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August 2018
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

We understood that we have to try to accomplish in our life two types of parallels of the nature. If you want to be purified, then you have to apply the divine knowledge in your life – to burn up the package of your karma, what you have collected throughout the lifetimes. You have to be like the fire of the reed, which is very quickly, easily and powerfully burning. And the other parallel is to be so pure like the leaf of the lotus, so that no new karma reactions should attach to you. In order to achieve that, we have to apply the science of action. We agreed that we all want to be pure souls -and that is only returning to our source. You don’t have to reach anything extraordinary; this is already given to you. Then the next verse says:

“The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.”[1]

This is a very strong verse, because it describes a yogi in a very much unexpected position – an active yogi. Not a passive guy hiding in some caves in the Himalayas, deeply absorbed in his meditation, but a new type of yogi – active. We understood from the tradition that action will bring reaction. Yet here a saintly person is described: who is very active and most probably there is no bad reaction sticking to him.

If you want to become a saintly personality, you have different options. You can become a heroic actor, following the path of glorious activities, just like the knights of medieval ages – always fighting for the divine truth and meanwhile writing love poetry to the beloved princess. These were their two activities. Practically they were killing everybody, but in their hearts they were poetic, tender lovers with sword in their hands. So, this is one option – you can become a troubadour.

If you cannot raise with one hand this heavy sword or you don’t have your poetic abilities, then there is another option for you – you can become a fakir. He doesn’t work with a sword and emotions, he works with very small little metal pieces – nails. He has his bed of nails, torturing the body to achieve final power over it. But to have a bed of nails sometimes is a little dangerous. I had a friend who had a bed of nails and there was no problem until he was lying on his bed. But when he didn’t use it, he covered it nicely with a blanket, just like a normal bed. But he had a shelf over the bed and once his mother came to take one book from the shelf and she was stepping on the bed… You know in this age to have such a thorny bed it’s little dangerous.

So, if the path of the sword or the path of the nail is not for you, then you have another option – to become a philosopher of the Vedanta. Veda means knowledge; anta means the end of something, or the top of something. So, Vedanta is like the crown of knowledge. To become a philosopher of Vedanta – that’s a demanding job. First of all you have to learn Sanskrit perfectly. Anybody speaking Sanskrit here on a basic level? Second: you have to find a person who will teach you. Anybody has a person who is fully aware of the Vedanta philosophy? And finally we have to qualify ourselves to acquire this knowledge. And I can tell you, this knowledge is complicated. The top scriptures of the Vedanta are of two kinds: one is the Upanishad literature. Upanishad means secret teaching. Upanishads are categorized under the four different types of Vedas – all Vedas have their separate Upanishads. This is quite complicated literature, because it’s a complicated theoretical, philosophical search; second: it uses a symbolic language. So, if you don’t know the key how to decipher the symbols, then you will end up in a mess. And there are minimum hundred and eight main Upanishads. Some are long, others are short, and fortunately for the vaishnavas there is a relatively short Upanishad; because these bhaktas are very busy doing their services, cooking, doing puja, chanting their rounds – they don’t have too much time for very complicated analytical studies. So, our Upanishad is short. To speak about the ultimate truth in a short way – this is called eloquence. Shortly about the essence is eloquence. Therefore our secret teaching is short. There is one question – which is the best way to achieve perfection in this age? And there is an answer: “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”. By chanting these sixteen syllables you can achieve perfection quickly in this age. This is the secret teaching.[2]

And then different teachings of the shorter and longer Upanishads are collected in a sutra. Sutra means ‘a thread’. Sutra is like the essential collection of the main teachings and this one especially is called “Vedanta Sutra” or the essence of the Vedanta philosophy. There are 555 sutras there. Again very complicated. So there are some little difficulties with this type of knowledge.

So, if – the path of the sword, or the path of the nail, or neither the path of this complicated knowledge – you don’t feel like that this is for you, then you still have another option. And this is trying to practice devotional service. This is beyond dry theoretical knowledge. This is beyond bodily tortures. And this is beyond even heroic activities. Because it aims the loving service of the Supreme.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.11

[2] Kalisantarana Upanishad

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