June 2019
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

Discussing the art of action Krishna says: “When the embodied living being controls his nature and mentally renounces all actions, he resides happily in the city of nine gates, neither working nor causing work to be done. The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does not create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature.[1]

What is the purpose of a city? To provide a shelter for the citizens. Although it is said that living alone in a forest – this is real spiritual practice; two is a village; three is a city; and four is a war. So, city by nature is passionate. What is available in the city? Sense gratification day and night. I was wondering what is that illumination on the top of Vitosha. I thought that maybe some divine power crowns your sacred mountain. And then I understood that these are night lights for the skiers. So, this is not divine, this is material. Sense gratification day and night. City by nature is passionate. What is it you cannot get in a city? Chirping of the birds, watching the stars in the night and many other natural things. Breathing exercise of yoga in the city means you diminish your life – you take all the smoke in. So, city by nature is passionate. Yet the city should serve the citizens – not on the basic sense gratification level, but on some higher platform of existence.

And here we hear about the city of nine gates. What is this city? This city is the human body. What are the nine gates? They are the senses, sense organs. It is said that in the beginning the Creator bored the gates from the inside to the outside. So, the natural functions of the sense organs are attached to the external. Your eyes see the external. Your ears listen to the external sound. Just like my eyes were going externally to see this crown of light over the Vitosha – and I was mistaken. I thought that this is something spiritual and it was not. So, these different sensual functions are there for receiving some information. But many times we are mistaken.

What are the nine gates? Mouth, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, genitals and the gate of evacuation. The gates are for transportation. Generally we take information and some energy inside and outside. But a gate is also for crossing, going through. When you die, when you have to leave the body, you go out through these gates. If you go out through the higher gates, then you reach a higher destination; if you leave through the lower gates, then you reach a lower destination. Therefore the dying person passes stool and urine. Some part of the energy is leaving from there. While a yogi should leave the body through the upper gates; and there is a hidden uppermost gate in the body – this is the brahmarandhra, the little opening on the top of the skull. For the babies this is soft, for some grown-ups this is also soft. They didn’t finish with their childhood. But actually this is the gate for entering the divine energy and also this is a mystic gate for exiting the body – if you accomplish your journey in life.

So, if the body is compared to a city, the city of nine gates, then I have to tell you – this city is also passionate, just like the cities outside. If you have a material body, you will have some sensual desires – it’s unavoidable. For example hunger. Once I was traveling with a group of people, and somehow we were little late from the evening prasadam, so to say. And I started to feel that they are very uneasy, everybody was more nervous than usual. And finally when they reached the table, everybody was rushing and, sorry to say, practically eating like pigs. So, if you are hungry, you feel very uneasy. You want to satisfy this sense – the tongue. Therefore it is suggested for the wives, if you have a difficult message for your husband – for example for some extra big bills or that tomorrow you want to go shopping – if your husband returns from a heavy day, first provide the food, then provide the news. Because then he is more peaceful and he can tolerate: “All right, all right!” Beware of the sequence: first the food, later the news.

So the senses are very powerful; they drag us to certain activities. I don’t want to describe the functions of other senses, upper and lower. They all have their needs, and their desires, and their agitations, and this and that. But may I humbly draw your attention that you are not the body?


(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.13-14

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