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The Teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar

Teachings of TL      Part Four

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This page:       Desire for salvation       Separation       Freed from hope       Organization       This body       Is visualisation imagination?       Personality/Impersonality     


                                                                                 Comments on Shankaracharya's Hymn to Sri Daksinamurthi       

The Teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar

Part four

(some questions and answers)

TL, Siddhu Baba and friends 

 Desire for salvation

Q. Should one give up the desire for salvation?

A. Yes and no. 

Yes, one should give up desire in this sense - desire itself is impermanent. To achieve the permanent, permanent is required. To understand you, I should turn into you completely. In this way I can understand you correctly. In other words, if I want to exist myself and understand you completely at the same time, it is not possible. Therefore one should give up desire, along with the desiring person, thoroughly.

No, one should not. Everyone is born with the gift of desire. It is his habit, so he can't get rid of this - and it is not necessary either. If you want to achieve something, you need to desire it first - this is the law of nature, but this desire is of two kinds. One is the desire to realise Self. The other, is to achieve something within this creation.

The habit of desiring has been with us since time unknown. It is part of a person's vital energy and is necessary to impel him into action, but the desire for anything other than the Self causes one to revolve in the cycle of birth and death, whereas the desire for the Self leads to salvation.

So one should not give up this habit of desire - indeed it is next to impossible and contrary to the law of nature which can not be resisted even for a fraction of a second. However, the word 'desire' generally means wanting to get something from among the objects of the world or this natural creation. Without subject and object there can be no desire. Nevertheless, desire for the Self, while seeming to be an object to be achieved, is not so in fact, because desire for the Self is not desire.

As to the question whether or not one should give up the desire for salvation, the meaning of the negative and affirmative reply is this: 

For example, a glass is never empty - it is always full of something. You can fill it with water and is 'full', but when you pour the water out, it is still 'full' of ether!

Similarly, if you say to a child that you love very much, "I don't like you" - although it sounds real to an observer, actually it is not. So, in the same way, if one has pure love for the Supreme, God or Self - the ultimate love can make one behave in a negative way. On the other hand, for one who has a love for worldly things but yet pretends uselessly to desire salvation - such a desire should be given up, whereas the former, which is in fact 'no desire' should be adopted.


Q. Is God quite separate from the world?

A. If you stand in front of a mirror and put a question to yourself, it will appear that the image in the mirror is putting this question to you. This is your delusion.

As you know, there is none else except you alone. On the other hand everyone is familiar with an echo, but for one who doesn't know what it is, he will think someone is characaturing him. Without knowing otherwise, it is natural to think that someone else is speaking to you when you hear your own echo in a big hall, or when you speak in front of a mirror., but with careful observation you will understand that there is no-one there except you.

Similarly, we feel that this world is quite different from God or Self, but with close observation we will understand everything about this 'separation'.

If you look at the sun constantly for a long period, it will turn into a black dot. This is but natural - our sight is constructed thus - and this is how the world looks to be separate from God. In fact there is no black dot where the sun is - ever. It is caused by our sight alone, because the fact is that in light there cannot be darkness, and thus God and the world are never separate.

Try to find out the defect that makes you feel it is separate, then the problem will be solved distinctly and you will be the first to announce the reality that God and the world are one and the same - this is the eternal truth.

Q. How can we understand this? How can we find out this defect?

A. To get rid of hunger one has to eat, ie. practise.

To come to the right conclusion, one has to walk a path on which there are a lot of things to be kept aside. For example, if you want to follow a path to your house which is situated on a hillock, say, that is covered with thorny bushes, then every step of your way you have to brush aside the thorns so that it will be safe for your feet, even at night and even if you have no light. Thus you have to make your path, keeping all the rocks and thorns and other obstacles aside very carefully.

Once you are habituated to follow this path, avoiding all the obstacles, it will not be so difficult because your sense organs have developed the habit to be more cautious. Thus your habit itself starts working in your favour.

Another example might be that of encountering wild animals - scary animals that are easily capable of taking your life. If you learn the technique to be tactful and know how to control them, this will help you to master them one day - but for this, full concentration is needed.

So, in the the same way, if you want to achieve your object, you should have full concentration on that, keeping everything else aside - just as one kept thorns from the path, thus the world from your sight. Then one day you will be the master of those objects and the dreadfulness of the animals have no effect on their master, so the worldliness of the world will not affect you. To do this, of course, is no joke, although it is easy to say. To bring this into practice in your life is really a job.

Facing practical difficulties including pleasure and pain and whatever comes on the way - when one moves ahead without stopping or showing his back to the target - with full determination and confidence only one can reach it, even at the cost of life itself. Without this it is not possible - staying on the bank of a river without moving, only discussing this subject - how is it possible to reach the other side? Theoretical discussions will not solve your problem. Practice is the main food and the right tone for life.

"Because today I am here, tomorrow I am not".

Freed from hope

"Therefore, dedicating all actions to Me with your mind fixed on Me, the self of all, freed from hope and the feeling of meum and cured of mental fever, fight".  Bhagavad Gita III. 30

Q. Please explain "freed from hope".

A. Why is there mental fever? - Because there is a feeling of meum (that which is mine). Why is there meum? - Because there is hope. Why is there hope? - Because there is "I".

Through practice (fight) to go beyond "I" to "Thy", means these three will be negated.

You generally get waves at the edge of the ocean - not in the middle. So, until you reach the middle of the ocean from the side you should not try paddling hard against the waves until you are out of them.

Otherwise you will get splashed and kicked back to the shore instead of going forward. Or worse - if you turn away from the wave, that is, change direction, you will be in danger of overturning.


Q. Where Truth has been realised, and later propagated through some organization - the essential realization is soon lost. Why?

A. Organization depends on external mental functioning, and propagation about the truth which takes place in such organizations is the play-work of the intellect. Organizations would flourish in a much better way if the intellectuals had been introvert and understood the facts with the help of intuition. Organized by such realized intellectuals, the members of the organization and everyone would definitely be benefited and not be deprived of the truth. Such an organization would flourish in fact into a world-wide organization. Thus the emphasis should be on introversion.

“Realization is more important than propagation” would be the catch-cry of such intellects. However we see all the organizations of this modern age are definitely lacking Reality when we start feeling their heart. If we start painting our face with different colours, the time comes when we naturally lose our originality.

Some people think that if there is no propagation there is more chance to give life to Reality. On the other hand, some believe that propaganda is the only way for Truth to survive. This is how intellectuals disagree with each other in their intellectual play.

Truth is always Truth, whether there is propagation or not, but truth which is imagined intellectually can be created and destroyed according to time and conditions. In Reality, the Truth, which can never turn into untruth and is always as it is in any condition, is beyond intellect. He is as He is whether or not there is propagation.

Such is the form of Truth. We see darkness after the sunset and day with the sunrise, but the sun itself is ever bright and has no day or night. This light and dark is your imagination and the matured habit of a developed intelligence that feels and understands your miserliness rather than being vast. It is all clear and understood by my friends who prefer to keep themselves vast - thus the light of all lights that we see in the sun and the moon and the stars, whether grasped by the intellect or not, is entirely existing from all sides at all times as Truth.

Whether you are in this form or not in any form - even then, you are there. You that are immortal. You, that can exist with or without form, are the real Truth. That which is as it is since time unknown to this present and future without any change - That alone is Truth. That thou art. Everyone has the right to understand and realize this Truth. This is the only thing to be done in this world, and all are trying to understand this Truth according to their brain and through different means. The lifetime of the human being is quite short, so within this limited time, for one who can realise this Reality the crown of success is always at hand.

In my opinion, to get victory in worldly matters or knowledge is not the real victory. It is nothing, even if you have sacrificed your whole life in achieving it. For example, you may be highly educated in science and a master of mathematics etc., conquer the world, be the emperor of any subject or more, but you, O man, are mortal. You, my friend are a victim of disease. If your brain collapsed, your emperorship would be gone. If you are paralysed, your dream is finished. Having such finite wealth - how can one boast and be so proud as to declare yourself to be a master or an emperor? For this you should feel nothing but shame considering your pitiable condition!

On the other hand, he who may not be well-dressed, who may not live in a well-furnished house, having no bath and full of dirt and dust, looking ugly and whose body may be thin - what of it, if he is a realised one?

For the realised one there are no hard and fast rules - that one should attend church, mosque or temple, have beads or robes, follow a strict routine etc. There is no prohibition on food. Such rules are only applicable to the immature intellectual self. As an illustration, one who wants to learn to ride a bicycle has to concentrate on the handles, brake, bell, road etc., but once he is an expert rider he doesn’t need to be so particular.

This Body

Q. Are we going to survive permanently with this body? If not, what is it that comes and goes, and if it goes - where?

A. The universal fact is that none has survived with the body permanently in this world.  The body of all the creatures in this universe is perishable. 

We say we are cleaning the pot, but the pot itself is ever clean. We are only cleaning away the dirt. Likewise none can give knowledge, ever - for knowledge is what we are in Reality. The guide can only remove our ignorance, whereupon our real nature will shine forth of itself. It is this layer of dirt, the veil of ignorance, ego or MAYA, which comes and goes, taking one birth after another according to its action here.

Where does it go? Below a certain degree of temperature, water takes the form of ice. Ice hurts when one is hit by it and is extremely difficult to hold for any length of time, but it is nothing but water. Likewise, all that exists is nothing but ‘water’ - the Supreme. According to the degree of ignorance however, only ‘ice’ can be perceived - that is ego or MAYA. But if one holds that ice after repeated practice, it will gradually melt and show that it is nothing but water alone.

Likewise, through the heat of repeated practice, the ego, ignorance/MAYA dissolves into one and One Supreme alone.

Is visualisation imagination?

Q. Is the visualisation of a point of concentration in practice/meditation only imagination?

A. No it is not. 

To begin with, perhaps, one has to ‘imagine’ that point by force of ‘thought’, but then sometimes it will not be possible, no matter how hard one tries, to get that ‘picture’ - but then sometimes it comes without any pre-thinking whatsoever. So what is this? One sees that the ability to visualise the point is subject to the blessing of the Deity - not our own will or imagination.

Having thus given up the idea of this physical body as being the doer, by surrender to the will or blessing of the deity, the further stage will be reached whereby the subtle body may wander anywhere within the realm of that blessing, which is everywhere - there being no place where it is not.

Then will come the realization, “Who am I to see such things?” What are these things, and by whom existing? These are all His blessing, and that blessing is nothing but He alone, the blesser. TYAGA, or renunciation then comes, and one will concentrate solely on that source of blessing.


Q. What is personality and impersonality?

A.  The one who gives life to the unreal, and clings to illusion, is personality. Vice versa to this is impersonality. The understanding of Self which is beyond personality and remains unchanged - that real Truth is impersonality.

Q. What is the world?

A. That which helps to develop the feeling of personality is the world.

Q. What is the soul?

A.  One who has not realised the state of impersonality and after that realization will have no existence - such a personal feeling is the soul.

Q. What is God?

A.  Impersonal ever-Truth. The cause of existence and of duality without any personal or impersonal feeling - that all-pervading, Real Self, is God.

Comments on Sri Shankaracharya’s Hymn to Sri Daksinamurthi

Q. Is the Atman the inaugurator of this JAGAT (world appearance), or has the Self modified itself to become the JAGAT?

A. Actually the JAGAT comes out NOT in the conscious state of the Supreme, but in the unconscious state of the individual person. If we say JAGAT is the modification of the Self, this may not be the suitable word to charge against the Supreme although the verse here - “Infinite Consciousness desired - I shall become many” is found in the Upanishads. The Supreme, which is unique in all respects at all times and which is beyond everything - how can we see desire, which is common to common people, in Him?

If we charge the Supreme as a ‘desirer’, then unity is not possible in Him. Thus He has no desire, nothing of that sort, because He is One alone. But from our point of view, to understand this creation where no trace of creation exists in the Supreme - let us observe minutely how this creation has started.

According to my understanding, and for the sake of writing or expressing my views in this duality - the expression of my experience is that beyond NIRVIKALPA SAMADHI (a state of oneness beyond all change or diversity - beyond time, form and space) nothing exists except the Supreme One. Therefore no question arises about His desire.

The moment we use the word ‘desire’ we are beneath the state of NIRVIKALPA SAMADHI. This NIRVIKALPA SAMADHI is one’s final awakening. Now the point about SAMADHI is that it is the demarcation line between final awakening and dream. If one is under this line, one is in the pocket of duality where, including desire, everything exists in the form of JAGAT.  Without long, long practice, this infinite demarcation line is not vivid. Because of that, Unity has been blamed for having desire in many writings and books.

In fact, Unity cannot be charged with turning into duality. For example, darkness cannot turn into light, nor light into darkness, for the moment light is there, darkness is not. Similarly in Unity duality cannot have any existence, and vice versa. The mystery of this is that the whole duality takes place in the field of Unity, yet Unity has nothing to do with it. For example, in a dream we see a lot of different things including ‘myself’ and ‘I’ am not aware of this (real) waking consciousness. I am conscious only of the duality - which has been caused due to being unconscious of my Unity. This duality takes place all through my dream-life until I am awakened in all respects. In such a case, should I blame my Supreme Consciousness?

That He has got desire, to become many from One - this is my ignorance, I must admit, because I have not fully awakened and am not aware of my Supreme state. My Supreme nature has nothing to do with my unconscious (dream consciousness) state which has not yet awakened into Real Consciousness. As for coming out of this dreamland or remaining within this unconsciousness, I, the Super Consciousness, have nothing to do with either because there is no creation in Me forever. Although we can presume this dream, this creation, takes place in Me, in fact after coming to the waking state, this whole existence which was definitely seen before will vanish forever, leaving no trace behind.

Although we can say that creation definitely took place in Me as long as I was in dream consciousness, once I woke up I knew it took place in Me only as long as ignorance was there. When I possess the full knowledge of my Supreme Self, then nothing exists except Me, the Supreme. Just like the nonexistent snake appeared in the rope.

Therefore my good friend, O Atman, wake up! Rise above this dreamly consciousness. Elevate yourself so high that you will be free forever from this dreamy drowsiness. Come to the Real, your own Consciousness, with the help of constant practice, entirely depending on your Deity with firm determination and with the help of penance and patience, walking through the peace-giving track of surrender.

The fountain of joy will burst out from within yourself when you will reach the goal. This is your aim of life, the real Truth which is mentioned in all the scriptures of the world – the Real Knowledge of the Truth, the Supreme Self.

Q. Does the creation exist in a dormant state within the Supreme?

A. In a dormant condition as it is said, in the form of a seed, it exists, although the trunk and branches cannot be seen - according to Shankaracharya’s saying. I don’t mean to say that I don’t agree with him to some extent. If it has to be expressed in words to make people understand within this duality, Shankaracharya gives a good tone to the brain of the aspirants, but in fact one will only understand clearly when one will elevate to the height of Unity.

The Truth, as it is seen, is totally different when you rise above this height. Here one will see that there is no trace of creation even in seed-form forever. Sleep (Samadhi) is the cause of duality, therefore the real cause of duality is sleep, or to lose your Self-Real-Consciousness - and this is the beginning and end of duality and its cause (MAYA).

Dream (only possible after or during sleep) is there only because of ‘you’, but on waking it is found to be totally non-existent.

From the moment of beginning to lose consciousness, e.g. sleep – or any other intoxication - delusion is there. At this threshold the whole creation exists in embryo form, as it were, as a tree exists in a seed, and from there it develops up to total ignorance. Beyond this threshold however, it is not possible to say that anything exists whatsoever - not even the threshold itself.

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