Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(continues from the previous issue)

 “Austerity of the body consists in worship of the Supreme Lord, the brāhmanas, the spiritual master, and superiors like the father and mother, and in cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and nonviolence.”[1]

There are some more specific rules, suggestions. Cleanliness, shaucham. Cleanliness is next to godliness. It is said with dirty hands you cannot enter Vaikuntha. So we should be clean, pure – not only in body, but also in mind and heart. This is cleanliness or purity.

And then simplicity. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura said: “Religion is simplicity.” Think of this definition: religion is simplicity. Why? We have so complicated minds. It is so difficult to find the proper solution. But those who have simple hearts will always choose the proper way; therefore this inner simplicity should be practiced.

And brahmacharyam, celibacy. Actually what is the meaning of brahmacharyam?

Somebody: The conservation of sexual energy, its transformation and using it for something more spiritual and elevated.

Tirtha Maharaj: Very nice. Correct. Thank you. Word by word translation? Because what you described very nicely is the meaning. Brahma-charati. Brahma means “God, divinity”; charya means “follow”. So, those who follow the path of God – they are the brahmacharis. It is not enough only to refrain from sex. Animals for most of the year refrain from sex. Nevertheless they are not called brahmacharis. Because to follow the path of God, to live according to the rules of God, to live according to God – this is the real meaning of brahmacharya. To use your sexual energy in a proper sense – this is a secondary meaning of brahmacharya; the first is – follow the path of God. And even those who have children, who live in families, they can be very good brahmacharis – if they follow the path of God.

Brahmachari is the glory of the world. He is respected by all the Vedas and he brings light to the universe. So this is a highly respected vow, renunciation.

Otherwise that is very precise what you have mentioned – that if we raise this energy, which is most of the time wasted on the lower chakras, if we raise it to a higher platform, then we can use the same energy in a much higher, much developed sense.

And ultimately it is mentioned ahimsa – nonviolence. This is the control of the body. Be peaceful, avoid violence. And not only in the brutal sense that you don’t go out with a stick in your hand and beat up the people around you, but in a subtle sense also: don’t hurt others. Don’t use your reserved sexual energy – because you are a big brahmachari – to destroy others. So nonviolence is also of vital importance.

And what is the definition of ahimsa?

Yamuna: A-himsa, non-violence. That is nonviolence in actions, thoughts and words. And nonviolence also in food. Food which is not connected with killing other living entities.

Tirtha Maharaj: Correct. Ahimsa is param-dharma. It is of great importance. And also the positive definition of ahimsa is not only to refrain from violence, but also to help the spiritual progress of others.

So all these different factors are the elements of how to control our body. Serve God, serve the representatives, follow the spiritual master, be pure, be clean, control yourself – is that easy?

Damodar: No.

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, it is not that very much difficult. Or at least we can say that this is simple, because few things we have to follow and then we achieve control of the body.


[1] Bhagavad Gita 17.14

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