Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 25 Jul 2023


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Satsanga On Guru Puurnimaa (03-07-2023)

O Learned and Devoted Servants of God,

[Swami spontaneously answered the following questions asked by devotees on the online Satsanga held on Guru Puurnima day i.e., on 03-07-2023.]

Table of Contents

1. Why did Lord Krishna allow Ayanaghosha to marry Radha? Was it not a sin on the part of Ayanaghosha?

2. Why do we need to practice justice when gender bias exists here as well as in the upper worlds?

3. What is the difference between faith and devotion? Is faith the initial stage of devotion?

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1. Why did Lord Krishna allow Ayanaghosha to marry Radha? Was it not a sin on the part of Ayanaghosha?

[Shri Durgaprasad asked:- Paadanamaskaaram Swami, Why did Lord Krishna allow Ayanaghosha to marry Radha? Was it not sin on the part of Ayanaghosha? At Your lotus feet, Durgaprasad]

Swami replied:- Here, the personality of Radha is projected. The character of Ayanaghosha is only a secondary item and not the main character of the drama. Radha is to be projected and through Radha, a climax devotee is to be projected. Radha married Ayanaghosha who was actually the brother of Yashoda and he worked in the court of Kamsa. Here, Radha was older than Krishna due to which she was not married to Krishna. During her childhood, Radha was married to Ayanaghosha who was the maternal uncle of Krishna and follows Kamsa. But, Radha loved Krishna even before her marriage. The love of Radha is not mere lust provoked by hormones. There is a divine background here. The love of Radha to Krishna is the love of God Shiva to God Vishnu. Radha was the incarnation of Durvasa who was the incarnation of God Shiva. Krishna was the incarnation of God Vishnu. You have asked this question thinking of Radha as an ordinary human being without having any divine background. Here, the love of God Shiva to God Vishnu is not lust but divine love. The Gopikas danced with God Krishna based on divine love because the Gopikas were sages who did long and severe penance for millions of births and Krishna was God Himself. Here, you must remember the divine background. If you take the character of Radha as an ordinary human being, your doubt is genuine. If Radha and Krishna were ordinary human beings like Ayanghosha, then you can justify Ayanaghosha and blame Krishna. Suppose Radha is a human being although Krishna is God, even then you can blame Krishna. Here, Radha also has a divine background. The divine background present for both Radha and Krishna should be taken when you raise such doubt. Therefore, between the love of God Shiva and God Vishnu, the love of a human being can’t stand at all. Here, through Radha, the role of a climax devotee is being projected which is the most important point from the point of spiritual knowledge. You should not take this incident as some story of ordinary human beings presented in the novel of Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani and then start your novel review! It is told that if there is a scholar, test him in the Bhaagavatam to see how much he has understood spiritual knowledge. Even great scholars of spiritual knowledge are to be tested in the Bhaagavatam (Vidyāvatāṃ bhāgavate parīkṣā…). Only then can you call them as scholars. Therefore, there is only divine love and no hormonal lust between God Vishnu and God Shiva.

God Vishnu is predominant in Krishna and God Shiva is predominant in Radha and they both have a love affair already. Vishnu became Mohini and Shiva loved Her. Vishnu as Mohini became Shiva’s wife and gave birth to Manikantha (Ayyappa). They both wanted to play these roles again but God Vishnu raised an objection to God Shiva saying, “Oh, Lord Shiva! You were in a male character in the last drama and I was in a female character. Now, let us exchange the characters for the sake of justice. You become a female character and I will become a male character”. So, the purview of the whole story is totally different as said in the Narada Bhaktisutra (Na tatrāpi māhātmya jñāna vismṛtyapavādaḥ…). When the Gopikas were dancing with Krishna, they were dancing with lust, which was based on divine love or devotion to God. Krishna is God Himself and these Gopikas (sages) were devotees of God. Love to God is called as devotion and such devotional love-based lust is not the hormones provoked lust-based lust. Sage Narada says that the Gopikas did not love Krishna seeing His physical beauty but they loved Krishna because Krishna was God. Their love was based on divine love or devotion. If the love of Gopikas was based on the physical beauty of Krishna, it would have been a horrible sin as in the case of prostitutes and hell would be the final result (Tadvihīnaṃ jārāṇāmiva…). Let Me give an example. A mother kisses her son, a brother kisses his sister, and a wife kisses her husband. Here, isn’t kissing as an action common in all cases or not? But the basis behind the action is different. This action is based on the love between mother-and-son in the first case, love between brother-and-sister in the second case and love between husband-and-wife in the third case. Action is the same; lust (it is both theoretical and practical) is also action. Similarly, a mother embraces her son and a brother embraces his sister. The action is the same but the base of that is the love between mother-and-son and love between brother-and-sister respectively. The basis is different. You shouldn’t judge anything by action. You should judge by the intention behind it. In worldly law also, whenever a crime is done, the punishment is given based on intention only. In a murder case, severe punishment is given to the person who intended and planned to do the murder. A lesser punishment is given to the murderer who took money and did the murder because the murderer had no intention to do that action. Therefore, intention brings the results and not the action. Action is inert. Inert action can’t have any fruit. Intention is awareness, which brings fruit. When a sister is embracing her brother with brotherly love, it is not a sin and it doesn’t bring any punishment. But, when a lady with illegal love embraces her lover, it brings punishment from God. Why does the same action have no punishment in the first case and has punishment in the second case? Because the intentions are different. Intention brings the merit and the sin. Intention gives the color of merit and sin to the action because the action is inert. This is the concept in the Bhagavad Gita.

Similarly, the love between Radha and Krishna is not hormones based lust that happens between ordinary males and females but it is based on the divine love between God Vishnu and God Shiva. The other Narada Bhaktisutra says, “Anyathā jārāṇāmiva…” which means that if hormones-based-lust was the basis between Krishna and Gopikas, that would have become illegal action or sin and punishment will be given to Krishna as well as to the Gopikas. The Gopika is embracing Krishna as God due to devotion which is also love. The intention is pure there. Who is this Gopika? She is a Sage. When the sage was doing penance, several heavenly angels (apsarasas) came, danced before him but failed to disturb him. In fact, the sage cursed those dancers. He has already burnt the hormones based lust in penance. How can he get that lust again? When a devoted sage has burnt the lust, will Krishna, who is God Himself, get such lust? So, where is the hormones based lust between Krishna and Gopikas? It is only devotion-based lust. Lust is also action. Action is inert. It can’t give any fruit. It has no capacity to give any fruit. Only the base of the action which is awareness in the form of intention, has the capacity to give the fruit. In the case of Gopikas, that base is pure.

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2. Why do we need to practice justice when gender bias exists here as well as in the upper worlds?

[Paadanamaskaaram Swami. A woman in a television debate makes a serious allegation on scriptures of Hinduism and Islam. She says - "Scriptures are written by males only. Scriptures ask us to follow dharma, but benefits like heavenly pleasures of witnessing Rambha, Menaka etc., are mentioned for men alone. Similar references exist in Islam for males. Gender bias exists here as well as in the upper worlds. Why do we need to practice justice?" Swami, please comment on this. At Your lotus feet, Durgaprasad]

Swami replied:- She says that when a male goes to heaven, he gets Rambha. When his wife also goes to heaven, she does not get any benefit. You know, now a days there are male boys called as call boys! These are all just ignorance-based thoughts. This gender difference didn’t exist in the ancient days because whether male or female, salvation comes for the soul. Soul is the common item between male and female human beings. There were great female Vedic scholars like Mythreyi, Gargi, Sulabhayogini. In fact, they are the authors of Vedic mantras. Ladies’ names are also there as authors of Vedic mantras. In fact, Yajnyavalkya couldn’t reply to Gargi in a spiritual debate. One is always respected and worshipped by qualities and deeds (Guṇakarma vibhāgasaḥ… Gita). Gender difference and caste difference was also not seen. Perhaps, some egoistic males might have inserted those portions of text like meeting Rambha, Menaka, etc., in heaven. Females might not have written such things because females generally have more decency than males. But, if such desire is there in females also, just like Rambha, Menaka and Urvasi present in heaven, some call boys are also present in heaven. That provision is also there. So, you shouldn’t differentiate such things between males and females because a female is always careful about her character and a male is never careful about his character since a male doesn’t get pregnancy. Due to this, there is some male ego and ego of the husband over the wife, which was always condemned and never appreciated. It is told in the Veda (Striyaḥ satīḥ puṃsaḥ...) that the so-called males are not only females but also are wives of God! All souls are maintained by God and God is the only maintainer. Maintained is called as wife (Bhaaryaa) and Maintainer is called as husband (Bhartaa).

On an evening, Meerabai entered the asylum of Tulasidas and asked whether she can stay in his asylum for that night. Tulasidas replied that only males are allowed there and females are not allowed. Tulasidas was actually the Guru of Meerabai. Then, Meerabai asked with an innocent face, “Guruji, are there males in the souls also? I am thinking Krishna alone is the male and all souls are only females”. It is told in the Veda itself. So, Meerabai could not be condemned by Tulasidas since the Veda authority is there. Who was Meera? She was the incarnation of Radha. Who was Radha? She was the incarnation of God Shiva. What is Shiva’s nature? Spiritual Knowledge. If you want spiritual knowledge, the giver of the spiritual knowledge is God Shiva (Jñānaṃ Maheśvarādicchet…). Meerabai was God Shiva Himself. How can Tulasidas oppose Meerabai? The statement given by Meerabai has the Vedic authority, due to which Tulasidas kept silent. Later, he fell on her feet even though she was his disciple and allowed her to stay in the asylum.

Such a very low, simple point of gender-difference can belong to the low standard of the people like ordinary worldly people, but in the level of spiritual scholars, that point cannot stand.

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3. What is the difference between faith and devotion? Is faith the initial stage of devotion?

[Shri Bharath Krishna asked:- Paadanamaskaaram Swami.]

Swami replied: Faith by itself is a foolish word without devotion. Suppose, you go to PM Shri Narendra Modi and say, “I have a lot of faith in you. Please help me”. Will he do any help? If he helps, he can’t be the Prime Minister. But if somebody goes and says, “Sir, I belong to your BJP party. I am a worker (karyakartaa) in it and did a lot of work for the party. I admire your policies”. Then if he asks for help, the Prime Minister will help. Faith has no devotion and faith has no connection with devotion. Faith is related to the mind, and it is not a practical expression of love. Practical service and sacrifice are the proof of real love. The PM will not be bent if you just say, “I belong to BJP Party”. Anyone can say that without proving real love. The PM would help you if you had worked for the party in their programs and have done a lot of service to the party, which proves your real love. Hence, devotion has both theoretical and practical sides. Faith has only theoretical side. Faith means a belief, which has no practical side and anybody can tell that they have faith. How can it have any value? Faith is simply a meaningless word. It is fine if you at least say, “I have so much devotion for you, which gives me the faith that you will do this work for me”. Based on devotion, faith can come. Faith is not a good word; it is a very bad word. When you say that you have devotion to God and you also have faith in God, connecting these two sentences gives a meaning that you have some desire and you are believing that God will definitely fulfill your desire. I say faith is a very bad word because it spoils the purity of the devotion in you. When you say that you simply have faith, it means your devotion is spoiled and false. At least, if God has a doubt that you have pure devotion or not, that doubt will be removed with this above statement because you are giving clarity that your love is false. “I was a climax devotee of you. I did a lot of devotion for you. I did a lot of practical service and sacrifice for you. Hence, I have faith in you”. That’s it! Govinda! Your whole devotion is spoiled because it involves fulfillment of your selfish desire. So, never entertain the word faith, which is a poisonous word. Devotion, love, aspiration-less love - these are good words. When you have devotion or love to God, where is place for faith? What is the necessity for faith? Why do you have to utter that word?

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4. Can we say that I have faith in God’s administration, then will it be justified?

[Ms. Thrylokya asked:- Can we say that I have faith in God’s administration, then, will it be justified? What about this expression, “I have faith that God loves me more than any soul, I have faith that God knows me more than myself”?]

Swami replied: I took the isolated statement, “I have faith in you” and I have analyzed that. So, if you simply say “faith”, it is a poisonous word. The statement, “I have faith in Your omnipotence” may indicate indirect asking for desire fulfillment. Even the statement, “I have faith that God loves me more than any soul and God knows me more than myself” creates a doubt of existence of internal desire if deep analysis is done. But, it is correct to say, “I have faith in the administration of God, He is impartial, He always protects justice and He always condemns injustice”. This is a very good statement.

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5. What is true Shiva Saadhana?

[Ms. Jahnavi asked:- Padanamaskaram Swami. Tomorrow onwards Shravanamasam is starting and it is suggested that we do Shiva saadhana during Brahmamuhurtam. What is Shivasaadhana and what is Brahmamuhurtam?]

Swami replied:- You should take the word Shiva as God. Don’t take Shiva as someone who resides in Kailash, who has moon on His head, who has serpents on His body etc. Shiva means auspiciousness. God is always auspicious. “Śivam advaitam…” says the Veda. When God is addressed, it is called as Shiva. Simply, take Shiva as God. Suppose you love Shiva and you have much attraction to Shiva, take Shiva as Shiva Datta. Shiva Himself is Brahma and Shiva Himself is Vishnu. Don’t take any second personality. There is only personality i.e., Shiva. Here, Shiva is Datta because in Shiva, Datta exists. Datta became the three incarnations - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. In any incarnation, the incarnating item exists in a perfectly merged state. Therefore, you can’t isolate God Datta from God Shiva. In your case, if you treat Shiva as God, don’t bring other names and say that they are lesser than Shiva and insult them. Follow Advaita in the goal, not Advaita between you and God. Goal is Advaita. Goal is only one God. Take it as Unimaginable God or Parabrahman. If Parabrahman is inconvenient because He is unimaginable, take God Datta, the first energetic incarnation because in God Datta, unimaginable God is already present in merged state. Then, God Datta became three incarnations such as God Brahma, God Vishnu and God Shiva. If you take God Shiva, God Datta is present in God Shiva and in God Datta, Parabrahman is also present in merged state. It means God Datta i.e., Parabrahman is already merged with God Shiva.

Take any divine personality and stick to it. Don’t insult other divine personalities. Don’t even take other names at all. You take their names, give some existence to them and then you insult them by saying that they are lesser than Shiva. Your entire spiritual path is totally spoiled because even Shiva will not appreciate you. Even if you are taking Shiva as highest and all others below Him, Shiva Himself will scold you. By keeping other Gods below Shiva, you are keeping Shiva only below Shiva. So, God Shiva Himself will become angry with you! Therefore, your entire spiritual saadhana is spoiled at once if this mistake is done. Have the right attitude. Worship can be done in any method. After all, what is there in a method? Your attitude is important.

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6. Can we consider all other forms who act as servants of God Datta as God Datta Himself?

[Ms. Thrylokya asked:- Swami, You said that some forms of God are forms of Datta. Direct forms are like Trimurtis and Trishaktis. But there are other forms of God, who act like servants of God like Kalabhairava. There are also other forms of God like Shanideva who work in the administration of God and also other forms of God who are worshipped by black magicians like village deities, Betala, etc. Can we take all forms of God as forms of God Datta only and see Advaita in them?]

Swami replied:- There are different types of incarnations like Kalaavatara, Amshavatara, Aveshavatra, Purnaavatara and Paripurnaavatara. He (God) takes a plan and through the plan, God’s entire force or power is working. As far as the possessed power is concerned, there is no difference in incarnations. The difference comes only in exhibited power as per the program. Some incarnation is exhibiting only 1/100th of the total power, that is called as Kalaavatara but total 100 parts of the power exist in that Incarnation. If you take the possessed power, all are equal. The difference comes only in the projected or expressed or exhibited power. The exhibited power differs because the programs are different and the exhibited powers are based on the difference in the programs. As per the requirement of the program, the power is exhibited. Rama didn’t show Vishwaroopa, that doesn’t mean that He can’t show it. The requirement was not there; hence He didn’t show. That is why, He is called as the incarnation of 12 Kalas (Dvaadasha Kalaavatara). Krishna is the incarnation of 16 Kalaas. Rama is Purnavatara and Krishna is Paripurnatamaavatara. In Rama, 12 Kalas and in Krishna, 16 Kalas are only the expressed Kalaas. In both Rama and Krishna, all the 16 Kalaas are present. Even in the Matsyavatara, all the 16 Kalaas are present. Even in the Buddha Avatara, all the 16 Kalaas are present. Possessed power is the same, therefore, you shouldn’t differentiate between incarnations. Expressed power differs, which is based on the requirement of the program. As per the requirement of the program, the required power is exhibited.

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7. Is the energy with which a human being is made different from subtle cosmic energy?

[Shri. Diwakara Rao asked:- Padanamaskaram Swami. Through Your knowledge, I came to know that awareness and matter are forms of energy only. The human being contains matter, energy and awareness. Is this energy another changed form of subtle energy or is it subtle cosmic energy alone?]

Swami replied:- Matter is condensed form of energy and awareness is a specific work form of energy. Subtle cosmic energy is totally not awareness. If subtle cosmic energy is totally awareness, then the condensed form of it which is matter also must be awareness. There are lots of forms of energies, which are inert and are not having awareness. Only some portion of the energy has become awareness, some portion of the energy became matter and some portion of the energy has remained as inert energy. Matter is inert and energy is inert. Only awareness is not inert. But, entire energy is not awareness. Cosmic energy is not awareness, it is inert. So, you can’t call Cosmic energy as God because God is not inert. God has awareness. Of course, it is unimaginable awareness. With His omnipotence, God can think. Cosmic energy can’t think because it is inert. Only a portion of it has turned into awareness. This awareness is imaginable awareness and God is thinking not due to the imaginable awareness. Imaginable awareness requires both inert energy and matter. Nervous system is matter and in the unimaginable God, there is neither inert energy nor a materialized nervous system. Still, the unimaginable God is thinking without awareness. Awareness was not generated because of the absence of inert energy and absence of materialized nervous system. Then, how is the unimaginable God thinking? Due to His Omnipotence, He can think, so He is thinking.

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8. How to check one’s progress in spirituality for encouragement?

[Shri Soumyadip Mondal:- While boiling rice, we need to check samples from the bulk from time to time to reach the final form. Likewise, for the least mortals like us, how to check the progress towards spirituality in the long journey for encouragement? At Your divine Lotus feet, Soumyadip Mondal]

Swami replied:- What is the necessity for a devotee to test his spiritual progress? If he tests and decides that “I am on the 10th step”, he may even develop some aspiration and say, ‘Oh God! I have already reached 10th step. So, give me some increment. I deserve some increment.” Such things also may develop since there is a possibility for such development. Go on doing the work (Karmaṇyevādhikāraste mā phaleṣu kadācana - Gita). Become the servant of God and go on serving God. Testing is the responsibility of the Sadguru or God. When there is no aspiration for fruit, what is the use of the test of spiritual progress? Whatever may be the step on which you are present, fix your eye on God and continue in the “Selected Reached Result”. What is the “Selected Reached Result”? Serving God without any aspiration for fruit in return from Him is the selected reached result. Reach that stage and continue in that stage. So, it is only walking on earth and not flying up. You have reached a stage of loving God without any aspiration for any worldly fruit or for any fruit in the upper worlds like saving you from hell, etc. Shankaracharya says, “Ihāmutra phala virāgaḥ”. It means detach from the fruits of this world, as well as the fruits of the upper world. Desires in the upper energetic world also exist, i.e., “Trāhi māṃ narakāt ghorāt” means “You save me from hell”, which is a desire belonging to the upper energetic world. So, Iha and Amutra, here and there, detach from the fruits and continue doing His work. Do not aspire for anything. Why should you worry about the steps? You want to remain as the servant of God forever even if God wants to give you salvation. If you can do that, you have already got salvation because if you have influence of worldly bonds, you can’t continue in divine service forever. Even if you continue, it can’t be complete service. So, if you are continuing full service of God forever, all these questions will not rise at all. Even if God offers His chair to you, you will say, “no, I want to be at Your feet only.” Then, God will forcibly pick you up and force you to sit on His chair. When you are not aspiring for the result, you have reached the climax. Then, continue in that climax level, there can’t be a better level than that. It is the level of God Hanuman. What better can exist? Where is the place for analysis?

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9. Swami, what is Brahma muhurtam and what is its significance and when we say saadhana, what steps are to be done to reach God?

[A question by Ms. Jahnavi]

Swami replied:- You see, first you must finish Jnana yoga. You must hear the details of God, which is called as Jnana yoga. Then, on hearing the details of God, you will develop attraction to God, which is called Bhakti yoga. Then, the third step is Karma yoga, which is the proof for the second step of theoretical devotion. Whether that theoretical devotion is true love or not should be proved. It can be proved by practical service and practical sacrifice. That third step is a very very important step and that alone brings fruit. You have heard the details of God, Jnana yoga, which is only water. You have developed attraction towards God i.e., theoretical devotion, which is only fertilizer. Karma yoga is the mango plant. The mango fruit comes only to the mango plant. Even if you have 100 tanks of water, even a single mango fruit will not come. Even if you have 100 bags of fertilizer, even a single mango fruit will not come. But, at the same time, you do the reverse analysis: without water, the mango plant will die. Without fertilizer, the mango plant cannot grow into mango tree to yield the mango fruit. So, without water, there is no fruit and without fertilizer also, there is no fruit. Without the mango plant, there is no fruit at all. Hence, really speaking, all the three are equally important. You must have complete true knowledge of God. If you have any defect or if you choose a false Guru and if his knowledge has some defects, those defects will enter into your knowledge and from knowledge, theoretical devotion is produced. Knowledge is the cause and theoretical devotion is the product. When there is a defect in the cause, there will be the same defect in the product. So, you must be careful in the first step itself in receiving the knowledge and your Guru must be the Sadguru. He must be the Incarnation of God or at least, a follower of the incarnation of God because the follower will bring the knowledge of the Sadguru as it is, without mixing any self-poetry. Therefore, the selection of the Sadguru is very very important and another important advantage in selecting the Sadguru is that the Satguru is the incarnation of God Himself. You are selecting Him as guide and He is also your goal. He is both goal and guide. Therefore, in the Gita, God Krishna as guide is preaching the philosophy to Arjuna and at every step, He is telling to worship Him only, who is also the goal. Krishna says, “You worship Me (Madyājī…māṃ namaskuru), you think about Me only (manmanā bhava madbhakto)”. He is acting as the goal as well as the guide. If He is guide only, He will tell to worship God since God alone can give good results. When you get the goal as guide due to your extreme fortune, your purpose is definitely fulfilled because the Goal-God will never leave you since the Goal-God will not tolerate getting a bad name. A human guide may tolerate, but, the Goal-God will not tolerate. That is what I used to tell to devotees sometime back in Vijayawada, “If Shani catches you, He will not leave you for seven and half years. But, if God Datta catches you, He will not leave you till you get salvation”.

Therefore, it is the greatest fortune, which cannot come to everybody. God comes down in human form only for the sake of devotees, who prayed for Him to come in human form for the sake of darshana (vision), sparshana (touch), sambhashana (talk) and sahavasa (co-live). These are the four types of fortune. So, for such devotees, the incarnation will not show any illusion or maayaa. For others, He shows maayaa and on their self-spiritual efforts only, they can recognize Him. They have some examination and no direct admission. Therefore, based on these things, you have to take care of spiritual knowledge. Two points are important here - whether the knowledge is true and whether the knowledge is complete. If it is not true knowledge, you will be in danger since you are misled to a wrong path. If it is not complete knowledge, you will be in danger again since you stop at some stage only. If the knowledge is true and complete, then you are out of danger. So, knowing the spiritual knowledge or the details of God, truly and completely, is Jnana yoga. You must allot a lot of time for that. From the Sadguru, getting Jnana is the first step. Jnana gives theoretical devotion, which is the second step. Theoretical devotion leads to practical devotion, which is the third step. Practical devotion gives the fruit, which is the fourth step. Here, the second step, the third step and the fourth step are spontaneous. These three steps take one second each but the first step takes a lot of time. Suppose, it has taken 10 hours for the first step, the time taken by the first step of the reaction is the total time taken by the overall reaction. That is the rule of Reaction Kinetics. So, getting true and complete knowledge will take a lot of time for you. Once that first step is over, immediately, theoretical inspiration will come. Immediately, it will lead to practical devotion and immediately, it will give fruit. Only 3 seconds are taken for these three steps. 10 hours and 3 seconds is the total time. Neglecting three seconds, the overall time is 10 hours only, which is the time taken for the first step. So, in the first step, you must be very very very very careful and you must give importance to devotion, which is theoretical as well as practical. Practical devotion is the proof for  theoretical devotion. You cannot give a certificate to yourself that your devotion is true. If so, everybody will start self-certification. Every student in the class feels that he is the topmost student and he must get distinction. So, every student is given distinction! Lord Datta always tests you in  practical devotion and not in theoretical devotion or spiritual knowledge. He will never ask you what is the 15th verse in the 16th chapter in the Bhagvad Gita. When Saktuprastha was taking food after 10 days of starving and his four family members divided meals, God came and asked for that food saying that He was hungry. All four portions were eaten by God in disguise. All the four portions were sacrificed and this is practical devotion. The test is always in practical devotion and never in theoretical devotion or in spiritual knowledge. But, theoretical devotion is also important because while you do practical devotion to God, right attitude is important. If you think that practical devotion alone brings fruit and you take the food and throw it on His face thinking that it shall give the result since practical devotion is proved, God will become furious and everything becomes a waste.

The Veda says “Hriyā deyam, bhiyā deyam, saṃvidā deyam”. Samvit means knowledge. While you give to Him, who is God, that knowledge (that He is God) should not disappear. You must give to God with fear and shyness. After all, you are a soul and He is God. King Bali gave like that. When God Vishnu came as Vamana, even though his Guru told him not to do that donation, he did it saying, “The receiver is God Vishnu and what more is there? I don’t care. Let any loss come to me. Receiver is God Vishnu and I am the donor. What is there more than this? My hand is upper hand than the hand of God”. So, for all this decision, theoretical devotion is very important and knowledge is also important. You see, God is never in need of anything. You must remember this at all times. A beggar is only in need and he will take it even if you throw the food on his face. The beggar will even say “Let God protect you”. He wants food because he is in need. God is not in need and He is only testing your theoretical devotion through practical devotion. He is the examiner and you are the candidate. Suppose an examiner puts a question, do you say “Don’t you know this also? You fellow! How did you become an examiner to me? Yes, I will tell the answer, note it. Otherwise, you will forget!” He is not your student to whom you are preaching the subject. He is your examiner. He knows the answer. He is testing you whether you know the answer or not. So, all these precautions will be given by the knowledge and theoretical devotion. Therefore, theory is important and theoretical devotion is important. Theory is the source of practice and just now I told the example of mango plant, fertilizer and water. All these three are equally important. You shall give equal importance to all these three because there are several people, who foolishly think that one alone is sufficient. Some say that Bhakti yoga is sufficient. Actually, nothing will happen with the theoretical devotion which is simply singing songs, shedding tears, etc. When God gives a boon to you, He will get more and more tears without glycerine. God will give the boon saying “Let your voice be more and more sweet”. That much only is sanctioned by God and no salvation. God told in the Gita that theoretical boon will be given for theoretical devotion and practical boon will be given for practical devotion (ye yathā māṃ prapadyante tāṃ stathaiva bhajāmyaham).

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10. What should we do to digest the knowledge?

[Ms. Bhanu Samykya asked: Swami, even though we read knowledge, sometimes, we cannot digest the knowledge. So, for reading the knowledge or for digesting the knowledge, what should we do?]

Swami replied: You see, this problem comes when you study worldly education also. But, most of the time, you are crossing over this problem by continuous effort and you are becoming a good scholar in that. Then, why not in this spiritual knowledge?

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11. Swami, when You incarnated as Vamana avatara, You took three steps to suppress down King Bali.

[A question by Shri Sathi Reddy]

Swami replied:- Don’t say that I took the three steps. In Kerala, they pray and celebrate King Bali during Onam festival. If they come to know that I did this, they will kill Me. Lord Vamana came and suppressed Bali. This will be proper to say.

King Bali had excessive ego due to which he conquered Indra and occupied the heaven-throne of Indra. To give heaven back to Indra, Lord Vishnu came as Vamana. In the case of God, Bali did not care about the advice of his Guru and donated land of three steps. Because of this merit, God gave the boon that He will always stand as Bali’s gatekeeper and God Vishnu became the gatekeeper of Bali in the lower world. What a boon that is! For any good deed, a good fruit will be given and for any bad deed, a bad fruit will be given by God. Bali was suppressed down to the lower world for the bad quality (ego) in him. God Vishnu became the gatekeeper for the good quality (sacrifice) in him. Teertham is different from prasaadam!

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12. Is it necessary to think of God as one of the relations like son, father etc.?

[Smt. Chhanda asked:- Padanamaskaram Swami! On this auspicious day of Guru Purnima, please throw Your light to remove my following ignorance. Is it necessary to think of God as one of the specific relations like son, father etc.? If a soul feels God in all the experiences but not in that specific relation, is it wrong? Does that mean the soul’s mind is not fixed on God? At the divine lotus feet of my Sadguru Shri Datta Swami, Chhanda.]

Swami replied:- The selection of a bond with God is done by the devotee itself and not by God. Unless you feel the particular feeling of that bond, why do you select that bond? The choice is given to you and you have selected the bond. If you do not feel that bond, who asked you to select that bond? You can select some other bond. If you don’t like Rasagulla, eat Dosa. You are the selector and you have selected it. The freedom in selection is given to you because you can select that type of bond in whatever way you feel towards God. The option is given to the devotee. Since you are feeling that bond more, you have selected that bond. Now, you say that you are not feeling that bond, then change that bond and take another bond. Who asked you to continue with that? So, it is completely left to the selection as well as the continuing procedure. The process is based on the wish of the devotee because in whatever form you like, in whichever bond you like, God will be present. He is not selecting any bond since you are selecting that bond. Any bond is okay for God and only the weight of the love present in that bond is significant for Him. For example, some sugar candy items are sold in the shapes of swans and donkeys. One kilogram of any item (whether donkeys or swans) costs the same i.e., Rs. 100. Now, you go and ask the seller, “Swans are better than donkeys. So, you give this donkey-sweet item for Rs. 50 and you sell these swan-sweet item for Rs.150. Where is the swan? and where is the donkey?” The seller is not worried about the form of the item and only the weight of the sugar decides the rate. So, the sacrifice or weight of the true love you have for God is important and not the form of the bond. I always give the best example of Draupadi, Gopikas and wives of Krishna. When Krishna’s finger was cut, all the wives ran in all directions to get a piece of cloth for bandage. But, Draupadi immediately tore her saree and banded the finger of Krishna. Kishna treats Draupadi as His sister and all these Gopikas and wives of Krishna running in all directions have powerful romantic bond with Krishna. But, the weight of the love-sugar for the sister became far far greater than all these darlings and wives. Several times, I gave this example in knowledge. So, it is the question of weight of sugar i.e., the weight of true love present in your heart for God. God doesn’t care for the form of bond you develop for Him. Whether it is swans or donkeys, 1 kilo = Rs. 100. Moreover, He has already given the choice to the devotee. He never takes that into His hands. He never told any devotee “I like you since you are My sister. I like you since you are My wife”. He never said like that. It is you, who have selected and if you do not feel that bond, you change it. Suppose you ordered idly, you just tasted and it is not good, then you order dosa. Your idly plate will be taken away! Such foolish things will not happen if you select the bond after feeling it. How you feel God or in what angle you feel God is the basis. If you select the bond based on that angle, such a problem will not come. You get a feeling in that bond, is it not? If you feel as a devotee of God, the essence of love of all the bonds exists in this God-devotee bond.

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13. How to differentiate the command from the test of God?

[Ms. Bhanu Samykya asked:- When God advises something to a devotee, the devotee can take it either as a command or as a test. I heard from an old devotee that when I consider God’s words as test, it becomes a test and when I consider it as command, it becomes a command. Is that true?]

Swami replied:- See, it is very easy to find out whether somebody is ordering you or somebody is testing you. You can understand easily and you need not be confused. You see, Gopikas came to Krishna and told that they love Him. Then, Krishna replied that they will go to hell if they like Him since it is against justice. When Krishna was telling like that, Gopikas, who were Sages having all the super natural powers were already promised by Rama (when these Sages went in female forms to hug Rama) that they shall be born as Gopikas and that He will be born as Krishna and come there. They remember that well by their miraculous power. So, they easily understood that it was a test only and they said that they would die. Krishna argued only once and He did not argue for a second time because He also knows that they know all the past. They will put a case on Rama that He went back after having promised like that. He did not argue for a second time and simply, He came down from the tree. He was sitting on the branch of the tree singing on the flute at night. So, it can be found out easily whether it is a test or a command. You see, Saktuprastha was eating  food after 10 days of starvation. God came and asked for some food. One portion was given treating Him as his guest (atithi devo bhava - Veda). He is God and He can order to give Him that food. But, He asked for the second part, the third part and also the last fourth part. They will definitely come to know that this fellow is some abnormal case and He is testing us. So, it can be found out easily because of the abnormal actions of God in a test. But, the omnipotent God will test in such a way that others will not detect. Then only, the true natural state of the soul will come out. If the candidates know that it is a test given by God, they might simply donate it without any love from heart, is it not? So, all those things are known to God since He is omniscient. Regarding the world, you have to take care of things carefully. Such a guest might be a mentally retarded person asking for food in an abnormal way!

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14. How does one surrender the mind to God?

[You have said that the more we try to control our mind in the spiritual path, the more it rebels against us. Then, what to do with this mind? How can one surrender the mind to God?]

Swami Replied: Yes! When the child grows a little bit more, he develops the attitude of rejection and some rowdy-nature in teenage. Then, how do you handle that teenage rowdy-nature in him? You tell slowly following the wish of the child without harming him. Let it do better profit to him and let it do good for him and follow the child. So, in the same way, if your mind has a certain nature, you have to follow it. Otherwise, if you control it by force, it will rebel. It will rebel so much that you cannot control it further. You can just take a small example of the divine nectar and coffee. In this example, the mind has the habit of drinking something and it cannot remain without drinking anything. That is its nature. Therefore, you are drinking coffee following its nature and then trying to attain the divine nectar. You mistakenly thought that coffee should be first rejected as a requirement to attain divine nectar and you stopped drinking coffee. Then, the mind will rebel after a week, and you will drink a big bucket of coffee at once. So, you have to follow its nature, which is to drink something. You drink the divine nectar instead of coffee after attaining divine nectar but don’t stop drinking anything. So, you follow the nature of the mind and do the saadhana (effort). According to the nature of your mind, you have to do the Saadhana. Suppose your nature is to have a lot of anger, then when you go to God, shout at Him “Why have You not given salvation to me so far?” Here, the angry nature of the mind is followed by you and at the same time, a good thing is also happening. Isn’t it? Like this, you can divert every quality to God and get a positive benefit without negative effect. Everywhere, you have to follow the mind and you have to accept whatever qualities are present in you. Accepting those qualities, you divert those qualities towards God. You cannot change the qualities, which is impossible because the bundle of qualities is the mind.

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15. Is mind and soul the same?

Swami Replied: Mind and soul, these words are very complicated. Soul is only inert energy and there is no awareness in soul. Mind is awareness, which is non-inert. How can inert energy and awareness be the same? I can give the answer simply like that, but here, the soul in your question also means awareness. That soul should have been addressed as ‘Individual soul’ in the question. Soul is ‘Aatmaa’ and individual soul is ‘Jiiva’. Soul or Aatmaa is inert energy. Individual soul or jiiva is chaitanyam (awareness). This question should be “Are mind and individual soul the same?” The words like soul and individual soul are loosely used one for another. So, both the mind and individual soul have awareness. Since both have awareness, are they both same? The answer is ‘No’. You see My hand has awareness and I am totally having awareness. This totality is the individual soul and this hand is the mind. Mind is a part of the Individual soul. The whole awareness (individual soul or Jiiva) is divided into four antahkaranaas:- i) Thoughts or mind (Manas), ii) The decision taken by analysis that is intelligence (Buddhi), iii) The power of storing the information (Chitta) and iv) The feeling of “I” or basic ego (ahankara). So, these four are called as antahkaranas (mano buddhyahaṅkāra cittāni nāham - Shankara). The four parts of the total awareness or the total awareness is called as Jiiva or Jiivaatmaa and you can call Jiiva even as Aatmaa. It is very loose terminology, but we must have clarity about the differences.

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16. Can I beg You to control my mind and help me in serving You?

[Swami, I am unable to control my mind and unable to put consistent practical efforts in Your service. Can I beg You to control my mind and help me in serving You? Can this be considered as part of total surrender to God, since I am putting back the ball in the court of God?]

Swami replied: You need not put the ball in the court of God because you can follow the nature of the mind and do the service along that line without disturbing the nature of the mind. You see, God will accept any service and God will accept any nature of mind and God will accept any service you do. So, why should you worry about one kind of service only? Whatever is the nature of your mind, you do the service according to that. God will not mind to say “What is this? What is that? Is it a rose flower? Or is it some grass flower?” The surrender of the flower to Him is only important. He never differentiates the flowers, the fruits, the kind of services, etc. Your surrendering attitude and the strength of your surrendering attitude is what He sees. “What is the strength of my true love? If God puts a test, will I stand?” These are the points about which you have to think in the saadhana.

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17. Is it correct to leave the curing of the disease of ego and jealousy to God?

[Swami, I consider ego and jealousy as my diseases and I don’t know whether I get cured or not. All I can do is to take the knowledge medicine from You time to time and leave the result to You, the Divine Doctor. Is this attitude correct?]

Swami replied:- Yes. The spiritual knowledge should be complete and true. When you learn the spiritual knowledge, both these points are important. If you learn from the Sadguru (the contemporary human incarnation of God), the knowledge will definitely be true and the knowledge will definitely be complete. That is a different point. Now, coming to the question of ego and jealousy, ego and jealousy generally come towards God only when God is in human form. You will never develop ego and jealousy towards a statue or a photo or formless God. Ego and jealousy come on the incarnation i.e., human form of God only. You think “the Incarnation is also a human being and I am also a human being. The Incarnation has two hands and I also have two hands. The Incarnation has two legs and I also have two legs. The Incarnation is eating meals and I am also eating meals. I am suffering with diseases and the Incarnation is also suffering with diseases”. You are not aware that the Incarnation is suffering with the diseases of His devotee. You think that the Incarnation is suffering His own disease. You continue thinking “He is born and I am born. He dies and I will also die. He sleeps and I sleep. He becomes angry and I also become angry. When all these things are common, why should I salute Him? I can just say ‘Hello’ and He can also say ‘Hello’ in general. Why should I touch His feet? We touch the feet of only father, mother, some elders and some Gurus”.

Therefore, this problem comes only towards the human form of God about which I told so much in the knowledge. Ego and jealousy are the poison that is produced while churning the knowledge-sea (Haalahala Visham), along with the divine nectar (Amrutam). The human form of God is very easy to approach so that you can ask your doubts very clearly. You need not fear to ask any doubt because He is also in human form. So, all these facilities you have is the divine nectar (Amrutam). The poison (Haalahalam) that is produced before it is ego and jealousy. When He is also a human being, then why should I touch His feet? When He is having all the characteristics similar to me, why should I give importance to Him? Why should I develop devotion towards Him? Moreover, if He is greater than me and if it is proved that He is greater than me, I must get ego and jealousy on Him, not respect and devotion. On any greater human being, you generally get ego and jealousy only. It is natural. There is one advantage and there is one disadvantage. If you overcome the disadvantage, you will get the benefit of advantage, is it not? If you miss the advantage and you are caught by the disadvantage, you are lost. You have lost the Human Incarnation of God! You not only lost Him here, but you will also lose Him there (in the upper worlds) because of the common media repulsion. On earth, you are in human form and God is also in human form. You have rejected God due to repulsion between common human media. In the upper world after death, you will enter into energetic body and God will also be in energetic body as God Narayana. So, the same repulsion exists between the common energetic media and you will neglect God Narayana. You will casually say to Him “Hello! How are You?” You will never realize His value there also. So, if you recognize God in this world, you will recognize God in the upper world also and if you lose God here, you will lose God there (upper world) also.

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18. Swami, God Kaalabhairava is there to clean our soul. Isn’t it?

[A question by Shri Sathi Reddy]

Swami replied:- God Kaalabhairava will not come in this situation. When you do sins and go to hell, god Yama conducts some punishments on you for your reformation. But, if you don’t change, Yama will send you to God Kaalabhairava, who has very very powerful equipment to give more severe punishments. Yama will recommend irrepairable cases to God Kaalabhairava. It is like sending a serious medical patient to a super specialty hospital due to insufficient equipment in the clinic. That is the context of God Kalabhairava. How can Kalabhairava come in this context where you have to put the effort to avoid ego and jealousy to reach the contemporary human incarnation of God? You are asking Me how to pass that examination. By sincerely studying day and night and by writing the examination well, you will pass the examination and you have this experience throughout your period of education.

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19. Why is Radha more revered than Rukmini, although Rukmini did more practical service to God Krishna than Radha?

[A question by Ms. Bhanu Samykya]

Swami replied:- Will you give value for the quantity? or will you give value for quality? Obviously for quality. Is it not? Compare the plate of rice with a plate of cashew nuts. A small plate of cashew nuts, fried in ghee and spices added, will cost more than a big plate of rice although the nuts are small in number. Similarly, you are seeing Rukmini pressing the feet of God continuously. So much service and work is done by her. For example, a watchman is always walking before the gate and hence, doing continuous service for long time. A director is just coming for one hour, sitting in a chair comfortable, but, drawing a high salary. Isn’t it? What is the salary given to that watchman? So, you must compare the quality. In the time of Rukmini, her marriage was fixed with Shishupala and Krishna was also invited to her marriage along with all His friends and relatives. Some relatives had already arrived at her home for the wedding and even then, she wrote a love letter to Krishna. Krishna came and she ran away with Krishna. It is injustice to run away from the wedding while the bridegroom fixed by the parents is already in the city. But, that injustice is very little and it can be answered. In fact, Rukmini doesn’t like Shishupala and Rukmini likes Krishna but her elder brother is forcing her to marry Shishupala, which is not justified. Since she liked Krishna, she wrote a letter to Krishna and ran away with Him. It is justified and this can be established. In the argument, the advocate can save Rukmini and make the case of Rukmini to win. You are simply arguing that she wrote a letter and ran away even after the bridegroom arrived, but, these are not important points. What right does her brother have on her matrimonial life? When she is loving Krishna, how can her brother force her to marry someone else? Suppose her brother loved some girl. Can she also force him not to marry her and marry another girl? How will he feel? So, there is justice in the case of Rukmini. Justice is not broken in the case of Krishna and that point of running away with Krishna looks like unjust action, but, it can be defended by the advocate as a justified case. That is not a very great sacrifice for the sake of God.

You just take the case of Radha. Radha is elder than Krishna and she cannot marry Krishna. In her childhood, she was already married to Ayana Ghosha, who was the brother of Yashoda. In this way, Radha was related to Krishna. Yashoda is the mother of Krishna and Ayana Ghosha is the younger brother of Yashoda. Of course, he was doing the service to king Kamsa and he was a follower of Kamsa. Radha only loved Krishna even before her marriage, but, people will never agree for the marriage because of the age disparity. No marriage takes place between an elder bride and a younger groom, is it not? The reverse is possible and traditional. Radha’s marriage was performed with Ayana Ghosha in her childhood due to some social reasons. During those times, a very hard rule existed in the society that after marriage, a lady cannot reject her husband. There is no divorce facility in those days. She has to follow Ayana Ghosha. But, she refused Ayana Ghosha and she never allowed Ayana Ghosha to even touch her. She rebelled against the existing rules and ethical rules in those days where society was very very powerful, rigid and strong. This is injustice as per the ethical rules also. She went against justice and openly fought against justice. She sacrificed justice for the sake of God, which is Nivrutti. Nivrutti is always higher than Pravrutti (pravṛtti reṣā bhūtānām, nivṛttistu mahāphalā). Pravrutti is always made for human beings in general and Nivrutti is personally related to God. In Nivrutti, you can sacrifice justice for the sake of God. So, Radha’s faith in Krishna as God is greater than Rukmini’s faith. Rukmini did not disturb justice for the sake of Krishna. Even if Krishna is not God, Rukmini’s case is justified as per Pravrutti. When a marriage takes place, engagement of mind is more important than the engagement with words and mantras as per ethical scripture (Vācā dattā Mano dattā mantra dattā ca kanyakā). Vaacaa dattaa means to engage by promising orally. Mantra dattaa means to engage according to mantras or Vedic hymns. But, these two are valid only when mind is engaged i.e., Mano dattaa. She can defend her case in Pravrutti. In the standard of Pravrutti, even if Krishna is not God, there is no danger for Rukmini and she is in a safety zone only. But, what about Radha? If Krishna is not God, her case is finished. She will go to permanent hell. Even then, Radha dared and fought due to Her strong faith on Krishna that He is God. Why? Because She is the incarnation of God Shiva and God Shiva knows who is God Vishnu. So here, the service is rendered by one form of God to another form of God. There, in the case of Rukmini, the service is rendered by a soul to God. Therefore, Radha stands in the highest position qualitatively due to which we always take the name “Radha Krishna” only and not “Rukmini Krishna”. Never did anybody say “Rukmini Krishna” or “Satyabhama Krishna” or “Jaambavatii Krishna”. We always say “Radha Krishna” because Her level of sacrifice is marvelous. Radha is the climax of Nivrutti and Rukmini is the climax of Pravrutti. So, Radha is always greater than Rukmini.