Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


What is the topic of Mahaprabhu’s instruction to Shrila Rupa Goswami? It is what the nature of pure bhakti is. Later on all the messages that were delivered by Mahaprabhu were collected by Rupa Goswami and condensed in his book Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. So, this is what we shall read now. It says: sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam hrishikena hrishikesha-sevanam bhaktir ucyate“Bhakti, or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and one’s senses are purified simply by being employed in the service of the Lord.”[1] This verse is quoted from Narada Pancharatra and is included in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu[2] also.

So, that’s a very important verse, giving a definition of the practical side of devotional service.  Sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam – mukti, you know, means liberation, freedom. Sarva-upadhi, upadhi means designation – all the different identities that we acquire. But if we become free from all these different designations that means you come to your original identity. What are the false designations?

Harilila: Manifestations of the false ego. Identification with the body.

Paramananda: Identification with the thoughts as well.

Swami Tirtha: There are different layers of illusion. Like there is this gross illusion around us; then there are dream-like states of illusion; and then people started to create a virtual world around them. You can take your birth there, you can find your identity, you can have your money, you can have your everything – just like what you have here, you can have it virtually, you can have a job there. That means people are ready to create yet another illusion inside the illusion. And they take it very serious – they start to make some legislation there – how it can be used and what are the rules there – so they create a new world, virtual. You can see that even in a very simple, very mechanical, technical way they come very close to the yogasiddhis. Because the greatest yoga-siddhi that a jiva can do is to create a world – this is the topmost siddhi, perfection. But previously they achieved this by mystic power, now they achieve it in a technical way, mechanically. You see that Kali Yuga is improving.

That means you find new and new upadhis, new and new designations for yourself. Sometimes artists also use this. If you have run out the inspiration in your own identity, you just take another identity and you start to work again, you start to write again. You take a new role, a new identity, a new personality – then you can again express yourself. But it does not matter how many times you change your identities, it’s not the original. We have to come to the original identity. And in order to come to the real, we have to get rid of the unreal. Therefore we have to slowly-slowly give up all the false identifications in order to come closer to ourselves. And you know, people create their own illusory worlds, sometimes in a pseudo-spiritual sense. But don’t stop half-way. We should go to the utmost limit, to face the truth.

And then nirmalam – without any mistakes, without any contaminations. Here Shrila Prabhupada explains: “nirmalam – uncontaminated by the effects of speculative philosophical research or fruitive activity.” So, correct, our illusion is either crude, gross bodily, or mental. Which is more dangerous?

Answers: Second. Both.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, gross bodily consciousness is gross and it’s easier to lose than a subtle thing. So, you try to enjoy life according to your best capacities, you live in gross bodily consciousness, and all of a sudden you end up in a jail. You are forced to give up some of your previous habits. So, to lose some of our gross bodily engagements is easy. But all the time you will think of those activities. So the subtle engagement is much more difficult to give up.

To be completely pure of all these traps of illusion is difficult. But why is it written that still it’s possible to get rid of them? Because it is possible! There is a hope to achieve that platform. Even in the sphere of illusion everything is under divine control. So if you connect to the supreme platform, then you can very easily penetrate this whole system.


[1] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya Lila 19.170

[2] 1.1.12


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