Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Smiling man and woman with baby on carpet

Here Krishna describes the demoniac nature and in order to avoid it we have to understand this.

“Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them.”[1]

Hm. How to decide what to do and what to avoid? There are so many duties. How shall we know what is proper and what is improper? How many different factors are there to influence us! For example our culture. Right, it’s got a great influence over people. You are educated to follow certain patterns and to avoid other patterns. Let’s take a very simple bodily function – belching. Belching in our societies looks like a malfunction of the body. And it is definitely not very polite if you are invited to guests and after the prasadam you give a big sound. But for example in India this is a signal that: “Ah, very nice! It was nice! Thank you!” This is like a glorification of the cook. Different cultures – different meaning of the same action. Here we understand that this should not be done, there it is a normal bodily function and they don’t try to stop it.

And there are so many other factors, like your mentality that will determine your actions and functions. There are some urges, some instincts that work over you and then you do, you act. Then there is your karma that determines your possibilities – this lifetime, previous lifetime, so many accumulated actions and reaction. Sometimes we create new karma. So it’s a big network of connections and troubles.

And also there is some inner inspiration – if we go to finer levels, there is some inner inspiration. The urge to act. And finally there is the divine principle, guiding us.

So, this is the scale: your body, bodily functions, instincts; your culture; your egotism; your prana or urge to live; and the divine principle that guides you. So many factors to determine our activities! And it depends also on our spiritual elevation, on which platform we identify ourselves. Whether we act according to the body or according to the soul. And the higher level we reach, the more harmonious our activities will be.

And because this is a very complicated system, it’s difficult to determine what to do and what not to do. The ancient saints say that humans are such a strange living beings who know what is correct, nevertheless purposefully do what is incorrect. And they also know what to avoid, but seem to be unable to avoid the bad action. So don’t be such simple human beings who, although they know, they cannot perform. Don’t be a victim of your own karma. But try to come under a higher influence.

In order to act more correctly, we have to learn. Because we have understood previously that belching is not a very nice social activity, or for example to pass air in a community. So, certain activities should be controlled a little bit. It’s nothing special; if you eat, there will be some gas, it’s no problem. We all know this. And not only gas, some excrement will also appear. And the excrement is not faulty. Because if you eat, eating has got some results. So it’s a natural function! And sometimes we are so happy about this natural function. For example a newborn baby. When they first produce these fruits, how was that? You were very happy: “Ah! Healthy!” No malfunction of the body. And for a considerable time this is a daily function of a mother and a father to take care of this necessity of the children. Or, for example, if you have a malfunction of digestion, finally if you can empty your bowels, again you are very happy. So sometimes these very basic bodily functions get some more importance. And as you get older and older, these simple activities too become more difficult.

So, we have to take care of time nicely. Not to waist our time in the toilet, but to do something more important also. Because human life is precious. It’s a great chance for perfection. But in order to know what is to be done to achieve perfection and what is to be avoided, we have to learn, somebody has to teach us. So, if we want to learn the spiritual science, we have to go to a spiritual authority.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 16.7

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