June 2022

Extra English Issues issues

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 Paramananda: I was very strongly enthused by the two reasons why Krishna left this planet. One reason was to leave so that never leave. And the other is to return.

Swami Tirtha: Thank you for reminding me, because these are the ways how Krishna never left. Although He had withdrawn Himself, He never left.

But your point is something very essential – how He will return, how He will come again? We know the official way – He will come as yuga-avatar on the necessary time and perform the necessary things. But we need a personal meeting, a rendezvous. And that meeting we can perceive by the mystery of the holy name.

Once in South India this was the rainy season. That means big rain; so one wanderer tried to escape from the rain in an abandoned temple. It was half a ruin, but nevertheless there was some roof so he could hide from the rain. It started to become dark and late when all of a sudden another person appeared. Then there were already two persons taking shelter from the rain. When understood that there is already somebody inside this ruin, the second one asked: “Ah, can you provide some shelter for me also?” He said: “Yes, of course, come, we have enough place! We can share it.” Both of them were sadhus, traveling mendicants. Then it started to rain more heavily and the night started to fall more and more dark. All of a sudden a third person appeared and asked for shelter. They said: “Ah, sure, come! We have enough place for three.” Then it was fully-fully dark night. Only the sound of the rain drops was heard. And if sadhus come together in the rain, what can they do? They started to discuss about the beautiful and glorious qualities of Krishna. One came with one idea, the other added something, while the third reflected on them. In this way in the darkness, in the abandoned place they spent the time. Then all of a sudden they started to keep silent. And one asked: “Did you notice something?” The others said: “Yes, we did notice. What did you notice?” He said: “I felt that we are not alone. I felt that it is not only three of us.” “Yes, our Lord is here with us.”

So, naham vasami vaikunthe/ yoginam hridaye na cha/ mad bhakta yatra gayanti/ tatra tishthami narada[1] – “I am not in Vaikuntha, I am not in the heart of the yogis, but whenever My devotees come together to glorify My qualities, I’m definitely there, oh, Narada.”

So how He will come? How He will come again? This is the way. If we glorify the Supreme Lord by aradhanam – inner meditation, or by kirtanam – chanting His glories, chanting the holy names – He will come. Therefore we are singing this very beautiful prayer: “Krishna, give me Your mercy in order that I become able to chant Your names!”

Let’s hope this happens – mercy is with us, it is with you at least!

[1] Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda 92.21-22

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

In the heart we have some capacity – of thinking, of willing and of feeling. So your innermost heart is the hidden temple for the best of your thoughts, the best of your willpower and the best of your affection. Therefore please, my Lord, accept the mandir[1] of my heart and soul as Your residence! Mama mana mandire[2]. This is our program for this lifetime – to build the inner temple and to bring the best object of worship.

Isn’t it beautiful: “I will bring the best flowers to You!” The existence of flowers directly proves that there is God. Otherwise it’s impossible! Without a creative creator it’s impossible. Beautiful shape, color and smell together – and with a lot of meanings. If you give a flower to somebody, it’s a very direct message. So “The best flowers I will bring to You!”

Plus “I will worship You with the most delicate scent if sandalwood.” Sandalwood is a very precious tree. Actually in South India they have a register for the sandal trees; each tree has a number and they are under care, you cannot cut them. Because you have to wait at least 15 or 20 years for the sandalwood tree to produce the aroma. So it takes a long time until it will produce the essence.

In the Ramayana one very instructive story is mentioned concerning the sandalwood. Sandalwood naturally emanates its aroma, irrespective of your treatment. If you treat the tree nice, if you treat the tree wrong – it will give the same aroma. Even what happens if you come with an axe to a sandalwood tree? If you start to cut down the tree with an axe, it will embrace and embalm the axe with this aroma. So even if a very violent attack comes to that tree, it emanates the same fragrant harmony. Therefore the great, realized saints are compared to sandalwood. However violently you treat them, they will respond in a same manner – they will only be your well-wishers. So, “Love your enemies” – the sandalwood is a very obedient disciple of Lord Jesus. It will give its essence even to the enemies. I think we’ve got a lot to learn.

Therefore the aroma, the scent of the sandalwood is very precious. You have to cut the tree into very small particles and then boil it and distill the essential oil. The real sandalwood oil is at the price of gold. Therefore we can consider this tree and its oil as the essence of the flora of the planet Earth – this is something very-very precious. And this “I will use in Your worship.”

But there are some more requirements for worship. Not only the beautiful flowers and not only the essential oil of the very precious sandalwood tree, but “You deserve the best of water and You deserve the best of fire.” Our affection is shown in our eyes. Therefore “I come to worship You with the flame of my eyes and the water of my tears. This is the essential thing that I can extract from myself. The light of my eyes – this is what I offer to You! And the never-ending water of my tears – this is what I offer.”

These are the best-best objects of worship. Therefore “Whether I live or die, I’m your unconditional servant. Jivane-marane gati[3] – whether I live or die I’m eternally connected to You.” So, if you construct the inner place of worship in your heart, you can use only the best elements for that worship.

(to be continued)

[1] temple

[2] A song by Bhaktivinod Thakur

[3] A line from the song Sakhī-vṛnde vijñapti by Narottam Das Thakur

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

“Once Krishna and Arjuna were travelling. Krishna said: “Ah, Arjuna, I’m so thirsty! Bring water from somewhere.” While looking for water, Arjuna saw some birds coming and going in the direction of the Yamuna. Upon reaching there he saw that the Yamuna was flowing very sweetly and her waters were very pure and clear. He also saw an old lady with white hair who was in trance. Arjuna circumambulated her and offered respects. After some time when she returned into external consciousness, Arjuna asked her: “Mother, who you are and why are you meditating in this place? No one is here. What are you doing here on the bank of the Yamuna River?” The lady replied respectfully: “I have been here for hundreds and thousands of years. I want to be a gopi in Vrindavana and I want to serve Radha and Krishna to meet. Narada was pleased to give me the gopal-mantra and the kama-gayatri. I’m doing aradhanam by these mantras – my internal meditation worship.” Arjuna returned to Krishna and told Him what he had seen. Krishna then went to the old lady and gave her the benediction of His mercy.

These are some of the reasons for Krishna’s descent to this world. There are so many stories and so many reasons that it would take about ten days to explain them all.”[1]

These were the reasons for the descent of God to this world. At the end of the last yuga, Krishna left this planet, this plane of existence. But why? Only for two reasons. Never to leave this planet and also in the hope to return. So how is that – leaves in order not to leave?!? Leaves in order to return?! How to understand this?

He left. In very strange circumstances – we don’t describe that too much, but in a very miraculous way He left this planet Earth. Then how is it that He didn’t leave? He withdrew almost everything to the spiritual sky. But He left few representatives here. For example He left the Bhagavata Purana here, which is considered a direct incarnation of the Supreme. In this way did He leave? He did not leave.

Otherwise He is ever-present through and by His holy name. The wise teachers will say that there is no difference between the holy name and the person described by this name. So until there is even one person who will chant the name of Krishna, did He ever leave? He is here. Through and by His holy name He is present. Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says that in the world of sound He manifests as the holy name. And how He will show Himself in the world of forms?

Answer: In the murti?

Swami Tirtha: Correct! In the beautiful archa-vigraha forms. Did He ever leave? He is ever present. Until there is one temple where they worship Him, He is ever present. So we should have that vision – to perceive the presence of the Supreme in any possible means.

Illusion means diabolical disorientation. Proper spiritual practice means divine orientation. This is what we need – divine orientation, so that never to lose Krishna, never to lose the feeling and consciousness of His presence. This is the way to feel that this whole environment is sanctified. This is the way to deeply understand and experience that we can sanctify even the temple of our heart.

(to be continued)

[1] Readings from a book of Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 “Krishna also came to perform rasa-lila. The personified Upanishad mantras had been performing austerities, chanting gopal-mantra and kama-gayatri in order to become gopis. By their chanting they became gopis in their next birth. They have become known as upanishadchari-gopis and Krishna accepted them as His beloved ones. There are two types of devotees who by chanting mantras and performing austerities were accepted by Krishna. They are called group devotees and non-group devotees. By this history we see that these mantras are very high-class and powerful. Never neglect them.”[1]

So, in Krishna Book you will find a chapter about the prayers of the Upanishads. Upanishads are the secret teachings of the whole Vedic tradition. This is the Vedanta, veda-anta, or the topmost crown of the Veda wisdom. But you know, Upanishads are – in my understanding – very interesting, yet basically dry philosophy. So, imagine yourself – if you are a dry philosophy. Definitely you need some prayers to correct that mistake. That was the desire of the Upanishads – the secret teachings and the most essential part of all the Veda knowledge – to become more intimately related to the Supreme. Isn’t that instructive? We are not philosophy, we are not that high level. But this mistake we should also correct somehow. We should pray in order to become more intimately connected to the Supreme.

Otherwise the Upanishads are compared to a cow. And the nectar of the Gita is the milk of these cows. Krishna is the milk-boy, Arjuna is the calf and the rishi-munis are the delicate enjoyers of the nectar of this milk. I think this is very-very beautiful. The most hidden, the most secret part of the Vedas is like a wish-fulfilling cow, producing milk. And somebody transfers that milk, that essence to us. This is Krishna, because He delivers the message of the Gita. And all those who can enjoy these nectarean teachings are wise and very elevated persons. In this way we can improve our life – if we have a high spiritual goal and also if we have a very good practice.

Let’s pick one point from the Upanishads. This is:

purnam adah purnam idam

purnat purnam udachyate

purnasya purnam adaya

purnam eva avashishyate[2]

This is complete, that is complete; this whole material creation is complete in itself, the spiritual sky is complete in itself. No matter how many complete units are taken from this original complete perfection, its perfection is not diminished. So: this is perfect, that is perfect; innumerable perfections you can derive from the original perfection and still everything remains perfect.

I see that you are very excited. But I tell you, otherwise this is really great. Because this explains everything about the creation. God is unfathomable and He can emanate, He can create, He can share whatever He has in a complete and perfect form – without diminishing His perfection. It’s marvelous! Divine! No other word – it’s just divine!

But let’s pick only three other words from the Upanishads – raso vai saha[3], “He is rasa”. After all these complicated philosophies, we are searching for the ultimate purpose of existence – and this is harmony, beauty, bliss. Rasa – essence. And this essence of life is Him. Raso vai saha – He is rasa.

Of course the Upanishads contain great sentences or great sayings, the maha-vakyas. If you study the maha-vakyas, they will always teach us about the spiritual substance, spiritual identity. But as the ultimate conclusion, we can take this – raso vai saha, He is rasa.

(to be continued)

[1] Readings from a book of Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj

[2] Isha Upanishad – Invocation, also in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (5.1.1)

[3] Taittiriya Upanishad 2.7.1

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

The complicated theological structures people will forget. But if we can perceive something of the spirit, if we can have a touch, a drop of devotional mood, we shall remember that forever. For example the taste. There was one celebration in 1984, October. One of my brothers prepared halva of such a nectarean taste – it’s still on my lips! Many years have passed – actually this happened in the last millennium, so we can say this is a thousand year long story – but nevertheless this taste is with me. What happened on the lectures – I don’t remember! Therefore we need this taste.

We discussed why God descends to this world. And we understood that there are some official reasons and there are some more personal reasons; to correct the mistakes of religious practices, or to save the faithful ones, or to fulfill the desires of great sages.

“Narada Muni was another cause of Krishna’s descent. Once during Narada’s travels he saw the two sons of Kuvera, Nalakuvera and Manigriva, playing with many heavenly apsara girls. The girls were naked like trees and stones, drinking wine and totally shameless. Yet when they saw Narada coming on the path, the girls became ashamed. They folded their hands, covered themselves with garments and prayed to Narada from far away. The two men on the other hand, completely mad and intoxicated by wine, began abusing both the girls and Narada. They called out: “Why has this old man come here and disturbed everything?”[1]

So, what happens here? A moment of pleasure. Young men, young women meeting and trying to enjoy life. But then comes Narada. Who is Narada? Narada is a very interesting person in our tradition. He is free to travel anywhere. He is the son of Brahma, the creator, and also he is like the apostle of bhakti. And whenever he appears things start to happen. He is like a person who catalyzes things to happen. Sometimes tells some advice here, a little news there – and then all of a sudden there’s a big explosion in the story.

“Narada was very merciful and thought: “There are the sons of my friend Kuvera.” Kuvera is the treasurer of the demigods – an influential person. And if you have an influential person as your father, you might try to enjoy life and the facilities of your father. “Kuvera was Narada’s friend and Shankara Shiva was also his friend. Narada had been on his way to meet Kuvera and when he saw his sons so degraded, he thought: ‘I should punish them – to correct them.’ He therefore cursed the sons: “You should become trees! You are behaving like trees and so you shall be trees!” And the young men immediately felt: ‘Ah! We are going to be trees next life!’ They fell flat at Narada’s lotus feet and he told them: “My word will come true. What I have foretold will prove not false. But you will become trees in Gokula, where Krishna will take birth and perform so many sweet pastimes. He will touch you and you will be liberated. Not only that, but you will attain bhakti and you will become His transcendental associates forever!” So, Krishna also came to fulfill this curse and blessing of Narada.”

We all know the story – they became the twin-trees in Vrindavana. When after His damodar-lila Krishna escaped from home, He helped to liberate these two trees. And from the trees when they fell, very bright young divine personalities appeared. So, their curse expired. This is also something very instructive: that if you receive a curse from a saint, it might turn into a blessing. Many times it happens that we think: ‘I have received a blessing’ and it turns out to be a curse. This is a world of illusion. We hope for something very good and we receive something frustrating. While the spiritual world functions on different principles – you receive something bitter and it turns out to be sweet. And it doesn’t work the other way round – if you receive something sweet, it will never turn stale.

Once I had a friend and he told me: “The nectar of the Holy Name turned bitter on my lips!” And I was so shocked to hear this that next time when I met a very good friend of Gurudev as a spiritual authority, I had to humbly ask: “May I have a question?” He said: “Yes, go ahead!” Then I told him the story; he looked at me very serene and said: “If that turned bitter, that was not the Holy Name.”

(to be continued)

[1] Readings from a book of Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 So far we discussed that Krishna is our friend; now let’s discuss if we are His friends. The friends of Krishna are in different categories, in different groups. Some are like intimate servants. They are always very obediently and very faithfully following all the rules. And they have strong hope and conviction in finally reaching the transcendental platform. They are considered the intimate, reliable friends.

It’s difficult to judge which group is higher, so to say, but let’s go step by step. This first group feels a little subordinate – they are trying to achieve something. The next group – they serve and associate with Krishna in the mood of equal relationship. They have this natural trust: ‘We are equal’. And they have absolutely no problem to associate in a very open and very free mood with Krishna, because they have dedicated their friendship, their possessions and even themselves to Him. So there are no any other considerations. This is the basis of the free flow of their exchange.

And finally there are some friends of the Supreme who try to behave as well-wishers. They try to help others to understand that there are different relationships with the Supreme, they try to propagate the teachings. Therefore it is very nice and instructive what was the signature of Shrila Prabhupada. He always wrote: “Your ever well-wisher Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami”. Your ever well-wisher. This is like a superior friend for us, disciples or followers.

In Krishna’s relationship there are the gopas of the same age. They have very strong faith and trust in Krishna and they feel that Krishna will protect them. Separation from Krishna for this class is very painful. And again this is mutual – Krishna is also crying after them.

Beyond these equal in age friends of Krishna there are those who are a little older than Him. They are called well-wisher friends. And if you are a senior friend, then what is your relationship to your junior friend? You want to take care, right? It’s the same here: they don’t expect from Krishna that He will take care of them, but they are ready to take care of Him.

There are the sakha friends who serve Krishna with very simple services, like dear friends as the cowherd boys. Then there are the more intimate servants – priya-sakhas. And finally the very intimate servants who share their secrets. So: simple services – ‘we are running up and down together’. A little more intimate – ‘where we embrace, where we share’. And the most intimate – ‘when I can invite you for some secret service, like messengers’.

We can conclude that the relationship between Krishna and the cowherd boys is a very specific type of devotional ecstasy, which is very-very similar to the loving type of ecstasy. And there is a chance that these feelings will enhance more and more.

So, we were discussing friendship as a spiritual practice – friendship as a human relationship and friendship as a divine spiritual relationship. If we have a well-wisher friend, maybe he can help in difficult moments. Therefore on the very practical human platform if you have a trustworthy friend with the devotees, whom you can really share your trouble, irrespective of any forms, regulations and rules, sometimes this is very much necessary. If you are washed away by the waves of maya and instead of following nicely the spiritual practice, you start to cultivate illusion, and then after some time an old devotional friend comes to you, embraces you and say: “Hey Prabhu, hey Mata, come to your senses!” he can save you. This is a well-wisher friend. And if you want to enjoy such a position that somebody saves you, try to act in a similar manner – you also try to save others.

And finally let me tell you three more things. Friendship is a totality of love, it’s total love. So if you think of divine or spiritual friendship – this should be the standard.

As we are searching for this, let me mention a very beautiful expression: “I was searching for my progress and I had found my happiness. I was searching for friends and I had found my family. I was searching for God and I had found His love.”

And the ultimate motto of spiritual friendship is: “If you come with me, I will go with you.”

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 How to cultivate devotional friendship? For that we have to become a vaishnava. Otherwise how can we cultivate vaishnava friendship? And do you know who is a vaishnava? I’ll tell you a definition: “Vaishnava is such a person, in whom all the transcendental good qualities have already developed.” ‘Oh-oh! So far I thought that I’m also a vaishnava…’ Then what to do? But the next part is a little more easy, because “All the divine features of Krishna step by step are revealed, shown in the vaishnava. And this moral and inner spiritual development is due to his commitment and unbroken faith to the Supreme.”

So, there are different grades of vaishnavas. One is trying to achieve perfection and the other is the accomplished one who already has it. It doesn’t matter on this or on that platform – just go ahead. By this unbroken, relentless faith and commitment everything will come.

We cannot discus all the 26 different qualities of the vaishnava right now, but one is that he is friendly, he has this friendly disposition.

Friendship with God – how to do that, how does it happen? You know, it is said in the Upanishads that on the tree of the body, on the main branch – the heart – there are two birds sitting. One is the soul and the other is the Supersoul, the Paramatma. This is one way: when the soul turns attention to his friend, the Paramatma, then a change of direction in life will happen. So, God Supreme is your friend as Paramatma, always there with you. In that sense He is neutral with you – He lets you make all the nonsense, all the mistakes. When you are ready to express your willingness, then He will guide you also, but if you want, you can enjoy your freedom. In that sense He is neutral. But there is another friend of you. Beyond Paramatma there is Bhagavan. And Bhagavan is not a neutral friend. He is biased, He is in favor of His devotees. He likes everyone, but He likes the devotees more. To have such a well-wishing friend, who is not simply neutral, tolerating all your nonsense, but who is actively trying to help you – I think this is the upgrade of divine friendship.

And what about friendship as a devotional service? Friendship is called strong affection. So, friendship is not a weak affection. Therefore this is more than simple willingness to serve. This is one main primary rasa. The friendly disposition to God Supreme is the following: it’s a stabilized, permanent, established state in devotional service and due to the symptoms of ecstatic feelings and relationship to Him, this friendly disposition will reveal in a mature way.

What are the factors that will instigate this friendly disposition? Now try to think according to our human experience. What will enhance your friendship? The presence of your friend, right? It makes our feelings very strong. Sometimes of course separation will also enhance the feelings, but the personal presence will nourish your friendship. In case we don’t have this direct contact, there are a lot of different inspirations. In the case of Krishna, for example His name is also such a source of inspiration; His form, His paraphernalia. It is said: “The beautiful form of Krishna, His strong and stout body, the blessed signs on His body, His eloquence, the very wise teaching, His genius, His knowledge and His mercy, His chivalry, His behavior as a lover, His intellect and His forgiveness, His attractive power, His wealth, and ultimately His bliss, His happiness are the source of inspiration in friendship.”[1]

(to be continued)

[1] From “Nectar of Devotion”, chapter 41


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 As I told you friendship is an illusion, a sweet illusion, and it makes you a little blind. How to improve this very good feeling of friendship? Try to select your friends properly. And who is the best friend? Best friend is the sadhu. Because what makes the sadhu a sadhu? It’s the sat, it’s the truth. Full commitment to the divine truth will make a person a sadhu. Therefore it is so difficult to associate with such a person. He is too much truthful, burning; and I’m not so much committed and therefore this difference brings a little aversion. Nevertheless we should choose the useful, the beneficial, not the pleasant. Because a sadhu, a spiritual friend will consider our ultimate spiritual benefit.

So, let’s make one step further to examine the friendship in divine context. In the Gita[1] it is said that in order to understand secrets, you need a very intimate, strong relationship. I think this is very much true. You cannot open up your secrets to an outsider or to an unknown person. Then in another place[2] Krishna mentions that a friend is like a well-wisher, as it was said. And not only a well-wisher, but a well-doer. When Arjuna asks: “Please, describe me Your glories!” – Krishna says: “I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge and the most dear friend.”[3] So, “I am the most dear friend”! Then we can work over this! If Krishna expresses that “I’m your friend”, take this invitation. You also become a friend of the Lord – to make it both directions.

And what will be the result if you have Krishna as your dearmost friend? He will expel all the suffering from your heart. Because in the material relationships, in these who knows how many lifetimes – how many partners we have had? How many friends came and gone? Unlimited! It’s just like a river. But who is constantly there – throughout all these different lifetimes, throughout all these millions of relationships? Please, consider this – who is there with you. Think about it.

Friendship is also an active relationship, right? We do something together. Like the gopas in Vrindavana. They run together with Krishna, they eat with Him, they steal the pepper from His sandwich. All right – chapatti. And the dearmost engagement of the gopas for me is when they see a well and they shout into the well – I like that most! Just to hear the resonance. It’s so charming! So, friendship is – we do something together. To have a life companion in that sense – it’s divine!

Also, if we agree on these points, we should express our friendship with some gestures. Therefore Rupa Goswami gives a very detailed information about the relationship of devotees – how to approach, how to touch somebody by the shoulder. He gives direction on this friendly relationship between devotees. He says: there are six ways of devotional friendly exchange between devotees: giving gifts and receiving gifts; offering prasad and receiving prasad; and also to open up your intimate feelings and realization, and to receive such a sharing. These six activities help to cultivate a friendship. Open up your thoughts, don’t let your friends starve by your side and also try to help with what is necessary. And again here is the mutual relationship – you give and receive. And sometimes it’s easier to give than to receive. To receive in a devotional friendship is also an art.


(to be continued)


[1] Bhagavad Gita 9.1

[2] Bhagavad Gita 5.29

[3] Bhagavad Gita 9.18

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Swami Tirtha: What is the difference between a friend and an enemy?

Baladev: The motivation.

Hayagriva: A friend is a well-wisher.

Another: The goal.

Swami Tirtha: Also the behavior. A friend behaves in a different manner than an enemy. Of course all that you mentioned is also there. But from this we can judge: what is what, who is who.

It’s very easy to create enemies from friends. But it’s very-very difficult to make an enemy into a friend. So, we have to cultivate and cherish friendship. And better we try the more difficult path. As it is said in some sources: “Ah my Lord, if You liberate the good ones, it’s not a big thing for You. But if You liberate the difficult guys, this is Your glory.” So, if we make enemies from friends – this is easy. But to maintain friendship and to create a friend from an enemy, from a difficult situation – it’s close to a miracle. So, if you say that the difference between a friend and an enemy is the motivation, the behavior, then what is the motivation of a friend? He wants to serve our benefit. And an enemy usually tries to create trouble.

The friendly disposition to the external world is described in the Gita: “One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul and controls his mind and senses is dear to everyone and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.”[1]

Nevertheless on this planet Earth friend or enemy – this is a part of illusion. Therefore from the spiritual point of view we shouldn’t really make any difference between friends and enemies. If we achieve that platform of stabilized consciousness and we have this approach, like a friendly mood, then maybe somebody will consider you as an enemy, but you cannot consider anyone as an enemy. This is one way to get rid of your enemies.

You know, once in the church the priest asked: “My dear ones, we should be very loving, very humble and we should have no enemies. Anybody here in the congregation who has no enemies?” Of course nobody could come forward, while a very old lady said: “Yes! I have no enemies!” The priest was very happy: “Ah please, come forward! God bless you! So nice! You are such a gentle lady! Please, tell us the secret how is it that you have no enemies?” “Ah, all of them have died already. I outlived them!”

You see, there are different ways to have no enemies. Either you live a longer life than your enemies or you try to change your mentality. My suggestion is the second one.

Anyway friend or enemy – this is part of illusion. But you know to have friends is a sweeter illusion. And as we want to observe this situation as a reflection of something original, this friendly mood should be a spiritual practice for us.

In the Bhagavatam it is said: “In the material world the happiness and suffering are neither a result of the actions of others – friends’ or enemies’ – nor even of oneself’, but due to his incredible ignorance the person nevertheless thinks like that.”

Due to ignorance we think that it depends on us or on others. But in the Gita[2] it is described very nicely that those who think that they are the performers of the activity, they are wrong, because the activity has multiple elements – so it’s like a set of different components. It’s not only one reason.



(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.7

[2] Bhagavad Gita 18.13-16

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 Let’s think a little bit more about friendship as a spiritual practice. Some say that friendship is simply a feeling. As I mentioned that it’s a good feeling to have somebody around. Others say that this is a state of consciousness – when you approach others, you approach existence in a friendly mood. Do you see the difference? It’s a more profound, it’s a more conscious approach. We can say that the next level of friendship is when this is a spiritual practice. From among all the human relationships Pythagoras appreciated friendship as the highest. And he gave a definition: “Friendship is shared possession of the same assets and the same feelings.” Sounds good. Do you have such friends? And are you such a friend to someone? Don’t forget, friendship is a mutual relationship, it’s in both directions. It’s not only that we are satisfied to have such a friend, but we should be ready to be such a friend.

Can you explain friendship? I think we cannot! It just appears. In that sense this is very similar to love, like a love affair. Can you explain a love affair? No, it just strikes you. Amor comes, pierces you with his arrow and then it is finished. Friendship is something very similar. You cannot explain, it just happens – friendship at first glance. Nevertheless we have to work hard on a friendship. The initial sympathy or affection is there, but to build up and to strengthen this friendship you have to work a lot.

And what is the difference of friendship compared to the servitude? In servitude the position is different – one is higher, the other is a little lower. While the nature of friendship is that ‘we are equal’. If it is good to have a superior, I say it is even better to have an equal. And sometimes if you are a servant of somebody for a long time, he will start to treat you as a friend – almost as an equal. So if we are engaged in service to God for a considerable time as a reliable servant, He might accept us as a friend: ‘All right, his readiness is tested, or her readiness is tested many times. I need his assistance.’

Friendship as a relationship must be very pure and sincere. Material ambitions or misuse in friendship are rejected. Although sometimes you don’t even mind if your friend misuses you. If this enhances the rasa, if this is like a play – not a game, but like a play – then it’s all right. But basically this must be very sincere. And such a real friendship is a real treasure.

Sometimes it is said it’s better to have a real enemy than a false friend. Because then everything is clear-cut – what is what, who is who. They say that in the friendship as a human relationship, the original divine relationship is projected. Therefore we can say that the archetype, the original form is the divine friendship. How come that friendship, such a nice and meaningful relationship, exists on this planet Earth? Because it exists in the spiritual sky? This is the only reason! So hopefully if it exists here on this planet Earth, we should be able to find that over there.


(to be continued)