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English issues

огънят

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2013, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

Some devotees have preferences in the different objects that they offer. What is your preference? There are 64 elements of offerings. Just to mention a few types: When you enter the temple and you ring the bell – this is one service, one offering. Then when you enter and you bow down – this is another way to express our service mood to Him. Or to sing the prayers, the mantras, the bhajans – this is another service. Then to offer the 16 articles of worship – like foodstuffs, clothes, ornaments, aromatic elements and fire, water – this is also part of this service. If you put a few pennies into the donation box – this is another type of offering. Or if you bring flowers – all this is like a loving expression.

So, what is your preference among these 64 elements?

Answer: Dedication.

Manjari: Flowers.

Swami Tirtha: It’s so beautiful! Such a simple expression!

Giridhari: I can’t understand the question. If a parent has five kids, this is to ask him which one is the dearest to him.

Swami Tirtha: Good point! But I don’t ask the Supreme father: “What is your preference, my father?” I ask myself what is my preference. Because even the most insignificant offering given with heart and soul is very much appreciated by Him. And you are correct, we shouldn’t make any difference. Whatever He likes we should do it. Actually all this is His preference. Krishna very clearly explains in the Shrimad Bhagavatam, 12 Canto what His taste is. But beware, because He gives a long list! One is very beautiful: that generally every day, but at least on Ekadasi days we should organize theatre plays and music dramas for Him. It’s a long list, I tell you.

Yet some devotees say they have a preference. Some like the ghee lamps. Because you know, if you offer the ghee lamp and then this dance of the lights is there and Krishna is behind – it’s marvelous! This is a way to approach and to see the real reality.

But may I be personal with you? I also have a preference from this long list. There is one thing mentioned on this list; Krishna says: “Give Me this, give Me that . And you should offer Me also what you like most!” This is my preference, because this makes it so personal. If I like something, I should share it with my beloved friend. But unfortunately ‘I also have a long list. I like so many things! Therefore we have to have big temples and ashrams to preserve all the things that I like, so that I can be able to give them to Him. Life is so complicated!’

But apart from jokes, this is an essential thing. Give Him what you like! And usually what do we like? We like flowers – all right, we can give to Him. We like food – all right, we can give to Him also! We like our children – you can offer them to Him! You like your wives and husbands – but don’t offer your partners to God when you have a quarrel with them, when you don’t like them. “Go to your God! I don’t like you here, go to the temple!” Offer them when you like them. “Oh my dear, I like you so much! Please, satisfy your Lord”. And there is one more thing that we like more than honey! What is that?

Ramvijay: Money.

Swami Tirtha: Money is sweeter than honey! So, if you like it, the best use of your money is for Him. Because if you give today one coin, in this lifetime you will receive ten, what to speak of the next life? So, I tell you, this is the best investment. Give to the proper purpose, to the best purpose and then it multiplies.

And just like you mentioned, we cannot decide between the children which one we like most, because we like all of them. Once a person asked a mother with three sons – plus the fourth was the husband: “How can you divide your love between all these people?” And she said: “You know, it works in a different way – it’s not divided, it’s multiplied!” In the same way: if you divide your wealth between yourself and God, it doesn’t diminish, it will grow. Whatever kind of wealth you have.

But beyond our sons and daughters, beyond our partners, beyond our bank account, there is something that we like even more. What is that?

Ramvijay: Myself!

Swami Tirtha: Yes! We all like ourselves! So, if you like yourself – offer! Krishna says: “Give Me what you like!” And this is a way to approach the Supreme reality. This is not a speck of dust. It’s not a cloud of illusion. No, this is a way to reality.

(to be continued)

 



light-1097599_960_720

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2013, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

How and where to find our reality? The saintly teachers say:” Don’t pay too much attention to the external world! Try to meditate more!” ‘Meditation? It’s too passive! What is the result of this mediation? Chanting mantras? Or singing songs in a hot temple room? The only result that I perceive so strongly is the sweat! Blood, sweat and tears.’ Or maybe first you feel only the sweat. But if the bhajan is real, then tears will also come. That is our reality. When it is not only the physical heat, but some different type of energy.

Life is energy. If something is alive, it moves, it grows, it takes and gives energy. Where there is movement, where there are the symptoms of life, there we can catch reality.

So, to find our reality we have to apply the proper method. And just try to embrace the vision of Shrila Shridhara Maharaja – that the background is consciousness. Whatever seems so real to us, it’s only a little trembling in this air of consciousness. When you have a candle and the candle is burning, you see through the light of the candle everything dancing behind. Of course you can try to explain it by physics and optic science. But forget it, it’s not real! Everything is dancing there – there is a dance, there is poetry behind.

To find reality – apply the proper method. Even a simple candle light can prove the unreality of material things. But we use lights in the sacred offerings to our deities. You know all these different elements that we offer to God – like the smell and the water, the fire, the cloths, the flowers, etc. It’s so beautiful! It’s a way to express our gratitude, our deepest meditation and service mood to Him: ‘All this beauty comes from You and You deserve it.’

And I have to add – all these offerings are not dust in the air, they are real. Because they are withdrawn from the material, profane realm and connected to the Supreme. This is a big transformation. Actually this is sacrifice. The definition of sacrifice is that something is taken out of its daily context and by this process of offering is connected or given, offered to God, to divinity – it’s not for us, it’s for Him. So, even a simple material candlelight can teach you about reality. If I see the picture behind the candlelight is dancing, it gives a hint that something is unreal and there is something that should be real.

But what happens if you offer the ghee lamp to Krishna? Actually in the old times when in the temples they had no electric lights, they used the ghee lamp or the camphor lamp in order to show the deities. When people gathered in the sanctum, it was dark, hidden, you could not see the deities, therefore the priests were using wicks and pieces of camphor – it gives much light and this was the way how they showed the altar to the people around. So, this light was used in order that people could see God. But then a big dogmatic problem came. How can we offer something if we use it? Sacrifice should be given to God, not for our sake of being able to see. How can we enjoy or take benefit of His offering? Do you understand the problem? Therefore they decided: ‘All right, we can offer two camphor lamps – one for Him as a sacrifice and another one for us to be able to see.’ So, if there is a question, there is an answer. In this way you don’t enjoy the offering, but from one you can take benefit, and you can give the other directly for His service.

(to be continued)

 



hand-with-sand

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2013, Sofia)

We shall read from Shrila Shridhara Maharaj’s book called “The Golden Staircase” – the staircase which leads us from the present position that we take to the highest possible stage of existence. And it is made of gold; this elevation is made of gold. The first chapter is entitled “The conscious sky”.

“The original substance is spirit, soul, consciousness, and matter forms a part of that conscious portion, that conscious substance. It is not that matter has produced consciousness, but it is in one part of consciousness. Consciousness is infinite, and everything is in that ocean. Somewhere there is ice, somewhere moss, somewhere iron – they are all in that ocean, these different conceptions. But consciousness is all-in-all, and everything has its shelter there. Just as you find patches of clouds in the sky, or so many specks of dust in the air, so the material conception is there in the sky of consciousness. It is a sky – the conscious sky – and somewhere there are patches of clouds or dust. You can’t see the air, but the dust is in the air! You can’t see the sky – the actual ether – but the clouds are in the sky! So the background is consciousness, and therein we find somewhere is dust, somewhere is a cloud. Darwin and others have proposed that consciousness was originally generated from material elements, but my response to that is, “Fossil fatherism? Crush it, and establish a spiritual infinite!” It is all spiritual: the “fossil conception” is a part of so many conceptions in the spiritual plane. Consciousness is in the background and there are developed positions, gradations, within consciousness: bhur, bhuvar, svar, maha, jana, tapa, satya, brahmaloka” – all these are different levels of the material world, creation – “and when service is added, it is enhanced. A sweet structure begins from the point when service is added to consciousness. Service can construct a beautiful capital, a beautiful country. It is there, and you have only to feel it, enter, and take up your appointed service. You will think, “This is my home! This appointment feels very friendly to me. Now I have come home. This is the innate capacity or substance, innate nature – svarupa – which is presently covered by ignorance, by misconception.”[1]

Here something very important is mentioned: that it is not the matter which is original or primordial, so that everything should evolve from that source; but rather matter, or whatever material experience we have, is just like a little dust in the air. While coming here I stopped at one place and all of a sudden a huge cloud came. So huge, that I had the feeling I have to escape, because it was approaching with such power. And you see, Shrila Shridhara Maharaja says: “It’s only a false conception in the air.” So, don’t forget, we live in a world of experience. And sometimes experience is very strong, looks very real! ‘I’m so happy!’ But it’s like a little dust in the air. Or ‘I’m so depressed!’ It’s another cloud in the air. What is the meaning – it’s not real. Practically most of the things that we experience are not real.

Then where is reality? Should we live in an amusement park that makes you artificially happy? Or shall we take some pills in order to help our change of consciousness? Sorry, this is only chemical ananda – this is not real. So, where is reality? What is reality? If we realize that all that we believe so concrete and so real, if we understand that it is all false, then we might feel a little embarrassed. You lose control, you cannot hold on things, because they just slip out of your fingers. Then what can we do? We try to grab them more. I am sure you all have visited the seaside. When you take the sand and when you try to hold it in your fist, what happens? Starts to escape, if it is dry. Then you try to hold it more – the more it will escape! It’s the same with all other experience that we have. If we feel that we lose something, we try to hold on strongly, more strongly. This is the sure way to lose it completely. Completely.

But then how and where to find our reality?

(to be continued)

 

[1] “The Golden Staircase”, by Shrila Shridhara Maharaja, Ch 1

 



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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 11.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

“The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision the learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater”.[1]

So, the humble sage, due to true knowledge will have the equal vision. Many times we want to identify our level of achievement in spiritual life. You can exactly understand this by how much appreciation you have; if I have an equal vision, a peaceful and equal vision or not? Because all these objects to be seen are different – like a dog, and an elephant, and a bramin, and a low caste person. The form is different, but the essence behind is the same.

So, if you want to understand your position, just examine your attitude. And always try to have a long term vision. We should be independent of the likes and dislikes of our material senses. But we can do that only if we have a divine, a transcendental measure.

We have something important here to do, in life in general. And also practically here in the ashram – we have to help people come closer to their spiritual ideals. But we can do this only if we also come closer to our spiritual ideals. Once Shrila Prabhupada said: “Instead of the many resolutions and discussions, and meetings, and this, and that,… just chant, chant more!”

So, you know the method, you know the goal, you also know your present condition; try to bring these three aspects closer to each other. Not in such a way that you bring down your ideals, but rather you elevate your present condition. Try to work on Krishna’s plans and desires to manifest.

Question of Manjari: Is it possible that we interfere, prevent the will of Krishna to manifest?

Swami Tirtha: If you are powerful enough. There is somebody to control Krishna’s plans. But basically we should help people understand that there is a Supreme Lord and first of all we have to obey Him. The smaller details might come later.

In our shastras it is said that by singing some mantras you can churn, you can obtain the blessings from the Supreme. So, it is possible. Especially if we sing for others. Of course I don’t want to compromise the highest aspect of the maha-mantra for example – that it should be chanted for Their happiness, not for our benefit. What is the duty of a devotee? To give less hindrance to Krishna’s activities. But even if you try to put some obstacles, He is cleverer to avoid your obstacles.

Please, go on with your services! Be stronger in your dedication and deeper in your convictions, come to more and more realized platforms of our beautiful ideals. Grow in devotion! And whatever we have, we should try to offer for the satisfaction of our Mahaprabhu here. Don’t be enamored or astonished by the possible numbers and success. Don’t believe it. Always search for deeper substance.

Of course it’s a good feeling if we are more together, but we should be determined enough to go on with our spiritual practice if nobody pays attention. But, you know, I lose my power. Some years back I told one devotee that I am ready to continue even if everybody leaves. But losing power means that you start to depend on others more and more. So, maybe some of you might think that you depend on me, but this is the other way round. I depend on you. This is like a rasa dance. Who is running after whom? Anyway, we are running after each other.

So, please help me to accomplish what was inherited from our masters. This is a way of transmission. We don’t have too much freedom on this point; we have to cultivate what we have got. The great ones say: “If you come with me, I will go with you!’

[1] “Bhagavad Gita” 5.18

 



Sanatan Goswami

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

(continued from the previous Friday) 

Once a very poor man approached a saint. This saint was Sanatan Goswami, one of the six followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And our friend knew that this saint had the philosopher’s stone. You know, this is such a special stone that can convert practically anything into gold. Our friend thought: ‘Well, I’m so much in need. If I have wealth, I can manage my life, I will be happy.’ So, he approached Sanatan Goswami and said: “Oh, Goswamiji, I have been suffering for such a long time and I heard that you have this stone. Do you really have it?” “Yes, I have it.” “You know, I want to finish with my poor condition, may I have it?” “Yes, you can have it”. Our friend was a little surprised. “How is it that I can have it? Very nice! And where can I find it?” “Oh, just go, there is this pile of garbage, you can find it”. So our friend rushed there, searched a little bit and found the stone. He was very happy and went back home, now possessing the key of success. ‘Now, I will be wealthy! I will be happy!’

But then he started to think: ‘Wait a minute, if Sanatan Goswami keeps this very precious stone in the garbage – this is not the place for such treasure – he must have even more precious treasures! If this is lying on the pile, then I cannot imagine what kind of wealth he’s got’. He couldn’t sleep that night. He was full of expectation and imaginations: ‘How is that!?’ So, in the morning he went back to our saint. The word goswami means ‘the lord of the senses’, it’s a title to ascetics of the renounced order; their main duty is to dedicate fully themselves to divine activities – meditation, teachings and divine rapture. So, Sanatan Goswami was sitting under his tree, deeply absorbed in meditation. Our friend came very excited and said: “Goswamiji!” “Oh, very nice, my son, that you came – are you happy?” “I brought back your stone! I don’t need it anymore! If you keep this stone in the garbage, you must have something more precious! Do you really have something more precious?” Sanatan Goswami replied: “Yes, of course I have something more precious than this stupid philosopher’s stone!” and our friend said: “May I have it?” Sanatan Goswami replied: “Yes, you can have it!” “What are your conditions?” “You should throw your stone into the river.” Just imagine yourself, you have the key of your dreams in your hand and you have to get rid of that?! Isn’t it like this shadow that told you: ‘Stop now! Should I risk or not? All risk, no gain! Who knows what is there!’ But he was brave enough, so he went to the river and threw it in. After that he came back to Sanatan Goswami and said: “I did it! Now where is your treasure?” and then Sanatan Goswami said: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And our friend was very happy.

You know, in our tradition there are certain miraculous elements. One is a magic cow. But her capacities, although very productive, are yet limited. How much milk does a good cow gives per day? A good cow will give 30 liters of milk per day. Thirty liters – it’s close to the maximum. But a kama-dhenu, a magic cow can give unlimited quantity of milk, how much you want! In that respect her capacity is unlimited. But she cannot give cappuccino, she can give only milk. So, in that respect she is limited. Then there is this philosopher’s stone. And what is the nature of this stone? It can convert iron into gold. It’s not that like the cow can produce more milk the stone can produce more iron – no, it can change the quality of the thing that it touches, from the iron it can create gold. But it cannot produce, let’s say, diamonds from iron. So, there is also a limitation.

But this is not the ultimate magic thing in our tradition. We have a magic tree also. This is kalpataru, or the wish-fulfilling tree. It is not that it will only produce milk and more milk, it’s not that it will convert one item into another; but it can fulfill your dreams, your desires. Whatever you want it can produce. So, if you are hungry and if you happen to sit under a wish-fulfilling tree and you say: ‘Oh, I am so hungry, maybe a nice breakfast should come!’, it will come. So, you can try. Sit under different trees. Your question is: how to recognize? If your breakfast comes, that was a wish-fulfilling tree. So, there is even less limitation for this tree. But this is also very insignificant compared to the magic power of the holy name. Because this is something divine that can make you fully satisfied. The point is not to become a faithful, or believer from a non-believer. This is not the big change. You need nor a kama-dhenu, nor a magic stone, nor a kalpatharu for that. It’s not a big thing. The big change is when from a general believer you become an ecstatic lover of God. That is the big change. And that is accomplished by this divine spiritual touchstone of the holy name. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

 



Apr

11

palms

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

(continued from the previous Friday) 

Question: I’d like to ask if faith is a function of our free will, or it is also predestined.

Swami Tirtha: Generally people say that faith is a gift. And usually gift comes from somebody, it’s not collected in your pockets, somebody gives this to you. Where does the faith come from? In the Bhagavad Gita it is described: ‘Faith comes from the association of the saints, from the holy company’. If we associate with faithful people, we shall collect some faith. If we associate with drunkards, we shall also become a drunkard. So, select your company. But once we enter this divine company, I think our free will is gone. Why? Because this company of the saints and this divine atmosphere is so sweet that we cannot get rid of that. It’s so charming. Is that free will that you cannot get rid of something? It’s not! But are we ready to enjoy such a situation? Yes! With happiness we are ready to jump into this… well, I wanted to say ocean of nectar, but it is really like that.

Human beings usually have very limited free will and usually it doesn’t happen in the way how generally people feel or think about free will: ‘I can decide whether I am a king or a beggar.’ You cannot! It is said in the Shrimad Bhagavatam for example that the fate of the gopis is written on their foreheads. That means their fate is predicted. Much of our fate is also written on our foreheads or on other parts of the body. For example on your palms. What is written there? Have you checked? Actually what do you see in your palms?

Yamuna: A network of lines.

Swami Tirtha: Do you see some characters, some letters there? Do you see the “M”? So, two M’s are written on both of our palms – what is that? Actually this is written in Latin so everybody can understand, irrespective of your country, language and culture. This is memento mori – remember death. You are given two hands – to remember that you will pass. We all have to pass. So, live with this memory. This is not a fearful memory or an expectation, no – this is reality. So, we should live in such a way that we could freely go.

But you know meanwhile sometimes we experience little difficulties. Karma strikes back. Therefore people are very keen on visiting this kind of trainings like karma-release training for a weekend. ‘Give me the quick and easy method of liberation!’ Although we also have a method of changing your fate, changing your lines even. It’s very simple. You have to clap during the bhajan – bhajan is when we sing and we clap. This will change the lines on your palms. This will change your fate. So, the best, easiest and quick method of ‘how to erase my karma’ is this.

Usually people like the expensive weekend trainings. So, if you want to pay also, you can put a little donation into the box. Then your material misconception will also feel satisfied. ‘Yes! It was so expensive that it’s for sure!’ Because we are so stupid. If something is free, then we think it’s worthless.

(to be continued)

 



960

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

(continued from the previous Friday) 

Question of Yadunath: Gurudev, many of us ask themselves the question: “Are these my ideas or God’s ideas about what’s going to manifest?” So, how to tell?

Swami Tirtha: If it doesn’t happen, it was your idea. I think I don’t have to accomplish the sentence. The other part – you can add. So, be clever! Sometimes life gives very complicated questions. How to judge? How to see God? It’s not that complicated. If something happens, it’s according to Him. Of course we know that there are some other players around also, but basically we can say that it’s due to Him. Why? Because nothing is independent of the divine surveillance.

But of course this is only like a theoretical tenet. It doesn’t really make our heart fly. ‘Oh, everything comes from God! All my suffering comes from God!’ – no, not in that way! Because as we agreed, faith is not a torture on yourself. No, this is a happy way of liberation. Why? Because we can lose only one thing in this process – it is our chains.

Comment: Sometimes a person is very stubborn and doesn’t know when to stop. Before understanding what is His idea or not His idea, he is too much stubborn.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, all right, give three chances. If it doesn’t happen for the third time… But your question is very proper. We have to be determined. I hope you will not misunderstand. Once a devotional couple told me: “Oh, maybe we desire a son.” After one year I asked: “What happened?“ and they said: “Well, we tried once, but it didn’t come!” So, at least try three times. Maybe it will come.

Question: In the Bible the definition of faith – I can’t exactly quote – is “The knowledge about things you can’t see.’ From this point of view firm conviction is very close to knowledge. But what would be the difference between the firm conviction and the knowledge, if there is such?

Swami Tirtha: Very good question, thank you. Well, knowledge is theory. Conviction is realization. And this is like a strange word, realization. What is that? But the meaning, the practice of realization is that this truth becomes yours. It’s your private vision, it’s your private feeling, it’s your private experience.

So, what is the difference between the worldly beliefs and this conviction, or the knowledge and the conviction? The material world is based on sensual experience. Therefore people will say: ‘I believe if I see’. Because they belong to a visual culture, so to say. ‘If I see, I will believe’. And what is the approach of a spiritual personality? ‘If I believe, I will see’. This is the opposite. ‘I give the chance to the higher reality to manifest to me if I believe. Then I will see, if I have the connection to the higher reality, then it will be obvious for me. No second question.’

So, real faith is not an intellectual game. It’s not in the head, its closer to us, it’s in the heart. Because intelligence can bring us only to the limit of the material ocean. It cannot bring us to the other side of that ocean. Knowledge is part of the sattva-guna, it’s connected to sattva-guna. And this guna can only bring us to liberation, not more. If we want to go further, then we have to apply a different method. And this different method is the faith as an approach to the Supreme reality. It’s a very delicate thing. It’s very easy to shake, or destroy the faith of someone. But if our faith is not tested, we don’t know how strong it is.

 

 

(to be continued)

 



They (1)

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

(continued from the previous Friday) 

Firm conviction – what is that? That is something that will never change. If you examine yourself, you will find tons of things that change around you and in you. If you look into the mirror, you don’t recognize the 16 year old boy or girl. It’s just gone, you have changed – I mean your bodily structure has changed. Where is your youth? Where are your ideals? When we are young we have so beautiful ideals: ‘Yes, we shall change the world!’ Anybody had such conception at that time? Yes, we all had that! And later on what did you find? ‘I couldn’t change the world. I couldn’t even change myself.’ So, then again we raise both hands: ‘I give up, my Lord!’ And then some miracle will start happening.

So, firm conviction means something that never changes. It’s easy to say, but if you check the list of your convictions, if you check the list of your ideals – how many of them did not change throughout the last ten years? How many didn’t change for the last year? How many didn’t change for the last week? This world is going through a permanent transformation; you also. Yet there is something behind and beyond all these external experiences, that says: ‘I am’, that says: ‘You are’. These are the ultimate sentences of spiritual inquiry. ‘I am’ and ‘You are’. But we have to ask who is telling this. For a long time we think: ‘I say I am. I am the center of the world. But actually this is said by God: ‘I am’. Then what about you? You exist only if He says: ‘You are’. So, ‘I am’ is reserved for God. And ‘You are’ is also a merciful exclamation from the Supreme.

This is how we can connect our intelligence, our mind, our faith with the Supreme – if we try to go deeper and deeper into this beautiful realm of faith, if we try to search for the root of the existence. And the root of existence is practically non else than the meeting of Divine Beauty and Love. This is the origin of everything. All else come from that meeting. Just like the children – they come from the meeting of the father and mother. So, everything comes from this meeting of Divine Beauty and Love – that is Krishna and Radha. Because Krishna is the ultimate Beauty and Radha is the ultimate Love, so their union helps everything else to manifest.

This is very high above us. Yet we have to connect our intelligence there. But this is not the ultimate way to approach something higher. The proper method is through faith – and this is a mystical experience. Because something will be revealed to us, unexpected. Shrila Shridhara Maharadja says: ”Krishna’s ways are full of miracles”. So, be ready for miracles. Miracles exist only for those who are ready.

Once again the text for our divine enquiry: “When one’s intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the Supreme, then one becomes fully cleansed of misgivings through complete knowledge and thus proceeds straight on the path of liberation.”[1]

(to be continued)

[1] “Bhagavad Gita”, 5.17

 



Mar

21

Golden!

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

(continued from the previous Friday) 

Shall we discuss faith a little bit? So, what is faith? If faith is a belief – we don’t know, therefore we believe – this is a hope. We hope against hope, in most of the cases we hope for a better turn, but usually we don’t do anything about it.

Yet faith is an active principle. So, if we want to enter deeper – what is faith proper – then we shall understand: all the different theologies will tell you that ”Faith is to accept the will of God”. That sounds more serious, right. This is not only my belief, my hope. This is something coming from above. If we want to specify a little bit more, in our tradition faith is defined in a following way: ”Faith is the firm conviction that by serving Krishna all other services are performed.” That means, by serving God you perform all your duties. Although we have many duties – to our family, to our body, to our tax office, etc. Many different duties we have. How to accomplish all? Plus you are indebted to the ancient sages and the great well-wishers of all times to practically all our teachers who taught us how to write, how to read – unlimited. So, on the practical level and on the mystical level we are indebted much more than if you take a loan from a bank. Because if you have a loan from the bank, probably you can pay it during your lifetime. But this debt cannot be paid in many lifetimes. So, faith means by serving God we pay all our debts, we perform all duties.

Now, please tomorrow don’t tell this to your boss: “My dear boss, I have performed my duty for today, because I served God.” So, don’t misuse this. But try to understand the deeper levels of faith – faith is that by serving God we can practically serve everyone. Because not only the human body is compared to a tree, but God is also compared to a universal tree. And all the leaves and flowers and fruits are us – all the different living entities. And if we water the roots of this tree, all the tree will flourish. So, if we dedicate our service to God, then through His roots, through His system our little insignificant service, these little drops of water that we can give, will be distributed to everyone, to the whole creation proportionately. If you want to water the fruits and the flowers, the tree will die. Therefore it is suggested later on in the Gita that you should search out the roots of existence and give your service there.

So, this is another definition of faith – “By serving the root you can serve all.” Are you satisfied with this definition? Shall we stop enquiries here, without entering deeper and higher recesses of the spiritual science? Or shall we go on? We should not stop in our enquiry. It’s not a joke. Why do I make jokes sometimes? Just to show you that many times we have doubts and we want to stop half way. This is when our shadow tells us: ‘Oh, why do you run so fast?’ When the circumstances or your inner weakness will tell you: ‘Ah, take it easy!’ But don’t stop in your search; go on, because this divine knowledge is endless. We enter one room and there are unlimited rooms waiting for us.

So, the next definition of faith, which is a little more astonishing, is: ”Faith is that happiness that you draw from the ever-increasing spiritual bliss of Krishna and Radha’s meeting”. Sounds different, ah? It’s not a belief. It is not our mental construction, but it’s something very divine. And the basic nature of faith – according to this definition – is bliss. It’s not suffering, it’s not torture – it’s bliss. And what is the feature of this spiritual bliss? That it grows. It’s not a stagnant one. And what is the source of this? Union of the Divine Couple – if Beauty and Love meet, that gives happiness to their followers. Just imagine, if Divine Beauty and Divine Love meet – that’s an eruption. That is the Golden Avatar, like golden volcano. So, this is a very high class definition of faith – spiritual bliss coming from God and His lilas.

But this is a little difficult definition. You will hardly remember it tomorrow. Therefore if I may help you to sum it up, an all-inclusive definition of faith is: ”Faith is a conviction acquired through love.” Do you agree? ”Faith is a deep conviction in our heart achieved through love”. Here everything is described in this one little sentence. Faith according to this definition is not a belief, not something that I don’t know. But this is something that I deeply know, deeply feel in my innermost existence! Therefore om means ‘yes’. If there is any meaning of om, this is ‘yes, what you are searching for it exists.’ In your temples how do they say the om? Amen, but the meaning is the same. ‘Yes, what you are searching for it exists’. So, it’s a deep conviction that ‘my home, my shelter is there’. How can we achieve that firm conviction? The method is also described here – through love. Not material, but divine love.

 

(to be continued)

 

 



thirst

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

I’m very happy to be here together with you. I feel honored that you take the time and trouble, and I’m sure that our Lord appreciates your efforts very much. There is a lot to say, but even more is impossible to be said. And what we cannot say by words, it’s very easy to express by emotionally surcharged words – that means divine song.

So, please allow me to quote a few verses from the divine scripture Bhagavad Gita. During the last days we discussed the perfection of activities, and actually the best supreme activity is to glorify God together through the holy names. This starts a very subtle and a very effective change in our life. Divine energy enters our consciousness and we start to use our lips for a different purpose than before. The function of our ears also transforms and instead of listening to the news of the world and repeating that insignificant material information, we start to be able to pay attention to the divine sound. And this transformation is very powerful over our system. Before we were searching for independent happiness and contentment, yet we felt ever incomplete. Before we were searching for comforts, yet we always felt uneasy. But now due to this change you start to pay attention to the divine message, and all of a sudden you will feel: ‘I’m satisfied. It doesn’t matter if I have something, if I don’t have anything – I’m satisfied.’ This change is like a turning point and we all need such turning points in our lives. So, let’s help each other to let it happen – from our selfish egotism we should come to our good self.

So, we read from the 5th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. This is about “Karma-yoga – Action in Krishna Consciousness”: “When one’s intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the Supreme, then one becomes fully cleansed of misgivings through complete knowledge and thus proceeds straight on the path of liberation.”[1]

This is the way to get rid of misconceptions, although it is very difficult to catch the truth. Yet, if we have our attention, if we have our faith, and if we have our intelligence fixed in the Supreme, then this change is starting. It doesn’t accomplish, it starts.

What is the most important part of a human being? What do you think?

Answer: The soul, the heart.

Swami Tirtha: Soul, heart – yes, correct. Once I asked a very young man, and he identified a different part of his body as the most important. But you know it changes from time to time. And finally after some consideration, we come to our inner self. And we find that here, in our bosom. So, you are residing there in this body. The body is like a tree, and the heart is like a main branch of this tree. And two birds reside on that tree. One is you, trying to taste the different fruits of the tree. How many times have we found a sweet fruit? Many times it happens, but they’re small ones, like berries. Have you ever found some sour fruits also, or bitter ones? Unfortunately they are bigger, like water-melon. Bad luck, this material life is arranged like this – little sweetness and big bitterness. That means this little bird, we, try to enjoy the fruits of our activities. And we are very busy enjoying these fruits, although they are sour and bitter, and sometimes little sweet. Yet, on the branch of this tree another bird is there, observing. This is Krishna’s presence in our heart. That Supersoul is the observer, your inner guide, ready to provide all the necessary circumstances that you need for enlightenment. Good and bad experiences come under divine supervision. So, nothing is independent from the divine surveillance. It’s easy to accept this when something nice comes to us ‘Oh, finally God recognizes my greatness!’ But when something difficult or unexpected comes, then we revolt. For example some suffering, some disease comes to you – what is the first question? Why? Although we have to remember that ‘why?’ as a question is not approved in spiritual enquiries. ‘Why me? Why not you?’ – It’s a wrong question. And we have lots of other questions. But better we try to focus our mind, intelligence, knowledge and faith on God.

 

 

(to be continued)

 

[1] Bhagavad Gita, 5.17