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English issues

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 08.05.2017 morning, Rila)

(continues from the previous Friday)

It is suggested for the brahmins also to consume blood. Can you explain me how?

Paramananda: In the form of milk.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. Because milk is actually a transformation of blood. Therefore there is a saying ‘the baby has drunk this with the mother’s milk’). Why? Because that came to him through this substance. It transfers the consciousness, it transfers the message. In this way if the brahmins take blood and flesh of the cows – the blood is the milk and the flesh is the ghee. This is our animal sacrifice. If you say “Sva-ha”, you pour the ghee into the sacrificial fire, without interrupting the life of the living being. If you offer the milk and then take it, then it will bring a different state of consciousness to you.

So, sacrifice is a very complex thing. Everything depends on the influence of the gunas. Those under limited or lower influence they will offer the body, they will kill the body. We should offer the consciousness. That’s very delicate. In a very refined way we have to make this sacrifice, because the ultimate sacrifice is to give your life and love, your flesh and blood. This is what we have to dedicate in a very aesthetic manner.

Question of Mahadev: Gurudev, a very weird thought came to my mind. People say that the human milk is closest to the goat’s milk. Does it mean that necessarily we have similar consciousness like goats, or it’s just chemical similarity?

Swami Tirtha: I don’t know, I didn’t hear this. But usually we prefer the cow’s milk, because that is sattvic. Other types of animals convey different types of mentalities. But the goat milk is very popular, because it’s less rejected by the body. The body is usually more tolerant to take it if you have intolerance to lactose. If you have some problem, then it might help you. So, maybe this is one reason why they consider it more befitting – due to health issues.

But in any case milk is a transfer of loving care.

 

(to be continued)

 



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 08.05.2017 morning, Rila)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Why the temple of Shrila Shridhara Maharaj has nine domes, nine towers? This is not only an artistic expression of the architect. This is symbolic. The main dome, the tallest one, signifies the ninth element of devotional service – full surrender, full dedication. That means: dedicate your life, sacrifice your life to divine service, right. This is not a bloody sacrifice, there’s no need to eliminate yourself – but rather engage yourself in divine service. That’s a high type of sacrifice. But what is the importance of blood?

Yashoda: Consciousness is there.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. Actually blood carries the consciousness. Therefore this is a very, very precious substance. Why our blood is red? Have you ever thought of that? Because it’s nice, you might say! No, there is some other reason. Chemically it contains iron, therefore it is reddish. What is the most common heavy metal in the Universe? The same – iron. So, we can say that stardust is in your blood. This physically connects us to this Universe. And if in our circulation blood transfers the consciousness and with this circulation pervades the whole body, to dedicate your blood to something means to dedicate your consciousness to something. And in the Gita[1] Krishna describes that the sacrifice with not only intention, but with intelligence, when you dedicate your consciousness – this is the highest type of sacrifice. So, we have to dedicate our life, our consciousness to divine service. Then we can upgrade our consciousness.

Blood is very symbolic. Blood in the case of man indicates death. The heroes are ready to give their blood for the country. While blood in case of ladies is a symbol of life. So, it’s something very-very important. A very intense symbolic deep meaning is there.

And therefore those who deal with blood usually are very powerful people. For example a murderer, or a butcher, or a fighter – they are very powerful. They have very strong aura. Same with the brahmins. The brahmins don’t cut your body to let your blood flow, but they manipulate your consciousness, they purify your consciousness – the essence of your blood. Therefore such people who can purify our consciousness are also very powerful. They also have a very strong aura.

Therefore to take the blood in the case of Jada Bharata and to sacrifice it, to take something very precious and give it in exchange for some gain – it’s like an offering with some hopes, with some exchange. And from the consequences we can see that mother Kali is very much ready to consume this blood. Maybe not from the sacrificial victim, but from those who have wrong consciousness. Again if you take it symbolically, what does it mean to take the blood of the thieves and rogues? To change their consciousness, to take the mistake from them; to digest it, to eliminate it. So this is not a scene from an ancient horror movie, but the main point is the change of consciousness. Take something essential and divert it.

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 18.70



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 08.05.2017 morning, Rila)

 (continues from the previous Friday)

“All the rogues and thieves who had made arrangements for the worship of goddess Kali were low minded and bound to the modes of passion and ignorance. They were overpowered by the desire to become very rich; therefore they had the audacity to disobey the injunctions of the Vedas, so much so that they were prepared to kill Jada Bharata, a self-realized soul born in a brahmana family. Due to their envy, these dacoits brought him before the goddess Kali for sacrifice. Such people are always addicted to envious activities, and therefore they dared to try to kill Jada Bharata. Jada Bharata was the best friend of all living entities. He was no one’s enemy, and he was always absorbed in meditation on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He was born of a good brahmana father, and killing him was forbidden, even though he might have been an enemy or aggressive person. In any case, there was no reason to kill Jada Bharata, and the goddess Kali could not bear this. She could immediately understand that these sinful dacoits were about to kill a great devotee of the Lord. Suddenly the deity’s body burst asunder, and the goddess Kali personally emerged from it in a body burning with an intense and intolerable effulgence.”[1]

Mystic experience. Only for adults. But anyway we have to complete the story. And then we shall try to come to some more peaceful moments.

“Intolerant of the offenses committed, the infuriated goddess Kali flashed her eyes and displayed her fierce, curved teeth. Her reddish eyes glowed, and she displayed her fearsome features. She assumed a frightening body, as if she were prepared to destroy the entire creation. Leaping violently from the altar, she immediately decapitated all the rogues and thieves with the very sword with which they had intended to kill Jada Bharata. She then began to drink the hot blood that flowed from the necks of the beheaded rogues and thieves, as if this blood were liquor. Indeed, she drank this intoxicant with her associates, who were witches and female demons. Becoming intoxicated with this blood, they all began to sing very loudly and dance as though prepared to annihilate the entire universe. At the same time, they began to play with the heads of the rogues and thieves, tossing them about as if they were balls”. Action-reaction. “When an envious person commits an offense before a great personality, he is always punished in the way mentioned above.”[2]So, beware.

So, what we can see here? A very unusual practice – human sacrifice. In all different cultures human sacrifice was there. The Bible also describes human sacrifice almost happening. In South America it was also there – taking the living heart and offering this to the Sun-god. Or Carthage – there they also practiced human sacrifice. They knew that when there was a danger to the state their spiritual leaders said: “To avoid this danger we have to sacrifice our sons. Hundred sons should be sacrificed.” Then the citizens said: “Double! We give 200.”

Sanatan: Even the king’s son.

Swami Tirtha: These are very strong things. Just imagine yourself if you should give such a sacrifice. It’s very painful. Because life is very precious.

We have learned from the Gita that without sacrifice nothing works, you cannot be happy. But what kind of sacrifice? Shall I sacrifice the life of others? Although this is very precious, better we sacrifice our own life. Little insignificant external things we can easily sacrifice. Little flowers, little water – as Krishna cheats us in the Gita[3]. And after that: “And all in. And everything else – just give it to Me.”[4]

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.9.17

[2] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.9.18-19

[3] Bhagavad Gita 9.26

[4] Bhagavad Gita 9.27



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 08.05.2017 morning, Rila)

(continues from the previous Friday)

In his previous birth as a deer Bharata Maharaja was an outsider. Here again he is an outsider. Nevertheless his inner satisfaction was undisturbed. So, sometimes you are little outsiders, but keep your inner satisfaction intact. And if you have a brahmana thread, don’t let it get dark.

“Jada Bharata used to work only for food. His step-brothers took advantage of this and engaged him in agricultural field work in exchange for some food, but actually he did not know how to work very well in the field. He did not know where to spread dirt or where to make the ground level or uneven. His brothers used to give him broken rice, oil cakes, the chaff of rice, worm-eaten grains and burned grains that had stuck to the pot, but he gladly accepted all this as if it were nectar. He did not hold any grudges and ate all this very gladly.”[1]

Once I heard a story. People went on a spiritual retreat, very ascetic – you cannot speak all day, you have to sit in meditation eight plus more hours, and when taking food, you can fill your pot only once and this is what you can eat. So, one of the very ascetic practitioners, knowing that it’s only one time that you can fill up your pot, came with two. ‘Because only once I can fill my pot, so let’s have two pots!’ This is human nature – ‘I go on an ascetic retreat to enjoy’. As the Master Beinsa Douno said: “People take the biggest pot and the smallest mattock.” I think there’s no need for further explanation.

“At this time, being desirous of obtaining a son, a leader of dacoits who came from a shudra family wanted to worship the goddess Bhadra Kali by offering her in sacrifice a dull man, who is considered no better than an animal”. A very frightening turn of the story! “The leader of the dacoits captured a man-animal for sacrifice, but he escaped, and the leader ordered his followers to find him. They ran in different directions but could not find him. Wandering here and there in the middle of the night, covered by dense darkness, they came to a paddy field where they saw the exalted son of the Angira family [Jada Bharata], who was sitting in an elevated place guarding the field against the attacks of deer and wild pigs.

The followers and servants of the dacoit chief considered Jada Bharata to possess qualities quite suitable for a man-animal, and they decided that he was a perfect choice for sacrifice. Their faces bright with happiness, they bound him with ropes and brought him to the temple of the goddess Kali.

After this, all the thieves, according to their imaginative ritual for killing animalistic men, bathed Jada Bharata, dressed him in new clothes, decorated him with ornaments befitting an animal, smeared his body with scented oils and decorated him with tilaka, sandalwood pulp and garlands. They fed him sumptuously and then brought him before the goddess Kali, offering her incense, lamps, garlands, parched grain, newly grown twigs, sprouts, fruits and flowers. In this way they worshiped the deity before killing the man-animal, and they vibrated songs and prayers and played drums and bugles. Jada Bharata was then made to sit down before the deity.

At this time, one of the thieves, acting as the chief priest, was ready to offer the blood of Jada Bharata, whom they imagined to be an animal-man, to the goddess Kali to drink as liquor. He therefore took up a very fearsome sword, which was very sharp and, consecrating it by the mantra of Bhadra Kali, raised it to kill Jada Bharata.”[2]

Interesting, ah?

Comment: Scary.

Swami Tirtha: Scary. Therefore I suggested don’t keep your brahmana thread black. You might get into trouble.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.9.11

[2] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.9.12-16



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 08.05.2017 morning, Rila)

(continues from the previous Friday)

 “The father’s mind was always filled with affection for his son, Jada Bharata [Bharata Maharaja]. Therefore he was always attached to Jada Bharata. Because Jada Bharata was unfit to enter the grihastha-ashrama, he simply executed the purificatory process up to the end of the brahmacarya-ashrama. Although Jada Bharata was unwilling to accept his father’s instructions, the brahmana nonetheless instructed him in how to keep clean and how to wash, thinking that the son should be taught by the father. Jada Bharata behaved before his father like a fool, despite his father’s adequately instructing him in Vedic knowledge. He behaved in that way so that his father would know that he was unfit for instruction and would abandon the attempt to instruct him further. He would behave in a completely opposite way. Although instructed to wash his hands after evacuating, he would wash them before. Nonetheless, his father wanted to give him Vedic instructions during the spring and summer. He tried to teach him the Gayatri mantra along with omkara and vyahriti, but after four months his father still was not successful in instructing him. The brahmana father of Jada Bharata considered his son his heart and soul, and therefore he was very much attached to him. He thought it wise to educate his son properly, and being absorbed in this unsuccessful endeavor, he tried to teach his son the rules and regulations of brahmacarya — including the execution of the Vedic vows, cleanliness, study of the Vedas, the regulative methods, service to the spiritual master and the method of offering a fire sacrifice. He tried his best to teach his son in this way, but all his endeavors failed. In his heart he hoped that his son would be a learned scholar, but all his attempts were unsuccessful. Like everyone, this brahmana was attached to his home, and he had forgotten that someday he would die. Death, however, was not forgetful. At the proper time, death appeared and took him away.”[1]

It’s a little, in one way, sad, in the other way a little funny story – the father tries to teach the unqualified son. The son is not willing to accept any instructions. Other times in other places in the Bhagavatam it is mentioned that a teacher, or father, or king or any superior, or guru must carry on the instructions and teachings even if there is no willingness to receive. And I think this brahmana-father had done this. He was trying and trying and trying his best. As we understood that he was reasonable and knowledgeable; of course he understood that with his son this will not work. So, sometimes by your intelligence you fail, but the father kept on going due to emotions. By the intellect, by the thoughts you might feel that this is the utmost limit – you have reached your limit and you cannot go any step further. But then the reserve energy should start to function. This emotional surcharge can go beyond the limits.

“Thereafter, the brahmana’s younger wife, after entrusting her twin children — the boy and girl — to the elder wife, departed for Patiloka, voluntarily dying with her husband.”[2] ‘If you go, I will go. I don’t want to stay here. I will go with you.’ – this is called commitment.

“After the father died, the nine step-brothers of Jada Bharata, who considered Jada Bharata dull and brainless, abandoned the father’s attempt to give Jada Bharata a complete education. The step-brothers of Jada Bharata were learned in the three Vedas — the Rig Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda — which very much encourage fruitive activity. The nine brothers were not at all spiritually enlightened in devotional service to the Lord. Consequently they could not understand the highly exalted position of Jada Bharata. Degraded men are actually no better than animals. The only difference is that animals have four legs and such men have only two. These two-legged, animalistic men used to call Jada Bharata mad, dull, deaf and dumb. They mistreated him, and Jada Bharata behaved for them like a madman who was deaf, blind or dull. He did not protest or try to convince them that he was not so. If his brothers wanted him to do something, he acted according to their desires. Whatever food he could acquire by begging or by wages, and whatever came of its own accord — be it a small quantity, palatable, stale or tasteless — he would accept and eat. He never ate anything for sense gratification because he was already liberated from the bodily conception, which induces one to accept palatable or unpalatable food. He was full in the transcendental consciousness of devotional service, and therefore he was unaffected by the dualities arising from the bodily conception. Actually his body was as strong as a bull’s, and his limbs were very muscular. He didn’t care for winter or summer, wind or rain, and he never covered his body at any time. He lay on the ground, and never smeared oil on his body or took a bath. Because his body was dirty, his spiritual effulgence and knowledge were covered, just as the splendor of a valuable gem is covered by dirt. He only wore a dirty loincloth and his sacred thread, which was blackish. Understanding that he was born in a brahmana family, people would call him a brahma-bandhu and other names. Being thus insulted and neglected by materialistic people, he wandered here and there.”[3]

 

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.9.4-6

[2] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.9.7

[3] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.9.8-10



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 08.05.2017 morning, Rila)

Today we have to continue our readings to complete the story because now we are in a very exciting moment. This is Chapter Nine from the Fifth Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam, The Supreme Character of Jada Bharata.

“Shukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, after giving up the body of a deer, Bharata Maharaja took birth in a very pure brahmana family. There was a brahmana who belonged to the dynasty of Angira. He was fully qualified with brahminical qualifications. He could control his mind and senses, and he had studied the Vedic literatures and other subsidiary literatures. He was expert in giving charity, and he was always satisfied, tolerant, very gentle, learned and non-envious. He was self-realized and engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. He remained always in a trance. He had nine equally qualified sons by his first wife, and by his second wife he begot twins — a brother and a sister, of which the male child was said to be the topmost devotee and foremost of saintly kings — Bharata Maharaja. This, then, is the story of the birth he took after giving up the body of a deer.”[1]

Here we get a glimpse of the brahminical qualities: self-control, studies, knowledge, charity, contentment, tolerance, gentle behavior, being learned and no envy. So, if you want to qualify yourselves, here is a list. There are many different qualities that you might obtain. Some people come with qualities; some people can obtain some qualities; others cannot obtain some qualities. But they are the real candidates for the path of mercy.

So, finally, after his off-trail, diversion into another species, Bharata Maharaja came back to the human species.

“Due to his being especially gifted with the Lord’s mercy, Bharata Maharaja could remember the incidents of his past life. Although he received the body of a brahmana, he was still very much afraid of his relatives and friends who were not devotees. He was always very cautious of such association because he feared that he would again fall down. Consequently he manifested himself before the public eye as a madman — dull, blind and deaf — so that others would not try to talk to him. In this way he saved himself from bad association. Within he was always thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord and chanting the Lord’s glories, which save one from the bondage of fruitive action. In this way he saved himself from the onslaught of nondevotee associates.”[2]

Again, very strange behavior, right – coming from a brahmin family and acting like a fool. Externally he is a fool, internally he is a devotee. Well, if I look at myself, externally I try to pose as intelligent and internally I am non-devotee. So, who is more fool – Bharata Maharaja or us?

Practically there is always a little difference, a little discrepancy between the inner picture that you have about yourself and the external reality – your ideals and your reality. His remembrance was always there, he was always conscious about the mistakes he had made and therefore he could maintain his level of consciousness. In the same way we also have to develop this inner core of our conviction. And in the light of that permanent conviction we can go and live and do what is necessary.

In the rasic shastras you will find a special state of bhava. Bhava is very refined divine loving disposition. There are different types, like bhava, vibhava, anubhava, vyabhicari-bhava, many different types of categories. But what I want to mention here this is sthayi-bhava, the permanent mood. We had a griha-stha ceremony here – to stay at your home, to be fixed in your home – stha. So, here is the same – stha, sthayi-bhava, like firmly established bhava, permanently there. If you come to some kind of established, deep-rooted understanding and practice, then you are safe, just like Bharata Maharaja.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.9.1-2

[2] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.9.3



Aug

26

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.05.2017 morning, Rila)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“Although in the body of a deer, Bharata Maharaja, due to his rigid devotional service in his past life, could understand the cause of his birth in that body. Considering his past and present life, he constantly repented his activities, speaking in the following way: “What misfortune! I have fallen from the path of the self-realized. I gave up my real sons, wife and home to advance in spiritual life, and I took shelter in a solitary holy place in the forest. I became self-controlled and self-realized, and I engaged constantly in devotional service — hearing, thinking, chanting, worshiping and remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. I was successful in my attempt, so much so that my mind was always absorbed in devotional service. However, due to my personal foolishness, my mind again became attached — this time to a deer. Now I have obtained the body of a deer and have fallen far from my devotional practices.”[1]

So, anushravana, listening; manana, thinking; sankirtana, glorifying; aradhana, worshipping – these are the elements of spiritual practice.

“Although Bharata Maharaja received the body of a deer, by constant repentance he became completely detached from all material things. He did not disclose these things to anyone (to the other deer), but he left his mother deer in a place known as Kalanjara Mountain, where he was born. He again went to the forest of Shalagrama and to the ashrama of Pulastya and Pulaha. Remaining in that ashrama, the great King Bharata Maharaja was now very careful not to fall victim to bad association. Without disclosing his past to anyone, he remained in that ashrama and ate dry leaves only. He was not exactly alone, for he had the association of the Supersoul. In this way he waited for death in the body of a deer. Bathing in that holy place, he finally gave up that body.”[2]

You see, this is the happy story of a spiritual practitioner. You face yourself, you understand your shortcomings and mistakes, but there is always a chance to correct. And although Bharata Maharaja was an exceptional king in his active period, he had chosen the path of the renounciate – and this is like an outsider from the society. Usually the society tries to maintain good standards and cultivate all the human purushartas – like dharma (merit), artha, kama. But a renounciate discards them – only moksha. So, he is an outsider. Then came this little mistake in the final meditation and he became a member of the deer community. But again he was an outsider there. Because usually the other deer they don’t have that memory of their past life. But he had and he wanted to correct himself, so again he was an outsider. Nevertheless he was never alone, because he perceived very strongly, very deeply the divine presence, the Paramatma. ‘I’m not alone. Somebody is here with me.’

Nevertheless as most of you are not outsiders of your society and community, if you meet such an estranged outsider – like an ascetic or something, please, try to domesticate him for a while. Give some chapatti to him not only dry leaves. Then you accomplish your dharma and he is also satisfied.

Therefore we support the grihastha community – somebody has to produce the chapattis. If everybody is an ascetic, who will bring the chapattis? Grihastha life is also an ashram, a place and an institution for spiritual progress. Stha in Sanskrit means ‘to stay’. Don’t run away, be established. Grihastha – established in a griha, in a home. Not simply a building, but a home. Not a house, a home. It’s different. So, the first duty of grihasthas is to convert a house into a home. And the upgrade of that duty is to turn the home into a temple.

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.8.28-29

[2] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.8.30-31



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.05.2017 morning, Rila)

(continues from the previous Friday)

 “At the time of death, Bharata Maharaj saw that the deer was sitting by his side, exactly like his own son, and was lamenting his death. Actually the mind of the King was absorbed in the body of the deer, and consequently — like those bereft of Krishna consciousness — he left the world, the deer, and his material body and acquired the body of a deer. However, there was one advantage. Although he lost his human body and received the body of a deer, he did not forget the incidents of his past life.”[1]

We know from the Gita that “Whatever you remember at the moment of death you will acquire that, you will achieve that position in your next life.”[2] You know we have this bargaining mentality: ‘All right, if the last moment will determine my future, I will fix my consciousness in the last moment.’ But be realistic, if it is so difficult to focus your mind in general, why do you think that at the last moment you will be able to control everything perfectly? These are very intense moments – acquiring the body and also leaving the body – these are very-very intense feelings. So, this is more or less out of control, out of the conscious control; something else will take over. Therefore actually from this example here we can also learn how to achieve that fixed state of consciousness at the end. Because Bharata Maharaja simply had this affection for the deer and he was thinking of the deer. In the same way, if you simply love Krishna, you will remember Him, or at least you will remember the devotees and meet them again.

Once there was a devotee and he told to the others: “Please, fix my car, arrange everything nicely.” The next morning he started with the car and somehow he felt that it was imbalanced. He started to think of the devotees, who didn’t accomplish that duty properly. And immediately he broke the car and his head. Then he started to think: “Hey, I almost quit the body, but at least I was remembering the devotees. Yet it looks like my meditation was not so positive, therefore my Lord said: “Go back! You cannot leave so easily.”

So, it’s not enough to have a kind of meditation; try to tune this meditation to be loving, affectionate, positive. This is something very serious, because our process, bhakti-yoga means control by affection. We gain control over the body-mind complex by affection. Not by analytical knowledge, not by tapasya, not by austerities, no. By practicing affectionate service to the Supreme – this is our way, this is our method. So, this is a very refined cultivation. Therefore, please qualify yourselves to that standard! And always remember that ‘Whenever I bring some flowers to the temple, the reason, the motivation behind is this very tender cultivation’. Please, always maintain this inner meaning, inner purport of every little detail that you are doing.

So, Bharata Maharaja was meditating and focusing on the deer and he achieved the body of a deer. But the deer was meditating on Bharata Maharaja, right? So, different topic, different object of meditation. But at least, although he had to change the species, Bharata Maharaja didn’t change the consciousness, he didn’t forget.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.8.27

[2] Bhagavad Gita 8.6



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.05.2017 morning, Rila)

 (continues from the previous Friday)

 Again we jump back to the core of the story of Bharata Maharaja. We discussed that in this ideal and very beautiful environment, as Bharata Maharaj was practicing, he met this small deer and all his attention was immediately focused on the deer. Due to affection, due to compassion he started to take care. But this attachment started to grow more and more and occupy his consciousness practically fully. Have you ever perceived that feeling? When something started to happen in your life and it just overtook you fully. It didn’t let you free, it just engrossed you so much.

“After perceiving the moonshine, Bharata Maharaj continued speaking like a crazy person. He said: “The deer’s son was so submissive and dear to me that due to its separation I am feeling separation from my own son. Due to the burning fever of this separation, I am suffering as if inflamed by a forest fire. My heart, which is like the lily of the land, is now burning. Seeing me so distressed, the moon is certainly splashing its shining nectar upon me — just as a friend throws water on another friend who has a high fever. In this way, the moon is bringing me happiness.” Shukadeva Gosvami continued: “My dear King, in this way Bharata Maharaj was overwhelmed by an uncontrollable desire which was manifest in the form of the deer. Due to the fruitive results of his past deeds, he fell down from mystic yoga, austerity and worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If it were not due to his past fruitive activity, how could he have been attracted to the deer after giving up the association of his own son and family, considering them stumbling blocks on the path of spiritual life? How could he show such uncontrollable affection for a deer? This was definitely due to his past karma. The King was so engrossed in petting and maintaining the deer that he fell down from his spiritual activities.”[1]

So, sometimes it happens. You feel you are very fixed in your spiritual achievements, in your practices, you feel some accomplishment there. And then another chapter starts in your life when it all seems like evaporating. All that you had is just gone from your hands. Sometimes you feel bad about it, you feel the loss. But here Bharata Maharaja was satisfied, because he had the company of the deer. ‘A practical substitute to some theoretical fantasies – perfection, peace, meditation. Come on, let’s be practical! The deer is here to me and I can embrace!’ But other times we are sorry about our loss and we perceive this diminishing spiritual power or commitment with some apprehension.

Do you agree with such a substitute? To substitute worship of God for the worship of a deer? Is it a good bargain? Well, what is the prayer of Raghunath das Goswami? “Without my spiritual superior, Vrindavana is not pleasant. And the caves on the Govardhana Hill are just like the open mouth of a snake.” So, we have to consider many, many points.

And “In due course of time, insurmountable death, which is compared to a venomous snake that enters the hole created by a mouse, situated itself before him”.

This is one small little factor, that we all have to face. Our career in this life is: live, love and leave. We have entered the labyrinth of material life and one day we shall leave this place. Therefore it is suggested to live just as if this was your last day and to act as if you were working for eternity. Please, don’t forget this.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.8.25-26



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.05.2017 morning, Rila)

Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya. Before starting to read and recall the story of Bharata Maharaja, let me mention in a few words the importance of this mantra. This is one major mantra for the present age. We have many yoga teachers and practitioners here. And everybody knows about the importance of the om. But what is the meaning of the om, Shyama Tulasi? If you translate that, what is the meaning of the word?

Shyama Tulasi: This is the universal sound, maintaining the harmony of the whole universe. And by this sound the whole universe dances its perfect dance.

Swami Tirtha: Oh, I like that! Correct, om is a creative sound that is able to convert chaos into cosmos. So, it might create the order of life. There must be order in the universe, otherwise this is called chaos. So, if in the beginning of creation this divine sound – and sound is so important, a vibration, an energy – created this harmonious order in the external manifestation, we have not only an external world, but we have an internal world also. I don’t know about you, but many people say that the chaos is not outside, it’s inside. So, in case you feel you need to put a little order in your consciousness, om as a creative sound will turn your chaos into a cosmic order.

But it’s very difficult to identify a meaning or a translation to the om. Because it’s so condensed, so essential that everything of the power is contained in one word; and how can you translate that?! So, we can say that it’s such a unique, so to say abstract concentration of everything that is almost impossible to find a proper translation for that. We can say that this is the one word in the universe – the one and only word. Om is enough. Nevertheless if we want to translate om, this is very simple. Let’s start from your own vocabulary. What is the one and only word that you will identify as the most important?

Answer: ‘Me’.

Swami Tirtha: ‘Me’? Yes, I think this concept creates the chaos inside. ‘I, me, myself’.

Sanatana: Affection.

Swami Tirtha: I agree, but this is like the mystic explanation of the same word that I was thinking of. It’s very simple – sometimes we try to negate everything. So, then you might think that the ultimate word in this universe is ‘no’. But let’s have a better and positive version: ‘yes’. Shridhara Maharaja says that: “Om is ‘yes’! Yes, what you are searching for it exists!” That is not so complicated. This is assertive communication. Yes, what you are searching for it exists. And if we go more into detail, there is affection, of course. So, we can say that the ultimate word in this universe is ‘yes’. If we agree on that point, then what kind of words you should use with your spiritual master? ‘Yes’.

And we also want to help others to come closer to this truth. So, if in the morning, before your spiritual readings, or studies, or offerings you chant this om namo bhagavate vasudevaya, you create the order, you create the harmony around. And also you remind yourself that there is an order in this world. If we come to a more esoteric explanation of om, you can break down this into three different sounds: A-U-M. A is God; M is me; and U between – this is the most important power, the power of love. So, Govinda, Radha and myself. That means we belong together.

The second word is namaha; the meaning, the translation of namaha is ‘respect, obeisances’. But respect is not for me. That means that I have to offer respect to somebody who is not me. You see, first there is some theoretical conception – like what is the om, creating the order; but namaha is an active principle: “I offer my respects to You.” To whom? To Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord. Bhaga means ‘wealth’ or ‘opulence’ and van means ‘to possess’. So, the one who possesses all the opulence of the universe. But again this is very general – who is this possessor of all the opulence in this universe? This is Vasudeva, God personified as the superior state of consciousness, all-encompassing. “After many-many births and lifetimes those who are really intelligent understand that Vasudeva is all in all.”[1]

Bharata Maharaja was also worshipping Vasudeva, the superior state of consciousness. But He is never alone. First the productive energy is manifested from Him – this is Baladev. And then a very unusual energy is manifested – the creative energy. So, productivity and creativity all come from the superior state of consciousness. Balaram is a first expansion, then Radhika is the creative energy. So, if we take it symbolically, this superior state of consciousness is never alone. There must be some productive energy and there must be some creative energy.

And if we put all this together: “Yes, I offer my respects to the personal God, full of opulence, who is the superior consciousness” – this is the word-by-word meaning of this mantra. But what is the purport of this mantra? What is the use here? This is a protective mantra. And the protective mantras are called kavacas. Kavaca is like a ‘shield’. This mantra can protect you from all external influences. In the Bhagavatam the Narayana kavaca is described in a very detailed manner. And the main mantra in the Narayana kavaca, after cleansing and purifying and sanctifying the different parts of the body, is this mantra. That means by creating this harmony and by submitting yourself under this divine superior protection, you will be saved. It’s just like a protective shield coming to you; it will embrace you and cover you. Therefore it is very nice to start your day with this prayer: “Oh, my Lord, I offer my respects” and He will give you the protection. Beautiful! And also you can invite your beloved ones under this shelter. You might say: “Maybe I believe, maybe I don’t believe.” But I tell you it’s tested, it works.

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 7.19