Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Question of Manjari: For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.”[1] Gurudev, we have heard many examples of when the mind can be our worst enemy. But we hear that he might be our best friend. How he is our best friend?

Tirtha Maharaj: Very good question, thank you. Because as I told you, mind has double nature – sometimes consequence, other times cause. In the same way it might be an enemy and must be a good friend also. Then it’s not very nice to show the mind as an enemy, because he is a friend also. If we call our mind only one-sidedly, only an enemy, then we shall put his mind under test, right. Because if he stays tranquil, then our mind has a peace of mind. But when our mind becomes upset by calling him an enemy, then he hasn’t got this peace of mind.

But this is very serious and very important topic what you mention. Because mind, intellect and false egotism are the reflection of the same subtle structure of a human being. They are different aspects of the same element. And as our mind has this capacity to select, to choose, we have to apply that. It is said: “Even from the pile of garbage you should collect the gold.” And “Even from un unworthy family you should take a worthy wife.” So, if we have this capacity to select, then we should apply that. Other times it is said that your intellect might be your guru. Many times you are suggested that: ‘No, no, no, our mind, our intellect should not be our guru, our leader, our teacher.’ Why? Because if our mind is not purified, then this power or capacity to select properly is not manifested, we cannot choose properly. But if your mind is purified, then it will guide you properly. So it is said: “You should always take the advice of the superiors and find shelter, and follow the instructions of the masters, seek spiritual company, sadhu-sanga.” But what happens, if there is no sadhu-sanga? What to do, if there is no sadhu to instruct us? This is a great problem. What to do then? Then it is said the shastra can be your spiritual guide. Shastra can be your sadhu-sanga also, or even your mind and intellect can be your guru. This aspect is called conscience. In the most critical situations we have to consult this inner guidance – it is there. Have you ever had the chance to meet that inner guidance? Have you ever had the chance for that? So, we must be able to decide whether this is the mind or something else, something deeper. Then our mind will become our best friend.

So we should be generous with the mind. It’s not only one side of the question ‘it is only an enemy’. No, he is a help also. Because our feelings, our willpower and our thoughts are there, in our mind – this is the place where they unite, where they boil. So, willpower is wrong? No, this is very important. Or your thoughts are wrong? No, they are very necessary elements. What to speak of our feelings? Because in my understanding, in my analysis humans are emotional beings. They are not powerful beings, they are not intellectual beings – well, partially they are – but ultimately they are emotional beings. Even the strongest guys are melted when they see a baby, right. So, ultimately this is our nature. We are emotional beings, therefore the emotional cultivation is very important on the spiritual path. Therefore we practice a special type of yoga yoga of divine love, bhakti yoga. Because that will establish a connection between our real nature, our spiritual loving nature with the Supreme based on love, based on emotional contact.

And there is a measurement of love. How much do you love your pocket? I think we like it quite so much. It’s very important for us. How much do you love, let’s say your animals, or pets? Oh, they are also very important, we focus so much attention on them. How much do you love your neighbors? Not so much, but… And how much do you love yourself? Ultimately we have to ask how much you love God. Because whatever appreciation we can give to all these elements that I mentioned – including our family members, of course we love them so much – but we have to ask: ‘How much do I love my Supreme Lord?’ This is the ultimate measurement: how much do we love the God Supreme? And what is one definition of love? “Love is when I think often of you.” Love means: “I think of you often.” So, if you love God, you cannot help but thinking of Him. Then the power will be supplied to you, then the intellect will be given to you, then the obstacles will be removed, your wild animal tamed and your original nature will come to the surface – which is sat-chit-anandham, eternal, conscious and blissful. So, real control of mind will bring this realization to you, and will bring this vision to you about others – that they are also sat-chit-anandham souls. It’s not only you.

Therefore, although it is a popular topic in general lectures, to make fun of the mind, or to deride the mind, in my understanding we should treat it very nice, because it is a very useful instrument – to achieve the goals beyond the mind. Does it sound reasonable, that you use the mind to reach something beyond your mind? – But this is a mystic process. There are things that we don’t understand, and it is good like this.

(to be continued)

[1] “Bhagavad Gita”, 6.6

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