June 2021
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.07.2016 morning, Sofia)

Today is a special day. Today we celebrate the victory of the Lord over illusion. On other days the other party celebrates – when illusion overcomes our faith. Then there is a big celebration in the darkness. Everybody is happy: “We didn’t lose one soldier. He or she is still a very obedient servant of illusion.” But on the day of Ekadashi there is a different celebration – when the spirit overcomes the matter. When God embraces the human. When divinity overcomes materialism.

How to celebrate such a grand and festive occasion? With dancing, and singing, and cakes? All right, singing and dancing; but no cake today. Because how do we celebrate? By little ascetic practices. On this day we have to curb a little bit the material activities. Just a little bit to get rid of the material, bodily consciousness. Because we are conditioned by this bodily consciousness so much. If you have no problem, you will say: “Oh, I am very much in spiritual consciousness”. As soon as a mosquito comes, your deep meditation is disturbed, right? What to speak if something serious happens to us!

Therefore we have to be very alert in the spiritual activities. And one way to raise the spiritual consciousness is to diminish the material consciousness. But this works the other way round also. If you raise the level of your spiritual consciousness, immediately your bodily conditioning will go down. Therefore today we refrain for example from eating too much. In this way we curb a little bit the bodily functions in order to release some more time for spiritual activities. Ekadashi is the 11th day after the full moon or the new moon therefore it is called the Ekadashi day, the 11th day. This is the day of fast when we avoid grains and beans. Why? Why exactly is it this type of food we don’t take on such a day? Because usually this is what we take, right. And if we do something every day and you want to take a break, then you have to refrain from those activities, from that input. Krishna says in the Gita that everybody’s body is maintained by grains[1]. Of course He doesn’t want not to maintain your body, to over-fast yourself. He knows very well what your bodily necessity is. But nevertheless to stop for a while is very beneficial. Therefore on these days we refrain from eating grain type and bean type of food, plus some spices, but this is the main thing.

All right, but then you might think: ‘Oh, this is a fasting day, so I don’t take grains. Today I will take only the extras, super foods – but a lot! With extra juices, etc, etc. Just to curb grains.” You know we human beings, we are like this. If something is forbidden, we find ways how to avoid problems. Isn’t it? We are like this. Like small children.

So, fasting means a little uneasy feeling, a little difficulty. And if we curb a little bit the bodily or the material activities, the time that we gain in such a manner we have to use for spiritual practices. To chant more or be stronger in our meditation. This is the way how we celebrate the victory of God over illusion. Less bodily consciousness and higher spiritual consciousness.

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 3.14

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