June 2021
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

meditating sadhu

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.07.2016 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

What is the point in fasting? It’s not simply the control of the body, it’s not simply to agitate the mind – because if you are hungry, you are agitated. The highest goal of fasting is the encounter with Divinity. And actually in the Bhagavad Gita[1] there are certain things suggested. Three types of activities should always be maintained: self-control, spirit of sacrifice and sharing or donations. These three principles should always be maintained – in the beginning, in the middle and in the end. These activities are beneficial even for the realized and accomplished souls.

Self-control is for the body. If we follow sattvic, spiritual rules in our life, we can purify our bodily existence. In this way we can gain control over our bodily existence. For example therefore we fast on special days. Sharing or giving – it’s a kind of control over the mind. Because our mind is usually very much attached to what we have. If you have achieved for example material wealth, you start to become attached to that. Or if you have achieved some knowledge, you start to be attached to your level of consciousness. Therefore sharing or donations – this is a way to control the mind. Sharing is one way to control the mind. So, whatever you have, try to share it with others. ‘Yes, I have a lot of burden and a lot of suffering. So, I am very happy to practice this principle’ – please, don’t do this in such a manner, but collect your spiritual wealth, collect your divine knowledge and share this with others. Share the nectar and preserve for yourself the bitter drops. So, by sharing, donations, giving we can control our mind. To diminish but a little this attachment.

While the third practice, the spirit of sacrifice – this is for God. The previous two is for me: my body, my mind. The third is for the spirit, for the soul, my soul, and for the Supreme soul. So, if our topic on this occasion is “Encounters with Divinity”, then we have to perform all these different activities that are suggested in the Gita in this spirit. Why should I control my body? In order to meet God. Why should I fast on Ekadashi day? In order to meet the Supreme. Why should I share the nectar that I have received? In order to meet the Supreme. Why should I perform any kind of sacrifice in my life? Only for the sake of meeting the Supreme.

Fakirs torture their bodies, yogis try to control their minds. Monks in general try to follow certain religious rules. You see, we human beings have different ways, different means to express our willingness to come closer to Divinity. But what is the ultimate way of a bhakta? It’s not torture of the body. It’s not simply control of the mind. It’s not simply following some kind of rules. But it’s a divine rapture. Yes! This is the way of a bhakta! Full dedication. And not simply touching the nectar, but overdosing yourself! Even on Ekadashi – then we take double! So, a devotee has a very special means to approach the Supreme. The most powerful thing in life that we have – this is our affection. Even a king is controlled by affection. A king is very powerful to all the subordinates. But he is subordinate to his grandson. And when the grandson wants to ride on the back of the king, he will obey. The very powerful king – acting as a horse for a boy. How is it possible? It’s only possible by affection.

So, control of the body, control of the mind, following a set of rules – this is all accomplished if we follow the bhakti path, bhakti-marga. This is the way to meet Divinity – self-control, sharing and spirit of sacrifice.

(to be continued) 

[1] Bhagavad Gita 18.5

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