Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 07 Jun 2019



Shri Phani asked: I feel that I am incompetent to do God’s work. Please advise.

Swami replied: The doctor gives an antibiotic tablet to cure the patient’s fever. But the medicine has side-effects such as constipation, hyperacidity and weakness since the medicine not only kills bacteria but it also damages some healthy tissues. Hence, along with the antibiotic, some antacid to control hyperacidity and some vitamin B-complex for overcoming weakness are also given to the patient. The antibiotic will not work to cure the hyperacidity and the antacid will not work to cure the fever. Similarly, feeling incompetent works to eradicate the ego. But this feeling has a side-effect and it is to reduce the person’s enthusiasm to work for God. To overcome this side-effect, another medicine must also be given, which is praising the person. Krishna condemned Arjuna to cure his ego-disease (yadahamkaaramaashritya...). But Krishna also praised Arjuna as being one with Himself to encourage Arjuna to fight bravely (Paandavaanaam Dhanamjayah... maashuchah sampadam...).

Theoretical knowledge (samnyaasa or saamkhya) produces theoretical inspiration or devotion. This theoretical phase is one path. The second path is that of practical service with the sacrifice of the fruit of one’s work (yoga or karma yoga). Arjuna was confused regarding these two paths. He thought that they are two alternative paths and that one could reach the same goal by any one of these two paths. Arjuna felt that way since Krishna had said that both paths lead to the same goal (yat saamkhyaiah…, samnyasah karmayogashcha…). Many people have this same confusion. But the fact is that God has already clarified this confusion by saying that both paths are one and the same (ekam saamkhyam cha yogam cha...). It means that these two paths are not two alternative lines leading to the same point, but they are two line segments joined together to form a single line. It is a single line having a first part and a second part. Knowledge generates devotion in the first part and the devotion generates practice in the second part. Shankara, who emphasized knowledge and Ramanuja, who emphasized devotion, form the first part. Madhva, who emphasized practical service with sacrifice, forms the second part. The three divine preachers came in that same sequence.

Confused people think that one can reach the same goal either through the purely theoretical phase or the purely practical phase. A pure theoretical scholar thinks that he will directly reach the goal through knowledge. A pure devotee also thinks that he will directly reach the goal through his devotion. A rich man thinks that he will directly reach the goal through the sacrifice of his wealth (karma phala tyaaga) and a healthy man thinks that he can directly reach the goal through physical service (karma samnysasa). Actually, practice or karma yoga involves service, which is known as karma samnyaasa and the sacrifice of one’s hard-earned wealth, which is known as karma phala tyaaga. The service is like the certificate of one’s qualifications and the sacrifice of one’s wealth is like the certificate of one’s work experience. Both must be enclosed as proof along with any job application. The application itself is comparable to the theoretical phase involving both knowledge and devotion. The job is like the attainment of God’s grace, which is the fruit of the person’s spiritual effort. Both the application and the proof, which is the certificates, are essential for the job interview. The job interview is the test given by God before granting the job, which is the the fruit. The devotee must feel that his service to God itself is the fruit. There cannot be another fruit for enjoying the fruit. You cannot claim a salary for doing the work of drawing your salary!

Practice is the mango plant, which alone gives the fruit directly. Knowledge is the water and devotion is the manure. Without water, the plant will die; but even a hundred tanks of water cannot directly give even a single fruit in the absence of the plant. Without manure, the plant will not grow; but even a hundred bags of manure cannot give even a single fruit in the absence of the plant. Of course, the plant alone, without any water or manure, cannot give a fruit either. So, all the three are essential and they form a single path to attain the goal, which is the mango fruit.

With the incompetence felt by you, destroy your ego. The feeling of incompetence will help you get rid of the ego of the doer. Then God will enter into you and do the work. You will gain immense confidence that you are God. This confidence will be given to you by Him. In fact, you will become God since He will enter into you and merge with you to do the work. When Krishna said that He is Arjuna, it was a fact. When God quits you after doing the work, you should come back to your state of incompetence again in order to live in the world without ego. Thus, as you do your work, you should feel that you are God who is doing His own work. Such a feeling is not false because God enters and merges with you to do that work. This feeling is not ego. It is only helping you gain confidence. But this feeling becomes true only when you do some good work and not when you do some bad work. In this manner, you have to use the proper medicine at the proper time to cure a specific problem.


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