Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

What is freedom? Until we are under the magic spell of illusion we think that freedom is what I want to do. Whatever whimsical desire I have – I just go for it and do it, this is my freedom. It is very dangerous if you combine this attitude with some philosophy. Raga marga… But you serve only the deha! This is a total, deep type of illusion. In the name of spontaneous devotion – that is a major mistake. So we should learn what is real freedom and if we compare the situation to the sun and the cloud, we do not have a real understanding about freedom, because our understanding is covered. Freedom has certain rules; and these rules should be followed, otherwise the expected freedom will not come. So we can say that freedom is limited in one sense. But that limitation will bring us to another platform of broader freedom.

Then what is this freedom? Do you have any definitions for freedom? Usually, generally in philosophy, in science what they say about freedom?

This is the freedom of choice. Then they speak about the freedom of action. Then they speak about the freedom of will-power. Actually we cannot really speak about the freedom of action, because we are limited by so many different things, we cannot act as we like; but you can think and you can will as you like. Most probably you will not be able to realize it; still the freedom of will-power is broader than the freedom of action. Others say that freedom is necessity recognized. That means – limited, but put in such words, that people will say: “Wow!” The understanding that it is a must, it is necessary to do.

So, our freedom is a relationship. Our freedom is limited by the material connections. But we can see that our freedom is opened up by the spiritual connection.

Human being has shell structure, like layers, in the sense how to realize his freedom and his capacities. The smallest circle inside this is the manifest capacities – what he has achieved already. Next bigger circle is his capacity. Actually we are working under our capacity. You could do more than what you are doing. Then yet another circle is so to say your duty. That means that we have to work hard to fulfill our duty. Meanwhile you also find your competence – between your duty and your capacity. But the greatest circle is your freedom. And that freedom is achieved by divine mercy as objective principle and our surrender as subjective contribution. So, the smallest circle inside – this is our activity, we can say – what you do now. The bigger circle is what you can do, what you can achieve. First one was the manifested duty; the second was capacity. I think this is obvious. We can do more than we do. But we are lazy, lazy guys, so we do not do, we do not fulfill everything that is possible to do. How should we call this? This was the capacity – what we could do. The third was the duty, what we should do. And in between these two we should find the competence. What else is there? This is the freedom, the broadest circle. And this freedom we can put it in other way – this is the invitation of God. You are invited for a certain mission.

In order to come from one platform to the other, we have to exert ourselves, we have to make efforts. From activity to capacity we have to overcome our laziness. From capacity to duty we have to broaden our understanding and take more responsibility. Because if I understand what is my duty, it means I take more responsibility. And how to jump from duty to freedom? This is by dedication. So, first was activity, overcome your laziness; second was intellectual – understand and take, be more responsible; and third, the freedom jump, was dedication – that is, so to say, the emotional way. The next time we go to these three lakes, we can take bath in all the three lakes; first – to overcome laziness, sat, active; second – to broaden the understanding, intellectual bath, chit; and the third is emotional bath – to purify ourselves from any limitation even of duty and come to freedom – ananda. Sat-chit-ananda.

I think this is obvious: be active, be smart and be humble. Then you will achieve freedom. So, if we want to understand, identify the rules of freedom, here it is: intelligent and humble activity.

Question of Kripadham: Does this fit to the three gunas of nature?

Tirtha Maharaj: If you do not have enough understanding, it is obvious, this is lack of understanding, this is tamasic influence. Of course it will curb your activities, but sometimes stupid guys are also very active, which is more dangerous. But here from our present to our capacities we need more chit. Of course all the time we need more chit, sat-chit-ananda, all the three are involved all the time; in one step one is more dominant, in other step the other is more dominant. Then we can say that to overcome ignorance we need more chit. Laziness also is included in ignorance. To find the proper way of action we need activity, smart activity. And to find the way out from the material entanglement we need purified sattva. So what was the definition? Freedom is smart and humble activity.

Some people say that from this life we should bring out the maximum. If we discuss the gunas, what type of approach is this? Rajasic. Other people say: “Ah, let us just sleep”, so they work totally under their possibilities; and what is that type? This is the tamasic type. If somebody wants to achieve the maximum this is rajasic; if somebody achieves a minimum this is tamasic. Then what else is there? Optimum, and that is sattvic. And if you dedicate your optimum solution to Krishna, then this is devotional, that is shuddha-sattva. So always try to find the optimum solution.

Kripadham: Where is devotion in this freedom?

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, I feel that „smart and humble activity” is another wording for „dedicated and practical service”. I would not support that first we achieve something and then we become bhaktas. Because some people think like this. Yet Shrila Shridhara Maharaj was chastising this, he was rejecting this. But even in the starting point, where we are now, in our limited activities we should add dedication – so that from karma it becomes karma-yoga. If you have some intelligence, gyana, you add a little dedication and it becomes gyana-yoga. If you have your emotions, you put a little dedication, then from bhakti it becomes bhakti-yoga. And if you add few drops of nectar to your bhakti-yoga, then it becomes prema, prema-bhakti.

We always say to use our deepest prayers to come to the next platform. Now we are in the sphere of our limited activities, but if we have the goal to achieve freedom, if we meditate on this dedicated spiritual freedom, then it is possible to achieve. So, try always to add this universal vision that we are working for eternity, we are working for overcoming death and birth and to find the way out from this huge material sphere. Then the small little difficulties that will come you can tolerate and overcome. Therefore we can say that dedication is the positive and progressive way to immortality.


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