June 2022


Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(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

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