Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 12 Mar 2019


Swami answers devotees' questions

1) How can the truth set a person free when no one knows the truth?

 [This is a question based on the statement of Lord Jesus in the Bible, “The truth will set you free”, and was posed by a person in an online discussion to Shri Anil.]

Swami replied: Truth means the fact in any subject. It also means an item which really exists. One must have the knowledge of both to uplift one’s soul. The true item is God. God is unimaginable, but He enters a medium to become an Incarnation for the sake of souls. Recognizing this mediated God or Incarnation itself is the recognition of the true goal. For this, one must have the capacity for logical analysis so that one can find the truth. After finding the true goal, one must get the knowledge of the soul or oneself. Specifically, one must know that one’s own self is not the goal. One must realize one’s own identity as a soul, which is an iota of the imaginable creation and not the unimaginable Creator-God. With this realization, the true knowledge of the soul is attained. Finally, one must know the true path to please God, which is developing real love without any aspiration for a fruit in return. The true goal, the truth about the soul and the true path to reach the goal is the threefold truth or triputi. The knowledge of this threefold truth is essential and only with it can a person succeed in the spiritual effort.

2) In spite of being very powerful like God, why did Shirdi Baba not fight for the independence of India?

[This is a question was posed by a person in an online discussion with Shri Anil.]

Swami replied: Did Lord Krishna directly fight in the war to establish justice? No! Yet, He was solely responsible for the victory in the war. Several human beings fought for independence but they could not succeed and many even got killed. On the other hand, Mahatma Gandhi got freedom for the country even without fighting, by the blessings of God. Shri Shirdi Sai Baba had told Shri Bal Gangadhar Tilak that independence would come to the country but that there was still some time left for it. The Gita says that a wise person finds action in inaction (Akarmanicha karma yah...). We seem to act a lot but our actions bring no result. Great Incarnations like Shri Sai Baba do not seem to act and yet the result is effortlessly obtained. Thus, there is inaction in our actions and action in the inaction of God-men.

3) Can God even forgive a person’s prarabdham and give full relief to the person from the punishment of the person’s sins?

[This is a question was posed by a person in an online discussion to Shri Anil.]

Swami replied: Prarabdham means the cause for the present birth. It is that small part of the fruit of a person’s deeds that remains after exhausting the major part of the bad and good fruits in hell and heaven respectively. This remaining small part of the fruit is required for acquiring a new human body and it gets exhausted as soon as the soul is born in this world. God is omniscient and omnipotent. He knows everything about what is to be forgiven and what is not to be forgiven. He is omnipotent and can forgive anything and nobody can question Him since He is the supreme authority. But He never misuses this unique power since He is omniscient.

4) Could You kindly enlighten us on the meaning of the Parable of the Workers from the Bible?

[A question by Shri Anil.

The Parable of the Workers

1. For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3. About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4. ‘You also go into my vineyard,’ he said, ‘and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5. So they went. He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ he asked. 7. ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. So he told them, ‘You also go into my vineyard.’ 8. When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last ones hired and moving on to the first.’ 9. The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10. So when the original workers came, they assumed they would receive more. But each of them also received a denarius. 11. On receiving their pay, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12. ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’ 13. But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Did you not agree with me on one denarius? 14. Take your pay and go. I want to give this last man the same as I gave you. 15. Do I not have the right to do as I please with what is mine? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16. So the last will be first, and the first will be last.]

Swami replied: The first group of workers entered into a contract with the landowner, which shows that they had an aspiration for getting paid. The work done by them was with an aspiration for the fruit. It is only because the fruit was clearly specified that they entered the field to work. The last group of workers entered the field to work agreeing to accept whatever the landowner would choose to give. Since they had not entered into any contract with the landowner, they never aspired for any fruit. They were ready to accept any amount, even if it were next to nothing. This shows their lack of aspiration for any fruit in return for their work. The landowner stands for God and first group of workers stand for the devotees who serve God but are full of aspiration for the fruit. The last group of workers stand for a devotee serving God without any aspiration for the fruit. They did not ask for a specific amount and they worked without thinking of how much they would be paid. They represent the devotees having real love for God. The first group of workers represent businessmen-devotees. Business-devotion means devotion which is based on a fixed prior contract. The devotee promises God to do something for Him provided God fulfills his desires. So, there is business or mutual give-and-take in business-devotion. In fact, such devotion is not devotion at all! It is only business! In true devotion, which is represented by the last group of workers, there is no contract and no keeping of an account between the devotee and God.  The last group of workers simply entered the field to help the landowner finish the work by that evening. They only looked at the need of the landowner and not the quantity of the work or the amount they would get paid. They would even have worked longer if more work needed to be done. Looking at their selflessness, the owner also reciprocated in the same way. He looked only at the need of the last group of workers. Both groups of workers needed the same amount to run their families for the next day. The owner saw that even though the last group of workers had worked less, their need was no less than that of the first group of workers. In the case of the first group of workers, it was not necessary for the owner to assess their need since they had entered into a mutually agreed contract. These two groups of workers represent business-devotion and real devotion respectively. The majority of us belong to the category of business-devotion or the first group. But the goal is to attain real devotion to God, which is represented by the last group of workers. When we, who belong to the first, become the last, the spiritual effort is fulfilled.

5) Are the total number of souls constant or are new souls being created?

Shri Bhargav asked: Hello Swamiji! Are new souls being created? Are souls being born as human beings, animals, insects or birds for the first time? Or is the number of souls constant because some say that there is no such thing as first karma or first universe and that the universe is beginningless.

Swami replied: Souls are approximately constant in number. Do not just look at the rising trend of the human population on earth and think that new souls are being created. Souls exist in various worlds in the universe. The time for which souls stay in various worlds differs from case to case based on the intensity of the deeds of each soul. Even to study the total population of souls in this world, you have to count all types of living beings like human beings, animals, birds, insects, worms and so on. If God wishes, He can create a new soul instantly in a particular situation. But as soon as the purpose is over, such a soul disappears.

6) If reformation is the reason for punishment, would it not be wonderful to start teaching spiritual knowledge in the jails of the country?

[A question by Laxmi Thrylokya]

Swami replied: You are absolutely correct! You have understood the concept of reformation well. There are already some attempts in this direction taking place.

7) Is it proper to make promises to God and offer bribes to Him? What if we fail to keep our promise?

[Smt. Bindiya Chaudhry asked: SHAT SHAT Pranam to dear Swamiji! Sometimes when we humans are in trouble or have a disease or extreme stress we tend to offer God bribe...for eg we say “Hey God, please cure me and I. will not eat non-veg for 40 days” or “Hey God, if you help me through this problem, I will give a donation of 1000rs in your temple” or “Hey God, please help me find my jewellery and I will distribute food to 11 poor people”, and so on. My question is that does this bribe hold any value, and is it OK to do so? Also, what if the particular problem gets solved and we do not perform what we promised? Will God get angry and punish us? If we are unable to fulfil any promise to God and ask for forgiveness, will he still be upset with us? The human mind experiences what is known as a fear and doubt in the mind that “If I don’t fulfil what I promised God will get angry and punish me either by ruining my health or work or anything else”. Is there any basis to this fear? Hey Almighty Lord Dattatreya Himself! The Almighty Swamiji! Please enlighten my ignorant human mind. Thank you.]

Swami replied: The Gita says that all beginnings are full of defects just as a newly-lit fire gives off a lot of smoke (Sarvārambhāhi...). God excuses those defects giving due consideration to the person who is in the initial stage of the spiritual journey. God even goes along with such defective ways for some time untill the person rises above that state. The person who wishes to control a strong bull running full speed has to first run along with it for some distance. The person rescuing people fallen in a mud pond invariably get some mud splashed on his body too. Hence, God accepts the bribe from you. But when you break your promise of doing something if God fulfills your desire, God does get angry. Breaking your promise to God is a big sin. Bribing God is a bigger sin. But let us say that God accepts your bribery considering it to be an inevitable initial defect. To add to it if you also break your word, it becomes the biggest sin.



Breaking One’s Word


Complete Degradation

(Bigger Sin)


(Big Sin)


(Biggest Sin)

Keeping one’s word is a good quality. So, if you at least keep your word, that good quality reduces the bigger sin of bribery to just a big sin. What causes God to get angry is after having committed a bigger sin, you are committing another big sin. It means, instead of progressing, you are further degrading. If you at least keep your word, that good quality reduces the intensity of your sin to some extent. It at least indicates that you are making some progress, even though it is only a little progress.



Keeping One’s Word


Little Progress

(Bigger Sin)


(Good Quality)


(Big Sin)


So, compared to bribing God and breaking one’s word, bribing God and keeping one’s word is better. Even rowdies and gundas can follow the bare minimum ethics of keeping their word, while doing the sins that they do. Then why can normal human beings not follow the same?

There are two types of devotion. The first is ‘prostitution-devotion’ or veśyā bhakti in which the devotee asks for practical boons from God in exchange for his theoretical devotion. The devotee says that he will recite the Hanumān Chālisā 108 times if God grants him profit in his business. The recitation of prayers is a mental or theoretical activity whereas gaining profit in the business is a practical gain. A prostitute also similarly snatches away money from the customer by speaking sweet words and singing sweet songs that praise him. She has no love for the customer; she only pretends to love him by the sweet words and songs. This is the worst type of devotion. Such a devotee is only cheating God through intelligent tricks! The second type of devotion is ‘business-devotion’ or vaiśya bhakti in which the devotee does some material sacrifice but it is only for getting a higher material benefit. Even a businessman gives you items in exchange for an equal quantity of money. But the devotee says that if God grants him a profit of a lakh of rupees, he will offer 10% of it to God! So, in this business-devotion too, there is a lot of cheating. But it is a lot better than prostitution-devotion, which would be like praising a shopkeeper through a song or poem and asking him to give an item from his shop in exchange for the praise!

Entering into business-devotion and breaking one’s word in it, is worse than prostitution-devotion. At least, no word is broken in prostitution-devotion. Actually, we will succeed in these lower types of devotion if we keep our goal as ‘issue devotion’. Issue devotion is the highest type of devotion. It is the kind of love or devotion that we have for our issues. We practically serve our children and sacrifice our wealth for them without aspiring for anything in return from them. Service is work. Wealth and property is the fruit of our work, which we invariably pass on to them. We sacrifice both work and the fruit of our work to our children without expecting anything in return. We must do the same for God. Even if one is a sinner, one should at least retain some sincerity while doing the sin. Such a sinner is better than the sinner who not only commits a sin but is also insincere and cheats while doing the sin!


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