Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from lecture of B.K.Tirtha Maharaj, 25th of November 2006, Sofia)

We should cultivate our faith – not in a challenging mood, but in a positive way. Just like when the demigods started to churn the Milk Ocean. It was such a heavy job, that although they were very powerful, they were not enough to accomplish that. Therefore they needed help and they approached their natural enemies, the demons:

– Help us! Come! Let us have a joined venture. Let us have a common business. We can share the results.
So they agreed:
All right! What is the stake? What is the possible achievement?
Amrita, the nectar of immortality.
– All right, that is good. Let us do it together. What is the job?
– Well, there is this Milk Ocean, we have to churn it.
– How to do this?

For churning milk you need a stick, right? They were putting the Mandara Hill – a huge hill – as a churning stick. But if you put a mountain in the ocean, it will just disappear, sink to the bottom. They needed a support. So Vishnu as Kurma – a big, divine tortoise – came to support the whole thing.
We might think that even Vishnu was ready to serve the joined venture of demons and demigods, which is a very nice approach – like God is so humble to help His subordinates. But actually the story is a little different, because Kurma’s back was itching a little bit. You know, for a tortoise to scratch the back is quite difficult. Therefore this Mandara Hill had to be put on His back to finish the itching. For that reason it was moved on His back.
Also to move the stick of the churning, you must have some rope. You know how they churn: they just pull the rope and in this way it is just moving. But to move the churning stick of the universal Milk Ocean, you must have a hard rope. So they started to use Vasuki, the divine serpent, as a rope. And you know, there was a contest between the demigods and the demons: which end of the rope to take. The demons thought: “Well, to take the tail of the snake is not so prestigious.” Тhey arranged in such a way, that they could catch the head of the snake Vasuki. The demigods started to laugh under their mustaches: “All right, we are ready to take the tail.” Then they started to churn. That was a heavy movement, so Vasuki was a little under pressure – so much so, that he started to emanate fire and smoke, and everything was just coming out of his mouth. So the demons, at their prestigious position to be at the head of Vasuki, became a failure, because they were burnt and they were smoked like this.
But finally the joint venture started to function. And you know, when you churn the milk, it starts to separate and certain things start to come to the surface. So what was appearing first at the surface of this Milk Ocean? Poison came first. This was the halahala, the poison. They were searching for nectar and what did they find? Poison! It was a highly dangerous poison, able to finish with the whole world and existence. Тhey needed help, because both parties were threatened by death. Then Lord Shiva came and he just drank the whole poison: “I can take it, no problem.” As he is the master of yoga, he just preserved the poison in his throat, in his neck. He did not die, but still the poison had some effect – his throat became blue.
Тhen the demons and the demigods could go on churning. Then the first treasures started to manifest. What was the first one? The horse Uchaishrava came, Airavata came – the elephant of Indra – and Lakshmi Devi came. And so many precious things came, but they had to wait for the nectar still. Also Dhanvantari appeared – he is the universal doctor and the authority on Ayur Veda. And finally the nectar came. Then they started to distribute and snatch from each other, but I do not want to enter that part of the story. So, by churning the universal Milk Ocean, finally they achieved amrita.
We can say, that the Milk Ocean represents our life. We have to churn our life. Because the ocean of our life is fully laden with treasures. We have to use all the forces that we have – good and bad – you have to unite your good and bad forces, habits and powers to churn your ocean, to get the nectar. We should make Vishnu, Krishna, the basis of this process. And do not be surprised if you start churning your ocean, that the first result will be some poison. You expect nectar – poison is coming. You expect happiness – difficulty is coming. Do not be surprised, because it is said that first you get what is less important. First a little bitter pill. Then comes the nectar. You know, there are some medicines which are very bitter and very difficult to swallow. But then the medicine-men cheat the patients. They put on the bottom something very sweet. There is one oil with special taste – castor oil. On the bottom of the cup they put some very nice juice and on top is this heavy oil. If you take it in one swing, you will feel only the sweet taste. This is the illusion process of the medicine-men.
So do not be surprised if poison is coming first. This is necessary part of the cure. But we have those, who can digest this poison. Therefore one function of Lord Shiva is to take the poison from you. He can help us in that respect. Guru is just like Shiva, who is taking the poison. God is the basis. The churning rod is the danda of the sannyasis. The rope is your japa-mala. I think the poison you can identify. You will recognize when it comes: “Ah, this is it!” But when the treasures are coming this we can identify as the different aspects of the divine blessings. And the other precious achievements from the ocean are just like the good qualities of devotees.
Then ultimately, finally, after so many achievements, you will achieve the final nectar. Efforts must be there. Blessings must be there. It is said that the divine mercy starts to become an active principle in human beings. Remember this: Blessings become active in humans! Also it is said, that as a cart does not move on one wheel, without the human efforts no divine mercy can help you.

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