June 2019
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

This far Hiranyakashipu, the demon who was waiting for the blessings, told the glories: “Ah, you are so great, you are so nice!” And now he comes with his requests:

“Ah lord, if you wish to fulfill my desire for a boon, then please grant me only this little thing: give me that I should not be killed by any living entity created by you.” But this is only the first, he’s got a long list. “Give me that also that I should not be killed indoors or outdoors. Not during the day, not during the night.” What was the goal behind? ‘I want to be immortal!’ So he started to use his intelligence, trying to find all the possible ways of protection. “I shall not be killed by you, Brahma, or by Shiva or any other demigod or creature; or any weapon. I should not be killed on the ground or in the sky. Nor by any human being or any animal, such as a tiger. No living entity, inert matter, demigod, demon or great snake shall kill me. Please grant me that I shall not be killed by any of these! Ah lord, no one can oppose you in a battle. And you are the lord of all living entities and rulers. So please, give me the same position. Please give me the eight siddhis, the mystic perfections of yoga, and whatever results can be obtained by practice of yoga and tapasya.” It’s a long list, ha? ‘Give me this, give me that!’

“After listening to these prayers and requests of Hiranyakashipu, Brahma replied: “Dear son, now I’m giving you whatever boon you had requested from me, although it is actually rare and difficult to obtain for anyone.” Then Brahma returned to his own home.

So, by the blessings of Brahma, Hiranyakashipu has obtained all the boons he requested, as well as a very strong and powerful golden body. He then remembered the slaying of his brother, who was killed by Vishnu and immediately felt great hatred towards Vishnu, God Supreme. This great asura, this Hiranyakashipu, became the supreme ruler of the other asuras and also of the demigods and human beings. He also became the ruler of the gandharvas – the heavenly singers; the nagas – the cosmic snakes; the siddhas – the perfected beings, the garudas, the charanas, the vidyadharas, the rishis, Yama and his followers, the ancient sages and the pitris – the forefathers; of everybody who is there in this universe.”

So, prestigious positions are there in this world – like a demigod or a king. And there are some not so prestigious positions like yakshas – yaksha is a magician demon fighter; rakshasa is even less prestigious. Rakshasa is a giant eating the flesh of human beings. Pishacha is even more heavy – pishacha is a witch riding on a broom. But there are the pretas also; preta is a demon of the dead bodies, of the corpses.

Yamuna: Vampires? Prototypes of vampires? Zombies?

Swami Tirtha: Come on! These are new inventions, my dear ones. This is the Hollywood version of this kind of beings, so please, stick to the tradition. But what is a preta? Preta is like a ghost. How can you recognize a ghost?

Yamuna: He is semitransparent.

Swami Tirtha: Semitransparent!? Maybe that’s again some Hollywood version; there is a sign, a signal that you can understand who is a preta. Because sometimes they might look like human beings. These types of beings look like humans, but they have some special features from what you can recognize who is who. And the special sign of a preta is… Usually your toes are to the front; but for the pretas they are to the back. It’s not funny! Their feet are to the back. What does it mean? Usually if you walk on the sand, your footprints will show your direction. You go forward and the steps also look forward. But what happens if you don’t know the proper direction? What happens if you are a preta? Although you go in one direction, your footprints will show to the opposite direction. That means that although it looks like you make a progress, actually you go backwards. So this is a preta – this is a ghost of the dead bodies. It  goes to a wrong direction. Do you see the symbolism? It’s really not for amusement, it’s a real heavy message. Because the present-day society goes in a wrong direction. So we can say that practically everybody is a preta, not finding the direction. You go in one direction and your footprints go to the opposite. So something is totally wrong in this conditioning.

So, Hiranyakashipu became the lord of the prestigious, godly, divine, kingly orders; and of these lower species also, like ghosts and devils. “After conquering their lords and kings, he took from them their powers and positions and became the supreme personality in the three planetary systems of Svarga, Martya and Patala.” Patala is the hellish planets, the lower planetary systems. Martya-loka is the Earth and similar planets, where death is the ultimate power. Martya means ‘death’. So the name of the planet is Death. And Svarga is the name of the higher planetary systems, which look like heaven. So, this happened after obtaining this boon – he became extremely powerful. He conquered the leaders of these different groups of living entities and then took their power and took their energy.

(to be continued)

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