Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Just recently a very bright young man asked during a lecture: “How can we trust our spiritual experience? You do some practice and some visions, some realizations come to you; how can you judge whether this is true or not, whether this is a good direction or not?” Is it a good question? It’s very difficult to judge how to trust, what to trust. Which kind of answer would you like to hear – a promising and sweet; or realistic?

Answers: Both.

Swami Tirtha: Well, I will tell both anyways. I’d better ask: which pill do you want first – the bitter or the sweet one? But actually, first I have to give the sweet one. Because the sweet is just what Shridhara Maharaj says: trust yourself. And I also truly share this opinion – we all have this ultimate inner guidance. When you feel, even if you cannot explain, if you are not a philosopher – you feel ‘something is correct, something is not correct here’. I think we all have that capacity. And if you are sincere or pure enough and you are ready to go to the ultimate limit, then you can trust this inner guidance.

At that time I gave this answer to this young man: “Trust yourself. Trust your heart, trust this inner guidance, it is always with you.” But somehow I forgot to give him the bitter… well, not the bitter, but the realistic alternative. Because Shridhara Maharaj also says that if you eat and you are satisfied, do you need to ask anyone about that? No, this is such an elementary feeling: “Now I’m fine”. You don’t inquire about that: “Can you tell me if I’m satisfied?” No, you just feel it, you realize it. And Shridhara Maharaj says you can judge this according to the symptoms. If you eat, certain things will happen to you: your hunger will diminish, your energy will increase, and your satisfaction and content will also grow. So from the symptoms you can double-check your feelings. If we apply this principle to our spiritual satisfaction,  we have to train and educate ourselves to have this inner measurement. To be able to judge: whether I’m more satisfied or not, whether my spiritual hunger is diminished or not, whether I received some more energy or not? So there is the primary feeling and there is the secondary feedback. We all have this capacity. Check yourself and then trust yourself.

Then what is the realistic alternative? If you cannot judge, if you don’t know – ask someone who knows. It’s very simple!

Yashoda: This is not bitter.

Swami Tirtha: Well… it might be bitter, because if we come with our fancy imagination and somebody crushes it, sometimes it gives a bitter taste. But what does it mean? It means you have to find the authority on the question. And if you cannot judge by the symptoms, he can judge according to the symptoms.

Just like it is mentioned in the novel of Bhaktivinod Thakur Jaiva Dharma. This is the story of the spiritual path of a person who is searching for perfection and is trying to find his spiritual guides. He meets a sadhu, then he starts to practice, goes on with this practice deeply and he reaches the limit. And he starts to have such questions, such topics to discuss that the guru says: “I cannot help you anymore. But I have a good friend who can help you. Please go to him and inquire of him.”

So he goes to this very special babaji and he wants to inquire about his spiritual progress. But what does the master say? “Tell me, what is your feeling? How do you feel when you chant the holy names?” And he says: “Well, when I enter the temple of our beloved Lord, sometimes I almost faint. And sometimes when I start to chant the holy names, so much tears come to my eyes and my voice is so choked up that I cannot continue.” And then the master says: “All right, you have achieved the neophyte stage.”

How do you feel when you enter the temple, my dear ones? What happens when you start to chant the holy names? Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. You see, we have to reach at least the neophyte stage. And from this we can understand that we have a bright future, a bright perspective.

So, to decide whether your spiritual feelings or realizations are true, valid or not – either you learn how to refer to your inner guide or you ask an authority.

(to be continued)

Leave a Reply