Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


“Please, bless me with the ability to respect all created beings. Then I will be able to glorify Your names, and my sins will finish.”[1] What is a sin?

Yadunath: High energy used for lower purposes.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes, other?

Harilala: When we go with our actions against God.

Yamuna: And against our own interest.

Tirtha Maharaj: Do you feel guilty sometimes?

Harilila: Sometimes.

Tirtha Maharaj: The feeling of guilt is not a positive feeling, it doesn’t construct you, it destructs you. But when you really understand that you made a mistake, you really try to correct yourself, and you don’t do it again – how it is called? It is called prayashcitta – real purification, atonement, repentance. So, the real prayashcitta is when you understand: “I have made some mistakes”, and you don’t do it again. It is very easy: “Oh, I understood! But I continue…” No, the real prayashcitta is very constructive. The feeling of guilt is very destructive, while the real purification is very constructive. So, we have to be aware of our mistakes and sins, but we should not develop a consciousness of sin, but we should develop a consciousness of God. If you focus toо much on your mistakes, shortcomings, sins all the time it will work on your mind. In some other religions people think of the Satan so much: “Oh, this is a trick of Satan!” And in this way we develop a kind of negative consciousness. Or the devotees are very much focused on maya: “Prabhu, this is maya!” So, they will search for the maya: “This is maya, that is maya!” They will have maya consciousness. Better we search for the divine: “Oh, this is the color of Krishna on the sky! Here is one flower that I can offer to Him! And I see the great devotion in others, not the mistakes, but the great devotion.”

Question of Lilavatar: About prayashcitta, repentance and about sense of guilt: it seems to me that in order to reach the level of prayashcitta, one should pass through the sense of guilt, to feel himself guilty. So, where is the risk to remain on the level of guilt, and where is the jump (shift) to prayascitta?

Tirtha Maharaj: Don’t stop halfway; the feeling of guilt is halfway. It is not a solution. It is only a diagnosis. But the solution and the cure is prayashcitta. People sometimes do some atonement, they try to compensate for their sins, or mistakes with some tapasya, with some self-torture even. But we have to come to the platform of freedom – freedom from sin, and freedom from the feeling of guilt. So, the jump happens with divine intervention. Or if you tell your troubles, your sins to a saintly person, he can digest, he can take away your sins, and give you a better practice.


[1] A line of Bhaktivinod Thakur’s song “Gurudev kripa bindu diya”

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