Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 09.05.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“My dear sir, I am not at all afraid of the thunderbolt of King Indra, nor am I afraid of the serpentine, piercing trident of Lord Shiva. I do not care about the punishment of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death, nor am I afraid of fire, scorching sun, moon, wind, nor the weapons of Kuvera. Yet I am afraid of offending a brahmana. I am very much afraid of this.

My dear sir, it appears that the influence of your great spiritual knowledge is hidden. Factually you are bereft of all material association and fully absorbed in the thought of the Supreme. Consequently you are unlimitedly advanced in spiritual knowledge. Please tell me why you are wandering around like a dullard. O great saintly person, you have spoken words approved by the yogic process, but it is not possible for us to understand what you have said. Therefore kindly explain it.

I consider your good self the most exalted master of mystic power. You know the spiritual science perfectly well. You are the most exalted of all learned sages, and you have descended for the benefit of all human society. You have come to give spiritual knowledge, and you are a direct representative of Kapiladeva, the incarnation of God and the plenary portion of knowledge. I am therefore asking you, O spiritual master, what is the most secure shelter in this world?

Is it not a fact that your good self is the direct representative of Kapiladeva, the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? To examine people and see who is actually a human being and who is not, you have presented yourself to be a deaf and dumb person. Are you not moving this way upon the surface of the world? I am very attached to family life and worldly activities, and I am blind to spiritual knowledge. Nonetheless, I am now present before you and am seeking enlightenment from you. How can I advance in spiritual life?”[1]

So, this is the proper inquiry. We discussed the shishya-abhiman or the mood of a disciple, the spirit of a student. We can learn only if we accept the authority above us. If we know everything, it’s very difficult to instruct us. Therefore the king positions himself like: “I know nothing about spirituality. I’m a materialistic person and I don’t understand these spiritual topics. Please, instruct me!” But this shows his spiritual elevation, isn’t it? He takes the humble position, yet this proves his elevated position. Jada Bharata also took a very low class position, but very soon his elevated position was revealed by his words. And this is very important. You might look very intelligent, but as soon as you start to speak everything is revealed. Therefore in yoga it is suggested to keep maunam. Because if you keep silent, people might think: “Wow, he is so deeply absorbed!” Maybe you are so dull that you cannot express anything, but in this way you can pose as a great saint. Yet as visiting you so often I see that you like to speak so much. Therefore we have to be careful about our words, because they will reveal our consciousness. They will reveal our state of mind. So, therefore control of the speech is very important. Don’t speak nonsense. Don’t bring bad news! If something bad happens, why should you disseminate that? Our words should reflect the wisdom that we have. Jada Bharata’s position as an elevated soul was revealed by his words.

It is given in the Bhagavad Gita[2] what the symptoms of control of the speech are. Anudvega-karam vakyam – If you speak gently, not hurting others, you tell the truth and you quote often the shastras – this is called the control of the speech. Stick to the truth, be gentle, refer to the sacred tradition and don’t hurt others – it’s very practical.

In this way the real position of the king and the servant is revealed – who is so to say the teacher and who is the real servant. And this is proper inquiry: “How can I advance in spiritual life?” This is the ultimate question that we have to ask. The king mentioned that “I’m not afraid of death! I’m not afraid of the weapons of the demigods. But I don’t want to offend you.” It’s so nice, so instructive. Also it is mentioned: associating with the saints, this is very important. Better we take the suffering of being thrown into jail, or almost burned by the fire, than to lose the association with the saints. This is the real suffering – when we are excluded from the holy company. Therefore we need to embrace that company nicely.


(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam, 5.10.17-20

[2] Bhagavad Gita, 17.15

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