Extra English Issues issues

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.05.2018, Rila) 

(continues from the previous Monday)

Harer nam harer nam harer nam describes the three top levels of spiritual achievement. Basically we can say that in the innermost circle of Radha-Govinda there are only three main approaches. Sakhya-rasa is one; harer nam means sakhya-rasa – to be on good terms with the Supreme, to be His partner, to make Him more satisfied with your friendly services. And this is what is so charming in our process – when He is not the transcendental supremely majestic God, but your friend! Can you play football with the Supreme Personality of Godhead? I doubt it. You will tremble in front of Him. But with Govinda – if He invites you for any game, you can go. So many times we see the descriptions in Krishna Book; my favorite is when the gopas pass by the wells and they shout into the wells in order to listen to the echo.

So harer nam – in the mood of friendship. Then harer nam – in the mood of mother’s and father’s affection. When mother Yashoda says: “What is this universal vision in Your mouth?! No, no, maybe I’m in maya. This must be some illusion, no! No, it’s not You. You are my dear Govinda. Come, take my milk.” Such a depth! ‘I don’t want Your divine grandeur. It is an illusion. I don’t want Your divine reflection, I want You!’

Therefore this love for your children is given to you. This is a topic of meditation. Whenever you call out the names of your sons and daughters, you should remember this is a way to approach Krishna. Of course, beware of the tone of your call. “Hey, rascal, come here!” – no! So harer nam in the mood of mother’s and father’s affection.

And harer nam in another mood. What is your suggestion, what kind of mood shall we include here? Something sweet, right? Madhurya, madhu – sweet. So, madhurya-bhava – the loving rapture for Krishna. When there is no escape. For a friend there is an escape. ‘Today I will play with the other boys.’ For a father, for a mother there is a forced escape, because the kids will go, they will leave. But for a lover there is no escape. It’s a total and ultimate dependance. So harer nam – in the mood of affectionate rapture. All are divine.

So, for today we have taken this short little verse: harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam/ kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha – In the age of conflicts and hypocrisy, there is no other way, no other way, no other way of salvation, than chanting the holy names of the Supreme Lord.

(to be continued)



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.05.2018, Rila)

(continues from the previous Monday)

As it is said in the Harinama Chintamani, the secondary names of God are like Creator or Father – describing functions. The primary names are rasic.

And you know, it’s a very classical story, when one disciple asked a master: “Ah, my master, please tell me, what is the proper pronunciation, how to properly say the name of Krishna?” Because, for example, the Oriya devotees, from Orissa, they say ‘Krushna’. And all the different nations have their specific pronunciation. For example, for the Japanese devotees is very difficult to differentiate between ‘l’ and ‘r’. So sometimes they say “Klishna, Klishna”. In Bengal they say ‘Krishno’; so there are different ways. Of course, we all have our specifics –therefore it’s a very relevant question: what is the proper pronunciation of the name ‘Krishna’, Krishna’s name?

Then the master said: “The proper pronunciation of ‘Krishna’ is ‘Govinda’!” Why? Because even Krishna is a generic term – the All-attractive, all right; but who is He properly, really, ultimately?! Therefore the master gives the proper answer: My Krishna is Govinda – who will take care of me, who will guide me. I’m not only a lost soul, I’m a lost calf. And hopefully He will come after me. Govinda is the one whom you can talk to, who will respond. Therefore my Krishna is Govinda. Isn’t that rasic?! It’s very much rasic. And in this way you don’t achieve a generic liberation, you receive a very specific invitation to join the lilas.

So the transcendental method, this supernatural method that will help us to cross the boundaries of tri-guna, is the holy name. You will be able to overcome the influence of the three gunas, you can overcome the limitations of the four yugas – so all the other methods are included in chanting.

 

(to be continued)

 



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.05.2018, Rila)

(continues from the previous Monday)

It is said that the holy name is always there – not only in the spiritual sky, but in the material world as well. Where will you find the holy name, especially the mahamantra, in the spiritual sky?

Answer: Everywhere?

Swami Tirtha: Everywhere? Is it a guess or what? Well, it depends on your vision, but more precisely, more exactly?

Somebody: In the hearts of the devotees?

Swami Tirtha: All right… but, by chance, have you ever heard of Brahma Samhita? Please, look it up! In the very first verses you will find the explanation – where the holy name is in the spiritual sky. It is written on the petals of the lotus flower on which Radha and Krishna are dancing. There is the holy name, there is the mahamantra. It surrounds the divine dance of Radha-Govinda. Govindam adi purusham tam aham bhajami! And then it is reflected to all other layers and realms of divine and material realities. This is where we can find the holy name in the spiritual sky. I mean the mahamantra.

So its origin is, of course, supremely transcendental. Maybe in other ages it’s not so obviously given or obviously practiced, yet it’s always there. But here, in our age, it is stressed by all the acharyas.

And even in other lines, in other schools of thought, it is accepted. You know that in the Lord’s prayer the second expression is “Hallowed be Thy name!” Or in Islam they have 99 plus one names of God. We have at minimum 108 names; and this is the short version. Otherwise we have a thousand names, and practically we have unlimited names. In the Vedanta Sutra it is said that every word is a name of God, every word is a glorification of God. So can you tell a lie? Impossible! You should open up your mouth only if what you speak is better than silence. So be careful about your words, they should describe the divine reality, they should be holy, sacred. Therefore our prayer should be: “I tell the truth. I tell the true word” – then you might come to that level of sacred speech.

All right, but then we are lost in multiplicity. There are so many names of God… and which to say: there are primary names and there are secondary names – as it is described in the Harinama Chintamani. The secondary name is like Creator or Father and this and that – like describing functions. The primary names are rasic.

(to be continued)



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.05.2018, Rila)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha[1]no other way to reach perfection. And why three times again? Because in the other yugas there were other methods of perfection. What was the method of perfection in the Satya Yuga? Meditation. For, let’s say, sixty thousand years living on dry leaves and sometimes air. Sometimes. That is why I like it so much when people want ‘to meditate’. They have their good old friend – their mind, and body, and all influence… and let’s meditate! Anyway, this is a good start, if somebody is serious about it fully, with the blessings they will qualify more and more. And we shall also qualify more and more.

Then in the Treta Yuga what was the method of full purification? This was yagya – the great sacrificial ceremonies. I’ve mentioned many times, a few years back they wanted to repeat a full-scale Vedic ceremony. Тhe local brahmins in a very small little village in South India came together. And some western Indologist was also invited and he wrote two big volumes about all the details, while the brahmins were recalling: “Ah yes, this should be like this, that should be like that.” To give a very little detail about the ingredients of this yagya: they made a fire altar made of bricks in the shape of a bird. And the bricks, specially casted for this purpose of course, were in five layers. And in some layers, between certain bricks was necessary to put certain stones – a little pebbles. So the brahmins were recalling by heart: “This layer, that stone, that brick.” They know everything about the details. This is a very complicated system. I think it was going on for one week. The main priest was not allowed to leave the area of the sacrifice for this one week. And finally when they finished, they put everything into the flames. So, a sacrifice is very complicated! But Treta Yuga was a more glorious age, people were more qualified, so they could make these sacrifices.

Then came the Dvapara Yuga and there the method was the temple worship. So you can see the huge temples as monuments of a lost age. And finally came this age of Kali Yuga, full of disintegration, and conflicts, and misunderstanding, and hypocrisy. Therefore this mantra means: nasty eva – not by meditation; nasty eva – not by sacrifice; nasty eva – not by temple worship.

Harer nam, harer nam, harer namaiva kevalam – what does it mean? Why three times again? So far we discussed what should be overcome or rejected: not in tamas, not in rajas, not in sattva; not by meditation, not by sacrifice, not by temple worship. Now let’s find the positive substance of this harer nam, harer nam, harer nam. Give me some names, denominations of our process. Well, like ‘devotional service’,  ‘bhakti-yoga’ or ‘harinam sankirtan-yagya’.

How is that? We understood that in this Kali Yuga there is no yagya?! Certain things are forbidden in Kali Yuga. Animal sacrifices are forbidden. Some other things are also forbidden, but harinam-yagya is not forbidden. So harer nam means that this is the yagya for this age.

We also say that we meditate over the holy name. So, the practice of Satya Yuga is included. Harer nam – this is the best meditation. And we also worship thakurji – Krishna coming to us in different-different forms. So the temple worship – harer nam – is included in the holy name. Mama mana mandire – “I will worship You with the flame of my eyes and the water of my tears, Krishna Murari!’ So harer nam, harer nam, harer nam includes all the other yugas as well. And what does it mean? That it’s eternal, it’s beyond the limits of the different epochs – no, this is coming from beyond time.

(to be continued)

[1] Brihan Naradiya Purana 38.126



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.05.2018, Rila)

We don’t ask just for the sake of asking questions, but we ask as a sign of divine cultivation. Do you see the difference between questions and inquiries? If you want to understand the divine science of the holy name, inquiry is the proper method. Questions have no end. It is said: a fool can ask much more questions than a wise man can answer. But inquiry means a proper method of studies. Therefore today we have to inquire into the art and science of the holy name.

Harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam/ kalua nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha. Harer nama – the name of Hari, the Supreme Lord. Repeated three times. Kevalam – exclusively. Kalau – this is our age, Kali Yuga. Na asti – no other, doesn’t exist. Gatir – to reach the goal, reach your destination. Anyatha – other method. So we can say that in this age of conflicts and hypocrisy there is no other way, no other way, no other way to reach perfection, salvation, than chanting the holy names of the Supreme Lord.

This is like a motto of our inquiries. It comes from Brihan Naradiya Purana and is like a guideline for this age. You know that Mahaprabhu has picked the best shastra, the best Purana –the Bhagavata Purana. There the first verse is an invitation for meditation: satyam param dhimahi – “Let’s meditate over the supreme truth!” And the last verse is a glorification of the holy name, that will purify us of all the contaminations of this age.

So, from many different sources the glories of the holy name are supported. And here three times are mentioned the glories of the holy name and also that there is no other alternative. This is not a question, but an inquiry: why three? Why not two, why not one? Mahaprabhu was such a genius that whatever He heard once, He was always able to remember. How many times you have heard that it’s time to surrender to the Supreme? Where is your genius?

All right, if you cannot remember if it’s mentioned once, two times is enough. In Sanskrit prosody and in philosophical shastras, if they want to stress something very seriously, they repeat it twice. But three times…? Either we are very stupid because we cannot remember, or this topic is so important that it’s stressed three times.

Three times – why? Because all the living beings in this manifested universe are under the influence of the three gunas. I think you all know this very well. When you are under the influence of ignorance, you don’t crawl out of your bed. Some experts say that this is depression, but it’s not – it’s the influence of tama-guna. Actually, here is one secret: the heavy load of life as it is exercises a pressure over human beings. And then our answer to fight against this pressure is de-pression. So, pressure and depression – they go together. Of course, in devotional circles this is very theoretical, because you taste the nectar of the holy names every morning, so what is depression? It doesn’t exist for us, right? We want to live more and more according to the spirit, not according to the body-mind complex. And we want to find our way back home, back to Godhead in the spiritual sky. There is no pressure there! The only reason for the gopis, for example, to have any depression is the weather. If the weather is good, Krishna is going out to take care of the cows, so they don’t meet Him. If the weather is bad, Krishna doesn’t go out to tend the cows and they don’t meet Him again, so they are again crying. Usually for people here, when the sun is shining there is no depression, they are happy. But these gopis are always crying! Whether it is sunny or rainy – they always cry. So think twice what is your ambition.

But anyway, back to our topic – everybody is under the control of the three gunas. Sometimes tamas overcomes us – then you feel morose and depressed; other times you are influenced by rajas – then you feel elated; very rarely there are some touches of sattva – isn’t that so, because sattva means peace, happiness, all the good that you can achieve here. But everybody is under the control of the three gunas. And if you take any pill that is under the control of the three gunas, it will not help you. You can apply any method – coming from human beings or from speculation or whatever – it will not help you. We need something that comes from beyond. Right, it’s very logical – if something is inside a system, it cannot help you to reach out of the system. Therefore we need a transcendental method. We need the pills of nectar.

The holy name is beyond the three gunas. And it is stressed: you will be able to overcome the influence of tamas, also the influence of rajas, and you can even go beyond the limits of sattva. So that will bring you freedom, spiritual freedom. You can overcome all these difficulties.

(to be continued)



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 02.05.2018, Rila) 

(continues from the previous Monday)

Did I promise anything else beyond the bitter drops of theology and philosophy?

You know, the holy name is a practice to be cultivated. And we need a mood for that. A mood where we can enter this vibration, we can enter this circle. Just like Mahaprabhu is surrounded by the holy name – so beautiful! He is dancing! And for me now in this mood this is like a midnight dance. So, if you agree to sing for a little bit the holy name in a special mood, like a midnight mood. But for that we need less light, a little less. Do we have some more candles?

What can you include in your prayers and mantras? You can include your loss. Because we have left this divine reality. We are lost souls. So all your weeping you can add to this prayer: ‘I have committed a grave mistake! It feels like an almost eternal loss. I have lost You.” This is like a feeling of mourning. All the pain, all the bitterness of this separation you can include.

This is a way of reality. This is a diagnosis. But this is not our goal. The bitter feeling of separation is not our goal. So you can also include your hopes: ‘Hare Krishna – I have lost You. Hare Rama – but I will find my way back home, back to You.’ So you can include your hopes, your spiritual prospective.

What more? We have given our feeling of being lost; we have added our hopes of return; what else can we include here? The night is coming, your daily activities are finished. Radha-Govinda’s daily activities are also finished. But the night is approaching. So, you can include, you can enhance Radhika’s dream. What is Her dream? ‘Ah, the night has come, it’s darkness all around – it reminds me of somebody, of His darkness.’ Hare Krishna – this is the dream of somebody; Krishna Krishna – it’s the dream of Radhika.

So if you want to include the service mood of the soul, of your soul being integrated into this divine beauty, to serve that divine mood of meeting and union of divine Beauty and divine Love, please, you can include that as well.

This is very slow, very quiet. Because in the night even a small candle is like an eternal flame, even a small noise is like a thunderbolt. So this cultivation is very soft, very intimate. The drum comes as the beat of your heart. The karatal comes as the music of the spheres, and the strings come like the gentle breeze in the midnight leaves. And you are invited to whisper in bhajan.



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 02.05.2018, Rila)

(continues from the previous Monday)

The problem is whether in our present condition we can touch divinity or not. In order to achieve that, we have to push our limits! Who is satisfied with half-solutions? ‘All right, twenty percent is enough for me.’ No! And you are not satisfied even with a hundred percent. Because we have learned that a hundred and eight is our number, so we want a hundred and eight percent devotion. Not only full, but overfull.

But back to the present-day realities. On the open level of our consciousness there are certain dirty things that we have to remove and certain positive things that we have to cultivate. But what is there in the subconsciousness? What is there suppressed in the subconscious regions? All the dirt, all the demons, all the troubles, all the traumas that you have had in this lifetime and in the previous lifetimes. A lot of garbage! Therefore people are afraid to let this subconscious platform free, to open up the secret Pandora’s box.

But this is only one side of the story. Have you ever thought of what is hidden in your superior consciousness? If all the demons are down there, then all the angels are up there. So, open the box of your spiritual consciousness. It will help you a lot. Don’t be obsessed with the dirt and the garbage. Anartha is not our focus. Open your superior consciousness. Then all the beauty and all the divine vibration will come. It is also hidden there. Which box do you open?

And we have this deep hope that the holy name will open the spiritual box, the superconscious box.

(to be continued)



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 02.05.2018, Rila)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Tejasvini: Gurudev, it’s like an old topic coming again and again during the long-long years. With you we are discussing from time to time that sometimes we have some experiences and sometimes we feel that something is happening, that there is some arrangement, but mostly we cannot decide if this is really divine or our senses make us believe so. Could you please give us some advice, so that we will not be misled.

Swami Tirtha: All right, you can use either philosophy or theology to decide what is what. Through this you can get two pieces of the cake – sat and chit.

But really this is very important, because you know, life for most of the human beings is very difficult, like they are burdened with their lives. People want to find some escape or some good advice or some relaxation. Therefore they are hunting, chasing after some enjoyment, some experience, some way to forget about the difficulties, about the realities of life. They have all been going through that for millions of lifetimes so far; they were chasing after this and that daydream and have failed. ‘Before I though I was clever although I was not, but now I’m clever! Because now I started my spiritual practice. And now I’m hunting for my spiritual experience.’ So, the same deception is there. You are suffering so much that you want a feedback, you want to perceive something.

But sorry, it will not happen this way. You shouldn’t chase after spiritual experience, but you should be so pure that the spiritual experience is chasing after you. And fortunately we belong to a school, a tradition where our masters are not chasing after spiritual experience, but they are doing their service, they are committed to their service.

Let’s take Shrila Shridhara Maharaj. I don’t know how you see him, but I see him as one in a century. So exceptional! And although he was in full capacity of his realization in all possible ways and platforms, Gurudev told us that only once he heard him say something truly exceptional. Usually he was giving his lectures and discourses on the veranda of his temple. And one time he finished and started to enter his room; then he turned back a little bit towards the devotees and said: “If you knew where I will enter now…” It’s enough for a qualified audience. Only once, half a sentence. But it was very obvious that he was not entering his room, he is entering a different level of consciousness. So, from this one sentence you can understand the person. The quality of his approach.

We don’t chase after spiritual experience. But if some lightning strikes us while we are chanting, what can we do? Some little electricity. And somehow I’m sure that if we are sincere with ourselves, we shall not cheat ourselves.

 

(to be continued)



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 02.05.2018, Rila) 

(continues from the previous Monday)

The debate – whether you perceive the supreme reality like a constant energy flow or you see the personal beauty of that superior reality – it depends on your taste, on your approach. And this taste is very important here. Spiritual practice in general is just like an invitation for supper. Because the supper is ready.

Devotees… well, they live in eternity, therefore their time management is a little flexible. So all the yogis, all the gyanis, all the other spiritualists and everybody is invited; devotees are also invited for this supper. The time frame is set – the supper will be served – although this is a self-service, but – the supper will be served on the table at six o’clock.

The gyanis, who are very punctual and very well-educated, come on time. And which part of the cake will they take? They will take sat – divine existence. ‘Yes! This is what we are searching for! Eternal life – this is for us! We overcame death, we are satisfied.’

The next group is the yogis, coming a little late, because they were engaged in their meditations. And you know, if you are absorbed in your meditation, sometimes it’s difficult to break it, to regain your consciousness to join the daily activities. So they are coming and they take another piece of the cake. They were searching for enlightenment – to see the divine presence in their hearts, to perceive Paramatma in their heart. ‘The top level of enlightened consciousness – chit – this is for us!’

So, gyanis returned satisfied: ‘We have sat, this was our ambition.’ Yogis return with another piece of cake – chit: ‘Yes, this was our goal, we have reached it!’ And finally, after seven o’clock, the devotees also arrive. Because ‘I had to chant my rounds and I had to clean the temple and make the garland and also I had to discuss something very important with the others…’ So they are late. Which piece of the cake is left on the table? Sat is taken – eternal life is gone. Chit is gone – enlightenment is already taken. What is left? Only some remnants of this Last supper – anandam. ‘All right, let’s take this. Let them be happy with eternal life. Let others be happy with this full and enlightened consciousness. We are satisfied with the last morsels of this supper – anandam.’ And this is the nectar!

Therefore Krishna tricks the yogis and the gyanis with some insignificant things in order to satisfy His late devotees. Eternal life – come on, what is that compared to anandam?! Nothing! So, even if you come late, you will not miss anything. Because if you are a real devotee in your lifetime, God is with you, Krishna is with you. And if you die, you are with Him. So what is lost? Nothing. But for that we need to qualify to be a real one.

So, philosophy is our vedanta, theology is our siddhanta and our piece of the cake is anandam.

(to be continued)



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 02.05.2018, Rila)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Now we can go to our next topic – theology. With philosophy we tried to figure it out: what it is, how it is…? Theology should tell us: who is this? So, the main question of theology is whether this superior reality is personal or impersonal. Because theoretically we can agree even with a disbeliever that ‘there is something behind’. But can you specify it? Then it starts to be more interesting.

One main opinion says that you cannot specify the divine. Because this is beyond all your conceptions, beyond your understanding, etc. etc. Not this, not that, you cannot understand it, you cannot see it, you cannot name it, you cannot catch it, you cannot talk to it, you cannot approach it, you cannot do anything about it. So, we can conclude that divine truth is impersonal.

All right, we can agree on this point. Truth is truth. But as we discussed before, this is only the second grade of experience. The first is that there is something beyond – this is the first step. The second is that this is the truth, like consciousness – so there is some superior consciousness there. But this is not the ultimate word in spirituality, because bliss, anandam, is beyond. Ecstasy is beyond the truth. Therefore we can say that all right, if truth is impersonal, then love is necessarily personal. Without personality what kind of love is there? It’s a mere theory! Once somebody told me: “When I reach enlightenment, I will become love.’ And I said: “And then? What’s next? What you are going to do?” This very strong philosophy was valid only until a beautiful young lady appeared. Then our young friend immediately understood that the story is a little different.

For love – even on the human platform, what to speak of the divine, spiritual platform – you need partners. This superior truth, this superior level of existence – how can you name it? There’s no way, because this is beyond experience, beyond our human imagination, all right. But how can you not name a compassionate loving God?! There is no other way to approach Him, only by – well, I don’t say ‘giving Him a name’, but by finding His identity; the name is an identity. So, the name presupposes divine love and divine love presupposes the name.

This is our philosophy – the holy name. This is our theology – the holy name. You can say: this is our vedanta. Vedanta – the end, the crown of our knowledge – is that something exists. And our siddhanta is that it’s Him. So, philosophy will tell us that there is something and theology will teach us who that is.

What is important here? That the Supreme is not limited in any way to show Himself, irrespective of the limitations of human beings. And the debate whether you perceive the supreme reality like a constant energy flow or you see the personal beauty of that superior reality – it depends on your taste, on your approach.

(to be continued)