Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

“The only goal of all yoga practice and devotional service is Bhagavan[1], who is worshiped by all living entities. The living entities are basically classified into two categories. One is pure and the other is conditioned. The pure living entity is one, who has no material connection and the conditioned living entity is one, who has material connection. The sadhaka (practitioner) is certainly a conditioned soul, while the pure entity has nothing to practice. The basic difference between the conditioned and the pure living entity is that the later is situated in his constitutional position. His only activity is spiritual engagement and his nature is pure bliss. The conditioned living entity, being bound by material nature, accepts materially designated duties, that are of mixed material and spiritual qualities. When one gives up materially designated duties and accepts pure duties, that is called liberation. Pure love is the constitutional activity of the soul and that cannot be differentiated from liberation. The liberation, sought by yoga practice, is the same as love of Godhead attained by devotional service. Therefore the ultimate result of both practices is one. For this reason the scriptures portray the foremost devotee Shukadevа as a great yogi and the foremost yogi Mahadeva as a great devotee.”[2]


First there is consoling words. “O, whatever you mentioned is very nice. Actually you are practicing the same that I practice. The goal is one and we belong together.” Everybody is very happy to hear this: “O, yes, yes, yes! I’m appreciated, my process is appreciated.” In this way you can win the trust of the other person. Then you can start explaining: “But the main difference between yoga and devotional service is this: in the strict practice of yoga, when one attains samadhi[3] by giving up the false designations, he attains his constitutional position – that is, prema is awakened. There is a fear, however, that in the long process of giving up the false designations, the sadhaka may become captivated by insignificant by-products and fall down before attaining the ultimate goal. On the other hand in devotional service there is only discussions of prema. Devotional service is simply the cultivation of science of love of God. When all activities are meant for cultivating the ultimate result, there is no fear of useless results. The means is the end and the end is the means. Therefore devotional service is easier than the practice of yoga and should be accepted in all respects.”


This is a good advice to everybody. If somebody comes with some different idea, do not cut it into pieces at the first moment: “No, what you say is fully wrong! No, what you are doing is not bona fide! No, you are wrong, it’s not correct!” If you punch people in the nose, they will not take it as some nice gesture. Better you say: “Yes, very nice, what you say is very correct. But if you want to make it more perfect, then you should think about this and that.” This is the gentleman’s way. Other is the fighter’s way.


“The domination over material nature, attained by yoga, is only a temporary result. In that position the ultimate result may be far off and time and again impediments are observed. In the path of yoga there are hindrances at every step. First, at the time of practicing yama and nyama[4], religiosity is awakened. And as a result of attaining this insignificant result one becomes known as religious-minded, even though no attempt has been made to achieve prema.” It is mentioned just like danger, although you will be famous like a religious-minded person! We would like to become religious. But if this is basis for some name, fame and glory – it can become danger.


“Second: during the long period of practicing asana[5] and pranayama[6], one achieves long life, free from disease, by controlling the breathing. But if still there is no connection with prema, then one’s long life and freedom of disease becomes a source of trouble.” Long life sometimes is frightening for people. Because they are suffering so much, that if you tell them, that life can be eternal, they say: “O no, immediate death, please!” They cannot tolerate the pros and cons of life. Because everything is just trying to condition us that life is just smiling, enjoyment. Which is not true! There are some difficulties. And if you get only the idea that life is for enjoying and you do not get a technique, or do not get some information or hints how to treat your problems, then you are frustrated.


“Third: although with the process of pratyahara[7] one achieves control of the senses, if prema is lacking, this is still called dry or insignificant renunciation. The reason is, that for attaining the ultimate goal, enjoyment and renunciation give equal results. Useless renunciation simply makes one stone-hearted. Fourth: during dharana[8], dhyana[9] and samadhi even if material thoughts are removed, if prema is not awakened, the living entity loses his individuality. If the understanding: “I am brahman” does not awaken pure love, then that results in destruction of his existence. Therefore please, consider: the ultimate goal of yoga is excellent, but the path is full of difficulties.”





[1]              Bhagavan – Supreme Lord


[2]              From “Prema-pradipa” by Bhaktivinoda Thakura


[3]              Samadhi – state of deep meditation


[4]              Yama and nyama – the moral codex


[5]              Asana – physical postures in yoga


[6]              Pranayama – breathing exercises


[7]              Pratyahara – withdrawing of the senses


[8]              Dharana – concentration


[9]              Dhyana – meditation

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