Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Question: Which do you think is correct: that existence determines consciousness or consciousness determines existence?

Swami Tirtha: Well, that was the famous topic of the Marxist theory, but if we examine, we should understand that the stone cannot determine thinking. Because the stone exists, still cannot think. So that is a kind of fossil evolution: when the matter starts to be organized in an unknown, mystic way and finally the stones start to think and feel. It’s quite weird, isn’t it? We have a different version. We do believe that spirit, or consciousness, is first and from the more subtle platform it can be congealed or substantialized on the material platform also.

So, life comes from life – do you agree with that? Life does not come from dead matter. Life comes from life, consciousness comes from consciousness and love comes from love.

So, I say that consciousness determines material environment. Therefore it is said that our body, for example, is a reflection of our thoughts. Sometimes we make mistakes, right, in our way of thinking. Now better we have better thoughts. And if we purify our existence, control the senses and the mind, and search for our inner integrity, then we’ll find our real identity, which will never change. Because we are sat-chit-anandam – eternal souls with consciousness and bliss. Matter, material world is very much secondary compared to this. But also we can say that the world around us is a reflection of the thoughts, the mind, the consciousness of people living now. So, let’s invent a better universe. Let’s work on this together. Other questions?

Question: I have a question which is very often asked, but I still don’t have a real answer for myself. If it is said that initially we are a spiritual spark, what is the reason to fall in this material labyrinth? I have heard answers that the reason are our material desires, but how can you have material desires when you are a spirit soul and did not yet touch the matter?

Swami Tirtha: That’s a complicated question. But without entering the labyrinth you cannot find the way out. So, in order to find the way back home, back to Godhead, we have to be separated. The soul is in a middle position originally. It can choose between the divine influence and the material influence. Because the spark is very small, therefore it is under control all the time. Once this is the divine influence, other times this is the material influence. So if there is a distortion in the desires, as you said, then you will take material direction. But how it happened is very difficult to find out. One thing we know: that we are here. Of this we are fully aware – that we are here. How we came here…? By some mistake or by some good reason; but the goal is to find the way out. And if there is some help, some guidance extended to us, then we should take it.

Therefore I can suggest with all my heart a very important book for you, this is the Bhagavad Gita. This is as important in India as the Bible in the western world. This is the Song of God or the Divine Song. And it is just like an encyclopedia of all the different topics of spiritual realization: yoga, meditation, reincarnation, karma, action-reaction… and final perfection is also included there. So I am sure that this is very useful for you if you study this science.

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