Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Fearlessness; purification of one’s existence; cultivation of spiritual knowledge; charity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study of the Vedas; austerity; simplicity; nonviolence; truthfulness; freedom from anger; renunciation; tranquillity; aversion to faultfinding; compassion for all living entities; freedom from covetousness; gentleness; modesty; steady determination; vigor; forgiveness; fortitude; cleanliness; and freedom from envy and from the passion for honor — these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature.”[1]

I think then we can go home. No hope for us! This list is quite comprehensive. If we want to understand what divine nature is, this is the list. We don’t go to the next few verses, where the demoniac nature is described, because then it is just like facing a mirror. But if we look at this list, I think we all can conclude we have a lot to do.

Yet if a little bit we try to analyze these qualities, this whole chapter is about self-analysis, “The divine and demoniac natures”. It is good if we use this information to understand ourselves, to face ourselves and not for the sake of judging others. This is a great help, because at least we have a list of requirements for spiritual practice.

And as “Bhagavad Gita” is the Divine Song, this is a very systematic, scientific knowledge. You might think that Krishna just mentions a few different qualities. But actually He is very systematically combining and grouping these qualities according to the spiritual orders of life.

First of all He starts with fearlessness, abhaya. Fearlessness; why fearlessness is the beginning of divine qualities? Because we have to be very determined and ready to go against the whole propaganda of the material sphere. And I don’t know what your experience is, but I have seen that most of the people are fearful. Even the most successful people are full of fears. Once I met such a person; he was very influential, powerful, successful, wealthy – everything. In the second sentence he said: “Ah, but I have a big fear. I am afraid of dying.” Very big fear! Why? Because death and dying is such an exam that you cannot repeat. If you don’t accomplish nice, then the results will be bitter. There is one exam in one lifetime and this is called death. And as most people are afraid of dying, that shows that they don’t have a conception of living. Because actually life according to their principles is death and death according to their principles is life.

Who can be fearless, abhaya? Those, who have fully surrendered to Godhead. It is said in the shastras: those, who feel any fear, they haven’t surrendered yet fully. In order to achieve our spiritual ambitions, we have to be very fearless, because we have to swim against the flow. And how to become fearless? Well, I think the best method is to grab the lotus feet of our spiritual master, because he is fearless. And if we can associate with him in such an intimate manner, we shall also be fearless.

The second qualification is purification of one’s existence, sattva-samshudhi. If you purify your existence, you will be fearless. And how you can purify your existence? By the third quality and this is cultivation of spiritual knowledge. Therefore we attend the lectures, therefore we study the scriptures, therefore we try to understand theory and put it into practice.

But to listen to such a heavy message nobody is happy. What’s happening? Until Gurudev was not here you were very happy. Whenever he comes and starts: “You have to be fearless, you have to be knowledgeable, you have to be purified” – then everybody is fearful, not fearless. What is the reason?

But I can relieve you of this burden. Because these are the qualities, requirements for the sannyasis. So, you can be fearful, non-purified and it is not necessary that you cultivate spiritual knowledge. It’s not your dharma. It’s not for you. Right? Because we want bhakti-yoga light, light version. So, if these qualifications are for the sannyasis – poor guys, they have to purify themselves, they have to learn and they have to be fearless – it’s not for me. Krishna, have you got another version? Some other options?


(to be continued next Monday)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 16.1-3

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