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English issues

demons-demigods fight

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

Question: Are there evil, demoniac entities that sometimes posses us? What is their nature, can you tell us something about them? Are these entities somehow less progressed than the angels in their spiritual path?

Swami Tirtha: Well, I can tell you many things about them, but why should they be discussed too much? In our tradition this duality is described like the competition between the demigods and the demons, which sounds quite black and white. Deva, god, demigod means shining personality, a person of shine. So, this is like the eternal conflict between light and darkness. And you might think that: ‘Oh, the demons are very low class, very fallen, very bad entities.’ But no, our understanding is a little different about them. Sometimes they represent a very high class society, a very elevated civilization. Everything is nice, well organized. Very similar to the western societies. Everything is nice, well organized, very effective – but without God. This is what we have today – it’s a so called ‘developed civilization’. But from the spiritual point of view this is a primitive state of human beings. Most of us are not connected to the absolute platform, we have no faith, and we have no practice. Although technically we are progressing, but spiritually and even psychologically we are suffering like anything.

No doubt there are some pros of this culture – you push the button and the light will come, most probably, until you pay your bills; if you don’t pay your bill, you will push the button, but no light. That means, in order to receive the benefits of the energy supply you also have to dedicate your energy, give something in exchange. Everybody knows this rule. Become a little bit broad-minded. The energy of life is provided by the main provider – God. We push the button of life, we always want to enjoy the benefits of life, only we forget to pay our bill to Him – no prayers, no service, no offering, no nothing – we only want to enjoy the benefits. Well, this provider is quite patient, He can give you three months moratorium, but then the supply will decrease.

Anyway, returning to your question: demons are not bad totally, while demigods also have their small little mistakes or shortcomings. Even the whitest lily has a shadow. But actually what is the main point here? That they belong to the same family. Actually the demons and the demigods are brothers and sisters, coming from the same father, but from different mothers. So, they are relatives. And you know, as it is up there, it’s the same down here – in the family affairs there are always some little conflicts here and there. But this is a family affair for the demigods and the demons as well. They fight, but this is not so serious. Because they only fulfill their roles. Nevertheless it is suggested to become like an angel. I think we can agree on that point – follow the angels.

 



darkness is lack of light

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

Question: First I want to apologize for the question to the master and to the audience. I want to ask whether evil exists. Whether there is such a personality as arch-devil, Satan? And in the divine sphere is there such a contradiction between good and evil, or it’s only in the human world, here on Earth?

Swami Tirtha: It’s a very proper question, don’t excuse yourself. But devil in that sense, in the classical, so to say Christian sense, does not exist. That devil is not externally there, that devil mentality lives in us. Because who is the devil – a rebel against the divine order. We are these rebels, we didn’t accept God’s conditions. And He said: “All right, you can have your private opinion, but then try it there.” So, the devil is not outside, this rebel is inside. Therefore in the spiritual sky there is no disharmony. It is a place of harmony. Dualities – like good and bad, devil and angel – exist only on the relative platform, not on the absolute platform. On the absolute platform there are only angels and seraphs and arch-angels. Of course now I use a different language, different names for these different classes of divine or semi-divine beings, but over there, there is no disharmony.

So, actually devil or an anti-God doesn’t exist. Yet illusion exists. But the nature of illusion is that it doesn’t exist. Something is there to show you what is not. Sounds a little complicated. Aristotle said: “Anything that doesn’t exist, exists like non-existent.” You can chew on that. But that showed that he is very positivist, he is life pro, he is existence pro, because he said: “Non-existence doesn’t exist.” The only thing that doesn’t exist is non-existence. Everything exists! And if you think that something doesn’t exist, it exists as a non-existent entity for you. This is like a mind-game, but it’s not. Because what is darkness?

Harilila: The lack of light.

Swami Tirtha: Correct, you cannot give a positive definition of darkness, there is only a negative definition of darkness – ‘lack of light’. So, darkness doesn’t exist. If darkness is there, it is a non-existence of light. In the same way, what is the real existence of devil? Depends on your vision. Many are so much afraid of the devil, that they develop a devil consciousness. They see the trick of the devil in everything that happens to them. In this way you can create your devil. But if you want to see everywhere the divine mercy, then you will have a different vision.

So, nevertheless if we call devil like a mistake, or like a function that separates human beings from the divine consciousness, of course that power exists, but this is called illusion. This is a personified energy and at first glance you might think that: “Oh, this must be the devil!” because this separates the souls from God, so that is the devilish program. But actually she is – because this is a feminine power – she is like the directress of the jail of material existence. And although the directress of a jail stays inside the jail, she lives there practically, she is there under a different principle. She is not a criminal. You see, it’s her function – to accomplish that service, to take care of those who want this criminal way, who have this criminal approach to the Supreme.



36176651_484554975313301_8668948083142295552_n

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

Question of Harilila: I’ve heard that if you want to achieve something, you should help others to achieve the same. This is relevant in the material and also I hope in the spiritual sphere. Оn the spiritual path you want to go forward and you want to help others to go forward, so that you also be benefited by helping them. But as you are not perfect what actually can you give them without contaminating them? You said that if you are not perfect, you cannot give perfection to others. If you are not pure, what can you give them? What from your spiritual path can you give them to benefit them and yourself as well?

Swami Tirtha: Well, maybe we cannot give perfection to others, but Krishna can. And even if I am limited, my master and the parampara are not limited. So, in case there is a trouble in the system – which might happen – the superiors will enter and help.

Therefore we have to be careful about selecting our heroes. We have to be cautious and eager to search for a very high example. And you have to be aware what you can learn from a person. If you commit yourselves to stupidity, you will achieve stupidity. But one definition of bhakti-yoga is that you isolate yourself from stupidity. And here is a divine hierarchy – maybe I am a very insignificant part of this structure, but the message is proper. Maybe I didn’t accomplish fully, maybe I am not in the light, so to say, not in full realization, but if I know the direction and if I tell others ‘that is the way’ – that’s a relevant help.

Yet again, we have to be careful and we have to be fortunate. Because a real leader of a squadron will say: “Follow me!” While the big generals, sitting in their defence system, will say: “Go forward!” So, select proper.

But serving others, helping others in their spiritual life – this is a very glorious service. And this is the best fulfillment – if I see the progress of others. Maybe I don’t feel big progress in myself, but if I see how much more complete the life of another person has become due to the spiritual practice, this can pacify my heart. Therefore we have to study thoroughly the philosophy to understand the system, and also we have to practice in a very much focused way. And basically speak about your realizations. This is the way to avoid fanaticism: study thoroughly, and speak about your realizations, what you have obtained already.

But you should know the direction. Perfection exists, there is the Supreme Lord, the source of everything, where we can return, and we have the process to achieve our spiritual ideals. So, it’s simple. There is a goal, there is a path and there are you. Put this structure together.

 



chapati

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Let me tell you a story, a real thing happening. Once we celebrated some event in Mayapur – this is the place of Mahaprabhu’s appearance. There I met a senior friend; he was a very good deeply connected god-brother of my Gurudev. And all of a sudden he said: “Do you want to meet a sahajiya?” You know, sahajiya is like the most dangerous heretic, like an imitator. I was shocked a little bit, but I said: “Yes!” Then we started to go on the little, little roads and pathways. You know the general landscape in this very, very isolated holy place in India is like half ruined buildings and even the temples are in strange shape. There is a little relaxed mood – it is not criticism, but they don’t pay too much attention to the external formalities. Then we went off the main road and all of a sudden we entered a magic garden. Everything is beautiful inside; outside it was garbage and ruins; inside is green like anything, like emerald green. And very nice bushes, shaped in beautiful forms. Very peaceful atmosphere, and a beautiful pavilion is standing in the center of this magic garden. Everything is clean – all those who visited India know what it means. Very unexpected! So, everything is very beautiful. There was one servant going around in a very peaceful way also. So, we had to wait a few minutes and finally our friend came. Very nice dress, very nice hair – he was a man. Very sensitive feeling, his aura was very tender and sensitive. And my senior friend, Shrila Tripurari Maharaj knew this person for a long time. They started to discuss like old acquaintances and our friend also described his activities – translating some important books into English. So, everything looked very nice. And finally he asked: “Tell me, do they really consider me a sahajiya?” Then Tripurari Maharaj started to try to pacify the person. But then when we said goodbye and left, he told me: “You see, he’s not there! He’s not on the realized platform. Because he is still concerned about the opinion of others – whether they consider him like this, or like that.” If you are accomplished, you don’t mind too much whether people consider you a big saint, or a big cheat. You have to make the final balance of your life. It’s not the opinion of others, it’s not the image that you can build about yourself. As our ‘yes” man always accepted: “Yes, I am like this, yes, I’m like that”, a really accomplished person will accept: “Yes, I am like this”. So, is this glorious to become a “yes” man for our spiritual master?

Answer: Yes.

Swami Tirtha: Oh, beware when your spiritual master starts glorifying you: “Oh, my dear one, I am so fortunate to have you in our group!” “Yes, Gurudev! You are very fortunate.” “Oh, my dear, you are like a savior angel for me! “ “Yes, Gurudev!” So, beware whether you want to become a “yes” man, or not.

But you can never know what the opinion of your well-wisher about you is. You might think: “Oh, my master didn’t pay any attention to me throughout this whole lifetime. I was always preparing the chapattis in the kitchen, while he was discussing with my brothers and not with me!” But if you had an extra ear in the room and if you could hear their discussion: “Oh, this boy preparing the chapatti is so nice! He is my most dear devotee!” So, you can never know what the appreciation of our superiors about us is.

Same with Krishna – you can never know who is most dear to Him. It’s impossible! Therefore we should treat everybody very nicely. Because you never know who is the chosen one of Krishna. This is very important – you can never know who is dear to God. And He didn’t come for the high priests, never. He came for the poorer ones.



Radha-Raghunath

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

Question: I want to ask whether the pure person is aware of his purity or on the contrary – he thinks that he is fallen.

Swami Tirtha: In the “Vedanta Sutra” it is said that “If you want to become perfect, first you have to become knowledgeable and then you have to become like a child”. So, a fully realized person should come to that platform – he is knowledgeable, yet that is in the background. But he acts freely like a child, innocently. And children, I think, they never want to prove themselves. Of course they want to achieve your attention, but they give themselves. They have no second thought: “Give me immediately! Not tomorrow, not later, now! I want your embrace now!” So, they give themselves – no roles, no second hidden thoughts and motivations. Therefore we have to pay attention to the saints who are on that platform. We shouldn’t call them childish, but we should fully appreciate their levels of realization and their approach to the Supreme.

We could give thousands of examples, but let me quote only one and this example will speak instead of the thousands. This person is called Ragunath das Goswami, who is not only a fakir, who is not only a heroic actor and poet, a divine troubadour, but he is also very knowledgeable, and also a perfect devotee. This should be our hero – uniting all the different characters of a person who is searching for purification, for perfection. But don’t imitate his practice. Worship it as some unachievable high ideal. Once he said: “Well, by searching for this absolute perfection somehow we could pass the time so far. But now it’s over, enough of that! Eternal perfection – who is interested anymore? Who can wait anymore? Without Radharani’s mercy I cannot tolerate for a moment!” Just imagine somebody saying: “Oh, we passed our time somehow in the search for the absolute perfection, but now that’s over, I have a better engagement, where I cannot wait a moment. Without the mercy of the Goddess of devotion I cannot tolerate for a moment!”

So, the real great ones generally – maybe they are aware of their position, but they are not interested in having any position. Because a child doesn’t want to prove him or herself. A real accomplished saint should give himself or herself in such a pure, condensed, innocent manner.

But this is their business how they manage their life. Our business is to manage our life. Most of us are before achieving this innocent child platform. And practically we are before achieving the knowledgeable platform as well. So, both achievements are pending. Therefore to repeat the formula is not enough. ‘We know that the great ones don’t declare about themselves that they are great. So, then I will also not declare about myself that I am great. But then people will think that I am great. So, sooner or later I will also believe that I am great.’ But then you understand the trick of maya here. Until we are concerned with this – that means not very high achievement.

At the same time we have to be realistic, we have to know our capacities, our achievements. Just like a Padishah once wanted to have a “yes” person in his court. There were many candidates: “Yes, this is a good, fixed job! Maybe I can take it.” So, when a guy entered, the Padishah said: “Oh, you look like a strong candidate!” and the man said: “Yes, yes, I am a strong candidate.” Then the Padishah said: “But maybe not, I doubt that you are good enough.” And then the man said: “No, no, I am a good candidate!” “Out!” Hundreds came with the same mentality – they wanted to prove themselves, forgetting about the job that they are searching for – to say: “yes”. So, finally the last man came. And again the Padishah said: “Oh, you look like a fit candidate!” And he said: ”Yes, I am fit candidate”. Then the Padishah said: ”No, I doubt that you can do it.” Then the man said: “Yes, I also doubt that I can do it.” And then the Padishah said: ”No, no, maybe still you have a chance to do that properly.” And the man said: ”Yes, yes, I have a chance.”

You see, until we prove ourselves we are off the line. Therefore sometimes the masters ask when you want to prove yourself very much, or when you disagree on some points: “Do you always say: “No” to me?” What is your answer?

Answer: Yes.

Swami Tirtha: Maybe, or: “I don’t know Gurudev! Hare Krishna!” If you say “Yes” or if you say: “No” – whether you do it or not, it’s wrong. So, sometimes it’s better to keep silent in front of our spiritual master instead of giving all our opinions.

(to be continued)

 



sailboat-sunrise

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

Krishna describes what His preference from amongst the yogis is. He says: “From among all the different types of yogis that one is the dear most for Me who is united with Me in devotion[1]. Therefore a yogi should be an example for others. Abandoning attachments – this is one main characteristics of a yogi. It’s not that he possess or doesn’t possess something; the question is whether he is attached or not. You can have all the assets of the whole world; if you are not attached, then you are free. And maybe you don’t have anything, but you are full of desires – that means you are attached.

Once the devotees asked a beggar in India: ”Oh, you are so fortunate, you don’t have any material belongings. Why don’t you join us?” He said: “It’s impossible. That’s true, I don’t have anything right now, but if I join you, I will never ever have anything!” You see: to have or not to have is not a qualification. While here it is mentioned: “be unattached”- this is the real qualification, because then you are free. “Such a yogi who is free from attachment will act with his body, mind, intelligence and senses only for the purpose of purification.”[2]

This is a very positive type of engagement. Whatever is given to us in the form of our body, in the form of our talents – we can connect that to the service of the Supreme. But it is not enough simply to perform some activities; we have to add a special quality, which is called dedication. That will bring a different way of expression into our life. And if our goal is purification, then we can use practically all the abilities that we have in order to achieve that purpose. For example we don’t suggest that people should become fakirs. We don’t say: “Don’t eat!” Right, because this is like a real, ascetic demand: “Don’t eat!” No, we have a very easy version: “Don’t eat meat”. Because if you put karma-free energy into your body, your consciousness will be also karma-free sooner or later. So, you can use your eating habits as a spiritual practice. It’s very important. How many times do you eat per day – not calculating the chips, and this and that meanwhile? Two-three times, right. And how many times do you meditate per day? Usually people hardly find any time for spiritual practice: “Oh, I am so busy!” Isn’t it? Be realistic. Although by meditating we work for our eternal benefit; and by engaging in any kind of material, worldly activities is called “wild goose chasing”.

I wouldn’t say ‘stop all activities’, as we agreed that a yogi should be active. But be active in the proper sense. Connect all your activities with some kind of dedication, some kind of inviting divine powers, some kind of service mood. Follow some rules even during the simple daily activities. Offer your sattvic food to God, chant your prayer before starting eating. In the mornings try to find some time for meditation or worship. Follow the rules for bodily and mental purification. Because cleanliness is next to godliness. So, there are certain rules that will help your transformation. And slowly-slowly in this way we can turn our days into divine days. Your activities will be controlled, your knowledge will be controlled, your speech will be controlled. And don’t think by that controlling, controlling, controlling you will be a dry and ugly person. No, a fully controlled person is attractive. Why? Because his or her energies are focused. And as we discussed, he or she loves everyone and everybody loves him or her. It’s only a question of time. But if you are a pure soul, sooner or later it will happen.

This is the way to engage all your bodily or mental, practical and theoretical capacities in divine service. And then it is possible to achieve a very special and very dignified position – liberation. Liberation from the bondage of material existence. In order to achieve that you don’t have to die. I wouldn’t say it is easy to achieve liberation if you die – it’s not so easy – but anyway many people think: ‘Now I give some little time for myself. When death will come, it will liberate me.’ No, you don’t have to wait until your death. Because if you die for the sins and for the improper activities, then without leaving your body you can be born anew. Achieving that type of perfection means jivan muktah – liberated while living. That means a very special transformation has happened. With all the different capabilities of your existence you are connected and you are engaged in divine service.

The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes entangled.”[3]

So, peace is a signal of spiritual achievements. Peace – not in a passive way, but a kind of active peace. Therefore the highest engagement for the soul, for us, human beings, is the divine service somehow. This is the original function of the soul; if we start this kind of service, there is nothing new for us, only reviving your original nature and duty. This is the way how to come back to the source of all existence. And this is yet another aspect of the art of action. Spiritual culture means in harmony with the divine.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 6.47

[2] Bhagavad Gita 5.11

[3] “Bhagavad Gita”,5.12



knight

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

We understood that we have to try to accomplish in our life two types of parallels of the nature. If you want to be purified, then you have to apply the divine knowledge in your life – to burn up the package of your karma, what you have collected throughout the lifetimes. You have to be like the fire of the reed, which is very quickly, easily and powerfully burning. And the other parallel is to be so pure like the leaf of the lotus, so that no new karma reactions should attach to you. In order to achieve that, we have to apply the science of action. We agreed that we all want to be pure souls -and that is only returning to our source. You don’t have to reach anything extraordinary; this is already given to you. Then the next verse says:

“The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.”[1]

This is a very strong verse, because it describes a yogi in a very much unexpected position – an active yogi. Not a passive guy hiding in some caves in the Himalayas, deeply absorbed in his meditation, but a new type of yogi – active. We understood from the tradition that action will bring reaction. Yet here a saintly person is described: who is very active and most probably there is no bad reaction sticking to him.

If you want to become a saintly personality, you have different options. You can become a heroic actor, following the path of glorious activities, just like the knights of medieval ages – always fighting for the divine truth and meanwhile writing love poetry to the beloved princess. These were their two activities. Practically they were killing everybody, but in their hearts they were poetic, tender lovers with sword in their hands. So, this is one option – you can become a troubadour.

If you cannot raise with one hand this heavy sword or you don’t have your poetic abilities, then there is another option for you – you can become a fakir. He doesn’t work with a sword and emotions, he works with very small little metal pieces – nails. He has his bed of nails, torturing the body to achieve final power over it. But to have a bed of nails sometimes is a little dangerous. I had a friend who had a bed of nails and there was no problem until he was lying on his bed. But when he didn’t use it, he covered it nicely with a blanket, just like a normal bed. But he had a shelf over the bed and once his mother came to take one book from the shelf and she was stepping on the bed… You know in this age to have such a thorny bed it’s little dangerous.

So, if the path of the sword or the path of the nail is not for you, then you have another option – to become a philosopher of the Vedanta. Veda means knowledge; anta means the end of something, or the top of something. So, Vedanta is like the crown of knowledge. To become a philosopher of Vedanta – that’s a demanding job. First of all you have to learn Sanskrit perfectly. Anybody speaking Sanskrit here on a basic level? Second: you have to find a person who will teach you. Anybody has a person who is fully aware of the Vedanta philosophy? And finally we have to qualify ourselves to acquire this knowledge. And I can tell you, this knowledge is complicated. The top scriptures of the Vedanta are of two kinds: one is the Upanishad literature. Upanishad means secret teaching. Upanishads are categorized under the four different types of Vedas – all Vedas have their separate Upanishads. This is quite complicated literature, because it’s a complicated theoretical, philosophical search; second: it uses a symbolic language. So, if you don’t know the key how to decipher the symbols, then you will end up in a mess. And there are minimum hundred and eight main Upanishads. Some are long, others are short, and fortunately for the vaishnavas there is a relatively short Upanishad; because these bhaktas are very busy doing their services, cooking, doing puja, chanting their rounds – they don’t have too much time for very complicated analytical studies. So, our Upanishad is short. To speak about the ultimate truth in a short way – this is called eloquence. Shortly about the essence is eloquence. Therefore our secret teaching is short. There is one question – which is the best way to achieve perfection in this age? And there is an answer: “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”. By chanting these sixteen syllables you can achieve perfection quickly in this age. This is the secret teaching.[2]

And then different teachings of the shorter and longer Upanishads are collected in a sutra. Sutra means ‘a thread’. Sutra is like the essential collection of the main teachings and this one especially is called “Vedanta Sutra” or the essence of the Vedanta philosophy. There are 555 sutras there. Again very complicated. So there are some little difficulties with this type of knowledge.

So, if – the path of the sword, or the path of the nail, or neither the path of this complicated knowledge – you don’t feel like that this is for you, then you still have another option. And this is trying to practice devotional service. This is beyond dry theoretical knowledge. This is beyond bodily tortures. And this is beyond even heroic activities. Because it aims the loving service of the Supreme.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.11

[2] Kalisantarana Upanishad



Mahaprabhu dancing

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2013, evening, Sofia )

Question: How can we serve more nicely the Supreme by serving our brothers and sisters? Can you please give us some practical advice?

Swami Tirtha: That is a very nice question, very nice topic. Many people don’t understand that we should serve God. Some understand that we should serve God. Even few will start doing that service. And yet more few will reach the results of that service. And we understood that a selfless devotee, a selfless lover of Godhead, doesn’t want anything in return. So, for example if you have a very obedient, very nice long-term servant, you want to take care of that servant, you want to serve your servant. Same with God – if somebody serves Him in a very nice way, He wants also to give something. But the pure ones don’t accept any service from God. And here we have to be very careful and attentive. Because if you start to serve such devotees – who don’t accept any service even from God – and if you can do something, then that means you are more powerful than God Himself. Because you could do something that He cannot do. Of course, you have to work hard to give any little service to such a soul. But you see this is the beauty – by serving the dedicated servants of the Supreme, we can do something very nice.

Comment: But my question is how I can serve my brother and sister generally. Not the perfect man, not the holy man, but other brothers and sisters.

Swami Tirtha: Well. It is said: ”If somebody is hungry and you have bread and you don’t share – this is your responsibility. If you have some knowledge and there is somebody in ignorance, and you don’t share your knowledge – this is your responsibility.” So, therefore in our centers we distribute food to satisfy the body of the people, and we distribute the knowledge how they can perfect their lives – to satisfy their soul.

But what is the best service of others? If you first help yourself. Because if you purify yourself, you will shine and others will follow your example. If I am in the darkness, how can I help others to come to the light? First I have to come to the light in order to guide others: “Hey! Here is the light.”

Comment: But maybe my life won’t be enough for this.

Swami Tirtha: God knows. And His mercy is stronger than your resistance.

Question: Shall we wait for God to send us people who need help in some situation?

Swami Tirtha: Well, I suggest first you pray that He sends you someone who can help you. Because if we are saved, we can save others. In our system this is called a lineage, a spiritual lineage. How do they pick the mangos? Mango is a very delicate, tender, soft fruit and very precious also. The mango trees are big and the best fruits are on the top. So what can you do? You take a stick and you beat the mango fruits? They will smash! No, they do it in a very special way – many persons climb up the tree. Those who are on the top will pick the top fruits and hand them down to the lower platform, and to the lower platform, and finally they will come down to the earth – to you. That means the fruit will reach you in a preserved, original form. This lineage can transfer the fruit. In the same way if you catch the person who is standing above you, he can catch who is standing above him, they can catch who is standing above them and in this way the lineage of liberation is unbroken – going back to God.

Therefore we have to find our help, our personal savior. And as your T-shirt says: “We have to fight for the victory of the truth.” So, if you want to join the army of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, then this is a very glorious fight. I wouldn’t suggest you to join Krishna’s army, because in the Mahabharatha Krishna’s army was fighting against Krishna. That’s a different story. So we have to be careful about which army we join. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s army is well equipped with different weapons. This is a very glorious army. This is the elite squadron. But what are the weapons of Mahaprabhu? God can eliminate any opposition, any moment. It takes some little thunderbolts, little earthquake, little end of the world game – and finish. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu didn’t manifest such weapons. He is the Avatar – and this is not the movie star – no, He is the Avatar of mercy. So, His weapons are very special. He’s got two-three main weapons. One is the Shrimad Bhagavatam as this is the guidebook of spiritual perfection. His other weapon is sadhu-sanga – association with the saints. And the third one is His main-main weapon and this is the holy name. But if He cannot beat our opposition by these – by the knowledge and the science of Shrimad Bhagavatam, by the sweet embrace of the saints, or by this beautiful prayer of the heart, the maha-mantra – if He cannot win us by these methods, He’s got one extra. This is maha-prasadam, the sanctified food that will overcome everyone, that is for sure.



gopis 1

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2013, evening, Sofia )

Question of Krishna Premi: You mentioned that we are carrying our package of karma from before. Is this interrelated with our gender? If we are women or men, if it depends on our prarabdha-karma?

Swami Tirtha: So, if our gender is determined by our karma? Yes. How it is determined and why? Those men who are very passionate next time will take birth as a woman. I can go into more details if you like. Of course everything is determined by previous activities and also by divine blessings. Why? Because the human body is compared to a tree, and the heart is compared to the main branch of this tree. And there are two birds sitting on this tree. One is the soul who tries to enjoy the fruits of the tree. Sometimes you pick sweet fruits, other times you pick sweet and sour fruits, the third time you pick some bitter ones. But as this small little bird is stupid it will go on picking the fruits. Hope against hope. While the other bird, the Supersoul, the divine representative, the inner guide only observes. Until the individual bird doesn’t pay attention to the master, he has to go on enjoying and suffering the dualities of material life. But when he turns his attention to his inner guide, Paramatma, then all the troubles are finished. So, Paramatma, this divine representative, guides you throughout all these experiences, He will bring you to such conditions that you can go through the specific experience that you need. And under His guidance we are forced to take a man’s body or a woman’s body. But actually the soul is neither man, nor woman. It is not young, not old; it is not human or animal. This is sat-cit-ananda, soul.

Yet this division of genders is there in the entire created world, therefore many think that by uniting the genders they can be happy. As in the old Greek tradition Plato said that originally humans were one globe and then they were cut into half – and one became the man and the other became the woman. Then certain pieces and parts of the body were arranged here and there – something in the front for the ladies up, something other in the males’ body down. And then they think that by uniting these two parts they will be happy. The Indian tradition gives it in a different way. There is one very special form of Lord Shiva when he is divided – he is in one body, like human form, two hands, two legs, but divided vertically. The right hand side is male, Shiva, and the left hand side is Parvati, female. It is called Ardha-nari-ishvara. Ardha means ‘half’, nari means ‘lady’, ishvara means ‘Lord’. So, this is the Lord who is half way a woman. This is how this iconography unites the male and females poles. And the general mystic symbolism uses the androgyny.

Still what is our version after all these different versions? Well, there is nothing wrong if a husband embraces the female energy in the form of his wife; but strictly his own wife, not somebody else’s wife. All right, it is easy to achieve this unity of the genders for a family guy, but what will happen with the ascetics? How they can embrace the female energy? Very difficult job! If the ascetics start to embrace ladies, it’s not nice – they shouldn’t do that. ‘This is only a spiritual practice to achieve a higher unity!’ No, this is not proper. While even an ascetic has to achieve that complete unity. He shouldn’t embrace the ladies, but he should embrace the female principle. Therefore it is said that without Radharani’s mercy no sannyasi can become successful. The female principle is there for helping the progress of spiritual success.

Of course this division, male-female, is important and we have to handle it properly. If males are too passionate, they will become simple ladies next time. But if they are passionately practicing bhakti-yoga, they will become again ladies, but on a higher octave – gopis. This is our ambition. Show me any other religion where men are ready to take birth as a woman!? Impossible! That proves that bhakti-yoga is highly divine, transcendental.

But this is not a joke. Yet, this is true for both ladies and men that we should overcome our bondage given by the bodily gender. We should become like the angels – not affected by material entanglement, only divine glorification and service. So, follow the angels!

Question: Then how we will be able to have children?

Swami Tirtha: There are many different ways. There is biological multiplication; there are other types of multiplication. For example, a man can have children in a biological way, right. A preacher can have children in a spiritual way. That is also a kind of multiplication. And if you elevate yourself to quite a high platform, then you will be able to create with your thought. That is called cephalogenesis. Just like Brahma can create sons from his mind – no problem. So, there are many different ways of multiplication. Don’t stick to the general way too much.

Question: Is it like this that one takes birth as a woman when the person has to understand something through the feelings and as a man when the person has to understand something through the mind?

Swami Tirtha: I think that’s quite a good explanation. Because usually men are burdened with their mind, while ladies are disturbed by their feelings.

Question: Can you please give us some advice how to get rid of this heavy head that men have?

Swami Tirtha: The blockhead? Well, heartify your brain and brainify your heart – unite these two capacities that we have, the intellectual and the emotional. If we achieve a higher unity, a higher synthesis of these two capacities, then we are closer to some ideal situation. But you asked a method to control this heavy head, right? It’s very easy; we have to bow down to God. That’s the proper use of our head. We have to pay respect to the Supreme authority.

 



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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2013, evening, Sofia )

Question: We know that there are purified persons who constantly feel bliss and happiness. And therefore they should have some kind of appropriate senses that could allow them to feel this let’s say spiritual happiness. Because I heard that our senses are covered by our mind and our happiness and distress is covered by this mind and these material senses. So, how do these persons attain these senses? What are these senses?

Swami Tirtha: By which they can perceive the spiritual happiness? Well, there are many different ways and methods of purification. So much so that the saints some five thousand years back had the same trouble. They had the same question. Because there was a big spiritual conference of the yogis and saints of the old times when this yuga started. There was a respectable person giving the advice and they had the question: “There are so many different practices and religions, and paths, and methods. What is the best? Tell us what is the best, because unlimited varieties are there.” Then Suta Goswami said: sa vai pumsam paro dharmo/ yato bhaktir adhokshaje “The best religion for all humanity is that by which they can achieve transcendent love to the Supreme Lord.” And this dedication should be ahaituky apratihata/ yayatma suprasidatiThis should be disinterested and permanent in order to make the soul completely happy and satisfied.”[1]

So, he didn’t specify this or that path, but “that path through which you can achieve that interrupted and selfless love of Godhead”. This is the best method. Shall I specify what that is to make it clearer? This is called bhakti-yoga. Yoga means ‘connection’, bhakti means ‘love’. So that is loving and living connection to the Supreme. And what is the best way of practicing bhakti-yoga? Chaitanya Mahaprabhu brought a very beautiful method. He specified what is mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer: ”Hallowed be Thy name!” – to glorify the holy names of God. So, therefore we have a special mantra for that glorification. Mantra is a special formula for meditation. Mantra is like a word conjoined from two aspects – one is manas and the other is trayate – to liberate the mind. Mantra is for liberation of our intellect. So, what was very broadly mentioned by Lord Jesus 2000 years back – ”Hallowed be Thy name” – Mahaprabhu specified that 522 years back. He said: “Hare Krishna, chant Hare-Krishna! This is the mantra to liberate your mind.”

And as we discussed there are three main mantras in this kali-yuga. One is the om which everybody knows. The other is: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This is like the prayer of the heart. ”Oh, my Lord, oh Beloved of the Supreme, please accept me in Your service.” Isn’t that a beautiful prayer? We should always pray like this. If you have that in your mind and heart can you do anything wrong? Can you go out and be a cruel person? Can you go home and beat your wife and children? It’s impossible. “Please, my Lord, oh Beloved of the Supreme, accept me in Your service!” This is the best way of practicing this special path declared by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And this is the way how the saints of our tradition achieved their very glorious position. Chanting this beautiful Hare Krishna maha-mantra is not a routine. This is a deeply emotional prayer that will liberate your mind. So, if you want to get rid of your entanglement, please don’t forget about this mantra.

And the third mantra is om namo bhagavate vasudevaya for ultimate protection in case you are in danger – external or internal danger.

[1] “Srimad Bhagavatam”, 1.2.6