In the word Sadguru (sat-guru), the prefix 'sat' means the Truth. A Sadguru always preaches the truth. Truth is always harsh and is not liked by most people. Therefore a Sadguru has very few disciples. A Sadguru says that the path with thorns will lead to the Lord. People do not like this. He also says that the path with flowers leads to hell. People are not happy with this preaching either. A guru's preaching is what pleases the majority. The guru says that the nature of the goal will be the nature of the path. Since the Lord is full of bliss, the path also must be filled with flowers and happiness. Since hell gives pain, the path to hell must also be the painful and thorny path. This argument is very attractive. Majority of people will be taken in by it and will become followers of the guru. People will praise him and give him a lot of guru daksina (donations) because his argument is what they want to hear. A Sadguru on the other hand says that the path with thorns alone will lead to the Lord. In this path you have to cut the bonds with your family and with your hard-earned money. Sacrifice gives a lot of pain but sacrifice alone will lead to the Lord. The path with flowers strengthens your bonds with your family and money. It gives you lot of happiness temporarily. However, it leads straight to hell. People do not like this argument and so the rare one or two persons who realize the veracity of the Sadguru's words alone become His disciples. A Sadguru will never worry about the number of the disciples and about the quantity of guru daksina. Even if a single disciple is available He is happy.
The majority always goes to hell. Only one in millions like Sankara, Vivekananda, Mira can reach the Lord. Diamonds are always rare. Gravel stones are in plenty. Therefore among thousands of gurus there may be only one Sadguru and among millions of disciples there may be only one true disciple. When you pray to God you are praising the Lord as a poet in the court of a king, praises the king. The foolish king may get flattered and give him some reward but the Omniscient Lord can never be fooled by such praise and flattery. When you sing songs, chant the name of the Lord or express feelings of devotion by shedding tears or by meditation, you get happiness and peace immediately as a result of those actions. You achieve the fruit of those actions there and then. The Lord will not give any more fruit for these same actions. When you are pained and you lose your mental peace by cutting family bonds and by sacrificing your work and wealth for the sake of the Lord, then only will the Lord give real rewards to you.
Suppose you are working in the field for the owner. Doing the work pains you. The owner will pay you for your work. Without doing work, if you simply chant the name of the owner or sing songs in praise of the owner, a wise owner will never give you any wages. The songs you sung made your heart light. They were of no benefit to the owner. The owner is concerned only with his work, which you did not do. So where is the question of getting paid? When you do all the spiritual practices, you get peace from it. God does not get anything from it. If you have already derived bliss and peace by eating the sweet in your hand, why should anyone pay you for enjoying yourself? When you sacrifice the sweet to the Lord, he will pay you. Therefore a Sadguru teaches only sacrifice, which is the thorny path leading to the Lord.
Veda says that sacrifice alone can bring the grace of the Lord (dhanena tyagenaike amrtatvam anasuh). If you ask for a payment for your prayers and devotion the Lord will pay you from your pocket alone. He will bring the results of good deeds from your future life cycles and present them to you. It is like the owner giving you money out of your next month's salary for the songs that you sung for him. In short, he will not pay you for it. You will get a reduced salary next month. If you sacrifice the sweet to the Lord in spite of your hunger and your heartache, the Lord will reward you from His pocket. Therefore the true path leading to the Lord can be identified by a loss of peace, mental worry and pain. The path to the hell is identified by temporary peace, happiness and benefit. Sadguru leads you to the Lord and guru leads you to hell.
guru may replace your present ignorance by another type of ignorance. The Sadguru on the other hand, replaces all ignorance by the true knowledge. Sat means the infinite special knowledge, which is the Brahman itself (satyam jnanan anantan Brahma).
Swami is the human incarnation of the Lord. Swami can also be a Guru. A Guru is a human being who preaches the knowledge, which was already preached by the Lord. Every Guru is not Swami. Therefore the preaching by Swami and the knowledge of Swami is always wonderful. Every concept preached by Swami is clear and pure as crystal. There is no confusion because Swami is always very clear of the Truth. A Guru sometimes fails to clarify the concept because he gets confused in places. Swami is the very source of the knowledge and therefore He is called as Narayana. The Guru preaches the knowledge and leaves you but Swami preaches and also guides you till you reach the goal.
One can see a doctor in the out-patients' ward in a hospital. He will treat you and prescribe medicines for you. However he will not be able to follow up on you and monitor you continuously. This is the case of a Guru. However if you are admitted in the hospital, you will be under the personal supervision of the doctor. The doctor will make all required tests on you. He will check on your progress every day and give you medicine with his own hands. He will take full responsibility for you and will not discharge the you until you are cured of the disease completely.
Similarly Swami will test you severely and give appropriate knowledge, which is the medicine. The responsibility of Swami is complete. Swami will not leave you unless you get salvation and kaivalyam (Oneness with the Lord). Salvation means getting rid of the disease. Kaivalyam means getting the strength. The detachment from all the worldly bonds is salvation. The attachment to the Lord is kaivalyam. Both are the duties of the doctor. Therefore Swami will not leave you unless you achieve both. Once you are admitted into the hospital you have no choice and you are at the mercy of the doctor.
Therefore the usage of the word Swami should be done very carefully. Unless you are fully sure that you have recognized the Lord in human form, you should not call Him as Swami. You can call Him as Guru. If you recognize Swami you have to completely surrender to Him like the in-patient. Otherwise you can call Him as Guru and be an out-patient. In such a case you may follow His preaching or you may not follow. If the worldly bonds are not cut, you will be reborn as an animal or worm. This is a great loss to you. If you attain kaivalyam, it is the greatest benefit. Even if there is no benefit, at least make sure that you do not suffer a loss. Therefore, even if you do not attach yourself to the Lord, at least cut the worldly bonds and ensure that you get another human birth. One should note that there is no use of the salvation (moksa) without kaivalyam. If you merely maintain your present status there is no use. What is the use of selecting the best doctor unless you follow his prescription in practice? You cannot get rid of the illness by praising the doctor or his prescription. Similarly even if you have found the real Sadguru who is the incarnation of the Lord there is no use if you do not follow Him. There is no use of praising the Lord unless you practice the preaching of the Lord. Following the diet prescribed by the doctor and avoiding contraindicated foods is comparable to salvation. Take the medicine is kaivalyam. Salvation involves vairagyam (detachment) and kaivalyam involves bhakti (devotion).
The first reason is that the preaching of a Sadguru differs from the preaching of a false Guru. The Sadguru shows the true path, which is full of thorns but leads to God. The false Guru shows the flowery path which leads to hell. Therefore there is a difference. The false Gurus are in plenty but the Sadguru is rare. You must choose the Sadguru by knowing the characteristics of a Sadguru from the Vedas. The special knowledge that liberates love and bliss in your heart and which no one else can preach, is the main characteristic of the Lord in the human form (Sadguru). He also does miracles but only whenever there is a necessity; never for cheap exhibition. Thus one can recognize Sadguru who is the Lord in human form.
Sometimes there may be different human forms of the Sadguru existing at the same time to preach to people at different levels. The Sadguru will preach to each person according to the person's level of understanding and spiritual evolution. A certain Sadguru may preach something to a certain person. If you accidentally happen to overhear what was told, and are confused, then it cannot be blamed on the Sadguru. That preaching was not meant for you. It was meant for some else. That person is at different level as compared to you. Also each Sadguru will in general, cater to a certain level of people. In such case the preaching of every Sadguru may not suit your level.
You must follow the Sadguru who suits your level. The Sadguru, who is generally suitable for your level of spiritual evolution and understanding, will preach to you from a level that most suits you. The apparent difference in the teachings of other Sadgurus is due to the fact that they teach different levels of students. Thus it is important to not only eliminate the fraud Guru but also choose the Sadguru who suits your level. Once you find the right Sadguru, you must stick to Him and follow Him steadfastly. Then there will be no confusion owing to the apparently different teaching of different Sadgurus.
Matsya, kurma, etc., are the forms in which the Lord came temporarily to destroy some demons. Such forms were not worshipped because they did not live with or interact with humans. Other incarnations in human form, like Rama and na are worshipped as they could live and interact with humans. Moreover, they could preach divine knowledge.
A doctor may be smoking a cigarette himself while he advises you not to smoke. You can follow his advice and still get the benefit. If the doctor smokes, he will suffer. Why should you worry about him? Even manufacturers of cigarettes write the statutory warning, "Smoking is injurious to health", on every pack of cigarettes. So where's the sense in not paying heed to the doctor's advice?
Sometimes the human incarnation of Lord Datta practices just the opposite of what He preaches or behaves contrary to how you expect Him to behave. One should remember that He does so only to test your faith on Him. Sri Shirdi Sai used to smoke. He was testing the faith of Hindu orthodox devotees to whom smoking is a vice and taboo. One must follow the preaching of the guru and get the benefit. When the doctor, who is a smoker, says that you should not smoke, will you reject his advice and declare that he is not eligible to preach non-smoking? If you do not take his advice, you are the loser. The advice should be followed for its own merit. Why should you worry about the habits of the doctor? If he smokes, he will suffer. It does not affect you. The point is whether or not you quit smoking.
Suppose the guru is an ordinary human being who cannot practice what he preaches. You can still follow his preaching for its own merit. If he does not practice, he will suffer. Suppose the Guru is a human form of the Lord, then practicing or not practicing what He preaches is immaterial as He is the Lord Himself. He is above all these petty things. You cannot blame Him under any circumstances. Even if the Lord in human form practices, you will say that it is no wonder since He is the Lord Himself and has no difficulty in practicing it. In case He does not practice what He preaches, we must remember that since He is the Lord Himself, He does not need to practice it anyway. Therefore we should not try to look for some lame excuse or the other in order to avoid practicing what is preached by the guru. We should practice it no matter what.
An idol cannot test your ability to sacrifice. When you offer food to an idol, you are well aware that the idol will not consume it. Therefore it is not an actual sacrifice. You only sacrifice your words and your mental feelings to the idol. However when the Lord comes in human form, you have to actually offer food and wealth to Him. The Lord actually eats the food that you offer. Therefore it is a real sacrifice. The reality of worship comes out only when the Lord is in human form. Saktuprasta was tested by the Lord in human form and not by an idol.
Your question is twisted. I never said that the idol in the temple represents any general human being. Idols in temples are made in the form of certain special human beings like Rama, Krisna etc., who were human incarnations of the Lord. If you were to really see Rama alive, would you still keep an idol of Rama in the temple and worship Him in the temple alone? Would you rather not replace the idol by the actual Rama and worship Him directly? You have misunderstood my interpretation of the significance of idols.
The Lord Himself did His work until His incarnation as Parasurama. Thereafter, Lord Rama took the help of monkeys but not human beings. The human being has partial knowledge and partial faith. He is neither a complete scholar and neither does he have full faith. He is not totally ignorant and is not totally faithless. He is always in doubt; between a theist and an atheist. He starts with faith but doubts halfway through and is sure to let you down.
Arjuna, who was the greatest warrior of his time, was determined to fight the war and punish the enemy. However when he reached the battlefield, he stood in the middle of the two armies that were about to charge and suddenly dropped his bow and arrows and refused to fight. He expressed the doubt about killing his own relatives who were in the enemy ranks. He knew that they were his relatives and that they were siding evil. Yet he had been determined to fight until that moment, when courage failed him and suddenly his family seemed more important to him than justice.
Hanuman, who was an ape, on the other hand, did not express any such doubt after reaching the battle. He did not think twice before attacking and killing demons who were Brahmanas (from the families of priests). A warrior is not supposed to kill Brahmanas. Yet Hanuman never allowed these doubts to shake him from his duty as he never doubted the divine mission of the Lord in the form of Rama. A human being wants to see miracles. Even after seeing miracles he doubts whether those miracles were illusions or were real.
Arjuna was associated with the Lord for the past thousand births (nara and Narayana ). Therefore the Lord wanted to give the fame of winning the battle to Arjuna. This is the reason why the Lord did not directly participate in the war. Arjuna could not understand all this. He thought that if he did not fight the war would stop and his relatives' lives in the opposite camp would be spared. When the Lord showed him the Visvarupam (the Cosmic Form of the Lord), he saw that it was the Lord alone who was killing all the Kauravas (enemies). He realized that the Lord never requires the help of any person in His work. He only wants to give some fame to His devotees and just for this purpose, He asks for the help of human beings.
Actually He does all the work but He will show as if the devotee did that work. If the human being withdraws his help, His work will not stop. Suppose there are several fans in a large hall. If you put on the switch for one fan and if it does not move, you will put another fan on. In case of the Lord there is no need for any fan. He can create the movement of wind by His Will. When you are attached your family and wealth, the power of the Lord will not flow through you. You are like a wire whose contact is covered with an insulator. You want to use the power of the Lord for yourself and your family members. This is the reason why the grace and power of the Lord will not flow though you.
When you are detached from yourself and from your family, the full grace and power of the Lord flows though you. Hanuman was such an example. He became free of death and disease. He became the strongest of all and also attained the post of the future Creator. The grace and power of the Lord flowed through Him unhindered.
The Lord in human form will not exhibit His super powers frequently and ostentatiously. Nature is a modification of His own power called Maya. Whenever a miracle is performed He is violating the rules of Nature. In a way it is an insult to nature and in turn to Maya and the Lord Himself. This is the reason why He is reluctant to exhibit His super powers frequently. Unless there is an emergency and there is no other alternative, He will not exhibit his super powers.
A demon in the human form exhibits the miracles frequently because he is not the possessor of the power Maya. Thereby he does not get insulted when he performs miracles which defy the rules of Nature. He suffers from egoism and merely wants fame from the public.
The human form of the Lord, which comes to test you, is called Datta. People are fond of idols because it is a no-loss proposition. People only want to do business with God. They want to give little to God and gain far more. Under no circumstances do they want to lose anything. They come to temple with meager offerings and pray for something much bigger. Even if what they ask for is not granted, at least there is a guarantee that the things that they offered to the idol in the temple will not be consumed by the idol. They can always have it back. So there is definitely no loss. On the other hand if they offer anything to God in human form, then it is a risky business. He will take what they offered and there is no guarantee that He will grant what they prayed for. Therefore they are not interested in the human form of the Lord. The Lord sees through this business-like attitude of the devotee. Whenever anyone claims to be His devotee, He will subject him to severe tests. Only the true devotee will pass all the tests. The mediocre devotee and the businessman-devotee are sure to fail in these tests. The following questions will determine the success in the tests of Datta.
1) Do you give more value to the Lord than anything and anybody else in this world?.
2) Do you believe in the human form of the Lord, who is before you, completely and without any trace of doubt?
The majority of people drop out at the first question itself because they love their family or themselves more than God. They only use the Lord to achieve happiness and wealth for themselves and their families. God, to them is merely an instrument for the well-being of their family. Such an instrumental God cannot have more value for them than money or their family.
Only a handful of devotees succeed in this first point. Most of those who pass the first criterion, fail the next. They fail in recognizing the human form of the Lord and believing in Him completely. Only one in millions of devotees and that too in one birth out of millions of births of that individual, can one succeed in both the points. The Bhagavad Gita says the same (Kaschitmaam Bahunaam Janmanaam). The factors that will help you pass the test of Datta are the unwavering faith in the Sadguru and mental determination, which is attained by you either in this birth or in the previous births. The Sadguru alone can explain the true path given in the Vedas (the scriptures; the revealed Word of the Lord).
An ignorant person neglects Mahatma Gandhi seeing his cheap attire. He cannot estimate the real value of Gandhi. He will give a lot more value to a cinema actor who is in a colorful dress. Similarly, when the Lord comes in an ordinary human body, which follows all the rules of the nature, an ignorant person insults Him seeing only the ordinary human body. He does not recognize the value of the internal form. This is told in the Bhagavad Gita.(avajananti mam mudhah).
The Lord can make His body divine and above the rules of nature by His super powers. He does not do so because He does not like to violate the rules of nature, which He Himself created. One does not generally contradict his own rule and insult himself. An ordinary soul in the form of Yogi or a demon frequently exhibits his body as being above the rules of the nature because in defying the rules of nature, he is not insulted. He never created the rules in the first place and so does not mind violating them if he has the capacity to do so. By such petty miracles, ignorant people believe in such a Yogi or demon and think that he is an incarnation of the Lord. The Lord is not impressed by such petty miracles. He is after all, the ruler of Yogis (Yogisvara).
Once a saint crossed a river by walking on the water. Sri Ramakrisna Paramahamsa who was a human incarnation of the Lord, humbly took the ferry and paid a rupee for the ride. The saint proudly told Paramahamsa that he acquired the power to walk on the water by his intense sadhana, which he did for thirty years. The saint asked Paramahamsa whether He had done such strenuous sadhana in His life. Paramahamsa told simply with a smile that the cost of the saint's thirty-year sadhana was only one rupee! He added that He never did such cheap sadhana.
Arjuna prostrated to the feet of Lord Krisna before all the warriors in the battlefield without egoism and jealousy. Krisna appeared like a human being, just like Arjuna. He was also about the same age as Arjuna. Moreover Krisna was only the charioteer of Arjuna's chariot. Arjuna recognized the value of the internal form of Lord Krisna and therefore Krisna revealed His inner form as the Visvarupa (Cosmic Form of the Lord) to Arjuna. Therefore only those people who get rid of jealousy and egoism can give the value to the human incarnation.
Suppose there is a diamond with luster (luminescence) in a glass case. This case is kept in a wooden box, which is further kept in an iron box. Thus there are five entities here; the diamond, its luster, the glass case, the wooden box and the iron box. This ensemble can be compared to the jiva or the individual soul. The jiva consists of five sheaths or coverings. They are called the panca kosas or the five sheaths. The five kosas of a jiva (soul) are the annamaya (matter), pranamaya (energy), manomaya (mind), vijnanamaya (intellect) and anandamaya (bliss) in the order of exterior to interior. They are also in to order the order of subtlety with matter being the most subtle aspect of the individual jiva and the bliss being the subtlest.
The outer three outer boxes (iron, wodden and glass), in the example are respectively annamaya (matter), pranamaya (energy) and manomaya (mind) sheaths (kosas). The first two sheaths, namely annamaya and pranamaya, are formed from the five elements or panca bhutas. The panca bhutas are solid matter, water, air, fire and space; three states of matter, energy and space. This means that they are essentially physical. These two sheaths, namely annamaya and pranamaya are inseparable from each other.
The other three sheaths, manomaya, vijnanamaya and anandamaya, are made up of awareness or the conscious aspect of the individual, and are inseparable from each other. The last two sheaths, vijnana (intelligence) and ananda (bliss), are the very nature of the Lord and can never be separated.
In human beings the last two sheaths are very much undeveloped. Due to this the human being knows little (vijnana) and enjoys only little happiness (ananda). These two sheaths are infinite in case of the Lord. Therefore the Lord knows everything (omniscient) and enjoys infinite bliss. Therefore in a human being the only the first two sheaths, matter and energy, and the third sheath, which is part of awareness, are significantly present.
In a human incarnation, apart from these three sheaths the last two sheaths, vijnana and ananda are also present infinitely. The Veda says that knowledge (jnanam) and bliss (ananda) are the very nature of the Lord (prajnanah Brahma, anando Brahma). When one human incarnation changes to another human incarnation, the first three sheaths (boxes) change but not the last two sheaths. Their bodies may be different but the Essential Nature remains the same. In the example of the diamond and the boxes, it means that the diamond and its luster do not change even though the three boxes change. The shine or luster is the only identity of the diamond. Even the super natural powers of the Lord belong to the third sheath (manomaya). This sheath consists of the three qualities, satvam (purity), rajas (activity) and tamas (inertness). Creation is a modification of the manomaya sheath of the Lord. The last two sheaths are the nature of Nirguna Brahman (the Non-dual, Attributeless Reality; God, who is beyond form).
In every human incarnation, the manomaya sheath exists but the ratio of the three qualities varies. Narasimha is furious and full of rajas and Rama is peaceful and therefore an embodiment of sattvam. No matter what combination of physical and mental set up each incarnation has, the last two sheaths, the vijnanam and ananda, are constant in every human incarnation.
The real characteristics of the Lord as declared by the Veda are the special knowledge (prajnana), the love (rasa or prema) and the bliss (ananda). The Veda also says that one must ascertain whether the person who, one thinks is the human incarnation, possesses these three characteristics. The characteristic property of the fire is heat. Any person who is near the fire should experience the heat and then only we can say that the fire is hot. Similarly the Lord in human form must make others experience the jnanam, prema and ananda. The Veda says 'Esha Hyeva Anandayati', which means that He creates Bliss in the hearts of others.
The Lord cannot be recognized merely by the miracles He performs because even demons can perform miracles. Miracles are only associated properties like jewels on a person. They are not characteristic properties. Moreover the Lord in human form always avoids performing miracles unless there is an emergency. The reason for this is that in case of the human incarnation of the Lord, He dwells in the human form, which is a product of nature (prakriti). Therefore the Lord abides by the rules of the nature. These rules were formulated by Himself. No administrator likes to violate his own rules. Even in emergency situations, when He violates the rules of the nature, He keeps the violation a secret to avoid setting a bad example to others. When the administrator violates his own rule due to some unavoidable situation or for the benefit of some deserving person, he will be discreet about it. He will not publicize the violation. Only demons violate the rules of the nature without hesitation. They are also the ones who are interested in advertising to the world that they are powerful and that they can break the rules of nature. They bother neither about the violations of nature's rules nor about setting a bad example to others. They neither formulated those rules nor are they interested in the well-being of people.
When Lord Krisna made an artificial sunset by covering the sun with His Sudarshana cakra (divine discus), He kept it secret. People thought that the sun was covered by a cloud. Violating His own rule itself is a mistake. Exhibition of the violation would be another mistake. The Lord bent the rules of nature only for a beneficial purpose. In that situation the life of Arjuna, who was His closest devotee was at stake. The defeat of Arjuna meant the defeat of Dharma or righteousness on earth. In such an emergency alone, the Lord violated prakriti (nature) and used His super power (Maya).
In the eighteen days of Mahabharatha war He never used His super power. Bhishma wounded the Lord with stinging arrows. Even then the Lord did not use His super power. Therefore miracles are not the real characteristics of the Lord. Krisna also performed the miracles in the child hood to save His own life and to save the lives of His devotees. Rama never performed miracles except in the case of Ahalya and in breaking the bow of Siva. All these situations were the cases of unavoidable emergency.
As long as the human incarnation is alive there is no distinction between the original Lord and His human incarnation because the original Lord merges and pervades all over the human incarnation from top to bottom. The Lord created this Universe for His entertainment through His inherent power called Maya. This Maya and not the Lord, is modified to form the world. Maya cannot exist without the Lord and therefore the Lord is the real cause of this Universe. The Lord is not modified and so remains unchanged. Thus the Lord is only an indirect cause of this Universe. Sunlight is trapped by a solar heater and is converted into heat. By this, the sun is not converted into heat and yet the sun remains the cause of the heat.
The Lord can be compared to a daydreamer who is aware of Himself as well as the dream. He enjoys the dream under the influence of His self-imposed and apparent ignorance. Thus the essence of Creation is only ignorance. Ignorance provides enjoyment. Ignorance of the truth is falsehood. However counter-intuitive it may sound, falsehood also leads to a real experience. For example we say that we experience solid matter when our finger does not penetrate through a material. In fact, according to science a solid is mainly vacuum. The actual space occupied by the subatomic particles such as electrons and protons is negligible compared to the volume of the object that we see. Still our finger cannot penetrate through the solid due to the interactions between the particles of our finger and that of the objects. The particles are in constant motion and possess kinetic and potential energies. When other particles approach it repulsive forces are produced which give us the sensation of touching a solid object. Although what we are experiencing is a repulsive force, we interpret it as the touch of a solid object (which in reality is mostly vacuum). Thus a false thing also can create true experience and appear as a real thing.
As far as an illusion leading to a 'real' experience is concerned, the Lord is at par with any individual soul. The difference is that the individual soul is unable to overcome this ignorance and its experience, where as the Lord can overcome it at any instant. The individual soul is under the control of the ignorance like a dreamer in the sleep. The individual soul is a tiny particle, constituent of the huge dream called Creation. In the case of the Lord, the whole dream is a tiny particle of the Lord. Therefore the Universe is controlled by the Lord where as the individual soul is controlled by the Universe. For the Lord, the Universe is true as far as the experience in the enjoyment is concerned. At the same time there is a basic stream of true knowledge at any instance. For the individual soul that basic stream is absent.
A daydreamer enters his dream as his own duplicate imaginary form. He completely identifies with this imaginary form. The will of the dreamer is the will of his imaginary form. The human incarnation of the Lord is such a duplicate imaginary form of the Lord who is 'daydreaming'. His daydream is called Creation. Within Creation, when another form imagined by Him, called as the individual soul (jiva) touches the imaginary form of the Lord, the original Lord gets the experience of that touch. The original Lord speaks through His imaginary form. When the jiva sees that imaginary form, the jiva has seen the original Lord. This unity between the original Lord and His imaginary form is the monism (Advaita) as propounded by Sankara.
The Lord created the entire Universe and forms its basis, but the Lord does not identify Himself with the dream of Creation so much as to forget Himself. The individual soul on the other hand has no existence other than in the dream of Creation. He has no identity outside of Creation. Thus the individual soul cannot be treated as the original Lord through Advaita.
Liberated and blessed souls who are the servants of the Lord are also identified with the Lord through Advaita. Yet these liberated souls cannot be the Creator and the Substratum of this Universe. The original Lord can withdraw Himself from such liberated souls if they fall under the influence of egoism. However in case of His imaginary form, which is called as the human incarnation (Avatara Purusha), such withdrawal cannot take place because there is no difference between the original Lord and His human incarnation. The original Lord withdraws from the human incarnation only at the time of its end or death.
No individual soul can cross the boundary of the Dream (Creation) and can see the original Lord. The human incarnation need not see the original Lord because there is no difference between the two. Even great scholars misunderstand this concept and neglect the Lord in human form. The Lord in human form alone can give complete bliss to a human being, but the human being is unable to receive it due to his casualness and negligence towards the Avatara caused due to the apparent similarity between the Avatara and any individual. The Avatara also has a physical body made up of five gross elements and is subject to the rules of nature. The divinity of the Avatara cannot be perceived be the common man. He expects the Lord to appear in front of him with a luminous celestial (energetic) body. He cannot accept God in a human body.
The Lord in the higher plane (upper worlds) appears to denizens of those worlds in an energetic body. The souls in these worlds do not have a gross physical body. They themselves have only a celestial (energetic) body. Therefore God appears to them in an energetic body. If God were to appear to us in an energetic body, we would not suffer from casualness and negligence as we do in case of His human body, but such a form, being on a different plane cannot give complete bliss to human beings. He can give complete bliss to humans only when He comes in a human body. This is when humans are unable to recognize and accept Him.
This problem is of a recurrent nature. When the human being leaves the gross body (after death) and goes to the upper world in an energetic body, it neglects the Lord, who too is in an energetic body. Therefore whenever there is the possibility of receiving complete bliss, the soul's negligence hinders it. Whenever the Lord takes a 'higher' form (such as an energetic body in front of humans, who possess a gross body), negligence vanishes but the possibility of receiving full bliss from Him also vanishes. This peculiar problem is the cause for humans being unable to attain salvation easily. One can attain salvation and become near and dear to the Lord only when he or she crosses his or her negligence of the Lord in a human body. Hanuman and Gopikas could cross such negligence and were blessed by the respective human incarnations namely Rama and Krisna.
In the chemistry laboratory, a chemical is given to you. The procedure is given to you too. However it is up to you to follow the procedure, analyze and identify the chemical. The Veda says that the Lord preaches the infinite, true and special knowledge, which cannot be preached by anyone else. This knowledge generates love and bliss in our hearts and is the main characteristic of the Lord. He possesses super powers but he does not use them for exhibition as it would amount to egoism. Using these confirmatory tests you can find out the fullest form of the Lord (Paripurna Avatara), who is Lord Datta Himself. Of course all preachers are the human incarnations of the disciples of Lord Datta. Some are the partial incarnations of Lord Datta like Kalavatara, Amshsavatara and so on.
Sankara wandered all over India to propagate divine knowledge. However he never wandered as a naked Avadhuta who is mad and beyond the world. An Avadhuta is a stage of madness in the case of a jiva, which is a stage in the spiritual path. The human incarnation will not wander like Avadhuta. Instead He will wander to establish divine knowledge and devotion and to put the people on the right path. A jiva in the stage of an Avadhuta is different from the human incarnation. Actually the word Avadhuta does not mean to become a naked vagabond. It only means that all worldly matters will be thrown away by the realized soul like waves hitting a rock on the seashore.
You have still a small doubt about Me. You are still not convinced that I am the fullest incarnation of Lord Datta. Therefore your knowledge about Me is not complete. Hence I should not say that I am the fullest incarnation of Datta. I will say so only to that devotee, who develops total faith in Me. Lord Krisna never told anybody that He was the Lord. Even to Arjuna, He never told this point during His lifetime except in the battlefield while preaching the Bhagavad Gita. He revealed that He was the Lord because Arjuna surrendered to Krisna with full faith. It is very dangerous to reveal the divine truth unless one deserves it by virtue of his complete faith.
However, as you say that my knowledge is wonderful and it has not been given by anyone in the past. The reason for this is that the situation in the past was different. Some people were ignorant due to lack of divine knowledge, some others were ignorant of certain points regarding divine knowledge and yet some others were complete scholars. The complete scholars of that time were unable to explain adequately to the other two categories. No human being can explain divine knowledge effectively to another human being. Therefore the previous incarnations of Datta had to come. They must have been either partial incarnations (Kalavataras and Aasavataras) or the incarnations of the disciples of Datta. Some might have even been complete incarnations of Datta but Datta might have not revealed this wonderful knowledge since there was no need at that time. However today there is a real need for this wonderful knowledge because people have become wonderful.
The people of today are not ignorant about the true knowledge. They know the truth but they don't like the truth. They want the goal of the true path but do not want to walk the true path. They want to reach the true goal by a false path; one that is convenient to them. For this purpose they twist the meanings of the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita to suit their ends. Today people have become over intelligent. Even Lord Datta is sometimes astonished by the twisted meanings that they bring out of the Scriptures. Therefore there is a need at present for Lord Datta Himself to come down and reveal this wonderful knowledge to the wonderful people. If the people do not follow the true path even after this effort of Lord Datta, then there is no other alternative than to face the terrifying final incarnation of Datta (Kalki).
Lord Datta needs a human body to preach the knowledge. Accidentally and incidentally He chose my body. There is nothing special about me. There are ten pens in a pen stand. A poet picks up one of them to write a poem. The credit of the poem goes to the poet and not to the pen. I am just one of the several pens. In fact better pens are also available. I just happen to be that lucky pen. All the other pens will definitely envy the pen which was picked by the poet. This is natural to any pen. Jealousy of human beings is inevitable and so the envy of the selected pen is also inevitable. Unless one gets rid of egoism and jealousy, one can never accept the human incarnation. Therefore we find that some people doubt and some even insult the human incarnation as said in the Bhagavad Gita (samsayatma, avajananti mam).
Today is the birthday of this body, a Thursday and a full moon day. These three occasions falling on one day signify the three-headed Lord Datta. Lord Datta is represented by a three-headed image to signify that He, the Lord, has three aspects of Creator (Brahma), Sustainer (Visnu) and the Destroyer (Siva).
Thursday is called as the Guru-day, which indicates Brahma. Brahma is beyond both matter and energy and is above worship. The full moon day indicates Siva who represents the wave nature of energy (formless) through His Linga (the Formless symbol of the Lord). Siva is energy of wave-nature and is worshipped as the Linga. This body consisting of the form of matter represents Visnu. Visnu represents matter and is always worshipped as a form.
This is a very special day indicating the 'Paripurna Avatara'. A Paripurna Avatara is that human incarnation of the Lord in which, the Lord dwells in that human body from its birth to its end and also expresses His inseparable characteristic, the true and infinite divine knowledge. The Veda defines the Lord as Satyam-Jnanam-Anatam Brahma; the Lord who is of the nature of Truth, Knowledge and Limitlessness. Such a human incarnation is rare. The Lord in the aspect of Brahma, the creator, came in such full form as Sage Vasishta who preached the 'Yoga Vasistham' or 'Jnana Vasistham'. The Lord in the aspect of Visnu, came in such full form as Lord Krisna and preached the Bhagavad Gita. The Lord in the aspect of Siva came as Sankaracarya and preached His bhanyam. However the Lord in all three aspects (Brahma, Visnu and Siva) had not yet come as a Paripurna Avatara. Dattatreya, is the Lord in all three aspects. He has now come down as a Paripurna Avatara and is before you all. The unity of these three forms is signified by the union of the three occasions today viz. birthday, Thursday and full moon day.
Most people find it difficult to digest when I say that I am the human incarnation of Lord Datta. In general there are there are three types of people here. People of the first type are those who have conquered egoism and jealousy and are the highest devotees. They can recognize the human incarnation. They have no problem in accepting Him as the Lord. For them this (My) human body is pervaded by the Lord as a live wire is pervaded by electricity. They can accept Advaita (monism), in which this individual is identical with the Lord. They wanted to see, touch, talk and live with the Lord. To satisfy them the Lord came down and He is satisfying their desire through this Advaita. For them Me and Lord Datta are one and the same.
People of the second type are those who have partially conquered egoism and jealousy. Their mind is more suited to Visista Advaita (qualified monism), which says that the human incarnation is a spark of the Lord, who is the Infinite Fire. This philosophy speaks about part (sesa) and whole (Sesi). The spark, which is the part, is qualitatively same as the fire, which is the whole. Thus their partial devotion, which wants to worship the Lord, is satisfied. However the Visista Advaita philosophy says that the spark is quantitatively different from the fire and thus the spark cannot be called as identical to the fire. This aspect satisfies their partial egoism and jealousy which prevents them from accepting the human incarnation as God Himself.
People of the third type are those who are full of egoism and jealousy. For such people, dvaita (dualism) alone is acceptable. They cannot accept that the human incarnation of the Lord is the Lord Himself. They cannot even accept that the incarnation is qualitatively same as the Lord. They can only accept that the incarnation is different from the Lord. For them the human incarnation is a 'two-in-one' system. This human body is like the house and the Lord is dwelling inside this house as its owner. The house i.e., Myself, is completely different from the house owner i.e., the Lord. According to them, no importance need be given to the house. It is only the owner of the house that is important. When there is no importance to this external human body their egoism is completely satisfied.
The first type of people bows to the temple from outside and they feel that they have bowed to the inner idol through the temple. The second type of people respects the temple to some extent and bow to the idol standing in the main door of the temple. The third type of the people does not care for the temple and feel that the temple is merely an inert dwelling place. They do not bow to the temple. They go inside the temple and bow only to the idol.
The Bhagavad Gita, as a scripture, satisfies all three types. It allows all three to worship the Lord in the mode that they are suited to worshipping. It says 'manusim tanumasritam', which means that the Lord dwells in the human body in the case of human incarnation. This is dvaita and satisfies the third type of people, who form the majority in this world. The Bhagavad Gita also satisfies Visista Advaita or the second type of the people by saying mama tejomsa sambhavam. It speaks of Advaita which satisfies the first type of people, when it says, 'aham aatma, mattah parataram'. Advaita, though the highest, if preached to the third type of people, leads to problems. This is mentioned in the same verse (avajanantimam). Thus the Bhagavad Gita is the total package of divine knowledge.
Visnu represents sattvam. Sattvam produces knowledge. The Bhagavad Gita is the essence of all the Vedas. The Vedas, known today, are only just one-year recitation of Sage Bharadvaja. The remaining the Vedas, which are not known to us are infinite as told by the Veda (ananta vai vedah). The Bhagavad Gita is the essence of all the entire the Vedas, including the known and unknown portions. The human incarnation is clearly mentioned in the Vedas as vivrnute tanum. This means that the Lord will reveal Himself to the devotees through the human body. Again the Veda says 'yat saksat aparoksat', which means that the Lord appears before you and not in any other place. The path of service by the sacrifice of work (karma sarnyasa) is mentioned by both the Vedas (kurvanneveha) and the Bhagavad Gita (kuru karmaiva). The other part of the path of service is the sacrifice of the fruit of the work (karmaphala tyaga) is praised by the Vedas (tena tyaktena, dhanena tyagenaike) as well as by the Bhagavad Gita Phalam Tyaktva, karma phala tyagee). Whatever is found in the Bhagavad Gita must exist in the Vedas because the Vedas are the Cow and the Bhagavad Gita is the milk milked from that Cow.
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