Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

In third chapter of “Bhagavad Gita”, verse number 33, Krishna says: “Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature, for everyone follows the nature he has acquired from the three modes, the gunas. What can repression accomplish?”



So the basic idea of this verse is that everybody follows his or her present conditioning. Everybody follows his or her nature; but nature has double meaning. We can speak of a nature which is acquired – superficial nature, which is changing all the time: from youth to old age; from this body to another body; from ignorance to knowledge and again back to ignorance. This superficial nature is always changing; but there is another nature, which is not changing. Today it is springtime, few months ago it was heavy wintertime, but it will be summer also. The outside nature is always changing, the superficial part of human nature – which is acquired, which is not a real one – is also changing. Basically we can act on both levels, but if you act on the superficial level, then the activities and the result will also be changing, shifting. There is no stability there. Stability will be there only in reaction. The reaction is sure to come but what kind of reaction – it depends on the action. If we act on the surface level, then we cannot penetrate deep. But if you dive deep into your own self–identity and try to act on that level, then it will be very much fixed up. There you can touch eternity.


Even a man of knowledge acts according to his own nature…” We cannot say for everybody that he is a man of knowledge; more or less everybody is limited by ignorance. From ignorance many results will follow – suffering. If there is suffering there is fear also. Ignorance is the source of many evils in life. If we have this basic ignorance, we do not know who we are really, deeply. And no doubt we will act only on the surface. That surface is burdened with fear, with suffering and hatred. We should analyze who we are really. In this way we can become knowledgeable. But even a man of great knowledge acts and will act according to his nature. Where this nature comes from?


…Everyone follows the nature he has acquired from the three modes, the gunas.” From this we can understand, that we are not independent. Even a very wise man is determined more or less by the gunas. As you know these are ignorance (tamas), passion (rajas) and goodness (sattva). Every field of our life is determined by these material influences. But here Krishna says: “the acquired nature”. This is not the original nature; this is what you put on your soul. Just like when you have different clothes, different identities we put on ourselves and this we can call “acquired nature”. We have an improper source where to take our nature from, because if it comes from the material gunas, then it will be material. In that sense the acquired nature will be material. If we have another source, a spiritual source, then we can take and we can understand spiritual identity. It is not an acquired nature, but the original one.


But then Krishna puts one question: “What is the use of repression?” How can we overcome these limitations? If you try to stop the wind it is not really possible. But there is a secret mantra how to stop the wind and if you know it, everything can happen. We can say that it is useless to go against the nature – even the acquired nature. Useless in that sense that it is impossible. If we try to control ourselves, the senses will break out of control. We have limitations of the body. Therefore we can say that control is useless, because nature will call. Artificially is almost impossible to control the body and the desires. Until we move on the level of acquired nature, on the surface, it just sweeps away our souls, our spiritual desires. But if you dive deep into the spiritual level, the superficial changing waves will just stop.


If we can control our acquired nature, then the road to the divine nature is open. Therefore practice is very useful if you want to progress. This practice is called sadhana.

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