are examples of the above. The unimaginable God and His unimaginable power (maayaa) are one and the same, whereas God’s imaginable power is different from Him. It has undergone modification to become creation (prakruti) or it appears to be creation. How the unimaginable God possesses an imaginable power, which is different from Him, is unimaginable. Such a wonder is possible only due to His unimaginable power! Our logical analysis and entire knowledge are limited only to this creation, which is the imaginable domain. Hence, it is a waste of time to think about any aspect of the unimaginable domain. This world, which is the imaginable domain, has plurality. The plurality supplies different media for the unimaginable God for His expression. It enables Him to enter into various selected human devotees in order to become Human Incarnations of God. The human devotee becomes a medium for the entry of the unimaginable God. Thus, God has incarnated in this world in different regions in different times to establish the different religions in the world. Of course, the unimaginable God does not directly enter any medium. At the very beginning of creation, the unimaginable God first created subtle energy or space. He created the first form or body out of that subtle energy and entered into it to become the first Energetic Incarnation. This first energetic form became the first medium of God. This first mediated form of God or the first Energetic Incarnation is called as Datta or Eeshvara in Hinduism and Father of heaven in other religions. There is no trace of difference between the unimaginable God and the first Energetic Incarnation, except that the former is unimaginable while the latter is imaginable. The energetic form of Datta is visible to energetic beings in the upper worlds. For humans on earth, Datta is invisible but still imaginable. The first Energetic Incarnation, Datta, is also eternal like the unimaginable God; i.e. both have no end. The only difference is that Datta had a beginning from the point of view of His energetic medium, while the unimaginable God has no beginning. It is this Datta that enters a selected human devotee to become a Human Incarnation. The unimaginable God is permanently present in the energetic medium of Datta. That Datta, containing the unimaginable God, enters into the physical medium of a human devotee. Thus, the unimaginable God is equally present in the Human Incarnation. God incarnates in human form on earth in every human generation. The human media into which God Datta enters each time is different as a result of the plurality that is inherent in the imaginable domain. In other words, one Incarnation looks different from another Incarnation. One Incarnation may appear in a place where people follow say Hinduism, while another Incarnation may appear in a place where people follow a different religion. The Incarnation’s external dress, language, and manners will naturally be according to the culture of the place where He has appeared. This enables Him to mix freely with the people He has come to preach and uplift. But these differences are only external. From the point of view of the first Energetic Incarnation, Datta or Father of heaven, present in each of them, all Incarnations are one and same. From the point of view of the unimaginable God present in all the Incarnations too, they are one and the same. Thus, all these different mediated Gods are actually one in essence. If you look at the medium, which is part of the imaginable domain, there is plurality. If you look at the internal God Datta or the unimaginable God present in all of them, then there is only one. This truth applies equally to the sub-religions within Hinduism or the different world religions. This analysis is the fundamental basis for bringing unity among the sub-religions of Hinduism and among the various religions in the world.
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  15. WHAT EXISTS BEYOND BOUNDARY OF UNIVERSE? For intellectuals Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only Reply From Shri Datta Swami to Questions from Mr. Anil God exists at the boundary of the universe. However one can never reach the boundary. That means that God is not achieved. Then atheist may argue that since he is not reaching the boundary practically then God will not even exist there at all. Swami Replied: The boundary means one item on one side and the other different item on the other side. Boundary of the ocean means water on one side and the different soil on the other side. If on both sides water alone is present, it is no more the boundary of the ocean. If soil alone is present on both sides, it is no more the boundary of the soil of earth. This universe or cosmic space (composed of matter and energy and also some drops of awareness in the forms of souls, embedded in bodies of matter and energy, called as human beings scattered here and there) is endless to the unclothed eye, to the sophisticated equipments like telescopes and even to the imagination of mind. Therefore, we say that the boundary of this cosmos is endless and unimaginable. Since the cosmos is imaginable in the core up to its edge, we can say that even the edge of the cosmos is imaginable, which is made of the same matter and energy (even the soul is a specific form of energy and hence, comes under the category of energy only). Therefore, the boundary is not unimaginable because there is no difference between the core and the boundary in their materials. The unimaginable boundary of the cosmos means that the point where it ends is not imaginable making the cosmos endless. Therefore, you have to accept that the ending point of the cosmos is unimaginable, which naturally must be totally different from the imaginable cosmos (like soil differing from water). If the ending point is also imaginable, it is not the boundary of the edge of the cosmos. It means the cosmos is still continuous. If you say the ending point of the ocean is again water only, it means the sea is continuous and the boundary is not reached. Therefore, the essential criterion for the end point of the imaginable cosmos must not be imaginable again and must be unimaginable in which case only we can say that the imaginary cosmos ends there. You must say that the end point of ocean is not water, but, should say that it is the soil, which is totally different from the water. Hence, the boundary of the cosmos has imaginable nature on one side and the unimaginable nature on the other side like the boundary of ocean has water on one side and soil on the other side. Hence, you have to accept the existence of unimaginable nature on the other side of the boundary of this imaginable cosmos. Infinity of Cosmos Due to Unimaginable God on Other Side Any imaginable item must be finite as we see in the imaginable cosmos or world. Hence, the imaginable cosmos composed of imaginable and finite items must be also imaginable and finite. But, this imaginable cosmos is infinite since its end cannot be reached. On one hand, you say that the ocean is imaginable and finite and on the other hand you say its end is not reached! Both these arguments mutually contradict each other. The best solution in this critical juncture is that to agree the finite nature of the imaginable cosmos having imaginable end as the inherent concept of this imaginable cosmos. In such case, we must reach the edge of this cosmos. Yes. We agree that it should be reached basing on the inherent imaginable nature of cosmos. We say here that the end of the cosmos is not reached not because of violation of its inherent nature, but, because of the unimaginable nature of the other side, which cannot be reached. I illustrate this with an example. You stand before Me at a point after 10 feet. As I travel towards you, suppose you also go back subsequently maintaining the same 10 feet distance between us. This 10 feet distance becomes endless not because of the absolute elongation of the distance, but, because of your relative backward movement. If the 10 feet is maintained constant due to the elongation of the gap between us, I do not reach the end of 10 feet due to the infinity of the gap itself due to its constant expansion. But, it is not so. I do not reach the end of the gap because you relatively move backward. If the gap really (absolutely) expands, it is the absolute characteristic of the gap. If you move backward, it is the absolute characteristic of your backward motion by which alone, the relative expansion of the gap appears as the absolute phenomenon of the gap. Similarly, the universe does not constantly expand in the absolute sense. It appears as if it constantly expands because I cannot touch the other side of its edge being unimaginable in spite of My continuous journey. Therefore, the infinity of the gap or the infinity of the cosmos due to constant expansion is only a relative concept and not the absolute concept. The credit of infinity goes to the other unimaginable side (God) of the edge and not to this imaginable side (cosmos) of the edge. This means that the cosmos is infinite or the boundary of the cosmos is unimaginable due to the existence of unimaginable God on the other side of the edge. Beware, the above simile given by Me should be confined to the concepts presented by Me here, because extension to more concepts is controlled by the limitations like: both of us are imaginable items in the simile and in the compared concept one is imaginable and the other is unimaginable. Generator & Effect: (God-Space) — (Lump-Pot) — (Fire-Smoke) If the other side does not contain the unimaginable God, in such case, this imaginable cosmos itself must be infinite. You have already proved in the cosmos that any imaginable item is finite and therefore, the cosmos imaginable up to its edge must be also finite and should not be infinite. The characteristic existing in the micro-level cannot be thrown out at the macro-level. If one litre of milk is white, 100 litres of milk must also be white. If you say that the cosmos is infinite, you contradict the capability of your own science. Hence, there is no other way than to accept the unimaginable item (call it as God just as a name) on the other side of the edge of cosmos so that the infinity of the cosmos is linked to the unimaginable God and you can maintain the concept of finite cosmos also side by side. This situation creates a picture of a stream of smoke coming from the fire. The smoke is compared to the cosmos and the fire is compared to unimaginable God. Since fire and smoke are imaginable, you can touch the fire on travelling some distance along with the smoke. If the fire is unimaginable, you can never touch the fire and due to the relative concept, you have to make endless journey along the smoke. Here, fire is the generator (cause) and the smoke is generated product (effect). This brings cause-effect relationship between God and cosmos. The smoke cannot exist in the fire and similarly, the cosmos or space cannot exist in God since nothing can exist before its generation. Due to the absence of space in God before its generation, God must have no spatial dimensions and must be beyond space. This makes God unimaginable since anything beyond space is naturally unimaginable. This cause-effect relationship proves the unimaginable nature of God due to the absence of effect in the cause before the production of the effect. This is a simultaneous advantage to prove that God being beyond space is unimaginable. This is the naturally consequential conclusion. Once you have established that God is unimaginable, nobody including atheist can say that God is non-existent. If God is non-existent, the other side of the edge of the cosmos is not unimaginable, which means that the imaginable cosmos is constantly continuing. This means the imaginable cosmos is inherently infinite. This is the failure of logic and science because no imaginable item is infinite. The pot is not in the lump of mud before its production and the smoke is not in the fire before its production. One important point to differentiate these two examples is that mud is in the pot after production of pot whereas fire is not in the smoke after its production. The mud-pot concept can be seen in the entry of God into a human being as human incarnation. Except this one concept of human incarnation, God does not enter into this world like the non-entry of fire into the smoke. Joint Wall Either Between Two Sites or One Side of Site Only Opponent: How do you say that the boundary of cosmos is unimaginable when the core and edge are imaginable? Shri Swami: To clarify this point, I have already told that though the edge is also imaginable like the core, generally, the boundary line indicates the joint line between two imaginable areas. If you stand on that line like a cat, you belong to both sides. Now, this idea is applied here to the joint line between imaginable and unimaginable domains and the line belonging to both sides can be called as imaginable or unimaginable boundary. If the boundary line is in the imaginable domain only, and if you stand on such line, you will be stated standing in this side area only. In the first case, the joint wall is between two sites, half in this site and the other half in the other site. In the second case, the joint wall is entirely in this side site only. Therefore, if the joint wall is in this side site only, the joint wall can be called as edge of this side site. If the joint wall is in both sites, this side half of the wall alone is the edge of this site. Remember, the edge of any site can be totally the joint wall or partly the joint wall. This means that the edge of one site need not be always the total joint wall (if joint wall occupies both sites). Now, the boundary representing the joint wall can be taken totally as the edge of cosmos or can be taken partly as the edge of cosmos. If the boundary exists in both sites, the edge of one site is only half of the joint wall. In our concept one site is imaginable and the other site is unimaginable. Now, you can ask that how the joint wall (joint line) can extend into unimaginable site since we see the joint line only between two imaginable sites. This objection can be ruled out because the joint line is half imaginable and half unimaginable. This side half is seen by us and that side half cannot be seen and hence that side is the assumed half line. There is possibility of existence of assumed lines in science also. Expansion of Space Impossible Opponent: In the above simile of 10ft gap between two persons, the other person can move back infinitely provided the space is infinite. In the concept, how you can say that the space is finite? Shri Swami: Since you are taking the space in both concept and simile as common item, both simile and concept become one and the same as far as this point of space is concerned. Hence, this problem in the simile is the same problem in the concept also. Hence, I told you that you have to take the simile in the only point expressed by Me without crossing the limits of simile. If I said that your face looks good like moon, you have to limit the face and moon as far as the point of good looking is concerned only and which alone is expressed by Me. You should not cross the limits of the simile and say that the black spots present in moon must also exist in your face! Similarly, you have to take the simile as far as the points only expressed by Me. You cannot touch God compared to the second person in simile (being unimaginable in the concept) and the gap does not expand except the other person only moves back in the simile (the unimaginable God not touched by us in the concept is the backward motion of the other person in the simile). The unimaginable nature of God is compared to backward motion of the person. Inability to touch both is the common concept. By this, you should not mistake that God also moves back like the person. Coming to the common problem of infinite space or gap in the concept as well as in the simile, you have to take the backward motion of the other person (simile) as our inability to touch the unimaginable God (concept). The aim of this is to establish that the backward motion of the other person/ the inability to touch the unimaginable God is the absolute concept where as the expansion of gap/space is relative concept. Relative concept means that which is not real but appears as if it is real. The expansion of space is impossible because for the expansion of any item, the space that is different from the item is required. Then only we can say that the item is expanding in space. If you make the space as the item to expand, there should be another different space to allow the expansion of this space. Here, you can say that the universe expands constantly in the space. But, the space being the subtle energy, the problem of expansion comes to the space also since cosmos is also energy and since matter in it is also energy. Hence, you have to accept the universe/cosmos/space as energy only. By this, the expansion of space/cosmos in space becomes impossible. Opponent: The space is subtle form of energy and is infinite. The cosmos consisting of gross forms of energy like matter, radiations etc., is a different form. Now, we say that the gross form of energy (cosmos) is constantly expanding in the infinite subtle form of energy (space). There is no need of speaking about unimaginable God beyond space and hence God is non-existent. Shri Swami: 1) The cosmos contains not only gross forms of energy like matter, radiations etc., but also subtle form of energy which is space as the very basis of cosmos. The space in the cosmos is also divided into finite forms occupied by the finite forms of matter and gross energy. The space exists in both the cosmos that expands and also in the infinite space in which the cosmos expands. Since the space is one and the same on both sides, how do you explain the expansion of space (in the cosmos) in the infinite space since both are the same subtle forms of the same energy? If the space in cosmos does not expand in the infinite space, the matter and radiation also cannot expand because the space exists in both. 2) You have not shown the edge of the cosmos, which expands, from which point, the infinite space exists. If smoke expands in space, I can show you the edge of the smoke during the process of expansion. In such case, it is only your assumption that the cosmos expands in infinite space. Therefore, if you say that the space is infinite, it means that the cosmos is also infinite because space is a part of the cosmos. The cosmos is said to be made of five elements of which space (Aakasha) is the first component. If you stop with such infinite cosmos, ignoring the unimaginable God beyond cosmos, it is not a logically possible concept because all the components of the cosmos become infinite and the cause-effect relationship between them cannot exist. But, you find the mutual inter-conversion of matter & energy and energy & awareness. In such case, there must be a final cause of the ultimate cosmic cause (space or subtle energy). The cause of this ultimate cosmic cause (space) must be unimaginable since the space as a product cannot exist in such final cause, which (final cause), therefore, must be unimaginable. You cannot say that space itself is the final cause. The reason is that since space is subtle energy or energy and since energy is generated from matter, energy or subtle energy or space cannot be the final cause. The final cause should not be the effect of any other cause. In the inter-conversion, energy is cause in conversion of it into matter and the same energy is effect/product when matter is converting into energy. The final cause should always stand as cause only in all situations and should never be the effect/product of any other cause. Hence, the space requires the necessity of its final cause. Even though the cosmos is finite because of the finite characteristic of all its components, it appears as if it is infinite due to its relative concept as explained above. The visible part and the invisible part of cosmos (invisible part appears to be infinite by appearing as if it exists, due to relativity with respect to the unimaginable God) should be one and the same as far as the constituting components are concerned. In such case, the visible part of the cosmos also must appear to exist with reference to the unimaginable God. This means that the total cosmos appears as if it exists due to relativity with respect to God. Hence, the entire cosmos is non-existent in absolute sense with respect to the unimaginable God. But, the same cosmos absolutely exists with respect to all its components, especially with respect to its component called as soul, which alone can recognise the existence and non-existence. The cosmos is existent in the angle of the soul and is simultaneously non-existent in the angle of God. If the angle is not mentioned, it can neither be said existent nor non-existent and is called as Mithyaa by Shankara (Sadasat Vilakshanaa Mithyaa) and the same is the theory of relativity of Einstein. Einstein clarified this in excellent way: The space-component of cosmos is never absolute but only relative or geometrical that exists between two objects and disappears when all the objects (matter and gross energy) disappear. This shows that space is only relatively real with respect to matter and gross energy and is never absolutely real. The dissolution of space means the dissolution of the entire world i.e., everything other than non-relative God. When the space disappears, the situation is unimaginable, which is unimaginable God. Hence, Einstein gave the proof for unimaginable God beyond space. Einstein feels that space is nothing. Space disappears when matter and energy disappear since space relatively exists with respect to matter and energy. We have taken a different version that space is something as it is subtle form of energy. In our way also, when matter and energy disappear, the subtle form of energy (space) also disappears. Thus, disappearance of space along with matter and energy is the resultant common concept in both the ways. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website:Universal Spirituality for World Peace) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  16. How can we explain our lack of vengeance to others, when a person is wronged before you? [Shri Anil asked: Padanamaskaram Swamiji! With regard to Your discourse dated February 25, 2020, on retaliatory sins, I present a case before You for Your kind advice: Person A harms Person B. Suppose this is a case of retaliation in which A harmed B in return for a previous harm done by B to A, in the previous birth. How can one console B after the incident, if B does not believe in the concept of previous birth? B expects B’s relatives to take some action against A since A harmed B in front of B’s relatives. But B’s relatives might not be taking action against A, as per Your advice, thinking that it might be a case of retaliation. At Your Divine Feet. Anil.] Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! In the case of harm done by a person to you in retaliation to a previous harm done by you to that person, the circumstances will be such that you cannot take any action against your opponent. Even the relatives of you and your opponent will keep silent due to some misunderstanding. From such practical circumstances, you have to infer whether the case is of retaliation or of a fresh sin committed by the person against you. If it is a case of retaliation, there is no other way but to pacify your desire for revenge. The desire for revenge arises in your mind because you misunderstand a case of retaliation to be a fresh case of harm done to you by the person. When the desire for revenge arises, surrender to God is the only thing advised. With it, your desire for revenge will be pacified to a great extent since you will be hoping that God will punish your opponent some day or the other in the future. This is like the first-aid treatment for your revenge-wound. When the opponent does not face any punishment even after a long time, you might think that either God does not exist or that even if God exists, the opponent might have flattered and pacified God with his worship. However, if you know the concept in the background that retaliatory sins are not punished, you will finally understand that the case was not fresh, but that it was retaliatory.
  17. How does Bhagvan (God) secure and protect dharma in this world? Swami replied: In your question the word ‘how’ is obscure. Does it mean the procedure of cooking the food or the tools and utensils used for cooking or the food ingredients used? I will take it in the sense of the procedure and answer your question. God is unimaginable and there is no possibility of even imagining God. God punishes unjust people and thereby maintains justice in the world. But since this ultimate giver of the punishment is beyond our imagination, a direct proof of perception is impossible. But God delivers justice through different human beings. He merges with the corresponding human beings temporarily and ensures that the criminal is punished. He merges with the police officer to ensure that the case is correctly investigated and that the criminal is caught. Then, He merges with the judge so that the appropriate punishment is given to the criminal. Then, finally, God merges with the jailer to make sure that the criminal does not escape from the jail or even from the death penalty when applicable. This process of temporarily merging with any required human being to punish injustice and protect justice is the procedure of how God protects dharma (justice) in the world. When God temporarily merges with certain human beings they become a certain type of Human Incarnation of God called an Aveśa Avatāra, which is a temporary Incarnation. A criminal may try to escape punishment here on earth. But the wheels of justice, which are protected by God, grind surely, even though they may move slowly.
  18. Is the corona virus the result of karma? [A devotee asked: Guruji, You are giving the highest knowledge. Jai Guru Datta! Is karma behind corona virus? Why is it spreading to all countries? In the Mahabharata, the karma was borne by the people who supported both the parties which were at war with each other. Now, why is the world bearing the karma, when people are far away from each other and have no relationships with each other? Please Lord Datta (Datta Swami), I beg You to protect world from the corona virus!] Swami replied: Were there no deaths before this corona virus epidemic? If we eliminate this corona virus, will all deaths stop? Is it not a meaningless question? When the time of death comes, there are one crore (10 million) ways of implementing death to a soul. This does not mean that you should not take all the necessary scientific precautions to prevent yourself from catching the infection. You must always concentrate on your effort in any issue. We do not have such a high level of devotion that we will be protected by God, irrespective of our practical effort. There are hardly one or two devotees, who can be protected from death by God. Even in those rare cases, the devotees are not willing to escape death. It is God who interferes and protects them from death because there is still some remaining divine work that they are supposed to complete in the world. Our level of devotion is low and hence, we are not able to have 100% faith in God. So, we should act only as per the extent of our faith. In other words, we should take all the necessary precautions. Even if God appears before us and promises to protect us, right after He disappears, we will begin to doubt whether what we saw was real or an illusion. Hence, God also preaches to us only as per our level of devotion. In the Gita, God said that we have to put in effort to the extent of 80% and depend on God only for 20% (Daivaṃ caivātra pañcamaṃ…—Gita). Does it mean that God is expressing His inability to grant you 100% protection? No, not at all! God has the ability to protect you 100%, even without any practical effort from your side, such as the scientific precautions to prevent infection. But your nature is such that it cannot reach that level of faith. You can, at the maximum, reach 20% faith. Hence, God only preaches what we can follow. There is no point in preaching to us, something that exceeds our level of faith and devotion since it is beyond our capacity to follow it. Several people have phoned and asked Me this same question. I posed the same three questions to them as I have posed to you at the beginning of this message. In addition, I told everybody that they should recite the following prayer: Dattātreya bhavāneva, bhavāneva gatirmama. (O Lord Dattātreya! Only You, only You are My path.) -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: www.universal-spirituality.org) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  19. SATSANGA ON SHRI RAMA NAVAMI - PART-1 Part-1 of spiritual meeting (Satsanga) that took place between Swami and several devotees on the day of Shri Rama Navami: Shri Veena Datta: What is the difference between astrology and devotion to God? Swami: Astrology gives a list of bad effects during a period governed by a bad planet (Dashaa). From this list, which specific effect will be faced by a specific person, can only be told by God’s grace, which is obtained through devotion. For example, astrology gives a list of bad effects that a person might face during the period of Saturn, which include, theft, paralysis, accidents and so on. Suppose two persons approach you and both are passing through the period of Saturn. As an astrologer, you may predict that one person may become the victim of theft but the person may instead suffer from an attack of paralysis. The person will say that you have failed in your prediction. To the other person, during his period of Saturn, you may predict that he may suffer from a paralytic attack. But he might not get a paralytic attack. Instead, a theft might occur in his house. He too will say that you have failed in your prediction. Both these affected persons might even say that astrology itself is false. So, you need to understand that based on your knowledge of astrology, you can never predict which specific effect will be faced by a specific person. Astrology only enables you to predict that some good or bad effect will be faced by the person during a certain time. It is even possible for you to be able to predict the specific effect, provided you have the grace of God. The grace comes through devotion. The ability to predict the specific effect for a specific person is called as the ‘purity of word’ or Vaakshuddhi. It can only be obtained by the grace of God. Hence, the practice of astrology should be associated with the worship of God. The medical degree, MBBS, means the study of medicine as well as surgery side-by-side. If you have a headache, it can be cured by a simple painkiller tablet prescribed by the doctor who is an expert in medicine. But if you go to a surgeon, the surgeon will say that your head must be operated upon to find out the reason for the headache! If you get the grace of God through your devotion, there is no need of studying the astrological scriptures. As per Vedic astrology, a human being, in his or her life, passes through the periods (Dashaas) of each of the nine planets, one after the other. Each planet may be good or bad for a person based on the nature of the planet as described in astrology, its placement in the person’s birth-chart and the person’s zodiac sign. Therefore, the period of each planet is also good or bad for the person. The so-called good planets deliver the results of the person’s good deeds while the so-called bad planets deliver the results of the person’s bad deeds. The period of each planet is further sub-divided into the sub-periods (antar dashaas) belonging to each of the nine planets. Each of the sub-divisions are further sub-divided into even smaller sub-divisions (vidashaas) of the nine planets. In this manner, there are several levels of sub-division of these planetary periods. The long span of the period of a good planet is generally good for the person. During this period, the person generally receives the fruits of his or her good deeds done in the past. But even during this generally good period, the person also experiences both good and bad results corresponding to all the nine planets, during their respective sub-periods. Similarly, in the generally bad period of a bad planet, the person also experiences both good and bad results from all the nine planets during their respective sub-periods. This sophisticated arrangement of planetary periods and their sub-periods made by God, ensures that the person never experiences continuous happiness or continuous pain. Continuous happiness for a long time invariably leads to boredom. Continuous misery for a long time becomes unbearable. Frequent change prevents boredom and provides maximum entertainment to the soul. The sub-periods of all nine planets within any planetary period ensure that the person enjoys both good and bad fruits of his or her own deeds in an alternating manner. It is like enjoying sweet and spicy dishes alternately in a meal. If the meal contained only sweet dishes or only spicy dishes, the meal would not be enjoyable. The combination of the two alone gives maximum enjoyment. The Divine Father has made this wonderful alternating arrangement of delivering the good and bad fruits of the deeds of souls for the sake of their maximum enjoyment. He wishes that His children always remain happy. This alternating cyclic arrangement of the fruit of the soul’s deeds is called the karma chakra. God rearranges the good and bad fruits in this alternating manner. A soul might have committed a number of bad deeds, one after the other and a number of good deeds, one after the other. But the fruits are not delivered to the soul in the sequence in which the deeds were done. If all the bad fruits were to be given to the soul, one after the other, the long continuous misery would become unbearable for the soul. Similarly, the long continuous span of enjoying the all the good fruits, one after the other, would become boring. Hence, God rearranges them in an alternating manner in the form of the planetary periods and sub-periods. Thus, every bad fruit is followed by a good fruit and vice versa. But when we face miseries, we do not want to bear them. The miseries are actually the results of our own bad deeds. On the order of God, the so-called bad planet is merely delivering the results of our own bad deed to us. But we, somehow, want to escape from the bad results. So, we worship God and force Him to remove the miseries and grant us happiness. Our demand is a violation of justice, which God never permits. But the kind Father also wants to satisfy the praying souls who are His own children. So, He postpones the present miseries to the future and prepones some future happiness bringing it into the present. The praying soul experiences immediate relief from the miseries and the enjoyment of some happiness. But there is big disadvantage in disturbing the original arrangement of the fruits of deeds in this manner. The postponed miseries grow in value due to interest, while the preponed happiness reduces in value; similar to the premature withdrawal of an investment. Even though such interference provides temporary relief to the soul, it is not in the soul’s long term interest. But God allows such interference in the cycle of deeds only to help the soul in developing some devotion to God. Upon developing devotion, God expects the soul to work towards permanent reformation. Otherwise, by such repeated postponement of misery and preponement of happiness, the soul may face a life full of continuous misery in the future. We sometimes find such people whose life is full of misery and not even a bit of happiness, in spite of their devotion to God. The sum of the periods of the nine planets is 120 years since the average life in older generations was 120 years. This human lifespan is called Purushaayusham. Whatever may be the actual lifespan, the cyclic arrangement of the planetary periods, each consisting of several levels of sub-periods, is never affected. What I mean is that even if the average lifespan of a human being were to become as short as one hour in the future, the arrangement of the planetary periods and sub-periods would not change. In fact, this arrangement applies even to the souls present in the bodies of worms that might actually live only for an hour. Astrology is only an associated part of the spiritual knowledge since the nine planets are the executive forces of God. God is the author of the divine constitution which stands as the basis for the divine administration. To be Continuued.... Click here for Part-2 Click here for Part-3
  20. SATSANGA ON SHRI RAMA NAVAMI - PART-2 Part-2 of spiritual meeting (Satsanga) that took place between Swami and several devotees on the day of Shri Rama Navami: Shri Ajay: Please enlighten us about the Human Incarnation and His devotees. Swami: Shri Paramahamsa said that He would prefer to be an ant (devotee) rather than being sugar (Human Incarnation). He said so, even though He was a Human Incarnation of God. The ant eats sugar and enjoys. The sugar, on the other hand, gets eaten and gets no enjoyment. The lack of enjoyment means inertness. So, Paramahamsa rightly selected the inert sugar in this simile. Based on this basic concept, a devotee should never aspire to become a Human Incarnation. A certain devotee might be forced by God to become a Human Incarnation to carry out His work, which is the special divine program meant for the welfare of the world. Even ordinary human beings like a devotee more than the Human Incarnation. This is because the devotee is exactly similar to them whereas the Human Incarnation is different from them and is special. Due to the natural ego and jealousy in every human being, no one likes to see any specialty in another human being. Miracles need not be considered to be the speciality of a Human Incarnation alone. Even a devotee can perform miracles by the grace of God. In fact, even a demon can perform miracles by the grace of God. Demons obtain miraculous powers from God through their rigorous penance. People feel a repulsion from the Human Incarnation in the form of ego and jealousy. The basic reason for this repulsion is that the Human Incarnation is considered to be God. They do not feel this kind of repulsion from a devotee since the devotee is not considered to be God. In fact, a true devotee never wants to become God unless God forces him to act in the role of God. In a movie, an actor played the role of God and got a remuneration of one lakh rupees. In the same movie, another actor played the role of a devotee and was paid ten lakh rupees in remuneration. Hence, it is not the role played that brings value. It is the capability of acting that brings the value. God enters the human body of a devotee to become a Human Incarnation. The human devotee serves as the medium for God’s entry. But the value of that devotee, who has become the medium in the Incarnation, comes due to his or her devotion. The fact that the devotee is acting in the role of God does not bring value by itself. Other devotees around the Human Incarnation must always follow the path of monism of Shankara. It means, they must believe that the Human Incarnation is God Himself. In this sense, monism is good for devotees and it gives them good results. But devotees must be careful in not applying the concept of monism to themselves! They should never think that they too are God. In contrast, the human being-component in the Incarnation must believe in the dualism of Madhva. He must never think that he is God. Instead, he should think that he is merely a servant of God and that acting in the role of God is his service to God. This dualism gives a good result for the human being-component in the Human Incarnation. Arjuna doubted how Krishna could be God. So, he asked Krishna how He could have preached to Surya, the sun-god, in the beginning of creation. As far as Arjuna knew, Krishna was born quite recently. Parashurama, who was a temporary Incarnation (Avesha Avataara), thought that he was God Himself. As a result, he got insulted by Rama, who in spite of being a complete Incarnation (Purna Avataara) never thought that He was God. Even Krishna never said that He was God except to Arjuna when He was preaching the Gita to Arjuna. The devotee must be capable of accepting the monism between the human medium and God in the Human Incarnation without repulsion. To such a deserving devotee, the Human Incarnation may declare the truth. There are other devotees who are in the middle level. They are only partly capable of digesting the truth. Such devotees sometimes even praise the Human Incarnation as God by their words. But internally, they are not completely capable of accepting the same truth without repulsion. In response to such half-hearted praise, the Incarnation must keep silent with a smile. He should not confirm His identity with God. Finally, there are devotees who do not have any faith in the Human Incarnation. To such devotees, the Human Incarnation must say that He is only an ordinary human being. The Human Incarnation, being God, knows the actual level of the devotee before Him. So, He always behaves suitably. No matter how devoted the devotee claims to be, his true level of devotion is never hidden from the Human Incarnation. To be Coninuued... Click here for Part-1 Click here for Part-3
  21. SATSANGA ON SHRI RAMA NAVAMI - PART-3 Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only Part-2 of spiritual meeting (Satsanga) that took place between Swami and several devotees on the day of Shri Rama Navami: Shri Phani: How do you correlate the vivarta vaada of Shankara with the parinaama vaada of Ramanuja? Swami: Vivarta means an apparent modification whereas parinaama means an actual modification. Water appearing as a wave is an example of vivarta. Milk getting modified to curd is example of parinaama. In fact, scholars call only parinaama as a modification. In the case of vivarta, the word ‘modification’ cannot actually be used. Standstill water itself appears as a wave when some kinetic energy is imparted to it. There is no actual modification in the water at all! But we can still use the word modification in sense of the different appearance which is the result of the association of the water with kinetic energy. We can define modification in terms of a change of qualities. In the case of water and the wave, the water remains the same, chemically. There is no change in its qualities as in the case of milk turning to curd. But even in the case of milk turning to curd, the change in qualities can be attributed to the association of the unseen bacteria. It means that the milk does not change its qualities on its own. The unseen bacteria are responsible for the change of qualities. With this deep scientific background, we can differentiate between apparent and real modifications. The basic point in this topic is that the concepts explained above deal with items of the imaginable domain and their relationships with each other. It is only a scientific discussion since science only deals with the imaginable domain. There is no reference to the unimaginable domain. Of course, we cannot discuss about the unimaginable domain itself since it is beyond logic. But the present topic is of the creation of the world from the unimaginable God. It is the discussion about the relationship between God, the unimaginable entity and the world, which is an imaginable entity. We can naturally discuss about the relationship between two imaginable items. We can never discuss about the relationship between two unimaginable items because one can never define more than one unimaginable item. If we attempt to define two unimaginable items, they ultimately become only one unimaginable entity since divisions or numbers cannot be imagined in the unimaginable domain. Similarly, no relationships can be imagined in the unimaginable domain since a relationship requires two items. The present discussion is a discussion about the relationship between one unimaginable item and another imaginable item. In understanding the relationship between two items, the knowledge of both the items is essential. You cannot say that this lotus is produced from an unimaginable source. The lotus is understood to be a flower. But its source, which was said to be unimaginable, cannot be understood. Hence, we cannot understand the process of production of the lotus from that unimaginable source. In short, the relationship between an unimaginable item and an imaginable item becomes unimaginable. Both vivarta and parinaama are concepts about the relationships between imaginable items like water and a wave or milk and curd. These concepts cannot directly apply to the relationship between the unimaginable God and the imaginable world. Logic is only the study of items existing in the imaginable domain (world) and their relationships with each other. You are an imaginable item existing in the world, who cannot cross the boundaries of the world. Then, how can you take this imaginable world in one hand and the unimaginable God in another hand in order to study the relationship between the two? To hold the entire imaginable world in one hand, you have to first stand out of the boundaries of world, which is impossible! Gaudapaada says that the world is not born (Ajaati vaada) at all from God. He says that the world is non-existent to the core. The soul is a part of the world and Gaudapaada is also a soul, So, as per his own theory, he was also not born at all! He has no existence whatsoever! His theory is correct with respect to the unimaginable God before God created the world. At that time, the world was actually not born (Ajaati) and had no existence. In contrast, Ramanjua says that the world is existent to the core and that it is born from God. He is correct because he is a soul who is a part of the world. For a soul, the world is equally existent and equally real as itself. The imaginable world is born from the unimaginable God. The world is different from God. So, considering this to be a case of real modification or parinaama is justified. But parinaama between worldly items requires the association of a second item. For instance, milk requires the association of bacteria to transform into curd. In the case of the creation of the world, the single unimaginable God created this imaginable world without the association of any second item (Ekamevaadvitiiyam Brahma—Veda, Mattah parataram kinchit naanyadasti—Gita). God is the Cause and the world is the product. The product is real and it is different from the cause (God). Form this point of view, it is acceptable to call it a parinaama or a real modification. But from the point of view of the Cause, which is the single unimaginable God who remains alone without any other second item, calling it a parinaama is not acceptable. In order for it to be a case of parinaama from the point of view of the Cause, you have to say that God is really modified into the real and different world, even though there was no other associated item. This was possible for God due to His unimaginable nature or unimaginable power. It means that in the case of God, parinaama is really possible due to His unimaginable nature and not due to mere worldly logic. The end result is that the parinaama in the case of unimaginable God is an unimaginable parinaama. A similar argument applies to Shankara’s vivarta too. Even for the apparent vivarta modification, the association with a second item is essential. The water must be associated with kinetic energy to become a wave. Without the associated kinetic energy, the standstill water cannot become a wave. The qualities of water in the standstill water and the wave of water are not different. Yet, we can say that the wave of water is different from the standstill water in its shape and form. Since the product is different from the cause, we can call this too as a modification. The difference between the water and the wave is only in one quality, which is its form. The modification is only physical. There is no chemical change. So, such a modification is very weak and it can be called as an apparent modification. Whether it is the parinaama of Ramanuja or the vivarta of Shankara, the process of generation of the imaginary world from the unimaginable God is certainly unimaginable. When the Creator as well as the process of creation is unimaginable, one cannot state with certainty the existence of the product (world) with respect to the unimaginable Creator. The world, which is the product, was non-existent to God before creation (ajaati). After creating it, it exists either in very strong state (parinaama) or in a very weak state (vivarta) as per the requirements of God so as to give Him entertainment. Existing in a strong state means existing as something very real; as something that cannot be changed easily. Existing in a very weak state means existing in a somewhat unreal state, like a thought, which can be controlled or changed easily. Such a weak existence can be treated to be a negligible existence. It can even be assumed to be almost like non-existence. Existence is called Sattaa whereas non-existence is called Asattaa. Negligible existence, which is almost like non-existence, is called Mithyaa. All these three states are possible for the world as per the requirement of God. The world created by God can exist in a strong state as different from God. Such existence is also required whenever God wishes so for the sake of His entertainment. In that case, the parinaama of Ramanuja applies. But this parinaama is an unimaginable parinaama and not the worldly parinaama. A non-existent creation, which is non-different from the creator cannot give any entertainment to the creator. If creation were non-existent and non-different from God, we would have to accept that God is just like an incompetent-imaginable human being. God as the Human Incarnation in this world is entertained by this real world that is different from the Incarnation. It is just like any human being who is entertained by this real world that is different from the human being. When God is performing miracles, the world is very weakly existent for Him. Since the world is different from God, it provides entertainment. Also, since it is weakly existent, it can be changed as per His will, which becomes a miracle for us. In this context, Shankara’s vivarta applies to the world. But it is an unimaginable vivarta and not the worldly vivarta. A creation that is different from God, but is equally existent as God, cannot be changed by Him. In that case, no miracles would be possible. Then God would not be able to surprise any devotee with a miracle for the sake of establishing the unimaginable nature of God. In that case, we would have to accept that God is just like an incompetent-imaginable human being. God as the Human Incarnation in this world is entertained by this very weakly real world that is different from Him. The word mithyaa can be applied even in the philosophy of Rāmānuja by saying that the world is real for soul and unreal (non-existent) for the unimaginable God before He created it. Since it is not possible to bring the angles of the soul and God together, one cannot decide for sure whether it is real or unreal. Mithyaa is defined by Shankara for broad application in this sense of uncertain reality (sadasatvilakshanaa). Neither parinaama nor vivarta can be applied to an unborn and non-existent world (ajaati) before it was created from the unimaginable God for the very first time. Subsequently, the world is repeatedly dissolved and then re-created in a cyclic manner. Gaudapaada’s philosophy of an unborn non-existent creation (ajaati vaada) cannot be applied to the state of creation before it is re-created after a dissolution. This is because, the world is not completely destroyed during the dissolution. It is maintained in a non-exhibited subtle state (Avyaktam) during dissolution, only to be re-exhibited in a gross state. In this way, all the three philosophies, Advaita, Vishishta Advaita, and Dvaita, can be correlated on the topic of God and His creation. The philosophy of Madhva in this topic is exactly similar to that of Ramanuja with a few differences. Madhva says that God is only the intelligent cause and not material cause of the world. He agrees that God has full control over the world. But He says that the material cause of the world is prakruti (nature) which exists separately. So, as per Madhva, prakruti is an independent entity that exists along with God. One possible doubt arises here. Let us say that one Human Incarnation is performing a miracle in one place in the world. He is treating the world as having a very weak existence in order to perform the miracle. At the same time, in another place, another Human Incarnation is being entertained by the world, treating it to have a very strong existence. How can these two contradictory views of the same world held by two different Human Incarnations be reconciled? How can the same world exist strongly as well as weakly at the same time? Do we reconcile this contradiction by treating one part of the world as strongly existing and another part as weakly existing at the same time? Actually, that is not necessary. Anything is possible for the unimaginable God due to His unimaginable omnipotence. There is no need to assume the world to be existing strongly in one part and weakly in another part. For the same unimaginable God present in the two Human Incarnations the two contradictory views of the world can certainly coexist. The unimaginable God identifies with the two different human media to become two different Incarnations. Through each of them, both these contradictory wishes of the unimaginable God are fulfilled at the same time. A false serpent superimposed on a rope can appear to be a real snake. This is similar to the case of spectators who feel the magician’s illusion is real. Simultaneously, the rope can appear to be a false imaginary snake to the same God. This is similar to a person imagining a false serpent on a truly existing rope. For the unimaginable God, both these options are possible. He is the absolute truth, whereas world is non-existent. It can appear to Him as a relative truth with either a strong or weak existence. The world cannot be another absolute truth, otherwise God could not have generated it, dissolved it, or changed it during its existence. In a fundamental sense, the world is non-existent to the unimaginable God, who has an absolute existence. In contrast, for a soul, the world actually exists. This is because the soul is a tiny part of the world. This non-existent world may appear to have either a strong or weak existence as per the desire of the unimaginable God. In both cases, the world is non-existent before the unimaginable God in a fundamental sense. Click here for Part-1 Click here for Part-2
  22. Soul’s Freedom And Salvation Discourse Podcast Dr. Nikhil asked: Padanamaskarams Swamiji! I have two questions related to Your discourse given on December 23, 2018. I request Your kind clarifications on the same. Your servant. Nikhil. Question-1: I feel that that only God is completely free; not souls. The freedom of the soul is always restricted by several internal and external factors on earth. So, it cannot be called as total freedom or the freedom to act in all directions. The restrictions by the internal and external factors put tremendous force on the person’s mind and influence the person’s decision. The choices made by a person are largely determined by these various forcing factors. Hence, in spite of knowing and wanting to do the right thing, a person may often be forced, by the internal or external factors, to do the wrong thing. Duryodhana’s statement from the Prapanna Gītā (Paṇḍava Gītā) clearly brings out this internal force acting on a person’s mind “Jānāmi dharmaṃ na ca me pravṛttiḥ jānāmi pāpaṃ na ca me nivṛttiḥ ॥ 57॥”. Arjuna also says something similar in the Gita “Atha kena prayukto’yam pāpaṁ carati puruṣaḥ”. Lord Krishna answers Arjuna “Kāma eśa, krodha eśa rajoguṇa samudbhavam”. Lord Krishna’s words point to the internal factors which force the mind of a person in choosing an action. Similarly, there are strong external factors too. They might be related to the influence of other people such as other people forcing a person to do something. They may also be related to external situations such as poverty or life-threatening situations, which force a person to act in a certain manner. So, I feel that the human being is never free to decide. The so-called freedom or free-will of human beings is a highly constrained freedom at best. In any case, there is at least some relative freedom for those souls on earth who have got a human birth. But in the upper worlds, especially in hell, there is absolutely no freedom. Their freedom is taken away and souls must suffer. So, there is only physical force and zero freedom in hell. Also, animals and plants on earth are completely pre-programmed and have hardly any freedom. God clearly uses physical force on souls, to punish them in hell and sometimes on earth too for their intense sins. Could You kindly clarify how souls could be said to be completely free in this world and the upper worlds and that God never uses any force? Swami replied: The word freedom used by Me in the earlier discourse does not mean the absolute freedom possessed by God-in-human-form as described in the Veda (Aapnoti svaaraajyam). Such absolute freedom exists only in the case of God and no soul can even imagine it. The freedom enjoyed by a soul presently is limited by several factors as mentioned by you. But the freedom granted by God to the soul in the present age is greater than the freedom enjoyed by souls in the Kruta Age. The basic fact that is common to all ages is that the freedom of the soul is highly limited compared to the absolute freedom of God. This basic fact has nothing to do with the little freedom given by God to the souls at the end of the Kruta Yuga. This little freedom given by God to souls is further limited by the factors mentioned by you. But these factors are the results of choices made by us, souls. God did not create these factors to restrict the freedom already given to the soul. We were given full freedom to choose our actions by God. God gave us ample advice on choosing our actions through the scriptures, devoted messengers, and Human Incarnations. Through them we were warned that choosing wrong deeds will give rise to such negative factors, which will restrict our God-given freedom. Actually, God did not want to give souls the freedom to choose negative actions. But souls deeply yearned (craved) for complete freedom. So, He gave them the freedom to choose even the negative factors if they wanted. But He strongly advised them not to select such factors by repeatedly blowing these warnings into their ears! If this freedom to choose the negative were not given, the state would be the same state of strict discipline as in the Kruta Age. Even in this strict discipline of the Kruta Age, when the freedom to choose the negative was absent, the freedom to choose anything good or positive was present. To explain this more clearly, we can say that in the strict discipline of the Kruta Age, we were advised to eat any good fruit. But we were restricted from eating any poisonous fruit. After a long period, we got bored with the strict discipline and so to satisfy us, we were given the freedom to eat any fruit that we chose, including poisonous fruits. Along with this new freedom, repeated advice was given to us to eat only good fruits and not eat any poisonous fruit. In spite of all the excellent advice given by God, the granted freedom caused us to eat some poisonous fruits. It led to the inevitable punishment, suffering, and the restriction of our God-given freedom. Note that this freedom to choose the negative was our desire. Even though God gave us this freedom, as an antidote, He gave us more than sufficient advice to avoid bad and negative things. This completely frees God from any blame. On one side, we blame God for giving this freedom to choose the negative. On the other side, we criticize God if He does not give us that freedom! God showed the best balance by giving us our desired freedom while simultaneously giving us a strong warning about avoiding the misuse of that freedom. Still, we manage to blame God! In that case, we should suggest a better way than what He did! Why was bad created? One question immediately pops up. Why did God create negative or bad fruits? Why did He not create only good fruits? The reason is simple. Good and bad are relative. Can there be good without the relatively bad? Can there be day without night? The recognition of the positive requires the presence of the negative. Leave God’s creation aside for some time. Do we prepare our meals without any hot dishes? Do we produce movies with only pleasant scenes, without a single tragic scene? Is there any game where there are only winners and no losers? If God had created creation with only good and no bad, we would be the first to blame God for creating such a meaningless one-sided creation! Hence, God planned creation consisting of sattvam which is good qualities, and rajas and tamas, which are the bad qualities. This plan of creation is just like the storyline of a movie which is fixed before the production of the movie. Kruta Yuga the childhood of humanity The Kruta Age was like the childhood of souls. Parents take complete care of the child, without giving any freedom to the child so as to protect it from bad factors. As the child grows into a youth and an adult, he or she aspires for full freedom. The youth wants the parents to only provide good advice and not force him or her to do anything. God did exactly what good parents do to their children. Some grown-up children listen to their parents’ advice and enjoy peace and happiness in their lives, whereas some grown-up children do not listen to their parents and end up in problems. Do you blame the parents or the grown-up children for their mistakes? If we blame God for the sins and suffering of souls it is exactly like blaming parents for the mistakes of their grown-up children. When parents are not expected to control their grown-up children using force, how can we expect God to control souls using force! If all grown-up children in the world were not listening to their parents, there would at least be a possibility of thinking that there might be something fundamentally wrong with the system. If all the students in a class were to fail, and not a single student were to pass, it might point to a possible defect in the teacher. But we know that there are several grown-up children who listen to their parents’ advice, and there are several students in any class, who pass the examination with a distinction. Even in this worst age, which is called the Kali Age, there are several good devotees, who totally surrender to God. They follow His divine scriptures which are properly explained by His devoted messengers and His Incarnations. There is a chance that the human parents and teachers might be defective or wrong. But the omniscient God can be never defective or wrong. Even then, God never tells us to follow His advice blindly. He wants us to logically analyze His words thoroughly. This is the last statement told by God Krishna to the soul, Arjuna in the Gita (Vimrushyaitadasheshen—Gita). God has already given us a powerful intellect to analyze and decide what is good and bad. He also clearly preaches to us again and again regarding the fruits of good deeds and the fruits of bad deeds. Coming back to our starting point, in the Kruta Age, the souls were acting, speaking and even thinking as per the direction of God given to them through the divine scriptures. They were like babies in the hands of their parents. With reference to that disciplined state, I had said that souls were given full freedom to choose their actions by God in the subsequent ages. The full freedom given to souls means the maximum freedom that can be given to souls. As such souls can never have absolute God-like freedom in any of the four ages. In the Kruta Age, the souls were like robots working as programmed by God. They did not have the full freedom to act as they chose. So, God took the total responsibility for their thoughts, words, and deeds. After a long time, the souls were very bored with that perfect and total discipline. It is just like a child on growing up becomes reluctant to follow the strictly enforced discipline of his or her parents. Neither did the souls want the absolute freedom of God nor did God give His absolute freedom to the souls. The full freedom given to souls, means the maximum freedom initially granted to souls. Later, souls, using this very freedom, chose bad deeds which reduced their freedom and caused suffering to themselves. In the beginning, when God asked Adam and Eve not to eat a specific fruit, both were following the order of God strictly like robots. In this initial stage, all souls, both males and females, lived in strict discipline as per the laws given by God. After a long time, they got bored of their disciplined life. God understood their feeling of boredom and gave them the freedom to think, speak and to do whatever they liked. God strengthened the faculty of their intellect. The mind is the mental faculty that brings in doubts or different alternatives. It starts an internal debate (Samkalpa vikalpaatmakam manah). The intellect is the mental faculty that analyzes the various options to arrive at correct conclusions. When logical analysis starts, it is called intelligence. The expected result of the logical analysis is the right conclusion (Adhyavasaayaatmikaa Buddhih). The mind and intelligence did not have much work in the Kruta Age. Later, God gave freedom to the mind and intelligence of souls after which they started working very hard. The mind is not that important since it only starts the basic doubt which is needed for analysis. But intelligence is very important. When its analysis is wrong, it arrives at a wrong conclusion. When the analysis is correct till the very end, it arrives at the right conclusion. Intelligence is the driver and the individual soul is the owner of the vehicle as said in the Veda. Whether the journey will be safe or will end up in an accident is in the hands of the driver. Hence, God started His preaching of the Gita with buddhi yoga or Saamkhya yoga, which is related to the analysis done by a sharp intelligence. A father, seeing his children getting bored at home, proposes to take them outdoors on a picnic to entertain them by providing a change. The careful father instructs the children on the precautions to be taken during their outdoor stay. Similarly, the careful God gave freedom to souls but along with it, He also gave them the scriptures containing several precautions to be taken during one’s life. God also explains these instructions and precautions to every generation through His devotees and even by personally descending as an Incarnation. After that, God does not bear the slightest responsibility for the actions of the souls. The effects of food on the body and mind We are talking about the force used by God to influence the thoughts, words, and deeds of souls in the Kruta Age on earth. Earth is called Martya Loka which is a karma loka. It means that it is a world in which souls choose their own actions. It is only in this world that above-mentioned little freedom is possible. The upper worlds are called bhoga lokas in which the soul is destined to enjoy the fruits of its actions without the slightest freedom to alter the fruit. Hence, we need not touch the upper worlds in which there is not the slightest possibility of getting even a trace of freedom. In this karma loka or earth, during the Kruta Age, all human beings ate only the prescribed food, which helps the soul in thinking, speaking and doing good alone. The state of the soul was like that of a hospitalized patient, who has the restriction of eating only the prescribed food. Food is said to influence the physical state of the body as well as the thoughts and the state of the mind (Annaanuruupaam tanuruupabuddhim, Kaaryam nidaanaaddhi gunaanadhiite). Today, after getting freedom from God, human beings can eat any type of food. They can speak and do anything they want. If required, they can even do things that they want secretly! But the scriptures, the preachers and finally the Human Incarnations always exist in every generation to give souls all the information with full clarity about merit and sin. The ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it! Freedom can be enjoyed while simultaneously taking the necessary precautions of avoiding sin. The freedom allows you to do any type of meritorious action. Within the boundaries of meritorious action, there is a great variety of actions that one can do. Meritorious actions are like sweet, mild and good food which is called Saattvika aahaara. One has the freedom to choose any such good food for good physical and mental health. Hot and spicy dishes are like sins. You must take precautions to avoid all types of hot and spicy dishes in order to maintain good health. There are actually several saints who eat only sweet and mild food in limited quantities. They totally avoid hot and spicy dishes. The majority, like us, chooses to eat some spicy dishes too since God has given us the freedom of choice. Would you not criticize God if He had not given this freedom to us? Further, you may avoid sin and do only meritorious deeds. But if you do the meritorious deeds with the aspiration for heavenly enjoyment, here is a warning for you. It is like eating sweets which causes diabetes. Avoiding sins and doing meritorious deeds must be associated with true devotion to God. The devotion is like preventive medicine. It prevents the disease. The type of food we consume affects our mind. The qualities inherent in the food we eat produce corresponding qualities in our minds, which force our decision-making. But we must clearly note that it is we who are responsible for these forces acting on our mind arising from the qualities in the foods consumed by us. After all, we use our freedom to choose what we eat. God has given us intelligence and has also described the effects of different types of foods in the scripture such as the last chapter of the Gita. We had the freedom to choose any type of good food. Yet we also chose some food that is not good. Thus, we see that within certain limits, we have full freedom. We can similarly analyze the association with good and bad people. We have the freedom to associate with bad people just as we can choose bad food. But we can also use our intelligence and follow the divine instructions given by God. With right analysis, we can select the company of good people which is like good food. Among good people, we have full freedom to select any type of good people. In the Kruta Age, souls only had the freedom to choose any type of good company. They had no freedom to choose bad company. Later on, God even granted the freedom to choose bad company. Some souls used that freedom, chose bad company and got spoiled. For that one cannot blame God because He always preaches to us all about good and bad without any partiality. In the first half of the verse quoted by you, Duryodhana says that he knows what is justice and what is injustice since he has learned it from his preachers. But in spite of it, he is not able to practically follow justice and avoid injustice in pravrutti. This is the state of the soul in the Dvaapara Age, which is the state after getting freedom from God. The preaching of his preachers had removed the Aaavarana, which is theoretical ignorance in his mind. But the practical effect of the ignorance, called Vikshepa was strong in his mind due to the bad company chosen by him. Since he had received correct knowledge from his preachers, he cannot be excused. He had full freedom to choose his company and he had chosen bad company. Their bad influences on his mind caused him to go on the wrong track and commit injustice. The Cunningness of Duryodhana In this first half of the verse, it appears as if Duryodhana is being frank in admitting the truth that his bad fate was the result of his own choices. But the second half of the verse reveals the cunning nature of this villain. He says “Tvayaa Hrushikesha! hrudisthitena, Yathaa niyuktomsmi tathaa karomi”. It means that he will act as per the order of God sitting in his heart. But he addressed God as ‘Hrushikesha’ meaning the Lord of the senses of his body (Hrushikaanaam indriyaanaam Eeshah). The Lord of the senses is actually the individual soul. The Veda explains this using an analogy of a chariot. The body is the chariot and the individual soul is its owner. The intelligence is the driver, the senses are the horses and the mind is the reins that control the horses. Souls in the Kruta Age were completely under the control of God. The individual soul which is the owner, the intellect which is the driver, the reins which are the mind, the senses which are the horses, and the chariot which is the body; were all under the full control of God in the Kruta Age. Since God is the controller of the senses of human beings in the Kruta Yuga, it is justified to call Him Hrushikesha, which means the controller of the senses. But after the Kruta Yuga, the situation has changed. In the case of any normal human being, it is the intelligence that controls the whole fate of the soul. God is not responsible for the soul’s fate since He has given the soul the freedom of choice. Right knowledge learned by the person, followed by the right analysis can take the person on the right path to his or her salvation. The clever villain that Duryodhana is, he addresses God as the Lord of his senses so that he can dump the total blame of the injustice and sins done by him on God! The two halves of this verse make a very strong hybrid misinterpretation. This misinterpretation is generally adopted by almost everyone in this Kali Age to justify their sins and put all the blame on God. Mental forces result from our own choices The main point is that one should never blame God for giving freedom to souls. In the unfortunate situation of bad forces acting on the mind, one should realize that the bad forces are the results of his or her own choices. The truth here is that God has given full freedom to souls in a limited sense. The person makes his own choices, which have inevitable results that are also known to him. The negative forces in his mind are these inevitable results of his own choices. Knowing that fire burns, he still puts his finger in the fire out of his own choice. Then he blames the fire, God and all the other factors influencing him! When the truth that fire burns is well-known to him and the negative factors influencing him are also the results of his own choices, he has only himself to blame for getting burned! Does any grown-up adult blame his parents for not forcibly preventing him from putting his finger in the fire? Yoga can turn bad into good You acquired bad qualities by your own free will. Yet God has preached yoga to you. Yoga is the special talent of using your intelligence (buddhi) to analyze and find out the good sides of sins. This good side of the so-called bad deeds can be adopted. The analysis also helps you identify and avoid the bad sides of so-called meritorious actions. This special talent of analyzing and appropriately choosing deeds is the special talent or yoga preached by God in the Gita (Yogah karmasu kaushalam). The person who attains this talent can use his intelligence to turn the sin into merit. He analyzes the good and bad sides of the so-called bad deed and adopts only its good side. For instance, if you possess the quality of anger, which is generally considered to be bad, you can analyze where the use of anger is good and where it is bad. Anger can be used to condemn injustice and control your children and students from going on the wrong path. This is the good application of a bad quality, which makes it good. Similarly, even if you possess lust, it can be excercised in the case of your lawful spouse to generate issues. Even if you are greedy and selfish, you can use that quality to avoid donating your money to an undeserving receiver. Controlling anger, lust, and greed is mainly stressed in the Gita since these three are the main gates to hell. You need not attempt to remove your bad qualities. They have been acquired over several births and have solidified inside you like a huge hill. It is impossible to eliminate them. All you can do is to divert the bad quality to its good side. It will reduce the pressure that the bad quality puts on your mind since any quality gets exhausted when the corresponding deed is done. God also warns you to be careful of the attraction for merit. Merit also has a bad side. Donating to a deserving person is a good deed that brings merit. However, donating even to a deserving receiver, with the aspiration for some good fruit is bad. It is the bad side of the merit. If you donate to the good receiver without any aspiration for fruit in return, it will help you maintain the same attitude when you worship God. In the Kruta Age, lust towards one’s lawful spouse to produce children was considered meritorious. But having lust even after producing children was considered sin. So, sages controlled their sexual life after producing children and such a stage in life was called as Vaanaprastha aashrama. In that stage, the husband and wife looked upon each other as brother and sister! Of course, there are small changes in the definition of justice or merit in every age. This is done to accommodate the changes in the overall atmosphere of human society. But these changes are small and an outright sin remains a sin in all ages. In the context of lust, the maximum relaxation that can be given in the Kali Age is that avoiding sex with anyone other than one’s lawful spouse itself is the highest merit! Intense lust for one’s lawful spouse even up to one’s dying day need not be considered as sin! Being peaceful and silent is said to be a good quality. But keeping silent towards a horrible sin in spite of having the ability to control it is bad. Bhiishma and Drona committed a huge sin by keeping silent while the villainous Kauravas attempted to take off the clothes of Draupadi in the royal court. So, we see that God has revealed this talented path of yoga even for the souls who are trapped under the influence of the bad sides of good qualities! Can any human being having even the slightest trace of humanity still blame God? Was John the Baptist Fully Reformed and Saved? Discourse Podcast Questoin-2: You had mentioned in the previous discourse that John the Baptist, was like good fertile soil with good seeds, but he could not hear the preaching of Jesus. You also said that this John had received the rain of God’s grace in his generation and was already saved. That is why he was able to recognize Jesus as a Human Incarnation of God. I am confused whether these statements refer to John the Baptist or John the disciple. If they refer to John the disciple there is no problem. But if they refer to John the Baptist, then there is a contradiction. Before Jesus arrived, how can it be said that the Baptist had received the grace of God? The grace of God is basically the divine knowledge preached by the Incarnation. But the Baptist never learned divine knowledge from Jesus. Then naturally, it is not possible that the Baptist was saved. If the Baptist was already saved, he must be fully-reformed. If he was fully-reformed, how could there be an un-canceled pending punishment for him? The Baptist was not an Incarnation to bear the suffering of devotees upon himself, like Jesus. This means that his death sentence must have been the punishment for his own sin. It means that he was not fully reformed and saved. Swami replied: John, the baptizer of Jesus, was another contemporary Human Incarnation. It is like sage Vyaasa, who was another Human Incarnation along with Krishna. The births of all these Human Incarnations were miraculous. Sage Vyaasa was directly born as a grown-up boy as soon as sage Paraashara met with Satyavati, the unmarried mother of Vyaasa. John was born to a very old barren lady and Jesus was born to an unmarried girl. While Krishna was born, Lord Vishnu, the Energetic Incarnation, appeared before His parents. After the birth of both Krishna and Jesus, wicked kings in their respective places and times, killed several children in search of both. Both Krishna and Jesus did several miracles. Both preached wonderful spiritual knowledge in the form of the Gita and the Bible respectively. When John was to be born, a divine angel told His father that God is sending this messenger to preach about the concept of reformation of the soul. Baptism was the external symbol of this reformation. Like sage Vyaasa, John also lived in a remote forest. John was very bold due to His strong faith in God and so He criticized a king for committing the sin of unlawful sex. John’s idea was that the king should repent and withdraw from the sin. For his bold criticism, He was imprisoned by the king. The king was actually not willing to behead Him since he recognized Him to be a divine messenger. But the king was trapped by negative influences which forced him to commit such a horrible sin of killing a divine preacher. Even in the case of Jesus, the Roman officer, before whom the trial of Jesus was conducted, could not find any fault with Jesus. But he was trapped in the plot of the priests of the temple, and was forced to order the crucifixion. As Jesus suffered the sins of His devotees through the crucifixion, John also suffered the sins of His devotees through His horrible punishment. Every divine messenger is an Incarnation of God. The difference between actual Incarnations like Krishna and Jesus and so on, and divine messengers like Vyaasa, Madhva, John and so on, is very small. In the case of the Incarnation, God actually merges with the soul, whereas in the case of the divine messenger, He remains very closely associated with the soul. Shankara and Jesus declared that they are God. Shankara said “Shivah kevaloham. Jesus said “I am the truth and the light” It was the God who had merged into them who spoke those words through them. The human being components in the Incarnations did not want to speak such words. No devoted soul, be it the soul in an Incarnation or a messenger, aspires for monism with God. God Himself merges with the specific soul and speaks about His identity, suppressing the desire of the devoted soul acting as His medium. Balaraama was an incarnation of Adishesha, who is a very close servant of God. But he is considered as one of the ten Incarnations of God. It is like an honorary degree granted to a person or a conferred IAS officer. There is not the slightest difference between a messenger of God, a son of God and an Incarnation of God. The three represent the dualism of Madhva, the special monism of Ramanuja and the perfect monism of Shankara respectively. In fact, the Incarnation of God Himself expresses each of these three states based on the extent of ego and jealousy of His disciples. If the disciples have very high ego and jealousy, the Incarnation says that He is only a messenger of God. If the disciples’ ego and jealousy is moderate, He says that He is the son of God. If the ego and jealousy of the disciples is negligibly small, He reveals His oneness with God. Even the divine messenger saves His disciples by undergoing the punishment for their sins. The Incarnation is a homogeneous mixture of God and soul, like an alloy of gold and copper. The messenger is a copper rod welded with a golden rod. In both cases, if the gold is heated, the copper also becomes hot. In both cases, the human being-component suffers by the will of God. God, who is represented by gold in the analogy, is invisible and in fact, unimaginable. So, the heating of the invisible gold can only be expressed through the heating of the visible copper. In other words, we cannot see the unimaginable God. But upon witnessing the suffering of the the human-component of the Incarnation, we realize the fact that God suffers for the sins of His devotees. Here, it is very important to note that God suffers for the sins of only His real devotees. He does not suffer for the sins of all humanity. Emmanuel is the one who suffers for the sins of only His real devotees.
  23. Worldly Duties or Divine Service? Discourse Podcast Shri Hrushikesh asked Swami through Shri PVNM Sharma: One of my friends said “We have to do worldly work to support our families, so we cannot dedicate ourselves totally to the work of God”. I request You to please respond to his comment. Swami Replied: If this point of your friend were valid, the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna in the Gita would have been as follows: Krishna: O Arjuna! Give up this worldly work of fighting to win back your lost property and kingdom. Become a saint and propagate My spiritual knowledge in this world. Arjuna: How can I withdraw from this war? I need to get back the property earned by my father in order to support my family. If I completely dedicate myself to Your work, would I not be doing an injustice towards my family? In fact, the real version of the Gita is the reverse. Arjuna wanted to withdraw from the war. He was fighting the war to regain his lost kingdom, so, fighting the war was his worldly duty. Krishna forced Arjuna to do his worldly duty, which is essential in pravrutti or worldly life. Krishna never said that Arjuna should withdraw from the war and dedicate himself to doing the work of God in this world. Arjuna’s wanting to withdraw from the war was not for the sake of doing spiritual work or nivrutti. His reason for wanting to withdraw from the war was his blind love for his grandfather, teacher and other relatives. He wanted to avoid having to kill them even though they stood for injustice. All of them had been responsible for the injustice done on several occasions including the attempted undressing of Draupadi in the royal court. Some like Dusshaasana were the direct doers of injustice. Some like Duryodhana were the indirect doers of injustice. Some like Shakuni and Karṇa were the promoters of injustice and some like Bhishma and Drona were the supporters of injustice by keeping silent when they could have prevented it. Arjuna was ready to withdraw from a war that was justified. His wanting to withdraw from the war was due to his blind attachment to his elders and relatives, and not for the sake of his spiritual effort or God’s work. So, Krishna objected and told him to fight the war. Even if Arjuna had said that he wanted to withdraw from the war for the sake of doing spiritual work, Krishna would still have objected. If Arjuna had really wanted to withdraw from the war due to his interest in spiritual work, he could have done it before going to the battlefield. But before reaching the battlefield, he was motivated to fight. Only after reaching the battlefield, he saw all his respectable elders and beloved relatives standing together as his enemy. It kindled his blind attachment for these worldly relationships. His intellect was clouded due to the attachment and he failed to analyze their defects. This was the reason for his wanting to withdraw from the war! Service and Sacrifice Benefit the Soul; not God Your friend has made God out to be a helpless person requesting the help of others to do His work. As if God cannot do His own work! Why would the omnipotent God need the help of powerless human beings? Your friend’s wrong thinking is the result of his ignorance of God’s omnipotence. In fact, God never asks anybody to help Him in His work. Even if He advises devotees to participate in His work of propagation of spiritual knowledge in this world, it is only for their spiritual welfare. The propagation of His spiritual knowledge strengthens the concepts in the devotee’s mind due to repeated revision. It leads to the reformation of the devotee who is propagating the knowledge. By advising certain blessed souls to participate in His work, God is only providing an opportunity for them to rise higher on the spiritual path. This progress on the spiritual path is a permanent attainment that follows the soul in every birth. On the other hand, pravrutti is the work related to one’s worldly bonds and is confined only to this birth. In fact, God never advises souls to proceed on the path of nivrutti, which is establishing a strong personal bond with God. Nivrutti is the path discovered by the devoted souls themselves. It was not introduced by God. In fact, God discourages the path of nivrutti by creating several difficult hurdles which serve as acid tests to prove the deservingness of the soul. The only path introduced and encouraged by God is pravrutti. It is the path of protection of justice and the rejection of injustice in worldly life. His entire focus is only on pravrutti. He introduced worldly and heavenly benefits for following justice. To discourage sins and injustice, He also introduced punishments in this world and in the upper world. God descends into this world in the form of Incarnations for this very purpose of establishing pravṛtii. In that case, how can anybody blame God for supporting nivrutti at the cost of pravrutti? In fact, God created this world having all the souls and gave them the commandments to strictly follow pravrutti. Souls are supposed to strictly follow justice and avoid injustice in their worldly life. God remained as the unimaginable domain, aloof from this world, which is the imaginable domain. It is just like parents staying aloof from their grown-up children after helping them settle down in life and giving them proper instructions on leading a happy life through discipline. Had these souls followed the instructions of God and maintained the balance of society perfectly, God would never have had to visit creation. He would have been happy simply to see all souls living together happily. This point answers the question of atheists, who ask why it is even necessary for human beings to think about God in their worldly life. If souls could have lived happily following the discipline necessary to maintain the balance of the society, there would have been no need for souls to think about God. Old parents, staying aloof from their grown-up children, are not interested in unnecessarily visiting the homes of their children as long as the children are leading a disciplined and happy life. When the children break the discipline and create havoc in their own lives and in society, the parents rush to their homes to set things right. They come to the homes of their children to solve the crisis created by the children and not to get free food or service from their children. Now, human parents are ignorant and they are not omnipotent either. In fact, they themselves might be in need of financial and other help from their children. So, it is possible that they might visit the homes of their grown-up children expecting some help. But God is omnipotent and does not require any help from souls either in terms of service or in terms of money. The service rendered by a devotee to God is called karma samnyaasa and his hard-earned money offered or sacrificed to God is called karma phala tyaga. Both service and the sacrifice of hard-earned money together are called karma yoga. Karma yoga or service and sacrifice of money are not needed by God at all! In the case that the parents are strong and healthy and are also financially well-off, they need neither service nor money from their children. In spite of that, if the children serve the parents and give money to them, it is due to the children’s love for their parents. The service and the money given are the practical proof of the mental love they have for their parents. God is like these strong and rich parents who do not need anything from their children. Unfortunately, some clever children exploit this point, saying that they do not serve their parents or give them any money since the rich and strong parents do not need any of it. These grown-up children are missing the point. The service rendered to the parents and the money offered to them is not because of the need of the parents. It is the proof of the real love that the children have for their parents. Many people in the world also think in the same manner about God. They too must understand that service rendered to God and the money sacrificed to Him is only the proof of one’s real love for God. Your friend’s comment is like that of a son, who says to his poor and dependent parents living with him in his home “If I serve you and spend my money on you, how can I look after my family towards which I am duty-bound?” The comment is completely out of place for the context of God and souls. The case of God and a soul is similar to that of rich and strong parents who have been caring for and financially supporting the son and his family from the beginning. So, whatever service the son renders to such rich and strong parents and whatever money he sacrifices to them, is not because they need it. It is only the practical proof of his real love for them. Thus, your friend’s thinking, which is also the thinking of a lot of other people, is based on an illusion and ignorance. It is God who has been helping and supporting the devotee in all possible ways. He needs nothing from souls! The love that the devotee has for God is in the mind. It is theoretical. It cannot be seen. A person may falsely claim that he loves God. Therefore, proof becomes necessary. Service and sacrifice of one’s hard-earned money to God are the practical proof of real love for God. They are called karma samnyaasa and karma phala tyaga respectively, and they are the proof of devotion. They can be said to be practical devotion. Of course, the devotee can practically prove his theoretical devotion either through service or through the sacrifice of money. Service is work done for God. It is the sacrifice of one’s energy for God. Money is said to be the fruit of one’s work since we earn money in return for our work. Offering money to God is the sacrifice of the fruit of one’s work to God. Service or karma samnyaasa represents the sacrifice of energy. Karma phala tyaaga represents the sacrifice of matter since money stands for matter. Since both energy and matter are mutually interconvertible, service and sacrifice both constitute karma yoga. Both are equivalent and a person can do any one or a combination of both as per one’s convenience. Service is convenient for a renounced saint who does not earn or possess money. For a householder, a combination of the two is usually convenient. Since he earns and possesses money, he can sacrifice some money. In addition, he also has some spare time in which he can serve God. The extent to which a devotee should do this karma yoga is told as “yathaa shakti, yathaa bhakti”. This means that it can be done as per one’s capacity and as per the depth of one’s devotion. In this regard, it is very important to realize this essential truth and keep it permanently in one’s mind: God never needs any service or from souls, He never forces anyone to sacrifice anything to Him and He never has any intention to cheat any soul. The service and sacrifice are entirely voluntary from the side of the devotee who is totally free to choose. True and False Devotees and Incarnations Discourse Podcast A false devotee is one who tries to escape from the practical service and sacrifice to God. He exploits the fact that the omnipotent God is not in any real need of service or sacrifice from petty human beings. A true devotee is one who performs the practical service and sacrifice to God along with pure theoretical devotion. He completely surrenders to God in both theory and practice. He proves the theoretical devotion in His mind by practically serving God and sacrificing his money for God. A false incarnation is a glorified beggar. He cheats devotees by saying that they must do practical service and sacrifice to him for the sake of their own spiritual welfare and not because he needs it. A true Incarnation never aspires for anything from the devotee since He has absolutely no need. He accepts the service and sacrifice of the devotee in the interest of the devotee so that the devotee may be truly uplifted on the spiritual path. There are two perfect matches. The first is the true devotee and the true Incarnation and the second is the false devotee and the false incarnation. When the true devotee meets the true Incarnation, the devotee is benefited. When the false devotee meets with the false incarnation, the false incarnation is taught a good lesson. Let us also see the cross-associations. When the false devotee meets the true Incarnation, only the false devotee suffers a loss. No loss ever comes to the true Incarnation. When the true devotee meets the false incarnation, the true devotee gets cheated if the devotee is not capable of doing a proper analysis in order to recognize the true Incarnation. Just as the Incarnation tests devotees, the devotee must also test Incarnations. Tests based on sharp and intelligent analysis are needed on both sides. The customer tests the golden ornament before purchasing it from the jeweler. The jeweler also tests the currency notes given by the customer to see whether they are genuine or fake. Krishna began His preaching of the Gita with the concept of buddhi yoga , which is sharp analysis using one’s intelligence. He even ended His preaching highlighting the same point of thorough analysis (Vimrushyaitadasheshena...). This intelligent analysis must be used to test the Incarnation. The devotee must never blindly accept the knowledge given by the Incarnation. He must accept it only upon being fully convinced after a thorough analysis. Identifying the Incarnation of God How to identify a true Incarnation? Generally, people identify an Incarnation by His ability to perform miracles. People are attracted to these miracles since they are useful to solve their worldly problems. But the worldly problems are confined only to this birth. Such people realize their blunder only in the last minutes before their death when there is no time for rectification. Miracles can be done even by devils. They get miraculous powers from God through rigorous penance. The main problem with miracles is that they increase selfishness in the devotee. The devotee develops the habit of exploiting the power for solving worldly problems and getting worldly benefits. But the usefulness of these miracles is limited only this birth. Unfortunately, the selfishness developed in the devotee as a result of the miracles prevents the divine grace from working on the devotee and spoils the spiritual growth of the devotee. This is a huge loss which affects the soul in all future births. Miracles are useful to deal with scientific atheists or atheistic scientists. These are people who do not believe in God but who are capable of objective and patient analysis. They are people who accept proof and are capable of changing their opinion in the face of contrary evidence. There is no need to attempt to change adamant atheists because they will never change even if they experience miracles. They lack the ability to conduct an objective analysis or change their opinion in the face of contrary evidence. Similarly, silent pure scientists are satisfied to study only science and are not capable of inquiring about anything beyond science. There is no need to show miracles and attempt to change them either. Miracles are useful to the devotee to solve the worldly problems of the present birth. But they increase the devotee’s selfishness. Eating sweets serves the purpose of temporary pacification of hunger, but it increases the risk of diabetes! The best identification of an Incarnation has been told as the true spiritual knowledge given by Him. This divine knowledge helps souls progress in worldly life (pravrutti) by establishing justice and peace. It also helps souls progress in spiritual life (nivrutti). This true spiritual knowledge is described in the Veda as “Satyam jnaanamanantam Brahma” and in the Gita as “Jnaaniitvaatmaiva...”. Why has the true spiritual knowledge been given such total importance? The reason is that it helps in giving right direction to the soul for its temporary welfare in pravrutti as well as permanent welfare in nivrutti. A person usually has a strong fascination for worldly bonds of money, spouse and child. Driven by this fascination, he commits sins in the world. The true spiritual knowledge diverts a person’s strong fascination from the worldly bonds towards God. Thus, it prevents the person from committing sins. Then the person naturally avoids punishment in this world and in the afterworld. This is the contribution of spiritual knowledge to a person’s worldly life. As the person advances further and further in the same true spiritual knowledge, in course of time, it brings the person closer and closer to God. The person gets the opportunity of not just becoming a Human Incarnation, but also the master of God. Becoming the Human Incarnation of God is attaining monism with God, which is the goal of the monistic philosophy of Advaita. The goal of the dualistic philosophy of Dvaita is to surrender to God as a devoted servant. But God out of love treats such a surrendered devotee as His own master. Thus, the goal of dualism is higher than the goal of monism. Of course, both these fruits are given by God only to those devotees who do not aspire for any fruit from God. Hence, attachment to God is the essential starting point for success in pravrutti as well as in nivrutti. It is the railway ticket purchased right up to Delhi which represents the goal of nivrutti or spiritual life. It allows you to break the journey at the intermediate station which is pravrutti or worldly justice. If you learn spiritual knowledge, develop theoretical devotion and practice practical devotion to God, you have purchased a ticket right up to the abode of God, which is known as Brahma Loka. You can break your journey for a very short time at the intermediate station which is heaven or Svarga Loka. But if you only do good social service you have purchased a ticket only up to the intermediate station called heaven. With it, you can stay for a longer time in heaven, but you will have to return to earth thereafter. If you consider the attachment to God as nivrutti, then this nivrutti is essential from the very beginning of pravrutti. The attachment to God leads to a simultaneous detachment from worldly bonds. In the first stage of pravrutti, the attachment to God is only partial. The partial detachment from worldly bonds due to the partial attachment to God enables a person to follow the path of justice in pravrutti. The attachment to God grows and becomes complete in the latter stage of nivrutti. Both partial and full attachments to God can be called as nivrutti. Thus, spiritual knowledge, which is the starting point for developing attachment to God is the essential requirement for both the worldly path of justice and the spiritual path of devotion.
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