Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 09 Mar 2019



Ms. Arsha (D/o Dr. Nikhil & Smt. Devi) asked: My examinations begin tomorrow. How can I overcome my nervousness?

Swami replied: You must think that God Datta is always with you like your bodyguard to fight with the nervousness that attacks you and to protect you from it. Nervousness will surely be defeated by God Datta and it will run away. This is your close relationship with God. If you find the nervousness still attacking you, you should come closer to God by thinking that God is in you. This will almost certainly push away your nervousness because no thief dares to rob the house of the police officer. But if you still find that the nervousness persists, you should become closest to God by thinking that you are God Himself! Now, the nervousness has to run away and it dare not come even close to you since there is no worldly force that can attack the omnipotent God.

The three steps of (1) being a close devotee of God, (2) being inseparable from God and (3) being identical with God, reflect the three Vedantic philosophies. These three philosophies were given by the three divine preachers, Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva respectively. The first step is Dvaita, the philosophy of dualism of Madhva, in which the soul is separate from God even though closely associated. The second step is Vishistha Advaita or the special monism of Ramanuja, in which the soul is like an inseparable limb of God. Ramanuja explains this through the Shesha-Shesi Sambandha or the Whole-Part relationship. As per this concept, God is the Whole and the soul is its part. The third step is Advaita or the monism of Shankara, in which both God and the soul merge with each other leaving no room for even the slightest duality between the two. Devotees of God can make use these three steps for any good purpose.

The Effect and Cause of Nervousness

The student has limited energy in the brain to think and do useful work. Nervousness consumes that limited energy to such an extent that hardly any energy remains to do useful work. As per the first law of thermodynamics, the energy supplied to a system is partly used in raising the system’s internal energy and only the rest is available for doing useful work. Nervousness is like the internal energy of the system. If all the energy supplied through food is used only in raising nervousness, there is no energy left for doing work. The situation will be like a computer with no electricity supplied to it. It has all the information stored on its hard disk but in the absence of electrical energy, no information can be displayed on the screen. When the student’s entire energy is consumed in the nervousness, there is no energy left to display the stored right answers in the brain and to write them on the answer script. The devoted student has prepared well for the examinations and the answers are properly stored in the brain. Studying hard and storing the answers in the brain is the duty of the student. But even when there is no deficiency in the student’s effort, the right answers do not come to the student’s mind. The student is not lacking the answers, but is lacking the energy necessary to display the answer in the brain since all the energy is consumed by the nervousness.

What is the cause of this nervousness? The punishment of some sin attacks the student in the form of nervousness, even though the student had performed his or her duty of studying sincerely. The fruits of intense good and bad deeds attack the soul here itself (Atyutkataih Paapapunyaih ihaiva phalamashnute). The fruits of normal deeds are received by the soul in heaven and hell after death. However, if the soul is highly devoted to God, God will provide some chance for the soul to get reformed. Getting settled in life is essential before reformation. Getting a good education is a prerequisite for settlement in life. Passing examinations is like crossing important landmarks in one’s education. Souls who are not concerned about God, will be attacked by the fruits of their intense deeds in the form of nervousness. One should not blame God in this context because God is impartial in implementing the established rules of the divine constitution regarding the karma chakra or the cycle of deeds. But devotion to God is also a deed and this deed must also have its fruit as per the rule of deeds. Thus, the student suffers from nervousness as a punishment for his or her intense bad deeds. But as a result of his or her devotion, the student also receives help from God. Such help rendered by God to the devotee is justified based on the student’s devotion and hence it does not violate justice in the divine administration.

The same three steps described by Me above were also preached by Jesus also through the following three statements: (1) I am in the Light. (2) The Light is in Me and (3) I am the Light. The first statement says that the divine preacher is a messenger of God. The second statement says that the divine preacher is the son of God. The third statement says that the divine messenger is God or the divine Father Himself. Jesus also said “I am the truth” which also indicates His identity with God. The first statement describes a high devotee who is close to God. This is Madhva’s dualism. The second statement describes an even higher devotee, which is Ramanuja’s special monism. The third statement describes the case of the Human Incarnation of God, which is Shankara’s monism. There is a fourth special stage of the highest devotee, who is even higher than the Human Incarnation. Due to the devotee’s exceptional devotion, God becomes a servant of that highest devotee!

Assuming Monism Without Committing Sins

In order to overcome nervousness while doing a good deed, a devotee can use any of these three steps. But the devotee should not exploit them to overcome nervousness while committing sin. Advaita philosophers claim that they are already God. Such a claim is not necessarily a sin. When the little son of a police officer holds a stick in his hand says that he is a police officer, the father, who is the police officer, smiles. He feels happy and is not angry with his son. If the son beats a real thief with the stick, the father becomes very happy saying that his son will certainly become a police officer in the future. But if the son beats an innocent person with the stick, the father becomes angry with his son. He takes away the stick from the son and slaps the son saying that he will never become a police officer and instead will become a thief! Hence, a devotee assuming monism with God for doing good deeds is recommendable. Simply, assuming monism without doing any deed is also enjoyable fun for God. But assuming monism for doing bad deeds must be avoided.

Shankara, in His monistic theory stated that the soul is the absolute truth or God and that the world is relatively true with respect to the soul. Through this concept of monism, He was encouraging souls to do good God-like deeds. But the relative truth of the world was misunderstood by some as its non-existence. Yet, Shankara kept silent allowing people to conclude that the world is non-existent. The idea behind His silence was that when the world is said to be non-existent, the follower of monism would at least not have a strong desire to do bad deeds, even if there would be no desire to do good deeds either. Any deed in a non-existent world is also non-existent like an action done in a dream. A soul doing neither good deeds nor bad deeds would remain more or less inactive, assuming the world to be non-existent. At least such a person would not harm others. Thus, Shankara allowed devotees to assume monism to encourage them to do good deeds and He allowed them to assume the non-existence of the world to at least prevent the soul from doing bad deeds. But He also warned any potential misusers of His concept of monism by saying that the punishment received for one’s sins must be also treated as non-existent! To demonstrate this concept, He swiftly ran away to escape from an elephant rushing towards Him. When questioned by the followers as to why He was running away from a non-existent elephant, He replied that not only the elephant, but also, His running away was non-existent (Yathaa gajo mithyaa...)! On the whole, Shankara preached that the world is non-existent to the real absolute God, while it is existent to every relatively-existent soul. The world is not existent to God and not non-existent to the soul. So, it can be said to be different from both existence (sat) and non-existence (asat). He called it mithyaa, which He defined as different from both existence and non-existence (Sadasat vilakshanaa).

Ascending to Monism and Descending from It

God is pleased when you use these three steps to overcome your nervousness while doing good deeds. He will be furious only when you exploit these steps to do sins. It is also very important that after ascending from the first step of dualism to the third step of monism, you must also descend back to dualism. There is no harm in continuing to be in the first step of dualism. It is, in fact, better to always continue in the first step. The first step is thinking that one is close to God. Even though an ordinary soul is actually far from God, it is better to think that he or she is close to God. It helps the soul remember that God is watching every deed done by the soul. So, every devotee should think that he or she is close to God, which means that God is always closely watching every deed done by the devotee.

Some devotees are eager to ascend to the step of monism but they never want to descend to dualism. That is very dangerous since the soul might easily commit sins as a result of continuing to be in monism. The soul begins to think that it is above justice since it is God and can even commit sins. The Gita says that ascending is done for the sake of doing some action (Aarurukshoh...) and descending is done for the sake of maintaining peace (Yogaaruudhasya...). Devotees should clearly understand that ascending to monism in this context does not mean that the devotee actually has become God. It is only an assumption to overcome nervousness. Even the Human Incarnation, who has actually ascended to the third step, has to sometimes come down to lower steps while preaching to devotees. Only if the percentage of ego and jealousy in the devotees around the Incarnation is nearly zero, does He declare His monism with God. If the devotees have a moderate level of ego and jealousy, He claims to be a Son of God, corresponding to the second step. If the ego and jealousy of the devotees is a hundred percent, then the Human Incarnation only claims to be a messenger of God, which is the first step. It is for this reason that Prophet Mohammad always claimed to be just a messenger of God. Another advantage of remaining in this first step of dualism with God is that there is place for the spiritual effort. Only when the soul realizes that it is different and far from God, can it take the effort to come closer to God.

Of course, there are people who do not want the closeness of God because it makes it inconvenient for them to do sins in the presence of the God who is so close! To avoid this inconvenient situation, some such people have placed God beyond this world. Others have denied the very existence of God! As a reaction to these two attempts of pushing God away, some people have developed the concept that God is omnipresent. This omnipresence of God serves the purpose of ensuring a constant closeness of God with every soul. But it also has a disadvantage. There is a danger of thinking that since God is omnipresent, He must also be in the sinner. In that case, it would mean that God is doing the sin! This, of course, is not true! Thinking that God is only beyond creation and thinking that God is omnipresent in creation are two extreme ends. The middle golden path between these two extreme ends is that God is beyond this creation, but He enters creation whenever and wherever there is a justified necessity. The omnipresence of God is not to be taken in the sense of His physical presence everywhere. It is to be understood in the effective sense. It means that even though God is not physically present everywhere, He is effectively present since He knows and controls everything in this creation.


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