Datta maata 17: Both spiritual paths lead to the same goal.

There are two predominant teachings in the spiritual path. One says that the entire world is an illusion. So, you must leave attachment. You must not have desire for attachment. You must leave the attachment for the body. The other is to love all and see God in everyone. Serving humanity is serving God. We are confused to adopt either ways. All these are wonderful but which way to adopt is the doubt of many. All these ways appear different but their goal is one.

Shankara bhagavadpada said that the world is an illusion. The hatred, relationships, fights are the creations of the mind – this is what he said. All the sacrifices seem to be great but if we observe carefully, we understand that they are meant for selfish motives. You must leave the affection on relatives and your own body too. You must forget yourself by contemplating on God. This is the way to attain liberation. This is good. We can discuss about leaving the attachment later in detail. This way is called the path of vairagya (dispassion).

Coming to the other way, if we observe the holy books like Bhagavatham, we understand that we are all the children of God. We are all different parts/organs of the Vishwaroopa of God. There is no happiness for the being when there is any trouble for any of the parts of the body. Similarly, if we are suffering, then God will not be happy. Everyone must try to help the fellow beings in any possible manner. We have already told that the entire universe is a part of God. If you cannot help someone directly, then you can at least wish good for all the beings. When we observe externally, we do not see any close relationship between these two ways. They are in fact the same. The key for the spiritual practice is to think that everybody in the world belong to us. Just like we said that the entire world is a part of Paramatma, we must think that everyone in the world belong to us. This is one way. Thinking that one’s body also does not belong to oneself is another way. Though these two ways appear contradictorily, they are in fact not so. If we can remove the layers of attachments from our mind, then the feelings like ‘they belong to me’, ‘they do not belong to me’, vanish. We then only see paramatma everywhere. This is what is told by Shankaracharya. This is called vairagya.

Every individual always wants his relatives to be benefitted. It is needless to teach this to anyone. If such feelings are not limited to the individual and instead become universal, then they will not lead to attachments. God will then manifest himself subtly in the form of every being. This is way of Bhagavatham.

In one way, by shunning the feelings of affection and hatred, one becomes sanctified. In another way, by spreading one’s affection universally, one gets purified. One way is a journey to the center of the inner self whereas another is a journey to the center of the universal self (vishwatma). When the journey ends, we understand that both of the centers are one and the same. Good devotees must not waste the time by commenting that ‘this way is great’, ‘that way is great’ or ‘my way is superior’, ‘their way is inferior’ and so on. By following any way, they will surely reach the goal.

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