March 2019
« Feb    


Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2013, morning, Sofia )

“Only the ignorant speak of devotional service [karma-yoga] as being different from the analytical study of the material world [sankhya]. Those who are actually learned say that he who applies himself well to one of these paths achieves the results of both.“[1]

Question of Ramvijay: Gurudev, in the Second and Third Chapters of the Gita are discussed the topics of sankhya-yoga and karma-yoga. Yet we see here Swami Prabhupad puts an equal sign between karma-yoga and bhakti-yoga, which is still not mentioned in the Gita at that point. Can you please explain us why this happens like this?

Swami Tirtha: Well, maybe I have a different edition, but my Gita on all the pages says: “Dedicate yourself to God”. So, maybe my Gita is wrong, I don’t know.

Ramvijay: May I have a copy of yours then?

Swami Tirtha: But apart from this remark… Ultimately everything depends on the school of interpretation that you belong to. Once a remarkable Indologist in Hungary said that: “All the conclusion of Bhagavad Gita is nirvana!” So, maybe her edition was also different, but then I had to check. I made a research, an analysis, so to say. And no doubt nirvana is mentioned in the Gita. Of course in the Gita everything is mentioned, nirvana included – I think three times it is mentioned in the context of brahma-nirvanam abhigachati[2] – “he will achieve liberation in Brahman”. But to put this as a conclusion – not only ultimate, but theoretical conclusion of the Gita – it’s impossible, it’s not true. This is not the conclusion. Because if you check how many times bhakti, dedication to God, is mentioned – it’s 36 times! And it is the conclusion of practically all the chapters.

Usually the outsiders prefer the Eleventh Chapter from the Gita – this is “The universal vision” – where Krishna shows His unlimited faces and arms, and majestic beauty, and universal conception beyond all human conceptions. This is so revolting and so embarrassing to Arjuna that he says: “Please, stop that!” Right, and outsiders say: “Oh, show me more! Give me more of this!” While devotees will say: “Let’s skip this chapter!” But even if you check the Eleventh Chapter – what is the end conclusion there? “Only through bhakti you can come to Me!”[3] Right, so this is not nirvana, this is not the universal conception – this is devotion which is the ultimate conclusion of the Gita. Because especially in the Kali epoch this devotional path is the most direct contact to perfection.

Therefore a teacher who belongs to this devotional school will see only devotion – practically in all chapters and all verses. Because for example, as Gurudev mentioned, when Shrila Shridhara Maharaja discusses the price of cement for building, for construction of a temple – that is pure prema-bhakti krishna katha. Because there is no other conception there!. In the same way we can talk about dhyana, we can talk about gyana, we can talk about the universal form – but we use this only as an alibi to speak about devotion.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.4

[2] Bhagavad Gita 5.24

[3] Bhagavad Gita 11.54

Leave a Reply