Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

So far I was telling you that there is something, but now I should confess that there is nothing. All is one. Emptiness is the final goal. Emptiness is reality. It is said in the shastras that an accomplished person is full like a pot in the water and empty like a pot in the space. So finally: shynyavada[1]. And I declare it boldly. Because this is the reality. This whole world is shynya[2].


Finally the whole world is empty. You agree? Yes?! So you are also shynyavadis. I’m happy that my words were not in vain. I tried to teach you so many times, it is not in vain, very good! You also understand that finally there is only shunya in this world.


When I tell you that this whole world is empty, in this respect is it an appropriate question “Why do you say like this?” or not? Why do we say that this whole world is empty? “Shunyaitam jagat sarvam… Govinda virahena me… This whole world is empty… without You, Govinda!”[3] This is our shunyavada. Without Govinda this whole universe, this whole existence is just empty, nothing! Therefore we are shunyavadis. If there is no Govinda in your heart, if there is no Govinda in your service – it is in vain. This is our shunyavada. And I am a shunyavadi because sometimes we can feel the separation from Krishna. Although we practice yoga, which means connection, still our highest ideal is vipralambha – when you do not feel the company of Krishna-Govinda. So when you miss Krishna, then you are a shunyavadi, because the whole world becomes empty for you – without any meaning, without any substance. And when you are with Govinda, then you are in yoga. The two phases of yoga are sambhoga and vipralambha[4], especially of bhakti, because bhakti is talking about connection.


Then comes the next question: who am I? Who are you? Which is a very difficult question and people can give an appropriate answer in a very difficult way. To find the real identity is very, very difficult. Because although you are traversing a spiritual path, you have many misconceptions. So you should understand correctly who are you, the spirit soul, searching for your home, back home, back to Godhead. And in this way this whole world will become empty for you. If you find your way home, then leave this world behind. Just like a dog leaves behind the droppings.


Therefore we can say that although this world seems to be very practical, very real, still this is an illusion. Do not forget, whatever happens to you, this is only a dream of Vishnu. He is dreaming you in different situations. This is yoga nidra, this is His creative dream. Vishnu just dreams this world. And if you do not see Vishnu, who is the creator of this dream, this is empty, just an illusion. “Shunyaitam jagat sarvam – the whole world seems to be empty without You.”


Do you want to fill up this world with something? Do you want to have some reality? I want practical answers, not theoretical. We should fulfill, because if there is only emptiness, then your existence is also useless. And this is the way we feel without Krishna – our life is useless. Especially Krishna-Govinda. Because who is Govinda? Govinda is the good cowherd, shepherd. So in Christianity they also have the Govinda conception. The name “Govinda” means “who gives you happiness”. “Go” means not only “cows”, but this means also “senses”. And this cowherd tends the senses very nicely. He is just taking the cows on the pasturing grounds and all the cows are satisfied. In the same way Govinda will take your senses out off the field of activities and fulfill them completely. He tends the cows, Govinda tends the humans, takes care of the humans by giving satisfaction to them. So without Govinda there is nothing, practically – nor outside, nor inside, no existence of the world, no existence of the self. Because it is useless – no end, no goal, no purpose.


But if there is Govinda, then everything becomes full. The whole world is an appropriate place for rejoicing. Life becomes happiness instead of suffering. And finally our goal will become fullness instead of void. So Govinda, the good shepherd, helps us to find satisfaction.


To which kind of shunyavada you said “yes” in the beginning? To this type or to some other type of shynyavada? Because I try to follow this shunyavada. To finish the world and to finish my separate existence. Then nothing remains – from this world, from this body, from this identification – shunya, empty. Finally we came to emptiness. “The whole world is empty without You, o Govinda!”


But if we make the next step, then we can fill up this world – with many devotees for example. Because Govinda is attractive and He will just attract the devotees towards Himself. Sometimes Krishna is irrational. He exercises His attractive power much more than His, so to say, productive power. For example, He attracts much more devotees than the ashram can accommodate. Sometimes Krishna is not practical, but still He is very attractive.


Other times we also perceive a different type of shunya. When you go home, our ashram will be shunya. And our hearts also will feel only the separation. Therefore it is very good to have meetings with the devotees and separation from the devotees, because in this way our meditation is stronger. When we are there it is nice; but when we are not there it is more nice.


Actually whatever you do here should be an appropriate reflection of what you are doing there. If you associate from the heart with the devotees, then you will have some feelings. And from these feelings you will understand what are the feelings of the spiritual world. If we somehow start to serve guru, Krishna, vaishnavas here, we can train ourselves to serve them in the spiritual sky also. This is the meaning of our existence. And this is the world that Krishna provides for the devotees. Krishna provides for the devotees a complete and a full world. Full of variegatedness, full of reality – sat. Sat is in the beginning, reality, existence is in the beginning. It is not like this that from nothing comes something. Something can come only from something. Life comes from life. Shrila Prabhupada says, life comes from life. Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says, love comes from love. These are the higher secrets of the vaishnava philosophy.



[1] Philosophy of emptiness


[2] empty


[3] „Shikshashtaka” 7


[4] Sambhoga and vipralambha – union and separation

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