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Shri Datta Swami

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MEANING OF BRAHMAN, ISHVARA AND ATMAN
Posted on: 24/01/2020

Shri Phani asked: In our latest spiritual discussion, we were discussing about the meanings of words like Brahman, Īśvara and Ātman, in spiritual knowledge. Can you please enlighten us on this topic?

Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! Every word has different meanings. Based on the context, you have to select the proper meaning. The word president can mean the president of an entire country as well as the president of a tiny village in the country. Both are addressed as president by the public. When you are discussing the article in the constitution that puts the president above the jurisdiction of the courts of law...

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THE UNIFIED PATH OF KNOWLEDGE AND ACTION
Posted on: 22/01/2020

Shri J.S.R. Prasad (Professor of Sanskrit, Central University, Hyderabad) asked: In the Yoga Vāsiṣṭham, which is the preaching of sage Vasiṣṭha to Śrī Rāma, it is said that both knowledge (jñāna mārga) and action (karma mārga) are like the two wings of a bird flying to the spiritual goal. But Śaṅkara condemned the karma mārga of Maṇḍana Miśra. How can we correlate Vasiṣṭha and Śaṅkara?

Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! Just like Vasiṣṭha, Kumarila Bhaṭṭa also said that both jñāna and karma are needed side-by-side, in the spiritual effort. Bhaṭṭa’s theory is called Jñāna-Karma-Samuccaya-Vāda or the unified path of knowledge and action. His disciple, Maṇḍana Miśra, however, took only the path of action (karma mārga), which is also called Pūrva Mīmāṃsā. It mainly stresses on karma, which is work done with an aspiration for worldly fruits. If you take Śaṅkara, He stressed only on jñāna, which is the theoretical enquiry about God and the consequent theoretical devotion to God. Hence, Śaṅkara and Maṇḍana Miśra were exactly opposite...

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WHY DO YOU TRY TO CORRELATE THE ETERNAL HINDU RELIGION (SANAATANA DHARMA) WITH OTHERS WHO EAT THE FLESH OF A COW?
Posted on: 17/12/2019

Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! You mean to say that cow-eaters should not be excused, whereas, goat-eaters can be excused! Both cows and goats are soft-natured animals. The real concept is that a soft-natured animal or human being should not be killed. A cow represents all soft-natured animals. When it is said that you should not kill a cow, it means that you should not kill any soft-natured animal or bird. Similarly, when it is said that you should not kill a Brāhmaṇa, it means that you should not kill any soft-natured...

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CAN ONE'S LOVE FOR GOD MIRACULOUSLY CANCEL ONE'S SINS?
Posted on: 17/12/2019

Shri Anil asked: Jesus said that the sins of the devotee will be excused in proportion to the love possessed by the devotee for God. Does this mean that the love for God has such miraculous power to cancel sins?

Swami replied: The love for God does not have any miraculous power. Even if it had any miraculous power, that miraculous power is not used to cancel the sins. Due to the devotee’s love for God, God comes down in human form to preach to the devotee about the path of reformation. It is only upon reformation that sins are cancelled. There are three steps in the reformation of the soul. The first is realization. It means the recognition of the sin. The person should confess that he or she has committed a sin and not try to use false and twisted arguments to defend the sin or prove that it was not a sin but a good deed. The second step is repentance for the committed sin. The third and final step is the practical non-repetition ...

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ARE HUMAN INCARNATIONS OF GOD POSSIBLE IN ATHEISTIC OR COMMUNIST COUNTRIES?
Posted on: 17/12/2019

Swami replied: God said in the Gita that He incarnates in human form for only one purpose, which is the establishment of justice and the destruction of injustice (Dharma saṃsthāpanārthāya—Gita). He never said that He would incarnate for the sake of establishing His existence or for destroying atheism. God is not worried about the spiritual path (nivṛtti). He is not interested in establishing theism, spiritual knowledge, devotion, service to Him or sacrifice to Him. He has no desire...

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WHAT ARE THE FIVE SACRIFICES (PANCHA YAJNAAS)?
Posted on: 17/12/2019

Shri Balaji asked: What are the five sacrifices (pañca yajñas)? If a person misses the Satguru, who is to be worshipped in the first Brahma yajña? Should he perform it or not? If the real Satguru is not available, will the performance of these five sacrifices take the soul to the highest step?

Swami replied:  In fact, there are seven sacrifices (sapta yajñas) in which seven different entities are worshipped by offering food to them. They are as follows: 1) Brahma yajña, in which the contemporary Human Incarnation of God or the Satguru is to be worshipped. 2) Deva yajña, in which devotees...

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IS THE EXPERIENCE OF THE WORLD USEFUL IN SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE?
Posted on: 17/12/2019

The answer to this question is a full yes. For every concept in spiritual knowledge, there is an excellent example in the world. This means that from worldly experience itself, the entire spiritual knowledge can be built up. We have seen that issue-devotion (love for one’s children) is the strongest and that one’s devotion to God stands in competition against it. The final success lies in conquering the love for one’s children with the devotion that one has for God...

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WHAT IS THE GREATNESS OF SUDAAMAA, WHO WAS BLESSED BY GOD SO MUCH?
Posted on: 17/12/2019

People say that Sudāmā, who was facing extreme poverty, initially avoided approaching Krishna for help, to maintain his own dignity. But it is totally wrong. Sudāmā was not approaching Krishna because he knew thoroughly that we should never approach God, expecting some benefit in return. This was the main reason why Sudāmā was not approaching Krishna for a long time. When he finally approached Krishna, due to the insistence of his wife...

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ISN'T IT TRUE THAT WE NEED A LOT OF COURAGE TO DEBATE WITH A GREAT SAINT?
Posted on: 17/12/2019

Shri Balaji asjed: In the spiritual line, a lot of courage is needed, in general. When we debate with a great saint, a lot of courage is needed, isn’t it?

Swami replied: There is no need to have any fear during a spiritual debate because our strength lies in our argument and not in the status of the opponent. It does not matter even if the opponent is the greatest saint. It is the question of a wrong point being defeated...

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IS NECESSARY TO REMOVE ALL THE HAIR FROM THE HEAD OF A BABY (MUNDAN OR TONSURE)?
Posted on: 16/12/2019

Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: Is it mandatory to do the muṇḍan ceremony (tonsure) of a baby? Does it have any religious significance? Commonly, after performing the pujā in a temple, a few snippets of the baby’s hair are taken off and later, the parents are supposed to get all of the baby’s birth hair shaved off. Is this necessary?

Swami replied: Removing the hair from the head of a baby may be good from a scientific point...

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HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO MATCH THE HOROSCOPES OF THE BRIDE AND THE GROOM BEFORE GETTING MARRIED?
Posted on: 16/12/2019

Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: Is kuṇḍali or horoscope-matching very important for marriages? In some marriages, even though the horoscope has been matched, the couples seem to be having a lot of inter-personal problems and they do not get along well. Should people still match the horoscopes anyway, just to err on the safe side? It is also said that the cutting of hair and nails should only be done on specific days and not at night time. Do such rules apply even today?

Swami replied: The subject of astrology as written by ancient sages is correct. However, the astrologer must interpret the horoscope in the correct way. The astrological planets are not the inert planets, but the deities of the inert planets. They are nothing but the various forces of the unimaginable power of God. They deliver the fruits of the deeds of souls, as per the schedule of life cycles, which are arranged by God. The inert planets, which exist in space, are made of inert matter...

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DO SINFUL SOULS, WHO ARE BORN AS PLANTS AND ANIMALS, EVER GET ANOTHER HUMAN BIRTH?
Posted on: 16/12/2019

Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: I have read in one of your articles that some souls are born as fish and trees to train those souls regarding sacrifice. Once that birth is over and God feels that the soul has indeed learnt its lesson, are they born as human beings again in order to give them a second chance at having a human birth?

Swami replied: Sinners who have used their qualities greed and anger in the wrong direction...

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HOW ARE SOULS IN ANIMAL BODIES JUDGED BY GOD?
Posted on: 16/12/2019

Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: The fate of some herbivorous animals is decided by birth itself since they will be killed and eaten by some carnivores. A carnivorous animal, by nature, is designed to hunt, kill and eat other animals. So, how is the judgment done for animals? Also, once an animal or any creature dies, do their souls get energetic bodies that are of the form of that same animal? Do they also have wait for their judgment for ten days, like human souls?

Swami replied: Once a soul enters the cycle of births of animals and birds, they generally continue to have the same attitudes...

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WHY DO SOME SOULS REMAIN ON EARTH AS GHOSTS INSTEAD OF CROSSING OVER?
Posted on: 16/12/2019

Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: Why do some souls haunt places on Earth instead of crossing over? We hear stories where some people can even see these ghosts. Some spirits even try to enter living human beings and cause them harm. I heard that some harmless spirits just wander around for years. How come those souls did not face any judgment after 10 days of their death? Also, how does a soul transform into an evil spirit and why do evil spirits harm people? Is having complete faith in God to protect us, the answer to preventing these spirits from approaching us?

Swami replied: There is no difference between ghosts and persons who have extreme attachment or fascination to worldly things. It is only due to their extreme worldly fascination that souls enter invisible energetic bodies called ghosts, after death. They continue to wander in this world untill their fascination gets pacified. Such a judgment is given by God to the soul having extreme worldly fascination, on the 10th day after the death of the soul. Such ghosts or spirits occasionally enter us and cause...

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IS IT GOOD TO DONATE OUR ORGANS AND CHOOSE ELECTRIC CREMATION INSTEAD OF TRADITIONAL CREMATION?
Posted on: 16/12/2019

Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: Is it considered wrong if someone chooses to donate one’s organs and go through electric cremation after they die? Is it alright in terms of skipping the traditional way of being cremated? What all rituals should their family members follow before and after electric cremation?

Swami replied: Donating organs after death is a meritorious deed...

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IS IT RIGHT OR WRONG FOR A PERSON TO CHANGE THE GENDER THEY ARE BORN WITH?
Posted on: 16/12/2019

Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: Nowadays, due to medical technology, transgenders are going through surgery and hormone injections to attain the physical features of the gender they wish to have. Some of them feel trapped in the body of the gender they were born with and they are willing to go through whatever is needed to change their gender.

Swami replied: Gender is, in no way, connected with the soul. It is only related to the external gross body. The change of gender is a subject only related to worldly issues and not to spiritual issues. In view of the souls, there is no difference in gender. All souls belong to only one gender and that is female. God alone is said to be the male (Puruṣa) in the sense...

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IS IT SIN FOR A RAPE VICTIM TO ABORT THE FETUS?
Posted on: 16/12/2019

[Reply tp a question by Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli] Swami replied: Rape is the sin of the rapist and not the sin of the raped lady. There is no need to have an abortion...

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ARE GAY RELATIONSHIPS ACCEPTABLE FROM A SPIRITUAL STANDPOINT?
Posted on: 16/12/2019

Smt. Priyanka Seethapalli asked: What is your take on legalizing gay marraiges? It is already legal in some states in USA and we see many gay couples who are even raising children together. There are some people who say that all gay people will be condemned to hell and parents disown their own children when they come to know that their children are gay. There is so much social taboo and shame in accepting gay people.

Swami replied: Any inborn defect in this life is only the fruit of some sin done in the past lives. A person who mocks at a eunuch, is born as a eunuch in his next life. If the eunuch is reformed in this birth and becomes a strong devotee of God, God will remove the defect and bless the soul even using His miraculous...

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IS EUTHANASIA OR MERCY KILLING WRONG OR A SIN?
Posted on: 15/12/2019

Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: Is euthanasia or mercy killing wrong or a sin, particularly in the following cases:Case 1: Sometimes, a cancer patient at the hospital is told by a doctor that, with a lot of effort, they can prolong their life by 6 more months or a year, at the most. But the patient opts for no more suffering from chemotherapy or any other types of medical interventions and choses to lead the remaining life in doing what he or she likes. The patient chooses not to fight for living a little bit longer and instead, makes peace with his or her upcoming death. Is this wrong? Should patients always...

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IS PLASTIC SURGERY DONE TO IMPROVE ONE'S PHYSICAL FEATURES, A SIN?
Posted on: 15/12/2019

[Reply to a question by Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli] Swami replied: Plastic surgery might become essential for professional reasons. A beautiful film actress got plastic surgery done to make the tip of her flat nose a little long and lean because she has to act...

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