Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

If you look down on other types of yoga, or if you look down on anybody – this will not help your spiritual growth. Because what is the idea of bhakti joga? “Trinad api sunichenabe more humble than a blade of grass, be more tolerant than a tree and give all respect to others, without expecting respect towards yourself. In this way you will be able to chant the holy names always”[1] It is very difficult to harmonize this principle with a puffed up vision. Neophytes always look down on others. They think that they have found the truth and everybody else is mistaken. But this is very neophyte approach.

Yoga is very useful to compose ourselves. The traditional types of yoga like hatha, raja, gyana, etc. are very useful in controlling the bodily and the mental functions. Because sometimes you start to practice, for example bhakti yoga, without a good, substantial background. Then things start to happen to you and you do not understand what is happening. “I wanted to become a perfect yogi, I wanted to get rid of my problems and troubles, but what is happening – more trouble is coming to me! I wanted to be healthy spiritually, but I feel that I am not! So what’s happening?!” If you do not understand the process and the steps of the process, then it gives some trouble. And it is very difficult to keep up a good standard if you are not prepared. So in many respects yoga can help a lot.

But I should also add that most of the yoga practices are included in bhakti. For example, people like very much sitting postures, but it is very difficult for them to tolerate one hour sitting in one place during a lecture. You can practice your asanas while listening to the lecture. Or – our breathing exercise every morning is chanting the glorification hymns and songs and mantras – for two hours! How much time can you devote to your breathing exercises? Usually people can devote a few minutes – fifteen minutes, or something… So many things are included in bhakti. We do not even recognize what is this. Or: you can learn Sanskrit without special effort, because during lectures we chant a shloka every morning. “Yoginam api sarvesham…” The next morning you can repeat. So many things are there in bhakti: knowledge, wisdom, tapasya without paying a special attention to these different other practices. And meanwhile we cultivate the heart feelings, which is the final goal of all kinds of yoga – to be connected. And the real connection is based on devotional sentiments.

[1] Shikshashtakam, verse 3

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