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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




St Valentine's day greeting card with candle and hearts

Question of Mahadev: Basically everyone would like to listen what the goal of life is. Why do we live? Why do we exist? What is our connection with eternity?

Swami Tirtha: To find a good answer for this basic questions: ‘Who am I? Why am I here? What is my destiny? What is the goal of my life?’ I think it’s very useful to consider that the centre of the structure of a human body is the heart. And in yoga we had the chakra-system. The middle chakra level is the heart, heart-chakra. There we can imagine our heart as the centre of our existence. And what is the essence, what is in the absolute center of this lotus flower of the heart? This is self-reflection. So, this is the first step. Self-reflection means ‘I try to find the meaning of my life. I try to find the mission of my life.’ This is a more active principle.

So, first you have to investigate who you are. And then you have to find the mission, the proper application, the program for your life. Then it will be much easier to find a proper answer to these questions. And this is the first step. Of course, this is not the last step, but every long journey starts with the first step.

Mahadev: What is the second step then?

Swami Tirtha: Second step: try to find somebody who can guide you. Because if you have a desire to become a student of any art or any science, you have to find a master who will help you, who will teach you, who’ll educate you in that specific science or art. In the same way, if we want to learn the art of life, the mystery of life, we need to find a person who will guide us in this learning and studying process. Therefore we need instructors, we need masters, we need gurus, we need authentic personalities who will help us.

This is the next step. And after that according to the tradition there are many-many other steps. But ultimately there is one main thread of this journey – that from the beginning, where you have started from your present state of consciousness, you have to reach a higher state of existence, a higher level of consciousness, where you perceive more beauty, more peace, more harmony, more bliss. From this you can conclude that the path that you have taken is bona fide, is good for you.

Mahadev: To which extent a single person without any guidance can reach levels of higher consciousness? And when should he realize that he cannot go by his own and should ask for assistance from a master or a superior person on the spiritual path?

Swami Tirtha: For a long time we can go and we can reach quite high levels of reality. Although it’s a little risky whether we perceive reality or we read our own dreams. Therefore a kind of control, a kind of tradition is very useful in that respect. But in the higher realms it is very similar to a good party. And usually you cannot enter a good party without an invitation. But as soon as you have the invitation, then you can easily enter the party. The higher levels of reality work according to invitation. Therefore we need a guide there who will transmit the invitation to us. And with his guidance, with his help we can enter these higher realities.

Mahadev: In our time it’s like a fashion that everybody is looking for guru here and there, people travel all over the world to seek for spiritual advice or guidance. What should be the real communication and relation between teacher and student in our age?

Swami Tirtha: Well, I think that to realize that we need guidance – this is a high level, when we understand our limitations. This is a good sign, this is a proper sign of a real spiritual quest. There is a proverb in India: ‘If the disciple is ready, the guru will come.’ And we think that there is a shortage of gurus, but the gurus say that there is a shortage of disciples. Because the real ones – either on this side or on that side – are few. But it doesn’t mean that we couldn’t become real either as a disciple, either as a master.

And about the communication – I think this is like a bond. This is like a mutual agreement of these two persons that ‘Yes, we shall share the experience of our lives. Yes, we shall go together.’ And therefore a very generous invitation from a master is: “If you come with me, I will go with you.”

 

(to be continued)



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