Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

“Rite ‘rtham yat pratiyeta/ na pratiyeta catmani/ tad vidyat atmano mayam/ yathabhaso yatha tamah – O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.”[1]

Here in the last line two different things are mentioned: abhasa and tamaha. Abhasa is reflection, just like a shade; not the original, but only a reflection. And tamaha is darkness, complete darkness.

“Whatever seems to be independent from Me, that is illusion.” This is the main topic of the verse; and then at the end He says: “just like the reflection and just like darkness.” The shadow of somebody, for example, is not the real guy. Although the caste bramins think that if somebody crosses over their shadow that is offensive. But the shadow is not them. Today the car-conscious men, who identify themselves with their cars, if somebody crushes their car they say: “Somebody hit me!” He didn’t hit you, he hit your car. Do not expand your false egotism to your body, to your car, to your everything – it is not you, it is only a reflection, shadow.

But why it is mentioned here: “… independent of Me it is illusion, just like the shade and just like the darkness.” How to understand this? What is this shadow? The shadow is jiva-shakti. Shadow is the souls, the reflection of the souls. Because a shadow has no separate identity; always goes with the original. The jivas do not have separate existence from God, they always should go with Him.

But the example of original and reflection is also true about the bad friend. The bad friend is always following you, he is always with you – until there is sunshine. When there is no sunshine, he will leave you. This is the bad friend; until you are in light, he will follow you. Until you pay the bill, he is your best friend. Whenever you have any trouble, whenever you are in darkness, he just leaves you.

So please, do not be bad friends of Krishna. Always stay with Him, like a shadow. Always follow him. So abhasa, reflection, is jiva-tattva. And what is tamaha then? What is this third element of this cosmic picture?

Kripadham: Material nature?

Tirtha Maharaj: Correct! This is matter. Darkness is jagad, jagad means the world. In this way the picture is a full picture. The first verse describes “I exist – before, while and after.” The second verse tells: “What seems to be independent of Me, that is illusion. And there is you, and there is the world.” This is the meaning of this second verse. It gives the picture, the setup – how to understand this higher secret that God exists always. There is the world, there is myself, there is the Supreme. The picture is a little hazy because of the illusion, but we have to clarify it in the next verse.

[1] “Shrimad-bhagavatam”2.9.34

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