Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 18 Feb 2004



Light and Darkness: Shiva is knowledge (Jnanam Maheswaraat ichchhet). Knowledge is sattvam (Satvaat sanjaayate jnaanam). Sattvam is light (Prakaasa upajaayate, Vivruddham sattvamityuta). Therefore, Shiva is light and is white in colour. Science says that light energy is in the form of waves. The Shiva Linga (symbol of Shiva) is in the form of a wave. In the word ‘Shiva Raatri’, ‘raatri’ means tamas (darkness or ignorance). The Lord is controlling both knowledge and ignorance (Mattah smritih jnaanam apohamcha). The ignorance is the human form. Knowledge is the form of Narayana. Narayana means the abode of knowledge. Shiva is Narayana. Therefore, Shivaratri is a mixture of Narayana and Nara (human body). When the Lord comes in human form, both the natures of Narayana and Nara are exhibited. When there is electric current passing through a wire, the property of the wire, which is to be lean and the property of the current which is to give a shock, both co-exist.

Similarly, in the Human Incarnation, the nature of the human body and the knowledge of Narayana are mixed. On Shivaratri, both darkness and light are mixed. The [night] sky is black with clouds, which indicates the human form. The lightening in the sky, which shines now and then indicates the nature of Narayana. If the nature of Narayana alone is exhibited, this world will stop functioning. All the human beings will leave their duties and will surround Lord Narayana. As a result, the world will lose its balance. Moreover, people will surround Narayana and try to snatch benefits from Him due to selfishness. Then people will fall down in their spiritual path because one should proceed on the spiritual path without any selfishness. It will also not be possible to test the firm faith of the devotees if the nature of Narayana is completely exposed, because, in that case every human being will show firm faith. Then it will not be possible to differentiate between human beings and reward them based on their faith. If the Lord’s incarnation appears as a completely ordinary human being, without showing the nature of Narayana at all, then nobody will approach Him because everybody will think that the Lord is an ordinary human being. In this case too, it will not be possible to test a human being, since nobody will approach the Lord.

The Lord is knowledge itself (Satyam, jnanam anantam Brahma). Ignorance, which is the second item [other than knowledge], is created by the Lord for entertainment (Ekaaki na ramate sadviteeyam aicchat). To test the devotees, there should be both faith and doubt in their hearts. The human nature creates doubt and the nature of Narayana creates faith. This faith represents Shiva and the doubt represents raatri [darkness]. The Lord in human form plays with the devotees in this world. The devotees will sway from one side to the other due to the effect of knowledge and ignorance respectively and thus the Lord plays with them.

Song of Datta

[During this discourse, Swami composed and recited the following song extempore.]

Don’t say that I did not tell the truth

When I enquire you in the Preta Loka[1]

You will try to escape from Me by saying

That you did not know the truth.


O priests, you’ve scolded Me already

When I came to the house of Sheela[2]

That I have fallen from Vedic actions.

Then My dog recited all the Vedas.


The attachment to your family bonds is

Like deep darkness solidified in your heart.

What is the use of these outer lamps,

Except for burning of oil and ghee?


Give this oil and ghee as food

To beggars who die of hunger

Let their life-lights glow with happiness

That is the real sacred ‘Deeparadhana’[3]


Datta came in human form to preach to you

You are not recognizing Him, but you are worshipping

The imaginary pictures and statues of His old garments[4]

Which were left by Him in the past, what is the use?

Sacrifice for Liberation

The word moksha comes from ‘mo’ (moha) = attachment and ‘ksha’ (kshaya) = destruction. Therefore, moksha means the destruction of the attachment to one’s family bonds. This attraction towards the family bonds is solidified in your heart over several births. Such darkness can be removed only by the preaching of Lord Datta which is like the rays of the sun. Unless you are attracted towards Lord Datta you can never reach the Lord. Unless the attachment to your family bonds is removed, salvation is only a dream. Datta means the human form of the Lord that is given to this world. The sages could not get salvation by chanting hymns, penance, meditation, yoga etc., and even after attaining super powers until they were born as the Gopikas and they worshipped Krishna, who was the Lord Datta in human form. They were detached from their family bonds and were attracted to the Lord, who was present before them.

The path towards God is full of thorns, giving you several problems, miseries and terrible losses. Shankara left His mother, Prahlada left His father, Buddha left His wife, son and kingdom, Radha died for Lord Krishna, Kannappa plucked out His eyes and Hanuman tore His heart with His own nails. All these are forms of the true path leading to the Lord. In your path, which is chanting hymns, meditation, singing songs etc., you are getting peace and bliss. But the Lord is not responding even once to you. Unless you weep, the Lord will not be pleased. Unless you lose your peace the Lord will not be peaceful. Jesus has told the same in Bible “I did not come to give you peace, I came with a sword to cut your family bonds. Unless you leave your parents, husbands, wives, children and even your lives, you cannot be dear to Me”. The Gita also says “Mat gata praanaah” which means that the devotee’s life itself is the Lord. In the ten stages of devotion the last stage is death (Unmaado maranam tathah). When you cut your family bonds you will certainly weep and feel that it is a loss and trouble. Therefore, Jesus told “The path that leads to Me is very narrow with only one or two persons travelling on it. The path that leads to hell is very wide and happy and is full of people”. The Gita also says “Kashchit mam vetti, Bahunaam janmanam ante”. Sage Vyasa did a lot of penance and wrote several scriptures. But [due to blind attachment] he ran after his son called Shuka, who was walking intoxicated with the love of the Lord. This is told in the beginning of the Bhagavatam (Dvaipaayano viraha katara). The same Vyasa could not get food in Varanasi for three days. He became angry and was ready to curse Varanasi. But look at Shaktuprastha, who did not get food for ten days during a drought. He could get a little flour and was just going to eat it with his family, when a Guest[5] came to his door. He sacrificed all of it to the Guest with full happiness. Therefore, if you are happy in your spiritual path, i.e., the path is filled with flowers, then it is certainly leading you to hell. The reason is that the path is strengthening your unreal family bonds. When your spiritual path gives you sorrow, such a path is full of thorns and it is leading to the Lord. The reason is that, in such a path you have to cut your family bonds and that gives you a lot of pain and misery.

Give up pretence in devotion

The affection and attraction towards the Lord, which you are showing today, is not from your heart. It is only pretence—you are acting. You are trying to use the Lord for the happiness of your family bonds. Such devotees are called as divine prostitutes. The prostitute speaks very sweet words and exhibits sweet feelings only to earn money from a person. Your prayers are such sweet words. Your devotion is such a sweet feeling. The prostitute may fool an ignorant human being but can you fool the Lord who is omniscient? The sacred ash on your forehead, the garlands around your neck and the silk cloth which you wear are just like the decoration of a prostitute to attract the Lord. You are deceiving yourself. The Lord is furious with you. Even a human being without manners will respond to you if you call him by his name. But the Lord, who has the best manners, is not responding to you even though you are calling Him hundreds of thousands of times in the practice of japa [repetition of the Lord’s name]. By this you can estimate the amount of anger and hatred in the heart of the Lord for you. Even if you do not take a single step on the true path, at least do not take so many steps on the false path. As you take more and more steps on the false path, you are going farther and farther from the Lord and the Lord becomes more and more furious.

Control the bhoga [enjoyment], which brings roga (illness). The association with your family bonds will bring you a lot of mental worry. Sacrifice the enjoyment and the association with your family bonds. Develop the bond with the Lord alone. This is the true path. The Veda says “Tyagenaike” and the Gita says “Tyaagaat shanthih”, which mean that the sacrifice of bonds with every human being and every object in this world alone can bring salvation.

[1] The world of the dead, where souls go after their death on earth, to face the enquiry by God.

[2] This refers to the story of Sheela. Lord Datta appeared in the form of a beggar before her house asking for alms along with four dogs. Brahmins were performing a ritual in her house and they insulted Lord Datta and challenged Him about the knowledge of the Vedas. Then Lord Datta’s dogs, who were the incarnations of the Vedas themselves, recited the Vedas at the Lord’s command.

[3] Worship with lamps.

[4] The physical body of the Human Incarnation of God is like a garment worn by God. Worshipping a past Human Incarnation of God after He has already left that body, is like worshipping discarded clothes. 

[5] That Guest was the Lord Himself in disguise.