Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(excerpts from a seminar of Swami Tirtha on the holy name, Ludashto, July 2013) 

(continues from the previous Monday) 

In order to continue our previous mood, I will quote yet another person, Epictetus. He was a slave, then he was liberated and became a very famous philosopher. “If we have sense, we ought to do nothing else in public and in private than praise and bless God and pay Him due thanks. More than that: since most of you are walking in blindness, should there not be someone to discharge this duty and sing the praises of God for all? What else can a lame and old man as I do, but chant the praise of God? If indeed I were a nightingale, I should sing as a nightingale. If a swan – as a swan. But as I am a rational creature, I must praise God. This is my task and I do it. And I will not abandon this duty so long as it is given to me and I invite you all to join this same song!” Like a forerunner of Mahaprabhu: “Join this song!”

Jili, a Sufi mystic from the 15th century. “There is no access to the knowledge of God except through the intermediary of His name and qualities. And since every name and every quality is contained in the name Allah, it follows that there is no access to the knowledge of God except through the ways of His name.” How many names does God have in Islam? 99 plus one in Heaven.

Attar is the next author; he was again a Sufi teacher in the 13th century in Persia. “At nightfall he (the hero) entered a ruined building, where he found a jar of gold and jewels, covered by a board, on which the name of God was inscribed. His friends divided the golden jewels, but our hero said: “Give me this board! My beloved Name is upon it.” And he did not cease kissing it all day. Through the blessings thereof, he attained to such a degree that one night he dreamed and heard a voice saying to him: “Ah, my friend! The others were pleased with the golden precious jewels, but thou wert pleased only with My name. Therefore I have opened to you the gate of knowledge and wisdom.”

“The wonders of the holy name”, a mystic book from Europe, says: “The divine name is in truth a mine of riches. It is the fount of the highest holiness and the secret of the greatest happiness that a man can hope in this world.”

“He who prays without ceasing unites all good in this one thing.” Saint Symeon, The New Theologian, 10th century, from Constantinople.

Richard of Saint Victor, a Scottish mystic philosopher from the 12th century: “And this is the invocation of the name, this is the possession of salvation, the receiving of kisses, the communion of the bed, the union of the word with the soul in which every man is saved. For with such light no one can be blind, with such power no one can be weak, with such salvation no one can perish.” It’s a very high concept! To receive the kisses – where else you read about that except our shastras?

An Italian mystic Bernardino de Siena from the 15th century who promoted devotion to the holy name, says: “The best inscription of the name of Jesus is that to be found in the innermost heart of the hearts; the next best is in words; and finally the visible name written or carved. If the bodily eye is constantly confronted with it, it will soon become visible to the eye of the heart – that inward spiritual eye of the soul.”

So the next question is – if we understood that the glorification of the holy names pervades all the different cultures and centuries, then what is the specific feeling for us?

(to be continued)

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