Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Sometimes we are afraid to discuss rasa. Of course we should not forget that the first step in God realization or any kind of spiritual path is to control yourself. And by this control we can come to a higher level of happiness. Do you agree that all the living entities are searching for happiness? This is some very basic principle of life: when you live you want to be happy, even in the material circumstances. You want to enjoy happiness in the world of sorrow and misery; you want to enjoy freedom in your cage; you want to enjoy eternity in the land of death. So happiness… as this is a natural condition for the soul, it is absolutely natural that we are searching for that satisfaction and happiness. But we should be intelligent enough where to find this. If we search our happiness in the mud, this is for hogs and pigs. But as human beings you should search your happiness on another platform. Yet even human form of existence is a big trap, because this is especially designed for enjoyment of the senses. So this is rajas number one, human form of existence is total rajas. Animal form is tamas, human form is rajas and demigod level is sattvic. It is very difficult to recognize this situation: that I, as a human being, am basically under the influence of rajas, although this is very obvious that I work only for my satisfaction. The only impetus that makes me move is to get something. If you are on a very basic level of human existence, then you will work for your own satisfaction only. Ah, no, sorry, if you are on a very basic level, you don’t work at all, there is no impetus. Total darkness, no engagement in anything. If you are a little bit more human, then you work for your goals. And when you are a little bit more polished animal, then you will work so to say for the satisfaction of others, but basically you want to enjoy yourself. You want to enjoy happiness that you get in return, that you enjoy as remuneration.

So rasa is essential. Without rasa you cannot live, this is basic principle of life. Even the yogis are going for rasa, they want to enjoy a higher type of happiness. In this respect again we have to become superhuman beings, not to be influenced by the normal – so to say normal – human conditions. Step beyond your limitations. This is the real duty of human life – to overcome the boundaries of human existence.

So as spiritual practitioners you are also searching for your happiness. And where the happiness for a devotee is coming from? It is coming not from the crude material things, basic topics for enjoyment like women or men or possessing something, but the feelings of vaishnavas are more refined. Their happiness should come from a nice offering in the morning, or from a nice bhajan when the soul is just flying, or from some divine atmosphere of the sadhu-sanga. Whenever we come to the devotees even the sense perceptions are so special. Very delicate taste, very delicate smell, very nice people, very nice atmosphere. Very special! Once a devotee told me his firs encounter with the arati. He said he almost fainted from the beauty. The curtain lifted and deities appeared and incense was burning and he almost fainted. This is real philosophy: when you let yourself to be amazed! To see the beauty of the things. Later on, after some years, it will become a routine for you: “Ah, again, six o’clock, I have to go to offer incense.“ What has changed? It’s not the incense, it is not Krishna that has changed. It is your taste that has changed.

Therefore this taste, this rasa is very important thing. Rasa comes from cultivation. If we don’t cultivate, we shall not feel it. So by cultivation we can achieve finer and finer feelings of rasa.

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