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Extra English Issues issues

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.



звукът на барабана

Swami Tirtha: Meditation is very popular these days. What is meditation?

Answer: To do nothing.

Swami Tirtha: Good! I agree. First we have to stop doing nonsense. Because if we are active on the material plane, we make so many mistakes. So meditation at the first step means: don’t do bad activities. But when we achieve this inner peace of heart, of mind, then you can act again. If you have dedicated your life to God, to the divine principles, to the universal harmony, to the principles of yoga – then you can act, no problem. It is possible to reach that level that whatever you do is a meditation. It’s not easy and it’s not on the first week of our yoga classes, but this is possible.

And there is a very special power that helps it to happen – this is called affection. Therefore in the western Christian mystic tradition they say – and please, pay attention, this is very important – “Love and do whatever you like.” Love; and do whatever you like. What kind of love is this? It’s not a feeling between human beings. It’s not a business exchange: ‘I love you until you love me’. No, this is a divine principle. If you are in this living and loving connection with the Supreme, then whatever you will do is correct.

But please, don’t quote me on this point. Last time I heard on Tirtha Maharaj’s lecture that if I love, I can do whatever I like and it’s okay. No! In order to come to that platform, we have to purify our existence, of course! To reach that goal we have to follow all the rules and all the regulations that are possible for purification. But when we come to a realized platform, we shall know how to act properly.

Meditation otherwise means an established connection with the Supreme – like a way of communication. By pacifying our mind and controlling our body we can open up the higher faculties of our structure and then something very special will happen.

Usually sounds are generated by hitting an object. I hit the drum and there is a sound. This sound vibration in the air will hit your ear and then you will listen, you will hear. But there is a very special sound in yoga, which is not produced by hitting an object. It is called the anahata sound and that is the sound of the heart. So, if you are good in your meditation, your heart will tell you what to do. It’s very important. Then you will hear a divine vibration in your heart. And that divine sound will guide you. Anahata sound – this very special vibration in the inner recess of your heart. This is not the pulse, not the rhythm of your heart-beat – this is something beyond. So, proper meditation will help us to achieve this divine vibration and sound.

I’m sure that you chant sometimes the om mantra, right? Shall we make a little experiment to show how much sound vibration resonates? So let’s chant the om together and meanwhile I will show you how to test the vibration. Actually om is a very high type of mantra. This is one of the three main mantras in Kali Yuga. You know that om is composed of three sounds. Sometimes they chant it like A-U-M. A is for Krishna, God. M is for you, human beings. And U in between – this is divine love that connects the two. This is the devotional meaning, or bhakti explanation about om: God, man and the loving connection. Do you like that? I like that explanation very much. So let’s chant the om a little bit. Om… Now put your hand on your chest. Om… Now put your hand on top of your head. Om… Thank you! What did you feel?

Answer: Vibration.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. Here, on the chest… and here, over the head even more, correct? Therefore it does matter what you speak. If we speak nonsense, if we lie, that will also resonate in our structure. If we speak out of hatred, if we have bad intention to others, it will resonate, it will vibrate in your structure. But if you speak the truth, if you glorify God, if you chant your mantras – that will resonate in your structure, too. So, if next time somebody is quarreling with you, you can tell that person: “Put your hand over your head and just try to catch that vibration of your bad words. Please, come to your senses, this is not good for you. It’s not only that it’s not good for me – first of all it’s not good for you to invite such bad vibrations.” Try it, he will definitely stop. Because you know, you cannot say nonsense if you are touching your head like this, you cannot go on quarreling.

So in one way the best activity, the best type of karma-yoga is to chant your mantras. And whatever we cannot express by words, we can express by singing. Because that opens up the heart very quickly.



Fig.-6-Demon-and-Angel-with-Tamaras-Soul

(continues from the previous Monday)

Activity, karma-yoga is a very important factor. And there are many different ways to perform this type of yoga. If we control our bodily activities, this is also a kind of karma-yoga. If we harmonize our daily activities with the lifestyle and recommendations of yoga, then we can purify our actions. Karma-yoga also includes karma. Karma is action-reaction. It’s very logical: if you hit the wall, you will hurt your head. Very simple: action-reaction. If we have a little broader vision of our actions: we give hatred, troubles, headache to others – what will be the reaction, what will you receive? Probably the same: action-reaction.

I’m sure you know that we should act nicely. But then you will say: “I try to act nicely, still bad reactions come to me. I act in a humble manner and people will misuse me.” Or any other reason… But that means there are so many uncleared pieces of paper in your box. We had collected for such a long-long time. So don’t worry if we have to pay the price.

Are you satisfied with this action and reaction? Not so much. We need something else, right? Action, reaction – perfection. This is what we need! We have to act in such a way that will bring us closer to perfection. Therefore if we apply the rules and the suggestions of yoga, we shall come closer to that ideal. If we purify our activities, then we shall have better results.

How to turn karma into karma-yoga? Very simple – add dedication. Work for the glory of God. Because it is said in the Bhagavad Gita, which is a very important revelation of the Indian scriptures, that “I am the ability in men”[1]. God Krishna says: “I am the ability in men.” In other places it is said that God turns into activity in human beings. So our ability to act is given, provided by God Supreme. And we should use our activity – this power, this chance – very properly. If we try, slowly-slowly from karma we shall come to karma-yoga; and if we go further, then from karma-yoga we shall come to yoga. No karma anymore – only this living and loving connection with the Supreme. Because this is the ultimate goal of yoga – a living and loving connection with God.

Therefore to follow the yoga practices is good. Because it will help you to realize that we are less and less bodies and more and more spirit. We shall understand that the sattvic way of life is very beneficial. Sattva is light, purity, the highest quality in the material world. If our life is more and more dominated by sattva, it will give us enlightenment. If we follow ahimsa, non-violence – it’s another very important point in yoga. It does not only mean a vegetarian diet – which is very healthy and very good for your yoga practices – but also it means that you become a nice person. If you are a vegetarian, but after finishing your meal, you go out and kick your brothers and sisters, that’s not nice. So spiritual progress is not only a question of diet. But if we give less and less harmful energy to our body, better and better results we shall reach. Again – action-reaction. If we provide bad, low kind of energies to our body – by food, by drink, by thoughts, whatever – bad results we shall achieve. Action-reaction. But don’t forget about perfection. So, act in such a way that there is no reaction.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 7.8



Sep

18

give

Swami Tirtha: Yoga has many different elements, many different schools, many different stages. There are so many popular forms of yoga – like hatha, integral yoga, laya, mantra, raja-yoga, etc. But if we examine the original sources of the Indian scriptures, they classify three main paths of yoga: one is activity, the second is knowledge, the third one is love. Which one should we discuss? It’s your choice.

Somebody: Karma-yoga.

Swami Tirtha: Karma-yoga? Very good! But how can we speak about karma-yoga theoretically? Karma-yoga means action. So, if we visit a yoga center and we wipe the floor – this is karma-yoga. Or we go to a yoga temple and we cultivate the garden – this is karma-yoga. If you cultivate your own garden – this is karma. If you cultivate the garden of the saints or of the temple – this is karma-yoga, because a special element is added to our activities. What is that? It’s called dedication.

Comment: We work for divinity.

Swami Tirtha: Correct! We are not attached to the fruits of our actions. Is it easy – to work without being attached to the fruits? It’s not easy. Why? Because we are motivated by the fruits. I hope most of you have a job. This is important! But if your boss says: “Hey, my dear, please work more without getting a lev.” – where is your motivation? Is it easy to do this? ‘They expect more and they don’t give any fruits to me?’ Selfless activity is very difficult. Because beyond this material motivation we have to find a divine motivation.

At the same time we all know that to give is better than to receive, right? You had this New Year’s celebration when you exchange gifts. What is better – to get something or to give something? Well, to get something is not bad. I don’t say that this is bad – it’s a good feeling. Because this is an expression of attention, of love, that ‘you are important for me, I take care of you’ – it’s nice to receive. But to give… I think you all have the taste that to give something and to make the other person happy about it – that’s a very sweet feeling! It’s the same with God. It’s very nice to receive His blessings. He provides the air, for example. And so far you can breathe freely. So far. For the water we have to pay already. But He provides the water, it’s not the water system. There are so many blessings we receive from the Supreme – our life, our intelligence, our ability to work, our feelings, everything we got from the divine source. But sometimes we forget to remunerate this. We think that the divine system works on different principles than the material system. Material system means that you push the button and you have the electricity. Or you turn the tap and you get some water. You can enjoy the benefits of the system for a month. Then at the end of that month you will find something in your post-box. It’s a very important factor. Because if you don’t satisfy this little piece of paper, next month you push the button – nothing comes, you turn the tap – nothing comes.

So we know that if we want to enjoy the benefits, we also have to contribute. How much do we contribute to the Supreme Lord? He gives us life, body, understanding, abilities – so many things! How can we pay that bill? That bill is also landing in our spiritual post-box. But we want to ignore that, we want to forget about that. If we do this, we should not be surprised if the supply stops. In what way does the supply stop? You will get sick, you will get troubled, you will have some conflicts, difficulties. If we are not in harmony with the divine plane of this whole universal existence – so if we don’t know the know-how – we shall commit mistakes. Therefore we have to perform karma-yoga correct. Because by this slowly-slowly, in little proportions, we can pay the spiritual bills. If we act selflessly, it will bring very good results.

And this is not a question of money. It is said: if you don’t have anything, still you have to donate. Sounds weird, right? But if you don’t have anything, still you will have some ashes – you can donate that. Something! If we give something, we shall receive. This is the secret art of action.

 

(to be continued)

 



vision of ideal

Swami Tirtha: Please excuse my shortcoming that I don’t speak your language. Only the most important things I know in Bulgarian like четвъртък[1] and палачинка[2]. But today we came together not to speak material language, language of the word, but we came together to speak the language of the heart. To find the importance, the very high and very bright perspective of divine sound vibration.

Sound is energy. Energy is very important in our life. If too much energy comes to you, it gives a little problem. If too little energy we have, it’s also a problem. So we have to find the golden middle path concerning our energy system. Because human life is a very precious chance. So we should use this life, we should use this energy for the best purpose. And as we are sitting here in a yoga center and most of you are very serious practitioners, I think you are aware of these facts – that human life is important and it has got a divine goal.

Somehow we came here on this planet Earth. Do you know the reason why?

Answer: To learn and to grow.

Answer: To fulfill some mission.

Answer: To feel love.

Swami Tirtha: Very good answers you give! Thank you! What can I say? You know everything. We came here for doing something nice, to fulfill our mission and to practice and to experience loving exchange – very good answers.

But actually we have to examine our lives from three different perspectives: why, how and what for. Why we are here. How we should live. And for what purpose we should aspire for. You understand – the reason, the know-how and the goal.

And actually these three phases are described in our scriptures. The first one is called sambandha, or our connection, our origin. Do we come from nowhere or from somewhere? What do you think?

Answer: From somewhere.

Swami Tirtha: Hopefully yes. Because if we come from nowhere, we shall return to nowhere. But if we originate from somewhere, we shall reach back to somewhere. That’s a very important point – we come from a place, we come from somewhere. So, to find our origin, to find our source – this is a primary duty in human life. The body comes from bodies – without the mother and the father we could not sit here in this hall. So our body comes from other bodies. But you know, we have a very special part also – this is our soul. If the body comes from bodies, where does the soul come from? From the Soul, from the Supreme Soul.

Answer: From God.

Swami Tirtha: Yes! Thank you! If we understand this very simple fact, then the second phase will be very easy – how to live. Because if we belong to the divine realm, if we come from God somehow – otherwise this is a little complicated question, but basically we can say we come from above – so, if we belong to God, then we should live according to His desire. Right, this is logical. If we are more like spirit, then we should act more like spirit.

Of course, we have a bodily existence also. Our body is constructed of certain material elements – water to a large extent. 2/3 of our body is made of water. In the case of a tomato, it is over 90%. Babies – over 90%. Old men are drying up – they have less water. So we can say that 50-60 canisters of water are sitting here around us. Still you feel a little more precious than that. So we are not only these 50 liters of water and this and that, but we feel something more precious inside. And this very precious part of us is our soul.

How much do we know about our body and how much do we know about our soul? We don’t know too much about the body, because it is so miraculously working. Still we are concerned with the body so much – although it is inferior to our spiritual identity. If you go to a shopping center, you will find hundreds of different lotions for your body. Foodstuffs for your body; and how much foodstuff for the soul will you find in such places? Not so much. For that we have to come to the yoga center. Here your body is in good shape and your soul is also cultivated.

So we are much more precious than simply this material construction of the body. Therefore we have to understand more and more that we are eternal spirits – spiritual souls, not simply matter. This is a long path – to understand, to realize this fact. But don’t worry, somewhere we have to start. Every long journey starts with the first step.

If we understand that we are not the body, but we are souls, we have spiritual quality, then we should try to act accordingly. But without identifying our goal, can we reach it? If we don’t know what the direction is, we shall not reach. They say that for a ship which does not know the destination, no wind is favorable. So we have to find the goal of our life. Then we know the origin, then we know the goal – only this little middle section we have to bridge.

And actually yoga helps us to bridge this gap. Because yoga will teach us about the spiritual qualities of our real identity. The body is limited – takes birth and dies. But your soul is not born and does not die, it’s eternal. One lifetime on this planet Earth is only one chapter in the eternal journey of the soul. And yoga means connection. In English the instrument that binds the oxen in front of the plough is called yoke – coming from the Sanskrit expression yoga. “Ярем”[3] – is also coming from yoga. Because it connects the two animals with the instrument. Same in Hungarian – “járom”. You see – we are brothers and sisters. So, yoga will connect you to the Supreme.

 

[1] Thursday

[2] pancake

[3] Yoke in Bulgarian



happy celebration of the soul

Question: What are the mantras in yoga and what is the purpose of singing mantras and meditating on mantras?

Swami Tirtha: Well, what is mantra? Mantra is an auditive way of meditation. There are three types of meditation: one is visual, the other is by exercise and the third is by listening, by voice, auditive. So the first one, the visual meditations, the visual instruments for meditation are the mandalas and the yantras. They help us to concentrate more and more by visual forms. Then the second type of meditation is the tantra, tantra means action; you should not mix it with the sex mysticism. So tantra means certain limited rules, regulations and practices that should be followed in order to reach a higher state of consciousness. This is meditation by action. And the third one is the mantra, which is an auditive instrument of meditation, and by chanting the mantras and vibrating these sounds, by the resonance you can change, you can have better feelings. You can heal your body, you can pacify your mind and you can connect your soul to the Supreme. And as the body is a construction of different levels of resonance and energy system, on the different levels of energy are the chakras All these chakras, all these centers have their own mantras. And by chanting these mula (root) mantras, you activate your chakras. That means you can raise your energy to a higher and higher level. In this way by chanting and by meditating, by sound you can activate different centers of your body.

Otherwise the meaning of the mantra is to liberate the mind. The ultimate goal of the mantras is to liberate the mind. And this is our individual practice. But if we search for the meaning of the mantras generally, actually for example om is the mantra of creation. It is said that it was the first sound in the Universe. Just like in the Greek philosophy this is the Logos, in the Bible this is the Word. So this is an active divine sound vibration, which creates a cosmos from the chaos.

So sound is very powerful. And in the creation of the world according to the Indian sources there are seventy million basic mantras plus variations. Practically all the Veda verses are mantras – so it’s quite a complicated system – but the goal ultimately is to liberate the human consciousness from all material conditionings. So if you chant the mantras, first of all you activate and pacify your body-mind complex, then you can establish contact with the Supreme. And if you chant mantras that glorify for example Divinities, then it is an act of worship also. What we cannot express by words, it is very easy to express by song and chanting mantras.

Question: So mantras can be used for private meditation and for congregational singing?

Swami Tirtha: Correct.



Aug

28

Gurudev 2

Question: To which yoga branch do you belong to and what do you teach your disciples?

Swami Tirtha: Myself I belong to the bhakti school of yoga. This is the path of dedication, or we can say, the path of worship. Because there are the karma-kanda, the gyana-kanda and the upasana-kanda sections of the Vedas. Karma-kanda means the ritual action, gyana-kanda means the theoretical investigation and upasana-kanda means the way of worship, when you develop a personal inclination to come closer and to serve the Supreme. So I belong to this latter school, bhakti, the path of dedication and divine love.

And what do I teach to my disciples? First of all I would like to learn from my disciples, because I can learn dedication, enthusiasm and these types of very good qualities from them. But in exchange I try to share with them and with people in general what I have learned from my masters. I teach that the essence of yoga is that man is more like a soul, a spirit that has a body, than a body which sometimes has a soul. And I want to help them to find their own ways for this living and loving connection to the Supreme so that this is not only a ritualistic, classical or official way, but that their faith should be a living faith.

Otherwise in our initiation system, we have three requirements. The candidates should approach the Supreme as a loving God, God of love; they should study, follow and put into practice the principles and recommendations that are favorable for our spiritual practices – including ahimsa, including private meditations and joint services; and finally they should express their commitment actively, they should be active members of the smaller and the greater society. Focus on God, focus on the teachings and focus on sanga.



Krishna talks to Arjuna

Question: I know it’s not possible to explain it in brief, but could you please mention what are the spiritual practices that will help us to purify our consciousness?

Swami Tirtha: Very good question, thank you! We have one very beautiful book here, this is the Bhagavad Gita. This is so important in the Indian philosophy just like the Bible in our country. And here we find some suggestions concerning your question in the Twelfth Chapter.

This book is like a discussion between God and one of His beloved servants. Krishna, God is speaking here and His friend Arjuna – Arjuna is a fighter and they are in front of a war. Arjuna, the fighter, inquires: “What to do? What is the proper action?” Then Krishna explains him everything about the proper action, eternity of the soul, about karma – the action-reaction law. And later on Krishna will say what the perfection of life is: “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.” As you asked what the best spiritual practices are, here you will find the answer – the best is if we can always think of God, always be united with Him, always live in Him. Is it easy?

Answer: It’s very difficult.

Swami Tirtha: It’s very difficult. Krishna knows this, therefore He gives a second alternative: “My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to attain Me.” So if you cannot permanently focus your consciousness in deep meditation and deep absorption in God, then follow the regulative principles. Shall I tell you some?

Answer: Yes!

Swami Tirtha: Ah! It’s a long list. Avoid violence. We can practice it if we have this very nice, very healthy vegetarian diet – there is no violence in your energy input. Then try to avoid intoxicants. Then try to be fateful to your partner. And try to avoid mental disturbance – like speculation and hazard. Fortunately there are four positive principles also that should be followed and these are satyam, daya, tapa, shaucham. Satyam – tell the truth, be truthful; daya – be merciful and compassionate; tapa – lead a simple, renounced life; and shaucham means purity, be pure – in your body, in your mind, in your actions, in your words.

Is that easy to do? Our God is omniscient, He knows that even that is very difficult for the human beings, therefore He gives another alternative:  “If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga, then just try to work for Me, because by working for Me you will come to the perfect stage.” So, if we dedicate all our activities to the divine cause, if we want to work for the happiness of God Supreme, then it will automatically bring you to a higher level. But all activities should be dedicated to the Supreme.

Shall I ask you again: is it easy or not? The next verse says: “If, however, you are unable to work in this consciousness of Me, then try to act giving up all results of your work and try to be self-situated.” That means selfless actions. Be ready to help others, share what you have, be a real human being. This is a very nice feature – if we learn to share what we have.

But to be selfless, again, if we have no motivation, it’s very difficult to act in a selfless way. Therefore the last verse says: “If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.”[1]

So here we have a beautiful structure – how to practice, where to start. You can start with knowledge. And spiritual knowledge means that you differentiate between material and spiritual. It’s very important to distinguish what is what – this is permanent, this is impermanent. Then the next step is meditation. Meditation is very popular these days. If a young man sees a beautiful young woman he says: “Ah, I meditate.” But this is not meditation, my dears. Meditation is when you connect your consciousness to the supreme consciousness, to charge yourself with these spiritual powers and vibrations. Then selfless activity is the next step. And then dedicate your activities to God directly. Then the higher plane is to follow these very important principles. And finally you can reach your permanent absorption in divine consciousness.

But if we want to be more practical… for maybe this is too general for you – I tell you what I do in the mornings, good? We rise early, we have a little ceremony in front of our altar – we offer some flowers, some incense, some other articles to God – then we sing spiritual songs – this helps you also to come to that higher platform; and then we have our private personal meditation – like prayers and chanting mantras. And if you have Bhagavad Gita at home, it’s very good to read at least one verse every day. If you can find, let’s say, half an hour in the morning, this is very good for spiritual practices – to pray, to read, to study, to meditate a little bit. Then you can start your day and you will see the difference. If we can start our day in this mood, it will be a very peaceful and very fruitful day. And if you want to check yourself whether you have maintained your consciousness during the day, in the evening again you should look into yourself: what did you do, what you didn’t do, what did you miss and what did you gain. This is enough to start.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 12.8-12

 



Aug

14

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Question: We have heard that in India there are yogis who live only by taking sunshine. Can you tell us what foodstuffs can bring more spiritual level of consciousness?

Swami Tirtha: Thank you for this question. Yes, sometimes yogis have these very unique and very magical capacities. But other yogis don’t have such magical capacities, nevertheless they are yogis. What is important is the energy input into the body. So, foodstuff is energy. By birth we are determined to take foodstuff. If you see a small boy, he is ready to eat permanently. So human beings are very connected to foodstuff. This is one level of consciousness. Our consciousness is covered by different layers, and foodstuff or this type of energy is one of the basic layers over our consciousness. You know the human body – and the human intellect! – is a very precise and a very sensitive instrument. And you can supply this instrument with different energies – you can give negative type of energies and you can give very purified, very pure energies to this body.

So those yogis, who take only the sunshine, they take very high class energy. Very fine, very delicate energy – it’s more like a vibration, it’s more like radiation that they absorb. And they can maintain the body like this. With all my humility, I don’t suggest that you try this. Because without the previous training it can be very dangerous.

But we can understand that the fuel to our body is the foodstuff. What do you do at a petrol station if you have a diesel car? Do you put petrol into your car or diesel? Of course you will put diesel, right, otherwise it just blows up or it does not work. And what is more complicated structure – a car or your body? I think the body is much more complicated, much more delicate. Therefore we also have to be very careful about the energy input into our vehicle. The more positive, the more living, the more pure energy we give to the body, it will reflect on our consciousness – and on our health, of course.

Therefore for the yogis it is suggested that they should refrain from meat. Usually the yogis follow a vegetarian diet, which has become the most fashionable diet in the West. So, you see, the western civilization follows the East maybe few thousand years later, but it will come also. Because if we supply this very tender, very pure energy coming from the plants – like wheat, fruits, vegetables, etc. – then it will help the body to become healthy and will purify the consciousness. I myself also follow a vegetarian diet and I can tell you that this is very good!

And you know, nature is very much taking care of all the living entities. God has arranged this world in such a way that He provides for everyone. But all the wealth is not enough to satisfy the greed of only one person. So, we have to develop a proper attitude.