Shri Datta Swami

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UNIVERSAL SPIRITUALITY FOR WORLD PEACE - OVERVIEW

Posted on: 01 Jan 2003
O Learned and Devoted Servants of God,

Swami in different avatarsThe same Swami appeared in the decorations of Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Scientist, Rama, Krishna, Shiva etc., to show that the same God exists in different incarnations. Unfortunately in the pictures of Gods [or the past human incarnations] such a concept is not obvious. When we see different pictures or images of Gods, they appear quite different from each other and give the psychological impression that the ‘Gods’ are different. Even in Hinduism, in which the same God is supposed to have taken different forms, this concept is not clearly reflected. The face being the important identity of any person, uniformity in the faces of different incarnations of God is essential. This alone will bring out the true concept. It has not been done with the idea of self-projection or self-advertisement. This is done with the background of the most important concept that all the forms of God, not only in Hinduism but also in other religions, are merely different roles taken up by the same Actor, who is the Universal God.

Do Hell and Heaven Exist?

This universe is infinite. I am unable to show the existence of these super worlds to you. I accept my My incapacity. But you are also incapable of directly proving the non-existence of these super worlds. Have you searched all over the universe and said “Here ends the universe. Beyond this point there is no universe. This is the compound-wall of space. Your super worlds do not exist anywhere”? Therefore, there is an equal chance for the existence and non-existence of the super worlds according to the theory of probability. Now let us analyze both our cases. Both of us are eating to live. The basic needs are satisfied in both our cases. You have spent your extra time in earning more money, which may give you some problems of health like diabetes and blood pressure, due to over-enjoyment. I have not earned more money and I am healthy due to normal food. None of us will carry the money with us after death. The money given to the children may also be lost in several ways. Therefore, I do not find much difference between us, once the basic needs are satisfied. I am poor because I have spent My extra time in the service of God. Suppose after My death, you are correct and there are no super worlds. In such a case what I have lost? There is no loss for me. But after your death, suppose I am correct and there are super worlds. You have lost every thing and God will not save you. Thus, even if we assume equal probability of existence and non-existence of heaven and hell, it is better to serve the Lord by sacrificing your extra time and energy for the Lord, after meeting your basic needs. You must read the theory of probability, which is perfectly a scientific theory.

Which is the True Religion?

If you say that your religion is the only path to God and that other paths lead to hell, I have one humble question for you. This question applies to followers of every religion without any trace of partiality. The simple question is: Today I have heard about your religion and if I follow it, I reach God while if I refuse, I will go to the hell for my own fault. This is very much reasonable. But before your ancestors discovered the country I come from, the scriptures or even the name of your religion was not known to My ancestors and they could not reach God for no fault of theirs. On the other hand, your ancestors followed your religion and reached God at that time. Even if I assume that My ancestors will take rebirth in the present time and will follow your religion to reach God, such a possibility is ruled out because you say that there is no rebirth for the soul. Thus My ancestors suffered forever for no fault of theirs. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that God must be partial. Had God been impartial, He would have revealed your religion to all countries at the same time. Had that happened, My ancestors might have also reached God as your ancestors did. Therefore your statement proves your own God to be partial.

The only way to make your God impartial is that you must accept that your very God appeared in all the countries in various forms at the same time and preached that only true path of your religion, in various languages. He did not appear in the same form everywhere and neither did He preach in the same language. However the subject matter was the same—divine knowledge. The syllabus and explanations were one and the same, though the media of instruction (languages), external looks and names of teachers were different. Thus the religion that God gave to your people and country is not different from the religion that the same God gave to other people in other countries in different languages. Can you give any alternative reasonable answer to my My question other than this? Certainly not! Whenever you claim your religion to be the one and only path to God and whenever you condemn other paths, remember that any person belonging to any religion can pose this question to you.

Moreover every religion claims that their God alone created this world. Unfortunately this world is only one and every God cannot create the same world; there are not many worlds to justify each God creating His own world. Therefore any human being with an iota of commonsense has to agree that there is only one impartial God who created this one world. He alone came in different forms to different countries and preached the same path in all the languages, simultaneously at one time.

Sword of divine knowledge

Let the sword of the divine knowledge and logic cut the rigid conservatism of religious fans [fanatics] in this world to establish universal peace. I need not beg all these religious followers to be united and harmonious with each other for the sake of world peace. Enough of such begging and appealing was done in the past. The religious fans feel that although there is no unity in the religions in reality, they have to be united, since their kind hearts are melted by these appeals. Thus only temporary changes were brought about by such appeals. At the most, a generation of the followers remained united. The next generation resumed their fights with each other because they felt that there was never any real unity between the religions. They feel so due to lack of unity in their religious scriptures. Thus a permanent solution for this does not lie in appeals, which may or may not unite the followers of different religions, and even if they do unite them, the unity will be only temporary. Only when the real unity in all the religious scriptures is revealed through a logical analysis of divine knowledge, the followers will be united for generations together. Therefore, My attack is not on the hearts of the followers through love and kindness. My attack is through the intellectual logical analysis of divine knowledge given in all the religious scriptures. Unity of hearts through love can only be temporary. Unity of brains through intellectual analysis of divine knowledge alone will be permanent. Hearts agree but brains realize. Agreement is temporary, but realization is permanent. Thus this is the first trumpet of My divine conch for the permanent unity of all the religions aimed at eternal Universal Peace.

Learning from Each Other

Suppose a teacher has two students. The first one is good in theory and the second one is good in laboratory practicals. The teacher wishes that both the students should exchange their efficiencies so that both become proficient in both the fields. The teacher is equally skilled in both the fields and is teaching the theory and demonstrating the practicals in a uniform way to both the students. The variation in the skills of the students came due to different psychologies of the two students.

God is like that one teacher. The divine knowledge in the religious scriptures of all countries is uniform. Indians and people of other countries including the West are all students of the same God. Indians are good in deep theoretical knowledge. People in western countries (westerners) such as those in Europe and America, are good in their firm faith and sincere practical implementation. This difference is reflected not only in the spiritual field but also in the present education and development in science and technology.

Practical sacrifice of westerners

Any depth of theoretical knowledge is useless without practice. An Indian should learn this aspect from westerners to achieve the real grace of God. A westerner on the other hand has to learn from the Indian about logical analysis in spirituality, which gives precise direction to the spiritual effort. The practical side of spirituality is the dedication or sacrifice of at least a part of the work (efforts of the individual) and a part of the fruit of the work (money) towards the mission of the Lord. Both together can be termed as service and this service alone brings the true grace of God. The westerner is excellent in this practical side and this is the reason why western countries have been blessed with a lot of materialistic wealth by God. Indians are very poor in this practical aspect. Indians are very strong in this practical aspect when it comes to working and getting money for themselves and their families. They fully concentrate on the work and sacrifice the fruits of all their work for the welfare of their families only. In short, their service is directed only towards themselves and their families but not to God. Indians are experts in dedicating their words freely in the form of prayers to God. They also dedicate their minds freely to God in the form of meditation. They dedicate their intelligence freely to God in the form of logical spiritual discussions. However they dedicate their words, mind and intelligence to God only in their leisure time; when they are not involved in any work for themselves or their families.

The Lord always gives back to His devotees in the same way as the devotees serve Him. The Lord gave good language, good mental devotion and good intellectual logic to Indians, who worship Him by donating their words, mind and intellect. Lord Krishna says in the Gita that the Lord approaches devotees in the same path as devotees approach Him. Jesus told the same thing in different words when He said in the Bible that one reaps what one sows. The westerner is good at practical service (sacrifice of work and the fruit of work) to the Lord. Therefore God has blessed the West with a lot of wealth and comforts. However the westerner is weak in metaphysics and the analysis of the divine knowledge. It will be better for him to also attain a deep understanding of divine knowledge, which convinces the intelligence. Such intellectual realization maintains the constancy of the practical service, at which he is already good. Thus the practice needs the support of knowledge.

Unfortunately in the case of Indians such practice has not even germinated in spite of a deep realization of divine knowledge. At this point, we must note that there are two types of Indians. Those of the first type are scholars who have realized the true knowledge, but are unable to practice it and cover their inability by the mask of misinterpretation. There is no use of preaching the right knowledge to such fraud scholars because they can never change. Indians of the other type are those who are misled by the misinterpretations conveyed by the fraud scholars and preachers. This true divine knowledge is meant for these people of the second type.

Lord Jesus gave the essence of divine knowledge in the form of final conclusions to the ancestors of today’s westerners because there was no need of a deep analysis for those people. They were practical people with a firm faith, who immediately implemented the final conclusions given by Him without any further questions or analysis. If a systematic logical analysis is also given to such practical people, it forms a permanent base that is more solid than emotion-based faith. Thus, there is a need of exchange of skills between Indians and westerners, who are actually brothers and sisters of each other, because all are the children of the same Father (God).

Indians are proud of their strong family bonds but they do not realize that these bonds in fact hinder their spiritual practice. Unless one is released from these worldly bonds, one cannot have a strong bond with the Lord. One cannot join a new institution unless he is released from the old institution. Jesus preached through the Bible that one should leave these family bonds with parents, wife, children etc., and that one should be prepared to sacrifice even his life for the sake of the Lord. Only by such sacrifice can one become dear to Him. Such final conclusions of knowledge made westerners implement the spiritual knowledge in practice. As a result their family bonds are weak and they are able to serve God practically.

Deep spiritual analysis of Hindus

The Vedas in Hinduism also say that the children and family cannot protect the soul. The Vedas also say that one should get detached from the limited family as soon as one attains realization. The deep logical analysis of such a statement is not necessary for westerners and so Jesus did not give it. But Shankaracharya in Hinduism, gave a powerful analysis of this statement. Inspite of such acute analysis, the Indian family bonds could not be broken. However that deep analysis of Shankara is noteworthy.

He states that these bonds are temporary since they are limited only to the present human birth. He establishes that, that which is temporary is always unreal. The temporary bonds neither existed in the previous birth nor will they exist in the future birth. Any thing that did not exist before and will not exist later, is indeed temporary and such a thing does not exist (in reality) during the present. Such a thing is said to be totally unreal. For example, the bond (relationship) between two actors in a drama neither exists before the drama nor exists after the drama and therefore, does not exist even during the drama. That which is real is always permanent; existing in the past, present and future. For example, the employer-employee relationship between the producer of the drama and the actors is always real during the drama, before the drama and after the drama.

Thus the bond with God, who is the Producer of this world, is always permanent and real. This logical analysis brings about a permanent detachment and a realization that remains alive forever. Therefore such analytical knowledge, which is very clear and satisfies the intellect, maintains the detachment forever. Deep analytical knowledge of the scriptures is required for all westerners and for all the Indians who are being exploited by tradition and the misinterpretations of some selfish preachers. The selfish preachers spread false knowledge, which is convenient to both themselves and their followers, and thereby attract followers in order to get money and fame. One should remember that the right knowledge is always inconvenient. Jesus said that the path leading to God is very inconvenient and narrow. Lord Krishna said in that the Gita that only one in millions reaches Him and that too after millions of births.

Lord Krishna stated in the Gita that He is the Creator, Maintainer and Destroyer of this world (Aham Sarvasya…). While interpreting this statement, it should be noted that Lord Krishna is referring to the internal God, who pervaded the human body of Lord Krishna. It is wrong to interpret that the human body of Lord Krishna is the Creator, Maintainer and Destroyer of creation. It is as if the electric wire is referring to the current which pervades in it, as the mover of the electric fan. The inert wire cannot be called as the mover of the fan. Arjuna missed this important point. He thought that Lord Krishna had referred to His human body. Therefore he got confused and asked Krishna “You are recently born. How is it possible?” (Aparam Bhavato Janma…)”.

True knowledge is very difficult to accept and easily repels human beings. The crucifixion of Jesus was an extreme result of such repulsion. But Jesus, as a true preacher, never cared for fame and preached the right knowledge fearlessly. Such a preacher is called as Sat-Guru (Sadguru), or “Preacher of the Reality”.

Westerners can borrow another precious gem from Hinduism, which is their unity in diversity. Hinduism is a mini-world in itself. There are various branches or sects of Hinduism with widely varying beliefs. They are similar to different religions in the world. The scholars of all these branches or sects argue with each other by quoting either common or their specific scriptures. In spite of many disagreements between the branches, the main trunk of the tree of Hinduism is common to all and is the uniting factor in the scriptures. The branches may spread in any direction but they all arise from the same tree-trunk. Of course these differences in Hinduism never resulted in fighting with the swords, which shows the tolerance of Hindus.

Unification of religions—Universal Spirituality

The effort of Lord Dattatreya through this human body is to bring about unity among the various religions and sects in Hinduism in India and also to bring about a unity among various religions in the world. Thus the effort of the present human incarnation is to establish Universal Spirituality at the national as well as the international level. The unity among world religions will be a broader reflection of the unity among the different sects of Hinduism. The concept of Universal Spirituality aims to stop all the communal and religion-based wars in the world.

Thus, this theoretical concept, if interpreted properly, has lot of practical application to achieve everlasting peace in the world. If world peace is disturbed, the peace of the individual is also lost. When individual peace is lost, the individual spiritual effort, which involves the sacrifice of work and fruit of work, is also disturbed. The individual is unable to follow the spiritual path and cannot achieve the grace of God. The secret of the individual spiritual effort lies in the practical sacrifice of the westerners. The secret of peace in the world, which is required for the individual spiritual effort, lies with Indians. Both are essential and are mutual. Thus the exchange is very much helpful for all. The West must learn from the East regarding world peace. The East must learn from the West about the real practical spiritual effort of an individual. No one should be egotistic in claiming that he is perfect in all aspects or that there is no need of learning anything from others. Those who make such egotistic claims go further and insult other religions. God is not pleased with such rigid and conservative followers. In fact, God gets furious with them and punishes them severely.

God, who is the Father of all human beings in this world, wishes that every human being should reach the ultimate spiritual goal because every human being is His own child. All human beings are brothers and sisters and must help each other by such mutual exchanges in the spiritual pursuit. They should exchange their gems with each other and should throw away their useless stones. The useless stones are the misinterpretations, which were made by selfish preachers, and which were handed down to them over the generations.

Factors Affecting World Peace

Religious differences and communal wars: Every religion says that their God created this entire world. Since there is only one world, there should be one God, who must be impartial to all the children in the universe. That one God must have preached the same spiritual knowledge in different languages and different countries, which were disconnected and had no communication in olden times. At that time, had He preached the true spiritual knowledge to one country only, God would become partial because some generations in other countries would have passed away without receiving that spiritual knowledge. Had those generations got that spiritual knowledge, at least some of them might have reached God. Of course today, all the countries are connected due to modern communication. Therefore even if God preaches the true and special knowledge in one country it is immediately communicated to people from other countries. Since it is communicated to all people in the world evenly, disbelievers in any country must go to hell. But what about the people of those old generations who went to hell for the single reason that they were not lucky enough to receive the true knowledge due to lack of communication. They went to hell for no fault of theirs.

The assumption that those unfortunate souls could have the possibility of taking human rebirth in present times to hear that special knowledge on this earth is also ruled out since you say that there is no rebirth for the soul. All this makes God partial.

Let us assume that God taught that special knowledge in that old time to a particular country alone because only that country contained all the deserving human beings present in the world at that time. It is just like an intensive coaching given to a special class containing only the topmost students in the school. This is also ruled out because at that time, even the worst souls were also present in every country. When Lord Jesus preached His special knowledge to the ‘deserving souls’ of that land, there were people in the same country, who were absolutely the worst. In the end they crucified Lord Jesus. When Lord Krishna preached the special knowledge in the form of the Bhagavad Gita, many devilish people fought against Lord Krishna and tried to kill Him on several occasions. Similarly, Prophet Mohammed too had many enemies who opposed and tried to kill Him. Therefore saying that God preached the true knowledge only to one country, because that country alone contained all the deserving souls, is not justified. [The above examples prove that all countries had good and evil souls at any given time.] In spite of that if you blindly say that God is partial to a particular country irrespective of deserving and undeserving souls, God would have to be blind like you.

Faith. Faith is the final part of the path to reach God. But faith should not be blind. It should be the result of true knowledge, which is the fruit of logical analysis. Scientists also believe in certain concepts. But the concepts must have been established by practical experiments followed by a detailed logical analysis. Such faith stands permanently and will appeal to the hearts of scholars and ordinary people alike. Such faith alone can be universal. If you want faith without logic then what would you do if a fanatic terrorist tries to kill you? It is his faith to kill innocent people. Would you respect his faith and get killed by him? No, you would resist him, get him arrested and take him to court. You expect the lawyers and the judge to ask for reasons and causes. You want them to hold logical arguments. What if the lawyers are not interested in bringing out the truth or having logical arguments? What if they hold on to their own faiths and the judge decides the case based on his own faith? Would you be satisfied with that?

Interpreting statements of exclusivity in scriptures. In the scriptures of every religion, the corresponding human incarnations gave statements proclaiming their own uniqueness and the uniqueness of their preaching or path. Some examples of such words of Lord Jesus in the Bible are: “I am the light”; “I am the path”; “I and My Father are one and the same”; “One can reach My Father only through Me”. Every fanatic religious follower follows the human incarnation, who preached his religion. The fanatic quotes such statements of uniqueness and exclusivity preached by that human incarnation in the scriptures of his religion. Suppose there is a neutral person. Which religion should he join? It is as if every shopkeeper is shouting that his shop alone is the best. Each shopkeeper is bent upon proving his point to the single customer in order to invite him into his own shop.

The above concept of one God as the creator of this one world clearly demands a unity in all the human incarnations and religious scriptures of the world. Statements of uniqueness in different scriptures, if interpreted properly can achieve this unity. For example, in the above statements of Lord Jesus, the word ‘I’ means the human incarnation in general. It is called Emmanuel in the Bible, which means that God comes to live with human beings. The Bhagavad Gita also says that God enters the human body. God pervades all over the human body of the incarnation like electric current pervading all over a live wire. The current and the wire become one and the same. This is the interpretation of oneness of the Father and the Son. One can experience God only through a medium and that medium must be the same as the person trying to experience God. Thus human beings can experience God only through the human incarnation of God. This is the interpretation of the statement that one can reach the Father only through the Son. The human incarnation preaches the special knowledge clearly like a bright light revealing every minute detail. Such interpretations reveal the real universal meaning of scriptures. Other literal or conservative interpretations are bound to lead to misunderstandings.

When a mother says to her children “All of you must serve me”, she does not mean that all the children in the world should serve her. Obviously children in some other part of the world cannot serve her. Her statement should be limited to her children only and you should limit her as the mother of those children only. If you want to generalize her as any mother, then her statement means that every child should serve his or her own mother. Therefore limitation and conservatism is ignorance and generalization is the true universal knowledge. A limited or literal interpretation may have a certain limited benefit or utility. Generalization based on the universal knowledge gives the maximum benefit. Generalization based on conservative or biased ideas, which are the result of ignorance, lead to fanaticism. This is a great loss.

Poverty and suffering

A poor man suffers due to his poverty. Actually any suffering is the punishment given for the previously committed sins of the soul. If you help such a poor person, you are cutting short his punishment and interfering with the administration of God. Punishment is always given for a change. God wants the person to realize his mistake and correct himself. That is the purpose of the punishment. Therefore you need not sympathize with him or give him money to remove his poverty. The parental love of the Lord for that poor person is greater than your brotherly love for him. Only the grace of God can end the punishment forever. Therefore you should help him get that grace rather than remove his poverty. Your goal should be to preach divine knowledge and devotion to him. Removal of his poverty may be a secondary or complementary goal. The divine knowledge and devotion will bring about a change in him. Thus the purpose of the punishment will be served, even if the punishment is cut short by you. Then God will be pleased with you and will also show His grace on the poor person. His poverty will vanish forever. Thus social service must be integrated with the spiritual mission. Shankara meant the same when He condemned the sect called Loka Sevaka Matham, who claimed that ‘Service to man is service to God’ (Loka sevaka matha khandanam). Mother Theresa too did social service but she did it as a part of her spiritual mission.

Mere social service is like free boarding and lodging given to hostel students without any teaching or classes. Education is primary. It must be given to the students first. Lodging and boarding may be provided to students as secondary or complementary to education. Without education it is meaningless as the students will not make any progress but may on the contrary get into bad company and habits. Some extremist groups rob the wealth of rich people and pass it on to the poor. Such extremism gives only temporary and apparent relief whereas social work based on the spiritual mission alone is a permanent solution. The discoveries of scientists were expected to serve the society. However they did not have any spiritual basis and therefore have harmed the society. This becomes clear when we read of so many environmental problems facing our world today.

Corruption

Corruption is grabbing the wealth of others for the sake of comforts of one’s own body and family. The body is like a seat in the train and you, the soul, are the passenger. The family members are like just bench-mates in the same train. For the comfort of yourself and your bench-mates, if you trouble other passengers in the train, it is corruption. Life is just a matter of a short one-hour train journey. Your bench-mates will get down at their respective destinations and will not remember you thereafter. Even you will have to leave your seat and move on.

After death, you have to leave your family members, who will not recognize you in their next birth. After getting down from the train of this life, you have to face the interview with God. There he will decide if you are to be granted permanent happiness or permanent misery. Therefore, you must concentrate on the preparation for this grand interview even during your journey through this life. Do not worry about the comforts of your own seat and that of your bench-mates. You will have to leave your own seats and all the bench-mates behind anyway. The bonds with your bench-mates (family members) are temporary and unreal. Shankara says that whatever is temporary must be unreal. The bond, which did not exist before and will not exist in future, does not exist even in the present time. Such spiritual realization is a must for getting a permanent control over corruption.

Atheism

The atheists believe in logical conclusions based on practical experience and in things present before the naked eye (perception). The real spiritual knowledge can satisfy all these requirements. The human incarnation of God is right before the eyes; in flesh-and-blood. All the bonds with family and wealth are before the eyes and liberation from such bonds, which is called salvation, is also before the eyes. One can experience God through the human incarnation in this world itself and in this very life itself. Infinite love and bliss derived from the special divine knowledge preached by the human incarnation are enjoyed here itself. Enjoyment of love and bliss is the goal of any worldly bond. This is called Jeevanmukti, which means ‘salvation while living’; right here. Whatever one achieves while living, that alone continues with the soul after death. Thus perception is the basis for even the invisible future.

The Human Incarnation—Avatara

God in a form?

Most religions cannot accept the concept of God with a form. Further, some religions do not allow the acceptance of God in a human form. Yet every religion agrees to the fact that the Lord is all-knowing and all-powerful. If this is true, then He who is beyond all forms, can take up any form by His Will. If there is even a single form that He cannot take up, then He is not all-powerful. Therefore one must accept that the Lord can take up even the human form. He can take up a human form and come to earth as a human being. Such a human being is called the human incarnation of God or an Avatara. Not only that the Lord is capable of incarnating in human form but He has also done so in every age and continues to do so even today. He alone came to the world as all the prophets and human incarnations of the Lord (Avataras) in the past.

Need for human incarnation

The important question arises as to why He needs to come down in human form in the first place. The answer to this is simple. He comes to the world for the sake of His devotees. The devotee is an individual. An individual consists of three bodies namely; the causal body (soul), the subtle body (mind, intellect and past impressions) and the gross (physical) body. The gross body is the exterior-most body and is made out of matter. The causal body is pure awareness or life energy. It can be compared with standstill water without waves. The subtle body can be compared with waves in water. Past impressions, which are waves in the pure awareness, form the subtle body. As the waves cannot be separated from water, so also the subtle body cannot be separated from the causal body. The gross body is like a cup containing this disturbed water (water with waves). At the time of death, the external gross body is given up. The causal body (soul) along with the subtle body ascends to the upper worlds. The subtle body and the soul together are called as jeevatma (‘jeeva’ is the subtle body and ‘atma’ is the causal body). In the new world, the jeevatma, takes a new external body called as the energetic or luminous body (taija sharira). This body is made up of inert energy while the jeevatma is made up of life energy. If the jeevatma goes to heaven the energetic body that it takes up is called a ‘body of enjoyment’ (bhoga sharira). This body is the result of good worldly deeds or dharmic actions. If it goes to hell then the energetic body that it takes up is called a ‘body of suffering’ (yatana sharira). This body is the result of sinful worldly deeds or papa karma. Souls, who do dharmic or good worldly deeds such as serving people, society or country, go to heaven. There they enjoy the results of their good actions and fall back to hell to suffer the results of their bad actions. They are caught up in the endless cycle of birth and death. This shows the limitation of good deeds. A few rare souls serve the Lord in His human incarnation on earth with full devotion and effort. These souls reach the highest heaven or Brahma loka. Here the soul takes up an energetic body, which is highly refined and is called as a divine body or divya sharira. This body is the result of actions performed in the service of God. Such souls are very near and dear to God and do not have to be reborn except along with the human incarnation of the Lord, to serve Him in His divine mission on earth.

A soul interacts, perceives and enjoys or suffers in each world only through the medium of the external body. On earth the external body is the gross physical body. In heaven the external body is the energetic body. Now the soul can only perceive other bodies of its own kind. When the soul is on earth it has a physical body and therefore it will perceive only other physical bodies. It cannot perceive energetic bodies, which belong to another world. If a soul on earth has to perceive God, it means that God must come in a physical body. If He comes in an energetic body, then an individual on earth cannot perceive Him. In other words, the human being can perceive only the human incarnation of the Lord. Likewise in heaven when the soul is ‘wearing’ an energetic body, it can perceive God who too is ‘wearing’ an energetic body. Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma are examples of God in energetic bodies. They cannot be perceived by humans on earth.

An individual on earth has a physical body, and is surrounded by a physical world. He has five senses, which are his only means to knowledge or perception. The five senses cannot perceive Absolute God as He is. Absolute God (Nirguna Brahman) is beyond space, time and pure awareness. He is beyond creation. Any form is within the limits of space and time. The human mind cannot go beyond these bounds. All that we can say about God is that He exists. Questions such as ‘How is God?’, ‘Where is God?’, etc cannot be answered since ‘How’, ‘Where’, etc. have meaning only within space and time. We cannot even say that He is Formless, since the concept of ‘form’ is implied in it. Space, energy, air etc. are formless. They are not God. If you imagine God like them, your imagination, made of nervous energy, is also a formless energy. You should say that God is unimaginable. When you try to imagine Him in any way, imagination itself being a form of energy, you are actually conceiving God only through energy. Energy is a part of the creation. It becomes a medium to perceive God but it is not God Himself.

Yet if one accepts conceiving God through one medium it is a significant achievement. The unimaginable God can be conceived through the medium of any part of the creation, which is nothing but a modification of the same awareness, matter and energy. Matter and energy being inter-convertible, they can together be called as inert energy. Awareness can be called as life energy. These two energies constitute creation. The Lord can take up any form in the world that He has created. A human being can attempt to perceive Him in different forms that He takes up. However we cannot perceive the Lord in His Cosmic Form (Vishwaroopa), which is the Lord in the form of the entire creation. Neither can the human being perceive the Lord in an energetic body. All these are different mediums to perceive God. The human body is also a medium. The Lord can be perceived by humans only through this medium. Since we can perceive the Lord only in a physical human body, the Lord has to take up a human body in order to fulfill the desire and devotion of His devotees.

Fulfillment of devotion

When human beings who are extremely devoted to God, yearn for the Lord, He in all His compassion, comes down in human form to satisfy His devotees. In the human form alone, can the devotee serve the Lord, feed Him, live with Him, talk to Him and love Him fully. One cannot serve, love, or talk to the Lord in the Cosmic Form or as the Formless One. The only other option for the human being is worshipping an idol, which is not the Lord but represents Him. It is like a lover, who holds on to the photograph of his beloved one, who is in some far away land. The idol or picture is not the same as the original person. You may pretend that you are feeding the idol, decorating it, loving it and so on. However it is obvious that it is mere imagination. The idol never eats the food you offer. It never shows satisfaction and pleasure on eating the food as a real person would. You can sing hymns and songs to the idol but the idol will still be as motionless and lifeless as ever. Thus in reality, you have no opportunity to serve, worship, decorate or praise the Lord in the form of an idol. Worshipping God, as the Formless One is also not possible because first of all, The Formless One is not God Himself but His formless power called as Maya. In worshipping the Formless Maya, one does not know where to start since the mind can only perceive limited forms. No matter how devoted you are, you can never attain the fulfillment of your devotion and worship if you limit yourself to worshipping the Formless or idols and images. You can never be satisfied by your worship. The only way that you can actually serve, worship, love, talk and sing to the Lord is when He comes down as a human incarnation or Avatara.

Recognition of the Human Incarnation

Recognizing the human incarnation of the Lord is recognizing the Lord Himself. Service to the human incarnation of the Lord is service to the Lord Himself. The Lord, who is beyond the perception and reach of the devotee, offers the medium of His human body to reach and serve Him. However herein lies the difficulty. The Lord offers humans the opportunity to reach Him through His human body, which is human; like any other human body. Therefore it becomes extremely difficult for the human being to distinguish the human incarnation of the Lord from any other human being. The body of the human incarnation is also subject to the rules of nature and outwardly shows no special quality. A blade can cut the shirt of a king and that of a beggar alike. The difference lies in the persons. There is no difference between the external shirts of the two. Likewise there is no difference between the human bodies of a human incarnation of the Lord and an ordinary human being. One can recognize the human incarnation, not by certain qualities of that body but by the expression of the three inseparable characteristics of the Lord: Infinite Knowledge, Infinite Bliss and Infinite Love. He brings all three to your experience. Thus your recognition of Him is based on your direct experience. It is not a question of blind faith. Although the human incarnation is capable of performing miracles using His super powers, the miracles cannot be the criteria of identifying the human incarnation. The super powers are His associated characteristics and not His inseparable characteristics. They can be given to others. Thus we find that great ascetics (tapasvis), yogis and even demons can perform miracles. God can grant these powers to anyone who does enough penance for them.

Lord Dattatreya

The Lord thus ‘gives Himself’ to his devotees and the world as the human incarnation and is called as Dattatreya or Datta (He, who is given). Datta is any human incarnation of the Lord. Datta is God in the three aspects of Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer. Datta thus includes Brahma (God in the aspect of Creator), Vishnu (God in the aspect of the Sustainer) and Shiva (God in the aspect of the Absorber or Destroyer). All other forms of God represent only a certain aspect of God. Datta is the highest conception of God that the human mind can imagine. Beyond that, God in His Universal (Cosmic) form, is unimaginable to us. Datta is the Adi Guru (the Primal or Original Guru), who has come down to teach man, about the Divine Knowledge. He is the Sadguru (Sat-Guru or the teacher of the Truth). Datta is God who has given the ultimate. He has given Himself to the world. He is the example of the total sacrifice. He sacrifices His body for His devotees. He gives His body to His devotees not only for worship, but He also transfers the results of their evil deeds and suffers on their behalf. [Datta donates His body for worship and sacrifices His body to remove the results of the sins committed by His devotees.]

Datta in all times and places

Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Jesus, Prophet Mohammed, Lord Buddha among many others are examples of human incarnations of the Lord. They came to the world for the sake of the devotees. They were worshipped by devotees and they suffered for the devotees. Human incarnations of the Lord are to be found in every land, in every age. The purpose of this is to give an equal opportunity to the people of each land and time to approach and serve Him.

The complete incarnation

The Bhagavad Gita says that the Lord incarnates in every age when there is a downfall of humans, to re-establish justice (dharma). In different incarnations, the Lord undertakes different tasks according to the need of the time. The highest human incarnation of God, the Pari Purna Avatara, means that the Lord who has come down in human form, dwells in that human body from its birth to its end and also expresses His inseparable characteristic of the True, Infinite, and Divine Knowledge. Lord Brahma (the Lord in the aspect of Creator) came in such a full form as Sage Vashishta who preached the ‘Yoga Vashishtam’ or ‘Jnana Vashishtam’. Then Lord Vishnu (the Lord in the aspect of the Sustainer) came in such a complete form as Lord Krishna and preached the Bhagavad Gita. Lord Shiva (the Lord in the aspect of the Destroyer of Ignorance) came as Adi Shankaracharya and preached the ‘Bhashyam’.

The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, together, called as Dattatreya or Lord Datta has now come down as a Pari Purna Avatara, to impart Divine Knowledge to humanity. He stands before you as Shri Datta Swami.

The Paripurna Avatara is that human incarnation of the Lord who radiates the true Divine Knowledge completely. Such a human incarnation can be treated as being identical with the Lord. Let us further analyze the concept of a human incarnation of God and how people understand and approach Him. Let us take an example. Electricity by itself is beyond our reach. It has no form and cannot be seen. However, it can be felt (as an electric shock) only through the medium of a live wire. Without a wire, electricity cannot be felt by us. Thus from the point of view of our perception, electricity is identical with a live wire. The Lord, who is beyond the reach of the devotee, offers the medium of the human body of an incarnation to reach Him. It is indeed the wish of God that the devotee considers the human incarnation of God as God Himself. The devotee who accepts and worships God in the human body of the incarnation indeed worships God Himself.

But alas, not all devotees can do this. Devotees who have completely conquered their ego and jealousy towards other human beings, alone can accept the human incarnation of the Lord as the Lord Himself. Those who have only partially conquered ego and jealousy can at the most accept that the Lord dwells in the human incarnation as the major component. They still think that there is a minor component of individuality in the human incarnation. It is equivalent to stating that in the live wire, electricity and the wire both exist but that electricity is the major component. The electricity and the wire represent the concepts of the Father and the Son in Christianity. In this case God is believed to exist in the human incarnation as if a king were living as a guest in the house of his friend. These people, who have partially conquered their ego and jealousy, accept an underlying unity in duality.

In devotees whose hearts are full of ego and jealousy, the human incarnation cannot be accepted as God either fully or in part. They simply cannot accept the entrance of God into a human body. All they can accept is that the person in question is a prophet or messenger from God in whom, the power of God exists but not God Himself. Thus, based on these three categories of devotees, the human incarnation can be taken as identical with God, an abode of God (in whom God lives) or a servant of God. In both Hinduism and Christianity, all these three approaches to God are present. In Hinduism the three great preachers (Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva) separately preached about each of these three angles respectively. The three approaches are called Advaita, Vishishthadvaita and Dvaita respectively. The three preachers gave a systematic analysis of their respective approaches and developed the three angles as elaborate philosophies. In Christianity Lord Jesus alone preached about these three angles briefly.

Islam preaches only the last angle in which they do not recognize any human incarnation of God. At the most, they accept prophets and messengers of God. There is a certain advantage to this approach. False preachers who either claim to be God, or who claim that God lives in them, are avoided. Thus Muslims treat even Prophet Mohammed as a messenger of the Lord and not as a human incarnation.

Now when it is stated that Shri Datta Swami is a Complete Incarnation of the Lord (Paripurna Avatara), it does not mean that other incarnations of the past are incomplete or in any way inferior. It only means that Sri Datta Swami preaches the complete true knowledge, whereas other incarnations have not given the true knowledge completely. The same Lord was present in all incarnations and He possessed the complete true knowledge in all the incarnations. However earlier incarnations preached it only partially. This is a reflection not on the incarnations, but on the devotees to whom they preached. The world has progressed a lot in the past thousands of years. The entire population is far more educated and aware today than before. Science and logical reasoning have spread to all levels of society. In ancient times, science was in an undeveloped state. It was bound by the chains of blind beliefs and false logic. Logic (tarka shastra) of the time was based on what was known then. Often times it was outright wrong. E.g. in the analysis of the constituents of creation, space (akasha) was said to have the quality of sound. Modern science has showed us that sound cannot travel in empty space. It needs a medium. Therefore sound cannot be a quality of space. Advancement in modern science has refined human knowledge and logic. It has made it possible for the public to accept and assimilate the complete truth. I give this elaborate explanation because it is very easy to misunderstand.

   

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