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  1. Spiritual Knowledge Vs Religious Knowledge Knowledge is of two types. Simply hearing the greatness and qualities of the Lord belongs to the plane of mind only and this is the religious knowledge. By such knowledge, you will develop devotion to the Lord. Such knowledge is like fertilizer to grow the plant (devotion). But doubts and repulsions caused by jealousy and egoism are like insects, which attack the plant. The fertilizer cannot kill the insects. Therefore, the plant does not grow and does not become strong. When the Lord conduct tests, this plant falls on the earth by the powerful wind. If the insects are killed the plant will become a huge strong tree and will not even shake. Only pesticide can kill the insects. This pesticide is the spiritual knowledge, which alone can kill the insects. Both the fertilizer and the pesticide are chemicals. Thus, both religious and spiritual knowledge belong to Jnana Yoga only. Both should simultaneously exist as said in Gita (Bodhayantah Parasparam, Kathayantascha…). Bodha refers to spiritual knowledge and Katha refers to religious knowledge. When the qualities of Krishna were heard by Rukmini from sage Narada, she developed devotion by such religious knowledge. The good qualities and the beauty of the Lord are the religious knowledge, which attracted her. But she also heard that Krishna was a thief of butter and danced with Gopikas in Brundavanam during nights. This is the bacterial insect that attacks the devotion. Sage Narada gave her the spiritual knowledge also, which killed the insect. She came to know that Gopikas were sages, who requested the Lord for liberation from all worldly bonds like money, husband etc. By steeling the butter, their bond with money was cut. By attracting their minds through dance, their bonds with their husbands were cut. Krishna never repeated this anywhere with anybody. Since, their bonds were cut, He never returned back to Brundavanam and never repeated this with Gopikas. The Lord inside the body of Krishna is Infinite Ocean of bliss and does not require any external object for receiving happiness. Thus, the religious knowledge belongs to the external human body only and this spiritual knowledge belongs to the eternal Lord present in the body. The external human body perishes like the shirt, but internal Lord is eternal like the person who wears the shirt. Religious knowledge belong to “flesh” or the human body (Manusheem Tanum….) and the spiritual knowledge belongs to the “God” or the Lord who entered the human body (Asritam..). Unless we have the knowledge of both, the external and internal items, your devotion cannot be eternal. God or Lord is the name of the internal item. Jesus, Krishna etc., is the name of the external human body. These, external names are given only when those bodies appeared. But the name of internal item, which is God or Lord, existed even before those bodies appeared. The name, which generated along with the generation of a human body, must end when the body perishes. But the eternal name continuous forever. If this spiritual knowledge is understood, all the quarrels between all the religions will disappear. For the generation of the devotion, the external body and its qualities are required like the fertilizer. If you put the pesticide without the fertilizer, the seed is killed without any germination. Similarly, if you develop only the spiritual knowledge without the religious knowledge, there is no devotion in your heart. The unimaginable God can never develop devotion in your mind. You cannot even think about God. You can never serve the God. Therefore, the devotion can never be generated. The seed will never germinate. The Advita scholars have lot of pesticide but not even a trace of fertilizer. The seed of devotion is killed by such pesticide and therefore they can never enjoy the fruit of the tree finally. Gita is a mixture of both fertilizer and pesticide. Upanishads are pesticide (Nirgunam). Ramayanam, Bhagavatam etc., are the fertilizer (Sagunam). Both are equally important. Without religious knowledge the devotion can never be even generated and without the spiritual knowledge the devotion can never grow. Therefore, it is meaningless to think of the importance of devotion without the help of knowledge. Sankara stressed on the knowledge and Ramanuja stressed on devotion. Both are equally important and essential. www.universal-spirituality.org Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  2. Paths of knowledge, devotion and action Dr. Nikhil asked ‘Somebody is telling that the paths of knowledge, devotion and action are not linked because the scholars follow the path of knowledge and illiterate follow the path of devotion and service (action)”. Swami replied: As already told by Me, you should not allow the loose statement of anybody without subjecting it to sharp analysis. It is already clearly established that the knowledge, devotion and action are linked even in the worldly issues (Pravrutti) and in spiritual knowledge (Nivrutti). As an example in Pravrutti, if you like to go to see Mumbai, your liking is basically kindled by information of the details of Mumbai. Then, the knowledge of the details of the path of journey to Mumbai is essential to travel in correct direction. The knowledge of yourself is also important to differentiate yourself from Mumbai. From the details of Mumbai it is already established that Mumbai is a city. You must know that you are a human being and not the Mumbai city. Since you are different from the Mumbai city there is possibility of your journey to Mumbai city. If you are already Mumbai there is no need of your journey to Mumbai. This part is knowledge, which is essential for your attraction to Mumbai and for planning your journey in correct way. Without this knowledge, you will not have even the intention to travel to Mumbai and even if you travel you will be mislead to leave the right track. Your journey or the action alone can give the fruit of reaching Mumbai and seeing it. As an example in Nivrutti, Rukmini loved Krishna only after hearing the details of Krishna from Narada. This love to God or devotion cannot be generated in the absence of the knowledge about God. Once you see the devotion in a person, you must infer the existence of the divine knowledge in that soul, which is the cause of devotion. This love or devotion made Rukmini to put practical efforts to attain Krishna. Thus, devotion is cause of the action. Due to her sincere practical effort (action) she could reach Krishna and could become His wife. Such fruit is the result of her action. Therefore, in both Pravrutti and Nivrutti the knowledge, the devotion and the action are interlinked and form as the three interlinked stepping stones to reach the fruit. If you find the devotion in a person without the effort for knowledge, you should not mistake that the devotion can come without knowledge. It is impossible. In such case, already the knowledge is associated with the soul, which was built up in the previous birth. Gopikas are devotees of God in this birth. The back ground of this devotion, which is the spiritual knowledge was already established in the previous birth in which these Gopikas were sages putting sincere efforts for acquiring the correct knowledge. A devotee having the devotion must already be the scholar of knowledge and surely becomes the servant doing the action in the form of service. Therefore, a born devotee or servant must be a scholar in the previous birth. Knowledge is not related to the education or literacy. It is related to the wisdom of the person. A person, who is illiterate, need not be unwise. Sometimes, a scholar is also unwise, who does not grasp the essence of knowledge and fails to practice it. The essence of knowledge can be explained in layman’s language even to the illiterate as you can see in the Gospel of Jesus or the Gospel of Rama Krishna Parama Hamasa. He can teach essence of spiritual knowledge with perfect similes. The complicated details of certain topics in depth are not necessary for illiterate since such complicated details come only in the sharp analysis to be used to clarify the complicated doubts that arise only in the intellectual brain. Such context will never come in the case of the illiterates. There is no need of such complicated details in the way of the implementation of the essence of spiritual knowledge. But, in one angle, it is better that even illiterate knows those details also. Such details also can be preached with slow speed by repeating several times in layman’s language with the help of perfect similes. Such induction of the details of knowledge in depth protects the illiterates from the exploitation coming from the intellectuals. In such case, the devotees are never mislead. The strong devotion gives the inference of already existing strong knowledge. Shankara says that the devotion is always associated with the spiritual knowledge as characteristic. Since knowledge is the cause, it should be always in the devotion like the earth in the pot or gold in jewel. In one place in Gita Lord Krishna says that the topper is the scholar. In another place same Krishna says that the topper is a devotee. There can be only one topper in the superlative degree. Therefore, Shankara says in His commentary that knowledge and devotion are one and the same. When the correct knowledge is associated with sufficient power of devotion the action is sure. Hence, the service is also spontaneously generated. Therefore, a scholar can alone become the devotee and the devotee alone can become the servant. The servant alone can attain the fruit. Therefore, once you become a scholar with correct knowledge, you are sure to attain the fruit as said by Shankara (Jnana deva tu kaivalyam). The intermediate steps like devotion and service are not mentioned since you are sure to pass through those two steps spontaneously after the first step (knowledge). Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva established these three stepping stones, which are linked in sequence establishing the unity of philosophy in these great divine preachers. They are not separate preachers for different sects of followers. Every spiritual aspirant has to follow these three preachers in the sequence of time like passing through school, college and university. These three are the incarnations of the three divine Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. These three divine Lords are linked and mutually co-related in the form of Lord Dattatreya. This itself is a proof for the link between knowledge, devotion and action (service) preached by Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva respectively. www.universal-spirituality.org Universal Spirituality for World Peace
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