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  1. Why are miracles shown only to certain blessed devotees and not to others? Miracles are shown to some great blessed devotees for inspiring them for God’s work. What about others, who are also willing to do God’s work? Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! A doctor adopts different treatment methods to cure different patients depending on the specific needs of each patient. He might give oral tablets to a patient who can digest the medicine. He might give an injection to another patient who has a weak digestive system, so that the medicine directly enters his bloodstream. The reason for second patient’s poor digestion might be that he had already been given oral antibiotics, which caused hyperacidity. The first patient should not misunderstand the doctor of being partial to the second patient since the injection given to the second patient will cure his disease faster. The treatment method depends on various aspects of the patient’s condition. God is also called the doctor for curing the disease of worldly fascination (Bhavaroga Vaidya). The patient cannot be the judge of which treatment is to be adopted by the doctor. The doctor alone is the best judge of which treatment should be given to which patient. Jesus told the doubting Thomas that those who believed in God without witnessing any miracles are far more blessed than those who believe in God after witnessing the miraculous power of God. After crucifixion, Jesus reappeared before His disciples and Thomas doubted the Jesus who stood before him. Jesus showed him the wounds on His hands caused by the nails during the crucifixion and told him the above statement. Miracles are meant for the devotees who are in the lowest state of theism as well as for atheists. Devotees believe in God. But they feel uncomfortable in believing that a specific human being is God. Actually, the same God, in whom they believe, has come as that Human Incarnation. These devotees are in a mixed state of belief and doubt. They require the Human Incarnation of God to exhibit a miracle before believing in Him. Miraculous powers are certainly used by God to help real devotees overcome their worldly problems, if He has the hope that they will progress spiritually after getting relief from their worldly stress. But this hope should come from the side of God and not from the side of devotee. God alone knows the past, present and future of any soul (Tānyahaṃ veda sarvāṇi…—Gita). But there is one objection to miracles. Even a demon can perform a miracle because he might have obtained that power from God through long and severe penance. Even certain devilish people get some miraculous powers by worshiping ghosts. Hence, performing miracles cannot be the sole identity-mark of a Human Incarnation. Moreover, miracles can lead devotees on the wrong path. The miracles increase their selfishness and fascination towards the world because many miracles are done by the Incarnation in response to devotees’ ardent prayers to solve their worldly problems. Devotees, thus, use the Incarnation’s miraculous powers for solving their worldly problems, which increases their selfishness and attachment to the world. When one problem is solved, a hundred other problems flare up. It is just like the fire, which is not quenched by pouring ghee (clarified butter) in it, but instead flares up even more. So, miracles have harmful side-effects. The unique identity-mark of the Incarnation is true and excellent spiritual knowledge (Prajñānam Brahma—Veda, Jānītvātmaiva—Gita). No one other than the Human Incarnation of God possesses it. Besides, it does not have harmful side-effects like miracles. Apart from identifying the Human Incarnation, the true and excellent spiritual knowledge has beneficial side-effects. It leads to the spiritual progress of the devotees. It gives the right direction to devotees, decreasing their selfishness and fascination for worldly bonds. It also simultaneously increases their attraction towards God. Krishna showed the miracle of the cosmic vision to Arjuna because Arjuna was in doubt whether Krishna was actually God. Arjuna clearly expressed his doubt to Krishna in the Gita (Kathametat vijānīyām—Gita). Arjuna, by himself, was highly devoted to Krishna. He was the reborn sage Nara and Krishna was the reborn sage Narāyaṇa, who was a Human Incarnation of God. But Arjuna doubted the divinity of Krishna in that birth because he was playing the role of an ordinary human devotee, who believes in God, but disbelieves in the human form of God due to the repulsion between common media. Hence, we have to say that the level of Arjuna’s devotion in the Gita was very low. When the patient is in such a low state, injecting him with the medicine of the biggest miracle such as the cosmic vision becomes inevitable. Let us take the case of Rādhā. She was in the highest state of devotion since she had sacrificed all her worldly bonds for the sake Krishna. Suppose, the same Rādhā blames Krishna by saying “You have shown such a big miracle to the great deserving Arjuna. You never showed such a miracle to me. Perhaps, I am undeserving”. How can we understand this situation? We will be forced to conclude that even though Rādhā is in the highest state of devotion, the poor Rādhā is affected by the divine māyā of Krishna. That is why she is speaking like this due to meaningless jealousy towards Arjuna! The devotees who have not seen Krishna’s miracle of the cosmic vision, can ask Arjuna about his experience of the miracle. They can believe that the miracle really happened because Arjuna is a truthful fellow-devotee. Gaining knowledge in this manner from close well-wishers is considered to be an authority of knowledge (śabda pramāṇam). Is it necessary that you should see everything with your own eyes and only then believe? Suppose your father has travelled to Mumbai city and he tells you all the interesting things about the city, do you not believe him? Do you say to him “I will not believe you unless I see everything with my eyes”. Do you not have even the least faith in your own father? If you cannot believe him, you are just like the mad atheist! The true spiritual knowledge is indeed far far greater than miraculous powers. Several devotees were greatly attracted to the satsaṅga of Shri Paramahamsa. One day, He was crossing the river Ganges by boat for which he paid just two rupees to the boatman. At the same time, a saint, who had acquired miraculous powers from God, crossed the river by walking over the water. After both had crossed the river, the saint proudly told Paramahamsa that he had spent thirty years to attain that miraculous power. Shri Paramahamsa calmly replied that the value of the saint’s thirty-year penance was just two rupees! In contrast with this saint, Śaṅkara, due to His excellent spiritual knowledge, became famous as the World Preacher (Jagadguru) in thirty-two years! Jesus said that one should not test the omniscient and omnipotent God by asking Him to show a miracle as a proof of His divinity. The poor fellow who asks God to prove Himself through miracles, is ignorant. He is an innocent and emotional person, who does not know that miracles are not the real proof of the divinity of God because even demons and evil people who are experts at black magic, can perform miracles. One should test the spiritual knowledge of the preacher to identify whether or not he is God. Shirdi Sai said that you should not test the preacher by asking questions whose answers are well-known to you. Instead, you should ask your genuine doubts in the spiritual knowledge after offering your salutations to the preacher, in full surrender, and after doing some sacrificial service to the preacher. You cannot rely only on miracles for the identification of God since they can also be experienced elsewhere from undivine persons. This is called ativyāpti. Ativyāpti is the defect or error in knowing something because the cause or the indicator (hetu) is also found in some other unintended result (sādhya). For example: Horns are taken as the cause of the identification of a cow (result). But horns are also present in a buffalo. Similarly, if miracles are taken as the cause of the identification of divinity (result), the same cause also exists in the case of a demon, which is another result. In fact, even though Rāma did not perform any miracle, the sages recognized Rāma as God. This is an example of avyāpti. Avyāpti is the error in knowing something when the stated cause or indicator is not found in the anticipated result. Miracles, which were assumed to be the cause of the identification of God, were not found in Rāma, even though He was an Incarnation of God. Another example of avyāpti is as follows: Saying that a white-colored skin is the identifying characteristic (cause) of a cow (result) is an avyāpti. This is because, we know that there are cows with red and black colours also. The white color is not necessary for the animal to be a cow. For accurate identification or authoritative knowledge (pramāṇam), one must carefully analyze and ensure that the identification is free from the errors of both ‘avyāpti’ and ‘ativyāpti’. In the case of miracles as an indicator of divinity, ativyāpti occurs because divinity can be absent, even though miracles are exhibited. Similarly, avyāpti also occurs because divinity can exist, even though no miracle is exhibited. The correct indicator (cause) for identifying the Indian cow is the prominent loosely-hanging skin below the throat, called the dewlap. A prominent dewlap is found in all Indian cows without exception and so, there is no defect of avyāpti. Also, no other animal has such a prominent dewlap like the Indian cow. So, there is no defect of ativyāpti. Thus, the Indian cow (gotvam jātiḥ) can be faultlessly identified by the presence of a prominent dewlap. Can we say that the unimaginable nature is the correct inherent characteristic by which we can unmistakably identify God? If you say so, the question comes as to how the visible-imaginable Krishna could exhibit God’s unimaginable nature. This objection can be resolved by saying that the unimaginable God merged with Krishna and showed the unimaginable nature. Krishna, the visible-imaginable human being-component in the Incarnation, did not exhibit the unimaginable nature. If the unimaginable nature were inherent in all human beings who are visible and imaginable, all human beings would have exhibited it. But it is not so. In the case of Krishna, we say that the unimaginable God merged with Krishna with perfect homogeneity. So, there is perfect monism between the unimaginable God and Krishna. Some may argue that since the unimaginable God is capable of even separating from the selected human being, a perfect monism cannot be accepted. Our response to this argument is that whether to have perfect monism with the selected human being or not, completely depends on the will of God. In some Human Incarnations like Krishna and some Energtic Incarnations like Datta, the monism is perfect and the unimaginable God never separates from the medium in which He has merged. In other Human or Energetic Incarnations, the merging of God with the medium might have perfect monism as far as the limits of our understanding are concerned. But beyond the limits of our imagination, some dualism may exist between God and those media. Since that dualism is beyond our imagination, from our point of view, the monism between God and the medium is perfect in the case of all Incarnations. If God never separates from the medium in a certain Incarnation, there is certainly perfect monism. But even if God separates from the medium in a particular Incarnation, there is still monism from our point of view since that dualism is beyond the limits of our imagination. This should be our conclusion about the analysis of a Human Incarnation. The Incarnation cannot even be said to be like a eutectic alloy of two metals. The eutectic alloy, after all, remains only as a homogenous mixture of two components at the molecular level. It never becomes a single item with perfect monism. Depending on the will of God, a Human Incarnation may be like a mixture (eutectic alloy) or like a single item with perfect monism. Miracles can sometimes even bring blame to God. Krishna gave life to the son of sage Sāndipani whereas He did not give life to His own nephew, Abhimanyu, who got killed in the war. Subhadrā misunderstood her brother Krishna and blamed Him for not bringing her son, Abhimanyu, back to life, even though Krishna was capable of doing so. Krishna told her that the original unimaginable God present in Him in a merged state, was not willing to do that miracle. He said that He was only a puppet in the hands of the absolute unimaginable God. The actual hidden reason for not bringing Abhimanyu back to life was that Abhimanyu was an incarnation of a demon. So, in His mind, Krishna was actually very happy about the death of Abhimanyu. The omniscient God has a million angles to analyze in a situation, before deciding to perform a miracle or not. We can analyze any situation only from two or three angles, at the maximum. We can never understand the final decision of God and we often misunderstand Him.
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