Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 07 Jan 2003

     

HINDUISM REVEALED - 1

Essence of the Vedas

Yajna: All the Vedas describe ‘Yajna’ (sacrifice), which is nothing but the preparation of food. A fire is lit and it is called ‘Lowkikagni’ i.e., fire meant for cooking, but not for worship. The three parts of the fire, (Garhapatya, Ahavaneeya, and Dakshinagni) are only the three stoves for cooking various items of food. “Fools burn cooked food in this fire” says Kapila, the Incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The food, after proper cooking, must be offered to the guest, who shines like fire, and who must be deserving.

  1. The first preference is to offer the food to the Sadguru, who is the Human Incarnation of God that comes in every human generation.
  2. The second preference must be a poor devotee since God dwells in the heart of a devotee, as per Narada’s Bhakti Sutra.
  3. The third preference must be a beggar, who is incapable of earning food on his own.

In the third case, the beggar is a sinner punished by God. So you must turn him into a devotee by preaching knowledge and devotion. Food, clothing and shelter that you may provide to him are only secondary. They are like providing hostel accommodation to a student, who has no place to stay. If you do not turn the beggar to God, he may commit sin after eating your food. Then you will also get the result of that sin, since a person who helps a criminal, also gets punished.

Dakshina: ‘Dakshina’ (donation of money) which is necessary for the other needs of the reciever, must follow the donation of food (Yajna). “Adakshina Hato Yajnah” means that the Yajna goes waste without Dakshina. This Dakshina is karma phala tyaga (sacrifice of the fruit of your work) and is very much stressed in the Gita. The Vedas and the Gita together teach about the sacrifice of food and money. God is pleased only by such practical sacrifice. Sacrifice of words (prayers) and sacrifice of mental feelings (meditation and devotion) are useless without practical sacrifice.

A Sadguru like Shirdi Sai Baba is the most deserving person to donate food and money, because, he will use the energy of your offered food only in preaching divine knowledge. Due to His divine nature, He also knows other deserving devotees or beggars and He will help them in a proper way. Thus the money that you offer Him is fully utilized and you get the full fruit of your charity. For Him, the entire world is His family. A devotee confines to his own family and even if he donates to others, he may err, since both God and soul co-exist in His body. In the case of the Sadguru, only God exists in His body. Such a Sadguru comes in every human generation. Recognize Him with the proper identity marks (His inherent characteristics).

The Shortcut of the Bhagavad Gita

Karma (work with selfishness) is the first step in which you do work only for yourself and your family with selfishness. Jnana (knowledge) is the second step in which you identify the Lord, who comes in human form in every human generation. The identity mark (inherent characteristic) for recognizing such an Incarnation is His Jnana and not His miracles. Miracles are done even by demons. Bhakti (devotion) is the third step in which you become mad in the love of that Incarnation of Lord, like Hanuman or Radha. You are permanently bonded with the Lord by your selfless love or devotion to Him. Your attraction to Him is only due to His divine personality. Karma yoga (work without selfishness) is the fourth step, in which, you participate in the work of the Incarnation (His mission on earth), which is only to uplift the entire world. In such work, there is no selfishness because you work for the Lord, aspiring for nothing in return.

Now, the Gita says that you can straightaway go to the 4th step from the 1st step. You can start by diverting your work to God by reducing your selfishness. Let your karma (selfish work) be transformed to karma yoga (selfless service to God) completely. Then, you become like Hanuman. You will be near the Lord here (on earth) and there (in heaven). This state is called ‘Sayujyam’. ‘Kaivalyam’ is the state in which some souls enter the body of the Lord as said in the Gita (Nivasishyasi…). Whenever the Lord incarnates, these souls come out and incarnate too, whether they are near or in His body. This is the final salvation.

So, the Gita gives the shortcut from the 1st step directly to the 4th step. The kindest Lord Krishna gave such a facility to this world. Out of these 4 steps, the 1st and 4th steps relate to karma (work). The 2nd and 3rd steps relate to mind and words. The final step is only karma yoga, which is work (selfless service to God). The jnana (knowledge) and bhakti (devotion) are only intermediate steps. Jnana and bhakti help you to transform your karma into karma yoga. Karma yoga consists of sacrificing the work (karma samnyasa) and sacrificing the fruit of work i.e., money (karma phala tyaga). The second, third and fourth steps are interlinked and mixed in a homogeneous manner. If 100% jnana is attained, 100% bhakti is automatically attained and such a person will do 100% karma yoga instantaneously. In other words, out of these three—jnana yoga, bhakti yoga and karma yoga, if any one yoga is achieved, the other two are automatically attained. Therefore, in the Bhagavad Gita these three get mixed everywhere.

Lord Krishna says “Ekamapyasthitah”, which means that both jnana yoga and karma yoga are the same. The karma samnyasa yoga means leaving the works that are done with selfishness. When the bread is poisoned, it has to be rejected, when you cannot separate the poison from it. Similarly, when you cannot separate selfishness from your work, that work must be rejected. However, if you can separate the poison from the bread, then you can eat the bread after removing the poison. Similarly, if you can remove selfishness from your work, and also sacrifice the fruit of that work to God, then that work need not be rejected. For example, suppose you are doing a job with some selfish outlook. Now if you leave the job for the sake of God’s work it is called karma samnyasa, i.e., leaving your work to do God’s work. But suppose you continue the job and submit the fruit (money) of that job for the work of God (karma phala tyaga), then your doing the same job becomes ‘karma yoga’. Thus, by karma phala tyaga (sacrifice of the fruit of the work), your karma becomes karma yoga.

The Lord says that this karma yoga is better than karma samnyasa (Tayostu…) i.e., instead of leaving your job for the sake of God’s work it is better to do the job and sacrifice the fruit of the job for the work of God. Doing the job with selfishness is the first step (karma) and doing the job for the sake of God’s work is the fourth step (karma yoga). The Gita gives this shortcut, which is the high-jump from the first step directly to the fourth step. This is the essence of the entire Gita and the greatest shortcut given to humanity by Lord Krishna, who was the Human Incarnation of Lord Datta.

Lord Krishna asked Arjuna to fight (karma) not for attaining the kingdom with selfishness, but to destroy injustice. The destruction of injustice is the work of God and so if Arjuna fought with that aim he would be sacrificing the fruit of his fighting to God only. In such a case the fighting of Arjuna would become karma yoga and not karma. So when the fruit of the work is sacrificed to God, one directly jumps from the 1st step to the 4th step. This is the real heart of the Gita. The Gita preaches that you should not leave working in the world, but that you should leave selfishness and sacrifice the fruit of your work to God. When you are able to do such sacrifice, it means that your knowledge of God and your devotion to God are complete; your jnana and bhakti are perfect. Therefore, if you follow karma yoga, your knowledge and devotion are at the highest level—that is proved through karma yoga. The Gita emphasizes the sacrifice of ‘kama’ (the desire to do the work for selfish purposes) and not ‘karma’ (work). The sacrifice of kama is proved only when you sacrifice the fruit of that work to God i.e., karma phala tyaga.

The Four Great Sentences

There are four great sentences (Maha Vakyas) taken from the four Vedas. The first sentence is ‘Aham Brahma Asmi’. It means that I (any general human being) am like the Lord externally. It means that when the Lord comes in human form He looks like me. Here the figure of speech used is a ‘Upama Alankara’ (simile). One variation of this figure of speech is the ‘Lupta Upama Vachaka’ (metaphor) i.e.; the word ‘like’ is missing. Then the word-by-word meaning of this sentence should be taken in the following manner: Aham = I; Brahma = God; (Iva = like; is omitted); Asmi = look (am). Now the meaning is: “I look like God”. In other words, when God incarnates in a human form like Lord Krishna, He looks just like me as far as the external appearance is concerned. This is because the Lord is also in a human body.

The second sentence is ‘Tat Tvam Asi’. Tvam = You, Tat = God, (Iva = like; omitted), Asi = Look. It means “You look like God”. In other words, a Human Incarnation like Lord Krishna, looks like you externally. Similarly, the third sentence is ‘Ayam Atma Brahma’. Ayam Atma = He, (Iva = like; omitted), Brahma = God (Asti = looks; omitted). It means “He looks like God externally”. The essence of these three sentences is that a Human Incarnation such as Lord Krishna looks like me, you and him (respectively), when He is viewed externally, because His human body is the same as any other human body.

The fourth great sentence is ‘Prajnanam Brahma’. Brahma = God, Prajnanam = a scholar with special divine knowledge. The fourth sentence differentiates a Human Incarnation like Lord Krishna from other human beings because He possesses a special divine knowledge, which nobody can possess in this world. This sentence relates to the internal form of the Human Incarnation of God.

All these four sentences conclude that God comes only in the human form in every human generation to avoid partiality to a particular human generation. The fourth sentence indicates that you should recognize such God in human form by His special divine knowledge and not by miracles because miracles are done by demons also. The Lord is said to be the true and infinite knowledge by the Veda. The Bhagavad Gita says that the Lord comes to this world only through a human body (Manusheem Tanumashritam). The Gita did not mention that God comes in any other form. People have taken the direct (literal) meaning of these sentences and misinterpreted them as “I am God, You are God and He is God”. [They did not realize that the sentences were metaphors.] If you take the meaning like that, do you mean to say that everybody in this world is Lord Krishna? If so, Lord Krishna preached the Bhagavad Gita to Lord Krishna (Himself) since Arjuna is also Lord Krishna!