Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 11.05.2017 am, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

 “Whatever doubts I have about a particular subject matter I shall ask you about later. For the time being, these mysterious yoga instructions you have given me for self-realization appear very difficult to understand. Please repeat them in a simple way so that I can understand them. My mind is very inquisitive, and I want to understand this clearly.

O master of yogic power, you said that fatigue resulting from moving the body here and there is appreciated by direct perception but actually there is no fatigue. It simply exists as a matter of formality. By such inquiries and answers, no one can come to the conclusion of the Absolute Truth. Because of your presentation of this statement, my mind is a little disturbed.”[1]

And here Shrila Prabhupada clarifies: “Formal inquiries and answers about the bodily conception do not constitute knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Knowledge of the Absolute Truth is quite different from the formal understanding of bodily pains and pleasures. In Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna informs Arjuna that the pains and pleasures experienced in relation to the body are temporary; they come and go. One should not be disturbed by them but should tolerate them and continue with spiritual realization”.[2]

I think this is a very proper question: if you don’t understand something, it’s better to ask until you come closer to some understanding. We cannot start a process at the end, we have to start it at the beginning, right. Every long journey starts with the first step. First we have to understand that here in this worldly life we perceive limitations. Then we need this inquiry: “how to achieve perfection which is beyond the limitations”. We should feed on the nectar, not on the garbage. Think of God instead of thinking of material stuff.

“Jada Bharata said: Among the various material combinations and permutations, there are various forms and earthly transformations. For some reason, these move on the surface of the earth and are called palanquin carriers. Those material transformations which do not move are gross material objects like stones. In any case, the material body is made of earth and stone in the form of feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, torso, throat and head. Upon the shoulders is the wooden palanquin, and within the palanquin is the so-called King of Sauvira. The body of the King is simply another transformation of earth, but within that body Your Lordship is situated and falsely thinking that you are the King of the state of Sauvira.”[3]

We can say almost offensive words – ‘You are not a king, only a lump of stones and earth’. If you receive such a message, it’s difficult to digest. Because usually if you are a king, you are approached with very humble words and with glorification: “Oh, you are so great! You are so nice.”

But ultimately we can say that the elements are present in our bodily constitution. Like the earth element provides everything that supports the body. Water element provides everything that is fluid in the body. The fire element provides the fire of digestion, for example, and the heat that you have. The air element will help you to breathe, and while you breathe that means you live, prana is with you. And the ether pervades this bodily construction with the life force. So, everything is present – inside and outside, and it’s practically the same. Little combinations here and there, like you have blond hair, or you have dark physiognomy – but it’s the same.

Then where is the difference? If everything is a combination of one or the other, what is the difference? Have you ever thought of the peppers? This is a topic of my meditation for a long time. You plant one seed, another seed, a third seed to the same soil. And one pepper is sweet, the other is chilly and the third one is extra chilly. Although we know that any plant is simply a transformation of the earth – nothing more. But how come one is sweet and the other is hot? Of course now you can come with your biological knowledge and say: ‘This is the genetic structure of this seed’ and so on… But it’s simply a transformation of the earth. What makes one pepper sweet and the other chilly? We have to understand this subtle essence that will distinguish one from the other, right. Your hair is curly and the other’s hair is long – what makes the difference? One body is like this, the other body is like that – what is the subtle essence that will make the difference? This variety, diversity is produced by the soul, the individual presence which is impossible to repeat – it’s once in a universe. And we need to have the eye to perceive that unique essence. Don’t be satisfied with the reflections, search for the original. Don’t be satisfied with simple enlightenment, try to find the person behind the divine light.


(to be continued)


[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.12.3-4

[2] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.12.4 Purport

[3] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.12.5-6

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