Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 03 Mar 2007



[Shri. G. Lakshman came from Mumbai to have some spiritual discussion (satsanga) with Swami. His first enquiry was about the limitation of the soul in meditation and as well as in deep sleep. Swami compared pure awareness in meditation to a lump of gold, which becomes inert energy in deep sleep and can be compared to a lump of iron. This comparison was given in the poem, which was sent to Dr. Nikhil as a reply to his poem entitled Selfless Love. On this point, Shri. Lakshman raised the concept of the limitation of the soul even in the deep sleep, in which the soul is considered to be in its original state as per Advaita philosophy. According to Advaita the self becomes the unlimited Brahman in deep sleep as said by Shankara (Sushuptyeka siddhah). Following is Swami’s reply.]

Shankara said that Brahman is achieved in deep sleep. The meaning of this statement is that Brahman is unknowable or unimaginable. In deep sleep nothing is known and nothing can be imagined. Such a state indicates that Brahman is unknown and unimaginable. In this state, the soul looses its awareness since the brain and the nervous system do not function (except some signals controlling the inner biological systems, which are constant throughout the life of the human being). This means that the soul becomes inert and enters into complete ignorance about Brahman in the state of deep sleep. The full ignorance of this state speaks about the full ignorance about Brahman and therefore Brahman is achieved in this state as a completely unknowable item. Deep sleep is termed as Avyaktam in the Veda beyond which only the Lord exists (Avyaktat pursha parah). After [waking up from] deep sleep, the soul knows about itself and also about the other worldly items. Therefore, the maximum possible field of knowledge of the soul can only be the knowledge about itself as in the meditation or about other worldly items as in the waking state or dream state. The soul cannot cross these limits of knowledge. The maximum possible power of knowledge of a soul is only knowing about itself or about the world; never about Brahman or God. The soul in the state of meditation is pure awareness, which is a special work-form of inert energy, and hence it must be in the form of primary energy alone. In deep sleep it is the inert energy, which is also the form of primary energy. Primary energy is either in the form of waves or in the form of particles (quanta) according to science. Whatever the theory may be, energy has the form of waves or the form of particles. Hence, the soul has form and therefore has limits even in meditation or deep sleep. Therefore, the soul is not formless. Even space, which is considered to be formless, is supposed to be a very subtle form of primary energy according to science through the concept of bending of space around an object. When space is energy, it means that space also has the form of waves or particles.

Therefore, there is nothing like formless in this creation. Air contains molecules, atoms and sub atomic particles, which have form. Therefore, the word ‘formless’ has no meaning in this creation. The world is a composite of items with forms and hence the world as a whole has form and is not formless in the core region [essentially or basically]. The infinite limits of the world do not mean that the items in the world have no limits. Each item has limits and the number of such finite items is infinite. Certain items have invisible limits and this does not mean that the item has no limits. The invisibility of the limits of an item is assumed to be the absence of limits and such an item is treated as formless or an item without limits. The item with visible limits is considered as an item with limits. Thus the formless items and items without forms are distinguished by the relative sense of invisible limits and visible limits respectively. Such classification is only in a relative sense and not in the absolute sense. The world with infinite limits can be taken as formless in the region of the boundary alone. Here, the nature of the world, which is the aggregate of finite items, is knowable in the core region. Hence you cannot say that the world is unknowable in the core region.

In the case of God, even the nature of God is unknowable in any region. Formlessness, meaning infinite limits, can be applied to the world, which is knowable, by its nature in the core region. But God is unknowable by His nature throughout and therefore you cannot say that God is formless like the world. Only the limits of the world are unknowable and not the central core of the world, which consists of imaginable items. God exists in the border of the infinite limits of the world as the source of the world. This means that God is beyond the world. Science has clearly proved that awareness is a special work-form of energy and hence the soul cannot be beyond space, since space is energy. Therefore, the soul has limits in any state.

The soul in deep sleep exists as inert energy with finite limits confined to the human body and therefore, we cannot say that the soul has infinite limits like the world. However, if you treat matter also as the inert energy according to law of equivalence of mass and energy, then in that case, the body can be also treated as a quantum of energy, which is in continuity with the external atmosphere of the cosmos [surrounding cosmos which is also composed of energy]. Now the soul, body and the cosmos become one homogenous phase in the sense of the basic form of inert primary energy (this is only an assumption and practically this single homogenous phase is not achieved). You can achieve the single infinite ocean of cosmic energy and now you can say that the soul has become Brahman. But beware, the word Brahman is used here to mean the infinite ocean of inert cosmic energy since the word Brahman can mean any item, which is the greatest. This cosmos or cosmic energy is infinite but the whole core region is composed only of imaginable nature containing imaginable items. Hence, it is an imaginable cosmos with unimaginable limits and therefore it cannot be the unimaginable God, who is unimaginable throughout. Hence, you cannot say that the soul has become the greatest unimaginable God, who is also indicated by another meaning of the word Brahman. The confusion in the usage of the word Brahman must be clearly removed in this context.

Difference Between Liberated and Realized Souls

[Shri. G. Lakshman asked about the difference between the realized soul and the liberated soul.] Realization is theoretical knowledge of the concept where as liberation is the practical implementation of the same concept. These two words can mean knowledge of some concept and the process of releasing of something bound by some other thing respectively. Realization is used in general as the knowledge of some forgotten truth and liberation also can mean release of an animal from the chains by which it is bound. In the spiritual knowledge, these two words have to be applied to the required context about which you are concerned.

The causal body (soul) is superimposed on the external gross body and the internal subtle body. When the soul gets rid of these two superimpositions and realizes its own nature of pure awareness, it is called as realization according to the Advaitin. The Advaitin is concerned only about the realization of the self and hence you cannot use this word in any other context. Similarly for the Advaitin liberation means the release of the soul from the illusions of the superimpositions of itself on the subtle and gross bodies. The Advaitin is limiting himself to these contexts only and hence these two words cannot be used in any other context. For an ignorant villager these two words are limited only to his specific context. For him realization means finding out the location of an agricultural tool, which he had forgotten some time ago. For him liberation means releasing the cow from its chains and sending it into the field. You cannot bring the context of the Advaitin to the context of the villager and vice versa.

Therefore the realized soul and the liberated soul stand for certain specified contexts as per the scope of the observer. However, if you are interested in knowing these two words in the context of the final spiritual knowledge, the meanings are different. In the final level of spiritual knowledge, the realized soul is that soul which realizes that the unimaginable God is in a particular living human form. Realization means the knowledge of some forgotten concept. But God is always unknowable and hence there is no point of forgetting and realizing the forgotten nature of the God. Only in the case of a knowable item does the word realization have its application. Therefore, realization of absolute God is impossible and hence, words like the knowledge of Brahman (Brahma Jnana) or education about God (Brahma Vidya) are meaningless in the absolute sense. But these words exist and the sense of such words is to be explained. The unknowable God enters and charges the medium like electric current entering a metallic wire to give the knowledge about His existence and not to give the knowledge about His nature. Hence these words must mean the knowledge of the medium in which the unknowable Brahman exists (Astityeva…—Veda). Brahman or God always enters the common medium of human beings so that God can mix freely with and also preach to human beings through the human body. Therefore, the knowledge of the existence of Brahman in the living human body of a particular incarnation is Brahma Jnana or Brahma Vidya, which is complete only when the contemporary human incarnation is recognized. Therefore, realization means the recognition of the contemporary human incarnation alone.

To please the Lord in such a living human form, practical devotion (service) is necessary. Such service is seen in your family bonds [You practically serve your family in this manner]. The service in the family bonds shows your real attraction to those bonds. When your service is diverted from the family bonds to God in the living human form, you are a liberated soul and the liberation is from your family bonds. For such liberation, the realization of the living human form of God must be the reason (Before all this, you must be liberated from the illusion that your own self is God). Without this reason, if the soul is liberated from the worldly bonds, it is just in the state of a stone. All the Advaitins who fix themselves in the state of pure awareness or life-energy without mind (subtle body) are just like plants in human form. All the Avadhutas who are just in the state of deep sleep without even a trace of awareness of anything are just stones in human form. All these are souls who are liberated from worldly bonds but since they are not realized souls, there is no use of such liberation. Such permanent liberation from the worldly bonds and such permanent realization of the self is again due to your constant prayer to God in which you rigidly requested Him to grant such permanent liberation and He finally granted His grace. God grants your request since you are rigid in your foolish desire. Otherwise, such liberation and such realization without the grace of God are only momentary. Shankara also stressed on God’s grace to get such permanent realization, which was called as a vasana (Pumsam Advaita Vasana). The word vasana here means the strong and permanent feeling of realization. The realized soul without liberation is an incapable theorist and a liberated soul without realization is an inert practical example [or lifeless model]. Both are useless.

Hanuman and the Gopikas are real realized and liberated souls who recognized the contemporary human incarnation and they were liberated from the worldly bonds for the sake of such living human forms of God. Realization without liberation is like lameness and liberation without realization is like blindness. Duryodhana was neither realized nor liberated soul. Dhritarashtra was a realized soul, who recognized Krishna as God but he was not liberated from the bond with his son. The Pandavas were realized souls who recognized Krishna as God but their liberation from worldly bonds was almost complete, but not fully complete. The reason for the little deficiency in the liberation was only a little deficiency in their realization. Therefore, if the realization is without any doubt, determination will result in practice and the liberation will become complete.

Dharmaraja knew that Krishna was the incarnation of Lord Narayana. His concept was that Krishna was one percent human being and ninety nine percent Narayana. According to Dharmaraja, Narayana was hundred percent justice. When Krishna asked him to tell a lie, Dharmaraja thought that the one percent human being is asking him to tell the lie. According to him, Narayana is hundred percent sattvam, which is good quality. Therefore, Narayana is hundred percent good. Krishna is also good everywhere except in this instance. Therefore Dharmaraja thought that Krishna is only ninety nine percent Narayana. Therefore he refused to tell the lie. This little fault in the realization, led him to slip a little from full liberation and hence he could not liberate himself from the bond of justice. The reason for this deficiency is in the knowledge about God and also the knowledge about the qualities. No single quality can have isolated existence. God is beyond all the three qualities. He is beyond sattvam also and therefore beyond justice (Sarva dharman…—Gita, Punya Pape vidhuya…—Veda). Thus realization becomes complete only when the divine knowledge is perfect and therefore God in human form (Satguru or Guru Datta) is giving stress on the propagation of the true divine knowledge.

In fact Krishna was hundred percent Narayana and one percent human being. (Manushim Tanumaashritam) This means that the full Lord Narayana entered into the human being and therefore the total Krishna is hundred plus one and not hundred. Since the one percent human being is relatively true, in the absolute plane, Krishna is also hundred percent Narayana. Even in Narayana, Rajas and Tamas co-exist as traces, which can also predominate whenever it is required in the divine game. For example the same Lord Narayana became Narasimha in whom Rajas (anger) came out to almost hundred percent. In fact Narayana is also hundred plus one because the hundred percent God entered the one percent human energetic form. Since energy and matter are one and the same according to science (E=mc2) the human body or the energetic body is only one percent.

Life of Lord Ayyappa

After this discourse, there was an episode of a TV serial on Ayyappa (Dharma Shastha) shown on the television. Swami commented on the life history of Ayyappa. The queen raised Ayyappa as her own son. After some time she gave birth to a son. Everyone recognized Ayyappa as God in human form through His super human nature. Now to the queen, Ayyappa represented God plus the love in raising Him from childhood. But the queen feared that Ayyappa as her first son would become the king and she wanted to kill Ayyappa [so that her actual son could be the king]. So she asked Ayyappa to get the milk of a tiger to cure her headache. She thought that Ayyappa would get killed by the tiger. Before the love of her delivered child [child by blood], God plus some love [Ayyappa, the foster-son] was defeated [She loved her blood-son more than God, who was also her foster-son]. Where is the doubt of the defeat of God alone before the love of a delivered child? In such a competing election, God will lose even His deposit! [God will not get even the bare minimum number of votes.]

Therefore the love for one’s children is gold and the love between the husband and wife is silver. But God always loves the souls to uplift them by all means (even the punishment in hell is only to transform and uplift the soul and is not revenge) without aspiration of any help from the souls in return. Therefore, the love of God for the souls is platinum. But the soul does not return even gold or even silver to God for His platinum love.

Was Krishna Just a Realized Soul?

[G. Lakshman said that somebody he met on the internet was saying that Krishna was only a Brahma Jnani or a realized soul].

There is a difference between the realization of Krishna and that of an individual soul. Krishna imposed apparent ignorance on Himself and for Him, realization means knowing about His own real nature of God present in His human body. Only God knows about the real nature of God (Brahma vit Brahmaiva—Veda, Mamtu Veda na kaschasna—Gita). Therefore, the knower of the real nature of God can be only God. Hence, in the case of Krishna, realization of Himself is the real sense of the word realization. But in the case of the ordinary soul, the realization of itself (getting released from the superimpositions on the subtle and gross bodies) is not the highest realization because the soul is not God. The highest concept of realization in the case of a soul is the realization of the human medium in which God exists and realization of the truth of the self, that it is not God. Therefore the word Brahma Jnani has different senses in the case of Krishna and an ordinary soul.

When Narada asked Lord Brahma about the address of a real Brahmachari, Brahma told him that Krishna living on the earth at that time was the real Brahmachari. Narada was confused because this word is used in the sense of a bachelor. But this word is applicable only in its root sense in the case of Krishna because He was not a bachelor. The word Brahmachari means the knower of Brahman [in its root sense] because the verb ‘chara’ also has the root meaning of ‘knowledge’. Therefore the Brahmachari means the knower of Brahman. God alone knows about Himself and hence the knower of Brahman must be the Brahman alone. Since Krishna was Brahman in human form at that time, Lord Brahma used this word in its root sense. From this, one should know that the human incarnation is the only Brahmachari and not any bachelor human being. In the case of a soul the word Brahmachari can be used for the devotee who has recognized the existence of Brahman in a living human form. Except these two cases, a simple bachelor who has not married, should not be called as a real Brahmachari. Therefore not only Hanuman who was a celibate is a Brahmachari, but the married Gopikas were also Brahmacharis. Hanuman was a Brahmachari because He recognized the living human form of God. Otherwise Hanuman is said to be married to Suvarchala and in that sense [of bachelorhood] this word has no application for Hanuman.

Lord Krishna said in the Gita that He has given the real spirit of the Gita or knowledge of God to the Sun-god. Hanuman was the student of that Sun. Therefore, we must be able to see the knowledge of God in the spiritual practice of Hanuman, which was nothing but the recognition of the contemporary human incarnation and selfless service to Him. Therefore, working backwards, this concept must have been the real spirit of the Gita.

Four States of the Soul

The Veda says that there are four states of the soul.

  1. Waking State: in which the soul is called as the Vishwa where the soul is superimposed on the materialized gross body.
  2. Dream State: in which the soul is called as the Taijasa where the soul is superimposed on the subtle body which is a bundle of feelings and each feeling is awareness associated with kinetic energy.
  3. Meditation State: in which the soul is called as Prajna where the soul is in awareness of itself as pure awareness, enjoying the bliss.
  4. Deep Sleep State: in which the soul is called as the Turiya where the soul is beyond the above three states of awareness i.e. the soul is in its original raw state of inert energy with full of ignorance about God.

If you say that the fourth state is beyond deep sleep (by treating the third state as the deep sleep, eliminating the state of meditation), such a fourth state is not in the experience of the soul directly or indirectly. Deep sleep is indirectly experienced as complete ignorance by inference after rising from the deep sleep. When you awaken from the deep sleep, you say that you did not know anything during the deep sleep. This does not mean that you were experiencing the ignorance during the state of deep sleep also. The ignorance during the deep sleep was indirectly experienced through inference only after awakening from the deep sleep. Hence the deep sleep is also experienced indirectly through inference but even such indirect experience is not there for the fourth state because after waking up from deep sleep you immediately enter into the first state. In absence of any authority [means of knowledge] like perception or inference for the fourth state of the soul, such a state is not acceptable to direct or indirect experience and logic. The fourth state is related to the soul and hence you cannot say that it is beyond logic. If we take deep sleep as the fourth state, it represents the ignorance of the soul regarding God and therefore it is the state of soul towards God and not the state of God. Therefore, meditation state is third which is almost considered as deep sleep.

If you take the soul as Prajna or pure awareness in deep sleep, it becomes absurd because in deep sleep the awareness totally disappears. In deep sleep there is no experience of bliss. But in the state of meditation there is experience of bliss during that state. After deep sleep, bliss is enjoyed due to the conservation of energy since the nervous system was not working in deep sleep. But the bliss due to such conservation of energy is not enjoyed during the state of deep sleep. During the deep sleep, the energy is stored and the stored energy is suddenly experienced as bliss when you wake up from deep sleep. When you take food, extra energy is supplied and in that case also you experience the same bliss. Similarly in deep sleep, there is excess available energy due to absence of its expenditure. Both the states of meditation and deep sleep are almost one and the same in the sense of excess energy, which alone gives more happiness or freshness for which the word bliss is used.

If you take the state of meditation, here also all the thoughts are arrested and the excess energy is stored. In this meditation state very little energy is spent in the awareness of itself. Thus deep sleep is hundred percent storage of energy and meditation is ninety nine percent storage of energy. Hence the enjoyment of bliss is almost the same except for the difference that the bliss is enjoyed during meditation whereas the bliss is enjoyed after the deep sleep. The merit of the meditation state is that the soul can be called as pure awareness in this state since it is enjoying the bliss directly during this state. In deep sleep, the soul is not awareness because it is transformed into inert energy and there the word Prajna meaning pure awareness cannot be applied. Moreover during deep sleep, bliss is not directly enjoyed. Due to these points, meditation state should be considered as the third state (sushupti) and the actual deep sleep can be considered as the fourth state (turiya), which represents the ignorance of soul towards God.

Deep sleep indicates the unknowable God due to the complete absence of knowledge of the soul. Before God, even the soul becomes an inert item and hence cannot know even a trace of the real nature of God. In deep sleep, the soul disappears since the causal body dissolves into its basic form of inert energy called as primary energy. This primary energy is the ultimate item of the universe and the soul in the waking state can at the maximum, recognize only the existence of this primary energy. Therefore the primary energy is the ultimate existence (Sat) with respect to the knowledge of the soul. Hence the Veda says that the soul dissolves in Sat in the deep sleep and does not know about anything because the primary energy is inert (Sati sampatsya na viduh…). This primary energy is the basic homogenous material cause of this entire universe and can be called as Brahman in the sense that it is the greatest in the world or among all imaginable items. Now there is no objection if you say that the soul dissolves in the primary energy (Sat), which is inert and the soul is in the state of full ignorance of anything including itself and God and the soul thus becomes the Brahman, which is the primary energy. The entire argument of Advaita is correlated in this way and yet God is not touched by the soul because God is beyond such Brahman and is called as Parabrahman. The word Brahman is not fixed to any particular item as it is clear from the usage of this word Brahman in the sense of the Veda, which is greatest among all the scriptures. Therefore, the whole misunderstanding comes from the usage of the word Brahman. The Gita says that the Parabrahman or God is beyond even Sat (Na Sat Tat….). God is indicated by the word Asat (Asadvaa…—Veda), which means that the God is not Sat or primary energy i.e God is beyond the primary energy (Mula Maya). However, the word Asat also has another sense of non-existence and this sense is removed by the Gita because God is existent (Naasaduchyate…).

Need and Benefit of Shankara’s Philosophy

If God is introduced through the medium of a human body, atheists will not agree. Hence Shankara selected pure awareness as the medium into which God is introduced. Even in the human incarnation, pure awareness (soul) acts as a medium charged by God. Now let us isolate that part of only the soul from the human incarnation. All this isolation is only an assumption. In general, pure awareness alone can act as the medium of God, since basically there is no objection for any item of this creation to act as a medium for God. The medium charged by God can be treated as God like the metallic wire charged by electric current. In this way you can call the assumed pure awareness or soul charged by God in the human incarnation, as God. But a soul without God exists in every human being and Shankara called every soul as God due to the possibility of a soul being charged by God and due to the existence of the soul charged by God in case of the human incarnation.

What is the use of all this? Atheists are mainly characterized by ego and will not accept God other than themselves. This rigid psychology of the atheist cannot be condemned in the beginning. The preacher must follow the psychology of a rigid ignorant student and should slowly uplift him. Hence, there is no other way to uplift the atheists who were present in the time of Shankara (Budhhists and Purva Mimasakas). Shankara said that the soul in every human being is God and this satisfies the rigid psychology of the atheists. At least they have accepted the existence of God as the existence of themselves. Buddhists were in a very pitiable condition since they were thinking that everything, including themselves, is nothing (Shunya). Shankara brought them up by stating that there should be the soul to experience the ‘nothing’. Otherwise, when ‘nothing’ is not experienced, ‘nothing’ cannot be established. The Buddhists came up and accepted the existence of the soul that experiences ‘nothing’ (the school of Prajnavada of Dignaga). Since that soul is God, they have accepted the existence of God. But they were rigid about the concept that everything other than the soul is ‘nothing’ and therefore Shankara had to follow their rigid psychology of ‘nothing except the soul’. Hence Shankara said that the soul is the Truth and God and except the soul or God everything else (world) is nothing. (Brahma satyam….).

The ego of the atheist was also satisfied because the soul itself is the Supreme God. The Purva Mimasakas had already accepted the existence of the soul and the world. Now there was a contradiction between the Buddhists and the Purva Mimasakas regarding the existence of the world though not regarding the existence of the soul. To convince both these rigid and ignorant students, Shankara said that the world is neither existent nor non-existent (mithya). A negligible trace can be treated as almost non-existent but it is existent in the strict sense. Since the world is a negligible dream of the soul, it is existent as well as non-existent. Thus he combined both in the concept of the world and made them accept the existence of God as a soul. The Purva Mimasakas were interested in achieving happiness in heaven by doing rituals. Shankara exploited their ambition for happiness and stated that God or soul is infinite happiness (ananda). This attracted the Purva Mimasakas to concentrate on God rather than on heaven. But in practical experience all of them found the absence of the experience of the natural infinite happiness and this raised the doubt of whether the soul is actually God in its original state. Shankara had to drag these atheists further; otherwise, they would have gone back to their original atheism. Then Shankara applied another trick by stating that the ignorance of the soul must be removed practically due to its long-standing effect. This long-standing influence of ignorance is called as vikshepa. Even if you awaken from the dream and realize that the tiger in the dream was unreal, its effect like your shaking with fear will not cease immediately. The theoretical realization removes only the apparent layer of ignorance called as Avaranam. For the removal of the practical effect of ignorance, Shankara suggested meditation on a completely liberated soul called as Ishwara, who is just like a leader in the same class. Both the soul and Ishwara are essentially the students of the same class but Ishwara, is a more meritorious student whose help can be taken by the soul. The atheist is trapped here because basically there is no difference between himself and the Ishwara. He thought that there is nothing wrong in taking the help of a meritorious student of the same class so that the less meritorious student can become equal to the same meritorious student one day or the other. Shankara maintained the essential equality of Ishwara and the individual soul as Brahman to satisfy the continuing ego of the atheist. Thus atheists started meditating upon Ishwara.

See the wonderful talent of Shankara who made the atheist not only to accept God but also meditate upon God! That is the talent of the Satguru when God comes in human form. Nobody can handle this situation except God. The technique used by Shankara was along the lines of Vedic tradition alone. The Veda also attracts theists by projecting God as the source of materialistic benefits, here as well as in the heaven. Worship of God is introduced through this attraction (kamya karma). Slowly the theist tastes the nature of God and gets attracted to God, leaving the other attractions. Shankara has extended the same to the atheists also. If you have taken the path of Shankara as the absolute truth, you must be an atheist like a Buddhist or a Purva Mimasaka. But if you are a grown up student going to college, you should not aspire for the chocolates given to kids to make them go to school. Shankara was correct in that time, for the sake of those atheists, since the final result was only their eternal welfare. A psychological trick for a good application, and which results in final benefit is always appreciable because the ends justify the means. You should take Shankara as the Guru, who has great affection for ignorant students and not as a mere scholar who just reveals the absolute truth and goes away without bothering about the practical upliftment of the students.