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абхая

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 31.07.2016 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind”[1].

Well, the first thing that is mentioned here – to be undisturbed amidst the suffering – is difficult. Nevertheless the historical events of Krishna’s appearance from time to time tell us the same story. Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata –“Whenever there is a decline in religion I will come.”[2] ‘In My original form or in my deputies I will come.’ So, this is a hope for us that whenever there is a trouble in this universe, divine help will appear. Therefore even if we have some troubles, we should cultivate this hope: ‘My savior will come!’ Therefore we are not so much troubled by sufferings or negative influence.

On the other hand, to keep our peace when there is some success or happiness that’s more difficult. Do you agree? When something really good happens, you simply enjoy the situation, you are in the waves of your happiness and you forget about the realities of the world. Isn’t it? You see, this teacher knows very well how you feel, how you behave. Because you are His energy. Krishna knows very well how you function. Therefore He says: “If one can maintain one’s peace in suffering or in happiness, and is free from attachment, fear and anger, one is called a sage of steady mind.”

Three things are mentioned here. One is the attachment. Usually we function under attachment. If we have a goal, then we can work. If we have an ambition, then we can fulfill. If we are attached to the fruits, the results, then we can strive for them. Be it material or spiritual it’s the same. And if you achieve your goals, then you are happy, you enjoy the situation. If you don’t achieve your goals, then you are unhappy. If you cannot achieve, the best policy is to reject it to show your greatness: ‘I don’t need that’. You want a big car, yet you cannot get it and you say: “Big cars are not good!” Bhoga to enjoy a situation; and when you cannot get something, to deride it, to reject it: ‘It’s not good!’ tyaga. First you want to enjoy life bhoga: ‘I am happy! At least I think. And when I am not really happy, then I don’t want to enjoy life anymore, I reject this material life. It’s so bad!’ Reject.

Don’t think that this is very easy and a very neophyte stage. You have to be able to catch yourself whenever you are in bhoga and tyaga extremes. You want to enjoy too much; if it doesn’t happen, you want to reject. Therefore it is said “free from attachment”. Rejecting something is another attachment, a negative attachment. So, try to find the golden middle path. Why do we do our spiritual practices? ‘Because I want to enjoy the fruits of my chanting, and if it doesn’t happen in two weeks, I reject it’. Bhoga and tyaga, enjoy and reject – no! Golden middle path when you are independent of the results or the no results. Free from attachment.

Fear – do you know this old friend, fear? Sometimes we are full of fears. If you see the fears of others, you will very powerfully say: “How can you fear of such an insignificant thing?” But when you have to face your own fears, then others will say: “Come on! This is nothing!” Fear. They say, the real innocent ones don’t know what fear is. I think myself I have a little conception about fear. So my innocence is long ago gone. We have a great variety of fears, phobias, panic crises, etc. Basically there is one fear ultimately this is the fear of death. And as we live in a very technical age, we have an upgrade also – fear of life.

But what is the remedy for the fear? In our scriptures it is said that those who have surrendered they have no fears. Full surrender means ‘no fear’. Why? Because you enjoy the attention and the protection of your divine beloved God. No fear. And no anger. Anger is when our passion is not controlled. So, if we are free from these three things: attachment, fear and anger, inner peace will come.

(to be continued)

 

[1] Bhagavad Gita, 2.56

[2] Bhagavad Gita, 4.7



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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 31.07.2016 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

All the desires that might distract us from the divine path come from a disturbed mind. Therefore we need to pacify the mind. To pacify the mind is very easy. You don’t trust me?!

Hari Lila: I haven’t found the way.

Swami Tirtha: Not yet. Well, control of the breath is directly connected to the peace of mind. Why I say this? When your passion, your anger is fired up, then you take a deep breath and you start to quarrel with your partner. Do you know that feeling? But if you can control the breath, there is no fight. Peace of mind will come.

Beyond the joke, this is truth; if we can control these simple bodily functions, the mental control will also come. Therefore we have to provide pure energy for the body. Pure foodstuff, pure thoughts, pure air, pure water – this all helps to purify your system. When we have this basic control of the body-mind complex, then we need to find the inner fulfillment also. It’s not simply that you had become like a statue – nonmoving, no passion, nothing at all, no action, no reaction. We need an inner satisfaction also, the inner contentment.

And here it says: atmany evatmana tustah[1]. Tusta, tusti is satisfaction, or contentment. And how to achieve the contentment of our soul? Can you achieve that by material means? I doubt. The soul is of a different category. The soul is spiritual, we have to apply spiritual energy. Therefore it is said: atmanam atmana – by the soul, you can satisfy the soul; by the soul you can reach the Supersoul. Until you identify yourselves with the body, you will try to satisfy your concept by material means. But you cannot take two breakfasts. Once I mentioned this in a young company and one young man said: “Yes, we can.” But you know what I mean. If you give more and more, it doesn’t bring that inner contentment. We have to be clever, intelligent enough to find the proper way for our inner satisfaction. Atmanam atmana – by the soul you can satisfy the soul. We need to provide spiritual foodstuff for the soul. And then this tusti, this inner peace, balance, satisfaction will come.

Sthita pragyas tadochyate – ‘this kind of consciousness is called fixed’. Pragya means consciousness, state of mind, coming from the root of jnana, knowledge. Pragya is a progressive state of knowledge or consciousness. In the Upanishads it is said: pragynanam brahma[2] this is one of the mahavakhyas, the great sayings of the Upanishads. Pragynanam brahma – ‘The consciousness is divine’. So here the same pragya is mentioned. Sthita pragya; sthita comes from stha, stha thistati in Sanskrit means ‘fixed, to stay in one place’. Griha-stha – staying in a home. That means you are fixed, you don’t run up and down. Fixed, you sit at home. And I think, my dear brothers, we know that this is the expectation of our ladies. They want that we always sit at home. But sometimes, my dear sisters, let the boys run a little bit up and down.

So, sthita pragya is fixed consciousness. When your mind, when your consciousness is not moving up and down, scanning the whole universe. But you can focus on your goal. Akamah sarva-kamo va moksha-kama[3], only one desire – for perfection. So, this is the answer of Krishna in short. But then He goes on to describe it in more details.

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita, 2.55

[2] Aitareya Upanishad 3.3

[3] Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.3.10



Харидаса-Лакшахира

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 31.07.2016 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

Usually when fathers die and sons survive – this is called ‘peace’. When sons die before the fathers – this is called ‘war’. In the same way, when a student asks and the teacher answers – this is called peace. When the teacher asks and the student cannot answer – this is called war, disaster. So, although the Bhagavad Gita talk is just before the Kurukshetra battle, let’s take a very special moment when there is peace. When the student asks and the master answers. Arjuna puts the question and Krishna will answer.

arjuna uvacha

sthita-pragyasya ka bhasha samadhi-sthasya keshava

sthita-dhih kim prabhasheta kim asita vrajeta kim

“Arjuna said: “O Krishna, what are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit? How does he walk?”[1]

Very important question – how to recognize a saint? What are the symptoms of purified consciousness?

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: “O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness”.[2]

It’s a very important verse. The main symptom is external control and inner peace. Sarva kama, all desires originate from the disturbed mind. Do you have some kama? Of course we have. Because this is a necessary ingredient of life. Without that fire we cannot maintain the body. So, kama is not something very bad. Maybe only half bad. Kama is the language of the human beings. When something is passionate, we understand it, right? When there is big happiness or big suffering, this language we understand! We human beings are passionate. Then what to do? Fortunately we have some advice.

akamah sarva-kamo va

moksha-kama udara-dhih

tivrena bhakti-yogena

yajeta purusham param[3]

This is the advice. Akama means no kama, you have no passion at all. Or sarva kama, you have all the desires. Or you have only one desire for liberation, moksha-kama – it is suggested: tivrena, with thirst, you have to serve with devotion the Supreme. With this inner yearning you have to serve the Supreme Lord, purusham param. All else will follow. Either if you are akama, you are a yogi, renounced – you will find your kama, you will find your attachment to God. Or if you have sarva kama, you have all the desires, there are two options. Either they will be fulfilled, because if you want only pieces of glass, you will get them easily. Or you will lose all your desires; but don’t worry it’s not a real loss. Or if you have only one desire – to achieve perfection – it will be fulfilled.

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita, 2.54

[2] Bhagavad Gita, 2.55

[3] Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.3.10



guru-shishya

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 31.07.2016 morning, Sofia)

We understood that we can meet Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita in different features. You can meet Him as a Supreme Lord with a divine revelation. You can meet Him as a teacher and adviser. And you can meet Him as a friend also. Supreme divine revelations – we discussed that already. As a friend – we shall discuss that next time. What is there for today? Today we meet Him as an instructor, as a teacher. What is the function of a teacher?

Answer: To guide us and show us things that we are unable to see.

Swami Tirtha: Correct, so He can give us the eyes to see. He can bring light in the darkness. A teacher will simply teach us – on condition we let it happen. There is a very special transaction between the teacher and the student because they unite their powers. What is the contribution of a teacher? First of all this is the divine science. In our tradition it is called Brahman – ‘like God’. This divine knowledge is so sacred, so high, so beyond the material creation that it’s considered God Himself, divine. This is his contribution – a real spiritual teacher will bring the divine connection. In our tradition it is said that in the first step this is sambandha, my connection – where do I belong. This is what he gives us. Many times we discussed, if you see a dog on the street without a collar, you know that it might be dangerous. No master for the dog. If there is a collar, you know it belongs to somebody. In the same way, if we have a collar, we know we belong to someone. Somebody should tell us, we don’t know. We think that we belong here. So, sambandha, our spiritual divine connection is revealed to us.

Then the next stage of instructions is abhideya – what to do? If I belong to God, then what am I supposed to do? While the third step is prayojana, the prospects. If I belong there and if I do this, what will I achieve? This is the contribution of a teacher.

Now what is the contribution of the student? He or she also brings something divine –the pure, sincere enquiry. This is what we can bring to a master – our ears, our attention. Gurudev said: “First you have to learn that you have to pay attention in the lectures”. We are supposed to know that already: in the lecture we have to pay attention. But then he added: “And later on you have to understand that you have to pay attention always.” Because this is not only the words that we have to embrace, rather the mood how to approach the Supreme. And this is a secret teaching, it’s not by words. It’s rather the approach, the vision, the service mood. For that we need a very refined approach. So, this is what we can bring – the sincere enquiry.

And the innocent soul is very pure. Many times we say that in the material world we are in a fallen condition. I think according to our mostly Christian background we have this conception of original sin, right. How many times you have heard about this original sin, this original fall? But who will tell us about our original purity, our original innocence? It is also there. As a spiritual spark you are bright. That means originally you are pure. So, in our sincere enquiries we bring this original purity, original innocence. And that is a divine contribution of a spiritual student. And if such purity of intention meets with a chance of divine connection, then the spiritual transaction might happen. In the same manner Krishna shows Himself as a teacher, as an instructor in the Gita also.

(to be continued)

 



tatastha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.07.2016 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

Question of Manjari: Sometimes it happens that one feels some finer revelations inside. How to know that this is something divine or something else?

Swami Tirtha: There are different solutions to resolve this problem. First we study what was the revelation to others? How our saints perceived divinity? What kind of process they followed and in this manner what did they achieve? Because there is a little know-how of divine revelation also. If we know that for example our saints, our previous acharyas, our spiritual masters follow such type of life-style, such type of meditation and they achieve such type of divine vision, then it’s a little guidance for us. Of course their vision, their revelation is private, it’s theirs. But if we continue, if we follow, we may also achieve something.

Therefore first study: what is the goal, what is the path, what is the structure of this whole spiritual school. If you have this intellectual or theological basis, then you can train yourself and examine yourself: ‘What happens if I apply the process?’ When pure devotees chant the holy names like: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, they immediately feel divine ecstasy. So what happens to me if I apply the process? It will come, don’t worry. And whenever some kind of smaller or greater realization comes to you, then you can check it, you can observe it – if it is according to what I have learned, or not, it’s something unique. Through the small we can understand the great. And if we test ourselves on small little revelations, then when the great, the final revelation will come to us, we will know that is true. So, we can say the first step is a kind of theoretical preparation and the second step is application in practice. Let yourself be exposed to the experiment.

There is a very nice story in this respect. There was a revelation of Mother Mary to three children in Portugal. Two girls and one boy. It was quite a strange revelation, because Mother Mary came on the 13th of May and she told the children: “Every month I will come on the 13th day. Just come to this path again – they were out in the fields, grazing the sheep. Just come next month also and I will tell you something more.” Next month they also came and Mother Mary told them: “Pray on the rosary.” The next month they also came. And you know girls are very obedient usually, especially if Mother Mary comes to them. So, they were chanting very nicely and again they had the divine vision. Boys, you know sometimes are a little naughty, not so obedient all the time. And while the two girls were already in communication he said: “I don’t see”. While one of the girls said: “Of course, because you don’t chant!”, the boy immediately started to chant and then he said: “Yes, I also see!”

So, test yourself. If you do, you will reach. If you don’t do, it’s almost sure that you won’t reach. But why I say almost? Because God is stronger than your resistance. He can reveal Himself even to those who don’t want it. And sometimes it happens, like a strike of a thunderbolt – He reveals Himself even to those who don’t want it. Then what to speak of those who want it? What to speak of the saintly kings and the great devotees in the past, in the future and right now, today.

So, chant and you will see, you will meet. Maybe only the cosmic revelation will come to you at first. Of course this is something very, very high. But later on a more refined and a more intimate meeting might happen also.

 



61823859_478944989507570_5160367497785901056_n

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.07.2016 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

So, pray as Arjuna did. But then what did he receive? You might expect a teacher to be always very soft, very serene, very wise, and like this, and like that. We have a long list of expectations: ‘He should pay attention to me’, etc. But then what did Arjuna receive after he expressed: “I am willing to learn.”? In a very polite manner Krishna said: “Oh, my dear friend! You are depressed for something that usually intelligent men are not affected by.” What does it mean? ‘You are a fool number one’ – to put it more directly. But Krishna is a polite God. So, He will say that ‘you are stupid’ in a very nice manner.

Yet this is what you will receive, if you express your willingness to learn. Why? Because a real teacher will never miss any opportunity to correct your shortcomings and mistakes. What kind of professor do you want? Who will let you wander in darkness and cherishes your shortcomings? Or somebody who will cut through the illusion, even if it is painful? Guru is not necessary for those guys who want to stay here. Better they don’t follow, they don’t accept. Guru is necessary for those who don’t want to stay here. Who are ready to go, at least willing to go. And then of course Krishna started to educate Arjuna on the divine knowledge.

So, in the Gita you can see Krishna as a supernatural divine being. You can see Him as a teacher, a guide. You can see Him as a philosopher because He will analyze and describe everything perfectly. But also ultimately you will see Krishna as a beggar. Because all the time He shows His real face – even if He wants to act as a teacher, as a philosopher, or as a God. Practically at the end of each chapter He will say what? “You can capture Me with bhakti”. When He describes for example yoga – the different types of yogis like this, that type of school like that – what does He say at the end? He says: “From all this different kinds of yogis, the best one is who is very intimately united with Me in prema, in devotion.”[1] Even at the end of this 11th chapter, this cosmic revelation, He says: “But you can know me as I am through bhakti[2]. In this way you can meet Krishna even in the Gita as a beggar of love, as a beggar of your affection. Why does He suggest that “Through devotion, through love you can come to Me”, why? Because He needs your attention. He invites you in this manner: “Come to Me! If you come with Me, I will go with you”.

So, there are so many different ways to meet the Supreme – as God, as a teacher, as a well-wisher. But ultimately you can come very close to Him and He might come very close to you. And when that meeting happens – that is the encounter with the divinity. That is the victory of the truth over the illusion. That is the celebration of the spirit over matter. That is the Ekadashi day for a devotee.

Be prepared for the encounters with divinity. Try to follow, to perform these activities like self-control, sharing and sacrifice. But the best performance, the top accomplishment of all these different spiritual activities, our teachers say is condensed, united, unified in the pure chanting of the holy names. This is the best sacrifice. This is the best self-control. This is the best sharing. And if divinity manifests through some pure representative, then Narottama dasa Thakura’s song applies, when he prays to Shri Rupa Manjari: shri-rupa-manjari-pada, sei mora sampada… sei vrata, sei tapa, sei mora mantra-japa, meaning “The lotus feet of Shri Rupa Manjari – this is my tapa, this is my self-control, this is my vrata, my vow, this is my mantra, my meditation, and this is my japa, my chanting.” So, this is the accomplishment of all these different spiritual practices.

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 6.47

[2] Bhagavad Gita 11.54



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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.07.2016 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

But then the next question comes – ‘In what manner I want to meet God?’ Which face you want to see? Have you ever thought of this? ‘If I meet the Supreme, what will I tell Him?’ You know that story that an old lady was collecting firewood. This was so heavy burden on her shoulder that she put it down and relaxed for some time. And as it was really a heavy load of firewood, she started to pray: “Oh, my Lord, please help me to carry this wood!” Her prayers were so pure, so real that God appeared on the spot. He said: “My dear daughter, I know that you are very faithful and very obedient. So, whatever you like I will give you! Just ask and I will fulfill whatever desire you have.” Then the lady said: “Oh, can You help me put back the load on my shoulder?”

Be clever! Be prepared! If you meet Him: ‘What will I ask? Please, give me back the load of life? I want the burden again?’ Or ‘I want to follow You. I want to come with You’. Teachers will tell you: “If you come with me, I will go with you.” It’s not an easy path. But company is good.

So, what kind of God do you want to meet? What feature of Him do you want to meet? Let’s try to find some ways in the Bhagavad Gita. There are so many ways, so many references there how to meet God. For example in general the most popular chapter, especially for outsiders, is the 11th Chapter. I think this is the least favored by the devotees, because this universal vision is there. What can we do with the universal vision? But people in general are amazed with this universal vision. Why? Because this is such a mind-blowing experience! This is just beyond whatever you can imagine. It’s beyond the human capacities. Like the revelation of the different elements and all the planets, and all the demigods, like a vision of cosmic unity. And there also Arjuna had seen the victory of the truth over the illusion. Maybe that happened on Ekadashi day, I don’t know.

This divine opulence is amazing. If you want to meet that aspect of the Supreme, then pray just like Arjuna did. “Please, show me, reveal me Your divine splendor!” But be prepared, you will get it! And that vision was too much for Arjuna also. Although he is a little stronger than us.

In case you want to capture Krishna in another manner, it is possible. Another feature, another aspect of Krishna in the Gita is a teacher. Not as God Supreme, but as a well-wisher teacher. If you want to meet God like this, then pray as Arjuna did: karpanya-dosopahata-svabhavah[1] – “I’m perplexed. I don’t know what is good for me, but please, take me as Yours, as a surrendered soul! And tell me what is best for me.” This sounds better, ha? In this way we shall receive the help of the Supreme. He will teach me what is best for me. Not simply a general cosmic revelation. What can I do with that? Be practical: ‘Tell me! What is better for me?’ But then be prepared, because you will get it. You will get the advice which is best for you. Maybe not the easiest for your false conception. But what is very beneficial for you. Stupid people will accept what is favorable for the senses, or convenient for the body. While the wise, they will accept something that is useful for the soul. Be wise, take what is useful for eternity, for your eternal soul.

So, we have to be prepared for the encounters with divinity. If it happens in your journey, in your excursion to the mountains, or doing your private japa meditation; or if your home immediately, all of a sudden, turns into a spiritual realm – it might happen any moment. Be prepared.

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 2.7



meditating sadhu

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.07.2016 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

What is the point in fasting? It’s not simply the control of the body, it’s not simply to agitate the mind – because if you are hungry, you are agitated. The highest goal of fasting is the encounter with Divinity. And actually in the Bhagavad Gita[1] there are certain things suggested. Three types of activities should always be maintained: self-control, spirit of sacrifice and sharing or donations. These three principles should always be maintained – in the beginning, in the middle and in the end. These activities are beneficial even for the realized and accomplished souls.

Self-control is for the body. If we follow sattvic, spiritual rules in our life, we can purify our bodily existence. In this way we can gain control over our bodily existence. For example therefore we fast on special days. Sharing or giving – it’s a kind of control over the mind. Because our mind is usually very much attached to what we have. If you have achieved for example material wealth, you start to become attached to that. Or if you have achieved some knowledge, you start to be attached to your level of consciousness. Therefore sharing or donations – this is a way to control the mind. Sharing is one way to control the mind. So, whatever you have, try to share it with others. ‘Yes, I have a lot of burden and a lot of suffering. So, I am very happy to practice this principle’ – please, don’t do this in such a manner, but collect your spiritual wealth, collect your divine knowledge and share this with others. Share the nectar and preserve for yourself the bitter drops. So, by sharing, donations, giving we can control our mind. To diminish but a little this attachment.

While the third practice, the spirit of sacrifice – this is for God. The previous two is for me: my body, my mind. The third is for the spirit, for the soul, my soul, and for the Supreme soul. So, if our topic on this occasion is “Encounters with Divinity”, then we have to perform all these different activities that are suggested in the Gita in this spirit. Why should I control my body? In order to meet God. Why should I fast on Ekadashi day? In order to meet the Supreme. Why should I share the nectar that I have received? In order to meet the Supreme. Why should I perform any kind of sacrifice in my life? Only for the sake of meeting the Supreme.

Fakirs torture their bodies, yogis try to control their minds. Monks in general try to follow certain religious rules. You see, we human beings have different ways, different means to express our willingness to come closer to Divinity. But what is the ultimate way of a bhakta? It’s not torture of the body. It’s not simply control of the mind. It’s not simply following some kind of rules. But it’s a divine rapture. Yes! This is the way of a bhakta! Full dedication. And not simply touching the nectar, but overdosing yourself! Even on Ekadashi – then we take double! So, a devotee has a very special means to approach the Supreme. The most powerful thing in life that we have – this is our affection. Even a king is controlled by affection. A king is very powerful to all the subordinates. But he is subordinate to his grandson. And when the grandson wants to ride on the back of the king, he will obey. The very powerful king – acting as a horse for a boy. How is it possible? It’s only possible by affection.

So, control of the body, control of the mind, following a set of rules – this is all accomplished if we follow the bhakti path, bhakti-marga. This is the way to meet Divinity – self-control, sharing and spirit of sacrifice.

(to be continued) 

[1] Bhagavad Gita 18.5



meditation-technique

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.07.2016 morning, Sofia)

Today is a special day. Today we celebrate the victory of the Lord over illusion. On other days the other party celebrates – when illusion overcomes our faith. Then there is a big celebration in the darkness. Everybody is happy: “We didn’t lose one soldier. He or she is still a very obedient servant of illusion.” But on the day of Ekadashi there is a different celebration – when the spirit overcomes the matter. When God embraces the human. When divinity overcomes materialism.

How to celebrate such a grand and festive occasion? With dancing, and singing, and cakes? All right, singing and dancing; but no cake today. Because how do we celebrate? By little ascetic practices. On this day we have to curb a little bit the material activities. Just a little bit to get rid of the material, bodily consciousness. Because we are conditioned by this bodily consciousness so much. If you have no problem, you will say: “Oh, I am very much in spiritual consciousness”. As soon as a mosquito comes, your deep meditation is disturbed, right? What to speak if something serious happens to us!

Therefore we have to be very alert in the spiritual activities. And one way to raise the spiritual consciousness is to diminish the material consciousness. But this works the other way round also. If you raise the level of your spiritual consciousness, immediately your bodily conditioning will go down. Therefore today we refrain for example from eating too much. In this way we curb a little bit the bodily functions in order to release some more time for spiritual activities. Ekadashi is the 11th day after the full moon or the new moon therefore it is called the Ekadashi day, the 11th day. This is the day of fast when we avoid grains and beans. Why? Why exactly is it this type of food we don’t take on such a day? Because usually this is what we take, right. And if we do something every day and you want to take a break, then you have to refrain from those activities, from that input. Krishna says in the Gita that everybody’s body is maintained by grains[1]. Of course He doesn’t want not to maintain your body, to over-fast yourself. He knows very well what your bodily necessity is. But nevertheless to stop for a while is very beneficial. Therefore on these days we refrain from eating grain type and bean type of food, plus some spices, but this is the main thing.

All right, but then you might think: ‘Oh, this is a fasting day, so I don’t take grains. Today I will take only the extras, super foods – but a lot! With extra juices, etc, etc. Just to curb grains.” You know we human beings, we are like this. If something is forbidden, we find ways how to avoid problems. Isn’t it? We are like this. Like small children.

So, fasting means a little uneasy feeling, a little difficulty. And if we curb a little bit the bodily or the material activities, the time that we gain in such a manner we have to use for spiritual practices. To chant more or be stronger in our meditation. This is the way how we celebrate the victory of God over illusion. Less bodily consciousness and higher spiritual consciousness.

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 3.14



 

ashta-sakhi

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 24.07.2016 evening, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Friday) 

You know, our Krishna has unlimited qualities. He is a good flutist, a good dancer. He has a charming hairstyle; and many other features. Shrimati Radharani also has many super excellent qualities. From the beloved one of this Supreme Lord, full of opulent divine qualities, we expect also some very heavenly and very divine parts and beauties. So, the 64 super excellent artistic qualities of Radharani are mentioned in a list. What kind of arts do you find there? For example one is playing puns, tricks of words. What is the meaning of pun? Using very tricky language. Telling one thing and meaning the other thing. I think you all have this capacity. You say “yes” and you mean “no”. Other times you say “no” and it means “yes”. It also comes from a divine quality of Shrimati Radharani.

We have one devotee; he is extremely fond of puns. Every second sentence that he says is a trick of words. Sometimes it’s a little annoying. Once I told him: “Oh, my dear one, it’s enough of all the time making this”. And then he was really depressed: “But, Maharaj, this is a way to release the tension for me”. You know, when he is overstressed – this is the way how he expresses himself, then he feels more relaxed. You see, we are so different, but still if we enjoy the blessings of Shrimati Radharani, even these funny aspects of life you can spiritualize.

Also She knows very well how to dress nicely. This is what we expect from a lady, right – the art of beauty! She is also very well versed in arranging flower beds; and in all the different ways of music. So, from all these very soft and very delicate arts I am sure that you feel who the object of Her offerings is.

We have a devotee, by profession he is a carpenter. Once we checked this list of 64 super excellent qualities of Radharani and when we came to the point that She is the best expert in carpentry, then first our devotee was a little surprised: “What, carpentry?” and then a divine smile appeared on his face. “Even if I’m chopping the wood, I can meditate on Shrimati Radharani!” Although usually boys are engaged as carpenters, right? This is not a female job; yet here also She is the best authority. But what to speak of carpentry, even in metallurgy She is the best. I am serious! Then we can understand that the super excellent qualities are far beyond the reach of our understanding. And this is only those sixty-four excellencies that are mentioned in the list. So, you can imagine those qualities which are not mentioned, which are kept hidden.

So, what is our conclusion? If you want to be a good carpenter, what do you have to do?

Paramananda: Go to Shrimati Radharani.

Swami Tirtha: Then the power will be delegated to us. And who will be the object, the target of our delegated talents? Service of Krishna. So, this is like a full circle. We are part of a divine circle. Actually They are searching for each other. It’s not me, it’s Them. But if somehow we are invited into this super excellent divine circle, then this is our chance of perfection. This is the magic circle, the spell that we want over our life. It’s not the spell of illusion, it’s not the impersonal mirage of the truth. It’s being invited into a divine exchange.