Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 30 May 2004



Swami sent four copies of the Sri Datta Vani Spiritual Magazine to four persons from foreign countries. Two of the recipients were of Indian origin and two were foreigners. The two foreigners replied immediately and also extended their support. The two Indians did not even acknowledge.

Why is there such a difference in attitude among Indians and foreigners? For Indians, their family bonds are very strong. Even if they have earned enough money to last for ten generations they will continue to work and save for the eleventh generation. Foreigners send away even their own children (first generation) from the home to earn and live on their own after a certain age. The family bonds of foreigners are weak. Therefore, they are easily able to sacrifice money for the spiritual service of the Lord. Money is the fruit of work. The Bhagavad Gita emphasizes the sacrifice of the fruit of work. The Bible also says “Wherever your money lies, there your heart lies”. Money is the fire-test. Indians sacrifice words (prayers) and mind (devotion and meditation). So, the Lord gave good language, devotion and knowledge to Indians, which are related to words and mind alone. Indians do not sacrifice money and so the Lord gave poverty to India.

Swami Vivekananda looked to the sky and wept asking, “Why is my country suffering with poverty in spite of so much spiritual knowledge?” Even when Swami Rama Tirtha was giving spiritual discourses in USA, some Americans asked a question “Why are Indians so poor inspite of so much spiritual knowledge?” Swami Rama Tirtha replied “Our Indians preach philosophy. Foreigners practice the philosophy”. This is the reason for our poverty and your wealth. Foreigners do not pray or meditate as much as Indians do, but they sacrifice the fruit (money) of their work. Therefore, the Lord blessed those foreign countries with immense wealth.

Indians cannot sacrifice money due to their strong love for their family bonds. Since Indians were unable to do this sacrifice of their family bonds, they misinterpreted the word ‘fruit of work’ (karma phala). They said that in this context, work means praying with words and meditating with the mind. However, our eyes cannot see the fruits of such work. Therefore, they sacrifice such (invisible) fruits to the Lord by offering the prayers and meditation along with a ritualistic spoonful of water[1]. The Lord is very very intelligent. He gave them the appropriate fruits for their sacrifice of words and mind. The fruits are good language, good devotion and knowledge, which are related to words, mind and intelligence. The Lord approaches you in the same way as you approach Him, as said in the Gita (Ye yatha maam prapadyante). If you praise Him with words, He will also praise you with words. If you love Him with your mind, He will also love you with His mind. If you serve Him practically, He will also give you the fruit of your service practically. Service means both sacrifice of work and the sacrifice of the fruit of work.

Foreigners earn, enjoy and sacrifice for the work (mission) of the Lord. Indians earn and do not even enjoy. They simply store all their earnings for their future generations. Of course enjoyment should also be limited. If your enjoyment is excessive, more diseases will attack you. So, nature itself controls over-enjoyment. The Veda says in the first Upanishad and in the first hymn itself “This whole world is the wealth of the Lord. Take whatever is required for your limited enjoyment. Of course earn more than what you require but do not store it. If you store it, you are a thief and you will be punished”. The second hymn says “Earn continuously and always continue to work. You have to store for your limited enjoyment but the rest should be sacrificed for the work of the Lord. Sacrifice the fruit of the work, but not the work (do not quit working)”.

The Gita also emphasizes the same concept everywhere. It too does not agree with giving up work and becoming lazy. The Gita always preached work and the sacrifice of the fruit of work. If you want the real grace of the Lord, you must also love the Lord really. You love your children truly. You are doing sacrifice of work (karma samnyasa) for them by bathing, dressing, taking them to school etc. You are also sacrificing the fruit of your work (karma phala tyaga) for them by giving them food, medicines and finally your property to them. Both karma samnyasa and karma phala tyaga put together are called karma yoga (service). Therefore, you are serving your children without aspiring for any result in return. Even if they do not serve you back, you are still serving them. This is real love.

To understand this, there is no need of the Veda, the Gita, or the Bible, which are told by the Lord. This world itself is a sacred scripture told by the Lord. You can get all the spiritual knowledge from this world. Scientists learn science from this world itself. Similarly, you can learn spiritual knowledge also from this world. Your children are preaching to you about the real love that is to be shown towards the Lord. Avadhoota Datta preached to King Yadu and told him about 24 preachers available in the world such as a tree, a river etc[2]. Thus, the only two proofs for true love are the sacrifice of work and the sacrifice of the fruit of work as seen in the case of your children.

You are not doing these two in the case of the Lord. Other than these two, you are doing all the other things for the Lord like chanting, meditation, praying, yoga etc. All these are related only to words, mind and intelligence. You never do all these things for your children. If all these were the proof of real love, why do you not do these things for your children, whom you love truly? Why don’t you chant the name of your child? Why don’t you meditate upon your child? Why don’t you write a diary on your child and study it every day as you study the scriptures like the Bhagavatam or Bible? Why don’t you write a will sacrificing the fruits of all this ‘work’ to your children? Why don’t you write a will sacrificing all your property for the work of the Lord instead? When these questions are put, any scholar or devotee will run away; especially by the last question! You yourself have separated the ways of loving the Lord and loving your children. Why don’t you reverse your ways of loving the two?

Love God at least as much as you love your child

Kannappa roamed in the forest and hunted. Finally, in the evening he got some flesh and offered it to the Lord. He neither ate it nor gave it to his family. He never chanted hymns, never meditated upon the Lord, never read the scriptures and never wore any sacred dress. He broke the bonds with his family and even with his own body for the sake of the Lord. He even plucked out his eyes for the sake of the Lord and got salvation.

Shaktuprastha could not get food for ten days during a drought. Somehow he managed to get a little rice flour and cooked it. He was just getting ready to eat it with his family. But the Lord came in the form of a guest to his home and Shaktuprastha sacrificed the entire food, which is the fruit of his work, to God. That sacrifice was not only a complete sacrifice but it was also the sacrifice of the fruit of his hard work. The Veda says that money should be sacrificed for the sake of the Lord’s mission (Dhanena tyagenaike, tyaktena…kasyasvit dhanam). The Veda used the word ‘money’, which could even mean ancestral property. But the Gita used the word ‘fruit of work’ which means ‘self-earned money’. The bond with self-earned money is very intense. Therefore, the Gita gave the strongest concept. But Indians misinterpreted the meaning of the term ‘work’ as the work done by words and mind because they are unable to sacrifice their money, whether ancestral or self-earned. Therefore, to avoid such misinterpretations, every verse of the Gita should be referred back to the Veda.

The Gita is the essence of Vedas. All the Vedas are cows and the Gita is their milk. The milk must be in the cow but the cow is not in the milk. Therefore, every verse in the Gita must have a reference in the Veda. The juice is in the sugarcane but the sugarcane is not in the juice. This means that you should reject even a verse in the Gita if it cannot be traced back to the Veda, because the Lord could not have told such a verse. Some other scholar might have written that verse and inserted it in the Gita. Only the Veda was protected by the system of recitation and nobody could insert even a single word into the Veda. I sincerely thank all those great Indian sages, who protected the Veda in those days when there was no printing, and thereby protected the truth. But today there is no need of the recitation of the Veda because it is printed and even computerized.

The Shastra (scriptures) says there are four authorities[3] to get knowledge.

  1. Veda (Shruti)
  2. Verses or scriptures which follow the Veda (Smriti)
  3. Yukti (reasoning)
  4. Anubhava (experience in the world).

The fourth authority is very strong, and it gives validity to the other three. If the fourth is valid, everybody in the world has to accept it. The authority for the proof of true love is from the experience in the world[4]. You are sacrificing work and the fruit of your work to your children whom you really love. Therefore, these two are indeed the way of real love. Hence, this concept gets final validity from our experience in the world. Based on the validity of this concept, your real love for God also can be proved only by sacrificing work and the fruit of work for Him. You are trying to fool the Lord by practicing other false ways without practicing these two real ways. Remember that the Lord is the greatest Genius and knows everything. Just look at the sky. If you see the infinite number of galaxies, which are created by Him and with which He is playing, you will understand His intelligence and capacity. What is your foolish intelligence before Him?

You are chanting His name so many millions of times. Did He ever reply to you by uttering a single word? When you call a person by his name, he responds to you immediately. But such a great Lord who has all the good manners, is not responding to you in spite of your millions of calls. Can’t you understand by this, how angry He is with you and how much He hates you? He does not need your love. You can go on with your limited family and rotate in this wheel of world. Who has objected to it? The Lord never asked you to love Him. You yourself went to the Lord and wanted all the benefits from the Lord in this world and in the upper-world. But you want to achieve those benefits by showing false love. You are trying to deceive Him and get those benefits. If you go to any one and try to deceive Him, will he not be angry with you? If you simply go your way, nobody interferes with you. You can limit to yourself and to your family, face the final enquiry in the upper-world and quietly accept the corresponding results; the Lord will not be bothered about you. But you are after the Lord trying to get His grace without showing even a drop of true love. You are showing all that true love only to your children. You want to sacrifice only words and mental feelings to the Lord and want all the benefits from Him. By this cheating you are making the Lord furious.

If you truly desire for His real grace, then you should show a little of the true love that you show for your children; by sacrificing a little work and a little fruit of your work. In such a case, the Lord will be on the same level as your children…at least to a little extent; even though not completely equal. Show at least a drop of your true love for the Lord. Put at least one step forward on the true path. What is the use of a hundred steps on the false path? What is the use of your throwing an infinite number of feasts for Me in a dream? Give Me a handful of rice when you wake up from your sleep. That is sufficient. The first step on the true path will lead you to the true goal in course of time. The first step on the true path is that, you should at least accept your false ways as false and accept the true way, which I preach as the truth. Acceptance is the first step, which will gradually lead to practice.

You want wealth in response to your words (prayers) from the Lord. When the same Lord comes as a preacher, He wants wealth (Guru Dakshina) from you for His words (preaching). You started this way (of expecting money in return for words) previously, but now you are not following the same. Your words given to God were only for flattering the Lord. The wealth given by the Lord to you was also temporary; which you have to leave here itself. You were not benefited in that relationship of Lord and devotee. But now in the way of preacher and disciple, you are benefited because by giving Him your temporary wealth, you are receiving His words, which will lead you to the permanent goal. In the first relationship, both your words and the wealth given by Him are temporary. But in the second relationship you are getting a permanent goal in exchange for your temporary wealth. Therefore, you are being wise only in the second relationship. Do not ask for temporary benefits like wealth from the Lord but ask for the permanent knowledge. See the Lord as a Preacher and not as God. The right half of Lord Datta is Preacher (Guru) and the left half is God (Bhagavan). The right half is always greater than the left half.

Service to Whom?

The Veda and the Gita preach to you about the sacrifice of the extra fruit of work to the Lord and ask you to always keep working. But where is this Lord? How is He? If you do not understand these questions, you may give the wealth of one person to another person, which is sin. Even if you are giving money to statues in the temples or in worship, the money does not reach the Lord. Mere human beings are taking that money. Some are earning and some are wasting that money. Therefore, the Veda says that you should sacrifice the fruit of your work only after intense analysis (Samvida deyam). You are putting your money in the temple hundi (a donation box kept before the statue). The statue does not take that money. Some devotees[5] are taking that money after you leave the temple. They are spending that money. The statue does not tell them how to utilize that money in a fruitful way. The devotees are human beings and do not have complete knowledge like the Lord. The Bible says that a servant can never become equal to his master and a disciple can never become equal to his preacher. The priests are taking your money that you had donated during the worship. The managing committee of the temple (devotees) is taking the money that you had donated in the temple.

As per our practical experience in the world (anubhava), which is the strongest authority[6], there is no life in the statue. Beliving that there is life in the statue is also against logic. Your mere belief cannot be taken as the authority. The Veda says that the Lord is not present in any inert object (Natasya pratima asti, Nedam tat, Yadidam upasate). One can only meditate upon inert objects as representatives of the Lord. But one need not do any service to them. One can meditate upon the sun as a representative of the Lord. Neither is the Lord in the sun nor is the sun the Lord (Adityam Brahmeti, Bhishodeti suryah, Natatra suryah, Neti neti). The representative is like the finger, which points to an object. Once you see the object, there is no need of looking at the finger. You must look at the object alone. The sun is a representative of the Lord because the Lord removes ignorance by His knowledge as the sun removes darkness by its light. Once you recognize such a sun-like Lord there is no need of the sun. This is the reason why a saint (monk) does not worship the sun (Sandhya Vandanam), which a student and householder are supposed to do[7]. But the representative is required for the sake of other ignorant people.

The statues and pictures of the Lord are in human form and they indicate that the Lord comes in human form. The priest in the temple the temple performs a ceremony of ‘life initiation’ (Prana Pratishtha) in the temple statues, indicating that the Lord is in human form in the present human generation (inert statue with life initiation represents a living human form). The Lord comes in human form in every human generation. If He were to come only in one generation, He would become partial. The human form of the statue does not represent that every human being is the Lord. If it were so, the statue would have been of a general human form. However, the statue is of a particular human form (of a past human incarnation or divine forms) such as Rama, Krishna etc. This indicates that only a particular human being is the Lord. If you are serving a statue by the sixteen modes of worship (shodasa upacharas), you will be reborn as a stone as per the Gita (Bhutejya yaanti bhutani). If you worship the human form of God, you will get human rebirth (Yanti mat yaajino’pimam). The Gita said that the Lord comes only in human form. It did not mention any other form in which the Lord comes. The first three great sentences (Maha Vakyas) of the Veda say that the Lord is like me, you and him respectively, in external appearance. The fourth great sentence says that the internal form of the Lord is the special knowledge (Prajnanam), which is impossible for any other human being (to possess). This is called as the preaching (understanding) of four sentences (Mahavakya bodha).

Shankara said that the eligibility for such preaching is the purity of the mind, which means that the mind must be free of two (bad) qualities:

  1. Free of jealousy (Anasuya[8])
  2. Free of ego (Atri[9]).

Only such people (Anasuya and Atri) can achieve the Lord. The achieved Lord is called Datta. ‘Datta’ means ‘achieved’. The three faces of Datta (human form of God achieved by the people) represent the three qualities called sattvam, rajas and tamas. All the good qualities are represented by sattvam and the bad qualities are represented by rajas and tamas. The Lord is beyond these three qualities. He is wearing the shirt, which has the three colors (qualities). He does not have any color. But the ordinary human being (soul) is the three-colored shirt itself. This is clearly mentioned in the Gita (Gunaateetah sa uchyate, Nanyam gunebhyah kartaram). These three qualities are the (Lord’s) Maya. This Maya is the external human form, which is common between an ordinary human and the human incarnation of God. The internal form of the human incarnation is of knowledge (jnana), bliss (ananda) and love (prema) (Satyam jnanam anandam Brahma, Raso vai sah—Veda). The human incarnation also contains all the super powers as said in the Veda (Satya sankalpah). The incarnation is thus a mixture of the internal Lord and the external human body. The Lord and the human body are inseparable in the human incarnation, as the electric current is inseparable from an electrified metal wire. Therefore, such a special human being is considered to be identical with the Lord. This is the Advaita of Shankara.

But the disciples of Shankara, misinterpreted this and thought that every human being is the Lord. Then Shankara swallowed molten lead and proved that He alone was the Lord. If everybody were the Lord, then who would need to do all this spiritual effort? Who would need salvation? The Lord said that He would throw the bad souls into hell (Tanaham Dvishatah—Gita). If every soul were the Lord Himself, then it would mean that the Lord would throw Himself into hell! In the Bible, Jesus Christ was referred to as ‘Emmanuel’ meaning the Lord who has come to live along with the human beings on the earth. Therefore, the Lord comes down to the earth in human form to give the fortunes of vision, touch, conversation, living with Him, and finally to preach to all human beings.

The statue is inert but you force the Lord to come into the statue and hear your prayer. When He is in the human body, He can talk and hear your prayer and this is not against the rules of nature. Why should the Lord use His super power to hear your prayer through statues? Anybody who hears can also talk. Since the statue is not talking, it is also not hearing. When there is a river for bathing, will a sage create a lake separately for his bath? If he were to create such a lake by his super powers, we would say that he has misused his super power and that he is an egotistic fool. Now you are forcing the Lord to enter the statue to hear you. One fellow (who was supposedly a great yogi) crossed the river by walking on the water, using his super power, for which he had done penance for thirty years. Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa crossed the same river by paying one rupee to the boatman. Shri Paramahamsa told that yogi that his penance for thirty years was worth only one rupee. When His purpose can be served following the rules of the nature, the Lord will not use His special super powers and violate the rules of nature.

Whatever you donate to the statue, thinking that there is life is in the statue, is acutally being taken by the devotees (priests or temple committee members) who are behind that statue. The Lord in human form will never take your money in that way. He will directly ask for your donation (Guru Dakshina) like Shri Shirdi Sai Baba. The devotees cannot [boldly] ask you like Him. As soon as you leave the temple, they take out the money from the hundi (donation box) and they use the money for different temple activities. The part of the money that is used for doing social service is misused.

Avoid Godless social service

Only the money, which is paid by citizens in the form of tax to the government, should be used for social service. The money of the Lord should be used in the propagation of devotion and divine knowledge. For example, with the donation money collected in the temple, the temple management may distribute free food to every devotee who comes there. Several rich people are present among the devotees, who do not require your free food. Some sinners are also eating that food and are doing sins again. Both donating to the sinners and not donating to the deserving people are sins according to sage Vyasa in the Mahabharata. The managing devotees are getting such sin according to scripture (Karta kaarayita chaiva). It is a sin to be a manager in the temple as said by a dog in the court of Lord Rama. It is better to give food to poor children, poor old people, poor disabled people and poor diseased persons and to construct homes for beggars. But you must teach them spiritual knowledge and devotion. Otherwise, God will be furious with you. The beggar is undergoing punishment from the Lord for his past sins. The punishment is meant for his change. If you are helping him, you are interfering with the administration of the Lord. Therefore, you must change the heart of the beggar by preaching spiritual knowledge. Only then will the Lord be pleased with you.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has told that one should not directly enter into social service for the sake of egoistic fame, without the association of the Lord in human form. Therefore, you must join the work of the Lord as a servant. Let the Lord get fame by your money and your work. All your money belongs to the Lord. The Lord gives you all your energy. You must participate in His service with complete surrender. Here the social service is not important. The Lord can uplift the society without any help from you. Your faith and your complete surrender alone bring you His grace. You cannot get His grace by your sacrifice or by your service. Through your sacrifice and service He is testing your faith and surrender.

One devotee was applying expensive perfumes to Jesus. A disciple of Jesus told her that it is better to sell that perfume and use the money to serve the beggars. Then Jesus told him “Let her do this service to Me. The beggars will always be present but I will not be present here always”. What is the meaning of this? The Lord is more important than even social service. Social service is only the means to express your faith. The disciple of Jesus spoke like that because he was jealous of the Lord and not because he was kind to the beggars.

If you donate anything to a statue it is a waste. If you donate to an undeserving person, it is a sin. If you donate to a poor beggar it is good because the beggar is incapable of doing any sin at present. He is being punished for his previous sins. Therefore, a beggar is better than a bad person. If you donate to a bad person you will get sin because you have fed milk to a serpent (you will have a hand in the crimes that he commits in future). When you help the beggar, do not forget to preach him divine knowledge. All people, whether rich or poor are eligible for receiving divine knowledge. In the propagation of divine knowledge, only poor people should be helped financially. In a college, classes are important and are meant for all the students. The hostel facility is only for those students who come from out-of-town (it is need-based). There is no use of allowing the hostel facility to a person who is not a student. Therefore, help the poor while teaching them divine knowledge and devotion.

The Lord in human form is the best and most eligible person for your service. When He is not available, you can serve a devotee of the Lord. The place and time are not important for donation. If a deserving person is available, such a place is Varanasi and such a day is Mahashivaratri[10]. Such sacrifice alone can give you the real fruit.

[1] In traditional rituals, the doer of the rituals mentally offers the prayers (or meditation) along with the act of pouring a spoonful of water, which is indicative of the offering.

[2] Lord Datta appeared to king Yadu in a forest in the form of an Avadhoota (one who is completely detached from the world). He described to the king how He had acquired knowledge from many ‘preachers’ in nature. In other words, these items in nature can be used as models to illustrate various spiritual concepts.

[3] Authoritative or valid means of knowledge.

[4] What is true love can be authoritatively determined through our experience in this world.

[5] The temple priest and trustees, who are devotees.

[6] The Veda (primary scripture), Smritis (secondary scriptures), logic and experiences are the four authorities or valid means of knowledge.

[7] In the Vedic tradition, a celibate student and a householder are required to worship the sun thrice a day in the ritual called Sandhya Vandanam.

[8] Asuya = jealousy; Anasuya = free of jealousy.

[9] Tri = three. It pertains to the three forms of ego in this context; Atri = free from the three (forms of ego).

[10] By tradition, donations are supposed to be given at the appropriate place such as the holy city of Varanasi and at an appropriate time such as the holy day of Mahashivaratri.