Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2017, morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

Basically we can say that the first step of the divine mystery of relationships is neutrality. And sometimes neutrality is a positive term, other times it is a quite controversial term. Generally we say that this neutrality is like a passive relationship and this is called shanta-rasa. Shanti as the basic motivation here is like peace, or tranquility. But if we examine the Sanskrit dictionary, for the term ‘shanta’ you will find fourteen different meanings. Like ‘purified’, like ‘shady’ or ‘humble’, or also like ‘tamed’ – very good. Also you will find a meaning like ‘dead’ or ‘totally finished’. But basically what is very important for us – this is ‘pacified’, ‘tranquilized’, ‘satisfied’.

So what does it mean in divine relationships – this tranquil state of mind, this satisfied mood? That even simply by this neutral approach to the Supreme, the thirst of your heart and soul is satisfied. You know that at the end of your journey somebody’s waiting for you. It gives such a nice hope. With this hope it’s so easy to face all the troubles of life – to face piles of trials with smiles.

All right, this is ‘shanta’ as the expression. But who is shanta as a person? Shanta is an ascetic who already has overcome the passions. It might be our goal – to find some peace in that respect; but maybe not now. Yet don’t worry, if we have this goal, then step by step we can achieve that peace – when the mind and the body doesn’t give you trouble too much. Why, because one meaning of shanti is ‘to cease fire’. There is no shooting anymore.

In that respect I think this is very positive for our cultivation if we achieve that shanti, that tranquility, that stability. But nevertheless if we experience neutrality in human relationships – is it acceptable or not? Is it a pleasant feeling or not?

Krishna Priya: No.

Yashoda: If it is a part of a relationship, if you feel comfort in the company of somebody, then it’s good. It’s the satisfaction that was mentioned before.

Pavitra: At least we are not shooting at each other anymore.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, at least that is a positive side. But…

Krishna Priya: It’s not enough.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, I think so. Because what is the scale of human relationships? Love is one extreme, hate is another extreme and in between there is neutrality. So love – all right, we all agree on that point: that’s a good exchange, a positive exchange. But I have to tell you, to have a good fight – you also need a good partner for that. You cannot fight with anyone on the street, because this is a very intimate relationship. But neutrality is killing! I tell you, this is non-human. If somebody comes and looks through you like air – it’s a killing feeling, it’s devastating. And sometimes Gurudev was using such training to help us get rid of our false conceptions. Taking you like zero. It was not pleasant at the moment, but it was very useful. And this is the difference between the wise and the stupid. A stupid person will always choose what is pleasant. While a wise person will always choose what is useful.

So this neutral feeling is not very welcoming, it’s not a very pleasant feeling. Nevertheless sometimes this in-between feeling is also positive. Let’s see when it is positive.

“Arjuna says: “O Krishna, what are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in transcendence? How does he speak and what is his language? How does he sit and how does he walk?” The Supreme personality of Godhead said: “O Partha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification which arise from mental concoction and when his mind, thus purified, finds his satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.”[1] That’s a kind of neutrality, right? No fight anymore. On many occasions we find reference that this kind of neutrality, this kind of spiritual peace is a very positive term.

(to be continued) 

[1] Bhagavad Gita 2.54-55

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