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June 2017
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Extra English Issues issues


(continues from the previous Monday)
“All these stages combined are called sthāyibhāva, or continuous love of Godhead in devotional service. In addition to these stages, there are vibhāva and anubhāva. When the higher standard of ecstatic love is mixed with the symptoms of sāttvika and vyabhicārī, the devotee relishes the transcendental bliss of loving Kṛṣṇa in a variety of nectarean tastes.”[1]

Here is a description of vibhava, sthayi-bhava and anubhava. Vibhava is like the preliminary reason, the cause of ecstasy – to generate the feelings about Krishna in the heart of the devotees. What elements can invoke these divine feelings in you? For example the name of Krishna. When we hear the name of Krishna, then a certain emotion reflects in our complex. Or when you see a picture of Krishna you are trembling, you are stunned. You remember that doctor who served the king and when he saw a peacock-feathered fan around the king, he fainted, because he immediately remembered the peacock feather on the head of Krishna. So, if something connects you to your beloved God, that will invoke these feelings. The name, the form, something dear to Him, something connected to Him will help us to remember, to be connected to Him. Like a mother – when the child is grown-up and she sees the small little toys he was playing with at home: “Ah, my dear one!” – immediately she will remember. “Now my dear son is playing with big cars; when he was small he was playing with this small car.” So, something connected to your beloved one makes you remember, makes you connected. This is yet another reason why we should associate with the devotees – because if you see a devotee, immediately you remember Krishna: “Yes, he has devoted his life to Krishna. Yes, she is such a nice member of the gopi-group of Krishna.” In this way we can enhance our permanent meditation on God, permanent connection to God.

And if you have these impulses, then you can have some reflections, some secondary symptoms, that were described, these thirteen types – laughter, rolling and things like these. There is a big question if we can have these ecstatic symptoms in a well-tempered way. If there is a controlled ecstasy? I think there is a controlled friction of the atomic particles – it’s called the atomic energy plant. But if it is working in a bomb, then it just blows up. So we have to be careful about these energies. And I have to tell you, these thirteen types of ecstasy are not the ultimate symptoms – there are much more devastating symptoms also. These are called a very special type of ecstasies or feelings, like devastating symptoms.

But anyway, don’t be afraid. Because Mahaprabhu is called the Golden Avatar and He is just like a Golden Volcano, erupting these divine feelings in such an intensive way that they burn like lava, but at the same time are so sweet like nectar. So you cannot live without them and at the same time you are being consumed by them.

But until we read of these different types of vibhava, anubhava, sthayi-bhava, vyabhichari-bhava, etc. only in the books, this is only a theory. As soon as you will have a glimpse, you will understand what it is. And then you start to worship these symptoms and this process generally even more, because it will lead us to some very beautiful, very high and very permanent results. The three symptoms, the three results that you can achieve by practicing yoga generally is friendship, or a friendly mood, approach to all; second is compassion; and the third one is your inner peace of mind.

So please, keep on going like this, control your ecstasies in order not to embarrass others and practice these high types of spiritual ecstasies only in a proper place.


[1] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.180-181


6 goswamis

We continue our readings from Chaitanya Charitamrita. Before we just discussed the different stages of divine love compared to sugar – from the seed to the sugar candy. The next verse says:

“All these stages combined are called sthāyibhāva, or continuous love of Godhead in devotional service. In addition to these stages, there are vibhāva and anubhāva. When the higher standard of ecstatic love is mixed with the symptoms of sāttvika and vyabhicārī, the devotee relishes the transcendental bliss of loving Krishṇa in a variety of nectarean tastes.”[1]

So far what is mentioned here? This is like a scientific analysis of divine love. And these different stages are actually very high stages of divine love. Sthayi-bhava or permanent mood, permanent feeling is when your dedicated service is never changed. So this is the permanent commitment, we can say. And not only commitment, because commitment may be passive, but this is like a very active, dedicated commitment.

And in addition to these stages there is vibhava and anubhava. What is vibhava? Vibhava is the origin of the bhava, or the preliminary necessities of bhava that will inspire bhava, the feelings. We may call it a special ecstasy. And anubhava is like a result, resulting from these feelings – it’s called sub-ecstasy. These anubhavas, or subordinate expressions of ecstasy, are divided into thirteen categories. Shall we read this? You will not be able to remember all the different thirteen types, but never mind, you may get a glimpse of what it might be.

So, the first is dancing; this we know. The second is rolling on the ground; this we usually don’t practice. Third one is singing. Then yelling. Then jumping; the ecstatic kirtan is a jumping kirtan. Then the sixth one is making loud noises. Then yawning. So don’t think if your brother on the lecture yawns, that he is in tamas – maybe he is in pure ecstasy. Next is heavy breathing; when there is something on your heart you breathe very heavily. Not caring for public opinion – I think this part we know. The next one is discharging saliva. Then roaring laughter, wild laughter. Unsteadiness. And hiccups.

These are the thirteen types of subordinate expressions or symptoms of ecstasy. So, if a pure vaishnava comes to your home and very loudly shouts at the door, dances heavily and jumps high, while spitting all around, not caring for public opinion and sometimes rolling on the ground – don’t think that he is mad. Especially if with very strong words he demands prasadam – that is another symptom of high ecstasy.

And this is really not a joke – we can never know what is hidden in the heart of another person. For example we have heard so many times about the ecstatic love of Godhead; or at the end of the kirtan what is that special feeling? So it is there! And if you let these impulses work on us, then you might end up rolling on the ground.

“These tastes are like a combination of yogurt, sugar candy, ghee, black pepper and camphor and are as palatable as sweet nectar.”[2]

So, this is the instruction of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Rupa Goswami. Rupa Goswami was so surrendered to Mahaprabhu that he was considered to be a second self of Mahaprabhu. And Mahaprabhu had chosen certain disciples to express certain different feelings. For example Rupa Goswami started to become shastra-guru of the whole sampradaya because of his analysis of divine love, contained in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, that is The nectarean ocean of dedicated service – so you can imagine how high these topics are! While there is still an upgrade to that book also and that is called the Ujjvala Nilamani… So all these scientific categories and explanations of our faith were expounded by him. And his brother, Sanatan, was chosen for the regulative principles – he had collected all the necessary recommendations and guidelines in order to practice bhakti properly. And somewhere in his books it is written that you have to perform varnashrama-dharma perfectly for – I don’t remember exactly the number – let’s say 25 thousand lifetimes and then you can start practicing bhakti. So how many lifetimes are behind you, performing perfectly varnashrama-dharma? But anyway, due to some unconditional divine mercy we are here. And beyond these formal regulative principles Sanatan Goswami also delivered some very high aspects of the truth like the enhancement of Shrimad Bhagavatam. Then there was this very high devotee Raghunath das Goswami – he is like the rasa-acharya. One of his books is called The Bouquet of Lamentation[3]. So very delicate information is contained in his books. While the youngest of the Goswamis, Jiva Goswami, was chosen to be the philosopher. And he has given in his Six Sandharbhas, or Treatises, practically all the proofs of the superiority of devotional practice.

So, all these different devotees were chosen by Mahaprabhu to fulfill a special purpose. Even when Mahaprabhu arranges something very simple, He fulfills many purposes. When He chastised the Junior Haridas[4], He did not only establish very strongly the dharma principles, but He defended His devotee from falling down and also He helped the young one to achieve liberation, perfection. So, if Mahaprabhu wants to fulfill something, He knows the ways. And through surrendered devotees like the Goswamis, His followers-disciples, it was very easy to fulfill these divine desires.


(to be continued)


[1] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.180-181

[2] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.182

[3] Vilapa Kusumanjali

[4] See Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya-lila, Chapter 2


Swami Tirtha: We attend the school of affection. Life is about this. In three words our existence on this planet earth is: live, love, leave. This is what we have to do in this life.

Rukmini: We can live and love after leaving.

Swami Tirtha: Sure. But as we attend this school, we have to learn the science of love. People can meet on different platforms and they exercise their capacity of love on different levels. One is simple biological attraction of the genders. It’s called sex – not very high. Everybody is doing that outside. Especially in the springtime – everybody is dizzy about it. The basic point in sexual attraction is “my pleasure”. ‘I don’t mind with whom but I want to be happy.’ This is a very basic platform of some understanding about what is love. The next step is erotic attraction, erotic love, when I’m not so much focused on my own carnal bodily pleasures, but when I’m ready to share feelings, emotions, I’m ready to share my life with someone. And this is very popular these days – to share pleasure, to give happiness to the other. But here also bodily engagement is there. Yet if you go to the next step of loving practice, it’s called filia – this is like brotherhood of men – then you don’t need bodily engagement. Then you can appreciate the other because he exists.

So, on the first platform there was “my enjoyment”. ‘I love you because it’s good for me.’ On the second platform it was ‘I love you because it’s good for you.’ At least some kind of service mood is there: ‘I also want to give something, not only to receive.’ On the third platform, on this brotherhood platform, this is ‘I love you because you exist. I appreciate your existence. You are dear to me because you are.’ Is that high enough? I think that is high enough! And it’s very rare – if we can appreciate our fellow human beings because they are. Most of the time we are worried because they are. Fighting, headache, hate and this and that… Turn it properly and then you will be able to appreciate others because they exist. You cannot do that without a spiritual vision. Impossible! Impossible! Otherwise you will see only the mistakes and shortcomings.

But this is not the end. The end is called agape, or spiritual love. And here the motto is ‘I love you because of love. For the sake of love. Not because you are, not because I’m happy, not because you are happy – for the highest principle.’ This is extraordinary rare. If you meet one or two persons on that platform, you are very fortunate in this lifetime. Because they don’t calculate and for them everybody is dear in the same sense. So you can see the similar mood returns, because on the first platform ‘It does not matter with whom, I want to enjoy!’; on this very high platform: ‘It does not matter with whom, I want to serve the divine love.’ But you see the upgrade – one is very basic, very brutal, very selfish and the other is very high, very elevated.

And then we can say that the next-next stage, the utmost stage is divine love. This is described in this book[1]  – what we discussed: prema-bhakti and sadhana-bhakti and this and that. But you know it’s not an elementary school book. Because divine love is the ultimate connection between the soul and the Supersoul. And even higher grade is the connection between Radha and Shyama. Or Govinda and Radhe. And if you want to go even beyond that, then you put it in a very condensed form and this is called Goura.

So, I think this is what we have to learn. And we train ourselves in this science – sometimes as family members, sometimes as ascetics, other times like prostitutes, sometimes like women, sometimes like men, brahmacharis or grihasthas – it does not matter. On the long run we have to understand that we have to practice this school, we have to attend this school. Because this is our ultimate way of expression – our capacity to love. And if you meet your let’s say soul partner, that connection can be prolonged in different lifetimes. Maybe sometimes as husband and wife or some close relatives, or some very dear friends, sometimes like very deep enemies, or in spiritual connections – like brothers and sisters or guru and shishya.

Rukmini: So then the difference between the people you love depending only on your dedication? You decide who is more special than someone else, is it?

Swami Tirtha: Until you differentiate you are not on the highest platform. We can understand this only according to the philosophy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s achintya bheda abheda tattva – one and different at the same time in an unknown way, in a mystic way. Because of course we should develop the attitude when our affection is not a feeling, but it’s a paradigm. Not only a feeling, it’s your state of consciousness. Because feelings are changing, coming and going, but our basic vision of the world, our paradigm should not change. Once we understood that divine love is the highest, how can we change that? We cannot change! If you come to the peak, you are on the peak.

So it is suggested that we should have this general vision. At the same time, on the relative platform we have to behave accordingly. Because there are some rules and regulations here and there: ‘I am a man, I am a woman, I am a parent and I have to take care of my children’ – you should not give this up. Even a realized devotee who is fully aware that ‘I am not the body’ should visit a public toilet according to ender.

1. Chaitanya Charitamrita

proper transaction

(continues from the previous Monday)



Question of Kripadham: My third question is: what are the expressions of dedication? What is included – some emotions, some actions, some philosophical speculations?

Swami Tirtha: That is very far away. Dedication… what is dedication? Dedication is when you give what you have. Can you give your philosophical understanding? If we don’t have that, we cannot give our philosophy. Can we give our practices? What is your spiritual practice?! It’s very weak, very insignificant. So, if you check your list what you have ultimately you will find that ‘I have only two things. I have my life, life force. And I have yet another manifestation of this life force and that is my affection.’ These are the only two things that we have. Therefore to surrender means that you give these two to someone. I give my life and I give my affection.

Once it happened that a very prosperous young man met a spiritual master. And he said: “Ah, finally I have met you! When I was a boy I had a dream. In my dream I saw some eyes inviting me and now meeting you I met the same eyes. Divine love is so important for me, I’m ready to give up everything for that! Please, teach me devotion!” So, when the master asked: “This is very nice that you came, my dear boy. I will teach you, but what will you give?” the boy had the proper answer: “I will give my life.” Then immediately the master gave up the official role and said: “All right. I’m ready to give my love to you.”

So this is the proper transaction. One dedicates the life and the other dedicates the love. Which one is stronger? We can never know. But this is the transaction that we are searching for – if you give something that you have, you receive much more. Devotional life, spiritual principles are not according to the material principles. Because in the material sphere you give much and you receive practically nothing. In spiritual sense you give only one thing – only one, not many – your life. But then you receive something very powerful, very deep, very vast. So this is the proper transaction.




sadhumaharaja and gurudeva

(continues from the previous Monday)


Question of Kripadham: Is it possible to be dedicated to several gurus and to get the candy?

Swami Tirtha: Yes, it’s possible. But it’s also possible to be dedicated to one. Because guru ultimately is one. Guru is a divine function. Guru is not only the person. It’s something beyond. And if you dedicate yourself to the person, you will stay with the person. Which is not a bad option. But if we dedicate ourselves to the divine aspect of the spiritual master, the guru principle also, then we shall never lose that connection.

So, it is possible to be dedicated to different persons, representing the same spiritual truths, as it is said: “An obedient lamb will suck from two mothers.” The main point is to be obedient.

I know that you are not satisfied with this answer, but… I should tell the truth.

And why is it possible to have more gurus than one? Because gurus also are of different grades and different kinds, different functions. One is leading you to the path, the other is initiating you, the third gives you the instructions, the fourth gives you the rasa, the fifth gives you the sannyas – there are different gurus. And you have your internal guidance also. So chaitya-guru, vartma-pradarshaka, shiksha-, diksha-, rasa-, sannyas-guru – there are different grades of guru. And it is said in the shastra that from one master you cannot learn everything. Because you know, when we are in the beginning stage we want to know everything. And if you come to a real master with this little offensive mood ‘Give me everything! Give me everything!’ – he will give you some puzzles, to break your brain. To be engaged: ‘Don’t disturb me!’ And when later on you come with a more humble attitude: “Ah my dear master, I’m not interested in anything anymore, just give me the sugar candy,” then maybe he will be more tender to you and will not give you external practices, but internal. So, we have to be qualified to receive the higher instructions.

Yashoda: In connection with Kripa’s question…

Swami Tirtha: Well, everything is revolving around kripa.

Yashoda: From your answer I understood that you are speaking about teachers who belong to the same guru-parampara. But what if the teachers are of different lines?

Swami Tirtha: There are no teachers of different lines. There is only one line. Don’t worry: sugar candies are reserved in the sweet shop. In the next shop you can buy stones or whatever – the candies are reserved in this line.

Yashoda: So, sooner or later we will go to the proper shop?

Swami Tirtha: Hopefully with some teeth left.

Kripadham: In this connection I’d like to ask: we may have several teachers giving us different practices and helping us on the way – this I understand. But is it possible in the heart to have more than one master?

Swami Tirtha: Once at a lecture somebody asked a similar question. He said: “Krishna is very nice, but what if I have another inclination also? If somebody else is also there in my heart – like different path, different God, different guru?” And as this young man was a very happy husband at that time, I asked: “What is your feeling if your wife has somebody else also in her heart?” He had no more questions. He understood that ultimately we have to be exclusive. Exclusive not in the sense that ‘ah, we are very posh and very elegant’, but exclusive that no other things are involved in, only one. But this is not against other things – we should understand it properly. Because we should search for that by knowing what we shall know everything, we should search for that by obtaining what we shall obtain everything. This is God Supreme. If you have Him in your heart, you will have everything. If you know Him, you will know everything. Therefore this is the real exclusive service – that includes everything else. Because nothing is independent of Krishna. Therefore if we have Him, we have everything. And therefore we don’t need to search for a second God or other one. Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says that the most beautiful thing that you can find ever is divine love. The king of all existence is love. What else can we say!


(to be continued)



“The gradual development of prema, divine love, may be compared to different states of sugar. First there is the seed of sugarcane, then the sugarcane itself and then the juice extracted from the cane. When the juice is boiled, it forms liquid molasses, then solid molasses, then sugar, candy, rock candy and lozenges.”[1]

So, what stage do you have? Have you got the seeds? Or the lozenges?

Therefore we like to belong to this school. Because it gives you the best. The best of sweet taste.

Kripadham: I have a question, actually three questions. Is it possible if someone is not so much dedicated to guru, but very much dedicated to the spiritual practice to achieve the same results? The second question is…

Swami Tirtha: Slowly, slowly! I cannot answer many questions at the same time, so one by one. We should follow a gradual process. One question – one answer. But actually, as this is a mystic process, one question – hundreds of answers. Depending on the level that you can reach in understanding the answers. So, you ask: if we dedicate ourselves to the practice or if we dedicate ourselves to the master, is it possible to reach the same goals?

Kripadham: To reach these heights, to get the candies? If we are dedicated to the spiritual practice, but we have not so strong connection with the guru, is it possible to get the candies?

Swami Tirtha: Well, let’s take a material example. Where are the candies hidden? They are hidden in a special shop. And this shop is protected by the owner of the shop. On normal days he gives candies only to the qualified customers. To put it short – only for those who are ready to pay the price. But sometimes there is some festive occasion when they freely distribute the candies. Then you can get one piece if you are fortunate. But as it is so sweet and so attractive, you want to have a second one. Still you have to work very hard to get the second one. If you are a good friend with the shop-keeper, you will have entrance to the inner store. Otherwise you can be very knowledgeable about the candies, you can read all the shastras, you can search on the Internet, and also you can stand in front of the shop window, but it’s not the taste.

So, I would say we cannot reach the same results by simply following certain spiritual practices and by trying to satisfy your spiritual master. Because one is the long path and the other is the shortcut. And as we are part of a descending process, the result is not due to our own efforts but it’s something given to us, descending to us.

But how to satisfy our masters? How to be good friends with the shop-keeper? Follow the instructions. If he says: “My dear son, you should follow all the philosophy and all the rules and all the teachings, do this and this spiritual practice in order to be purified,” then we have to do it. Then we can reach the candy. But as the guru is sevak-bhagavan[2], without that connection it is practically impossible to come to the deeper aspects of devotional service.

At the same time, simply being a fanatic of one’s spiritual master or to cultivate guruism instead of real surrender, it will not help you. Your second question?


(to be continued)


[1] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.179

[2] The serving God


(continues from the previous Monday) 

So, anartha means “not proper value and not proper goal”. Because illusion has two functions on the jivas. The two functions of jiva-maya are avaranatmika and vikshepatmika – that means “to divert your attention” and “to cover the truth”. These are the two functions of illusion – it will cover the truth so that you are not able to see it; and as we cannot see the truth we shall be engaged with something else, because we have to be engaged. So illusion fulfills both functions. Therefore it is suggested that you should get rid of the anarthas. And in the sequence, given by Shrila Rupa Goswami, it is called anartha-nivritti – “don’t practice anarthas, don’t follow anarthas.”

But how can we really get rid of our anarthas, shortcomings? Shall we develop an anartha consciousness? Going back to this original sin, like this ‘devil consciousness’, ‘the trick of the devil’, ‘smile of the Satan’ or ‘tricks of illusion, maya’? If we base our spiritual progress on fear: ‘I am afraid of maya, I am afraid of illusion, I am afraid of being I don’t know what…’ it will not help. Because in this way you develop maya consciousness and not Krishna consciousness. Instead of thinking of our own limitations why don’t we think of the beautiful qualities of Krishna? Therefore real anartha-nivritti equals artha-pravritti. I think this is very clear for everyone. Artha-pravritti means “cultivate the values”. This is the way to get rid of the improper values and improper goals. Therefore being engaged under the loving care of a spiritual master in devotional service means artha-pravritti – cultivate the values. And in this way you will easily get rid of all the anarthas, all the mistakes that you have. Before that we can hardly speak of any serious attachment to the divine goal. Then our inborn nature cannot manifest.

So, anartha-nivritti, purification from the mistakes is provided by artha-pravritti, cultivation of the values. Then you will have steadiness in devotional service (nishtha). And steadiness means ‘In good times and in bad times I am an unconditional servant of the Lord.’ It’s very easy to be a good devotee when it’s easy. When all the stars are in a proper position and everybody just supports me: “Ah, jay prabhu, jay mataji! So nice that you came!” And when I am also in a good period, easy period. But when some difficulties appear, when from time to time you reap some of the results of your previous actions, then you can understand your steadiness. How much you maintain your faith.

Steadiness means unshaken faith and practice. And then a very beautiful result will come – it’s called ruchi, the taste. In 1984 we were taking prasadam. And a devotee was so inspired by the dhal… no, wait a minute, it was not dhal, it was cofta, yes, it was cofta! He was so much inspired by the cofta that he said: “It’s got not only rasa, it’s got ruchi!” Higher taste that will satisfy you! This ruchi of course is there even from the beginning, but more like in a hidden form. And we have to develop an ability to taste that higher taste. Because what happens to you in the beginning, when you meet the devotees? ‘Ah, it’s very interesting, it’s very charming, it’s very attractive!’ And this is due to the taste, to the higher taste. Later on what happens to you? You will be able to taste that higher taste even better. This is the proper progress in spiritual life. And then later on the higher stages of bhakti will reveal.

As there are nine basic practices of devotional service like shravanam kirtanam etc, there are higher practices of devotion also. By time we should progress to the higher cultivation. Of course it does not mean that we should give up shravanam and kirtanam, but we should add more depth, we should add more value to all these practices.

It is said that sadhana-bhakti can bring you to a certain level of realization, but ecstatic love of Godhead is provided by the Supreme. Our duty is to cultivate ourselves, to follow all the principles that are necessary for purification – dharma and param-dharma. Then you have prepared yourself to embrace the divine blessings.

And this stage of ecstatic love for Krishna is described: the heart is completely softened, devoid of all material desires and your spiritual emotions are very strong. That will bring the deepest attachment to Krishna. With omitting one or two stages you cannot come to the proper platform. It’s not enough to have a soft heart, yet fully contaminated; and it’s not enough to have a pure heart, but as hard as ice. So different qualities should merge in our practice, then we can come closer to our beautiful ideals.

“The basic aspects of prema when gradually increasing to different states are called affection, abhorrence, love, attachment, further attachment, ecstasy and great ecstasy.”[1] So, sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga, bhava, maha-bhava – these are the higher practices of bhakti. As I mentioned, the higher grades of devotional service are there, not only the basic principles. We should also come to that higher platform.

[1] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.178


The process starts with a very delicate introduction – this is called faith. Faith is something that you can achieve by certain good luck, by some divine blessings. And when we are in this blessed position – to have faith – then we can proceed very nicely. And you can be sure that you will be purified of all your misconceptions. So, we have to be very careful about the object of our faith. Because if you dedicate your faith to human beings, what will be the result?

Hri Shakti: Frustration.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. But if we dedicate our fate to the Supreme, what will be the result?

Hri Shakti: The opposite of frustration. And more of that.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. Actually in this material life we are in a training process. Let’s say Krishna is the director, guru is like the teacher and they try to teach us, train us nicely to accomplish this school. Because what is the goal of the school? It’s to get the students out of the school. The goal of the school is not to keep the students all the time in the school, because then there’s something wrong. So, with different methods and different instruments our teachers try to educate us about the proper ways. Sometimes they use candy, other times they use stick. But the goal is the same – to learn the lesson, to complete the exams and finally to obtain a degree: ‘Yes, you have gone trough the tribulations of material life, finished with this and you can enter a higher grade of studies.’ What is the entrance?

This is what is mentioned here by Shrila Rupa Goswami – to accept initiation from a master. This is a very special type of association with saintly people. It is said: “If you accept guru from the mind, you will have many problems; if you accept guru from the heart, you will have no problems.” Why guru is necessary? Because he is the professor and we are the students. And until it is like this we are very safe. Because our masters will try to take care of us. Of course we have to be obedient students, then the process of teaching is very smooth.

The next stage after faith and association is initiation, which means joining a spiritual school is engagement in devotional service. And in one sense we can say that the goal of a spiritual school is to keep the students all the time. Because this is a school of perfection, this is not a material school that will teach you the sufferings of material existence so that you want to get rid of these. But this is the school of dharma and param-dharma. And we can all the time, forever study this topic – no end! You can stay in this school and every time you can learn higher and higher grades of the same science.

Devotional service under the instructions of a spiritual master will bring a much desired result and this result is to be purified of anarthas. What is an anartha? Anartha means “no artha” or “no value”.  Artha – these are the values of life. And the second meaning of artha is “goal”. So, if this is rejected or negated, like an-artha, that means no value and no goal. Anartha is such a condition that you might have, which has no proper goal and no proper value. And definitely they will block your progress in spiritual life. Sometimes our old material conditioning will strengthen our anarthas. Sometimes also the way to cure of a disease is to have more symptoms. For example a kid catches cold. At the beginning for the cure more fever will come, many times it happens. And sometimes the stupid parents come with the drug for decreasing the temperature – immediately you want to stop the symptoms. But in this way you cannot cure the disease. So for some time we have to let the symptoms grow. In the same way if we want to be cured from the material disease and especially if you want to be cured, the symptoms will grow like anything. Just like one mother explained to us yesterday: “Those, who are obedient servants of the devil are not harassed by him. But those, who want to escape – ah, they will be tested.” In the same way, if you want to get rid of the influence of illusion, up until a certain level illusion will demand you more and more and put you under tests. And this fight is practically a lost fight. Because Krishna says in the Gita: daivi hy esha guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te – “This divine energy of Mine, illusion, composed of the three modes of nature, is practically impossible to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.”[1]

So, this is the way to escape the traps of illusion – more surrender. Surrender to what – to the symptoms of material infection? Most probably not. Surrender more to your service, surrender more to your divine masters, surrender to the holy name. Analyze yourself and hope for a merciful solution.


(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 7.14



Question of Manjari: We have discussed the gunas of material nature, which are part of maha-maya. And also we know that there is yoga-maya in the spiritual realm. Are there some spiritual gunas – like I’ve heard the devotees talk about shuddha-sattva – and what are they like?

Swami Tirtha: Good question. So, what is your opinion? What is your vision?

Hayagriva: Shuddha-sattva is transcendental, it’s beyond the three gunas of nature, this is the pure goodness.

Swami Tirtha: Yes. Correct. Is there anything higher?

Answer: As our sphere here is a perverted reflection, it appears that shuddha-tamas must be the highest.

Swami Tirtha: Wow! That sounds mind-blowing, ha? “Pure ignorance”. We have to examine that more deeply, right?

So, if we want to find the structure of material sphere, what is on the top? On the top is sattva. Sattva, goodness is the best part of material nature. Then the middle section is rajas and the third part, the lowest is tamas – innert passive weight, like bulk. Tamas is like matter, very inert; rajas is like energy, moving the things; and sattva is like light, giving some understanding, giving some direction and ruling the whole system. And this is a dynamic system – sometimes this overpowers, other times that captures your being and you are under the influence of the different gunas. And as we discussed here, there is a passive state of shanti, or liberation, or nirvana. Nir-vana means “no forest” – out of the forest of material existence. Vana is “forest”, nir-vana is “no forest”. This is the passive state. And if you elevate your consciousness through all these different layers, tamas is like the deep garage under the Sofia Mall, level minus three. Once you go there, it’s very difficult to find your way out. Then level minus two is rajas, level minus one is sattva; and the zero level is nirvana, or brahman. It’s only the zero level! Sorry, my dears, this is not a high achievement, it’s only the zero level.

All right, now let’s enter the Mall. You know, sattva means knowledgeable, pure, religious – but basically sattva is a little passive. „Good is passive, bad is active”. So shuddha-sattva, or the first platform beyond this neutral stage of liberation – this is very nice, very spiritual, but not so many things are happening there. A devotee in shuddha-sattva always says “yes” to Krishna, very obedient, knows all the rules and regulations and the routine how to serve. But in the Bible it is said that God spits out the lukewarm (people)[1]. Because it does not give any higher taste, it’s passive. In the same way Krishna needs some excitement.

So, if there is shuddha-sattva, then what is the next level? Level minus three was material tamas, minus two was material rajas, minus one was material sattva; then the zero level was brahman. First level is shuddha-sattva – pure spiritual goodness. And what is on the second floor?

Neli: Shuddha-rajas.

Swami Tirtha: There is shuddha-rajas, yes. Purified passion is there. Is there anything on the third floor?

Yashoda: Cinema.

Swami Tirtha: Cinema? I see that you know very well the construction of the Mall. But on the third floor there is shuddha-tamas. ‘What?! Shuddha-tamas? Come on! This is some heretic philosophy here! I’ve never heard of that.’ But actually it exists. Because shuddha-sattva gives only the glimpse into the divine realm. You see the light. But that light is so bright that it makes you blind. We should be able to see shuddha-rajas and shuddha-tamas. And as in the material sphere tamas is the deepest point, according to our understanding shuddha-tamas is the highest.

Who possesses shuddha-tamas in the spiritual world? The gopis possess the shuddha-tamas. Because they have pure, purified ignorance about the divine position of Krishna, a total forgetfulness. Just imagine – can you tease God? No, you cannot! But the gopis are doing it. And sometimes they are hiding from Krishna, other times they are chasing after Him… Can you do that with the Personality of Godhead? Hardly ever! But with your lover you can do many tricks. So, they don’t know, they are not aware of the greatness of the Lord.

Like mother Yashoda. You know, when Krishna ate earth and Balaram complained to mother Yashoda, then Yashoda said: “Come here! Come here, my dear boy!” Just try to imagine the situation – somebody orders God: “Here!” And He comes! “Again You have done some mischief? Naughty boy! Open Your mouth!” Krishna is very obedient, opens His mouth. And mother Yashoda checks out what is inside. And then maybe this was a 3D movie. “Ah, – she was a little perplexed – universes are here, and the basic elements, ah no, that’s too much! And I am also there, checking out the mouth of my child…? No, no, no! That must be some illusion.” So, she closes her eyes, moves her head and says: “No, no, no. This is not God, this is not divine revelation. This is my son.” Pure, purified tamas. Even if she is offered a chance for proper understanding, she rejects: “No, I don’t want to know the truth. I want to live in my truth. Because my truth is driven by affection. If I understood that You are God Supreme, I would be driven by awe and reverence. I don’t want that. I want to be ignorant of Your greatness. I want You very close.”

Therefore shuddha-tamas is the greatest. But please, if you simply quote me that “Tirtha Maharaj said that shuddha-tamas is the best, this is our goal”, I don’t accept.

Yamuna: Quote the entire lecture or nothing.

Swami Tirtha: Yes. Because if you pick a few words: ‘Hey, this guy was talking about the Sofia Mall. And then he said that the best part is in the cinema and that it is on the top. And his goal is tamas…’ – so please, quote precisely.


[1] Revelation 3:15-16   


пътят, истината и животът

(continues from the previous Monday)


One type of service is the official and the other service is the natural. What are the types of sadhana-bhakti? Who can tell? Bhakti means devotional service; what is sadhana?

Answer: Spiritual practice.

Swami Tirtha: Spiritual practice – this is the way to achieve your goals. Sadhana means that you have to live according to the truth also. So, what are the elements of sadhana-bhakti?

Answer: Wisdom, self-control and love.

Swami Tirtha: It’s not bad. But maybe I put the question improperly. Actually I inquire about the stages or the different kinds of sadhana-bhakti. The elements are like ‘I do this, I do that’, but what types, what major practices are there?

Hayagriva: Vaidhi and raganuga.

Swami Tirtha: Correct! Thank you. So, sadhana-bhakti has two platforms: one is vaidhi and the other is raganuga. What is vaidhi? Vaidhi is derived from vidhi. Vidhi is “rule”. This is the regulative devotional service, according to rules and regulations, vidhi. You should wake up like this, you should cleanse like that, you should chant like this, so many times bow down, and ring the bell, and do the different things, this time, that time… Complicated! We have some understanding about it, right? And what is raganuga?

Answer: Spontaneity, when you don’t need rules and regulations, you just live like this.

Swami Tirtha: Well, this is material life. You don’t have any regulations and you live like this. This is the mushroom life. No rules, no regulations – you live like this.

Answer: But this concerns spontaneous love towards God.

Swami Tirtha: What – raganuga?

Answer: Actually not – following those, who have such love.

Swami Tirtha: Thank you! So that does not mean that you live like you are, but you follow something. Therefore even raganuga is considered to be a basic practice. This is an element of sadhana-bhakti. Raganuga is a little different practice than vaidhi. Anuga means “follow the footsteps” and raga means “those, who are attached to Krishna”. So raganuga-bhakti means “follow those, who are attached to Krishna”. Actually we do this even on the platform of vaidhi. Because if our master tells us: “Do like this, follow like that, this is your service, those are your principles”, we follow. But raganuga is a little bit more like catching the essence; it’s not only the routine, official rules, but something more. If we are very neophyte on the sadhana platform, that means we don’t have even the results of the sadhana yet. If you are very neophyte on the raganuga platform, that means you don’t have the raga yet, still you try to practice in order to achieve that. Raganuga-bhakti is something very high. Very rare and very high. So we might think that ‘ah, this is the end’. But is there something higher?

Somebody: Prema-bhakti.

Swami Tirtha: Prema-bhakti! Or, if we want to be more precise, ragatmika-bhakti. Ragatmika-bhakti is the spontaneous level of the loving service to the Supreme, where the atma, or the essence of our dedication, is raga. Raga-atmika – the atman, the central core, the essence is raga. It’s not vidhyatmika, or routine essence, rule essence – no, it’s ragatmika. So actually we can say that the higher level of devotional service is ragatmika-bhakti. But that is practiced by whom? By the parishads – eternal partners of Krishna, or the nitya-siddhas. So, it’s extremely rare.

But… I think I made a mistake; this is not extremely rare, this is the majority. Because on the other side this is the natural expression. Maybe here you find it very rarely, but over there… Just imagine, you enter Goloka Vrindavana and you want to start a philosophical debate. You will hardly find any partners for that. But even if you find someone very gentle to discuss with a newcomer, and you will come up with some ideas: “Hey, what is your opinion about vaidhi-bhakti?” That gopi will say: “Vaidhi-bhakti? That’s very interesting, I’ve never heard about that. It’s something new for me.” Because, you know, if you live in your divine environment, it’s very difficult to imagine that somebody is not living there.

So, there is no philosophical discussion in Goloka Vrindavana. There is only a competition of glorification and service. But until we come to that platform, we should follow what is given to us. And we should add some very special ingredient – our affection. It’s not enough to officially wipe the floor of the temple. A paid servant can also do that. What’s the difference? If we add something more, if we do it really like a loving offering to our Lord – that is the difference. So we should always be very careful, very attentive about this very subtle quality. I think we all understand – we can do the same service with negligence and with full attention, full dedication. And there is a big difference.