Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 14 Apr 2019



Part-1 of spiritual meeting (Satsanga) that took place between Swami and several devotees on the day of Shri Rama Navami:

Shri Veena Datta: What is the difference between astrology and devotion to God?

Swami: Astrology gives a list of bad effects during a period governed by a bad planet (Dashaa). From this list, which specific effect will be faced by a specific person, can only be told by God’s grace, which is obtained through devotion. For example, astrology gives a list of bad effects that a person might face during the period of Saturn, which include, theft, paralysis, accidents and so on. Suppose two persons approach you and both are passing through the period of Saturn. As an astrologer, you may predict that one person may become the victim of theft but the person may instead suffer from an attack of paralysis. The person will say that you have failed in your prediction. To the other person, during his period of Saturn, you may predict that he may suffer from a paralytic attack. But he might not get a paralytic attack. Instead, a theft might occur in his house. He too will say that you have failed in your prediction. Both these affected persons might even say that astrology itself is false. So, you need to understand that based on your knowledge of astrology, you can never predict which specific effect will be faced by a specific person. Astrology only enables you to predict that some good or bad effect will be faced by the person during a certain time. It is even possible for you to be able to predict the specific effect, provided you have the grace of God. The grace comes through devotion.

The ability to predict the specific effect for a specific person is called as the ‘purity of word’ or Vaakshuddhi. It can only be obtained by the grace of God. Hence, the practice of astrology should be associated with the worship of God. The medical degree, MBBS, means the study of medicine as well as surgery side-by-side. If you have a headache, it can be cured by a simple painkiller tablet prescribed by the doctor who is an expert in medicine. But if you go to a surgeon, the surgeon will say that your head must be operated upon to find out the reason for the headache! If you get the grace of God through your devotion, there is no need of studying the astrological scriptures.

As per Vedic astrology, a human being, in his or her life, passes through the periods (Dashaas) of each of the nine planets, one after the other. Each planet may be good or bad for a person based on the nature of the planet as described in astrology, its placement in the person’s birth-chart and the person’s zodiac sign. Therefore, the period of each planet is also good or bad for the person. The so-called good planets deliver the results of the person’s good deeds while the so-called bad planets deliver the results of the person’s bad deeds. The period of each planet is further sub-divided into the sub-periods (antar dashaas) belonging to each of the nine planets. Each of the sub-divisions are further sub-divided into even smaller sub-divisions (vidashaas) of the nine planets. In this manner, there are several levels of sub-division of these planetary periods.

The long span of the period of a good planet is generally good for the person. During this period, the person generally receives the fruits of his or her good deeds done in the past. But even during this generally good period, the person also experiences both good and bad results corresponding to all the nine planets, during their respective sub-periods. Similarly, in the generally bad period of a bad planet, the person also experiences both good and bad results from all the nine planets during their respective sub-periods. This sophisticated arrangement of planetary periods and their sub-periods made by God, ensures that the person never experiences continuous happiness or continuous pain. Continuous happiness for a long time invariably leads to boredom. Continuous misery for a long time becomes unbearable. Frequent change prevents boredom and provides maximum entertainment to the soul. The sub-periods of all nine planets within any planetary period ensure that the person enjoys both good and bad fruits of his or her own deeds in an alternating manner. It is like enjoying sweet and spicy dishes alternately in a meal. If the meal contained only sweet dishes or only spicy dishes, the meal would not be enjoyable. The combination of the two alone gives maximum enjoyment. The Divine Father has made this wonderful alternating arrangement of delivering the good and bad fruits of the deeds of souls for the sake of their maximum enjoyment. He wishes that His children always remain happy.

This alternating cyclic arrangement of the fruit of the soul’s deeds is called the karma chakra. God rearranges the good and bad fruits in this alternating manner. A soul might have committed a number of bad deeds, one after the other and a number of good deeds, one after the other. But the fruits are not delivered to the soul in the sequence in which the deeds were done. If all the bad fruits were to be given to the soul, one after the other, the long continuous misery would become unbearable for the soul. Similarly, the long continuous span of enjoying the all the good fruits, one after the other, would become boring. Hence, God rearranges them in an alternating manner in the form of the planetary periods and sub-periods. Thus, every bad fruit is followed by a good fruit and vice versa.

But when we face miseries, we do not want to bear them. The miseries are actually the results of our own bad deeds. On the order of God, the so-called bad planet is merely delivering the results of our own bad deed to us. But we, somehow, want to escape from the bad results. So, we worship God and force Him to remove the miseries and grant us happiness. Our demand is a violation of justice, which God never permits. But the kind Father also wants to satisfy the praying souls who are His own children. So, He postpones the present miseries to the future and prepones some future happiness bringing it into the present. The praying soul experiences immediate relief from the miseries and the enjoyment of some happiness. But there is big disadvantage in disturbing the original arrangement of the fruits of deeds in this manner. The postponed miseries grow in value due to interest, while the preponed happiness reduces in value; similar to the premature withdrawal of an investment. Even though such interference provides temporary relief to the soul, it is not in the soul’s long term interest. But God allows such interference in the cycle of deeds only to help the soul in developing some devotion to God. Upon developing devotion, God expects the soul to work towards permanent reformation. Otherwise, by such repeated postponement of misery and preponement of happiness, the soul may face a life full of continuous misery in the future. We sometimes find such people whose life is full of misery and not even a bit of happiness, in spite of their devotion to God.

The sum of the periods of the nine planets is 120 years since the average life in older generations was 120 years. This human lifespan is called Purushaayusham. Whatever may be the actual lifespan, the cyclic arrangement of the planetary periods, each consisting of several levels of sub-periods, is never affected. What I mean is that even if the average lifespan of a human being were to become as short as one hour in the future, the arrangement of the planetary periods and sub-periods would not change. In fact, this arrangement applies even to the souls present in the bodies of worms that might actually live only for an hour. Astrology is only an associated part of the spiritual knowledge since the nine planets are the executive forces of God. God is the author of the divine constitution which stands as the basis for the divine administration.

Shri Ajay: Please enlighten us about the Human Incarnation and His devotees.

Swami: Shri Paramahamsa said that He would prefer to be an ant (devotee) rather than being sugar (Human Incarnation). He said so, even though He was a Human Incarnation of God. The ant eats sugar and enjoys. The sugar, on the other hand, gets eaten and gets no enjoyment. The lack of enjoyment means inertness. So, Paramahamsa rightly selected the inert sugar in this simile. Based on this basic concept, a devotee should never aspire to become a Human Incarnation. A certain devotee might be forced by God to become a Human Incarnation to carry out His work, which is the special divine program meant for the welfare of the world. Even ordinary human beings like a devotee more than the Human Incarnation. This is because the devotee is exactly similar to them whereas the Human Incarnation is different from them and is special. Due to the natural ego and jealousy in every human being, no one likes to see any specialty in another human being. Miracles need not be considered to be the speciality of a Human Incarnation alone. Even a devotee can perform miracles by the grace of God. In fact, even a demon can perform miracles by the grace of God. Demons obtain miraculous powers from God through their rigorous penance. People feel a repulsion from the Human Incarnation in the form of ego and jealousy. The basic reason for this repulsion is that the Human Incarnation is considered to be God. They do not feel this kind of repulsion from a devotee since the devotee is not considered to be God. In fact, a true devotee never wants to become God unless God forces him to act in the role of God.

In a movie, an actor played the role of God and got a remuneration of one lakh rupees. In the same movie, another actor played the role of a devotee and was paid ten lakh rupees in remuneration. Hence, it is not the role played that brings value. It is the capability of acting that brings the value. God enters the human body of a devotee to become a Human Incarnation. The human devotee serves as the medium for God’s entry. But the value of that devotee, who has become the medium in the Incarnation, comes due to his or her devotion. The fact that the devotee is acting in the role of God does not bring value by itself.

Other devotees around the Human Incarnation must always follow the path of monism of Shankara. It means, they must believe that the Human Incarnation is God Himself. In this sense, monism is good for devotees and it gives them good results. But devotees must be careful in not applying the concept of monism to themselves! They should never think that they too are God. In contrast, the human being-component in the Incarnation must believe in the dualism of Madhva. He must never think that he is God. Instead, he should think that he is merely a servant of God and that acting in the role of God is his service to God. This dualism gives a good result for the human being-component in the Human Incarnation.

Arjuna doubted how Krishna could be God. So, he asked Krishna how He could have preached to Surya, the sun-god, in the beginning of creation. As far as Arjuna knew, Krishna was born quite recently. Parashurama, who was a temporary Incarnation (Avesha Avataara), thought that he was God Himself. As a result, he got insulted by Rama, who in spite of being a complete Incarnation (Purna Avataara) never thought that He was God. Even Krishna never said that He was God except to Arjuna when He was preaching the Gita to Arjuna. The devotee must be capable of accepting the monism between the human medium and God in the Human Incarnation without repulsion. To such a deserving devotee, the Human Incarnation may declare the truth. There are other devotees who are in the middle level. They are only partly capable of digesting the truth. Such devotees sometimes even praise the Human Incarnation as God by their words. But internally, they are not completely capable of accepting the same truth without repulsion. In response to such half-hearted praise, the Incarnation must keep silent with a smile. He should not confirm His identity with God. Finally, there are devotees who do not have any faith in the Human Incarnation. To such devotees, the Human Incarnation must say that He is only an ordinary human being. The Human Incarnation, being God, knows the actual level of the devotee before Him. So, He always behaves suitably. No matter how devoted the devotee claims to be, his true level of devotion is never hidden from the Human Incarnation.

Click here for Part-2

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