January 2019
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


In the west we are born in karma-desh. Karma-desh means the place of action. People in India are born in dharma-desh. Dharma-desh is a place for dharma – not simply religious duties, but fulfillment of human prospects and ambitions. They know the secrets of dharma and we have to learn the secrets of action. The Indian masters say that it’s very difficult with the western disciples. Because if they give an instruction to an Indian disciple, he will follow. If you tell him: “Sit in this corner and chant for two years”, he will do it. If you say to a western disciple: “Just sit here for ten minutes and try to meditate”, he will say: “Why?” Why? Because we are so active, we are agitated by action. Our motivation always pushes us to do something. But unfortunately we do many nonsense activities. Therefore we have to learn the art of action, because we are full of activities.

The Bhagavad Gita is like an encyclopedia of divine knowledge. Today we read from the Fifth Chapter. Arjuna said: O Krsna, first of all You ask me to renounce work, and then again You recommend work with devotion. Now will You kindly tell me definitely which of the two is more beneficial?”[1]

So, to receive opposing instructions is quite challenging. Because in the Third Chapter Krishna was talking about karma-yoga – action, the yoga of action. And then He was talking about the transcendental knowledge, a kind of meditation. So: ‘act and think’. That was a challenge for Arjuna whether ‘to do or not to do’. Therefore he asked which is more beneficial. Then the Personality of Godhead replied: “The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work”. [2]

We understood that action will always bring reaction. Usually this is what we don’t take into consideration – that our actions will bring reactions. Sounds logical, yet we always forget about this. We act unconsciously, irresponsibly; and then we are surprised that some reactions will come. For example, you make all the possible nonsense in your life and then you blame God: “Oh, why do You punish me?” So, first you have to understand: purify your existence; and then hope for a better version. But the more delicate question comes: you try to dedicate your life and still some punishment comes to you. Crime and punishment. So, if there is a punishment, there must be some crime. Nothing is without a good reason. We see half of the story – the punishment. Yet we have to be clever enough to see the reasons why it happens to us.

But it does not matter if some reactions come or don’t come to you, don’t blame it on others. Shrila Shridhara Maharaja says: “Don’t blame the environment.” Whatever fruit is there it’s for you. We have to pick the fruits of our actions.

From this we can understand that action always brings some consequences. Therefore with all good reason you may say: “Then stop the action. If there is no action, there is no reaction.” Sounds logical, but it is very impractical: as the western disciples cannot sit in ten minutes meditating. So for us non-action – as a compensation of action and reaction – is not an alternative. Therefore we need another remedy. And this remedy is given here by Krishna – action in devotion. It looks like the same, but it’s completely different. Before I was cultivating my garden, today I am cultivating my garden – but something has changed. If your mentality changes meanwhile, the action will bring different fruits. Then the equation is not ‘action brings reaction’, but ‘devotional action brings affection’. The simple action will bring you to this network of karmic reactions. But devotional activities, spiritual activities are very powerful. And they will bring purification, they will bring liberation to you.

There are some people who have problems digesting milk; sometimes kids also have such problem. What is the best remedy if you have the stomach problems due to milk? Any ideas?

Answer: Curd.

Swami Tirtha: Correct, how do you know?

Answer: From the books of Prabhupad.

Swami Tirtha: Fine! Although curd is another form of milk, it’s only milk! But it can cure the problem caused by milk. In the same way, activity – but a little transformed activity like devotional, spiritualized activity – can cure the problem given by simple activity. Once I mentioned this on a lecture and there was a lady doctor – she took care of some children in a children’s camp – and she said: “Correct, last time it happened to us also”. So, it was a very good feedback – our scriptures tell the truth. Therefore the real remedy for curing the problems caused by activity is devotional activity, spiritual activity.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.1

[2] Bhagavad Gita 5.2

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