December 2021
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Question of Manjari: We have discussed the gunas of material nature, which are part of maha-maya. And also we know that there is yoga-maya in the spiritual realm. Are there some spiritual gunas – like I’ve heard the devotees talk about shuddha-sattva – and what are they like?

Swami Tirtha: Good question. So, what is your opinion? What is your vision?

Hayagriva: Shuddha-sattva is transcendental, it’s beyond the three gunas of nature, this is the pure goodness.

Swami Tirtha: Yes. Correct. Is there anything higher?

Answer: As our sphere here is a perverted reflection, it appears that shuddha-tamas must be the highest.

Swami Tirtha: Wow! That sounds mind-blowing, ha? “Pure ignorance”. We have to examine that more deeply, right?

So, if we want to find the structure of material sphere, what is on the top? On the top is sattva. Sattva, goodness is the best part of material nature. Then the middle section is rajas and the third part, the lowest is tamas – innert passive weight, like bulk. Tamas is like matter, very inert; rajas is like energy, moving the things; and sattva is like light, giving some understanding, giving some direction and ruling the whole system. And this is a dynamic system – sometimes this overpowers, other times that captures your being and you are under the influence of the different gunas. And as we discussed here, there is a passive state of shanti, or liberation, or nirvana. Nir-vana means “no forest” – out of the forest of material existence. Vana is “forest”, nir-vana is “no forest”. This is the passive state. And if you elevate your consciousness through all these different layers, tamas is like the deep garage under the Sofia Mall, level minus three. Once you go there, it’s very difficult to find your way out. Then level minus two is rajas, level minus one is sattva; and the zero level is nirvana, or brahman. It’s only the zero level! Sorry, my dears, this is not a high achievement, it’s only the zero level.

All right, now let’s enter the Mall. You know, sattva means knowledgeable, pure, religious – but basically sattva is a little passive. „Good is passive, bad is active”. So shuddha-sattva, or the first platform beyond this neutral stage of liberation – this is very nice, very spiritual, but not so many things are happening there. A devotee in shuddha-sattva always says “yes” to Krishna, very obedient, knows all the rules and regulations and the routine how to serve. But in the Bible it is said that God spits out the lukewarm (people)[1]. Because it does not give any higher taste, it’s passive. In the same way Krishna needs some excitement.

So, if there is shuddha-sattva, then what is the next level? Level minus three was material tamas, minus two was material rajas, minus one was material sattva; then the zero level was brahman. First level is shuddha-sattva – pure spiritual goodness. And what is on the second floor?

Neli: Shuddha-rajas.

Swami Tirtha: There is shuddha-rajas, yes. Purified passion is there. Is there anything on the third floor?

Yashoda: Cinema.

Swami Tirtha: Cinema? I see that you know very well the construction of the Mall. But on the third floor there is shuddha-tamas. ‘What?! Shuddha-tamas? Come on! This is some heretic philosophy here! I’ve never heard of that.’ But actually it exists. Because shuddha-sattva gives only the glimpse into the divine realm. You see the light. But that light is so bright that it makes you blind. We should be able to see shuddha-rajas and shuddha-tamas. And as in the material sphere tamas is the deepest point, according to our understanding shuddha-tamas is the highest.

Who possesses shuddha-tamas in the spiritual world? The gopis possess the shuddha-tamas. Because they have pure, purified ignorance about the divine position of Krishna, a total forgetfulness. Just imagine – can you tease God? No, you cannot! But the gopis are doing it. And sometimes they are hiding from Krishna, other times they are chasing after Him… Can you do that with the Personality of Godhead? Hardly ever! But with your lover you can do many tricks. So, they don’t know, they are not aware of the greatness of the Lord.

Like mother Yashoda. You know, when Krishna ate earth and Balaram complained to mother Yashoda, then Yashoda said: “Come here! Come here, my dear boy!” Just try to imagine the situation – somebody orders God: “Here!” And He comes! “Again You have done some mischief? Naughty boy! Open Your mouth!” Krishna is very obedient, opens His mouth. And mother Yashoda checks out what is inside. And then maybe this was a 3D movie. “Ah, – she was a little perplexed – universes are here, and the basic elements, ah no, that’s too much! And I am also there, checking out the mouth of my child…? No, no, no! That must be some illusion.” So, she closes her eyes, moves her head and says: “No, no, no. This is not God, this is not divine revelation. This is my son.” Pure, purified tamas. Even if she is offered a chance for proper understanding, she rejects: “No, I don’t want to know the truth. I want to live in my truth. Because my truth is driven by affection. If I understood that You are God Supreme, I would be driven by awe and reverence. I don’t want that. I want to be ignorant of Your greatness. I want You very close.”

Therefore shuddha-tamas is the greatest. But please, if you simply quote me that “Tirtha Maharaj said that shuddha-tamas is the best, this is our goal”, I don’t accept.

Yamuna: Quote the entire lecture or nothing.

Swami Tirtha: Yes. Because if you pick a few words: ‘Hey, this guy was talking about the Sofia Mall. And then he said that the best part is in the cinema and that it is on the top. And his goal is tamas…’ – so please, quote precisely.


[1] Revelation 3:15-16   


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