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October 2018
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

against the current

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

Question: Why is evil overwhelming the person? Does the person himself want this? Or he just lets this happen?

Swami Tirtha: Very good question. How the evil dominates over humans? Why, if we don’t want that? The same question was asked by Arjuna from Krishna. Аtha kena prayukto ’yam papam charati purushah[1] – “Where is that power coming from that makes the human being sinful?” Nobody wants to be sinful! Yet sometimes such a power just comes over us and dominates us – where is this coming from? Then Krishna said: Kama esha krodha esha rajo-guna-samudbhavah[2]“This comes from kama, the desire. This also comes from krodha, anger. And ultimately this comes from raja-guna, this quality of passion.” So, this is the source of all the negative influence coming to the human being. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.” And the question also, in the previous verse: Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrishni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force? So sometimes this is against our desire. We want to be nice, but the current of these influences is so strong that it just smashes us.

Then the next question comes: if it is possible to resist or not? Because in this way you can very easily say: ‘Ah, this is not my mistake, this is not my sin. It’s only this influence coming to me, so I’m not guilty.’ Is there a way to resist?

There is. Later on it is said that „Тhis material nature is practically impossible to overcome. Because it’s so strong! But those who surrender unto Me, they can easily cross.”[3] So until we are under the influence of the material energy, you cannot resist. Therefore we have to submit ourselves under divine protection – then it is very easy. How is it? “This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome…” So practically everybody living on this planet Earth is under this influence. It’s very, very, very difficult to overcome this influence. But… “But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” Very simple. Sounds very simple. But this is a general rule that in order to get rid of one influence, you have to render yourself under a different influence.

So this is the way to resist this sinful influence. And of course we try to follow certain principles that will help in that respect. But ultimately we depend on divine mercy.

Question of Yamuna: Maharaj, is it that God has high expectation about us – that we should be able to swim against the current, no matter how strong it is?

Swami Tirtha: Definitely! Definitely! Standards are high. My standards to you and all my students are high. So if I have to sacrifice a little warmth while talking to you, you should not think that this is lack of affection. But what happens if we swim against the current? You will reach the source. So if we swim against the current of material influence, this is difficult, no doubt; but then you will reach the source. And the source is divine. At the source there is divinity.


[1] Bhagavad Gita 3.36

[2] Bhagavad Gita 3.37

[3] Bhagavad Gita 7.14

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