Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 28 Mar 2021


Why Is Every Soul Not God? Part-5

Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

Part-1     Part-2     Part-3     Part-4     Part-5     Part-6     Part-7     Part-8     Part-9

Part 5: True Advaita in the Incarnation

Swami continued: I never said that the Advaita of Śaṅkara is completely impossible. I am only saying that Advaita or monism does not exist in the case of every soul. This is because, the relatively-real soul can never become the absolutely-real God, by its own effort, no matter how strong the soul’s ambition to become God is. What Śaṅkara preached was the monism of a rare soul with God. That rare monism is granted by God alone and it can never be achieved by the soul’s own effort. The conversion of the soul which is an imaginable relative reality into God, who is the unimaginable absolute reality, is impossible with the soul’s own effort. Worldly logic can only describe one imaginable item getting converted into another imaginable item. The soul’s efforts are also within the limits of worldly logic. But the unimaginable God is always beyond worldly logic, even though the majority of actions of God are always logical and they are understood by worldly logic. Only some of His actions called miracles are beyond logic. This means that we cannot know or explain the process or mechanism of how God performed those miracles. The miraculous actions are done by God using His unimaginable power. But it does not mean that the actions are illogical. Illogical means that which contains wrong logic. Something that is illogical is not beyond logic because the wrong logic of an illogical idea is also proved to be wrong by logic alone. People often get confused in this matter and claim that that which is illogical is beyond logic. They mistake the illogical to be related to God, who is above logic.

We oppose both extreme philosophical views regarding the relationship between God and the soul. One extreme view is that all souls are already God. This is like a flood. The other extreme view is that no soul can ever be God. This is like a drought. The reality lies in between. Yes, it is perfectly true that no soul can ever become God by its own effort, despite its ambition to become God. Everybody is tremendously attracted towards this philosophy of monism (Advaita) because of the inherent ambition of every soul to become God. Every soul has an inherent quality of wanting to achieve every type of greatness. Every soul wants to become the greatest. The ultimate greatest is God alone. Hence, God is called Brahman, in Sanskrit, which means the Greatest (Bṛhi vṛddhau). This inherent quality of every soul attracted everybody tremendously towards the Advaita philosophy of Śaṅkara. Śaṅkara should not be misunderstood for exploiting that inherent weakness to gather many followers. A crooked politician adopts such practices to get more votes from the public. But Śaṅkara was not such a crooked politician, wanting win some election. He did not desire any power, position or illegitimately-earned wealth. Śaṅkara’s intention behind extending the concept of monism to every soul was completely different. All people were not the targets of this plot of Śaṅkara. Only atheists were His targets. He targeted them only to uplift them. This is because, atheists would never have accepted His preaching and turned to theism, if He had not announced that they were already God. So, He wrote His commentary based on this concept. Of course, He could not say that His commentary was meant only for atheists. Even though His main targets were atheists, He had to say that His philosophy was applicable to every soul. There is no way He could have said that only the souls of all atheists are God! To achieve His main target, He had to say that every soul is God. Needless to say, He succeeded in His goal of converting atheists to theism. With this plot, He made every atheist say that God exists.

His plot contained a three-step formula, which was saying that (1) the soul is God, (2) that the soul is the absolute existent reality and therefore, (3) that God, the absolute reality, exists. This formula also succeeded in the case of Buddhists. Buddhists say that creation is unreal (śūnyam). Śaṅkara proved to them that creation is unreal because it is a relative reality. Even though the world by itself is unreal, it appears to be an absolute reality. The apparent reality of creation is borrowed from the absolute reality, which is its substratum. That absolute reality is God. This type of reality of creation is called a relative reality. Śaṅkara made every Buddhist accept the existence of God as the absolute unimaginable awareness since without the existence of an awareness (pramātā) the unreality (śūnyam) of creation cannot be grasped. This unimaginable absolutely-real awareness was misunderstood by His followers to be the imaginable relatively-real awareness, which is the soul. Śaṅkara kept silent about that misunderstanding and even supported it for the sake of converting the atheists into theists.

Apart from all this background story behind Śaṅkara’s theory of monism, the important point is that monism between God and the soul is not totally unreal. It is real in the case of the special soul selected by God to become either an Energetic Incarnation of God in the upper worlds or a Human Incarnation of God on earth. Again and again, we say that the soul can never ascend to become God. But we accept that God can indeed descend to become the soul as an Incarnation. We condemn the effort and ambition of the soul to become God. At the same time, we greatly appreciate the wish of God to become a soul in the form of an Incarnation. The concept of Incarnation of God is not bad, but the ambition of the soul to become an Incarnation of God is very very bad. Even if the soul thinks of becoming God—only once in its mind—it becomes a permanent disqualification for the soul becoming God, at any time in the future. In that case, imagine how horrible it is for a soul to constantly keep memorizing the concept that it is already God (Aham Brahmāsmi)? Yet, many Advaita followers do just that. Such constant memorization of this concept shows the unimaginable intensity of the soul’s ambition to become God.

The Advaita philosophy does recommend that followers serve God (karma yoga) in the initial stage of the spiritual effort. That service is supposed to remove the practical influence of ignorance (vikṣepa-mala), so that the soul eventually realizes that he is God Himself. So, Advaita followers too serve God thinking that they are servants of God. But even while serving God as servants, the followers are constantly aware that the service done by them to God is only temporary. Their final goal is only to become God. It is an insincere service like a person massaging the feet of an elder person in a position of power, only to throw him out of his seat and occupy the seat of the elder! Hence, the exhibition of service or karma yoga by the Advaita philosopher in the beginning to remove the practical influence of ignorance (vikṣepa-mala) is only a show. He always thinks that he is already the master (God) and that he is only temporarily acting to be a servant of God! Scripture clearly says that monism is attained by a soul only by the grace (wish) of God (Īśvarānugrahādeva puṃsāṃ advaita vāsanā). A soul in the spiritual path should always keep Hanumān as the ideal. God granted Him the position of God, as the Creator (Brahmā) in the future cycle of creation. Yet He always feels that He is only a servant of God. He never feels that He has become the master. In fact, He was already an Incarnation of God Śiva.

An Incarnation is the result of God merging with a medium. The medium means both the soul and body. God identifies Himself with both the body and soul of the medium in an Incarnation. People often quote a statement made by Hanumān in the Rāmāyaṇam. Rāma was the Human Incarnation of God in the Rāmāyaṇam, while Hanumān, was His servant. In reality, Hanumān too was an Incarnation, but that fact was hidden. Hanumān said to Rāma, “From the angle of the body, I am Your servant (servant of God). From the angle of the individual soul, I am a part of You (part of God). From the angle of the basic soul, I am one with You (God Himself) (Dehabuddhyā tu dāso’ham, jīvabuddhyā tvadaṃśakaḥ, ātmabuddhyā tvamevā’ham…). Hanumān, being a Human Incarnation of God Himself, can indeed say what He said. But it does not mean that every other human being can say the same because they are not Incarnations of God. In the case of Hanumān, His body and soul constitute the medium. His innermost soul is God Śiva. That God Śiva is not different from God Viṣṇu since both are Energetic Incarnations of the same God Datta, who is the mediated unimaginable God. Since God Śiva and God Viṣṇu are the same God, their respective Human Incarnations, Hanumān and Rāma are also one. Thus, Hanuman’s statement becomes meaningful only when said by Him and not when said by any ordinary human being, which is no different from a monkey!

The Advaita philosophers say that the soul’s attainment of God is the attainment of the already-attained (prāpta-prāpti), since the soul always was God (Brahman). They give the example of a lady searching for her lost gold chain, while the chain was always there in her neck (Kaṇṭha cāmīkara nyāya). If the soul maintains this idea of already being God, it will never attain God. The lady did not have a golden chain in her neck to begin with. So, she will never attain the chain by the false belief that she is already wearing it in her neck. If a golden chain does appear in her neck, she should recognize that it has been given by God to her for doing some divine service to the world. If she thinks—even for once—that she is wearing the golden chain already, it denotes her ambition for owning the golden chain. In that case, God will never grant her the chain! These Advaita philosophers also give the example of a lion-cub which has grown with sheep. The lion cub thinks that it is also a sheep. Finally, it meets a preacher who shows the cub, which has grown up into a lion by now, its real nature as a lion. That story is not entirely accurate. In reality, it was never a lion cub at all. It was only a lamb. When it met the divine preacher, the divine preacher miraculously transformed the lamb into a lion! Thus, the ordinary soul was never God. It was always just an ordinary soul. By God’s wish alone, it can become a Human Incarnation of God, but never by its own effort.


To be continued…