Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(continues from the previous Monday)

So, living entity, world and God – this was the existential triangle of the three topics of the “Gita”. But let’s analyze the fourth topic – this is time. Can we catch time? It’s very difficult. Although you can buy Swiss watches, you cannot catch time.

But what is time? Time is a divine energy, but it works in different, different ways and in different, different phases. Now we analyze the time factors in their aspects how things exist in time, what is their relationships to time or to time periods. One aspect of how things exist is that they are eternal, there are some eternal things. It’s called in Sanskrit nityam, eternal. And its character is endless – no beginning, no end. Because this is eternal, it’s not limited. So, if there are eternal things, give me another opportunity of the relationship of time. If something is not limited, there are certain things, which are limited, right? If there are eternal things, there are non-eternal things also. They are called anitya, non-eternal. And their character is that there is a starting point and there is an end point – they are limited. What else is there? Let’s see what’s there. Something without an end, no end. They are called ananta – no end. They have a beginning, but they have no end. And is there anything more? Probably. What is that? This fourth relationship is without a beginning – anadi. We don’t know what was before that thing. No beginning, but there is an end. So if we analyze the things that we perceive in life – objects, feelings, whatever – you can adjust, you can find the categories under these four types.

Now let’s try to find examples for all these four. Give me an example of something eternal? Yes, the soul, very nice – no beginning, no end. Good. Some more? The Supersoul also, right? I think these are the most important eternal things. Give me an example of non-eternal?

Answer: Life.

Tirtha Maharaj: Life… like a bodily life, bodily existence. It’s got a beginning and it’s got an end, right?

Answer: Material creation.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes and no. Because although it also manifests – that we can consider as a beginning – and it will return to an unmanifest phase, but it is changing in cycles. But I think we all know that if something has a beginning, it should have an end. It is very easy to understand the beginning and the end of a human body – like conception and discomposure. It’s very obvious. But it’s more difficult to see the phases of the cosmic structure or the vast material energy, so to say. And it is said in the “Gita” that everything moves in phases – sometimes it is unmanifest, then it comes manifest and then it returns to unmanifest phase. So we can compare these phases to the birth and death of a human body. But the material energy as an energy is preserved, irrespective of the manifest or the unmanifest phase. So as an energy principle it is eternal, but it also has got these phases of birth and death. So, can you give me an example of ananta, without an end?

Answer: Maybe the relationship to the guru?

Tirtha Maharaj: Well… “I’m your eternal servant.” I agree… but let’s say perfection. A spiritual person, a devotee achieves perfection. Right, that’s got a beginning, but it’s got no end. So in the same way, if we commit ourselves to the spiritual master, this has got a beginning, I say “yes” to my master – this is the beginning. But this should have no end. Because I am eternally connected, I am eternally indebted to my master. And give me an example of something that we don’t know how it started, what was the beginning, but there is an end.

Answer: Karma.

Tirtha Maharaj: Ah, yes! Actually karma is like this. Because it is said that karma starts from before this cycle of creation, so we cannot find the origin, the beginning of karma. But you can find the end of karma when you stop acting on karma platform. And when all the karmic action-reaction is burned up, then you start your spiritual career.

So these four basic principles of the “Gita”- like ishvara, jiva, prakriti and kala (time) we discussed. And Krishna says in “Gita”: “I am time, I am destroyer of the worlds.”[1] This is the fearful aspect of Krishna as time. It’s the limitation. But He also says: “I am the unfathomable time”[2] – this is for the devotees. So a devotee has no fear of time. Because for us time, even on this material plane, provides some opportunity to express our services.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 11.32

[2] Bhagavad Gita 10.33

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