Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Question of Premananda: I have one question, it concerns emotions. I met certain text on material emotions and they were described from material point of view. And it was shown that basically most of the material emotions are under the influence of either raja or tama guna. And it is only the calm, peaceful, happy state that is sattvic. And I made the conclusion that if we want to practice bhakti-yoga, then if we at all allow ourselves material feelings, we should not go below this level. So at least the practitioners should find a way to be in this happy sattvic platform, which inquires a lot of efforts in everyday life to achieve. But still it should be the minimum. And our goal is higher than that. So in order to achieve at least this minimum, I made the conclusion that we should kind of integrate, harmonize all our life and make our ideal pervade everywhere. We should not allow anything untrue of lower nature anywhere in our relationships and everything. How would you comment this, just to clarify this picture, if possible?

Tirtha Maharaj: First of all the main feature of sattva is not only happiness. There is knowledge also. Without knowledge there is no happiness. So do not try to be sattvic in the way to enjoy happiness without making the efforts for knowledge. The main features of sattva-guna are the knowledge and happiness. And actually these are the main problems with sattva-guna. Because sattva-guna is guna, rope, to bind you up. It keeps, it prevents you from freedom, because it is a guna. Does it mean that in order to overcome sattva we have to be bad? How to overcome goodness – by being bad, by doing wrong or by behaving nonsense? Or to be stupid and suffering? No, this is not the way. But we should purify even sattva. This is one remark.

The other remark is that it is not a mechanical process, that whenever you start to feel something or you start to react on something, you take your “Bhagavad-gita”, look up in the Seventeenth Chapter: “This is a little tamasic influence, so I feel not acting like that.” Or next time you say: “Mmm, this is sattvic enough, so I can do it.” This is not that mechanical process. Anyway, on the spot you have no time for reading “Bhagavad-gita”. You have to act, you have to decide. Therefore we need training. And we have to surrender ourselves to some higher authority. Because until we are under the control of the gunas, whichever guna, we are on a low platform. Therefore we have to surrender to a higher authority, the Lord of the gunas. It is not enough to become simply sattvic. Let it happen to the outsiders, to the general mass of people. But our policy is to become bhaktic, not only sattvic. Surrender to the higher authority and then you can resolve the problems on the lower platforms. And the natural result, natural consequence of that higher surrender will be that you will become more sattvic. It is very simple. By naturally cultivating bhakti you will elevate yourself.

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