Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 16 Jul 2020


Deviation Helps Devotion

[Shri Bhagat asked: Jai Guru Datta, Gurudeva! Gurudeva, You are Lord Datta. You are omnipresent and omnipotent. Then why is Your māyā imposing disbelief on me? Why am I unable to believe, even though You are the one who is taking care of everyone and everything in the universe. A child strongly believes that his mother and father will do and give anything and everything to him, to the best of their ability. The child develops such faith after several situations since birth when the child experiences the unconditional love and care of the parents. Without expecting anything from souls, You love everyone in the universe as Your children. Yet it is hard to develop faith.

Whenever I read some discourses written by You, I feel devotion towards You. Then, after sometime, I forget everything about the knowledge given by You and I fall into ignorance. When I watch movies, especially fantasy movies like Avengers or Harry Potter, they automatically grip my mind and make me happy. It is like an addiction. I also get hooked on to my smartphone. At times, I feel that, instead of reading Your discourses, I should watch some videos made by some foreign persons about personality development and time management since they will also be useful in my pravṛtti life. Of course, I know that Your knowledge alone is the highest, but I am incapable of controlling my mind.

Please show Your mercy and guide me on how to increase love and devotion towards You and how to increase my interest in Your highest knowledge (prajñānam), so that I may not doubt Your love and omnipotence even for a single second.]

Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! Sage Nārada says in the Bhakti Sūtrās, while defining bhakti (devotion), that when a person has devotion, the person will feel extreme mental pain upon deviating from the path of devotion (Tat vismaraṇe parama vyākulatā). This is seen in your case and hence, you are on the right path of devotion. Perfection will come in the course of time. If this mental pain is absent, there is no scope of further progress on the path of devotion. As you continue your sincere efforts on the spiritual path, reaching higher and higher stages of devotion will take time. But you are better than several people who do not feel anything at all, even when they deviate from the path of devotion. If you make sincere efforts to overcome worldly attractions, God will help you in your effort. If you do not make any effort, how can God help you? If He were to help you using His miraculous power, He would also have to help everybody else in the same way. Otherwise, His action would be tainted with unreasonable partiality. The effort is in your hands, whereas, helping you in achieving the fruit is in His hands (KarmaṇyevādhikārasteGītā).

There are three famous epics in the Hindu tradition: (1) the Rāmāyaṇam, (2) the Mahābhāratam and (3) the Bhāgavatam. The Rāmāyaṇam simply deals with pravṛtti. In it, Rāma Himself acts only as an ideal human being, without expressing even a trace of His divinity. He only supports justice and opposes injustice. This is like a food preparation made of only the plain flour of rice or wheat. The Mahābhāratam deals with pravṛtti mixed with nivṛtti. It shows the Pāṇḍavas who follow pravṛtti like Rāma and it also shows Krishna who expresses His divinity and stands for nivṛtti. It is like a sweet prepared from a mixture of the plain flour with sugar. The Bhāgavatam deals with pure nivṛtti. In it, we only find Incarnations of God appearing and blessing fully devoted souls. It is like a sweet prepared from sugar (candy) alone.

You are presently in the second stage and after sometime, you will reach the third stage. Pure pravṛtti, pravṛtti-mixed-with-nivṛtti and pure nivṛtti are the three sequential stages in the spiritual journey. Below these three stages lies the worst stage called duṣpravṛtti, which is pravṛtti mixed with injustice. It like the wheat or rice flour mixed with chillies. Pravṛtti means worldly life. Sat means good and duṣ (duḥ) means bad. If worldly life follows justice, it is called satpravṛtti or simply pravṛtti, which is compared with the plain flour. The Rāmāyaṇam and Mahabhāratam, contain satpravṛtti represented by Rāma and the Pāṇḍavas respectively, as well as duṣpravṛtti represented by Rāvaṇa and the Kauravas.

Some deviation from the spiritual path is also good and helpful for spiritual progress. When the water flowing in a canal reaches a culvert, its flow is restricted a little. But it cannot be considered to be an obstacle or as something negative since, as the water flows through the culvert, its speed actually increases. Similarly, deviations from the spiritual path actually help you. Once you realize that you have deviated and you experience mental pain as a result, you return to the spiritual path with increased force. The obstacles and deviations increase your attachment to spirituality tremendously. Hence, God creates obstacles in the spiritual path, not to harm the devotee, but to help the devotee in his spiritual effort. If you see the life histories of great devotees, you will realize that their lives were full of problems created by God. The problems caused them to increase the strength of their devotion. God Gaṇapati is said to be Vighnakartā, which means, He creates obstacles. But He is also said to be Vighnahartā or the remover of the obstacles. The obstacle increases your vigour in the spiritual effort. So, the obstacles given by God actually remove the bigger obstacle of slow progress. You should not worry about these obstacles and just continue with your endless sincere spiritual efforts. This is the way to attain the grace of God, which is the ultimate aim of human life.


| Shri Datta Swami | Deviation Helps Devotion | Tat vismarane parama vyaakulataa Karmanyevaadhikaaraste pravrutti nivrutti dushpravrutti satpravrutti Raavana Raamaayanam Mahabhaaratam Vignahartaa Vignakartaa