Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2013, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Friday) 

Question of Krishna Premi: As we spoke of love and sacrifice, to what extend a sacrifice is connected with love?

Swami Tirtha: There are different levels of sacrifice, different objects of sacrifice also. Like the sacrificial animal. How much love is involved in that transaction? No, no. Don’t laugh! Much, because what is the motivation of offering? It’s not to absolve our sins by killing an animal – it’s improper. But if they want to sacrifice the animal to liberate him from the present condition of being an animal in a very simple body and in a very basic level of consciousness, to provide to that soul a better chance  – that’s a different motivation. So, even there, in a very violent act you can find some compasstion, some love. The principle is always there.

Sacrifice without affection is… well, I wouldn’t say disgusting, but it’s not tasty, it’s not nice. Because otherwise it is either business or something forced. ‘I give, but I want to receive, with the motivation to receive’. All right, if there is no higher motivation, do it like this. But this is rajasic. If we can do our sacrifice only under demand and pressure, then this is tamastic. If we do our sacrifice due to commitment, due to knowledge, due to dharma – then this is sattvic. If we do our sacrifice due to love – this is bhaktic. So, what is the motivation? If in our sacrificial acts this loving, affectionate, service mood is the motivation – then this is directly connected. Because actually this is not the object that we have to sacrifice, but the mood that we give with this sacrifice. But I don’t know how much this is related to your question.

Krishna Premi: It answers to a big extend. My more particular question was concerning the sacrifices that we are doing daily, for example when we are sacrificing our personal benefit for the sake of the family.

Swami Tirtha: That’s good. Because the interest of the family is higher than the interest of the individual. The interest of the village is higher than the interest of the individual family. The interest of the country is higher than the individual participants, etc. So, if we always submit ourselves to the higher, superior interest – usually that is proper, that is correct. Because ultimately we will find the highest authority, that is God. Of course, this is in a sacred structure of society. May be you don’t find it so directly right now, but principally the higher level of society, the higher level of integration demands, deserves the service on the lower platforms.

Yet we have to realize that our life has two sides, two aspects – one is the individual, when we are alone; and one is the social. Both we should cultivate properly. And there are three principles that I’ve mentioned many times: serve your own private spiritual benefit; be useful for others; and live for the glory of God. The first two are concerned here – always focus on your private spiritual benefit, the supreme interest of yours; and also be useful for others. Actually both need sacrifice. In the Gita it is said: “Without sacrifice nobody can be satisfied neither in this lifetime, nor in the next”. Therefore it is better to give, to do something in sacrifice. Because Krishna is satisfied with “a little water, a little leaf, a little fruit – if you offer Me I am satisfied with that”[1]. The next verse – you read that at home.

But our best sacrifice is? Harinama.


[1] Bhagavad Gita 9.26


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