Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 06.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Swami Tirtha: What is the difference between a friend and an enemy?

Baladev: The motivation.

Hayagriva: A friend is a well-wisher.

Another: The goal.

Swami Tirtha: Also the behavior. A friend behaves in a different manner than an enemy. Of course all that you mentioned is also there. But from this we can judge: what is what, who is who.

It’s very easy to create enemies from friends. But it’s very-very difficult to make an enemy into a friend. So, we have to cultivate and cherish friendship. And better we try the more difficult path. As it is said in some sources: “Ah my Lord, if You liberate the good ones, it’s not a big thing for You. But if You liberate the difficult guys, this is Your glory.” So, if we make enemies from friends – this is easy. But to maintain friendship and to create a friend from an enemy, from a difficult situation – it’s close to a miracle. So, if you say that the difference between a friend and an enemy is the motivation, the behavior, then what is the motivation of a friend? He wants to serve our benefit. And an enemy usually tries to create trouble.

The friendly disposition to the external world is described in the Gita: “One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul and controls his mind and senses is dear to everyone and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.”[1]

Nevertheless on this planet Earth friend or enemy – this is a part of illusion. Therefore from the spiritual point of view we shouldn’t really make any difference between friends and enemies. If we achieve that platform of stabilized consciousness and we have this approach, like a friendly mood, then maybe somebody will consider you as an enemy, but you cannot consider anyone as an enemy. This is one way to get rid of your enemies.

You know, once in the church the priest asked: “My dear ones, we should be very loving, very humble and we should have no enemies. Anybody here in the congregation who has no enemies?” Of course nobody could come forward, while a very old lady said: “Yes! I have no enemies!” The priest was very happy: “Ah please, come forward! God bless you! So nice! You are such a gentle lady! Please, tell us the secret how is it that you have no enemies?” “Ah, all of them have died already. I outlived them!”

You see, there are different ways to have no enemies. Either you live a longer life than your enemies or you try to change your mentality. My suggestion is the second one.

Anyway friend or enemy – this is part of illusion. But you know to have friends is a sweeter illusion. And as we want to observe this situation as a reflection of something original, this friendly mood should be a spiritual practice for us.

In the Bhagavatam it is said: “In the material world the happiness and suffering are neither a result of the actions of others – friends’ or enemies’ – nor even of oneself’, but due to his incredible ignorance the person nevertheless thinks like that.”

Due to ignorance we think that it depends on us or on others. But in the Gita[2] it is described very nicely that those who think that they are the performers of the activity, they are wrong, because the activity has multiple elements – so it’s like a set of different components. It’s not only one reason.



(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.7

[2] Bhagavad Gita 18.13-16

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