Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 16 Mar 2021


Swami Answers Devotees' Questions

[An online spiritual discussion was conducted on February 27, 2021, in which several devotees participated. Some of the questions of devotees answered by Swāmi are given below.]

1. How can God take the full responsibility of a soul pursuing the spiritual path, while discouraging its efforts?

[Smt. Anita Renkuntla asked: Padanamaskaram Swamiji! You said that God does not encourage the souls on the spiritual path of devotion and sacrifice (nivṛtti). Further, You have also said that God takes up the total responsibility of a soul on the spiritual path. Both statements seem contradictory. Kindly clear this confusion of mine.]

Swāmi replied: Nivṛtti means the soul’s highest love for God. Such love should be tested to confirm, whether it is really the highest or not. Anything that appears to be the highest must always be thoroughly tested. Love in worldly life (pravṛtti) is high, but it is not the highest. Since it is not the highest, it need not be tested. The fruits attained by the soul in pravṛtti are high, whereas, the fruit attained by the soul upon succeeding in nivṛtti is the highest. The examination for the lower-level Group-4 civil services is not very tough, but the IAS examination is very tough.

2. For what sins were Bhīma, Nakula and Sahadeva sent to the forest?

[Smt. Anita Renkuntla asked: Padanamaskaram Swamiji! Draupadi was punished for humiliating Duryodhana and encouraging the Pāṇḍavas to take revenge. Her punishment was that she lost her sons in the war that she wanted the Pāṇḍavas to fight. Dharmarāja too was punished for accepting the invitation of gambling in the royal court, which is a sin. He was forced to live in the forest in exile. Arjuna had ego and jealousy, due to which he suffered. My question is that why were Bhīma, Nakula and Sahadeva punished or exiled? What were their sins?]

Swāmi replied: A person supporting injustice is also punished. All the four younger brothers of Dharmarāja supported him blindly due to their highest love towards their eldest brother.

3. How can a devotee’s family members who are against spirituality get salvation?

[Smt. Anita Renkuntla asked: Padanamaskaram Swamiji! You said that a devotee must first start the propogation of spiritual knowledge at home because true spiritual knowledge alone gives salvation. Devotees may face obstructions in their spiritual efforts from their family members, who act out of ignorance. Under these circumstances, how do the devotees’ family members get eternal salvation, without the true knowledge? At Your Lotus feet, Anita Renkuntla.]

Swāmi replied: While propagating spiritual knowledge in the world, one must start with one’s own family members who are very near and dear. If the family members also develop devotion, they will cooperate with the person propagating the spiritual knowledge. Only if unfortunately, the family turns against the person’s spiritual effort, should the person do his or her divine duty secretly, without the notice of the family. The secrecy ensures that the person is not disturbed in the divine effort.

4. How can we repent and not repeat the sins done in ignorance?

[Śrī Durgaprasad asked: Some do sins intentionally and some do them in ignorance. How can we repent for the sins done in ignorance? The steps of repentance and non-repetition are possible only if there is realization to begin with.]

Swāmi replied: Realisation comes through spiritual knowledge or jñāna yoga, which is the first step. Knowledge removes ignorance after which you will identify your sin. Repentance is part of the second step called devotion or bhakti yoga. The non-repetition of the sin in practice is part of the final karma yoga or the step of practice by which all your past sins get cancelled.

5. Should our sacrifice to God be big or small?

[Śrī Durgaprasad asked: At one end Lord Kṛṣṇa says that a devotee may offer anything, no matter how small, to God (Patraṃ puṣpaṃ phalaṃ toyam—Gītā). At the other end, He says that one must perform the total sacrifice of the fruit of one’s work to God (Sarva karma phala tyaga—Gītā).]

Swāmi replied: Total sacrifice means donating whatever you possess to God. It does not mean that the magnitude of the donated item should be very large. When you sacrifice all that is possessed by you, irrespective of whether it is big or small, it is said to be total sacrifice or sarva karma phala tyāga. If you only possess a leaf, a flower, a fruit or even just water, the donation of that becomes sarva karma phala tyāga.