June 2022


Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

The two levels of existence – like material gross and material subtle – they hide something. They hide reality. Although whatever is shown to us seems to be very real, nothing you can see that isn’t shown. Somebody shows this relative reality to us. Whatever is around us this is called nature. But who is the lord of this nature?  Whose nature is this? If there is a nature, there must be an owner of that nature? Just like we have certain features as our nature, and it is us who possess this nature. So material covering as a nature also belongs to someone. And just like our characteristics conceal, hide the spiritual essence inside, in the same way material nature covers its Lord.

Illusion or nature has two functions. One is avaranatmika – that means to cover with something. It hides the truth. Illusion works in this way: it hides the reality, shows something else instead. It is just like the screen in a cinema. The whole movie, the whole film is projected on this screen, it seems to be very realistic, but actually this is only some white textile. And you know in the beginning when the first little short movies were shown to people, for example when a train was coming towards the public, when they gave the show, people were running away from the cinema. It was so realistic for them that the train is approaching. Our life is also like a train coming to us. It seems to be very realistic, but actually these are only some pictures on the screen of our mind. Yet who is the operator of the projection machine? That is somebody higher than ourselves.

Actually it is said that the world is a dream. But this world is not a dream of humans; they are sleeping but not dreaming. The world is a dream of God, Vishnu. Everything moves, everything happens according to His dream. Humans have two kinds of dreams – good and bad. Vishnu has only one kind of dream – ultimately good. Sometimes this dream, this material existence, is just like a horror movie – makes you tremble; but this is not real. Whatever is there is only a covering made up of gross and finer material elements.

So this first function of illusion – to cover – is very strong. Second function is vikshepatmika – to divert your attention. When you have a little knowledge, then you will understand: “Ah, this is only a projection on the screen of our mind. Better I change my point of attention. In this way I can be the operator.” This is illusion – changes your attention, diverts your attention to something else, which you think is real, but it is again unreal. Because you are not the operator. You are sitting in the cinema with eyes wide open, and mouth also, and just watch the movie. Sometimes you put popcorn and Coca-Cola into your mouth to fully satisfy the senses. But then when the show is over, you have to go. This function of illusion captures most of the people under its sway.

But to find reality, we should change the vision. You cannot stop the show; and why should you? But you should change the vision: see the projection, see the screen, understand from where the projection is coming, who is the operator, who is the master of the cinema, and who is the master of the universe. Search, we have to search: what is what, who is who.

Krishna says “I am the origin, and dissolution of everything that exists. What is given here in Sanskrit is prabhava and pralaya. Prabhava means creation, manifestation; and pralaya means annihilation – this is the unmanifest stage of the universe. From this we can understand, that whether the movie has started or not, Krishna is the source. When the projection starts, when the material nature manifests, that is the beginning of the show. Then when the time is up, the show is finished. But there is one leader of this game; and it depends on us in which manner we take part in this play.

Krishna says: “O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.”[1]

It is not the pearls that make up the necklace; it is the string. It is not the projection that makes up reality, but the fine thread behind everything. This we should search. Do not be satisfied with the projection. You should search until your heart is fulfilled.


[1] “Bhagavad-gita”7.7

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