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Sankara gave a lot of importance to knowledge.


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Sankara gave a lot of importance to knowledge. He said that if knowledge is complete, the goal is achieved (Jnanadevatu Kaivalyam). You may think that the knowledge cannot give the fruit directly and it should give devotion which leads into service.


But if knowledge is complete, the devotion, the service and pleasing God are automatic spontaneous consequences. Rukmini got all the information about Krishna from Narada which is the stage of knowledge. Then she developed attraction to Krishna which is the devotion. By the devotion, she could attain Krishna. Gita said that one can attain God by devotion. But achievement is not the final goal. Pleasing the God is the final goal. For her devotion, the aim was to serve Krishna and not to become queen of Dwaraka.


The devotion of most of the devotees is only to attain some fruit. That is not real devotion. The real devotion expects service. Service to God itself is fruit and there cannot be another fruit for the fruit. Rukmini being the incarnation of Maha Lakshmi sat at the feet of the Lord and pressed His feet. That was the aim of Her devotion. The Lord made Maha Lakshmi as the deity of the infinite wealth which is this entire universe. Generally, even with little wealth, the eyes come up on the head. But being the possessor of such infinite wealth, she sits at the divine feet of the Lord and acts as a slave.


She is giving us message that the fruit of the devotion should be service to Lord and not attaining the wealth. Service is the proof of devotion which is the practical philosophy. The importance of knowledge (Jnana Yoga) is that if the knowledge is intensively complete, the determination and the subsequent service are spontaneous. Therefore there is no gap between the complete knowledge and practice. If the realization is complete, practice (service) is a spontaneous consequence. There is no time gap and there is no need of any effort.


When the knowledge is intensive and complete, such state is said to be realization. If the knowledge is not deep and not complete, we should not use the word realization. Often people think that knowledge and practice are different. It is not correct. If the knowledge (Jnana) is complete, devotion (Bhakti) is spontaneous effect. Such devotion is also intensive and complete. The immediate consequence of such devotion is service. Sankara says that knowledge and devotion are not separate (Paramartha Jnana Lakshana Sampannam Bhaktim). Therefore it means that complete knowledge means complete devotion.


The proof of devotion (love) is only service as you can see in the case of your children. Your love on them is expressed only through service to them. In their case, there is no theoretical love. You are not chanting the name of your child, you are not singing about your child. All these forms of false devotion appeared only in the case of God. I say it is false because there is no sacrifice or service as found in the case of children. Therefore devotion itself means service Therefore knowledge; devotion and service are the three alternative words for the same meaning. Sankara preached about knowledge.


Ramanuja preached about devotion. Madhva preached about service. This means that Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva are the three incarnations of the same Lord Datta. Thus if knowledge is intensive and complete, you have reached the goal as said by Sankara. The Lord praised the knowledge at the very outset in Gita. Therefore concentrate on the divine knowledge and propagate it so that all other souls also reach the goal along with you.


At the Lotus Feet of His Holiness Sri Dattaswami


Anil Antony



Universal Spirituality for World Peace


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