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October 2018
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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 Giridhari: It looks like there is some opposition between the two paths represented – the analytical knowledge and the mystic experience. Do we need to take only one of those paths, or we can harmoniously combine the both?

Swami Tirtha: Well, I think the best is to take the devotional path which is even beyond this general mystic path of yoga. Because what is the special contribution of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to the general history of theological understanding? This is the love mysticism, spiritual love mysticism. That is beyond the general mysticism of yoga.

But I think we can agree: if you properly analyze the impermanent and permanent, the material and the spiritual, you will come to some spiritual vision. That is a mystic experience – you will see beyond the material forms. If somebody has this mystic approach, then he will be able to select nicely between proper and improper – so, again reaching the fruit of the other paths. While the real devotional, the direct devotional mystic experience means:


santah sadaiva hridayeshu vilokayanti
yam shyama-sundaram achintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami[2]


“The eyes of the dedicated souls are anointed with the ointment of devotional love and as a result they will always see the beautiful Shyamasundar form of the Lord in their hearts.” That means direct God experience in your heart, in your innermost existence. “Therefore I will worship the primeval Lord Govinda.” So, this is the devotional alternative. Don’t waist too much time with analysis. Don’t worry about your mystic experience being a little late. Just go on chanting the names and you will reach your goal. I don’t see the contradiction. Because there is a higher conception which embraces everything before.

Giridhari: Maybe we have to read this text in another way: as each of the two paths gives the results of the other one, it’s impossible to take only one of those.

Swami Tirtha: Very good that you remind me, because if we have this devotional surplus, then our karma will become karma-yoga – our activities will become spiritual activities; then our knowledge will become like gyana-yoga. If you add devotion to karma, it becomes karma-yoga; if you add devotion to your knowledge, it becomes gyana-yoga. So, what happens if we add devotion to our yoga? Then it becomes yoga-yoga? Yoga on the square, correct. It’s the higher grade of yoga, multiplied by itself – connection multiplied by connection. Yoga-yoga.


[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.4

[2] Brahma Samhita, 5.38

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