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Extra English Issues issues

падаща звезда (1)

“Ah, vaishnava goswami, please be merciful unto me! Besides you nobody is able to purify the fallen souls. Where can one find such a personality, by whose simple presence all mistakes and all sins are fleeing away? The repeated bath in sacred Ganges will purify a person, but your power is so great, that the fallen souls are purified simply by seeing you. The holy name will liberate those who commit any mistake against Lord Hari, but those who commit an offence against you they have no chance for salvation. Your heart is always a residential place for Lord Govinda and Lord Govinda says: “The vaishnavas always live in My heart.” So I aspire for the dust of your holy feet in any possible future life of mine. Please, consider Narottam as Yours and be merciful to him.”[1]

So, my dear ones, this text, this prayer shows us the way how to approach divinity and how to approach our superiors. There are many different methods to be purified, but the best way is to serve those who are pure. The extra power of Krishna is manifested in a personal way.

As we discussed recently, the saints, the devotees are sacraments for us, sacred institution. Without them we move in the darkness. It does not matter that you are chitkana, that you are a spiritual spark of consciousness – you are just like this little comet, rushing through the sky – coming from darkness and going to darkness. The past is history, the future is a mystery and the present day is a gift.

Instead of this linear path of coming from unknown somewhere, going to an unknown destination, when our small little planet crosses the universe, it meets a great object – like the Sun. All of a sudden in your path through the darkness you meet the Sun. What happens to you? You change your direction. Instead of coming from nowhere and going to nowhere, you are attracted to something, you start to have an orbit. And what does it mean if we are in an orbit around the Sun? It means we are always in the sunshine. If we enjoy the close vicinity of the Sun, that means we receive its energy. So, always stay in the light!

Our life is similar to the comets. We come from certain sources – who knows which sources – and usually people take this experience of life without a proper destination. But I can share my experience. When I met the devotees, life started to change. This change hasn’t finished yet. I have a lot to purify and overcome, but this change, this divine light is so remarkable, that it’s simply irresistible.

[1] “Ei baro karuna koro” – a devotional song by Narottam das Thakur



sower

Some of our friends expressed their desire to join the family of the vaishnavas. Which is a very auspicious event and therefore I have to share some inspirations about the importance of the initiation. It’s enough to start a new life once. Even from this you can see how high and how mystic our process is. Because we don’t have to leave our body in order to start a new life, we only have to leave the previous level of consciousness to be born again.

There is a chance to be initiated into three things: into a science, into a mystery and the third one I will tell you later. So, what about the first one? Do you want to join a great science? Of course! Therefore we start our education. By joining any school you actually receive an initiation into that specific topic, that science. What is the greatest science on the planet Earth? The greatest science on Earth is how to live. Some people feel that it’s not necessary to have these rituals, these initiations. But we know how important it is. Because by receiving this we can get the blessings of all those who cultivate that science.

Yet sometimes we think science is too ordinary. We search for something else. When we see that science in a material way does not lead anywhere, then we think: ‘Mystery! That will help! Give me initiation into a mystery!’ What is the greatest mystery on the planet Earth? It’s not ‘how to live’, it’s life itself. The greatest mystery is this experience called life. It’s quite an experience! But don’t forget: this is a mystery. That means, it depends on personal, private experience and you can practically never understand it – because this is a mystery. If we can understand or analyze something, this is not a mystery. And it will also lose the charm. So some secrets we have to leave uncovered. But not your mistakes.

After being initiated into the science and then being initiated into the mystery – are you satisfied? Some people are. Good luck for them! But we are not satisfied with that. We need a third grade.

The third initiation is into divine love. And strange enough, these are gradual steps – higher and higher, we can say broader and broader levels. So all the sciences are included into mysteries and all the mysteries are included into divine love. That means all the knowledge is also included in divine love. By receiving one you can receive everything. So, if you are intelligent, you don’t waste your time by being initiated into sciences and being initiated into mysteries. Of course we respect all these different schools and levels. But as life is long and short at the same time, we need a shortcut, a direct connection.

At the same time initiation is not a banquet for diploma. This is not the end of the story of your journey. This is the beginning. Well, maybe not the beginning, but in this lifetime let’s take it as a very important and very beautiful beginning.

In Chaitanya Charitamrita it is said, that by the mercy of guru and Krishna in the heart of the person the seed of the creeper of divine love is planted. We all have the potential, still we need cultivation.

The day of initiation is very important in our life. Because this is the best day of our life. If you, my dear friends, remember the day of your initiation, and you look at the picture at the time of your initiation and you look into the mirror now, you will see the difference. If it is for better, then you progress nicely. If you don’t see the same shine and the same ecstasy on your face in the mirror, then you should come back to that point. Why? Because something happens at this time.

In order to be initiated into a science we have to take our exams. In order to be initiated into a mystery we have to go to trials. In order to be initiated into divine love we only have to say ‘yes’! Why? Because this is an act of mercy. Everything else is an act of exchange, and this is an act of mercy extended to us.



shipwreck

Question: To what extent the divine plan is our plan?

Swami Tirtha: Well, it depends on your surrender. The divine plan is perfect. There are some tendencies in this life that will happen with our contribution, or without our contribution. In that sense they are objective, independent of us. The human contribution to the divine plan can bring some bad results, no doubts. So whatever mistake, whatever shortcoming, whatever disharmony is there, we can trace it back to the distorted human ambitions. No problem with ambitions, the problem is only with the distorted ambitions.

In the Bhagavad Gita, which is the most important revealed scripture of India, God says: “Everybody traverses My path, everybody follows My path.”[1] What does it mean – that everything is all right? That whatever you do is according to the divine plan? Sorry, on one path you can go into one direction and you can go into the opposite direction. Yet we move on the same path. But the direction is also important. Because the second part of this verse says: “I will respond to you according to your surrender.” So, the more we are ready to say ‘yes’ to the divine plan the more we shall be in harmony with these divine tendencies.

The divine plan is a divine plan – perfect in itself. Our plans are a little limited and a little weak. But if we also embrace the divine plan, our plan will be also perfect.

Question: What is the difference in your opinion between divine plan and karma? And my second question is: what do you mean by the term ‘spiritual practice’ and what is the practice that you are following?

Swami Tirtha: Karma as a rule is also a part of the divine plan. But this is not the ultimate power to enforce the truth. Because karma means action and reaction. This is like a physical law expanded to the moral levels of humans. Those who are blind they believe in chance. Those who are clever – they believe in karma. They know that if there is an action, there will be a reaction. But those who are wise – they believe in divine mercy. And I can say that this is the ultimate plan of the Supreme Lord. Because you know, it is said that if you are in trouble, you need immediate help. And the more trouble you have the more help you need. They say that today the trouble is so big, that practically all the life-saving jackets should be distributed quickly. Because this world is a historically sinking ship. So before drowning we have to learn to swim.

So karma is there, but karma is not an eternal law. If we learn how to act properly, then we can overwrite our karmic pattern. I do believe in divine providence, in divine mercy, which is beyond karma. Karma means only truthfulness, while mercy is beyond, it can bridge the gap. Just imagine if we have to pay our karma for all our stupid activities – it’s a long list first of all and it’s a long time. But if we apply a proper method, the method of dedication, of self-surrender, or agree with the divine plan, say ‘yes’ to God, to say it very simply – then the past is erased. You can start with a blank sheet. Sometimes we are stupid enough to start a long list again… But basically it is possible to come to a higher platform by this divine mercy.

And your question about the spiritual practice… I should refer to the Bhagavad Gita to show you the greatness of tradition. It says there are different ways of spiritual practice. One is to dedicate our activities to a divine goal. To put it very simply – for example, to build a temple. Or we can visit holy places – like the Seven Lakes in the Rila Mountains. Or we can study the scriptures and by this glorify the Lord. Or by donations we can share what we have with others who need it. And also meditation is included in this list of spiritual practices. There is some renunciation, some tapasya[2], some ways to generate spiritual power as well. But we specifically have our private meditation as mantra meditation. Meditation is to be connected, and mantra means ‘to liberate the mind’. It’s such a formula of prayer, of meditation, that will liberate our mind, our consciousness. This is the general practice that we follow.

But if we are committed and intent enough, we can come to that platform where every act that you do is a meditation. Your eating, your cooking, your sleeping, your work, your raising the kids – whatever you do it can be a meditation. If we have the proper vision, if we have the proper consciousness, whatever we do shall help this divine plan to manifest.

Question: Is the capacity given to human mind to destroy this world? Can human willpower really destroy this world?

Swami Tirtha: It might be possible, but it’s not likely. I tell you why. Our tradition has some opinion about the future of the planet, of the planetary systems and also it has an opinion about the maximum capacities of the human beings. So, concerning the time factor of the universe, including planet Earth, you can feel peaceful – it will go on for a long time. Although this era is the shortest of the different yugas, the different epochs. We have four eras: the Golden, the Silver, the Bronze and the Iron Age. I think you can guess in which age we live now; this is not the Golden Age. But nevertheless this last age, this Age of Iron, is also long enough. And if one epoch is finished, then the new age will start. So, don’t worry.

But the other side of your question, about the capacities of the human beings – we do have destructive powers, but we also have constructive powers. And they say, if somebody practices the mystic side of yoga, they can achieve special powers called siddhis. Like walking on the surface of water, penetrating the wall or reading the mind of others, being able to know past, present and future – we can achieve certain qualities. Once I had a friend. He said: “When I do my meditation I can see what is inside cupboard.” I said: “I also see, but I open the door.” So these are special qualities you can achieve.

But one of the highest achievements is the power to create worlds. It’s very mind-blowing! We usually think that to create a world – it’s God’s business. Still, if you think: for example the Internet – it’s a virtual reality, we can say created by humans. Or if we take an ashram, a spiritual community, which is like a spiritual shelter in the material existence – it’s also like creating a new world where harmony is dominating. So we should understand properly this capacity of human beings to create worlds. And if you might have the capacity to create, you can have the capacity to destroy also. But it is not likely.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 4.11

[2] ascetism



Nov

20

mist is withdrawn

Question: I’d like to ask you if you are for the first time in Bulgaria and were you able to visit some places in our country? And in this respect I’d like to ask you how do you feel the energy of our land, the energy of our people?

Swami Tirtha: Well, to the first part of your question – if this is the first time for me here, or not. I was just calculating… my spiritual master sent me here in Bulgaria in 1988 for the first time. How many years is that? Some 25 years, right? It’s quite a time.

Concerning the second part of your question, I feel fortunate enough to visit quite some places here in Bulgaria. Even since the first years I have seen that so many people are practicing yoga. I still have some friends, with whom we met on the first occasion of our first visit – at that time practicing and studying yoga; now teaching yoga. You know, times are changing, but yoga is permanent. And I share the feeling that yes, you have a background for spirituality, you have a sense for spiritual life. But the success also depends on you.

At the same time our national identity is not an eternal identity. On the relative platform it’s very important, because we are born here, we have to learn, we have to do something here; but ultimately we are all brothers and sisters. Because God is the supreme father, the origin of all – so, on that spiritual platform we all belong together. And then our different identities – national, local, professional, family, gender – these are on different levels. And we should perform nicely on all different levels.

I see and I have the impression that you are very warm-hearted. I also have the impression that here ladies are very strong. I hope men are also strong. But this emotional surcharge is a good start for this transition from the brain to the heart.

Rukmini: My question is how to make this transition between the head and the heart and how can we develop our heart? How can we help our mind to display its third capacity – feeling?

Swami Tirtha: The answer to all the questions starting with ‘how’ is ‘do your spiritual practice, chant more’. Because this is a very subtle change. But as soon as we start, it will start to happen also. Proper progress means that we acquire spiritual qualities. Or we can say we don’t acquire, but we help them to reveal again. Because we are fruits of the divine tree, so we share divine qualities, we have divine qualities, spiritual qualities. What we have to do is only to remove the curtain of misconception, of illusion. And the more we are enlightened the sunshine can enter your system.

So ‘how to…’? Go on practicing. You will find.

 



knigi

Question: Can you please tell us, did you find yourself, the mission and the goal of your life? How did it happen? We would like to know.

Swami Tirtha: If I have found myself I don’t know. This is not so important. But if I have found my mission…? You don’t mind if I’m a little personal? Please, excuse me! I was very disappointed with life. Because I was using my philosophy; and you see, philosophy brings such bitter results – you will be dissatisfied. I was wondering what is the use of this life on Earth for sixty years? You come from nothing, you are here something and you end up nothing… It did not make any sense for me. Isn’t that logical? I started to search for a goal in this life. Maybe this? No. Maybe that? Not even that. But then one of my schoolmates visited me after two years we had no connection and he put on my table two books about ancient Indian philosophy. And he said: “Maybe this is interesting for you.”

He was correct. Because then I found those who not only read and think like this, but also practice like this. You know, theories – we have hundreds and thousands of theories, libraries are full of theories. But where is the practice? So, when I found those people who were practicing, not only preaching, then I was very happy, I said: ‘Finally here is something which is not only collecting dust on the shelves, but is alive principle!’ Their purity was very attractive. Then after some time I met the guru of that group. And that was the end of my search, as he brought all the answers to my questions. When I understood that we are not only the body, but we are eternal spiritual souls, then this entire journey through life got a higher meaning.

Many times we want to search for spiritual friends. I was also searching for friends, but I have to tell you I have found my spiritual brothers and sisters. It’s a much higher, much intensive connection. Because that means we share our life. And this is one of the greatest assets that we have – life. We have yet another asset, it is called love. Ultimately our spiritual identity has these two capacities – life and love. And actually this is what we have to dedicate to the Supreme Lord.

So, it happened like this. Nothing special. Started with some books; we also have some books here. So if somebody wants, maybe it is interesting for you.

Question of Yamuna: The scriptures are full of stories. Life is also full of stories. Love is also reveled through stories. And you mentioned three human aspects – thinking, willing and feeling. If you have to give perfect examples of thinking, willing and feeling, what stories would you tell us?

Swami Tirtha: That would take a long time. The longest story recorded in human memory  is coming from India. It is called the Mahabharata, which is seven times greater than the Iliad and Odyssey together. And this book is about thinking, willing and feeling.

 



divine tree

We were talking about this proverb for the fruit falling from a tree – in one sense we are also fruits. We, as spirit souls, are fruits of a divine tree. The ancient wisdom of yoga says that the individual soul is like an emanating energy, like a spark of consciousness coming from the divine. So, our ultimate, original identity is spiritual. And as the pear does not fall too far away from the tree, by nature we are very close to our source. There is only one problem in this system – this is called illusion. She is like a mirage – showing something that it’s not real; helping us to forget about our real identity. And in this way we have to go through all the different experiences of bodily life.

How to find the way out? The path of religion, the path of spiritual enlightenment is signed by the footsteps of the great saints. The lack of spiritual authority these days is a great trouble for humanity. In the old times in India on the top of the social structure there were the brahmins, the spiritual elite; then came the administrative elite, then the economical forces of the society and finally the power forces of the society. All these different parts of society were doing their job in order the whole society to grow nicely. The spiritual elite was considered to be the head of the society, the administrative power the arms of the society, the economical part the trunk, the body itself, while the physical power was represented by the feet. If we have a complete body, then we can function very nicely. In case we lose one of our hands or one of our legs, we can still function. But if we lose one of our heads, it’s very difficult to function. So head is important! The head of the society, the spiritual authority is very important.

Therefore the goal of our human life is not only to have reasonable and comfortable existence on this planet Earth, but rather we should search for the permanent side of ourselves. Cultivate that, because whatever has a beginning will end. Our bodily identity has taken birth and it will die. But our spiritual identity is never born and never dies. It’s eternal! Still we pay so less attention to our eternal part. So I suggest we should shift our attention a little bit. Pay more attention to your eternal part, because everything is decided on the highest platforms. And if that decision is made, it will have its effects and consequences on the lower platforms. If once we decide that ‘I want to find my real identity,’ it will bring some consequences to our life.

What kind of consequences we can expect? What are the basic ambitions of a human being? Usually we want a little better position, we want a little more or “more-more” money, etc. – we have very basic instincts, very basic ambitions. I cannot promise you that if you start a real spiritual practice, all your material desires will be satisfied. I cannot say that you will posses all the wealth in the world. But – if I should promise anything – I can promise that if you are successful in your endeavors, you will be a satisfied person. We can learn from so many teachers, so many masters. We know that gurus, swamis and teachers are very respected. But sometimes we can learn from the dogs also. Why? Because a dog is striving for much, but is satisfied with less. So if we have this spiritual view – of our life, of eternity, of this higher dimension – then we shall have a satisfied life.

It’s a great art to be satisfied. This is one practice of yoga – to practice contentment. We have so many reasons to be contented. We have some reasons also to complain. But this is your choice – whether you complain of what you have or you are satisfied with that.

So, we should identify our goal of life; we should do something about it, we should be active spiritually also; and we should try to establish beauty and harmony in our lives, based on these two principles. I know that this sounds too much general. But you should find your ways, help this transition happen – from the domination of the head to the domination of the heart. It’s only thirty centimeters, not a long path. And as a humble suggestion or sharing, I wish that you could find your shelter, you could find your guide, your spiritual school, tradition, because that helps us a lot to understand clearly the goal, the practice and the origin. Because as spiritual pears you don’t fall too far away from the divine tree.



three pillars

Swami Tirtha: Actually three gifts are given to humanity. First is philosophy, the second is religion and the third one is the arts. Which is most acceptable from these three?
Answer: Arts.
Swami Tirtha: Yes. I also thought like that. Because usually we think that philosophy is too complicated, it’s not for me. Religion – although this is a very important part of a human being, yet it is questionable or corrupted in many ways. So what remains? Arts.
But actually if we focus on these three pillars for humanity… The first is philosophy. And this is a practical philosophy. This science will tell us that there is a goal, there is a supreme goal. Religion will show you the path to reach that supreme truth. While arts will make it beautiful.
So, try to find these pillars in your life. What are the basic principles that you share? What is the goal of your life? Do you have any spiritual or transcendental dimensions? What is your spiritual ambition? Second: we should examine what our practice is. It’s not enough only to have high ideals, we should do something about them. So, our philosophy should turn into an active principle. And on the third level we should find the beauty and harmony in our life. And instead of you nobody can do this. We should find our internal resources that will help us to identify our goals, to follow our practice and to achieve our goals nicely.
On the other hand there are three other sources of information about these questions. One is the ancient tradition. Traditions can tell us a lot about the meaning of human life and therefore it is very, very useful to belong to a tradition. Tradition means that you enjoy the benefits of an ancient school of thought. If you are a sincere practitioner, all the sages and all the saints of the past will help you.
The second help, the second source of information is the human intelligence. We are called homo sapiens, right? That means “knowledgeable beings”. So please, we should use our knowledge, we should use our brain for the best purpose. Yet we discussed at the beginning that the willpower and the intellect of human beings created many benefits, but also created some troubles.
And the third source of information is intuition. This is very popular these days. ‘I went into deep meditation to decide when to water my flowers.’ Serious instruments should be used for serious purposes. We should not compromise our best capacities.
So, if we analyze these three sources of information – tradition, knowledge and intuition – we should see the limitations of the human brain, we should see the mistakes of misapplication of our intuition sometimes; but tradition can help us a lot. It’s very difficult to find your way alone for the first time and to struggle through all the difficulties. But if you follow a path, if you follow the footsteps of others who have reached the goal of human life, then it’s much easier.
Therefore the interest in traditions is very intense, very active these days. I also joined a tradition myself. This tradition belongs to the Indian way of thinking, we can say that it’s a part of Hinduism. It’s a school of yoga; yoga is connection between the human and the Supreme. And so far I could find all the references that are necessary to be properly guided in this tradition.

 



giri

(continues from the previous Friday)

 

In these days we face a new period. There are so many new expressions spreading among people concerned about the future of the world. Pole shift, end of the Mayan calendar or Kali Yuga – so many strange expressions that didn’t exist before. But what is this expectation in human beings? It’s very easy to motivate people by telling the future or giving some predictions, which will never be fulfilled. If the end of the world does not happen today, then we can postpone it for the next year. I have seen that people are very flexible in their faith. But if we expect any kind of change, what should be that? This should be a little transition from the head to the heart. Whatever benefits we enjoy in this material sphere now is practically a result of the human brain. The world today is dominated by human willpower. And definitely this world has got some benefits. It makes life easy and comfortable. But it’s got a price. Because by creating a comfortable life we also created a trap that we can hardly escape. So although we enjoy material facilities, on the internal side we face great challenges.

What happens in the head of a human being? Fortunately it is hidden from us. Because if we could read the mind of other people, that would be a difficult time. But basically there are three functions happening in the mind. One is the thinking capacity – intellectual or cognitive capacity. The second is the willpower. And the third one is the feeling. Mind is not equal with the brain, don’t misunderstand. It’s like an inner sense, the sixth sense. And the three functions once more: thinking, willing and feeling.

So, the present-day world is dominated by the willpower. And if we need any change, if we need any transition, this should be a little transition towards its third capacity – the feeling. Of course feeling without thinking might be problematic again. But if we can unite the positive fruits of both capacities, then we can grow better. I think we can all agree that the really important decisions can be taken in our hearts. In normal cases you can decide with your brain, no problem. But when you are in danger, for example, or when you are in an extreme situation, a very special capacity starts to work. And this is the intuition of human beings – very much connected to the feeling. We have to learn, we have to master this capacity – intuition. Because in this way we can come to some unexpected conclusions, which are sometimes much better options than any intellectually or theoretically constructed answers.

This change will happen in the world if we start to do it in ourselves. It is said as good advice in the spiritual practice, that you should be the change that you want to see outside. Although we expect that everybody else starts to change, then ‘maybe also I can say yes’. But in order to help this tendency to overcome the difficulties, we also have to contribute.

Let me mention one beautiful story from the Indian tradition supporting this point. This story is about God Krishna. He came as a simple cowherd boy. And somehow the lord of the heaven, Indra was upset, because the villagers where Krishna was living were not performing all the sacrifices that were necessary for the universal harmony. So, the lord of the heaven, the lord of the rains started to send heavy, heavy rain over this village. All the villagers were in utmost danger and finally they prayed to their God living with them: “Please, save us!” So, Krishna lifted a hill, because the hill is good to protect the citizens, they could come joined together under the protection of this hill. You know God can make some little miracles here and there, no problem, although He was playing like a small boy. And what happened? The father and the elderly members of the village who came together under this protection with their sticks – as they were also tending the cows – they were also holding the hill. Not thinking with their brain that ‘Wait a minute, this little boy can lift up a hill, why should I help Him? He can do it alone.’ No! Emotionally they wanted to help so much, that with their own sticks they were also holding the hill.

In the same way, the tendencies in this world will happen. The divine plan is there for this Earth and for this world. Yet we can also contribute. We should take our little sticks and hold up this hill. However small is our contribution, we should do this.



everything

Thank you for coming, I greet everyone with a warm heart! And please excuse me for one of my big shortcomings – that I don’t speak your language. But I have learned something in Bulgarian: “Крушата не пада по-далече от дървото.”[1] This is a proverb, but it has got a deep spiritual meaning also.

We share the same experience – we all live. This is like a common experience for all human beings and for all other living beings. Some 25 years ago my spiritual master told me: “Don’t forget: everything is connected to everything!” Since that time I am wondering about this: “What does it mean? Where can I find the key, the answer to this connection?” And I hope we shall come to some points which will help us to understand this network.

Human beings are very difficult to identify by themselves. If we have to introduce ourselves, we say our names, our family status, our job, etc. But these might change any moment. Yet something is permanent beyond all these changing features. Actually the search for this eternal part, the search for this permanent side is very important in our life. We live in a very unique time. There are so many expectations and so many changes going on. It’s difficult to find the permanent points. Yet our identity is the same. Whatever changes – that is the superficial; what is permanent – that is the spiritual side. So, human beings are in an intermediate position. We all share the same common features. A little bit we are angels and a little bit we are like animals. One side of us is down to earth, and the other side of us is up to the sky. Human life generally is the experience of this middle position. What is a middle position you can understand or you can explain in two ways. One explanation is ‘neither here nor there’. The other explanation is ‘as here, there also’. So we have the chance either to alienate ourselves from both destinations – the material and the spiritual – and to have a vacuum which will not really satisfy you; or you can unite both spheres to have normal and reliable good standard in the material sphere and also achieve spiritual benefits.

The past, the spirit of the past is for separation. If we look back, all the different problems and conflicts usually separate people from each other. Concerning the family affairs or the national affairs, or religious affairs – so many differences are there. There are so many conflicts in the past. What about the future? I think a better future will come if we learn, if we find the way to unity.

This is not only a theoretical question, this is very practical. Just like here in this hall we are united, right? We are all here, in this room, we share the same atmosphere. So there is a unity principle manifesting in this room. At the same time there is the difference principle also, because you listen, I speak – that means an exchange. So we can speak of exchange only if there is the unity and diversity principle present. Both aspects are very important in order to have this communication.

 

(to be continued)

 

[1] “The fruit does not fall too far away from the tree.” – Bulgarian saying.



anjali-mudra

Question of Kripadham: Could you please explain about the meaning of the mantra – why are words put into the mantra, what are their meanings and why they should be sung?

Swami Tirtha: Thank you for this question. First we have to examine the word itself, mantra – what is mantra? Actually two words are connected in this one word: manas and trayate – that means such a powerful prayer or formula for meditation that will liberate your mind. So, the goal of mantra is to purify the consciousness of a person. If you chant your mantras, then a very slow and very powerful change will start in your heart, in your consciousness. Because by the sound vibration in our meditation we are connected with very high spiritual reality. If we sit alone at home in our silent meditation, not doing anything else, that is very powerful. But if we come together with like-minded people, then our joint meditation will help each-other. If I am weak alone, in the good company of the same spiritual people I will be stronger. And if we chant our mantras in our mind silently in a group, it’s more powerful than if you sit alone at home. But if we speak out our mantras – or even more, if we sing our mantras – it’s even more powerful. There is only one more powerful way of chanting mantras – it’s called kirtan, when you dance and sing. This is the topmost.

Then about the words of the mantras. There are mantras of one syllable, there are mantras of dozens of syllables – long; so there are different mantras for different purposes. Because mantra is just like a code – code for achieving some results, good results. One good result is that you will have your peace of mind. The second, which is higher, is that you can achieve liberation. It’s very high accomplishment. The next step is that you can come in a very close and very intimate connection with God Supreme, Krishna. So different mantras can give you different results. I think this is very common sense, logical. And therefore from among all these different mantras, the maha-mantra is selected as the most effective, most powerful. Hare Krishna mantra is called the maha-mantra for this age – the great mantra of liberation for this Kali Yuga. Hare is divine love; Krishna is God; and Rama is happiness that you can achieve by this unity, by this meditation. These names are repeated in this mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Simple; let’s try together. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. So, always think of this: God, love and happiness.

Chanting mantras is a great art of spiritual science. Because as we experienced, it’s a sound vibration, it resonates our system. So if we chant the names of God – whatever it might be according to our religion, it does not matter – then we associate with Him. Just like a mother calls out the name of her child. Usually mothers are very happy chanting the names of their children. Tell me one general name?

Somebody: Ivan.

Swami Tirtha: Ivan. It’s nice, but the mother may say gravely: “Ivan!” You can give different mentalities for this chanting the name. Your boy may come to you running; or maybe he will not come, he will say: “Ah, better I stay away, because my mother is angry!” Name is to establish a connection. In the same way, if you call out the names of God, He will pay attention: ‘Ah, somebody is calling for Me!’ So we should give very positive meaning to our calling.

And mantras are supported by mudras. The original meaning of mudra is “seal”; so if you have a proper mudra, this will also help the communication. Like, for example there are mudras for perfect knowledge, for blessings, for connecting down to the earth – in this way you can ground yourself. There is another mudra for teaching. All these different mudras will also express some message and God can pay attention. This mudra with folded palms is also very nice, it’s called anjali-mudra, angelic. But if we show a different mudra to the sky, for example a fist – the meaning is not so nice.

There are so many ways to express our feelings, to be connected, to help our meditation to grow nicely. And please excuse me if we are sometimes a little funny, but in my opinion spiritual life must be happy. It is said with a sour face you cannot enter heaven.

Thank you very much for coming! Be blessed! And please carry on this divine vibration in your heart with you. Help yourself and help others.