Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 24.06.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

We have to think about the tree of life in general. You know, in the Bible it is said there are two main trees in Paradise. One was the tree of discrimination, the tree of knowledge; and the other was the tree of eternity. We missed the second one and we have chosen the first one. But the ancient Indian literature also uses the same parable – there are trees. Let’s see what Bhagavad Gita has to say about the tree of material existence:

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is said that there is an imperishable banyan tree that has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas. The branches of this tree extend downward and upward, nourished by the three modes of material nature. The twigs are the objects of the senses. This tree also has roots going down, and these are bound to the fruitive actions of human society. The real form of this tree cannot be perceived in this world. No one can understand where it ends, where it begins, or where its foundation is. But with determination one must cut down this strongly rooted tree with the weapon of detachment. Thereafter, one must seek that place from which, having gone, one never returns, and there surrender to that Supreme Personality of Godhead from whom everything began and from whom everything has extended since time immemorial.”[1]

Usually we know that the roots are down and the crown is up. But the tree of illusion, the tree of material life is very complicated – it’s a reflection. It’s just like a labyrinth. And the greatest trees: for example in India they say they cover the area of two hectares – so huge! A whole village can take shelter under such a tree. And under the tree of creation we all, human beings, and all the other living beings have taken shelter.

But what is important here? The root of creation comes from above, from the divine source. That means even the created universe is sacred, it has a sacred origin. Therefore, if we start our process of meditation, if we start to think about life in general, about our own identity and the goal of our life, we can find the root of the tree. And this is one way to serve the whole creation. Because if we supply water to the leaves of the tree, it will dry up. But if we can water the roots of the tree, then the whole tree will flourish. So this is like a universal connection of a yoga practitioner, the created world and the supreme source.

Question of Yadunath: We Bulgarians come from a Christian background and some of us feel some conflict between religion and yoga practices – how can we achieve balance? And my second question is: how can we, through this practice, contribute to the welfare of Bulgaria?

Swami Tirtha: Very nice questions, thank you! Well, I feel that on the human side there might be some conflicts, but on the divine side there are no conflicts. Over there in heaven I think there is harmony and peace.

But what is ‘religion’? Religion means ‘to connect back again’. And what is ‘yoga’? Yoga is “connection’. So, beyond the differences of the form, we have to be able to perceive the essence. And if Lord Jesus would come today with a bald head and orange robes, using some Indian expressions to tell us the same message, maybe we wouldn’t understand. Therefore we have to be able to see the essence.

Actually they say that in a symbolic way the holy cross of Lord Jesus was made of the tree of knowledge from Paradise. So what was the fall for the human being in general – the knowledge of discrimination between good and evil – that is the salvation for the divine and human combined. In this way this tree is a general symbol for all religious processes. And of course it is not necessary to change our formalities, but we should upgrade our spiritual life. One of our teachers, when asked: “Should I convert to your process?”, he said: “No, become more serious about your own process.”

And concerning the second part of your question, how can we contribute to the spiritual benefit of the country – it is said that if one person achieves full perfection, full spiritual realization, then all the history of the universe is rewritten according to his achievement. So, as I said, yoga is spiritual connection. If I am connected in a perfect state of consciousness to eternity, to God Supreme, then it will have an effect on me individually and it will also bring benefit to my close and far environment. So, if one person achieves full perfection, then it will definitely help the whole country to improve. Less karma, more enlightenment. Thank you!

[1] Bhagavad Gita 15. 1-4

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