Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2013, Sofia) 

If something exists, it is never destroyed. We exist – at least we have this impression. I feel like living! Some philosophies are not sure about it: ‘We cannot specify, we cannot know’. But at least we should be positive about our own existence. We perceive ourselves somehow, right? Our consciousness somehow has this impression, has this experience of existence. And if we feel sure that ‘I exist now’, then this is permanency, this is eternity. Consciousness is a very important factor here. All the different impressions and conceptions are revealed and projected over this screen of consciousness. So, progress means that we should see more properly what is what.

Gurudev once put the question: “What is progress? What do you think, what is progress, spiritual progress?” So, what do you think?

Yamuna: If every next moment is better, than the previous one.

Swami Tirtha: Well, the material propaganda says the same: “Today is not so good, but tomorrow it will be better.” Other conceptions about spiritual progress?

Paramananda: When we are closer to perfection.

Swami Tirtha: Sounds good.

Pavitra: When we more and more realize the need of the connection with the spiritual master and we are able to follow him.

Harilila: When the material sufferings are less and less important.

Giridhari: God Himself said what progress is when He is answering to Arjuna what happens to the successful yogi. Success is when you start from the point where you had stopped; when you don’t lose your achievements.

Swami Tirtha: It’s also a good point, but actually we can never lose any spiritual achievement.

Comment: To love God as we love ourselves.

Giridhari: The real quote is actually not to love God as we love ourselves, but to love our brothers as we love ourselves and God most of everything.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, yes. But to accomplish the meeting of different opinions, Gurudev finally, after he was very dissatisfied with all our possible solutions, said: “Progress is when you see more and more everybody as a devotee in your environment.”

Sometimes we think that progress is in some achievement, in doing something big. Yet maybe that is only an accomplishment of our material desires. You become the most famous preacher on the Earth – big ego trip. But if we can see our brothers and sisters more and more as devotees, that is real progress. Because then your vision is improving. Not your position is improving, your vision is improving.

Please, think if you can accept this version, I think that is very useful. In this way we can inhabit our world with angels. Follow the angels.

Question of Paramananda: Is there an end to the progress? Or it is ever evolving, unfolding understanding and realization?

Swami Tirtha: Well, Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says ‘divine unfoldment’; and as this is divine, it’s a never-ending unfoldment. Material unfoldment has an end, spiritual unfoldment has no end.

But I really appreciate your answers and conceptions about perfection. Because everybody was talking about his or her own realization. And that is nice. It reminds me when Krishna entered the wrestling arena of Kamsa. Then all the different visitors had a different vision of Him. Kamsa saw death personified in Krishna. The other wrestlers saw their greatest fearful enemy. His parents: “Oh, my dear small little son is here!” And the gopis didn’t see the wrestling arena, nor some danger – no, only “Our beloved Govinda is here!”

So, everybody has a personal concept. Here is one question: “What is progress?” and everyone will say: “Oh, coming closer to Guru!” or “Oh, going more far away from Guru!” – according to your realizations, right. Or “The relief from suffering”. But if Kunti Devi was sitting here, she would say: “More suffering is great progress.” Therefore we should understand in the spirit of the Bhakti-sutras that the validity of different opinions is not final. Because there is no end of the different conceptions and therefore any conclusion based on debate is not final. What is the final authority in our understanding? And now I don’t open a debate about it. This is the descending divine guidance. Shastra, revelations, or shabda, divine truth. This is the ultimate guidance. Not the different personal ideas or conceptions. Not the opinions, but the divine revelation. And this is the point where we all should agree. So nice, we have found the point of harmony.



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