February 2023


Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Yashoda: I want to ask, what happened to Brahma when Hiranyakashipu took his position?

Swami Tirtha: Well, the demons are highly polished and cultured beings. So, as he was worshiping Brahma to get the blessings, in one way he respected him also. Yet it was said that by his power and by his domination all the three worlds were under his influence. And you know, when there is a different rule, a different ruler, we have to survive. Just like you, the Bulgarian nation, you had the Turkish yoke. You survived! Although all your power, all your assets, everything was dominated by a foreign power. Still you have found ways to survive, and to maintain what you have internally, deeply, in hidden ways – so many chances were there.

As the goal of Hiranyakashipu was to fight Vishnu, God, therefore he designed all these tricks and all these domination wars. Because it is said that the worshipers of the Supreme – with their prayers, with their sacrifices, with their services – they so to say feed God. So Hiranyakashipu thought: ‘If I stop them doing their spiritual services and no worship is going to the Supreme, He will become weak. Then in this way it will be very easy for me to fight Him off.’ This was his intention. Therefore he didn’t care for Brahma or other up or down grades of living beings, because he wanted to dominate. He had magic powers, as he was also praying for yoga-siddhis, the mystic powers of yoga.

These siddhis are very interesting, but very secondary results of any spiritual practice. Because the motivation of Hiranyakashipu was power, to dominate over everything and use all the energy against God. While our motivation should be: dominate over yourself, control yourself, be a servant of all and use all the energy for the positive service of the Lord. This is the difference between a loving and serving approach to the Supreme and an opposition party. We should decide which side we take.

Yashoda: It was interesting that Hiranyakashipu mentioned so many possibilities who should not kill him, but he forgot Vishnu.

Swami Tirtha: Very good point. You see, all his glorification was directed to Brahma, who is the minister, he is not the king. But he considered Brahma to be the Supreme. And therefore he devised all these different means to protect himself, because Hiranyakashipu considered Vishnu not to be God, but a demigod, subordinate to Brahma. And he knew that sometimes Vishnu is very tricky. Sometimes He appears as a fish to save the Vedas. Other times He appears as a human being – like Rama or Buddha, or other incarnations. Therefore he said: “No human being, no demigod, no demon, no weapon, no animal should be able to kill me.” Actually first he asked from Brahma: “Give me immortality.” Then Brahma said: “Sorry, I cannot give you that. It’s beyond my capacities.” Then he started to think: “All right, if you cannot give me immortality, then give me that nobody should be able to kill me.” “All right, that I can give.” Or “Give me that I should be killed neither in the air nor on the ground, not inside nor outside.” So he tried to defend himself in every possible way.

But although he wanted to fight Vishnu, he forgot about Him. Somehow He was not included in his picture. So that is the difference between a demon and a bhakta. The demon is very cleverly using his brain, but forgetting about God. The bhakta sometimes with big dedication is just doing some nonsense, but never forgetting God. So this is the difference. One is very clever, yet forgetful; and this one, the lover of God can remember only very few things, but even that engages him so much that sometimes he forgets practical things.

The best example is when one devotee wanted to offer to God a banana. Usually you know we sanctify our food – first give it to the Lord and then whatever is left we take. So in her big dedication, with real devotion she was peeling the banana, throwing away the flesh and offering the peeling: “Ah my Lord, this is for You. You like bananas so much – please, accept this!” You know, sometimes devotees make little mistakes. But fortunately enough, God Supreme needs neither the skin, nor the fruit itself; He needs only one thing and that is called loving dedication. This is what we have to give. That is the best offering, the most tasty for Him. “Ah, this little insignificant thing comes with some dedication!”

(to be continued)


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