Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 01 Sep 2004

     

GIVE UP RITUALS AND SERVE THE LORD

A saint (monk, sanyasi) does not do any worship using flowers, fume sticks, camphor, coconuts etc. He does not burn ghee (clarified butter) or oil in the lamp. He does not do any sacrifice by burning ghee and food in the fire. Only the householders are doing such rituals with the help of priests. When a saint comes, all householders including priests are supposed to prostrate before the saint. What does this mean? The stage of the saint is certainly a higher stage. The saint also does not chant the Gayatri hymn. He has given up the sacred thread[1] because he knows that the sacred thread (yajnopaveetam) with three strings is only a model representing the three qualities of the nature (prakriti). This model indicates that you must use only a form of prakriti (human form) to worship the Lord. Prakriti means nature, which consists of the three qualities viz. sattvam, rajas and tamas.

‘Gayatri’ means any song related to the Lord, which protects us. Mantra means that which attracts the mind and protects us. Therefore, the Gayatri mantra means a song about the Lord, which attracts the mind and protects us. It can be any song. The so-called Gayatri hymn is not Gayatri at all because the hymn is only a poem and not a song. It is said that Gayatri mantra is the greatest (Na gayatryaah paro mantrah). The reason is that a poem is more attractive than prose. A song is even more attractive than a poem. The Yajur Veda is prose. The Rig Veda is poetry. The Sama Veda is a song. The Gita says that the song alone (Vedaanaam Saama Vedo’smi) pleases the Lord.

The poetic meter in which the so-called Gayatri mantra is composed, is called as Gayatri. In other words, the hymn “Tat savituh…” is composed in the meter called Gayatri and the hymn itself is not the Gayatri mantra. The deity being praised in that hymn is ‘Savita’ i.e., the Lord. Savita means He who creates and delivers this world. In olden days there were no restrictions on the Gayatri mantra because any devotional song is a Gayatri mantra. The Upanayanam, which is the sacred thread ceremony[2] means becoming close to Lord. By such sweet devotional songs one becomes close to the Lord. In the middle ages the actual meaning of Gayatri mantra was lost. A hymn (poem) in the meter called Gayatri became the Gayatri mantra due to misinterpretation by some scholars. These selfish middle-age scholars[3] denied the Gayatri mantra to all women and yet the scholars say that Gayatri, the ruling deity of this hymn, is a lady (Goddess Gayatri)! This is the greatest joke showing their ignorance. They allowed the practice of Gayatri mantra and the associated rituals to the kshatriyas (warrior caste) because the kshatriyas protect the scholars and priests. They allowed the Gayatri to vaishyas (the businessman caste) because they help the priests financially. The agriculturists (shudra caste) do sincere service to society, and the ladies of all castes do sincere service in the home. Yet all ladies and agriculturists were denied this Gayatri mantra.

The Gita says that ladies and agriculturists have the right to salvation (Te’pi yaanti paraam gatim). These ladies and agriculturists worshipped the Lord by devotional songs. See the mystery! The actual Gayatri (singing of devotional songs for God) stays only with ladies and agriculturists. The so-called Gayatri mantra chanted by Brahmins (priests), kshatriyaas (warriors) and vaishyas (businessmen) is not at all the actual Gayatri at all! All these restrictions were brought in due to the pride of caste and sex. The pride of sex is so intense that the Brahmins denied even their own ladies the right to recite the Veda and chant the so-called Gayatri mantra. During the performance of ritual sacrifices, the priest asks his wife to recite just two special Vedic hymns! If she has no right for the recitation of the Veda how come she is made to recite these two hymns? All this is a mixture of foolishness, ignorance and ego.

You say that the so-called Gayatri mantra is the greatest. At the same time you are denying it to some human beings. Can this be a divine quality? The sage who gave this so-called Gayatri Mantra is called Vishwamitra, which means he who is interested in the welfare of all humanity! You claim that the drink in your bottle is the best but you do not let other people taste it. What sadism is this? Therefore, Lord Datta clarified this point that the actual Gayatri mantra is with those human beings to whom you denied the right to recite the Gayatri mantra. The Gayatri mantra, which is with you, is not at all the actual Gayatri mantra.

You are worshipping idols and pictures from childhood and you are engaged in all these rituals. Do you sit in the first standard class in the school throughout your life? Should you not go to college and the university progressively? The Dharma Shastra[4] says that you should finally come to the stage of samnyasa ashrama[5] in which the person throws away all these rituals and worship and even removes the sacred thread. Such a person is a saint (monk, sanyasi) and you consider him as the highest. Therefore, you are indirectly appreciating the giving up of idol worship and rituals. You do not scold him for removing the sacred thread and giving up rituals and worship. Your highest respect for him shows that leaving the so-called Gayatri mantra, not worshipping the idols and not doing any rituals, is the highest stage. Therefore, the old tradition of our sages (monk-hood, samnyasa), which remains even today, proves which is the highest state.

Thanks to the ignorance of the middle age scholars, they forgot this point and did not treat a sanyasi (monk) as the worst fellow! Samnyasa does not mean wearing saffron clothes. Whatever may be your clothes, if you reach that highest stage, you are a sanyasi. You cannot say that a sanyasi must chant the Gayatri mantra, do all the rituals including yajna and perform the worship of idols. In fact the Dharma Shastra prohibits all these things for a sanyasi, and you cannot contradict the Dharma Shastra. You cannot even oppose this old tradition because you yourself are a patron of these old traditions. When the Vedas and the Shastras oppose you, the only remaining weapon for you is the tradition followed by your elders.

Real Renunciation

A saint is expected to know divine knowledge and propagate it. The Gita says that the true divine knowledge will destroy all the rituals (Jnaanaagnih sarva karmaani, Jnaate karma navidyate). If divine knowledge is propagated, at least some people will come forward to practice it. There are some good people in society, who are not practicing due to the lack of knowledge. Therefore, the propagation of knowledge is essential at least for the sake of those good people.

Seed of knowledge

A heart filled with ego is like rocky soil. When the seed of knowledge falls on it, it cannot generate the plant. The plant is selfless devotion to the Lord. The heart of some people is very fertile due to love. But the weeds and thorny bushes suck away all the essence of their fertile heart (love). These bushes are the family bonds. Some people love their fellow human beings and serve them through social work. All this is pravritti (path of worldly life) in which the love of the heart is sucked by thorny bushes. The fellow human beings are ungrateful and therefore, they are compared to the thorny bushes. This is the reason why every human being is forgetting the Lord. The human being always asks for fresh boons and never expresses gratefulness for the past favors done by God. This human birth that God has given you, itself is the biggest favor that God has done for you, because according to your file of past actions, you never deserved to get a human birth. Such an ungrateful heart has lost its fertility. The seed of knowledge might germinate but it cannot grow in such a heart due to the lack of fertility. When the seed of knowledge falls on fertile soil without any thorny bushes, it grows and becomes a big tree shortly. But while growing, pests will attack it.

The seed is nothing but the knowledge of the Lord in human form (nivritti), who comes in every human generation. A person with ego will not accept this very idea and is like rocky soil. Another person recognizes the Lord in human form but cannot love Him because all the family bonds and fellow human beings have sucked away all his love. Only a person like Hanuman stores all the love in his heart for the sake of the Lord. He avoids family bonds. When Ravana was disturbing the world, Hanuman could have killed him with one stroke and got fame. But he waited till the Lord came in human form and he gave all the fame of his battle to the Lord alone. In the case of even great devotees, the pest of ego and jealousy attacks. Even great devotees will be jealous of the Lord at least for a fraction of a second. Hanuman destroyed this pest completely. Really this pest is all the devils and demons. It is the insect that destroys the plant. The Lord will tolerate you even if you scold Him. But He can never tolerate selfishness, which produces a very bad odor. When you think of Swami, you have put on the switch[6]. The current is flowing in the wire, which is the human form. But when you try to communicate your problem either through your words or even through your mind, the Lord is repelled due to your selfishness. Some people convey their problems to the Lord in several cunning ways. All that is a waste because the Lord is omniscient. When you convey your problem, you have doubted Swami and the switch is put off. Omniscient means He who knows everything. This is the aspect of knowledge, which is the very inherent nature of the Lord (Satyam, jnaanam anantam Brahma). If you doubt His very inherent nature, the Lord disappears and only the human form remains like a bulb without electricity. That human form, just like any other human being, cannot help you in any way.

Therefore, remove the selfishness completely from your service. Serve Him as you serve your child without any trace of selfishness. In such a case the Lord will give infinite result to you because the Lord likes only selfless service, which is the sweet fragrance of the lotus-like heart. The Veda says that one can enter samnyasa ashrama (monkhood, renunciation) on any day and there is no time limit for any ashrama or stage in life (Yada hareva virajet). Samnyasa ashrama does not mean leaving the house and wearing the saffron cloth. Whenever you receive divine knowledge and whenever you are propagating that divine knowledge in this world by discarding all rituals, idol worship, the so-called Gayatri mantra and the sacred thread (which is only a model indicating that you should catch the Lord in human form), you have become a saint (monk). The external dress is not necessary. The maturity of mind and the sharp analysis of the intelligence, in search of the truth, make you a saint. Leaving grihastha ashrama (stage of householder) does not mean leaving the home and family. It means cutting the family bonds in your heart. Similarly, taking samnyasa ashrama does not mean wearing the saffron cloth. It means attaining divine knowledge and propagating it in this world. There is no time limit and it should not be taken in an external physical sense. All this is only in the internal spiritual sense. Thus on any day, one can become a samnyasi.

Shri Shirdi Sai Baba did not give any mantra to a woman who pestered Him a lot for it. Sai Baba told her that He did not know any mantra, that He never worshipped any statue or picture and that He never recited any book. He told her that all His mind was attracted to, was His Guru (Venkusa), who was the Lord in human form. Mantra means that which attracts the mind. Venkusa attracted the mind of Sai completely and so Venkusa was the mantra for Sai. He said that all the credit of His miracles went to His Guru alone. By this, Sai clearly preached to us that we should catch the human form of the Lord in that generation and not any temple, picture, mantra or any other form of worship.

Human jealousy and God’s incarnations

Man is always jealous of another man and therefore cannot recognize the human incarnation of the Lord. The first incarnation of the Lord was in the water as a fish (Matsya) because man could not tolerate any living being on the earth as the Lord, since he was living on the earth. As the jealousy decreased, the Lord came as an incarnation of a tortoise (Kurma) which lives in water for sometime and on the earth for some time. Then the Lord came as a pig (Varaha) which lives on the earth only. Then the Lord came as human being but the face was that of a lion (Narasimha), since the jealousy of a man is always concentrated on the beauty of the face of another human being. Then the Lord came as a human child (Vamana) since a man does not care much (is not affected by jealousy) about a child even if it is beautiful. Then the Lord came as full human being (Parasurama) who destroyed the ego of a man, which is the root cause of jealousy. Then the Lord came as Rama, but He behaved like an ordinary man so that the jealousy of men was not aggravated. Then He came as Lord Krishna who exposed Himself as the Super-Man. For Lord Krishna there were several enemies due to this reason. Krishna gave knowledge and also showed miracles. People gave importance to miracles. Then He came as Buddha. Buddha means a scholar of divine knowledge. Buddhi means intelligence and knowledge. Buddha never showed many miracles, which are like associated jewels of the Lord and can be exhibited even by demons. The last human incarnation will be Kalki, who will finally punish egoism and jealousy completely.

Man—a vegetable biryani

Man was created after the creation of all the animals. Man possesses the qualities of all the animals as a mixture. He is like a ‘vegetable biryani’. The cabbage always remains as cabbage and the potato always remains as potato. A tiger is always a tiger and a fox is always a fox. But man becomes a tiger in one moment and a fox in another moment. Sometimes man becomes a mixture of a tiger and a fox. The proportions may vary from one man to another. Thus man is the most unpredictable living being. Hence, his faith cannot be predicted.

Materialistic life must end and a new spiritual life must start. In the second life the previous bonds are forgotten. In spiritual life, other devotees are your only relatives. Blood relations are forgotten. Krishna gave infinite wealth to Kuchela, who did not even belong to His caste. Krishna planned to kill Abhimanyu, who was the only son of His only sister. Thus, Krishna can be said to be the real ‘Dvija’—one who is born again.[7] One cannot become a dvija just by putting on the sacred thread. Only when one forgets all his blood relatives and remembers only the spiritual devotees as his real relatives, does he become a dvija.

Preach the truth

No religion should attract people by a false concept. Hinduism and Christianity are attracting people by a false concept saying that just by doing prayer, worship etc., the Lord will cancel your sins and will give you the results of good deeds, which are not done by you. This may be useful in attracting the masses initially but this false concept grows and becomes a big tree in course of time and then you cannot introduce the true concept. Therefore, such attraction is spoiling the very spiritual upliftment of human beings and is not relished by the Lord. You must introduce the truth itself as a seed irrespective of the number of followers. Let it not be acceptable to the majority because the majority always goes to hell. Only the minority reaches God according to the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita. The teacher is not worried about the student who gets forty marks out of a hundred (minimum passing marks). If that student is beaten and forced to study harder, he may at the most get forty-one marks, which is immaterial. But when a student gets ninety-nine marks, the teacher will beat him severely for that one mark that he lost. Similarly, a real devotee is put through the fire-test and is purified to perfection.

Whatever may be the relationship between God and the human being, the underlying common relationship is Master and servant alone. If the Lord is treated as the Father and the devotee as the son, the Father is the Master and son is the servant. If the Lord is treated as the husband and the devotee as His wife, then the husband is the Master and the wife is the servant. Therefore, whatever type of bond you may have with the Lord, the underlying common essence of all the bonds is that the Lord is the Master and you are His servant. There is no use of mere words and mere mind (mental feelings) to please the Lord. Only work and the fruit of work should be sacrificed to please the Lord really. Today people are trying to please the Lord with words (prayers) and with mind (meditation and devotion) in their leisure time. If they can find some extra work for earning more, then they spend even their leisure time for earning.

Therefore, you cannot achieve the grace of the Lord by mere words and mind without the sacrifice of work (karma samnyasa) and the sacrifice of the fruit of work (karma phala tyaga). Both these put together is called as karma yoga (service), which is done without aspiring for any fruit in return. Then it is called as karma yoga, which is the essence of the entire Gita. The very first hymn of very first Upanishad (Ishavasya Upanishad) preaches only about sacrificing money and wealth for God’s work, after storing for your minimum requirements. You cannot achieve the grace of God by doing some gymnastic exercises (yogic postures), by chanting some words, by the mind or by external dress, garlands, sacred ash on the forehead, and so on.


[1] The yajnopaveetam is a cotton thread with three strands, to be worn by householders crossways over one shoulder. When a person renounces the world and becomes a saint, he gives up the sacred thread.

[2] The upanayanam or the sacred thread ceremony is carried out for young boys sround the age of eight years. In this ceremony, the boy is given the sacred thread to wear, and from that day onwards, he is supposed to chant the Gayatri mantra thrice a day.

[3] These scholars were Brahmins, i.e. belonging to the priest caste and they disallowed women and members of lower castes from chanting the Gayatri mantra.

[4] Secondary scriptures related to worldly ethics.

[5] The state of total renunciation (sainthood or monkhood).

[6] You are connected to Him. In other words, the Lord appears (becomes predominant) in the human body of Swami.

[7] People of higher castes, especially Brahmins(priests), are said to be dvijas (twice-born). This is because, the sacred thread ceremony, which is the person’s initiation into the divine Vedic knowledge is considered as his rebirth.