Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




“When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.”[1]

The two main features of this verse: one is “dehi” and the other is “deha”; one is he, who has taken body, the other is the body. Deha is the limitation and dehi is the limited. So in one sense we can say that the spirit soul is a limited company. Why? Because he is not fully free in his actions. He is limited by the body, and body is limited by time, by space, by possibilities, by karma… Yet it is unlimited by mercy, freed by mercy.

But first let us stay a little bit with the limitations. Deha is the outside covering, the body. Interesting enough, this small little thing can cover and limit the unlimited capacity of the soul. This proves that the spirit soul is under the care of the illusion; otherwise it could not happen that the – so to say – perfect soul comes under the limitations of something very small and insignificant like the body. So, if we are degraded, then the limited covers the unlimited. Unlimited in sense that it is different in quality – the matter can cover the spirit, the spiritual spark. Therefore our duty is to turn this process, so that the spiritual inside could pervade the material outside. And if the matter, covering the spirit, is limitation and lack of freedom, then we should understand that the control of the spirit over the matter – this is freedom. So “Gita” and this teaching are very logical. In the same manner as the cloud covers the sun; it is incompatible, the sun is huge and impossible to cover, still the small little cloud can obscure the sun from our vision. And then the cloud seems to be so huge, that it can cover the sun, although if from an outside point of view you examine the things, it is just illusion. In the same way the insignificant body becomes so big, the false egotism, connected to the bodily consciousness becomes so condensed and so intense, that it covers the spiritual spark inside. Although if we examine from a certain distance or from a better position, we shall see the difference.

And we are ready to serve the deha, we are ready to serve the body. We have seen that the parents try to do everything to teach their children how to serve the body: eat like this, cleanse like that, behave like that – all the time trying to give some regulations how to serve and how to take care of the body. But you, as fathers and mothers, have yet another duty, and this is to teach them how to serve their soul, their real spiritual identity – how to become real spiritual personalities. And this is a duty for us, for ourselves also – to start to serve our spirit, our spiritual identity, dehi – that identity, that has taken a body. Do not stop with deha, because then it is only limitation; but we should go to dehi, the person inside, and to liberate the person inside.

Question of Yashoda: It is said in the shastras that the spiritual soul is smaller than the tip of a needle. And another comparison: once you said that the deities seem to be small because we are far away. Does it mean that the soul is also far away from the body and that’s why the body, that is covering, seems to be much bigger than the soul? Just like the sun and the clouds.

Tirtha Maharaj: This is the game of illusion. As I said in the beginning, when the smaller can cover the bigger, this is the game of illusion. Yet in “Follow the angels” Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says that when the smaller controls the bigger, this special quality is called love. But something is added; it is not only bigger or smaller, this is the emotional link. And the bodies of the souls in gross bodily consciousness – this is a limitation, this is a result of karmic actions. For those, who are in gross bodily consciousness the body is simply a reaction of their karma. There is not so much love. Action-reaction, pay the price, this is what you get. But for the devotees even your body becomes your servant. So if we change our consciousness, then even the reaction, so to say, starts to act as a protector. Is it clear? The body is a reaction, but if we change, if we turn into devotees, then even this consequence of my previous activities, of my thoughts and my desires becomes a servant of my spiritual growth. So love manifests on the body function. Then we can say that the body covers the soul with love; otherwise it covers with illusion.



[1] “Bhagavad-gita” 14.20



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