Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 11 Jan 2003

     

SYMBOLISM OF TEMPLES AND RITUALS

Punishment for Sins: When a policeman beats a thief with his stick the thief should not think that the stick is beating him. Of course the stick is directly beating him, but the stick is inert and cannot beat him by itself. It is the policeman who is beating him with the stick. If the thief prays to the stick there is no use. Even if he prays to the uniform of the policeman, there is no use. He should only pray to the policeman, who wears the uniform and holds the stick. The uniform is also inert. Since the thief has stolen something from somebody, the policeman beat him. The judge had given that punishment. The judge took the form of the the policeman and is [delivering the punishment by] beating the thief. Similarly, the person who is acting as the judge as well as the policeman is God. The thief is the individual soul (jeeva) who has done the sin. The uniform of the policeman is the deity [the specific presiding deity associated with each astrological planet]. The stick is the planet [astrological planet]. Even if the thief praises the judge, who is also the policeman, there is no use because the judge or the policeman is very strict. So, there is no use of praising either the inert uniform or the stick or the living being i.e., the policeman or the judge.

There are three ways of accepting the punishment. The first way is that the thief should receive a hundred beatings today itself. The second way is that the thief can postpone the punishment by one day and he can receive a hundred twenty beatings tomorrow. The third way is that the policeman or the judge should receive a hundred beatings today or one hundred twenty beatings tomorrow on behalf of the thief. The second way is unnecessary because additional 20 beatings have to be received [simply because of the postponement]. It is like having to pay an interest in addition to the amount due to the delay in repayment. 

In the third way, what is the relationship that you have with the judge or the policeman (God)? [Why would He want to suffer for your sins?]. When God came in human form, you have treated Him as an outsider. You did not even treated Him on par with your son. You served your son in his childhood. When he grew up, instead of reciprocating your love by serving you, he started insulting you. But still you gave all your property to him alone. Let us take the case God. You have worshipped Him. Suppose God gives you difficulties instead of boons. If you treat God on par with your son, you should still continue to serve God just as you continued to serve your troublsome son. Instead, you leave God if He gives you difficulties in return for your worship. That means that you do not even treat God as an equal to your son. But you praise God saying that He is above all bonds [family and relations] and that He is greater than anything and anybody. So your prayers are lies. You treat God as an outsider and your love for Him is not real. Then why should He undergo the punishment on your behalf? Moreover, you tried to fool God with your false prayers, which are lies. Therefore, the third way is ruled out.

Only the first way remains and that is that you must undergo the punishment today itself. God is an infinite ocean of kindness. If you pester Him by weeping pitiably, He will postpone [not cancel] your punishment by one day; but you have to pay the interest for that day. He cancelled the punishment only for today [not permanently]. You are misled if you think that the punishment is cancelled forever. God can also transform the punishment from one form to another form. In that case, instead of one hundred and twenty beatings, you will receive one hundred knife injuries tomorrow. In this case also, the beatings are transformed to knife injuries and you might think the punishment by beating is cancelled. God is not only an infinite ocean of kindness but also an infinite ocean of intelligence!

Therefore, there is no use of worshipping the deities or planets, which are inert, like the uniform and the stick of the policeman. God is like the policeman or the judge, who is the living force. The beating by the stick is a mechanical force, which is used and controlled by the living force. That living force is God. If you want to escape the punishment really and forever, you have to catch that living force. That living force, which is the judge or policeman, has power to cancel the punishment. But He will not cancel the punishment. Instead, He will undergo your punishment for your sake if you can catch Him.

Escaping From Sins Permanently

God can be caught by true love. The love can be proved only by service or seva i.e., you should participate in His mission, when He comes down in human form. He will appear as if He is giving some difficulties to you as soon as you start serving Him. In fact, He is only settling your future sins[1]. He undergoes ninety nine percent of your future sins and makes you pay for only one percent. The ninety nine percent from which you escaped is not seen by you. As you see only that one percent which you suffered, it appears as if He is giving difficulties to you as soon as you worship Him. He does this to test whether you can still serve Him by treating Him on par with your troublesome son. If you pass His test and continue to serve Him in spite of the difficulties, He will be pleased with you. Then He will suffer for all your sins by undergoing even one hundred percent of the punishment. But your devotion to Him is so much that you will not agree to this arrangement if He reveals this truth to you. So He undergoes the punishment secretly. This is the only way to get rid of your sin completely. But remember that you should not aspire to get rid of your sins completely by following this path [of service] artificially. You should be really prepared to suffer for your sins and follow this path sincerely.

God Controls the Planets and All Deities

Planets deliver the results of your own deeds: The Veda says “Bhishodeti” and “Tasya Bhasa” i.e., all the [astrological] planets work only by His power. The Veda also says “Ekena Vijnatena…” i.e., by catching that One Power you can catch all the deities and planets. The secret of catching that One Power, which is God, is already explained above. Many fans and lights work on the one electric current.  Similarly, all deities and planets are work by the force of God alone. The inert planets, which we see in the sky, their [hidden] divine forms and even other deities, are working only by His power. These planets are the executive forces, which catch a person and deliver the results of his deeds at the prescribed time according to the judgement of God. They are bound by their duties. There is no use in performing prayers and rituals such as the chanting of some mantras or divine names (japa). People think that the planets give good or bad results by their movement. This is wrong. The planets are only delivering the results of your own deeds. Auspicious planets give you the results of your good deeds and malefic planets give you the results of your bad deeds. A planet is called as ‘Graha’, which means that it catches you wherever you may be in this universe and gives you the result at the scheduled time. The Kenopanishat (Veda) says that when the deities became proud of their powers, God appeared as Yaksha and proved that all their powers are only His power. So the deities also cannot do anything without the will of God.

Priests and astrologers are misleading the public

Priests and astrologers do not know this truth and are misleading the innocent public. They have spread so many meaningless tales. They say that the planet Saturn[2] (Shani) approached Lord Shiva to punish Lord Shiva for seven and half years. These people who have created this tale did not even have some basic knowledge. For any punishment, there should be a sin commited earlier. What sin did Ishwara (Lord Shiva, who is God Himself) do to receive the punishment from Saturn? Ishwara is supposed to be sinless and very auspicious. So this story is meaningless as it contradicts the doctrine of karma[3]. Moreover, Saturn cannot punish Ishwara even if he wishes, because Ishwara is said to be the highest power as per the Vedas and the Gita. This story is not found in the Veda. If anything is absent in the Veda and is present in the Purana, it is not valid. This is told by the scripture, Gowtama Dharma Shastra i.e., “Shruti smriti virodhetu...”[4]. The third Brahma Sutra[5] also says that the Veda is the only authority. The Vedas are protected by the system of recitation over several generations. There is no possibility of introducing anything extra in the Vedas. However, several verses were introduced into the Puranas. These insertions are called as prakshiptas. Sage Vyasa, wrote only seven thousand verses originally in Mahabharata. But scholars added several new verses and now the book has become one-lakh twenty five thousand verses!

Ishwara can change the positions of the planets just by His will. Duryodhana[6] requested Sahadeva to suggest a good muhurtam [auspicious time] to start the war. [Starting the war at time would ensure the victory of Duryodhana]. Sahadeva was a great astrologer. According to his discipline, Sahadeva would help anybody who asked for his help in astrology. Therefore, he calculated and fixed the muhurtam on the Amavasya day [new moon day]. Duryodhana wanted to use astrology to escape from the doctrine of karma and avoid the judgement given to him by God[7].

So, Lord Krishna played a small trick. One day before Amavasya, He performed the traditional ritual of offering water for His forefathers in river Yamuna. [This ritual is to be done on the new moon day alone and not on any other day. So, observing this odd action of Lord Krishna, the deities of] the sun and moon in the sky, jointly came down and requested Lord Krishna to not perform the ritual because Amavasya was on the next day. Then Lord Krishna asked them “What do you mean by Amavasya [new moon day]?” They replied, “They replied that it is the day when the sun and the moon are together.”  Then Lord Krishna said “Right now the two of you are together. So it is Amavasya today!” Thus, Lord Krishna brought the Amavasya one day in advance and He formally inaugurated the war from the side of Dharmaraja[8] on that day. As a result, Dharmaraja finally won the battle[9]. Duryodhana on the other hand, started the war one day after the actual Amavasya, thinking that it was Amavasya, and he was defeated.

See how Lord Krishna changed the planets just by a small trick! He could have even joined the sun and moon by His force. But he did not do it because it was not necessary. Similarly, when a Satguru who is the Human Incarnation of God, says “Sarve grahah shubha sthaneshu tisthantu” i.e., “May all the planets be in auspicious positions”, it actually happens.  But when an ordinary priest also says this same sentence, obviously nothing happens. Lord Krishna and the Satguru are human forms of God, who controls the planets. If you catch such a Satguru, He can even change the planets. But [you must ensure that] the Satguru is God in human form.

The deities and planets are the inert external dresses of God. This God must be only Datta. The definition of God in the Vedas is that God is only one and that He is the one who creates, rules and destroys this entire universe. Only the form of Lord Datta satisfies this definition of God. [The form of Datta has three faces: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.] Thus, the one Lord Datta creates this universe as indicated by the Brahma face. He alone maintains the universe as indicated by the Vishnu face and he alone destroys the universe as indicated by the Shiva face. Therefore, Satguru means the Human Incarnation of Lord Datta.

In fact, astrologers and priests can even take more guru dakshina[10] from the public if they can keep people on the right path with the right knowledge. That way, people will get real benefit. If the priests and astrologers take dakshinas and allow people to go on the wrong track, the priests and astrologers incur sin. The people who are on the wrong track will also not escape from the punishment of their sins. Their punishments will only get postponed or transformed to some other forms.

The One And Only Way

The only way to get rid of all the difficulties in this world is to become a real devotee of Lord Datta. The word ‘Datta’ means ‘that which is given’. Lord Datta means the human form through which God (Parabrahman) is given to this world. All Human Incarnations of God like Krishna, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha etc., are called as Datta. God [in His original form] cannot even be imagined. So there is no question of worshipping God. But this unimaginable God takes a human form and comes down to this world. Such a human form is called an Incarnation of God. The human form is like a metallic wire. God is like the electric current, passing through the metallic wire. The current pervades all over the wire. Similarly, God pervades all over the body of Human Incarnation. Wherever you touch the wire, you can experience the current. Similarly, God is present everywhere in the human body of the Incarnation. Lord Krishna is a Human Incarnation of God. When you touch the feet of Lord Krishna, you have touched the feet of God Himself. But the human body of the Incarnation follows the rules of the nature. If you beat such a human body, it suffers with the same pain as an ordinary human body.

Why is the human body of the Incarnation not beyond the rules of nature? The purpose of the human body of the Incarnation is to suffer with pain, like any other human body, whenever the results of the sins of devotees are taken upon itself. If the human body of the Incarnation were above the rules of nature, then it would not suffer with pain. It would amount to cheating of Dharma[11]. So, Datta means the human body given to this world of devotees for the sake of suffering for their sins. The only way to get rid of your sins is to catch Datta. In any other way, your sins will only get postponed [not cancelled]. You will have to suffer for your sins in a future lifetime along with interest. The cycle of karma is inevitable. The scriptures say “Avashyam anubhoktavyam”, which means that one has to enjoy (or suffer) the results of his own deeds whether good or bad. Hence, there are only three ways:

  1. To enjoy the fruits of your bad deeds now itself.
  2. To enjoy the fruits of your bad deeds in future along with added interest.
  3. To catch Datta and transfer the fruits of all your sins to Him.

Out of these three ways a scholar will not accept the second way. A devotee will never agree to the third way. A person who is both a scholar and a devotee will agree only to the first way. He will be prepared to undergo the results of his sins now itself. He will never ask God to relieve him from the results of his sins.

You may think that if each one has to undergo the results of his own sins and if there is no benefit of being a devotee of God, then nobody would want to become a devotee. But one can still become a devotee. Let us take the case of the fan of a film star. The fan does not get any benefit from the film star. Instead of getting benefit, the fan spends from his pocket to meet the film star. He is actually incurring a loss. He became a fan, attracted by good virtues of the film star as shown in his various films. Such a fan is an ideal for the devotee.

The devotee is attracted towards Datta by His sixteen divine qualities. He worships Datta because he is attracted to the divine personality of Datta and not for getting any benefit from Datta. Even if he is put to loss, he will not leave Datta. He wants to undergo all the suffering for his own sins now itself. As a scholar, he does not want to postpone the suffering of his sins because he does not want to pay the additional interest unnecessarily. As a devotee, he does not want Lord Datta to suffer for his sake. Therefore, his devotion is not at all connected to the removal of his sufferings. His love (bhakti) for Datta continues irrespective of his suffering. The genuineness of his love for Datta is proved by his service to Datta. He continues to serve Datta while suffering for his past sins. Such a scholar-devotee is the real devotee of Datta. Now, Datta takes over all his sins and suffers for his sake. The devotee is not aware of this. If the devotee becomes aware of this, he will strongly object to this. So, Datta suffers for his sins secretly, without the knowledge of the real devotee.

This is the only way to actually get rid of your sins. Except for this one way, there is no other way to escape from the results of your sins. In all the other ways, you either have to undergo the punishment for your sins right away or if you pester God too much, your punishment will be postponed and you will have to undergo the punishment later on with added interest.


[1] The ‘future sins’ mentioned here refer to the punishments that we will receive in the future for sins that we have already committed.

[2] This refers to the divine form or deity (Shani) presiding over the inert planet Saturn.

[3] The doctrine of karma says that every action gets its proportionate fruit. In other words, the action must precede the fruit. There cannot be a fruit (punishment) for an action (sin) that was never performed.

[4] The Veda is the revealed word of God, which has been preserved for millennia without insertions, deletions and modifications due to the highly complex traditional system of recitation in the proper tone and meter. The Veda is the primary scripture. The secondary scriptures include the smritis (restatement of the Vedic knowledge by the sages in applied form) and the puranas (stories of the various Incarnations of God as told by the sages). In the case of any conflicts or discrepancies, the Veda always supercedes the secondary scriptures. This is stated in the Gautama Dharma Shastra and is an accepted norm among scholars.

[5] Brahma Sutras are condensed aphorisms or principles written by sage Badarayana (Vyasa). They summarize and organize the entire Vedantic knowledge.

[6] Duryodhana is the villain in the epic Mahabharata. He belonged to the Kaurava dynasty and fought a terrible war with his own cousins, the righteous five Pandava brothers including Sahadeva. When Duryodhana approached Sahadeva to determine an auspicious time (Muhurtam) to start the war, Sahadeva, being of noble character, provided his honest astrological services even to his opponent, Duryodhana. Starting the war on that day and time, would assure a victory for Duryodhana and defeat for Sahadeva and his brothers.

[7] Duryodhana had committed grave sins throughout his life. As per the law of karma, he had to be punished. Hence, his defeat and death in the war was already determined by God. But by using astrology, Duryodhana had tried to start the war at such a time, so that he could win the war.

[8] Dharmaraja, the eldest of the five Pandava brothers, were fighting for their rightful kingdom, which had been unjustly taken from them by their wicked cousin Duryodhana. Lord Krishna was their Guide and Supporter in this just cause.

[9] The Mahabharata war lasted for eighteen days.

[10] Guru dakshina is the donation made to the Guru (teacher or priest) in return for his valuable knowledge.

[11] Dharma means justice. Lord Yama is the Lord of justice and hence the word Dharma can mean Lord Yama too. He ensures that the results of the deeds of each person are delivered to that person as per the law of karma. If the Human Incarnation of God takes up the sins of a devotee to suffer on His own body, and the Incarnation does not actually undergo any suffering, it means that no one suffered for the sin committed by the devotee. This means that the law of karma has been violated and Dharma (Lord of justice) has been cheated.