February 2023


Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2013, evening, Kyustendil)

Practically the most important spiritual literature of India is the divine song, the Bhagavad Gita. It is as important in the eastern part of the world as the Bible in our cultures. And it is like an encyclopedia of life and divine knowledge. The Gita contains 700 verses. It’s not so much. There are many saints and scientists who know all these 700 verses by heart. And it is said that those who know the Gita can achieve liberation. But you know we live in the western part of the world and we don’t have too much time to learn these difficult slokas, Sanskrit verses of an ancient scripture – 700 verses all together. Yet the chance is not lost because it contains 18 Chapters. And it is said, if you don’t know the whole text, if you know only one chapter – that’s enough for perfection. That’s also too long. But fortunately if you don’t know a whole chapter, if you know only one verse – that is enough for perfection. And still, in case you cannot remember one complete verse, half verse is also enough for perfection.

So, where shall we start – with the complete book, or with a half verse? Well, my humble suggestion if you agree is to study one chapter. Of course all the chapters of a holy scripture are very important. Yet I’d like to discuss one of the most important chapters and this is the 12th chapter.

This book is a conversation between God, Krishna and His very dear devotee, servant, friend – Arjuna. Arjuna is a fighter, he has to fight for the divine truth. We are just in front of the start of a great war for the truth. And Arjuna, this fighter, had a doubt in his heart: ”Whether I should fight or not?” Do you have sometimes doubts whether you should do like this, or do like that? All the time we have to face these choices. So, Arjuna didn’t know how to act properly, what to do, what is best for him. Therefore he asked Krishna, who was his helper in this fight: “Please, guide me. Tell me: what is the best for me.” Such a fortunate situation! Just imagine yourself having some doubts and having God as your help. So, let’s plunge into the middle of this discussion.

Arjuna inquired: Which are considered to be more perfect: those who are properly engaged in Your devotional service, or those who worship the impersonal feature of God, the unmanifested?[1]

Very strong question. How to worship the Supreme, how to approach the Supreme properly? Who is God? Only a light? Only a kind of subtle energy? Or a purple haze maybe? Some gas substance or what? Or maybe a person? Just imagine yourself, may I ask your good name?

Answer: Iva, my name is Iva.

Swami Tirtha: Oh, very nice. So, if somebody says: “Well, Iva is a very nice, gentle personality” or somebody says: “Well, Iva is a cluster of energy” – which is more proper approach to you? To consider you like some haze or a person? In the same way this question says: What is the ultimate feature of God? How to approach the Supreme – by general faith or by personal connection to the Supreme?

Then Krishna says: “Those who fixed their minds on My personal form, and are always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith, are considered by Me to be most perfect.”[2] Direct question, direct answer! Which is better: a direct and personal approach to You or some general beliefs about You? The Supreme Lord says: “Oh, better if somebody comes to Me in a very personal way, in a deeply connected loving and living way”.

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 12.1

[2] Bhagavad Gita 12.2

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