February 2023


Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 23.06.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

But who is a so to say bad disciple? Of course there is no bad disciple. Because if we express our readiness to learn and study, then it is only good. Nevertheless if we are still not accomplished fully, if we still have some shortcomings, then we should study what are these shortcomings.

One expression here is akshetra. Kshetra means ‘a field, to cultivate’ and akshetra means ‘a bad field, not useful for cultivation’. Scatter good seeds on the field – then you will reap the harvest. So we have to be a good field. If we are akshetra, if we are a bad field, then even if the best seed is coming to us, we cannot produce a good fruit. It’s useless for cultivation.

Adravya is again ‘useless’ or ‘unfit’. Dravya is generally the nature of something. Like the original characteristics. Or something to be sacrificed, to be dedicated to the Supreme as an offering. While adravya is something that is not useful in sacrifice.

And if before we had this vrata-acharya, then here is kshata-vrata. Kshata, very similar to kshatriya – that means ‘wounded in the vratas, in the vows’, so he gives up or breaks the vows.

Before it was mentioned that a good disciple, a good shishya is eager, is hungry for knowledge. But here is another expression: odana. Odana is ‘food, foodstuff’. But if we use it in a compound then odana-shishya is such a disciple, who is interested only in eating. Not in learning, only in eating. These are the belly-bhaktas. If the belly is full, then we are satisfied, right? These are the basic bodily instincts.

Fortunately enough our dear Lord also likes to eat. And devotees offer so much to Him that He cannot take everything, so He left something for us also, so that we are also peaceful and satisfied. So, odana-shishya means very much eager to eat. In Bulgarian if you localize it, this is the banitza[1]shishya.

But if we take it in a positive sense – we are hungry for prasadam! Because that is the higher taste! Definitely we depend on this higher taste, because it satisfies not only the body, but it satisfies the soul.

And if we are hungry for banitza or for knowledge, and if we protect and cultivate the divine knowledge, that also means you know the shlokas. It’s a must to learn some verses from the shastra. Yes, however surprised you are! It is a part of the process. But you know it is mentioned in connection with the Gita that if somebody knows all the 700 verses – I think we discussed it many times – liberation, prema-bhakti is guaranteed. If you don’t know all the 700, only one chapter from the eighteen chapters – then full perfection is guarantied. If you don’t know one chapter, if you know at least one verse – full perfection is guaranteed. But if you cannot learn one verse, at least you should know half a verse. And this is the special category of a disciple: shastra-ganda – such a disciple who knows only the beginning of the verses. So, half-shloka-shishya. And actually this is another proof that the Hungarians do come from the banks of the Ganges that we have such an expression that if somebody is a little lunatic, we say that he is half-shloka. So if he is a little stupid, he is only a half-shloka.

All right, I don’t want to torture you further, so let’s quote finally the best disciples.


(to be continued)

[1] Typical Bulgarian preparation

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