Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

“Rite ‘rtham yat pratiyeta/ na pratiyeta catmani/ tad vidyat atmano mayam/ yathabhaso yatha tamah – O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.”[1]

This is the second verse from the chaturshloki of “Shrimad-bhagavatam”. These are in the Second Canto, Nineth Chapter, verses from 33 to 36, and now we take 34. “Shrimad-bhagavatam” is considered to be the ripe fruit of the Vedas. The tree of the Vedas brings different fruits like dharma, artha, kama and moksha. That means religion, economic growth, sensual pleasure and liberation. But the ripe fruit of this tree is the connection to God and the essence, the juice of that connection is bhakti, prema-bhakti. These verses contain the essential meaning. We have to know that this timeKrishna is answering. Before in the “Gita” Arjuna was simply listening, but now Brahma is the receiver and beforeKrishna started His speech, Brahma has given four questions. AndKrishna gives four answers. The moment is very important, because we are just before creation. Brahma is there with his all potency, just before his great task, but still a little perplexed.

The questions of Brahma are: what are the forms of the Lord, how to see Him hidden in nature and how to see Him directly? The second question is: what are the distinctive qualities of the Lord’s energies like maha-maya and yoga-maya? The third question is: which kind of activities He is carrying through these energies? These are theoretical questions: how to see You, what are Your energies and how these energies function? And finally he gives a practical question also: and what am I to do? Because we can go on with theoretical questions, but ultimately we have to do something.

The first answer of Krishnawas very suggestive. Because right in the first verse He describes Himself and time, eternity. That also means that “The knowledge or the secrets about Me, they are the greatest secrets”. Because Brahma was asking “How to see You indirectly and directly.” “I am there – before the creation, while the creation is going on, and after the creation I will stay.” So this is the greatest secret: “I am.” Very much parallel with “Bhagavad-gita”: “I am, aham.”

The second answer ofKrishnasays that this great secret should be realized as a part of a picture. Therefore He will describe the functions of His energies. And the third answer is that the secret devotional service is an integral part of this picture. The goal is the secret devotional service. And finallyKrishnawill give the answer: “Try to understand what I say.” This is the fourth answer.

So the first: “I am the secret”; the second: “You have to understand this inside a picture”; the third is “Seek for the essence, search for the ultimate goal” and fourth: “Try to understand what I tell you.” If we translate the answers ofKrishna, this is so simple.

But actually if we omit the fourth – “Please, use your brain, you are the best intellect in this universe, try to understand what I tell you” – irrespective of this, what are the first three telling about? The first three describe the main topic of “Shrimad-bhagavatam” – sambandha, abhideya and prayojana. Sambandha means that you belong to God, you have eternal connection, you belong there. Abhideya is the means how to achieve, the path that we should follow. And finally prayojana means the goal. So the secret is: “I am.” The second is: “You should understand this in a structure.” And “You have to find the ultimate goal – this is pure love.” Sambandha – “you belong to Me”; abhideya – “you have to do something about it”; and finally prayojana, the ultimate goal – “you have to search for pure love.”

[1] “Shrimad-bhagavatam”2.9.34

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