Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Krishna flute

“Jnana-vijnana-triptatma kuta-stho vijitendriyah yukta ity ucyate yogi sama lostrasma-kancanah – A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogī [or mystic] when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self-controlled. He sees everything—whether it be pebbles, stones or gold—as the same.”[1]

So, why do we read the scriptures? Because it helps us to be connected to some very high ideals. Basically there are two types of people: one will say that there are no perfect human beings and the other will say that there are some. Which group do you belong to? Do you believe that there are some perfect human beings?

Hari Lila: No, I think there are not.

Tirtha Maharaj: No? I am a little surprised. If we are realists we shall say: “Perfection? Come on! First – this is Kali-yuga; second – this is planet Earth; third – these are human beings, full of mistakes. So, perfection is impossible!” Yet if we are idealists – as we are! – we should believe that perfection is there, that it is possible.

But perfection of human beings is variegated, different perfections are there. For example, one type of perfection of the human beings is like the fakirs. They control the body – by torturing, by self-mortification, by different practices – to achieve a kind of peace, a kind of victory over themselves. But in certain respects this is a very basic and very elementary practice.

Then there is another type of practitioners for perfection – this is the monk, who practices certain rules and regulations and by following a set structure he tries to be connected to the Supreme. This is more like emotional cultivation.

And then here it is mentioned the other type – the yogi, or the mystic. Mystic means to keep silent. Lover means eloquent speaker. Then what to do? If we want to become mystics, then we should keep silent; if we want to be lovers of God, then we should speak.

And what is the definition of a mystic or a yogi, given here? “He is established in self-realization”. What is self-realization? It’s not the career, it’s not the money, it’s not the family. Self-realization means to understand who you are. Actually we are searching for ourselves. How you will find it? I can tell you: by chance. By some good chance you will find it. Because our real identity is hidden by the mist of mystery. But by the good chance of the divine providence, we are searching for this and that and then – up! – finally you meet yourself. Then, when you understand who you are ultimately, you can be very satisfied, established in self-realization. So this is not a false imagination, but something real, something permanent. It should never change – irrespective of any conditions that may change around you. When we realize our new identity, it’s just like a new birth. Birth is very important in one’s life.

We should be established in our self-realization, to understand who we are. It is said that people have three identities. One is what they show to others; the second is what they think they are; and the third one – who they are, really. So, the search for our selves is a long trip. And if we are honest enough, then we should try to unite these three spheres, identities.

When our spiritual master is present, then we try to act very much like a devotee. This is what we show to others. When he is not present, then we show a more real identity – what we think we are. We think that we are the only representatives of our spiritual master. And we know it better than the others, of course, because they are neophytes.

But when you are in a deep identity crisis, then you are closest to your real original identity. So, this is very good to have some crisis periods from time to time. Because then you have to be honest, then you forget to show faces and made up identities. And therefore if you are established in real spiritual realization of your self, you are called yogi.

And here something very important is mentioned: that “by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization, he is satisfied”. So the requirement for satisfaction is this spiritual knowledge and to put that knowledge into practice. If you are in need in any respect, then the spiritual process can help you. If you need more physical power, do some tapasya – it will be given to you. If you need some more intellectual power, do your meditation – it will be revealed to you. And if you need more emotions, then do some puja to the Supreme, then this emotional flow will start to grow. So, basically our spiritual practices can help us in all respects. If you need more power, if you need more intellect, if you need more feelings – you can have it. And if we have it, then we are satisfied.

“Such a person is situated in transcendence and self-control.” What does it mean to be situated in transcendence? As we discussed many times, there are two aspects of spiritual situation – trance and dance. So this is our yoga – to be connected with God who is dancing and playing the flute.


[1] Bhagavat Gita, 6.8

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