June 2022


Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: “Fearlessness; purification of one’s existence; cultivation of spiritual knowledge; charity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study of the Vedas; austerity; simplicity; nonviolence; truthfulness; freedom from anger; renunciation; tranquillity; aversion to faultfinding; compassion for all living entities; freedom from covetousness; gentleness; modesty; steady determination; vigor; forgiveness; fortitude; cleanliness; and freedom from envy and from the passion for honor—these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature.”[1]

Now we have got a clear picture. „These verses describe somebody else, it is not me!” Therefore we can say that “Bhagavad-gita” or the teachings, given by Krishna, are also one of the best methods of self-analysis and character building. Because here everything is specified – clear picture: what is divine nature, what are divine qualities. It is not: “Just think a little bit and everything is all right. Just say that you are a Krishnabhakta and then everything is done.” No, it is very clear: if you meet this standard, you belong to the divine nature; if you do not have these qualities, you have to improve yourself.

But again, we should read between the lines, behind the words. Because you might think that this is only a long list of different qualities, taken from here and there, and there is no system, no structure behind. But that is absolutely not true.Krishnais a well-structured eloquent speaker. He is catching the attention and very precisely describes what He wants.

So, first He quotes certain sets of qualities. Sets of three. Like: abhayam, sattva-samshuddhi and gyana – fearlessness, purification of one’s existence and cultivation of spiritual knowledge. Actually He is describing these qualities first according to the spiritual orders. He starts from the top; these qualities belong to the sannyasis: fearlessness, purifying the self and cultivation of knowledge.

What does it mean to be fearless? In the Upanishads, which are the gyana section of the Vedas, it is described that those, who have fully surrendered, will have no fear. Those who have fully and completely surrendered themselves under the divine protection and the divine will – they will experience no fear. Whatever comes they will know and they will be sure that this is for their benefit. Everybody will say: “Yes! It is nice!” But when the demons are coming to you, do you still have this fearlessness? When the stars and the sun and the moon are falling off from the sky, will you still have that fearlessness? When the earth is just trembling under your feet, will you still have that fearlessness? When the fantasy that you are living in lies in pieces on the earth, will you still have that fearlessness?

So, fearlessness should be practiced by sannyasis. And what does it mean sannyasi?

Yamuna: The renounced order of life. It is said that the bramins are the teachers of society and sannyasis are the teachers of the bramins.

Dani: Whoever has dedicated himself to God.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes, in this sense we should all become sannyasis; but not on social or spiritual order, because then who will take care of the next generation? Actually sannyas is not only renunciation, because that is dry; but it is dedication, because that is sweet. Until we think that we can renounce, first of all this is illusion; second this means that you work from your own power. And our power is limited. But if we surrender and we enjoy Krishna’s protection, His power is unlimited. “Mahatmanas tu mam partha daivim prakritim ashritaha – the mahatmas, the great souls, enjoy the protection of the divine nature.”[2]

Fearlessness is next to purification of the self, sattva-samshuddhi. We can also interpret it as bhava-samshuddhi, to purify the feelings. Here it is mentioned sattva-samshuddhi; sattva means existence, samshuddhi means perfect purification. Purification of our existence goes very well with fearlessness. And ultimately we can say that purification of the existence is purification of the feelings.

And finally gyana, or the cultivation of spiritual knowledge – this belongs to the duties of sannyasis.


(to be continued)

[1] “Bhagavad-gita”16.1-3

[2] “Bhagavad-gita”9.13

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