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The Teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar

Teachings of TL        Part One

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This page:     God is great and kind to all     The Boatman     Letters 1,2     How to control bad thoughts     How to think of the Supreme     How to look for the Supreme

                                  How to find the right desire     How we are     How to work for self-realisation     Illusion     How to develop detachment for the world    

                                                     There can be no...       Practice     Letter 3     Concentration     The mind     Letter 4     What is creation?

The Teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar

Part One

God is Great and Kind to All

There is doubt when here is something,

Sun shines where there is nothing

Something and nothing are

Still below something.

This you will realise

When you see within, that

God is great

And kind to all.

"Regarding everything as belonging to God, maintaining equality in success or failure, renouncing attachment and the desire for fruits of actions, and surrendering totally thyself through mind, speech and body to the Deity, one will without doubt reach the point".

The Boatman

We cannot travel in two boats at the same time. Only when we are firmly seated in one boat according to the instructions of the boatman and obeying his orders, can we begin to cross safely to the other side.

So we must continue to trust and obey the boatman without fail, until such time as we reach the safety of the other shore.

If one is to take the spiritual path, he must put complete faith in his guide, who knows that path and all its hidden dangers, and therefore obey his every word. Furthermore, if he is to tread this path successfully, he cannot hope to do so while looking to any other path, worldly or otherwise.

So, having once set foot on the path, we must follow it only, sincerely, with


    * PURITY *



........trusting always with complete faith in our guide until such time as we reach the end - the point from which there is no return. Then, and only then, shall we be safe.

Letter 1:

My dear Atman! You know this path is the most natural one. In essence it is nothing but manifesting what you are exactly. Thou art the all-pervading, immortal soul. Be rooted in this Supreme Consciousness, and be sure that eternity is your very nature. If you agree with me and want to sail in my boat for the other side, I feel always happy (for a boatman survives only for such service), but one thing you must keep in mind that the moment you step in the boat you must be strict and follow him completely til you will reach the aim. Even his self (ego) one has to sacrifice in time, then what to talk of worldly things which are related to this.

Letter 2:

People may and may not agree with you - what of that - when you have no time to think over the matter which comes in your mind except your aim of life.

Now you are for the goal, but in time later you will realise you are the goal alone, when you will have end for ever. Try to stand first in this class of the universe always. He who is first class will be rewarded, rest so so. One will get what he is badly in need of accordingly, if he will move correctly on the right path. Otherwise, one will have to face the consequence.

How to control bad thoughts

What are bad thoughts? What are good thoughts? There is only one good thought - that of the Supreme. All other thoughts may be called 'bad'.

It is the same with all things, all actions, with people and places - that which distracts our attention from the Supreme may be known as 'bad'. So also that which helps us to think only of the Supreme is 'good'.

If a person calls at a house and finds no welcome there at all, he will not call again. So we should have no welcome for evil thoughts until they come no more.

Similarly if a man's house be completely full of invited guests, then unwelcome visitors will be unable to enter. So if our minds are always full with thoughts of the Supreme only, then evil thoughts will find no room there and will be unable to enter.

"Any time the mind gets out of control, - stop, sit, chant His name or meditate on the deity until control is gained".

How to think of the Supreme

As a child loves its mother, so should we love the Supreme who, as a mother loves her child, provides every need and comfort.

A child that really wants to go with its mother, to be with her, will not be content with any alternative that may be offered. Sweets and toys it will not take; coins it will not take; it will not be content to play with other children, and even when its mother slaps it, the child still cries for her. What mother will not take her child with her then?

Then even as they go together and the child gets tired, even so it does not give up, but struggles all the time to keep up with its mother. What mother would not then pick up her child and carry it in her arms?

Just so, we should be devoted to the Supreme, as a child, with simplicity, purity and firm determination.

Just so, we should want to be with the Supreme Mother, and crying for her thus, who shall not be answered?

How to look for the Supreme

Like one in a dark room looking for a box of treasure. He will begin to feel around, pick up one thing and then another and say, “This is not it; no, this is not what I'm looking for,” - and put them down again, until he finds the treasure. Then he will know, as he feels the box, “Ah! This is what I've been looking for.”

In this way we should look for the Supreme, and not hold on to anything else that we may find during the search.

In the same way, if one wishes to see in the dark with a torch - if its beam is widely dispersed, there will not be much light, and we cannot see things clearly. On the other hand, if the beam is concentrated,we can see things clearly.

So we should always concentrate our attention on the Supreme instead of seeing many things, but not clearly. Then we will be able to see Him most clearly of all.

                                "My dear, dive deep as much as you can, inside the ocean of Truth, with the skill".

How to find the right desire

Life is like a train on which we all have to travel. Unhappy is he who has nowhere to go when the train stops. Happy is he who knows where he is gLoing - happily he can look forward to that time.

We all of us have to die some time - that is the point to which life leads. Therefore, who would not want to know where he is going, and to take the best route possible to get there?

"By reliance on the Divine Being (your aim in life), eliminate fear, care, worry and anxiety.

There are two forces in man, one leading him upward and the other leading him downward to impurity and ignorance. The tendency to think of sense-objects is indeed the cause of bondage. Liberation means nothing but the destruction of the impure mind. Treat sense-pleasures, name, fame etc. - these earthly reputations - as paltry.

Consecrate your life to selfless task, contact then the everlasting Truth – Real in Reality, at last".

How we are:

I. OUTER COVER (body) - mortal

II. SELF + EGO - immortal

- which, according to KARMA, can enter into an ant or can enter into an elephant

- it will always be moving from one form to another.







How to work for Self-Realisation

What is dark cannot be changed into light. What is light cannot be changed into dark. We are dark, we are untruth. How then can we become light? How can we become Truth?

The light which sustains the universe, and us in it, is pure light. From our present state, however, we can only see in a dark light, as if looking through dark glasses. The sun is pure light, but what we see is dark. That dark glass is our illusion, MAYA. The light shining through from the outside is pure, but from inside it appears impure.

Our work, therefore, is to try to see through the dark glass and perceive the source of light, even as that light still shines through the same glass.

How can this be done?

Just as the pure light penetrates the dark glass by virtue of its purity and fineness, so we must also make ourselves pure and fine enough that we can penetrate the glass. We must become so free of the grossness of ego, like a ray of pure light. Then we may see through the illusion.


A ring is not a "ring" as such, but the gold of which it is made. In the same way, 'I' am not the 'doer' of anything - the 'doer' is the Supreme alone, by whose grace alone is everything done. This is our illusion - inasmuch as the essence of a ring is not "ring", but gold alone. In the same way, the essence of our selves is not 'I', but the Supreme.

Only when we can rid ourselves of the concepts resulting from illusion will we be able to see what is real in Reality.

But we are deeply rooted in the dirt of illusion. Like a seed that has been fertilised by desire for God, we must strive upward with great effort and determination, with patience and with caution.

Patience, even as we might put tiny hairs on the scales, one at a time. It will be a long time before the scales begin to move, but the time will come when the pile of hairs is so great that the scales will tip and the dish will fall with the addition of just one more hair. 'Addition' - that is YOGA. In the same way, water dripping in the same place, little by little, will make a hole in the hardest rock, in time.

Again, however, even on coming at last into the sunlight, a young plant is in danger and needs protection. It can easily be broken by wind or rain, still more by insects and other animals. So it has to be securely fenced in and constantly protected if it is to grow into a strong tree.

Indeed, even an elephant can then be tied to such a tree and yet it will not move.

So we must have great effort and determination; great patience and caution. With the purest simplicity and the simplest purity, think of 'Him' only. With our love and devotion we may thus come to 'Him'.

"If 'He' is testing us, why not prove to 'Him' that we are worthy of His blessing by having full faith".

"Develop the habit of blaming yourself rather than blame others. This habit will help you finish the pollution (ego). Apply this in your daily activities and you will see how fast you are moving towards the purity".

How to develop detachment to the world

According to the traditional Nepali and Indian ideal, when a girl gets married, her husband becomes for her the whole object of her life and duty. She regards him as the right side of her body, and herself as the left side of his. After marriage, she gives up her own family and former life and her sole duty becomes the welfare of her husband and his household. Not thinking of herself, nor yet any gain to herself, she lives only to please him.

Now, the husband, before trusting his wife with all the family possessions and affairs of life, is likely to test her to see if she is indeed worthy of his trust - to see if her concern is for him only, or if her interest lies in his wealth and possessions. He will be very careful however, to make sure that she is unaware that she is being tested, so that the results will be genuine.

Now the wife, if she is pure and sincere in her love for her husband, though unaware she is being tested, will nevertheless always be behaving in a dutiful manner, and therefore passes all the tests. So, when the husband is satisfied, then he will give her the keys to his house and all his possessions and affairs in life, trusting her completely.

In such a way we must have perfect, selfless love for God that our concern is only for 'Him'. Behaving thus in all situations, even though we may not see their importance, we may prove our sincerity and be trusted with the keys to "His' kingdom.

For this however, we have to sacrifice our former life, even family and friends, however close and dear to us they may be, so that we can serve 'Him' with undivided attention, wanting nothing for ourselves.

If a pin is placed between two magnets, that which is nearest will draw itself to itself. Man is like a pin placed between worldly things on the one hand, and God on the other. If he is attached to worldly things, he will be sucked deeper and deeper into their confusion. But if he should become detached from the world and work towards God, then eventually he will become free of the pull of the world and enter into the field of attraction to God - until the latter's power begins to pull him towards itself, ever stronger until he becomes completely 'attached' to the Supreme.

So, in the beginning the struggle towards the Supreme is very difficult and requires much strength. Later, as one breaks free of the world, there exists a pull from both sides, but with determination, moving more and more towards 'Him', one is helped by 'His' attracting power, and the way becomes naturally easier.

"Enquire within. There is one essence, the all-beauty at the back of the mind and behind all objects of the universe. You are that ATMAN (Supreme Self/Soul) in full, at the end. Realize this, that is all".

There can be -


       No Meditation

       No Concentration

       No Devotion

       No Sincerity

       No Yearning

       No Faith

       No Purity

       No Discipline

       No Control

       No Detachment

       No Discrimination

without        Concentration

without        Devotion

without        Sincerity

without        Yearning

without        Faith

without        Purity of Mind

without        Discipline

without        Control of Senses

without        Detachment from Worldly Things

without        Discrimination

without        Right Company

"Til this ego is here, there will be good and bad".


We are caught in the network of illusion. That which keeps us caught is our 'ego'. We must understand this.

So long as there remains a single trace of ego, we cannot be free of illusion.

As long as we feel the desire to assert this 'I', we are still caught in the trap of illusion.

Thus, in practice, we must disown every thought and feeling of 'I' - of 'me' and 'mine'. In action we must want nothing for ourselves. That which we have to do we must do only in the name of the Supreme. Every action, perform for 'His' sake alone. For it is untruth to say that 'I' exist. In truth, only 'He' exists. In truth, 'He' is everything. All that happens, whether it appears good or bad to us, is 'His' wish and therefore right.

If then, we want to reach 'Him', we must be completely unaffected by the world. By means of constant control of the ego which always wants to react and assert itself in anger, greed, lust, hatred, envy, jealousy and pride - we must remain unmoved and see all as the will of God. Let 'His' will be done, never the will of our ego.

God has created the world as an illusion. That which binds us to this illusion and therefore prevents us from seeing God is our ego which wants only to play with the world, without which it would not exist, and vice versa. Thus:

The world is the illusion of God

The ego is the illusion of Self

By realising our true self, we will realise God. In order to realise our true self we must be completely free of the illusion of the ego and its world.

So, as in action, so also in thought and meditation, we must fight to be free of the world and the ego by which we are bound to it. We must realise that the world is 'His' kingdom, not ours. We must think not 'me and mine', but 'Thee and Thine'. Not 'for my sake', but 'for Thy sake', must we perform every action. Excluding all thought of ourselves, thinking only of 'Him' by prayer and meditation and love, thus may we come to 'Him', our true Self.

By constantly renouncing the illusion of world and ego, by sacrificing all actions of the body and mind to 'Him', may we thus always be striving to attain union with 'Him'. This is YOGA.

"If a man is sincere, he must realise God. It is the eternal law".

Letter 3:

"Please don't think of yourself. Think of God. "He' will supply us with the things we really need as well as test us in time. We are no better than servants in the house.

Once we get 'His' blessing, all other matters become trivial. We can't do anything. We are simply unconscious, though we feel to be conscious. If will is weak, we feel helpless. Be bold enough and fight against your environment to make your will strong.

When will is strong - one encounters no opposition. One can go up easily unto the Lotus feet of Lord when one will remain equally equal all the time with this worldly pleasure and pain".


Life is like a shop where there are many things we can have if we are prepared to pay the correct price. If we don't have enough money to pay for what we want, we have to work hard until we do. Only then will the article we desire be ours - when we have the money to pay the exact price.

Now, when we go to the shop we must be quite sure what we want, and ask for that only. If, instead, we spend our time looking at all the other things, no doubt we will be wasting the shop-keeper's time as well as our own, such that he may lose interest in our custom and no longer serve us or take us seriously when eventually we ask for what we want.

So - we must first of all decide what it is that we want from the shop. Now if we want rice - who would not want the best quality? Likewise, if we want knowledge - who would not want the highest knowledge? If we want love - who would not want the purest love? If we want security - who would not want absolute security - and of life, the eternal?

Having decided definitely what it is that we want, we must ask for that and not waste our time with other things that are of no use to us. But, if we cannot pay the exact price, we cannot get what we want. However, if we are determined enough to get that, then no effort will be too great for us until we can. For any article we must pay its equivalent value or the shopkeeper will not give it to us.

Now, if we want God or the Supreme, who is everything, how much must we give? We must be prepared to give the equivalent value in ourselves - that is, everything.

When we make an image of the sun on a piece of paper through a magnifying glass, the moment that image becomes pure and in exact proportion to the sun, it will burn - there will be fire, even as the sun itself is fire.

Just so, by giving everything of ourselves to 'Him', we may produce such an image of 'His' purity that by 'His' grace we may receive that fire of 'His', which is truly 'He', the one Reality.

The mind

The mind is like the son of a woman who can have no children, a barren woman - it is nothing but nonsense, and is the father of ego.

We must fight to be free of its illusion and constantly be on our guard against it, for it will fight for its existence, knowing all our 'loop-holes'. We must remain unmoveable on the path towards Reality, and not be tempted into despondency and depression. If tempted, let us ask the mind, "Where do you want to lead me?" Its path is only that of the world, that of illusion. that from which we want to escape.

Letter 4:

"If a man is accustomed to carry 10kg now - to carry 2kg in future is quite easy. But at first it will be much more difficult to carry 10kg. Please don't let the chance go for nothing, without creating the strength to carry this weight gladly.

Medicine is not sweet to take, but see how it cures the disease, if taken regularly.

* There is no charm in this world except 'Him' *

Always fix yourself up to your target and have patience to face whatever comes on the way".

What is creation?

What is creation? - It exists only in the mind of man.

For example, there is a harmless piece of rope lying in a dark corner. When a man sees it, he immediately thinks it is a snake - he is frightened and runs away. Now if someone should say to that man, "Come and look again - it is quite harmless" - fearing for his life, the man would refuse to go back again - only a few would have the courage to return. Then, seeing that it was no more than a piece of rope, all his fear would disappear completely.

Thus we are caught in the grip of our own mind and its illusion. We must overcome this in order to see what is really there.

"One's own duty, though devoid of merit, is preferable to the duty of another well performed. 

 Even death in the performance of one's own duty brings blessedness; another's duty is fraught with fear".

The Bhagavad-Gita Ch.III, v.35

"We are following 'another's duty' (DHARMA) - that is why fear is there. To remain as yourself, as one forever - that is the real Dharma in reality.

"Meditation is the real food of the real aspirant. Don't waste your valuable time for all the transitory, invalid things".

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