Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 25 Mar 2006



Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

From the beginning of the creation of this world, man was searching for God. Some people were satisfied by realizing the existence of God, which was experienced by them through some items of creation and through some important incidents in  life. They never claimed that they have detected God [known Him completely]. They had only analyzed the entire creation and found that no item of the creation is God. They declared that nobody could detect God [know His real nature]. Therefore, they concluded that God is unimaginable. But they said that God exists because they have experienced the existence of God through some items of creation, which are imaginable and through some incidents, which can be analyzed. The medium through which they experienced God can never be God. Therefore, God was unimaginable for them. This is the correct approach to God.

But some egoistic people, who were very confident of their intelligence, analyzed and declared that they detected the real nature of God. They said that the real nature of God is awareness. They mean that awareness is God Himself. In saying so, they have claimed to have imagined God and for them, who are highly intellectual, God is imaginable [even though most people may not be able to imagine Him as awareness]. But in reality, they were either egoistic in claiming to have detected the real form of God or they were impatient to accept the unimaginable God. The so-called awareness discovered by these people can never be God because awareness is not a completely unimaginable item. Of course, one has to take lot of pains in imagining the pure awareness, which is very very near to the unimaginable God. The item, which is imagined by a lot of analysis and lot of difficulty, can only be an item imaginable with great difficulty. It can be treated as almost unimaginable but it cannot be the perfectly unimaginable God.

Several statements of the Veda clearly declare that God is completely unimaginable under all circumstances. Silence alone can indicate God. Silence means that no word can be used to indicate God. In the creation every imaginable item has a specific name, which cannot be used for any other imaginable item. For example the word pot means only a particular object. The word cloth means another particular object. You cannot use one word for any other object. But God can enter any item of the creation. Therefore, the name of every item can be used to indicate God, since there is no specific word for God, who is not a specific object at all. Even if God does not enter an item, the name of that item can be used to indicate God, because you are keeping that item as a representative of God.

For example God never enters an inert planet like the sun. But the sun can still represent God due to some similarities. God removes ignorance. The sun removes darkness. The lotus buds are opened by sun. The ignorant intelligence is also enlightened by God. Therefore, the sun can represent God to some extent. Therefore, the word ‘sun’ can also represent God. Thus, in one extreme end, no word can indicate God (Yato vachah—Veda). At the other extreme end, the name of any item into which God can enter, or any item which can represent God, can be used to indicate God. All the prayers to God such as the prayer of the thousand names (Sahasra Nama), indicate God. When a word indicates God, it is the name of the medium into which either God has entered or which stands as a representative of God. This means you can experience God through a specific medium when God enters it. Alternatively, you can also imagine the experience of the existence of God through a representative item like the sun.

You can experience the existence of God through a human incarnation like Lord Krishna, because God has entered and exists in the human body of Krishna. In case of the sun, you can imagine the existence of God through the properties of the sun. Thus, there is a difference between the worship of the human incarnation and the worship of the representative item like the sun, statue etc. The Veda says that you can worship the sun as God, which means that sun is not directly God (Adityam Brahma iti… Veda). There is a difference between the direct worship of the king and the indirect worship of his photograph. In both cases the king is pleased. But in the direct worship, the king is extremely pleased because every bit of your service is experienced by the king directly. When God enters the human body, God has not become the human body. God is in the human body. Therefore, the human body is not God. You can only experience God through the human body. Therefore, by seeing the human body of the incarnation, you have not seen God, but you have only experienced God through that human body. Therefore, God is invisible. Of course, a devotee can be satisfied by treating the human body as God and can feel satisfied that he has seen God. From this angle the Veda says, “A blessed fellow has seen God” (Kaschit Dhirah…). This is only an assumption. You can assume an electric wire as the electric current because you experience the current by touching the wire anywhere. Therefore, for all practical purposes the electric wire is the current. Thus, there is a very narrow delicate margin between the reality and assumption in this case. To solve this very delicate difference, you can say that the wire is the current from the point of experience of the existence of current and thus this assumption is perfectly correct. But if you say that you have actually seen the electric current, we must say that you have seen only the wire and not the current because the current is invisible. Therefore, the conclusion is that you can experience the existence of the current through the wire but you cannot see the current actually. Thus, God’s existence is experienced through the human incarnation but God is not imagined.

The Gita says that nobody knows God (Mamtu Veda Nakaschana…). This verse establishes the complete unimaginability of God. Again the Gita says that one blessed devotee in millions, can experience the existence of God (Kaschit mam…). These two verses will contradict with each other if you say that the first verse means that nobody knows God and the second verse means that one knows God. The first verse means that the real nature or form of God cannot be known. The second verse means that the existence of God can be known. The Veda also presents these two sides. Several Vedic statements reveal that God is completely unimaginable and can never be known. In the Veda, Lord Yama says that they (great sages) have come to know that God cannot be known (yasyamatam tasyamatam). This statement indicates the point that God is completely unimaginable. The Veda again says that only the existence of God can be known (Astiityevopalabdhavyah). This statement does not contradict the first statement. Thus, the Veda and the Gita are exactly synchronized in this context.

Awareness is indicated by the words like Atman (soul) or ‘I’. Advaita scholars feel that [by detecting the Atman] they have detected the real nature or form of God, which is the awareness. No doubt, awareness is almost an unimaginable item. But it does not mean that awareness is completely unimaginable. Of course, if you cross the awareness, nothing further is known. Awareness is in the climax position of the entire creation. It is the greatest of all the items of creation and therefore it is called as Brahman. It is the greatest among all the imaginable items. These scholars say that awareness is unimaginable to the majority of people. Therefore, they say that God is unimaginable with respect to the majority, who are ignorant. [They equate God to this Awareness]. Since scholars are in minority, only scholars can know the real form of God. This is their interpretation of the above two statements in the Veda and the Gita. They do not stop here. They go one step further and say that since awareness is in every human being, if anybody knows and identifies himself with the pure awareness present in his body, he becomes God because God is pure awareness. To support this idea, they quote the Veda which says that the knower of Brahman becomes Brahman (Brahma vit Brahmaiva bhavati). They also quote the Gita that the knower is God (Jnani Tvatmaiva…). The actual meaning of this Vedic statement is that God alone is the knower of God. The scholars reverse this and say that the knower of God becomes God. Their reverse meaning contradicts the Gita, which says that nobody can know God. The Gita says that the knower is Atman, but it does not mean that the knower is God. This is because Atman is not God. This statement of the Gita only means that by self-realization one can become the Self or Atman.

Necessity of Logic

All the arguments of the Advaita scholars are perfectly correct except for one small point: that awareness or Atman is not God as they claim. Awareness is not known to the majority and therefore the soul is unimaginable to the majority. The soul is certainly known to the minority who are very sharp scholars. The Veda says that Atman is known only to sharp scholars and the Veda does not say that Atman is God in this context. The Veda says here that Atman is embedded in the human being secretly (Drushyatetvagraya…, Atma guhayam…). Awareness requires the existence of two items. One is the inert energy that is obtained from the digestion of food (Annat Purashah—Veda). The second is the nervous system, which alone can convert this inert energy in to awareness on functioning. Thus, awareness is dependent on these two items but God is independent and does not depend on any other item. Thus, the scholars who argue only based on the scriptures can also be answered about this concept based on the scriptures and logic (Tarka Shastra).

Matter (food) is converted into energy and awareness is a form of energy. Thus, matter and awareness are interconvertible. When a human being called ‘Ahalya’ was converted into an inert statue and again when the statue was converted into a human being, this interconversion is proved. When Ahalya became a stone, her soul did not go to the upper world. It remained there itself. Awareness is an item of creation and therefore exactly duplicate souls were created by Lord Krishna when some souls were stolen by Prajapati. All these points clearly show that awareness is a conversion of inert matter and a form of inert energy; it is only an item of creation.

If one accepts science, it is very easy to prove that awareness is a special form of inert energy flowing through the nervous system while functioning. A robot is just a duplicate of a human being. The current flowing in the wires is the awareness flowing in the nervous system. The information stored in the chip is exactly the information stored in the brain. The brain is a system of several microprocessors working simultaneously, which grasps all the information regarding an object in one instance. You can treat the brain as a CD [or hard disk] in which information is stored in the form of written impressions on matter or you can treat brain as the RAM (of the computer) in which the information is stored in the form of pulses of electromagnetic energy. This does not make any difference from a spiritual point of view. It is a topic of science.

Even in science a physicist does not differentiate between matter and energy. Thus, using science it is clearly proved that awareness is only inert energy which on functioning through the nervous system, gets converted to a specific form by doing a specific form of work. In fact, awareness is a form of special work done by the inert energy. Since, work is also a form of energy, all these classifications come under the topic of science alone and have no spiritual significance. But science clearly analyses every item, which is not God and helps us realize that no item in creation is God. Science analyses every item of creation and with the help of such analysis we can know that no item of creation is God.

Science cannot show what God is but it can clearly show what God is not. There is no item in creation, which cannot be analyzed by science. Therefore, no item of the creation is God. Even the so-called philosophy has not shown God. It too has only shown what God is not. The Veda says that the sages, who were the greatest philosophers, rejected every item of creation as not God (Neti Neti...). They have concluded that God is beyond words, mind, intelligence, logic and even any type of imagination. Thus, both philosophy and science fail to give any positive information about God. Thus, you should not reject both philosophy and science because even if they have not shown God, at least they have shown that no item in the creation is God. Thus, these two have helped us by preventing us from being under the illusion that some item like awareness, which is almost unimaginable, is God. At least science and philosophy could protect us from taking this wrong route. Therefore, every spiritual seeker should develop a sharp analytical faculty of logic, which means he has to study science.

In fact, any student of philosophy (Vedanta) is supposed to learn logic (Tarka Shastra). It is just like a student of physics who must learn mathematics. Some people are misleading devotees by saying that since God is beyond logic, logic should not be used. This is a very dangerous statement. This means that you should leave logic and blindly follow whatever nonsense is preached by such people. Even though logic may not help in finding the real nature of God, it will at least help in identifying and rejecting the nonsense, which are all items other than God. Thus logic prevents you from falling into the trap of such nonsense. You should have the weapon of logic in your hands so that you are not misled into the wrong path, even though logic does not show you the right path.

Therefore, all the Acharyas like Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva were great scholars of logic. All their commentaries dealt with the items, which are not God. Through powerful logic they eliminated the wrong routes and wrong items that are claimed to be God. Only by this analysis could they indirectly establish that God is completely unimaginable and that He is beyond logic. The Gita says that the Brahma Sutras with their logic can only draw conclusions (Brahma Sutra Padaischaiva…). Even in the Bible, whatever Jesus spoke was very logical and He rejected the wrong interpretations of the priests through powerful logic. Therefore, at least for this purpose, logic is useful.

Secret of the Real Nature of God

The existence of God is experienced by you due to the will and grace of the Lord. Therefore, you are able to get that much information about God. Without His will and grace, even that much information cannot be experienced by you. Beyond that, there is no will of God to realize His real nature. This is because, as long as you have some deficiency, you will not be proud. If you know the real nature of God, you will catch the hair of God in no time like the demon Bhasmasura[1]. By this you will fall in the spiritual effort. To save you from this fall, God is keeping that one secret in His hand.

The teacher of martial arts keeps one type of skill as a secret in his hands so that if the student fights with the teacher due to ego, that one secret skill can be used to defeat the student and to destroy his ego. A good student realizes this and keeps silent about that skill and he praises the teacher for his love for the student. An egoistic student tries to know that one secret skill. After some time, the egoistic student claims that, that one secret skill is also known to him by his self-discovery. But the good student condemns the egoistic student and says that the secret skill discovered by him is already known and preached by the preacher. Thus, he proves that the secret skill is always with the preacher and that every student must be humble before him. Similarly, the Advaita scholar claims that he has discovered God as the pure awareness, which is the soul. But the real Vedic scholar condemns him by saying that pure awareness is one of the imaginable items of the imaginable creation alone. Thus, the secrecy of the real nature of God is maintained and every human being must be humble before God.

If you can succeed in proving that the soul is not God, the king is defeated and the war ends. The soul is the king of all the items of creation and it is almost unimaginable. In fact, realization and achievement of the soul by limiting yourself within the boundaries of pure awareness always is a very great achievement and should be highly appreciated. Realization of the soul is called as Brahma Jnana because the soul is Brahman or the greatest item of creation, which is also called as Atma Jnana, Jnana Yoga, Sankhya Yoga, Buddhi Yoga or just Yoga. By this achievement (Yoga), one gets full liberation (Moksha) from all the worldly bonds and tensions. One will attain perfect mental health, which is the basis of physical health. Thus, Yoga is very much followed even by doctors. It is an important topic of medical science. It is only Pravritti, but it is a very important requirement for entering into Nivritti. It is like getting a good rank in the entrance examination to get a seat in a professional college. Shankara stressed on this first step, which is the basis of the other steps. If the first step is removed, all the other steps will fall down. Liberation from all worldly bonds (Moksha) is strictly the last topic of Pravritti and the first topic of Nivritti. When you are detached from the gross body, all the family bonds disappear. When you are detached from the subtle body, all the qualities disappear and therefore the jealousy and ego, which are the strongest qualities of the soul, will disappear. Only then are you eligible to recognize and serve the human incarnation of the Lord and please Him. This is the final goal of the spiritual effort. Some people say that attainment of God is the final goal. But it is not correct. Going to the office and finding the officer is not the final goal. Pleasing the officer and by that, getting your work done is the final goal. Of course, in the case of God there should be no aspiration of any selfish work, in which case alone, will all your works be done in a fraction of second.

[Shri Lakshman (Mumbai) enquired about the source of ‘I’.]

‘I’ is a pulse stored either in the inert energy or being transported by the awareness-energy. The pulse itself is a form of energy or work. Work itself is a form of energy. Therefore, the inert energy is the source of I. The entire universe is the design of only this energy. Thus, all the items of creation are forms of this energy. Even matter is a condensed form of energy. Space is energy according to the latest science. When food is eaten, it is converted into energy during digestion. This is the conversion of matter into energy since both are inter-convertible. You may treat the soul, which is indicated by I, either as inert energy or as awareness. If it is inert energy, it is eternal. If it is awareness, it is born in the morning and dies in the night during deep sleep. In any case there is no difference because awareness is a special form of work-energy that is produced by the association of the inert energy and the nervous system.

I give a very good example here. The electricity stored in the battery is permanently energy. When this electric current flows into the electric bulb, light is produced. When the switch is put off, the light disappears but still its source, the electricity stored in the battery is still energy permanently. The light is a temporary form of the electrical energy. Here the brain is the battery. The inert energy is the electricity. The nervous system is the electric bulb. The awareness is light. Light is a temporary form of electricity. Similarly, awareness is a temporary form of the eternal inert energy. The energy is in its permanent as well as temporary forms. Thus the soul can be the temporary awareness or it can be the permanent inert energy.

The word ‘inert’ is used in two senses. In one sense, the controller is always life energy or awareness and the controlled item is inert, which may be inert energy or inert matter. You can light the fire or you can put it off by pouring water. Thus, the fire-energy is in your control. But remember that when the fire attacks you, you are turned to ash against your will. Now the inert energy is the controller and the life energy is controlled. Similarly, you can change the position of a stone as per your will. You are controlling the stone. But when a big stone falls on you; you are crushed against your will. Now the stone is controlling you. Therefore, life energy and inert energy (or inert matter) are like two roommates. One may follow the other’s word and vice-versa in various contexts. In this sense, you cannot decide that awareness is always not inert. All the three items, which are the soul, the inert matter and the inert energy, are controlled by the Lord and from this angle, the awareness is always inert.

In the other sense, ‘awareness’ is defined as knowledge and ‘inert’ is defined as ignorance or absence of knowledge. In this sense also, knowledge is a special work-form of the inert energy done through the nervous system. In the inert matter or energy such nervous system is absent and therefore such special work (Awareness or knowledge) cannot be produced. The Gita says that both the awareness and the inert energy (Para and Apara) are Prakriti (creation) alone. The Gita further says that the Para is bearing this whole creation like the mud bearing the pot [mud bears the pot since mud is the cause of the pot]. This Para is material cause (Upadanam) as well as the designer-cause [also called as efficient cause] (Nimittam) of the universe. You find either inert matter or inert energy everywhere in the world. Even the inert matter is inert energy. Therefore, this entire world is only inert energy. You do not find the awareness everywhere in the world in this manner. The inert energy is continuous and awareness is discontinuous, limited to living beings here and there. How can such discontinuous awareness bear the universe? Of course, if you forget the difference between awareness and inert energy by treating both essentially as energy alone, you can call the entire energy as awareness. But remember that the word awareness here does not mean that specific energy produced in the nervous system. You do not find the nervous system spreading all over the entire universe. Therefore, the whole creation can be simplified, as one item called as inert energy and it is not the creator. It is the entire creation.

Therefore, the Veda says that God created energy (Tat Tejo…). Here energy means the entire universe. The different forms of this energy are space, air, fire, water, solid (earth) and finally the life energy and awareness. The Veda says that God created energy, and the Veda also says that God created space, air etc., in that sequence. In this context, fire is only that particular form of energy, which is a mixture of light and heat. Here fire should not be taken as the general energy. Since space is also energy, there is no contradiction in these two Vedic statements.

Therefore, in deep sleep, the pulse ‘I’ exists in the brain which may be treated as the RAM or CD (inert matter or inert energy). Even in the waking state you do not experience this pulse all the time. You speak of so many things without referring to or experiencing this I. Thus, in such times, even in the waking state, the I is stored in the inert energy-bank. In the case of a mad man, this pulse is erased after he goes mad. In the case of a child this pulse of I has not yet been created and it does not exist in inert energy-bank. Thus, this pulse may exist in the bank in the waking state or may not even exist in the bank or in the awareness. Therefore, this point is of no use in the knowledge of God and all the effort of the Advaita scholar on this topic is only catching a rat after digging a big mountain.

Several people are misled by the imperfect analysis of these Advaita scholars. People are attracted by these scholars thinking it is a chance of winning a big lottery by buying a one-rupee ticket. The scholars claim that you can become God just by realizing the soul and limiting yourself to it. Anybody can be easily attracted by the promise of earning a one crore [ten million] lottery for a one-rupee ticket. They further say that each and every one can get this fund by simply purchasing the one-rupee ticket! Thus, this is bigger than a lottery! By simply knowing one’s self, everyone becomes God! Whoever purchases the ticket, wins the one crore lottery!

The Advaita scholars want some common point between the Lord and the human being. They assume that awareness is the common point because God also wished to create the universe. A wish is the characteristic of awareness. Thus, they bring down the Lord to the logical rules of nature. In nature it is perfectly correct to say that anything, which wishes, must have life energy or awareness. But this logic fails in the case of the Lord. He can wish without being the awareness. He is all pervading without being the space. He goes everywhere without being the air etc. The Veda says that the Lord runs without feet and catches without hands (Apani Pado…). How can you detect anything about the unimaginable God? No point of God is known. Therefore, there is no question of any common point between God and a human being. All the points of the human being are known and are imaginable. Even the soul is imaginable although it may take a lot of strain to imagine. Therefore, this path is totally absurd. Even if you assume that awareness is the common point, can you become God by just that one common point? You remove all the other points from God by saying that all the items other than awareness are not true [not real; unreal or mithya] and therefore God is limited to pure awareness only, in reality. By the same argument all the other points in your self are also not true and only awareness in your self is true. Now you say that the common point, which is awareness, is only the truth. Therefore, you say that your soul is God.

This is similar to the following fantastic example. You say that both the king and you are human beings. Further, you say that all other items and points in both of you are not true. Therefore, it is true that you are the king. It is simply rejected by practical experience itself. Where is the Lord, who controls the summer sun? Where is the human being who dies by sunstroke in summer? Therefore, practical experience, scriptures and logic clearly prove that awareness is not God. But do not be discouraged by not being able to become God. By becoming the self, you become eligible to serve and please the Lord in human form. By this path you can become even the master of God what to speak of becoming God!

Radha became the master of God and Hanuman became God. Both are liberated souls and both worshipped the human form of the Lord only. Liberation is essential to enter into the service of the Lord. Service means sacrifice, which pleases the Lord to the maximum extent. Sacrifice is nothing but liberation. By passing the entrance examination you get a seat in the professional college by which you can attain the professional degree in course of time. This is what Shankara meant by stating that you can become God by realizing the self. But by passing the entrance examination the Advaita scholars want to get the professional degree directly. Somebody says “You will become an engineer if you pass the entrance examination”. Here the intermediate step of getting the seat in engineering college and studying the engineering course for four years is understood [but not mentioned]. This intermediate step is hidden for encouraging the student to concentrate on the entrance examinations. Such encouragement is not cheating the student by hiding the truth. But it shows only the extreme interest and love for the student.

Inevitability of Law of Karma

[Shri Nikhil (Florida, USA) said that a man can lose the information stored in the brain by a head injury or in a nuclear explosion. A nuclear blast should be capable of destroying any information stored in the form of matter or pulses of energy. If the information can be lost, then the impression of deeds of a person (Vasanas) which are also stored in the inert energy or matter would also be lost. In that case, the Law of Karma would be defeated because the vasanas are responsible for the action and fruits. This means the accident or death in a nuclear explosion could give complete liberation to a person by erasing his file of Karma. Then the spiritual effort would be a waste.]

The answer for this is that you must distinguish between the three basic qualities (Satvam, Rajas and Tamas) and the Vasanas, which are the elaborated branches of these three fundamental qualities. No doubt the Vasanas (information) are erased by such shocks. But the Vasanas are reduced into their sources, which are the three basic qualities (Satvam, Rajas and Tamas). When the Vasanas are erased, the intensity of the corresponding basic quality increases and according to the intensity of that quality, the fruits are rendered. The three basic qualities with specific intensities [relative proportions] constitute the code language, which brings the fruits on decoding in heaven or hell. This point can be explained by a small example. Two murderers are destroyed in a nuclear explosion. The detailed information of their crimes is erased from the souls. But the basic quality of the murderer, which is Rajas is increased in intensity according to the proportion of Vasanas. Suppose the first criminal murdered ten good people. The Rajas in him will be 1010. Suppose the second criminal murdered six good people. The intensity of his Rajas is 106. In hell, Chitra Gupta [the divine accountant of souls’ Karma] decodes this basic quality and accordingly the punishment is ordered by Lord Yama. Thus, the detailed information of each case is not required in the divine system. Such information is only required by the court here, which cannot detect the basic qualities. These three basic qualities are a more powerful form of energy and cannot be erased by the nuclear energy. In the final destruction of the world also (Maha Pralaya), these three qualities remain in the subtlest state, which bear the entire plan of the universe. Such a state of the qualities is called as Avyaktam [unmanifest], which means that the state is not expressed. During that time, all the individual souls remain along with their own information in the condensed form of the three qualities. When the creation restarts, the whole universe is expressed in the same design and the souls are also expressed according to their previous proportions of the three qualities as said in the Veda (Dhata Yathapurvam…)

[1] Bhasmasura