Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 12 Sep 2020


Is historical evidence greater than the word of the Sadguru?

[Shri Bharath Krishna asked: Namaśśivāya Swami, I was having a discussion with one of my friends related to different religions. I shared with him some of the discourses given by You related to religions. Following is the summary of the conversation that happened between us.

Bharath: It is the same God who came in many different forms and gave us the required spiritual knowledge.

Friend: How could Mohammed destroy all the idols of God whom people respected so much? Who gave him the right? I would never allow anyone to destroy the idols in our temples.

Bharath: We may not understand certain actions of Human Incarnations of God, and that is why we seek help from the contemporary Human Incarnation to gain more clarity. A few Sadgurus including Shri Datta Swami have always told us to respect every religion.

Friend: How can we respect some religious preachers like Mohammed, when we know some historical facts that prove the bad things done by them? I definitely respect your Guru. Sometimes, a Guru says something to us for our own good, although it may not be the truth.

Bharath: But when the Guru says something, we must believe it, right?

Friend: We can always ask a question to our Guru, if we are unable to accept something. In the Bhagavad Gītā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa explains the significance of paripraśna, right? How can we ignore historical facts?

Bharath: History may include so many assumptions. That cannot be proof of any incident.

Friend: History is definite proof. We know that pratyakṣa pramāṇa is one of the pramāṇas.

Bharath: Sadguru is the highest pramāṇa. What He says is final. According to me, what my Guru says is the truth.

After the discussion, we both did not come to a conclusion. But from this discussion, I have two questions for which I request a kind answer from You, Swami. Following are my questions: (1) Can history and archeological evidence be considered as pratyakṣa pramāṇa? (2) When should we blindly accept something told by a Sadguru and when should we question the Sadguru? What is the exact meaning of the word ‘paripraśna’ in the Bhagavad Gītā? Thank you so much for clarifying all my doubts, Swami. Pādanamaskāraṃ Swami.]

Swami replied: History is written by some person, who might have misinterpreted the facts due to some ill intention. This is quite possible with human beings. There might even be a good person, who might have properly interpreted, whatever he observed. But the second possibility also exists, which is that some followers might have meddled with the script and they might have interpreted the events wrongly due to their ill intentions. Swami Dayānanda never broke any idol. Prophet Mohammed has instructed Muslims to respect others’ feelings and help people of other religions also. After helping them, He says that the message of Allāh must be delivered to them and the helper should return, without forcing the person to accept the message. The so-called historical claims about Prophet Mohammed destroying idols is doubtful because it is in contradiction with the above instruction of the Prophet.

An idol is not God since God does not exist in it, as told in the Veda (Na tasya pratimā asti…). The scripture says that an idol is only a representative model for God and that it is meant for the sake of beginners (Pratimāhyalpabuddhīnām...). It is just like the flag which represents the nation. Remember that all of us are always just beginners in the spiritual line! The ultimate form of God for human beings is only the contemporary Human Incarnation because He alone can clear all the doubts of the devotee.

The knowledge given by God-in-human-form, who is known as the Sadguru, must also be analysed deeply. All logical questions should be posed, until one’s inner consciousness is fully convinced and it reaches full satisfaction. After preaching the Gītā, Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna to analyse whatever was told by Him and to accept it only out of his own free will (Vimṛśyaitadaśeṣeṇa, yathecchasi tathā kuru). You are correct in saying that perception (pratyakṣa) and the history based on it, cannot always be believed. The experience of perception can sometimes be wrong, as said by Śaṅkara. He has given the example of a person with a defect in the eyes due to which he sees and experiences two moons in the sky (netra taimirika doṣasya dvicandra darśanavat). Your friend is correct in saying that sharp analysis must be done after receiving knowledge from anybody, so as to convince one’s inner consciousness, in an atmosphere of full freedom.


| Shri Datta Swami | Is historical evidence greater than the word of the Sadguru?| Krishna Gita Giita Pariprashna pratyaksha pramaana Na tasya pratimaa pratima asti Dayaananda Pratima hyalpabuddhiinaam Vimrushyaitadasheshena yathechchasi tathaa kuru Shankara netra taimirika doshasya dvichandra darshanavat