Parallels and Polarities
Q124) Q124) Swami! We hear two terms very often used by pandits: prakrti and purusa . Please explain these two terms?
Bhagawan: Prakti and purusa are matter and energy. You can also take them as the positive and the negative. Even if there is a bulb, you don't get light unless there is power supply. Likewise, the power supply remains useless, if there is no bulb either. Therefore, both power and light bulb are required. Similarly, this entire creation is a combination of prakrti and purusa . These two are interdependent and interrelated.
Prakrti is viewed as feminine. God is the only male.
In a College for Women, girls play all the different roles in a drama. So also, at the level of the body, there are differences. But, the indweller, atma, is one and the same. The body is a bundle of bones. It is like a water bubble, it is ephemeral. It is afflicted by many diseases. After all, it is full of urine, blood, muscles, bones and faecal matter. It emits only bad odour and not the fragrance of flowers and perfumes. The body is prakrti and undergoes change periodically. But, the eternal, changeless, immortal truth is purusa or God. It is only the purusa that is valued. Prakrti is accepted and cherished so long as purusa is there.
Sugar mixed with cream of wheat makes a sweet by name ravva laddu. Sugar in combination with dal makes a laddu. The same sugar can be mixed with any type of flour pi s t á di gudasampar ká t . Similarly, purusa functions through prakrti assuming different forms and names. But, purusa remains a witness, who is transcendental, beyond time and space; nondual, eternal, blissful and is a personification of wisdom. It is purusa, who created prakrti the universe. Purusa is the object while prakrti is his reflection. Therefore, these twin terms are used by Sanskrit scholars to indicate purusa and prakrti: loka ‑ lókésvara, vis'va ‑ vis'vésvara, jagat ‑ jagad i s'vara , sarvam ‑ sarvé svara, prapanca ‑ paramv é svara , etc. Supposing there arecontainers made of gold, silver, copper and clay and they are filled with water. Although the containers differ in metal and value, the reflection of the sun in all these containers is one and the same. So, the sun is purusa while the containers represent prakrti . Matter + Energy = God.
Q125) Q125) Swami! Some worship Vishnu, while some others worship Siva. They don't see eye to eye with one another. There seems to be constant rivalry between these two groups, the Vaishnavites and the Saivites. Kindly tell us how these two groups of devotees of God can be united.
Bhagawan: This is utter ignorance and foolishness. The scripture says, ‘ekamevadvitiyam brahma,’ which means God is one without a second. It also says, ‘advaitadar s'anam jnanam,’ true wisdom is non‑dual. Every seeker of truth or spiritual aspirant should know the essential unity in diversity. You should experience unity in divinity. The worshippers of Lord Vishnu address the Lord of the seven hills of Tirupati as Venkata Ramana while the worshippers of Siva call him Venkatesvara. But, you know both are the same.
Once a king convened a conference of scholars of both these groups to deliberate, discuss and finally decide as to who was the greater of the two, Vishnu or Siva. Both the contending groups presented their viewpoints convincingly .The king, therefore, wanted his Chief Minister to consider all the points of the scholars and then give his verdict on the issue. The latter got up and said, "Oh King! I do not think if either of these two groups has ever experienced reality. Those who argued in favour of Vaishnavism saying that Vishnu is greater than Siva knew little of Vishnu. Had they been genuinely devoted to Him, they would have seen Siva in Vishnu also. Similarly, those who held that Siva was superior to Vishnu would see Vishnu in Siva also".
There is another episode to illustrate this fact. One day Lord Sri Rama was passing by and on the way He saw a stone. Hanuman observed it and wanted to pick it up and throw it away. He used all his strength, but could not lift it. That very stone was the Sivalinga installed by Sri Rama in Ramesvaram, a pilgrim centre in Tamilnadu. Rama, being Vishnu Himself, proved that He and Siva are basically one and the same by installing a Sivalinga. Isn't it so? Know that all names are His and all forms are His. He is the only one who responds to our prayers.
Q126) Q126) Swami! You repeatedly mention `love' in your discourses. Why? Don't we have prema, love, within us? If not, how are we to develop it? What is the difference between prema, love and móha, attachment?
Bhagawan: You think you have prema, love. It is a mistake. You have only abhimana, attachment. There is a lot of difference between the two. You have misdirected love and allowed it to flow in different ways and ultimately got it steeped in attachment. You have forgotten real prema.
The love you have towards your children is vatsalya, `affection'. Your love towards your wife is anuraga, `attachment' and your love towards worldly objects is mamakara , `possessiveness'. Your love towards your equals is maitri, `friendship'. Like this, love flows in many different directions. All this is not love in the true sense of the term. This is all physical, worldly, ever changing and temporary. This may give you prapancikánanda, worldly pleasure, bhautikánanda, mundane pleasure, indriyánanda, sensual pleasure, and manasikananda desire oriented love. They give you only pleasure.
Today you may be happy with one thing and tomorrow you may not be with the same thing. In winter, you are happy wearing a woollen coat but in summer, you will be unhappy if you wear the same woollen coat. Therefore, time, position, space and states of mind bind happiness. This is the type of happiness you get out of abhimána, attachment. Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya in the Ramayana, died of his attachment to Rama as he couldn't bear separation from him. It is again, the attachment of Kaikeyi that led to the attempt to crown Bharata and the exile of Rama.
You observe the contrast between Rama and Dasaratha. The father, Dasaratha, due to his attachment to Kaikeyi, had to be separated from Rama by granting her the boons he had promised. But, his son, Rama, left his consort Sita to her fate in a forest, when a washerman spoke ill of her as she had spent eight long months in Lanka under the control of Ravana. What supreme detachment! He had no attachment to the kingdom either. So, he simply obeyed his father's command and left for the forest.
In the Mahabharata, you know how king Dhritarashtra remained silent due to attachment when his sons were committing atrocities against their cousins, the Pandavas, which ultimately led to the death of all his progeny. Isn't it so?
Don't you know that Yasoda couldn't fully comprehend the divinity of Krishna because she considered him always only her son and never as God, due to her vátsalya, attachment? Had Buddha been attached to his wife, Yasodhara and his son, Rahul, would it have been possible for him to leave them? Krishna, once he left Vrepalle, a place where he had spent his boyhood, never stepped in there again. He was not attached to the place. But, his connection with the Gopis continued, as it was only love‑to‑love relationship, which was divine. The love of the Pandavas suffered no decrease or loss in spite of the terrible sufferings they had gone through.
Love is changeless. Love is steady and unshakeable. Love is non‑dual. Love is not carried away by praise nor does it vanish with blame. Love is selfless and unconditional. Love is spiritual and essentially divine: It was the love of Jesus for humanity that made him pray for those who had persecuted him while he was on the cross. Isn't that a climax of love?
Attachment is confined to getting and forgetting, while love always gives and forgives. Love is God. God is love. Live in love. Attachment is bondage leading to misery. Attachment is narrow and utterly selfish.
A child is full of love and bliss. As he grows up, he starts loving toys; thereafter he loves to play and slowly starts loving friends. On becoming a youth, he loves a life‑partner, then his family, and gradually he develops love for possessions, position and properties. Thus, love is allowed to flow in different directions, and as such, it becomes diluted and finally reduced to attachment.
Your love for God is devotion, and helps you to cultivate virtues like humility and obedience and makes your life blissful. It helps you to attain mukti, liberation. What you need today is the expansion of love.
First of all, you start with loving your family, extend your love to your relations and slowly to your community and your country as a whole and ultimately to the entire universe. You can realise and experience God only by and through Love, as God is the embodiment of Love. You may find people in want of one thing or other. But, you find none lacking in love. You have to channelise it. Love is the natural quality which is God's gift to man.
Q127) Q127) Swami! What are brahma, and bhrama?
Bhagawan: To realise and experience unity in diversity is `brahma', divinity. But, viewing one as many is `bhrama', illusion. That which is bound by name and form is bhrama. Brahma transcends time and space, and is eternal and unsullied. You know many sweets such as gulabjamun, laddu, jilébi, basundi etc. These sweets have their names and forms. This is bhrama. But, they are made of sugar, which is one and the same. This is brahma.
Another example. You see cloth which is made of yarn closely interwoven. This is bhrama. Though the yarn is apparently different from the cloth, it is after all made of the same cotton only. This approach is Brahma. So bhrama illusion, is multiplicity, plurality, diversity and has different names and forms, while brahma, divinity is unity, the fundamental primordial principle.
Q128) Q128) Swami! Some say that God has no form. But, we see devotees praying to idols in temples. The Concept of Avatar, incarnation of God, is of special significance in our land of Sanatana Dharma. But followers of other paths argue that God has no form. We pray to you to clarify this point.
Bhagawan: When you see a doctor, you will be reminded of your physical complaints. When you meet a lawyer, you think of litigation and court cases, don't you? Likewise, when you see a gopuram, temple tower, you will be reminded of God. As I often say, love may not have a form, but a loving mother has. Water may not have form, but the tumbler with water has a form; air may not have a form, but the balloon into which it is pumped has a form. In the same manner, the formless divine has its form or forms. The formless expresses itself through a form.
A simple example. You know the screen in a theatre. You find pictures projected on the screen. In every picture, there is the screen. Without the screen, you can't see the picture. Pictures come and pass. Not even one remains permanent. This screen may be described in spiritual parlance as `sad and asad' or 'sadasad’. Sat is existence asat is non‑existence. Like this, these two co‑exist, sakara one with form and nirakara the formless.
Q129) Q129) Swami! We hear of cellular phones and remote controls everywhere. All the necessities of our worldly existence seem to be from Electronics and Computers, drawing the attention of everyone. How does the subject of Spirituality come into the picture here? Where is the time for it? As if this is not enough, we hear of nuclear tests also. How are we to co‑ordinate and integrate these diverse aspects? Kindly show us the way.
Bhagawan: Men are more valuable than all the wealth of the world. Having been born as human beings, you should strive to attain moksha.
Science and Technology can provide you many comforts and conveniences. They can't confer on you peace and bliss. What is Science? What is Spirituality? What is the difference between the two? Science is below the senses. Spirituality is above the senses. Spirituality speaks of tat, that, and Science speaks of tvam, you, so as to make you learn tattvamasi, That thou art. This is nature, world, or prakrti. That is purusa or God.
Spirituality is like the letter `O' which is full and complete, whereas Science is like the letter `C' which is incomplete with a hollow space within, starting at one point and ending elsewhere. Spirituality begins where Science ends and it takes you from the world to God. Spirituality makes you feel and experience divinity in this world. This is the way to integrate Science and Spirituality. Spirituality is the unseen principle behind the apparent electronic or scientific gadgets and equipment.
Q130) Q130) Swami! Are Science and Spirituality contradictory to each other? We are eager to know Swami's views on this subject.
Bhagawan: Science operates below the senses, while Spirituality functions above the senses. Science speaks of `this', `tvam', world, while Spirituality thinks of `that', `tat', divine. Science refers to tvam‑idam, `near' while Spirituality concentrates on `far' param, beyond. Science is meant for the padartha , `material' and Spirituality is for the ultimate paramartha . Science deals with the jada, inert, and spirituality, with caitanya, awareness. Spirituality aims at the adhara, base and Science experiments on the adheya, superstructure.
Science is the `split of love' while Spirituality is the `spirit of love'. Science deals in pravrtti marga, the external world, and Spirituality in the intuitive nivrtti marga. Science can visualise the vyakta, apparent, while Spirituality dives into the avyakta, hidden. You can learn Science with your carmacaks us, physical eye, but the understanding of Spirituality needs the jńanacaks us, `eye of wisdom'. Science is the collection of facts, which are stuffed in your `head'. Spirituality is metaphysical, and touches your `heart'. Science is incomplete like the letter `C' which begins at one point and ends somewhere else. Spirituality is purnam, full like the letter `O'.
Science supplies implements. Spirituality tells you how to use them. For example, a knife with which you can cut vegetables, fruits and so on can be used to cut throats. Science shows what you see, like your photo or picture. But, Spirituality is an x‑ray film. Science is `negative' while Spirituality is `positive'.
Creation is `negative' while the creator is `positive'. Fill your heart with positive spirituality as you fill the tank with water. Senses are the taps through which you draw the water of love. Science states facts, but Spirituality symbolises unchangeable truth, r tam.
Q131) Q131) Swami! We experience love in our worldly life. How is it different from spiritual love?
Bhagawan: Split of love is worldly, but the spirit of love is spiritual. Love shared with one's own kith and kin is the split of love. This is worldly love. The primordial principle governing the entire universe is spiritual love. This is the spirit of love. Spiritual love is universal.
Q132) Q132) Swami! Today everyone speaks of Free Will. Do we really have Free Will?
Bhagawan: Man has no Free Will. It is only God who has Free Will. Being a slave to the senses, how can you claim to have free will? Where from do you get Free Will? God alone is free and hence He alone has Free Will and that is why this Free Will is an absolutely divine attribute. How? Here is a small example. When a man suffers from a paralytic stroke, he is not able to lift or move the paralysed part of his body. Come on! Let him now try in the name of Free Will! So, there is no Free Will as such, and it is ridiculous to think so. There is no meaning in the claim.
Swami! In modern society, much knowledge is only half‑knowledge and partial understanding: We don't have a clear picture of anything. We want to know the difference between Free Will and Divine Will?
Bhagawan: It is ego and ignorance that prompt doubts of this kind. On account of body identification, you are not able to know reality. In fact, you are a slave to your senses. So, you are not free. How can you have Free Will then? God is the master of all. He is above everything. He is not bound or limited by anybody or anything. He is absolutely free. Hence, it is only God who has Free Will or Divine Will.
Today everyone thinks that he has Free Will enabling him to do anything of his choice and that he can decide anything in the name of his Free Will. This may be one thing today and quite a different thing tomorrow, but Divine Will never changes. While exercising your Free Will, you may succeed or fail, win or lose. If you succeed, you become proud and egoistic. If you fail, you become frustrated and disappointed. But, Divine Will is a transcendental phenomenon. What you should do is simply surrender to Divine Will. It means readiness or preparedness to receive and accept happily whatever happens in your life, good or bad, with the feeling that it is only for your ultimate good. You must accept it as God's gift to you. This is true jńana and bhakti. In fact, you do not know what is good for you. God knows the when, the why, the what, and the how, of everything, of everyone. Everything happens according to God's will or Divine Will. If you know and sincerely believe this, you will never be elated, egoistic, proud, frustrated, depressed and disappointed once you have surrendered truly to the Divine Will.
Divine Will is present in the guise of conscience, reminding you of your responsibility. It is the antarvani , Inner Voice. But, you neglect it and don't pay heed to its appeal and message, and so you suffer. With your mind turned inward, your intellect tuned to the fundamental principle and your senses kept under strict control, you can hear clearly your Inner Voice, which is none other than the voice of God. Divine Will is the master plan of God.
Q133) Q133) Swami! Kindly let us know the difference between devotion and surrender.
Bhagawan: Devotion is dual. Here is one who is devoted to God. Therefore, devotion is the path of dualism. A devotee has no meaning if there is no God. So also, God is associated with a devotee. It is devotion that links them. But, surrender is non‑dual. In the path of non‑dualism, we find this surrender. Once you surrender to God, you do not exist for yourself any longer. You do not have anything of your own.
For example, you have water and sugar. As it is, these two are separate and different from each other in their names, forms and tastes. This is the principle of dualism, since sugar and water exist apart from each other. Now, mix both, what happens? It is neither Sugar nor is it water. It becomes syrup. So also, the devotee who totally surrenders himself to God does not consider himself as a separate entity apart from God. This is true surrender and the spirit of non-dualism.
Q134) Q134) Swami! Out of the two, faith and love, which precedes the other? Is it true that we love if only we have faith or is it the other way round? Kindly tell us about it.
Bhagawan: You should definitely have faith first in order to love. Do not doubt this. Unless you have full faith that so and so is your father, mother, son, wife or husband, you will not be able to love any one of them. If you have no faith, and if you are not sure of the dear ones how can you love them? Is it possible for you to love the one you doubt? So, faith comes first and love next.
Q135) Q135) Swami! We meet many persons who say that they can believe only after going through an intimation of divinity, develop faith only after they experience. But, many also feel that only strong faith gives us that experience. So, which of the two precedes the other? Please tell us, Swami.
Bhagawan: Faith, which comes first gives you experience. You must have unwavering faith in order to experience. Faith is the foundation. For example, to swim, you should jump into water. You cannot say that you will jump into water only after learning swimming. You cannot learn it on tar roads or cement roads. You can learn it only in water. Here water is faith and the art of swimming is experience. So, faith precedes experience.
Q136) Q136) Swami! Is it proper to say that `I am in God'? Or should I say that `God is in me'? Which of the two is appropriate?
Bhagawan: Our scripture says, ‘sarvam vis n umayam jagat,' God is all pervasive. He encompasses the entire Universe. 'Vasudevas sarvamiti', `is'avasyamidagm sarvam' are our scriptural dicta. They make it very clear that the entire cosmos is in Him.
It is correct to say that you are in God. It is not correct to say that God is in you. Of course, when the whole universe is in Him, naturally you are in Him. How? A small example. You are holding in your hand a rose flower. It means that the rose flower is small and you are big. Since God is infinite, the world is in Him. But, if you put it in the reverse order by saying that God is in you, you become bigger than God. This is not a proper feeling. You are a spark of that divine. mamaivaáms o ‘ jivaloke jivabhutah sanatanah', says the Gita.
Q137) Q137) Swami! How is it possible not to be attached to the family and to rise above the feeling of `mine' and `thine'?
Bhagawan: A small example here. A rich man who resides in a big bungalow has an Alsatian dog. This dog is always vigilant and will not permit anyone to enter the house. Now to get into that house, what is to be done? You are left with two ways. Either you should tame the dog and get in or call for the rich man to escort you. Otherwise, the dog will not permit you to move forward even an inch.
Similarly, to pass through the main gate of attachment, you have to tame possessiveness, like a dog. This is karmamarga , the path of action. Alternatively, you can call for the help of God and get in. This is bhaktimarga ,the path of devotion. Hence, karma, selfless action and bhakti, devotion, are the two alternatives, for developing detachment and giving up possessive instincts.
Q138) Q138) Swami! We come across certain terms used in philosophy and get very much confused. For instance, `conscience' and `consciousness'. Are they not synonyms? If not, what is the difference between the two? Scholars, when consulted, add to the confusion. I am at a loss to know what these two terms `conscience and consciousness' mean?
Bhagawan: There is difference between the two. They are not definitely synonyms. You should know here three terms: `subconscious, conscience, and consciousness'. That which works below the senses is the subconscious. But, `conscience' is above the senses. `Consciousness' is all‑pervasive.
A small example. You have air all around. You fill a balloon with air. It gets inflated. Now, there is air in the balloon and also outside it. If you pump in more air into the balloon it bursts with the result that the air in the balloon gets merged with the air around. You can equate the air within the balloon with `subconscious' and the air all around with conscience. The divinity within the individual is conscience while divinity in everyone, which is all pervasive, collective, and universal is consciousness. Spirituality refers to many subtle things. You must understand them very carefully.
Q139) Swami! Almost all of us claim to have immense faith in and intense love for Bhagawan. But, we also notice at the same time a lot of ego and pride in our words and deeds. What is to be done then?
Bhagawan: It is impossible for an egotistic person to know and experience God. This is very certain. Just as water flows always downwards, so also a proud man is sure to fall. You may say that you love God. But, God also must acknowledge your love. Should He not? Suppose you send a registered letter to your friend, should you not get the acknowledgement? Similarly, God also should be touched and moved by your devotion to Him in order to respond to your love. This will never happen so long as there is ego in you.
One day Krishna and Arjuna noticed a Brahmin who was holding a sword and eating a dry blade of grass. They were very surprised to see such a peculiar Brahmin. Slowly, they approached him and softly asked him why he was carrying a sword as he was a Brahmin. The Brahmin said, "I am in search of four persons, whom I have decided to kill". Krishna asked, "Who are they?" In reply, the Brahmin said, "The first person I want to kill is Narada, the celestial singer. He sings continuously the glory of Narayana all the time and everywhere he moves making Narayana, my God, restless. So, I must kill him."
"The second person I am going to kill is that boy Prahlada. His father put him to suffering of all kinds. My Lord had to rush every time to save him. When Prahlada was given poison, my Lord had to be there in the poison to save him. When he was thrown from the mountaintop, my God, had to stretch His hands to hold and save him. When he was thrown into the sea, my Lord had to rescue him. When he was thrown into the fire, my Lord had to be there too in the fire to save him. He was trampled under the feet of an elephant and Narayana had to be there for his protection. Every time he prayed to God, He, out of compassion, responded to his prayers. In a way, Prahlada made my God constantly wait to save him so that nothing untoward might happen to him at any time. So I plan to kill him".
"The third person in my hit list is Draupadi. She prayed to my Lord Krishna as the only refuge of the forlorn when she was being disrobed in the open court by Dussasana. My God Krishna had to rush to help her out of a most humiliating situation leaving all his consorts behind him and without saying anything to anyone. And last but not the least, the person whom I want to kill is Arjuna, He made my Lord his charioteer during the Kurukshetra war and gave him a great deal of trouble".
Arjuna standing by the side of Krishna heard the entire conversation. He bent his head in full recognition of the Brahmin's devotion to God, a kind of devotion which excelled even his own.
Q140) Q140) Swami! How can we differentiate thought from intuition?
Bhagawan: Thought is the outcome of the mind and hence it is dual while intuition is non‑dual. A thought may arise according to your convenience. But, intuition is beyond both mind and intellect; it is direct perception of truth and hence it stands for conviction. So, intuition is said to be buddhi which is transcendental, buddhi grahyamati ndriyam .
A thought may be right or wrong, but the prompting of an intuition is nothing but truth. Thoughts are mostly of a sensual and worldly nature. But, intuition is the inner voice or the voice of conscience and is divine. Your intelligence may sometimes lead you to a situation when you begin to doubt or suspect even your wife. Sometimes you may also turn mad. But, conscience or intuition awakens your inner awareness.
Q141) Q141) Swami! We are influenced by social, ethical, scientific, economic and political factors in life. I have one question to ask you. If I am wrong, kindly pardon me. We hear people speaking about equality and equanimity. How can we achieve them? Some groups in society claim to work towards these ideals. How are we to accomplish them?
Bhagawan: There is nothing wrong if one is a seeker of truth. You understand clearly that the two words you now mentioned `samanatva' equality, and `samatva' equanimity, are not synonymous. They have different meanings.
Samatva, equanimity, is to be achieved at the individual level, while samanatva, equality, applies to a society. It is impossible to realise and establish samatva anywhere and at any time. Your body is not equal to it.. It has ups and downs. While your nose and stomach project outwards, your neck dips downwards. Are you like a pillar? Then, how about the earth? Is it level? No. It is full of ups and downs with mountains, valleys, hills, oceans etc. Isn't it? Are all of you of the same height, weight and complexion? Are your ideas, aspirations, ambitions equal? No. Where is equality then?
A small illustration. One person has seven acres of land. Another person has five acres. Supposing you divide the land equally between them, the first person loses one acre and naturally feels sad while the other person gains one more acre and feels happy. The feelings of the two are not the same. Then, where is equality?
A small story to illustrate the same meaning. A certain king went round his kingdom in disguise and noticed the sufferings and difficulties of some of his people. He decided to alleviate their sufferings. He went to a forest and there he prayed to God. God manifested before him and granted him the life span of a hundred years to realise his dream of establishing equality in his kingdom, when all people would be happy and equal. On hearing this, the queen went and prayed to God. "Oh! God! May the people also be granted a hundred year span of life! What is the use if only the king lives for a hundred years?" God granted a hundred years to each one of the people also. Then a few elders did penance and pleased God who responded to their prayers by granting a hundred years to the queen, Rajyalajkshmi. After some time the king returned to his kingdom, and with great difficulty, he could find out his palace because God had made all equal and hence he noticed palaces all over.
The king asked the queen, "Why are the streets dirty?" She said, "Oh! We have no sweepers now, all being equal". Then the king asked the queen to get some water ready for him to take his bath. The queen said, "Oh King! We have no servants as all are equal now". The king realised his mistake, as he found the entire social order greatly disturbed. He immediately prayed to God for the return of the old order.
This is how the so‑called equality operates. But, `equanimity' is different. It has to be achieved by everyone. It is the state of mind unruffled by `bumps and jumps' in life, not tossed about by defeats and failures. A state of mind that remains the same in the time of both fortune and misfortune is said to be equanimous. You should not be elated by praise or depressed by blame but maintain equanimity in both the times, Spiritually, `ekovasi , sarvabhutantaratma,’ the same God is in everyone. Feelings of thirst and hunger are identical for all. Desires differ, views vary. As you know, `tastes differ'. Equality is impossible but equanimity is desirable and one has to work for it.
Q142) Q142) Swami! Excuse me for putting this question. We speak of `God' and `demigod'. Are both the same? Please clarify.
Bhagawan: I often say, "You are God'. In the ancient days our population was much less, say about three cores. So people said there were three crores of `demigods' devatas. Remember that the human body is the moving temple of God. But, it should be realised in your experience. This you don't get out of worldly or secular knowledge. You don't get it in the realm of your mind with ` sujńana.’ But, it is experienced through atmajńana, knowledge of the Self. If God is the Prime Minister, Demigods, devatas are Cabinet Ministers, each one of them being in charge of a particular department, like Finance, Education, Home, etc.
During earlier times, they considered the five elements demigods, such as; agnideva, Fire God',
vayudeva, Wind God, bhumata , Mother Earth, varunadeva , Rain God, Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth, Sarasvati, Goddess of knowledge, Durga, Goddess of Energy; and so on. If you write a letter addressed to `Prime Minister', it will go to him, so also your prayers to God. But, if you write to the Cabinet Ministers separately, the letters go to them respectively. Our yajnas and yagas are the sacred rituals that appease demigods.
Another example. There are two types of telephone calls. One is the number call and the other the personal call. When I dial your number to find out if you are at home, anyone at home can respond. But, if I make a `personal call' only you will reply. Similarly, all prayers to demigods are like `number calls'. But, a prayer to God is the `personal call.’
During namasankirtan, congregational singing, all can sing mentioning various names, attributes and qualities of God. However, in meditation you have to concentrate on a name and form of your choice.