Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 18 Mar 2017



Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

Shri Balaji asked: Respected Swamiji, Kindly clarify the following 2 verses of Mundaka Upanishad:

1) MUN.3.8 (Yatha Nadhyah... Vidvaan Nama Rupaath Vimuktah Paraathparam Purusham Upaiti Divyam)

Swami Replied: This verse is specifically aimed at removal of the difference between various forms of God by reaching the innermost and ultimate unimaginable God existing in all the divine forms. Let us take God Shiva of the Shaiva followers and God Vishnu of Vaishnava followers. The difference is only between the names and forms of energetic bodies. The material of both the bodies is light energy in which awareness exists. Both the light energies along with the corresponding awareness are forms of the basic inert energy only. Light is the inert energy in the visible range. Awareness is also a specific work form of inert energy only. The blue light of body of Vishnu and the white light of the body of Shiva differ only in the frequencies of energy. The awareness of Shiva is Tamas and the awareness of Vishnu is Sattvam. Sattvam and Tamas are only different modes of the same awareness. The differences are only based on the different states of energy. Energy is the medium in both cases. Therefore, difference comes only due to medium. In both cases, the unimaginable God (Parabrahma) is mediated and there is no difference between the unimaginable God in Vishnu and the unimaginable God in Shiva. There is no quantitative difference also in the unimaginable God, which means that neither two equal quantities of unimaginable God nor equal half quantities of the same unimaginable God exist in both Vishnu and Shiva. The unimaginable God neither is divided into two halves nor is multiplied into two items. The same undivided unimaginable God exist in both, which is also not doubled. Such existence is beyond worldly logic and hence we call this absolute God as unimaginable. Therefore, there is no difference absolutely in the unimaginable God in any way. The realisation of such basic unity brings unity between Shaivas and Vaishnavas. Even if you come to the external medium, you will again find the basic unity since both media are made of the same inert energy. There is no difference in the content material of the media also. The difference is only in the states and modes of the material of both media, which is only apparent and absolutely unreal. The unimaginable God is one in absolute reality. The inert energy appears in the relative reality. Even in the relative reality, there is no basic difference because the same inert energy is the material. The difference is only in apparent relative reality for which the basis is relative reality (inert energy). Hence, you need not enter even the plane of absolute reality (unimaginable God) to find unity. Even in the relative reality (inert energy) you can find the unity. A philosopher enters absolute reality. A scientist is confined to relative reality. Hence, not only the philosophers but also the scientists can find unity between the media of God Vishnu and God Shiva. A swan made of sugar and a parrot made of the same sugar has unity even in the same basic relative reality, which is the sugar. Hence, you find the unity in diversity even in the relative reality, which is creation. If one is unable to find the unity even in this basic relative reality, such a person is uneducated. Even while studying the ancient Indian philosophy, science (science in the name of Tarka Shastra) is thoroughly studied. There is no difference between science and Tarka because both deal with systematic analysis of items of creation only. I do not understand how these scholars of Tarka (science) and Vedanta (spiritual knowledge) also differentiate Vishnu and Shiva! This means they are really uneducated even though they are educated because education was not assimilated by them.

The first energetic form of unimaginable God is Guru Datta or Narayana. The word Narayana means the preacher (Guru), who is the source of knowledge (Naaram ayanam yasya iti). This first energetic incarnation called as Datta or Narayana can be called also as 'Sadashiva'. The word Sadashiva also means that which is always auspicious. Knowledge is always auspicious (Nahi jnaanena sadrusham pavitram… Gita) and hence Narayana and Sadashiva are only the alternative names of Datta. Datta also means the unimaginable God given to creation in the form of this first energetic incarnation. Datta merges in the energetic bodies of both Vishnu and Shiva. This is the meaning of Shaivas telling that Sadashiva became Shiva and Vaishnavas telling that Narayana became Vishnu. This means that Datta or Narayana or Sadashiva became Vishnu and Shiva. Lack of analysis leads to confusion. When the studied knowledge is not properly assimilated, analysis goes in wrong ways. This is the meaning of the Veda saying that Brahma is Narayana and Shiva is Narayana. The Veda also says that Indra is Narayana. But, Indra is not considered as God as we know from his bio-data like cheating the wife of sage Gautama and raining for seven days on Brundavanam. The root word of Indra comes from 'Idi', which means the aspect of ruling (Idi aishwarye). The ruler is Vishnu while creator is Brahma and destroyer is Shiva. Therefore Brahma, Indra (Vishnu) and Shiva are Narayana or Sadashiva or God Datta.

The Veda also says that all the sides (disha) are also Narayana. All the sides mean this entire creation. This entire creation is under the control of God Datta or Narayana. When creation is referred, you should take the first mode (prathama vibhakti) in the sense of control (tadadheena prathama) as suggested by Shri Ramanuja, who is incarnation of God Vishnu. This type of explanation of Ramanuja is not different from Shankara, the incarnation of God Shiva, who told that this world is God. If there are two items with equal degree of existence, one cannot control the other. If one is absolutely real and the other is relatively real (which means that relativity is unreal with respect to the absolute reality), then only creation or changing any item to other or destruction is possible. We cannot change real pot into real tree because the degree of existence of yourself, pot and tree is one and the same. But, you can change an imaginary pot into imaginary tree in your imaginary world. You can also create imaginary pot and destroy it immediately in your imaginary world. Therefore, the unimaginable God is absolute reality and the creation is relative reality. With reference to the absolute creator, the relatively created creation is unreal. Shankara says that the unreal seen by you is actually based on the absolute reality only and hence the relative reality is really the absolute reality. The illusionary snake is only the real rope. Hence, this illusory world is unreal and the basic reality that remains is only the real unimaginable God. The type of explanation of Shankara is confined to the relative reality with respect to the absolute reality and stands in the angle of God only. The explanation of Ramanuja stands with respect to the soul for which the relative reality is the absolute reality because soul is a part of the world having the same degree of existence. Hence, the meaning of “This entire world is God (sarvam khalvidam Brahma)” is explained differently by Shankara and Ramanuja in the different angles of God and soul. Hence, the ultimate essence of both is one and the same. This Vedic hymn is the inspiration of finding the unity between Vishnu or Ramanuja and Shiva or Shankara.

After understanding the unity of philosophies in Hinduism, you can climb up the next step of finding the universal spirituality in all the religions of the world. If you can't climb the roof of your house, how can you climb up to sky? The Gita refers this in the verse “avibhaktam vibhakteshu...”. In the above verse, attainment means knowledge. Sanskrit grammar says that the verb of attainment means knowledge (gatyarthaanaam dhaatunaam jnaanaarthakatvaat...). Attainment of God does not involve walking to reach a place. It means only attainment of true knowledge by crossing the confusions.  This does not mean that practical philosophy is absent. Unless knowledge is perfect, all your practical steps of service and sacrifice go wrong and become waste. Right knowledge will lead you in right path to reach the right goal. Attainment of right knowledge gives you right practical steps to really attain the real God. Everywhere in the Veda, you find the statement that one who knows this attains this (ya evam Veda).

2) MUN.3.9 (Sa Yo Ha Vai Tat Paramam Brahma Veda Brahmaiva Bhavati Na Asya Abrahmavit Kule Bhavati Tarati Shokam Tarati Papmanam...  Amruto Bhavati)

The Verse (3.8) says that men with Knowledge freed from Name and form attain God. The last part of the Verse (3.9) (Tarati Shokam..) would naturally follow (3.8) in saying that such a person with knowledge attaining God would cross sorrow, sin, confusion and mortality.

But the beginning of Verse (3.9) (Sa Yo Ha Vai....) is not clear since it is applicable only to God (Brahma veda Brahmaiva Bhavati, "God only knows about God"). It does not follow naturally from the previous verse which talks about devotees attaining God.

Also, the statement (...Abrahmavit Kule Bhavati) has conflicting examples of family being ignorant both in case of excellent devotees (e.g. Prahlada's father Hiranyakashipu) and Human forms of God (e.g. ignorance of Kaikeyi in case of Lord Rama and ignorant infighting of the Yadava clan in case of Lord Krishna)

Sincerely, Balaji

Swami Replied: There is no difference between 1) The knower of God is God and 2) He, who knows that absolute God, is God. In both statements, the essence is that God is unimaginable and is known to Himself only. Several Vedic statements (yato vacho, naisha tarkena, namedhayaa etc.) and the Gita (maamtu veda na kashchana) support this. The concept of the boundary of universe and the concept that God is the generator of space also logically lead to the same conclusion. Otherwise, all these statements of scriptures and also scientific logic become false. The knowledge of God that is possible to be known to human beings is only about two aspects… 1) That God is unimaginable (avijnaatam vijaanataam - Veda) and 2) That God exists (asteetyeva... Veda). The unimaginable events show that the unimaginable God, who is the source of such events, exists. If the event exists, its source must exist. The sunlight indicates Sun as its source. In this way, you can say that there is some knowable knowledge of the unimaginable God. Such knowable knowledge is only that the God is unknowable, but exists. By this, there is no information about even a trace of the nature of God. The scholar, who knows that God is unknowable, knows at least some little information about God, which is nothing but that He is unknowable (yasyaamatam tasya matam... Veda)! We never said that there is no knowledge of God. The knowledge of God exists. What is that knowledge? That knowledge is that we can never know God! Therefore, the word ‘Brahmavit’ or knower of God can mean a human being, who knows God. But, you must know that he knows God as unknowable. You cannot call this as ignorance of God because ignorance of God means the knowledge of a human being claiming that he knows about the nature of God. Hence, knowledge of God means that God is unknowable and ignorance of God means that God is knowable. Since here knowledge and ignorance stand separately, you cannot call knowledge as ignorance. Moreover, existence is inherent characteristic of any item. Since we know that unimaginable God exists, it means that we have the knowledge of one inherent characteristic (Sat). This does not mean that God is known because the characteristics involving the nature of God are not known. Hence, the Veda always confines to this one characteristic only (Aum tat sat). If you say that God is awareness (chit) and bliss (ananda), the nature of God becomes knowable since we know awareness different from inert nature and bliss different from grief. The difference brings boundary and God becomes finite and knowable. God is beyond finite and infinite since God is unimaginable. Hence, we deny the other characteristics, which give the nature of God. Bliss is only a partial mode of awareness. Awareness is only a specific work form of inert energy. The awareness and bliss can be associated with God, which means that whenever God enters a medium, such medium has awareness and must be non-inert living being only. Another mistake committed is to take knowledge as the meaning of the awareness. Every living being has awareness, but human being alone has knowledge of considerable significance. Hence, awareness and bliss are the characteristics of the medium of God only and not God directly.

We are showing both possibilities of God. 1) God is unknowable to even imagination or even extreme logic and 2) Knowledge of God is possible for a human being, which means that God is unknowable and not that the nature of God is knowable. Both these aspects do not contradict each other. Knowing that God is unknowable is also knowledge and infact the true knowledge. Knowledge of God does not mean to know the nature of God. To know that the nature of God is unknowable is also knowledge. Hence, knower of God exists, who will not be born in the family of unknowers of God. The unknower of God claims that he knows the nature of God. The knower of God says that God is unknowable since the nature of God is not known. The meaning of the word 'Knowledge of God' (Brahma Jnana) means any information about God. Since the information about God that God exists is known, the knowledge of God becomes knowable. The meaning of the word 'Unknowable God' means that the knowledge of the nature is not possible. If you restrict this word in these two different senses, both knowledge of God and impossibility of knowledge of God are possible in the same time. Even in the worldly examples, this is possible. Somebody says that something is moving in the room by its sound but that something is cat or rat or snake is not known. Here, existence of a living being is known and at the same time simultaneously the knowledge of the nature of the living being is unknown. The Gita says that one comes to know God in essence (Kaschit maam vetti tattvatah). It means that one comes to know that God is unknowable in essence since the nature of God is not known. To recognize the existence of unimaginable God is the essence (tattva) of knowledge of God referred here.

[Dr. Nikhil and Dr. Balaji were colleagues in doing research in chemical engineering and science in U.S.A. Both have taken up Mandukya and Mundaka (similarly sounding) Upanishads for discussion. Dr. Nikhil is follower of Shankara and Dr. Balaji is follower of Ramanuja. Friendship between these two is reflecting on the unity between Shankara (Shiva) and Ramanuja (Vishnu). I am happy about this! - Swami]

3) Shri Kishore asked: When we discuss the spiritual knowledge given by You, we get immersed in the ocean of bliss and we (Karthik, Hrishikesh and myself) am unable to move from that Discussion (Satsang). My wife goes on phoning! What is the difference between Happiness, Peace and Bliss?

Swami Replied: One newly married devotee was attending the spiritual Gospels of Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Every day, it was becoming late and his wife started quarrelling. The devotee was shocked by the problem and was standing by the side of a wall in silent mood. When the devotee explained the problem on enquiry from Paramahamsa going by his side, Shri Paramahamsa told him simply to leave her! The silent devotee became dumb stuck at this reply! On return from meditation, Shri Paramahamsa patted him and convinced that the wife of the devotee would be rectified through divine miracle of God. The first remark was when Paramahamsa is going from temple to Panchavati (world to God). The second consolation was when Paramahamsa is returning (God to world). The first remark applies to the stage of Paramahamsa, who never touched His wife staying very close to Her! The second remark was about the incarnation coming down from the divine level to the level of the world. The first stage refers to the spiritual aspirant going to God to merge with Him (aarurukshormuneh... Gita) called as Aarurukshu or the climber from worldly level to divine level. When God and devotee merge with each other, such devotee is called as Yogaarudha (yogaarudhasya tasyaiva... Gita). God returning in human form to the world to uplift the devotees is incarnation or avataara. The incarnation modifies the spiritual knowledge according to the level of the devotee. Leaving all the worldly bonds for the sake of God is the first stage. The gradual journey to reach this first stage is referred by the second stage, indicated by the preaching of incarnation. For the first step, practical sacrifice is essential (Karma karanamuthyate... Gita). The intermediate state between first and second steps, which is merge of God with devotee, denotes peace, which is the end of the effort (Shamah karana mutyathe). The second step denotes bliss by entertainment in the creation through incarnation.

There are two types of Yoga, which means union. 1) Union with self (atma yoga) and 2) Union with God (Brahma Yoga). In the first yoga, you will get a relief from stress and strain of world by attaining Peace. By identifying yourself as awareness only, you get salvation (moksha). If you desire salvation only, atma yoga is sufficient, in which there is no benefit of attaining something more or positive. Certainly, you attain liberation from negative by becoming zero (peace). Absence of loss can be also treated as profit and thus atma yoga can be appreciated as profit. But, attaining some positive value above zero is the real profit, which is possible only by Brahma Yoga. By attaining God in Brahma Yoga, you can treat it also as peace (zero) from the angle of God since God is in zero state only since bliss is His very nature. Such bliss without entertainment in play with the creation generates boredom and such mixed state of bliss and boredom can be apparently treated as zero or peace. The boredom masks the bliss and apparently shows the value of zero. In the case of atma yoga, there is no bliss at all and hence the boredom occupies the whole soul and this zero is real and not apparent. This is the difference between God and soul. When God comes down into the world created by Him for a play, God gets His own full bliss again through such entertainment due to removal of external boredom. In the zero state also the bliss of God is not reduced even a little, but is covered by boredom. In the state of incarnation, the boredom is removed and the bliss alone remains. Therefore, the real nature of God is not affected in any way in the absence of creation or in the presence of creation as far as bliss is concerned. Without creation the same bliss is mixed with boredom like pure water is mixed with algae, fungus etc. After creation and entertainment, the dirt is removed and the original pure water is restored. There is no change in the quality or quantity of bliss before and after creation. Only the associated boredom is removed by the creation.

Excess of happiness to infinity is bliss. You can get both happiness and grief in the world. By atma yoga, you can get perfect peace. By Brahma Yoga, you get bliss because bliss is the associated (not inherent) characteristic of God. Happiness is always followed by grief. Relief from both happiness and grief is Peace or salvation. Attainment of bliss is only due to association of God. The spiritual knowledge is the subject of God and hence always gives you bliss. Grief can affect the happiness since happiness disappears by the entry of grief. But, bliss is infinite happiness and due to the power of such infinite excessive happiness, boredom cannot affect bliss. It is only associated with bliss and gets removed by entertainment with play of the different items other than itself. The entertainment removes boredom and the bliss is leftover.  Boredom is a paint applied on the body, which can be washed by water bath and soap. Bliss is like the inherent colour of the skin, which cannot be removed by water bath and soap. Entertainment is like the water bath that removes the dirt fallen on the skin. The colour of the skin remains as it is even while the dirt exists on it. The water bath removed only the dirt and made the inherent colour of the skin to become visible. The water bath did not bring any extra inherent colour to the skin. Here, bliss is called as inherent characteristic with respect to the boredom and by this you should not confuse that bliss is really the inherent characteristic of unimaginable God. The sense of theory of relativity should be used. A married lady is always associated with a specific yellow thread, with the help of which the married lady is identified. You can treat this yellow thread as relatively inherent characteristic, but it is not absolutely inherent characteristic like the colour of the skin of the lady.