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Among knowledge, devotion and practice, which is the most important?


dattaswami
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Among knowledge, devotion and practice, which is the most important?

[Reply to a question by Shri J. Prasad, Professor of Sanskrit, Central University, Hyderabad] Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! The first step is the attainment of the Sadguru and the attainment of complete spiritual knowledge from Him, which includes getting all doubts clarified from Him. This first step is the slowest step in the sense that this step takes almost all the time. The second step is the attainment of devotion which is a result of the spiritual knowledge. The third step is the attainment of practice, which is the proof of devotion. The fourth step is the attainment of the fruit of that practice. The second, third and fourth steps spontaneously take place after the completion of knowledge. They take a fraction of the time taken by the first step of knowledge. Knowledge is the slowest among all the steps taking many years and even many births. The spiritual process can be compared to a chemical reaction in which reactants are converted to products after passing through several steps. Reaction kinetics is the study of the rates of conversion of the reactants to products. When the first step of the reaction is the slowest, the time taken by the overall reaction to complete is determined by that first step. That slowest first step is called the rate determining step. The spiritual process is similar. The overall process begins with the attainment of complete spiritual knowledge from the Sadguru and ends in the attainment of salvation, after passing through two intermediate steps. The time taken for the overall process is determined by the time taken for the first step in the process. The subsequent steps follow almost immediately.

This means that once you attain complete spiritual knowledge from the Sadguru, you have attained salvation. It does not literally mean that the attainment of complete spiritual knowledge itself is the salvation. But it means that once the spiritual knowledge is attained from the Sadguru, the attainment of devotion from the spiritual knowledge, the attainment of practice from the devotion and the attainment of salvation from the practice result spontaneously and immediately. Hence, we say that the attainment of true spiritual knowledge itself is the attainment of salvation. This is the meaning of Śankara’s statement that salvation results from true spiritual knowledge (Jñānādeva tu kaivalyam).

 

 

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-By Shri Datta Swami
(Visit our website: www.universal-spirituality.org)
Universal Spirituality for World Peace

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