Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 07 Jan 2021


Swami Answers Devotees' Questions

[An online spiritual discussion was conducted on December 13, 2020, in which several devotees participated. Some of the questions of devotees answered by Swāmi are given below.]

1. What is the difference between yāga and yajña?

[A question by Smt Padmaram.]

Swāmi replied: There is not much difference between the two. Both are alternative words for each other and they mean the worship of God. Specifically, they refer to the practical service and sacrifice which is called practical devotion.

2. Are all devils bad beings?

[Smt. Sudha Rani asked: Swāmi, I have witnessed a lady into whom a devil had entered. This happened in Amma’s ashram. That lady was trying to enter the Kālī temple which is located there in the ashram. People were trying to stop her. They asked for any women to help, so I helped by trying to stop her from entering into temple. As I tried, my finger got hurt and for the next six months, I suffered from that pain. Amma is a Human Incarnation of God. How can such devils enter holy places where an Incarnation is present?]

Swāmi replied: A devil is also a soul. Will a mother reject her bad daughter? The Divine Mother is the embodiment of true love for Her soul-issues.

3. Are we prohibited from visiting holy places if one of our close relatives have passed away?

[Śrī Avanigadda Prasad asked: Are we allowed to visit temples like the Lord Veṅkaṭeśwara temple in Tirumala, when one of our blood relatives has passed away? I have heard that we are prohibited (mailam). What is the reason behind it?]

Swāmi replied: The scripture says that one can worship God whether one is pure or impure (Apavitraḥ pavitro vā). When a close relative passes away, one’s mind is usually not calm and peaceful due to grief. So, one is unable to concentrate on God. Hence, worshipping God in public during that time of grief is avoided. If the mind is not in such state of grief, the devotee can continue to worship God. We must understand the reason behind every rule and not follow the rule blindly.

4. Who initially declared that certain scriptures are Śruti (Veda), while others are Smṛti (secondary scriptures)?

[A question asked by Śrī Bharath Krishna.]

Swāmi replied: The Veda is Śruti and all other scriptures written by sages are called Smṛtis. The hymns of the Veda are marked with three types of accents (swara) to enable the traditional recitation, whereas, the Smṛti texts are not marked with such accents. Both the Veda and the Smṛti were given to us by the sages. But the Veda is the knowledge directly told by God to the sages. The Smṛti texts are based on the same knowledge of the Veda, but they were composed by the sages. Smṛti follows the path of the Śruti (Veda). Smṛti is also an authority, as long as it does not contradict the Veda. If there is any contradiction, the Śruti or the Veda prevails over the Smṛti (Śrutireva garīyasī…).