Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

A very special structure of the Indian revealed scriptures is that they give a vast knowledge, in many cases hundreds and thousands of verses, but the essence is condensed in few drops. And to speak about the essence in short – this is real eloquence.

The whole essence of this vast Vedic knowledge is contained in the names of God. And not only the Vedic scriptures, but all religious practices are contained in the names of God. And not only the essence of religions, but this is the essence of life. Because life is the broadest conception.Krishnasays in the “Bhagavad-gita”: “I am the essence of life.”

But “Bhagavad-gita” is part of a very wonderful piece of literature; it is called the “Mahabharata”. Maha-Bharata. That means “The Great Bharata[1] story”. Or we can also say “The greatness of Bharata”. Or we can also say “The Great India.” Or “The greatness ofIndia.” Or to put it short –India is great. And it is said: whatever is missing from this book, it doesn’t really exist. This is just like an encyclopedia of life. There are one hundred thousand verses in the “Mahabharata”. Quite long! This is seven times greater than “Iliad” and “Odyssey” combined. This is so huge! How can you read the “Mahabharata”?! It’s too long! Therefore God was merciful and said: “All right! Take your time. I give you some essence. I give you seven hundred verses, “Bhagavad-gita” – this is the essence of the “Mahabharata”. But then Kali-yuga and the twenty-first century also came. And today you say: “O! Seven hundred verses! It’s too long! Give me something short and simple.”

God knows everything, right? He knew in advance our approach. Therefore although the story was very long and never ending, He condensed the essence in four verses. So we can say that the essence of human existence, life and consciousness – this is the “Mahabharata”. And the essence of the “Mahabharata” is “Bhagavad-gita”, the Divine Song. And the essence of “Bhagavad-gita” are the four verses, contained it the tenth chapter[2].

The essential message should be a little hidden. Therefore this is not in the beginning, this is not in the middle section, this is not in the end, but somewhere hidden.

All other different revealed scriptures, pieces of divine literature, are also condensed in a few verses. For example, the “Shrimad-bhagavatam”, which has eighteen thousand verses, is also essentially condensed in four verses. And the “Brahma-samhita”, which is a very beautiful glorification of God, is also condensed in five verses. And the “Vedanta-sutra”, which consists of five hundred fifty five sutras, is also condensed in the first ten sutras. So you can see that all the different literatures have this structure – giving you something broad, more elaborate; and some condensed drops.

This is very important – this example of the drops and the ocean. Because one school says that if you put the drop back to the ocean it just dissolves, loses its identity as a drop and becomes the ocean. They say this, they come with this argument. But let us take the opposite direction: if you take one drop of the ocean – you will understand, you will know the ocean. So if you take these four verses of the “Bhagavad-gita”, you will know the essence, you will know everything about the “Bhagavad-gita”. What to speak of “Bhagavad-gita” – you will know everything about the “Mahabharata”! That means – you will know everything about life as it is.

[1] Bharata is a great ancient king, after whomIndia is named Bharata(varsha).

[2] “Bhagavad-gita” 10.8-11

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