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English issues

hindu-scriptures

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

As om is a mystic formula, it means that everything is contained in this sound – everything of the creation, everything of the existence and all the words that are coming after. So, this is a very condensed form, like a symbolic representation of divinity and the creation also. Therefore we can say that this is the first word in Indian revelation, in creation. And actually this is the first word in the scriptures, in philosophy also.

Later on this divine message is elaborated more and more. What is the next step of this evolution of divine sound? It’s a mantra. Om is also a mantra but it’s a very condensed seed form. So, the next real mantra, formula for meditation and also for glorification, is the Gayatri mantra. Mantra, you know, is a sound formula for liberating the mind, consciousness. And Gayatri is a special type of mantra glorifying the sun. Because the sun will bring light and life into the universe. Again this is not simply a kind of collection of words and expressions. It’s a meaningful prayer – you pray for enlightenment. And then the divine light, the divine power comes to you. But as it contains many different syllables, it’s more elaborate than the om itself. The meaning of the Gayatri mantra is: “Oh divine Sun, please enlighten me and help my meditation to accomplish.” This mantra is called the Mother of the Vedas, the Mother of knowledge, because it represents the divine Sun that will bring enlightenment to us.

Then comes the Veda itself. The word Veda is a Sanskrit word, it means ‘knowledge, wisdom’. Om is one syllable; the mantra has a few words; the Vedas are thousands of hymns. There are four main Vedas. One is for the hymns. The second is for the songs, or the melodies. The third one is for the logos, the power of speech, formulas; and the forth one is for general prayers and instructions. These four collections of literature contain practically all the advice and all the knowledge possible and necessary for this life.

But you see, it starts to be complicated. Now it’s thousands of hymns. Who can study that? The same knowledge is explained there that is contained in the om, the original formula, but now it’s more expanded. So, from the four Vedas we come to the next collection of Vedic literature, the essential teaching of the Vedas – this is called the Vedanta. Other word for Vedanta is Upanishads. Upanishad is a secret teaching. Upa-ni-shad means “to sit close to someone”. Sad – ‘you sit’; upa ‘close to something’. What does it mean? To sit close to some secret teaching – then nothing happens. No, Upanishad means that we have to sit close to a teacher. We approach a person who knows, and by this close connection we can receive the divine knowledge.

Before we had only four Vedas, but now we have 108 Upanishads. The system becomes more complicated! That means the same knowledge is shown in a blossoming form. There are more and more aspects, more and more depths you can see, you can experiment. Upanishads are not only sacred, but also secret teachings – and that means hidden meanings, symbolic expressions are there. So, if you don’t have the key for that, you will not understand. The sages of old times had seen that we have to condense the essence of this knowledge into one book – this is called “sutra”. A sutra is like a thread. This thread is like the essential message of the “Upanishads”. As the Upanishads as a body of literature is like the Vedanta or the end, the crown of the Vedas, therefore this sutra that contains all the information of the Vedic Upanishads, is called Vedanta Sutra, or “Guiding thread of the top of the Vedas”. It is highly essential, like condensed milk. And there you see 555 – not as many books, only as many sutras, small aphorisms.

(to be continued)

 



индийски гълъб

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

I have to say that you all come from a different place. Your body belongs to this country, but your soul belongs to another country. So, in that respect we all belong to the same kingdom. Our goal is to perform our duty on this planet Earth properly and meanwhile not to lose our eternal benefit.

Just recently I heard about the homing pigeons used for transportation of information, that today it is more difficult for them to find their ways. They cover the same distance for a longer time than before. Somehow it’s more difficult for them to find their ways. And if this happens to these small little animals, who are experts in finding their ways, I think in the same way it’s very difficult for us also to find the proper way. Maybe more and more, as we live in a difficult age, which is not very favorable for spiritual practices.

Yet, the more trouble we have the more we want to find the solution. Therefore to find the proper way we need certain help and certain guidance. And actually we human beings have three alternatives, three sources of information in this respect. One is tradition, the second is inspiration or intuition, and the third is intelligence.

For the last couple hundred years, especially the western human civilization follows the path of intelligence. And we can see the results – environmental problems, crisis after crisis. No doubt there is some technical improvement, but there is more suffering on the inside, more emptiness in the heart. So, in our spiritual search I wouldn’t suggest this path.

Well, let’s take intuition. Sorry to say but our intuitive capacity is more or less blocked for most of us. And in case people have some intuitive power, they use it for very insignificant purposes – like how to resolve daily problems, how to become more successful, or how to achieve more money. This is a misuse of intuitive power. Until our existence, our consciousness is not purified I would suggest that intuition is a very insecure instrument, not safe.

So, what is there left? That’s tradition. But in our countries tradition was blocked and broken by many historical facts. Political changes, Ottoman Empire, changes of ideological structures, which harm our traditional systems or even block them. Yet if you start your spiritual search, sooner or later you will meet the Indian tradition. Either through yoga, or through ayurveda, or through meditation; most of the practices and the visions are based on the Indian tradition. Therefore I suggest finding guidance there. It’s very good to rely on tradition. If we try to approach Indian tradition, then we can purify our intelligence and also our intuitive capacities will be improved. So, this is the reason why I suggest: let’s go deeper into the Indian tradition.

And as you’ve come together on this purpose for some time already, today’s discussion is on one beautiful, treasure piece of the sacred Indian literature. This is called the Bhagavata Purana. My idea is to try to find, try to show the structure of the Indian revealed scriptures. To find the place of the Bhagavata Purana there, and also to discuss some basic points of this literature.

This literature, this book starts with meditation. Because meditation, and sound meditation especially, is a way to approach the Supreme. If we chant the very sacred om mantra, this is so powerful, so effective. The Indian tradition is based on revelation of the divine sound. And the first word in Indian revelation, in this ancient tradition is om. Actually this is like a sound, a sacred vibration. Not really a word expressing some meaning directly, but bringing the divine vibration into this universe. And as you could feel your skull has a round shape – it’s the same like the universe, it has a spherical construction. And this divine sound vibration creates a very good positive resonance in this individual universe that you have. In the same way if this world is penetrated by the divine sound vibration, from the chaos it will create an order. Therefore om as a divine sound vibration is like a guidance for the whole creation. It’s got a meaning also, it’s not only a meaningless divine sound. The meaning is “yes”. ‘Yes! What you are searching for – it exists!’ This is a very positive affirmation of our quest, of our search, of our desire to find harmony, complete beauty, perfection. 

(to be continued)



Letter

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, evening, Kyustendil)

(continues from the previous Friday)

May I tell you a story? Once we visited a very beautiful temple in India. It’s a famous place; it’s the birth place of Krishna when He appeared on the planet Earth. This is a relatively small town with 5000 temples. So, practically every house, every home is a temple and there are some big ones like cathedrals also. Once we visited one of the main temples in this town. When the evening function was finished we just exited the temple and all of a sudden at the big gate of the temple complex a very impressive old man came opposite us. He was entering, we were exiting. I was so much impressed that I asked: “May I take a picture of you? May I have a photograph?” And you know Indians have two approaches to photographs – either they love it or they hate it. He was a lover type. And he said: “Yes, you can!” Very nice hair, very nice beard, very nice dress, very impressive person. He was posing a little bit. And while we were taking the photograph, he said: “Beyond the service of Krishna, of God, nothing else is real”. And then he said: “By the way, I am the leader of this temple complex,” and entered.

So, life is full of unexpected meetings. You think that: ‘oh, that’s a good looking old person visiting the temple complex’. No, he is a hidden prophet or a high saint of the highest caliber. And not only the external appearance, but also the words were very serious. As we prayed together: “from the unreal lead me to the real”. So, what is reality? This is God, the service to the Supreme. This is real reality. And actually this reality is a mystic experience.

Once a friend of mine asked a teacher: “Oh, master, can you, please, tell me how business works? How is it that it happens? What is the secret of success?” So, the master said: “Oh, there are two sides: one is the practical and the other is the mystical”. Everybody was very surprised: ’Now we shall hear the mystics’ explanation of business. Right, how to become successful in 30 days.’ And this master said: “Well, the practical aspect of business success is that you pray; and the mystical aspect is that it happens.” You would think that the mystical side is the prayer and the practical side that this is accomplished – but no! Our practice should be this living and loving connection to the Supreme, the source of everything. And the mystical thing is that we don’t understand how it works, but somehow it works. So, shift your attention, have a divine focus. And if we do our prayers, if we chant our mantras, if we have our meditations, then we can improve this inner sensitivity. The mantras and especially the holy name can bring us to higher levels of reality very quickly.

Question: How to shake off from other people’s negativism?

Swami Tirtha: It’s very easy! If the postman wants to deliver you a letter which doesn’t concern you, you say: “No, this is not my letter.” So in the same way, if you receive some negative message from anyone, you should reject that parcel, that letter: “No, this is not for me.” And if it is serious, then you can cut the negative influence.

And if you pray, if you submit yourself under divine protection, nothing wrong can enter your system. Because the Sun and the Moon are there in your palms. So if you put these together, this is the ultimate seal of protection. Because where the Sun and the Moon are together, nothing wrong can enter. They are there in your palms, always joined, always united. Then nothing can hurt you.

 



key

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, evening, Kyustendil)

Question of Yadunath: Many times in our life we search for God, but we are not sure if He is there or not. We don’t know how to achieve Him. Other times we believe we have found Him, then again we have lost Him. Until we reach a moment when we aren’t absolutely sure if He is there or not. Are we on His map or not? Do we have a personal connection and can we get it back? Why are we always lost? Is there a way to find this living connection and just stay there? Even to such an extent that we do not die…

Swami Tirtha: It’s a complicated and long topic, but to start with the end, if you don’t mind. It is said – and this is a difficult message, so be prepared – ‘Die to live!’ We have to die in order to live. Of course I’m not a propagandist of a suicide cult. What does it mean? We have to die for ourselves, for our selfish identity and we have to be born on a higher plane of consciousness, where light, bliss, eternity, divine harmony, peace are there like a natural environment for us. Of course we are all on the map of the Supreme. He is omnipotent and His knowledge is all embracing, so He doesn’t forget about you. The main question is whether God is on our map, or not? This is the question that we have to ask ourselves: ‘How much I trust, how much I believe? How much this is real for me?’ Spiritual progress means that you will have a proper perspective of everything material – because there are some material aspects of our existence here, but more and more you will have a clear spiritual vision.

And you know this is not so complicated. Most of you here are ladies, what do you think, life is easy, or difficult?

Answer: Easy.

Swami Tirtha: You see, if I asked men whether life is easy, or complicated they would say: “Oh, it’s very complicated!” Because we have different approach to this beautiful experience called life. We live in the world of experience. We are not disturbed by the external things, but by the reflection of these influences over us. So, it’s very easy: everything returns from where it is taken. Body is taken from matter, it will return to matter. Your soul is taken from the divine platform, it will return to the divine platform. That’s it. Is that complicated? No! What is a little bit complicated is ‘how to accomplish that?’ But here and there we have some advice and guidance for that also.

So, real spiritual progress doesn’t mean that you have to acquire anything new. We only have to revive our original spiritual nature. Because we are not this dying, ignorant and suffering body. But we are eternal, fully cognizant and blissful souls. It is this transformation, this new identification that we have to acquire. It is there in you. Just revive this original consciousness.

Next question is ‘How? How can I revive my original spiritual consciousness?’ Just like the question was in the beginning: Which is the best way, the best approach to the Supreme? Whether these theoretical constructions, or loving worship, loving service? So, by performing spiritual activities we can help our divine consciousness to dominate.

Few years ago they made a research in France: how much time from one lifetime we dedicate to certain activities. Of course this was before this penetration of the internet and the computers, because now the majority of our time is wasted in front of the monitor. But as a historical reflection: for example searching for the keys – how much time do you waste in a lifetime? Guess! Depends on the person, but the average is three months. How much do you sleep? Well depends on the person. But 25-30 years we sleep. Half of your life you sleep! How much do you devote to reading? What is your guess? Eight weeks. And this was before the computers. So, if you make this calculation – how much time you waste with eating, and etc., etc. then finally you will see: ‘Wait a minute, although I live let’s say 60-70 years, I have real time maximum a few years, right?!’ The first twenty years are stupid. Last twenty years – stupid. Meanwhile we have to sleep and work and get money… and how much time can we devote to our eternal soul? Please, dear ladies, if you enter a beauty shop, you can have hundreds of meters of different ointments and lotions, and this and that to maintain your body. But how much ointment will you find for your soul?

So, we have to face our realities. Our attention is very much captured by the external things. We focus so much on the impermanent. Be aware of your time! Use your time properly. God has given intelligence to us. That means we have to use our time properly. So, devote more attention to your eternal soul.

This is the way to revive our original consciousness. Prayers are very important, meditation is very important. Service to God, going to the temple or having your home altar is very important. Dedicating at least one week from these eight weeks of reading to some holy scriptures is very important.

(to be continued)

 



heart-lantern

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, evening, Kyustendil)

Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.”[1] This is the ultimate answer to all the problems, and questions, and doubts of life. Fix your mind upon the Supreme, think of Him and use all your intelligence for Him. Thus you will live with Him always without a doubt.

Sometimes we think it’s difficult to accomplish. But it’s not. All right, it’s not so much. Because this is a very dear topic to the human beings – the Supreme Lord. And it’s very easy to think of somebody whom you love. We love our family members, right. Mothers love their kids like anything. It’s a very strong expression of love. And also people love their dogs and pets. But how much do we love God, from whom all these living entities come and belong to? So faith means a living faith. Our faith should be very practical. It is said that God is closer to you than your skin. But where? He’s got a very special place.

Once the Supreme Lord asked the angels: “I need a break. I am so much overburdened with all these troubles that people make on the Earth. All the time these prayers and ‘give me this, give me that’… Show Me a hiding place where nobody will disturb Me, where I can have My peace. Show Me a place where I can have it.” So, the angels had an idea: “There is a hidden place. Go and hide Yourself in the hearts of the humans. There nobody will search for You.”

So, He is closer to you than your skin. Of course this is like a jolly story, but actually it is true. Because our heart has a cavity inside. And if you elevate yourself to a higher platform of consciousness, if you purify yourself and you come to a higher platform of consciousness, this small little space in your heart becomes so great, that it can encompass the whole universe. Therefore God can fit into that small little space in your heart. This is called a secret place in the heart, a secret cave in the heart. Therefore your life energy emanates from your heart, right. Until your heart beats you are alive. And if you want to find your own identity, you will not touch your head, but your heart, saying: “I think like this.” So we all know that we live in our heart. Because the soul, this spiritual energy, is transferred into our heart, it resides in our heart. This is the place for life.

There are different paths, different energy channels starting from the heart. Yoga describes that very nicely. All the energy is transferred to this body-mind complex through these channels. There are some 72000 channels in your body. But there is one main channel. That main channel reaches the top of your skull from the heart and this is called the ‘channel of light’. And if it is connected to the Sun – of course not only the material sun of this universe, but the spiritual Sun – if that Sun enlightens this path, then your soul can easily traverse this channel. Then this greatest problem in life – death – becomes a point of transition. Not the end of something, but the beginning of a new chapter.

Therefore we have a very nice prayer. Asato maa sat gamaya/ tamaso maa jyotir gamaya/ mrityor maa amrtam gamaya. “From the unreal lead me to reality. From the darkness lead me to light. And from death lead me to immortality!”

Please remember this prayer. Suffering is unreal. So when you are in such an unreal situation remember the first part: “From the unreal lead me to reality.” The Supreme reality is positive existence, supreme knowledge and bliss – satchitananda. If you feel that darkness wants to capture you, to dominate you, remember the second part of our prayer: „ From darkness lead me to the light”. And don’t forget about the last one: “From death lead me to eternity”. So, take this, my dear brothers and sisters, it might serve you well.

[1] “Bhagavad Gita” 12.8

 



namaste

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, evening, Kyustendil)

(continues from the previous Friday)

In the old-old times there was a strange story in a forest. Five brothers were in exile and on their trip in this great forest they were very thirsty. They wanted to find some water. So, the eldest brother told to the younger ones: “Please, find some water!” The youngest started. Not very far away he found a pond. He wanted to take some little water, because he was very thirsty and then he wanted to take the water to the brothers. But what happened when he touched the water? A big voice came: “Stop! Don’t touch my water! I am the spirit of this lake. Answer my questions, and then you can take my water!” And this youngest brother said: “Oh, I don’t care about your questions. I am thirsty. I want to drink and I will do what I like.” So, he took some little water and fell dead on the spot. The others were waiting: “Where is our youngest brother?” Then the second one went. He also found the lake and saw the brother lying there dead. He was surprised, no doubt, but he was also very thirsty, so he wanted to drink. Yet then again the spirit of the lake said: “Stop! Don’t take my water! Before drinking you have to answer my questions. Otherwise you will die like your brother.” “I don’t care. I have to drink first.” The same happened to him also. The rest three brothers were waiting for the water. Two more had gone and found the lake and the brothers lying there and the same thing happened. Finally after all the brothers didn’t return, the eldest one also started to search for the water and he saw his four brothers lying on the coast. Then he also heard the voice: “Stop! Don’t drink my water! Answer my questions!” And this eldest brother was wise enough to say: “All right, I can answer your questions”.

So, the spirit of the lake started to have some more than hundred questions. Of course I will not repeat all the questions now, only a few. One question was: “Which is the most astonishing thing on this planet Earth?” And the answer came in a very profound way, because Yudhishtira, the eldest brother said: “The most astonishing thing is that everybody from the elder generation had passed away. Yet all those who live now think that they are exceptions.” It’s very astonishing! Everybody is passing and you think that you will not.

There was another question: “What’s the news in the world?” Strange question. You wouldn’t expect such a question in such a situation. But as the question was little unusual, the answer was also very unusual. The eldest brother said: “Well, what happens? Life cooks the living entities in the pot of human existence.“ Very strange answer. But what does it mean really? That the firewood under this pot is the Sun – time. You know if you want to cook a nice sabji, you have to cut the potatoes and the other vegetables in small pieces and make them soft. This is what happens in life. We are like raw potatoes; we need a little time and heat to become soft.

There was another question: “Who is happy on this Earth?” Now this question we understand – who is happy? The answer was: “All those who have no loans are happy. Who had paid all their dues.” I think this is very practical; of course it was not the bank loans that you had to clear in those times. Rather it was the offerings and the gratitude to God, to the divine personalities, to the teachers, to the living entities – these kinds of dues we had to pay. So those are happy who had cleared all their debts.

There was another question and this question said: “What is the greatest failure?“ So, what is your answer? Well the answer was: “The greatest failure is victory.” Then another question came: “And who is your greatest enemy?” What is your answer?

Answer: Myself.

Swami Tirtha: Correct! My greatest enemy is myself! Then there was a beautiful question and even more beautiful answer: “What is space? Show me an example of space!” And then the answer was without words, only by folding palm (as in Anjali mudra). This is space! So, in your hands you can collect the whole universe. But we should be able to join our hands and offer respects to the Supreme. This is the best way to give an example of space. Because this whole world is created by Him. It is created for Him also. So whatever we have it should be joined in prayer, in glorification.

Finally the last question came “And what to do? How to achieve perfection?” Then a very important answer came: “Follow the example of the saintly ones.” Because this is the safe way to reach a divine destination.

So, the eldest brother answered all the questions. And then what happened? He could take the water; and more – the spirit of the lake agreed to fulfill one of his desires. “You have answered all my questions so nicely, so perfectly! I am ready to fulfill your desire. Ask a boon, I will do it!” And he said: “Can you bring back my brothers to life?”

So, if you can answer the challenging questions in our life, then some great power might come to you and by this power you can help and serve other living entities in a very profound, very good way. And finally it turned out that the spirit of the lake was actually the divine father of this hero. So, you see, even such unusual stories and complicated situations are under divine control, divine surveillance.



namaste

(из лекции Свами Тиртхи, 05.01.2013, вечером, Кюстендил)

(продолжение с предыдущей пятницы)

Когда-то давным давно была странная история в одном лесу. Пятеро братьев были в изгнании и бродя в том огромном лесу их одолела жажда. Они стали искать воду. Самый старший брат сказал младшим: „Прошу вас, найдите воду!” Самый младший брат пошел. Невдалеке он нашел озеро. Хотел было выпить немного воды, так как его мучала жажда, а потом он собирался отнести воду и своим братьям. Но вот что произошло только он коснулся воды? Услышал громкий голос: „Стой! Не прикосайся к моей воде! Я дух этого озера. Ответь на мои вопросы и тогда сможешь взять моей воды!” Но младший брат ответил: „Ой, меня не интересуют твои вопросы. Я пить хочу и буду делать что захочу.” Он черпнул немного воды и в миг упал мертвым. Остальные ждали: „Куда пропал наш маленький брат?” Тогда второй пошел. Он тоже нашел озеро и увидел своего брата лежащим там мертвым. Он удивился, без сомнения, но его тоже мучала жажда и хотел пить. Однако снова дух озера сказал: „Стой! Не пей моей воды! Прежде того надо ответить на мои вопросы. Иначе умрешь как твой брат.” „Мне все равно. Я должен попить сначала.” То же самое случилось и с ним. Остальные три брата ждали в лесу. Еще двое пошли, нашли озеро и своих братьев лежавших возле него, но и с ними произошло то же. Наконец, когда никто из братьев не вернулся, самый старший тоже пошел искать воду и увидел своих четырех братьев лежащих на берегу. Тогда и он услышал голос: „Стой! Не пей моей воды! Ответь на мои вопросы!” И он был достаточно мудрым чтобы сказать: „Хорошо, я отвечу на твои вопросы ”.

Тогда дух озера задал более ста вопросов. Конечно, сейчас я не буду повторять их всех, только несколько. Один из вопросов был: „Что является самой удивительной вещью на этой планете Земля?” И ответ был очень проникновенным, потому что Юдхищхира, самый взрослый брат, сказал: „Самое удивительное в том, что хотя и все из старших поколений скончались, те, которые живут сейчас думают, что они исключения.” Это изумительно! Все умирают, а ты думаешь, что с тобой это не произойдет.

Был и другой вопрос: „Какие новости, что происходит в мире?” Странный вопрос. Вы не ожидали бы такого вопроса в такой ситуации. Но из-за того, что вопрос был несколько необычным, ответ тоже был очень необычным. Самый старший брат сказал: „Ну, что происходит? Жизнь готовит живых существ в горшке человеческого существования.“ Очень странный ответ. Но что всущности он означает? Огонь под горшком это солнце, время. Знаете, если хотите приготовить хорошее сабджи, надо нарезать картошку и остальные овощи и их надо варить, пока станут мягкими. Именно это происходит в жизни. Мы как сырая картошка; нам нужно время и тепло, чтобы стать мягкими.

Последовал другой вопрос: „Кто счастлив на этой Земле?” Этот вопрос нам понятен – кто счастлив? Ответ был: „Те, у которых нет долгов счастливы. Которые выплатили все должимое.” Думаю, что это весьма практично; конечно речь шла не о погашении банковских кредитов в то время. Скорее всего относилось к жертвоприношениям и благодарности к Богу, к божественным созданиям, к учителям, к живым существам – такой вид долгов надо оплатить. И так, счастливы те, которые очистили свои долги.

Был и другой вопрос, в котором спрашивается: „Какая наибольшая неудача?“ Вы что бы ответили? Ответ был: „самая большая неудача это победа.” Последовал другой вопрос: „Кто твой самый большой враг?” Каков ваш ответ?

Ответ: Я сам себе.

Свами Тиртха: Правильно! Мой самый большой враг это я сам себе! Потом пришел очень красивый вопрос, с даже еще более красивым ответом: „Что такое пространство? Дай мне пример пространства!” Ответ был безмолвным, только со складыванием ладоней (как в Анджали мудре). Это есть пространство! В своих руках вы можете собрать всю вселенную. Но мы должны суметь собрать ладони и поднести свои почитания Богу. Это самый лучший пример пространства. Потому что весь этот мир создан Им. И создан для Него. Так что все, что у нас есть, должно быть превращено в молитву и прославление.

Наконец пришел последний вопрос: „Что надо делать? Как можно постичь совершенство?” И последовал очень важный ответ: „Следуйте примеру святых.” Потому что это безопасный способ достичь божественного назначения.

Так самый старший брат ответил на все вопросы. И что произошло тогда? Мог выпить воды; нечто более – дух озера согласился выполнить одно его желание. „Ты ответил на все мои вопросы так хорошо, так совершенно! Я готов выполнить твое желание. Проси что хочешь и я сделаю!” И он сказал: „Можешь ли вернуть к жизни моих братьев?”

Итак, если вы сможете ответить на сложные вопросы нашей жизни, тогда какая-то великая сила может прийти к вам, и благодаря этой силе вы сможете помочь и служить другим живым существам очень глубоким, очень хорошим способом. И, наконец, оказалось, что дух озера был на самом деле божественным отцом этого героя. Итак, вы видите, даже такие необычные истории и сложные ситуации находятся под божественным контролем, под божественным наблюдением.



ocean_1024

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, evening, Kyustendil)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“But those who fully worship the unmanifested, that which lies beyond the perception of senses, the all-pervading, inconceivable, unchanging, fixed and immovable – the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth – by controlling the various senses and being equally disposed to everyone, such persons, engaged in the welfare of all, at last also achieve Me”.[1]

So, either this or that way, sooner or later we shall arrive back home, back to Godhead. What is the difference? The next verse will tell us the difference: For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.”[2]

Usually we want easy solutions – give me a quick and effective method of happiness. How to become rich in 30 days; or how to learn Swahili language in two sessions; or how to achieve divine perfection in a weekend training. These are very popular things; we always want a quick and effective method. Give me the real thing! The same happens in spiritual endeavors: some kind of spiritual endeavors are difficult, other types of activities are easier. Because if we try to imagine God as inconceivable, then we shall have some trouble. How can you imagine the unimaginable? It’s impossible, right. Therefore this type of theoretical approach is very complicated and very difficult.

“But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed their mind upon Me, O son of Pritha, for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.”[3]

Here something very important is mentioned – the ocean of birth and death. We are not born to die. If we have this chance to live on this planet Earth, there must be some higher and very divine goal of this existence. Although this universe is arranged in such a way that if something starts, it should end also. Anything material has a starting point and will have an ending point. But you are beyond this level. We all share some same spiritual qualities. If you examine your body, you will have material qualities – the construction, the material substance of your body, some functions, some biology there. But you feel you are something more than that. You are not simply these 60 kgs of material substance. You feel: “I’m something more!” It is this spiritual identification that we have to improve in ourselves, so that we escape this ocean of death and birth. Because one main problem in life is death. Usually most of the people are afraid of this topic, because we don’t like to think about it.

 

 

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 12.3-4

[2] Bhagavad Gita 12.5

[3] Bhagavad Gita 12.6-7



krishna-arjun

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, evening, Kyustendil)

Practically the most important spiritual literature of India is the divine song, the Bhagavad Gita. It is as important in the eastern part of the world as the Bible in our cultures. And it is like an encyclopedia of life and divine knowledge. The Gita contains 700 verses. It’s not so much. There are many saints and scientists who know all these 700 verses by heart. And it is said that those who know the Gita can achieve liberation. But you know we live in the western part of the world and we don’t have too much time to learn these difficult slokas, Sanskrit verses of an ancient scripture – 700 verses all together. Yet the chance is not lost because it contains 18 Chapters. And it is said, if you don’t know the whole text, if you know only one chapter – that’s enough for perfection. That’s also too long. But fortunately if you don’t know a whole chapter, if you know only one verse – that is enough for perfection. And still, in case you cannot remember one complete verse, half verse is also enough for perfection.

So, where shall we start – with the complete book, or with a half verse? Well, my humble suggestion if you agree is to study one chapter. Of course all the chapters of a holy scripture are very important. Yet I’d like to discuss one of the most important chapters and this is the 12th chapter.

This book is a conversation between God, Krishna and His very dear devotee, servant, friend – Arjuna. Arjuna is a fighter, he has to fight for the divine truth. We are just in front of the start of a great war for the truth. And Arjuna, this fighter, had a doubt in his heart: ”Whether I should fight or not?” Do you have sometimes doubts whether you should do like this, or do like that? All the time we have to face these choices. So, Arjuna didn’t know how to act properly, what to do, what is best for him. Therefore he asked Krishna, who was his helper in this fight: “Please, guide me. Tell me: what is the best for me.” Such a fortunate situation! Just imagine yourself having some doubts and having God as your help. So, let’s plunge into the middle of this discussion.

Arjuna inquired: Which are considered to be more perfect: those who are properly engaged in Your devotional service, or those who worship the impersonal feature of God, the unmanifested?[1]

Very strong question. How to worship the Supreme, how to approach the Supreme properly? Who is God? Only a light? Only a kind of subtle energy? Or a purple haze maybe? Some gas substance or what? Or maybe a person? Just imagine yourself, may I ask your good name?

Answer: Iva, my name is Iva.

Swami Tirtha: Oh, very nice. So, if somebody says: “Well, Iva is a very nice, gentle personality” or somebody says: “Well, Iva is a cluster of energy” – which is more proper approach to you? To consider you like some haze or a person? In the same way this question says: What is the ultimate feature of God? How to approach the Supreme – by general faith or by personal connection to the Supreme?

Then Krishna says: “Those who fixed their minds on My personal form, and are always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith, are considered by Me to be most perfect.”[2] Direct question, direct answer! Which is better: a direct and personal approach to You or some general beliefs about You? The Supreme Lord says: “Oh, better if somebody comes to Me in a very personal way, in a deeply connected loving and living way”.

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 12.1

[2] Bhagavad Gita 12.2



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.