Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.05.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

The Vedas suggest basically three types of approaches to the supreme divine reality. One is karma-kanda, the second is gyana-kanda and the third is upasana-kanda.

Karma-kanda is action: ‘If you make the sacrifice you will reach heaven,’ let’s say. And it works. Whatever you want to reach, you can go there. As it is also mentioned in the Gita: “Those who worship the forefathers will go to the forefathers. Those who worship the demigods will go to the demigods. Those who worship the ghosts will go to the ghosts. But those who worship Me will come to Me!”[1] So, it is possible. Action – reaction, action – consequences. It is always there. You can choose your path, you can choose your destination and you can reach – no problem, it’s provided. And of course here ‘karma’ is not the simple action or the law of karma, but these are the ritualistic activities.

The second part is gyana-kanda or the knowledge department of the Vedas. An analytical, scientific approach, usually connected with some high type, very strong ascetic renunciation. A speculative method – which is not a bad word, but it’s like a method of thinking.

While the third aspect is upasana-kanda, which is the path of worship.

So if you want to follow this system, either you become an actor, or you become a knower, or ultimately you become a bhakta. It doesn’t mean that a bhakta is not active and not knowledgeable. But it means you acquire all these capacities plus you add something – this dedication. Do you remember from your life when you were a fan of something? You were like flying, there were no limits for you. It’s a kind of love, you fly in heaven. And then you come down to the Earth again very soon. But at least in this way we have an intro to the surplus of upasana-kanda. Because if we are real enthusiastic worshipers, then it’s a totally different grade of approach to the Supreme. Direct knowledge of the truth – that means God experience, divine experience. And until we follow a calculative process, hardly ever it will come.

“As long as the mind of the living entity is contaminated by the three modes of material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance), his mind is exactly like an independent, uncontrolled elephant. It simply expands its jurisdiction of pious and impious activities by using the senses. The result is that the living entity remains in the material world to enjoy and suffer pleasures and pains due to material activity.

Because the mind is absorbed in desires for pious and impious activities, it is naturally subjected to the transformations of lust and anger. In this way, it becomes attracted to material sense enjoyment. In other words, the mind is conducted by the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. There are eleven senses and five material elements, and out of these sixteen items, the mind is the chief. Therefore the mind brings about birth in different types of bodies among demigods, human beings, animals and birds. When the mind is situated in a higher or lower position, it accepts a higher or lower material body.”[2]

All right, if our mind will bring about a birth in the demigods sphere – it’s a good deal. If you calculate: long life, big happiness, full of enjoyment, no old age.

Baladev: But there is an end.

Swami Tirtha: All right, don’t be so negative. But if our mind leads us towards bird species…well, actually I could get along with a birth in the bird species. Because their sadhana is quite good. They rise before sunrise – it’s very good. And they can fly! They move freely. Everybody loves their voice. Only the diet. Sometimes to eat these bugs… But if we can catch a birth like a grain-eater  – it’s all right. Plus it’s usually a short life span – if you are not a crow or a parrot, because they live long, so bad luck for them. But something is very interesting here, because some secrets of the creation are given to the crows. So, they are not considered very auspicious beings, but in one sense they are very clever, very sharp animals. Because on the roads, for example, you might hit practically any type of bird – big predators or small ones; but you never hit a crow. Have you ever seen a crow hit by a car? No. They are very, very special birds.

But if we are more serious about the topic: definitely the mind will direct us to the next chapter of our existence. And here the active and the information senses are mentioned, plus the mind – this is the eleventh; plus the five material elements like the objects of the senses. And among all these the mind is like the central processing unit.

(to be continued) 

[1] Bhagavad Gita 9.25

[2] Shrimad Bhagavatam, 5.11.4-5

Leave a Reply