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Extra English Issues issues

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

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question: It’s an interesting point that Jesus became Christ – Christos. Christa, Krishna – it’s the same! How would you comment that – human became God?

Swami Tirtha: Or divine became human? It’s a big debate for two thousand years and they could not decide yet. So how can we decide it here and now? Nevertheless – either the divine is transformed into a human or the human is transformed into some divinity – it’s a divine transformation. It shows that divinity is ready to take the role of a human and it also proves that a simple human being might elevate to a divine platform. But the way is through crucifixion. We have to die for ourselves, and then you can be born again for God, for divine service. Without that crucifixion there is no resurrection.

To show the parallels between different traditions I think it’s good to find some basic common points that people can understand. In this way many try to find similarities between historic facts, words, expressions, different points of the teachings. It usually helps people to come closer and to understand the other wording of the same message.

What is important here is the divine name. It is there in the Lord’s Prayer, mentioned in the third line. So this is important. This is the universal practice for this age – approach the Supreme through the names. And actually, do you remember the last words of Jesus on the cross?

Answer: “Eli, eli, lama sabachthani – My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”

Swami Tirtha: Correct! If we want to decipher these words, then you will find something interesting. ‘Sa-bachthani’ – “I want to be with the devotees – sa-bhaktami!” So what was the ultimate prayer? It’s not: “Ah God, why did you leave me?” no, it was: “I want to be with the devotees again!”

But who is Christ? He is ‘The anointed one”. And when we receive initiation in our tradition, we also become anointed. It doesn’t mean that you come immediately to Jesus platform. But definitely it means that you got the chance to start a new life. That is the meaning of entering a divine school. When you join a tradition, that means you become a representative of that school. You are not a simple individual person anymore, but you are a representative of something. Your school, your master, your God – you represent them. Therefore we have to be careful, because people will judge our tradition according to you, according to us. So we should behave to represent nicely this sacred tradition. This is what I mean when I say that you are also anointed at the time of your initiation – you start to represent something.

But this is not the ultimate anointment. Because in the Brahma Samhita it is said: 

premanjana-chchurita-bhakti-vilochanena
santah sadaiva hridayeshu vilokayanti
yam shyamasundaram achintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami

 

“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, because it is Him, whom pure devotees always see in their hearts in His beautiful Shyamasundara form, because their eyes are anointed with the ointment of bhakti, divine love.”[1] Anjana is ‘ointment’. Prema-anjana – the ointment of divine love is on their eyes. With such an eye we shall be able to see Him permanently.

To be a simple human being is easy. Well, not very easy to be a Jesus; but that is simpler than to be a Christ. To be an outsider is easy; but to be an insider is more responsible.

(to be continued) 

[1] Brahma Samhita 5.38

 



May

5

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

(continues from the previous Monday) 

The death and resurrection of Jesus are practically the greatest mystery of Christian faith. It’s a reality for those who believe, it’s a questionable fact for the historians, but it doesn’t really matter. This is a divine act of sacrifice to compensate for the sins of the world and for the benefit of humanity. This is like a way out – if you are saved, purified by a sacrifice, then you can find your way to perfection.

Where can we find this principle of sacrifice in our tradition? We can see many important examples for that. But there is one very important point here, described in the Rig Veda. It tells us the primordial, the original divine sacrifice. In the beginning of creation, in the time of very intensive meditation of the ancient saints and rishis, the Lord, who is beyond human conception, was ready to sacrifice Himself for the benefit of the upcoming, future creation. His divine body became an offering in the meditation of the rishis.

You can see – the sacrifice of Lord Jesus was at the end – to save the world, humanity. And the sacrifice of our Lord was at the beginning of creation – He was giving Himself in order that the creation functions properly. We can see the principle of sacrifice at the beginning and at the end. So we can say: it’s not only a divine act of salvation, but this is a divine act of beginning also.

‘All right, this is very nice, now we have expanded our knowledge – about the fall of Jesus on the cross, about the sacrifice at the end, the sacrifice at the beginning. Now we see the parallels between the different religious traditions. It’s very nice – sacrifice is for God, now we understood. The Christian son of God has sacrificed His life, the Hindu God sacrificed Himself – at the end, at the beginning – it’s their business; we can live nicely.’

What about our sacrifice? How to sacrifice ourselves? If our Lord is ready to give Himself, then what about us? Many are willing to enjoy the fruits of the labor, of the work, of the sacrifice of others, but very few are ready to make the sacrifice. We all want to enjoy resurrection, but don’t forget what happened two days before. Without death there is no birth. Without crucifixion there is no resurrection. And we can also say that without resurrection there is no crucifixion either. Do you feel the difference between the two expressions? We only exchanged the words. But we should be ready to make our individual sacrifice in the same mood in order to achieve the bliss of resurrection, the bliss of eternal life.

The cross is an invitation for eternal life, it says: ‘There is no death. Life has overcome death’. If you meditate on the divine sacrifice at the beginning, again it says: ‘Only existence exists. Non-existence doesn’t exist’. The same message is transmitted. And then if you are ready to make such an intensive sacrifice, if you are ready to dedicate your life for the benefit of the whole world or the next creation, or if you are ready to sacrifice your life as a sacrifice in exchange for the sins of others, then you can reach eternal life, or resurrection. So, if we want to enjoy the benefits of the eternal life, we have to make some little sacrifice. One little lifetime for eternity – it’s not a big deal.

And if you are ready to do that, then some transformation will come. The most important verse in this song[1] is: “In the hearts of the pure devotees Govinda always resides. And Govinda also declares: “The pure devotees are in My heart.”

You see, the heart chakra is pointed by the cross. This is your important ford, where you can cross the river. Here, the secrets are here! This is the way of breaktrough. God lives in the pure hearts. Krishna is there in the hearts of the pure devotees. And the greater mystery is that the pure devotees are also in Krishna’s heart. So, one embraces the other in the heart. Therefore it is said in the Gita: “I am there in everybody and they are in Me. And you see My great power of yoga? I’m independent, I’m not there. I am there and I am not there.”[2] So, in your heart Krishna is there, you are there in Krishna’s heart – this is a meeting of hearts! And how to cross this point of breakthrough, this channel? By chanting our sacred mantras of eternal life: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare, Hare.

 

(to be continued)

[1] Ei baro caruna koro

[2] Bhagavad Gita 9.4-5

 



Xavier_smiling_Christ XV_bras

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

We’ve come together on a blessed day, Easter, to celebrate the victory of life over death. Shall we discuss about that a little bit? I think that is important. Because death does not really exist. Although sometimes it looks very fearful and realistic, it doesn’t really exist. We believe not in death, we believe in life. Life, eternal life is our guiding principle. Compared to that nothing is significant. First we have to deeply understand that we are eternal souls, individual separate particles of the energy of the Supreme. And as God is unlimited and eternal, we share His qualities in that respect. We are also eternal, but our power and our expansion is limited. And unfortunately we live in a very difficult age – the age of degradation. So even that small capacities are diminished. Before people had broader and deeper understanding, but today we have very weak and very shallow understanding. Even we forget that we are eternal souls. Therefore the first step in our spiritual path is to deeply realize that we are not impermanent, we are not changing. Whatever changes is superficial; deep down we are permanent, we are eternal.

Then you might say: ‘How can I change my character? How can I get rid of my bad habits – if there is no change?’ No, we only have to revive the original, primordial state of existence and consciousness. First we have to deeply and profoundly understand that we are eternal. Second we have to pacify our intellect – because we are always disturbed by different intellectual influences. But even if you become very smart on the intellectual platform, that is not the happiness of the soul. Therefore ultimately we have to find the happiness of our heart and soul.

So, we live in the age of degradation. And on this blessed day I would like to illustrate that degradation by an example coming from the history of arts. What is the main symbol of Christianity?

Answer: The cross.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. And is this cross empty? Somebody is on the cross, right? So the main symbol of Christianity is the corpus – Jesus on the cross. I don’t know how that is in the Pravoslav iconography, but if you examine that in the western Christian iconography, in the early centuries you will see the crucified Jesus with a smiling face. He is not with a broken face, showing the signs of utter pain and suffering; no – happy, jolly mood. How is that – is crucifixion a happy event? If you imagine yourself being crucified – well, it’s not that easy. But what was the symbol in the early times? Lord Jesus on the cross with a smiling face; and the section of the cross was on which chakra platform? It was on the heart chakra. So, the crucified Lord, son of God says: “My heart is open to you! Please come, I want to embrace you for eternal life!” Therefore He was happy – because He was ready to serve all those who were ready to follow Him.

Then the centuries started to progress. And step by step you will see Jesus is falling from His heart chakra position. Now you can find Jesus is just hanging and the section point of the cross is not even on His crown chakra, but it’s above His head. That shows the degradation of people’s understanding. Instead of the happy resurrection, now they see only the suffering. You can see the transformation of the symbol. The cross in the beginning was an invitation of eternal life; now this is a fearful reminder of total annihilation. Do you see the difference?

But what is the greatest symbol of the vaishnavas? There are so many that it’s difficult to mention one, but let’s say: the dancing Mahaprabhu, or Krishna playing the flute. There are so many happy symbols in our tradition. Please, take care so that our happy symbols are not transformed into some fearful reminders.

(to be continued)

 

 



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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Kripadham: Is there a symbolic reading of this story of Hiranyakashipu and Nrisimhadev which can help our sadhana?

Swami Tirtha: Yes. In the old times the demons were outside. And they were great ones, so great, that God had to come to finish with them. Today there are also some opposing forces outside also; but rather the demons are inside. Therefore in this age the Supreme Lord doesn’t come with sharp nails, with intestinal colons and in blood, but He comes in a beautiful form as the Golden Avatar; yet He is ready to kill the demoniac tendencies. Otherwise He is very gentle, but this time He helps to fight the internal enemies.

Question: It looks like God has turned Himself into a demon to kill a demon. What is the difference between these two demons – the good one and the bad one? Is it the purity of their motifs?

Swami Tirtha: Well, although this is like a frightening form, yet I wouldn’t call it ‘a demon’– it’s divine. But you are correct – the external form is fearful and violent. Yet sometimes these powers can also be used in order to protect the dharma. So it’s a special feature that Krishna shows, and devotees worship Him as a protector God. But we can say that different shelters, different protections are needed. Those who have a kind of fighting spirit, they might take shelter of Lord Nrisimha. But those who are a rasic type, they might take the shelter of Giriraj. That feature also shows the protective power of Krishna over His devotees, in a much more gentle way.

Comment: Maybe because of the level of pride. This demon had too much pride, so the gentle way was not good for him?

Swami Tirtha: Yes – because he was violent, therefore violent reply came. God will reply according to your question.

Question of Lila Avatar: You mentioned that demons are inside us now. If we pray to Nrisimhadev to come and help us, release us from the demons, is there no risk that He can just swipe out our physical body while killing the demons inside?

Swami Tirtha: Did I tell you to pray to Nrisimhadev? I said: this time Mahaprabhu comes. He is the Golden Avatar, not the Bloody Avatar. And I’m serious. Because as I have learned from some of my god-sisters: the protection of Nrisimhadev is very violent. So, take care.

What is the weapon of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Nrisimhadev had the nails, and the teeth, and the power as weapons. Vishnu also has different weapons – like the club, the discus… Mahaprabhu? His hands are to the sky. What kind of weapon can you use when your hands are up? No weapon. But His weapon is the holy name, some little dancing and maha-prasadam – this is the best way to kill the internal demons today. And this is not some watered down version of the ancient tradition. Because if you dance in front of the altar with hands raised to the sky and jump high, then all the bad emotions and bad thoughts are just thrown out from your system. So this is like a very special yoga technique to activate the body in order to purify it. And also maha-prasadam purifies from the inside. It brings the spiritual quality inside our bodily system. And in this way it will purify the mind, which is the location of negative thoughts. What to speak of the holy name, which has got the most purifying power!

So these are very powerful methods, very powerful weapons to fight off all opposition. We have to use them properly. And what is their proper use? Service. So we should not use the holy name, we shouldn’t use the maha-prasadam, we shouldn’t use dancing – we should serve it, we should respect it. And then all the effects will come to you. It’s a science.

 



21.9.2018

(continues from the previous Monday) 

“Lord Nrisimhadev stopped Hiranyakashipu with the last blow of His mace. All the demigods who had been driven out from Svarga, (heaven) by Hiranyakashipu gathered and started to watch the fight from a hidden place. Just as Garuda sometimes plays with a snake before killing it, allowing it to escape his mouth and then seizing it again, Lord Nrisimha let the demon escape from His hands and the demigods became overwhelmed by fear. The great asura, thinking that Lord Nrisimha was afraid of him, took a brief rest from the fight and then with renewed energy again attacked Him with sword and spear. No one is able to oppose Shri Hari. Narayana in the form of Nrisimha turned towards Hiranyakashipu who was laughing loudly. This demon had the power to move in the sky as though he was on the ground, but the Lord caught him in the same way as a snake catches a mouse. The Lord tore apart the body of Hiranyakashipu using only His own nails – that means without the use of any weapon. It happened at dusk, at sunset – which is neither day nor night. It happened on the threshold of the assembly hall – which is neither indoors nor outdoors; by holding him on His lap – which is neither in the sky nor on the ground.”[1] These were the boons that Hiranyakashipu asked – “so that nobody can kill me inside, outside, neither in the sky, no animal, no nothing…”. But he forgot Krishna, Vishnu; that He can come in any form, He can override all the tricks of the demons.

And now here comes a very vivid description: “Then He proceeded to rip out the demon’s entrails and garland Himself with them, so that His white hair was completely drenched with blood. That form of Nrisimha with many arms and a terrible countenance appeared extremely frightening. Finally the Lord plucked out the heart of Hiranyakashipu from his chest and turned to the many thousands of demons, who had rushed to fight Him with so many weapons and killed them with His nails only.” So, mission accomplished.

“Exhibiting the triumphal behaviour of a king, who ascends to the throne of a defeated enemy, the Lord sat on the throne of Hiranyakashipu. Nrisimhadev had feelings of deep affection for His own servant, the gate-keeper of Vaikuntha, who had taken a demon’s body because of a curse. The Lord had liberated Hiranyakashipu by slaying him, for everyone who is personally killed by the Lord attains salvation. The Lord sat on the throne in the assembly hall, His face still frightening and angry in appearance. No one had the courage to approach Him to offer service. Hiranyakashipu had been a burden for all the three worlds. Now that he had been killed the wives of the demigods personally showered flowers from Svarga onto Nrisimhadev. Trying to pacify the anger of the Lord, without getting too close to Him, all His servants and devotees – such as Brahma, Indra, Mahadev, the rishis, etc. – began to offer prayers.”

So, this was the sad story of an opponent of Vishnu. Better we try to be lovers of God. We know that this form is very frightening for the enemies of the Lord and very dear to the devotees. Therefore it is recommended to pray for the protection and mercy of the Supreme Lord – in any way, in any form that you are inspired to get this protection. You know that Krishna has two features: He is Dina-bandhu – that means “friend of the fallen”, so everybody is invited; but when we understand that He is also Bhakta-vatsala, “protector of the devotees”, then we are also inspired to come forward. And instead of a fallen soul change our position to a devotee of the Supreme. This is the simple conclusion of this story; be a good bhakta, you will be protected. And the final-final end of the story is always positive.

 

(to be continued)

[1] From B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The holy life of Prahlada



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday) 

“Lord Shri Hari heard the words of His own servant Prahlada. Since He is present everywhere, He appeared in the pillar in His own wonderful form of Nrisimha to support the truth of His devotee’s statement. This frightening form – neither animal nor human – immediately started to kill all the demons. The Lord did not wish to compromise the words of Brahma, who is also a servant of Him, because Brahma promised that Hiranyakashipu will not be killed by any human being or animal, or by any other creature made by him, Brahma, not indoors, nor outdoors, nor by any weapon. The Lord also wanted to keep His own promise “Declare it boldly: My devotee is never lost!”[1] as well as to support the truth in Narada Muni’s words, who said that Prahlada was a devotee of Ananta and therefore could not be killed. For all these reasons Lord Nrisimha appeared.

Although He appeared from within the pillar, God is not any sort of a creature. Hiranyakashipu saw this very wonderful form, but he could not see God. For Him this was not God, but a fantastic type of living entity – half-man (nri) and half-lion (simha). To see something in its true light one has to possess the necessary qualities. Otherwise one will not be able to see, even if the object is right in front of his eyes. The Lord is fully perfect in Himself and is self-manifested. Just as it is possible to see the sun only through the power of the sun itself, seeing God is possible only by His mercy, and not otherwise. Only a devoted surrendered soul is able to see God, while non-surrendered foolish people will forever be unable to understand Him.

Shri Hari is the greatest and most powerful magician, He can assume any form. If He decides to kill someone, no one can oppose His unlimited power. However, despite seeing this amazing form of Nrisimha, Hiranyakashipu still believed himself to have some chance of defeating Him and brandishing his mace he rushed towards the Lord, roaring and thundering. Like a fly that falls into the fire, Hiranyakashipu disappeared into the glaring light emanating from the body of Lord Nrisimha. We should not doubt the validity of this description of the Bhagavatam, because the Supreme Lord is supremely powerful and can perform anything. At the beginning of creation God destroys the deep darkness by His own power. Therefore it is not surprising that the dark demon can easily disappear into the pure sattvic light of Shri Hari.

With great anger and violence Hiranyakashipu attacked Lord Nrisimha with his club, but the Lord responded with His own mace as easily as Garuda devours a large snake. A club or mace is a kind of heavy weapon usually made of iron. Fighting with clubs is indeed a dangerous duel. Among all the demigods Vishnu is the best fighter with a mace.

Vayu Purana explains the origin of the Lord’s club. Once there was a very fierce and dangerous demon named Gada, whose bones were harder and stronger than any weapon. He created a great disturbance for the demigods, so Brahma went to him and asked his bones from him in charity. Later on a mace was fashioned by Gada’s bones and offered to Vishnu. From this the Lord has got His name Gadadhara.”[2]

(to be continued)


[1] Bhagavad Gita 9.31

[2] From B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The holy life of Prahlada



Prahlada-Maharaja

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 
 
So, we finished our discussion with the sentence that “Pure devotees of Lord Govinda can see God present in all living entities and this is the supreme goal recommended by all the scriptures for the human beings of this world. 
The sons of the daityas accepted all the instructions of Prahlada and appreciated them very much, thereby rejecting the teachings of their demoniac gurus Shanda and Amarka. Due to their association with Prahlada, the young daityas became firmly resolved in their faith in Vishnu, while the teachers, frightened by this turn of events, went to king Hiranyakashipu to explain what has happened. Hearing the bad news, Hiranyakashipu became overcome by a terrible rage and with his body trembling from head to toe decided to kill Prahlada personally. Hissing like a trampled snake, Hiranyakashipu thundered insults at Prahlada, shouting that the boy is not even qualified to address him. With a very humble attitude and folded hands Prahlada stood in front of Hiranyakashipu, while the king, with a fierce stare hurled cruel words at him: “You arrogant, foolish boy, destroyer of your family! Ah, miserable wretch, how dare you disrespect my commands. You idiot, I will send you to the abode of Yama, the lord of death, right now! Ah dull-headed child, all the kings of the world start to tremble when they see me angry. From where are you getting this power of remaining fearless before me?” Then Prahlada answered: “Ah king, this power of which you speak is not only my power, but yours as well. It is the same power that sustains all living entities living on the land and the water, high and low, starting from Brahma and including all creatures under his control. He is the only supreme controller, as well as eternal time and death. He is the power of the senses and the power of the mind, the power of the body and the soul of all senses, the lord of three gunas, unlimited and capable of conquering anyone. This Supreme Lord is the creator and the destroyer of this world. Please give up your demoniac nature and dualistic vision based upon the concept of friend and enemy. You should see everyone equally, because our great and only enemy is our uncontrolled mind. Beside this enemy there are no other enemies. Those who see others with equal vision are the best among the worshipers of the Lord. In the past foolish people like yourself were also harassed by the same enemy – the uncontrolled mind. Lust, anger, illusion, greed, madness and envy are the thieves who steal away everything from the unfortunate soul. Without conquering them how can we think we have conquered the world? A sadhu who possessed equal vision and controlled mind cannot have any enemy.
Enraged by the speech of Prahlada, Hiranyakashipu shouted: “You idiot, how dare you oppose and insult me? Are you offending me, thinking that you have conquered all your enemies? I can definitely see that your death has come, because at the time of death people lose their minds and start talking deliriously, without making any sense. Ah, miserable wretched boy, who is the Lord of this world except me? If there is any Lord, where is He?” Prahlada said: “He is present everywhere.” Hiranyakashipu again asked: “If so, why do I not see Him in this pillar?” Prahlada said: “I see Him in this pillar.” “Ah, so He is in this pillar? I shall immediately cut your arrogant head off – let your protector Hari come and save you!” 
The powerful Hiranyakashipu blinded by rage screamed and shouted, while brandishing his curved sword and springing off his throne, he violently struck the pillar. Then a deafening sound came from within the pillar. Brahma and all the demigods thought that the shell of the universe was cracking and feared that their planets might collapse. The leader of the demons Hiranyakashipu, who was feared by all the kings of the demons, intended to kill his own son Prahlada, yet he was frightened away by this terrible sound. Even after searching carefully he could not ascertain what the origin was.” [1] 
 
(to be continued)
 
1. From B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The holy life of Prahlada


Shridhara&Abhay Narayan

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

Question of Paramananda: My question is how to solve most effectively the problems connected with our practice, especially with chanting? And how to raise the quality of our chanting?

Swami Tirtha: What was the first part?

Paramananda: How to overcome obstacles, difficulties in chanting?

Swami Tirtha: What is that? I haven’t seen any difficulty in chanting. So please, try to explain, I don’t understand.

Paramananda: Sometimes it is difficult…

Swami Tirtha: Difficult? It doesn’t exist in chanting. Once Gurudev asked a similar question from Shrila Shridhara Maharaj – this was the question of somebody from the west – he said: “Gurumaharaj, what to do if devotional practice becomes like a routine, if it dries up?” And Shridhara Maharaj said: “I don’t understand.” Gurudev repeated the question. And repeated again. And then he understood that it doesn’t exist for him. For Shridhara Maharaj it doesn’t exist – that devotional life becomes like a dry routine. It was beyond his understanding, he could not imagine it.

So, following his example, you will have a very hard time to explain me the difficulties in chanting. Still one difficulty might be there – that we don’t pay enough attention. When we use the maha-mantra as a background noise,it will not help.

But the other part of your question – how to improve the quality of our chanting – is very important. By serving those who chant properly – this is the best way, yet it is very subtle.

Question of Dragi: The final result of our efforts – is it depending on our efforts or on Krishna’s will?

Swami Tirtha: I would say both. Of course Krishna can save you even against your unwillingness, but it is easier for Him if you say ‘yes’. As bhakti is a descending process, everything comes from above, but if we do nicely, then it helps the process to happen quicker, faster. By the grace of the Lord and the guru, the seed of bhakti is planted in the heart of a devotee. So we can say it depends on them. And what is our duty? Our duty is to cultivate our garden. Then the seed will grow nicely.

 

 



Mar

18

Centaur

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

Question of Hayagriva: One part of the story of Prahlada was the story of Yamaraja who consults the widows of Hiranyaksha, and we see that Hiranyakashipu understands perfectly the philosophy that he is not the body, but he hasn’t actually realized this. How can we realize practically that we are not the body?

Swami Tirtha: It’s very easy – avoid riding in the car of bad drivers. Because if somebody is a bad driver, you as a passenger are frightened of death, of accident and that increases your bodily consciousness.

But you know, the answer of all the ‘how to’ questions is one. So, ‘How to realize that I’m not the body?’ Chant more!

But I don’t want to use it as an excuse. Well, slowly-slowly, by facing all the anarthas, by purifying ourselves and coming closer to our final atman identity, the bodily consciousness should diminish. Easy to say ‘We are not the bodies’, but practically our body in the present situation is the only instrument by which we can relay to anything outside. With your hand you can take the Gita, with your eyes you can read, with your brain you can understand, right? So body is very important.

Yet the body is full of necessities. It’s a biological construction. So in order to function nicely you have to feed it, you have to give it a little sleep, you have to give it a little enjoyment here and there, because otherwise it doesn’t function. Just like a car – without fuel you cannot use it. In the same way we should take care of this instrument which is given to us, just like a car, to reach the goal. The body is not a worshipable object, but this is an instrument that you can use in your spiritual progress.

A human being is just like a centaur. In a centaur one part is human, the back side is animal. We are like this. We have some very basic, biological, animalistic instincts; and we have a front part with some little brain; you can look up to the sky. Your animalistic back side cannot look up to the sky. But still it is coming with you. What to do! Yet if we engage the body nicely as an instrument in reaching our spiritual goal, it will help us.

We are conditioned by the body. Therefore it is very much suggested that devotees should analyze themselves and find their real identity. So once  we have to understand that we are separate from the body. Body is there, but we are different. Therefore of the two phases of the spiritual progress the first is to capture the conscious identity. Even that is difficult. But the second one is more difficult, because then this captured conscious identity has to be dedicated, we have to put it at the lotus feet of the Lord. So these are the two phases: control yourself, be a master of your existence; and then dedicate yourself to the Supreme.

And I think theoretically we can all agree: ‘Ah, yes, I’m not the body!’ But when your breakfast is missing, some signals start – the body will say: ’I’m also here!’ So, how to realize it? First try to have the theoretical understanding, then try to act accordingly – but this is the mechanical process. If we directly realize that ‘I belong to the Supreme, I’m a citkana, I’m a particle of divine light, divine consciousness’ – then this is the revolutionary way, the direct way. And by chanting, by following all the other services given to us, slowly-slowly these layers of material consciousness are removed.

 



narada-and-kayadhu-291x300

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday) 

So, Prahlada instructs his schoolmates, showing that time and human life is very valuable, and finally stressing that to serve Vishnu, the Supreme, is much more important than anything else.

At the end the demon boys were amazed to hear that Prahlada was a student of Narada. Because they inquired: “Where did you get your knowledge?” And then Prahlada said: “Ah, I have learned it from Narada.” “How! How possible!? You didn’t meet him!” But while Prahlada was in the womb of his mother, the mother met Narada Muni. So we can say that Prahlada had a prenatal education.

So, dear mothers, take care! When a new life is under your hearts, don’t be angry, develop very-very good consciousness. Because there is communication between your child and you. So whatever you do, whatever you think, whatever you hear is being transmitted to the child. You can give good training to the future son or daughter. For example, if you have your child in your womb and all the time you quarrel with your husband, it is this type of training you give. And when the small girl comes, this will be her nature – quarreling. It’s possible. But if you read the Bhagavad Gita, the child can become a scholar of devotional knowledge, science. Yet beware, if he or she is a great soul and you make a mistake in reading the Bhagavatam or the Gita, they may kick you from inside.

It really works – there is a chance to influence, to communicate, to teach certain things to the child in the womb, because he or she is conscious. Life starts at the moment of conception. So there’s a conscious entity inside the body. Therefore bringing new children to the planet Earth is like a very great service.

And finally Prahlada concluded: “On the path of devotion to God there are no distinctions based upon caste or race. Yakshas, rakshasas, women, shudras, cowherds and even sinners, animals and birds are eligible to taste the nectar of devotion to Lord Achyuta. Therefore it is said that the pure devotees of Govinda can see God present in all living entities. And this is the supreme goal, recommended by all the scriptures for all human beings – to see God everywhere and never forget about Him.”[1]

 

[1] From B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The holy life of Prahlada