Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 12 Nov 2019

     

What is meant by salvation?

Does salvation mean relief from this cycle of births and deaths? Why are we unable to develop real love for God, without the aspiration for any fruit in return? [This question is part of a mahā satsaṅga or a great spiritual discussion between Swami and several devotees who had come from various places, seeking the clarification of their doubts.]

Swami replied: Salvation (mokṣa) means the relief from worldly bonds. It happens only by yoga, which means attachment to God. The root-word of yoga is ‘yuj’ and it means attachment. The root word of mokṣa is ‘muñc’ and it means detachment. When you are strongly attached to one item, other items naturally drop off. Salvation cannot be attained by any forced effort. Mokṣka or salvation is possible only through yoga, otherwise, it is impossible. The mind cannot simply keep silent without being attached to something. Such complete detachment from everything is possible only in the unconscious state of a coma. But a coma is not called salvation. Even a stone is in the state of such salvation! Being aware and having a strong attachment to God are the essential pre-requisites for attaining salvation.

People often misunderstand salvation to be the soul’s escape from the cycle of rebirth in this world. It is totally wrong. Even God takes rebirth in this world, again and again. Are you greater than God to avoid the cycle of rebirths? God says that His birth and activities in this world are divine (Janma karmaca me divyaṃ...—Gita). Taking birth along with God and participating in His divine service in this world is the real salvation. It means that the soul will not be attached to worldly bonds in such births. When an ordinary soul is born in the world, it is fully attached to worldly bonds. But the soul in the state of salvation or liberation, is not bound by worldly bonds, whenever it is born on Earth. In that sense, it is said that the soul has escaped rebirth in this world. Actually, the soul does not avoid rebirth; it merely avoids being reborn with attachment to worldly bonds. Such liberated souls are reborn in this world again and again to do God’s work. They remain fully attached to God in each birth.

The most important point is that the salvation from worldly bonds should be achieved without any effort, as a natural consequence of the strong attachment to God. This strong attachment also comes without any effort because the divine personality of God is so attractive that you will be attached to God as soon as you come to know everything about God after removing all your doubts. Of course, in the initial stage, you have to put forth a little bit effort. You have to set aside your worldly bonds for a little time, in order to know about God. Attachment to God is bhakti yoga. It is the natural consequence of jñāna yoga, which is getting complete knowledge about God. Karma yoga is the practical proof of your real attachment to God and is part of bhakti yoga itself. Rukmiṇī came to know the complete information about the divine personality of Krishna from sage Nārada. The word Nārada means the giver of the knowledge about God. This knowledge produced attachment to Krishna in the heart of Rukmiṇī. As a result, Rukmiṇī took the practical step of sending a messenger to Krishna, asking Krishna to marry her. Jñāna yoga was given by Śaṅkara. Bhakti yoga was given by Rāmānuja and karma yoga was given by Madhva. These three Divine Preachers came in this exact sequence in time to gradually uplift devotees. Reaching Krishna by developing complete attachment to Him is yoga and the effortless detachment from everything and everybody else is salvation (mokṣa). King Parīkṣit got this salvation in seven days and king Khatvāṅga got it in just 48 minutes! It all depends on the quality of the devotee’s heart.

The attraction to the personality of God should be the basis of one’s devotion to God. People say that Dr. Ambedkar opposed the worship of any personality. The objection is valid if the personality being worshipped is an ordinary human being. We see many such cases in politics. But the objection to personality-worship does not apply in the case of spirituality. As per spiritual knowledge, God comes in human form like Rāma, Krishna etc., to guide humanity in the right direction. Parents and elders in society introduce God to us from our very childhood. But they do not introduce God to us as the greatest Personality having the climax of divine qualities, by which we would have naturally developed attraction towards God. Instead, they introduce God to us as a means of fulfilling our selfish desires. They say, we can worship God to get His grace, so that our desires will be fulfilled. The worship of God is an expression of our devotion. However, the common ways of worship fall into two categories: prostitute-devotion or business-devotion. Prostitute-devotion means, the devotee prays to God or sings songs in His praise and in exchange for giving his words and mind to God, he expects practical boons from God. This is not devotion, but an attempt to exploit God. Business devotion is slightly better. In it, the devotee sacrifices (donates) something to God and in exchange for that practical sacrifice, he expects some practical boons from God. Both these types of devotion are not real love for God. They are need-based forms of love for God.

The real devotion for God that should have been taught to us by our elders is called issue-devotion. It is the type of love that we have for our issues (children). In this type of devotion, the devotee offers both theoretical and practical offerings to God. Theoretical offerings are the expression of devotion in words and using the mind. Practical offerings are in terms of practically working for Him and sacrificing one’s hard-earned wealth. Both theoretical and practical devotion to God must be free of the aspiration for any fruit in return. We praise our issues with loving words (theoretical). We also practically serve them and sacrifice our wealth for them without aspiring for any fruit in return. We should have that kind of devotion for God. Such real devotion for God can be attained only when the soul is attracted to the divine personality of God like a mad fan who is attracted to a political leader or to a cinema hero. The fan even sacrifices his own life when that leader or hero dies! The fan does not get any benefit from that leader or hero and the fan also does not have any aspiration for getting any benefit in return. Developing such real love for God now, poses a lot of psychological difficulties, because, since our childhood, we are only accustomed to need-based love for God.

| Shri Dattaswami | moksha munch Janma karmacha me divyam Khatvaanga Ramanuja Shankara Jnanayoga