Churning the Heart by Swami Shivom Tirtha (3 vols)

Swami Shivom Tirth. Churning of the Heart. Vol. 1: Introduction to Spiritual Life. Pond Eddy, N.Y.:   Swami Shivom Tirth Ashram, 2002. Paperback, 268 pp., US $17.00. Vol. 2:Memories of Maharajshri. 2002. Paperback, 365 pp., US $19.00. Vol. 3: Union with the Infinite. Pond Eddy, N.Y.:   Swami Shivom Tirth Ashram, 2004. Paperback, 353 pp.

These books can be ordered directly from Swami Shivom Tirth Ashram, P.O. Box 16, Pond Eddy, NY 12770.

Swami Shivom Tirth is the living disciple of the renowned Swami Vishnu Tirth (died 1969), and these three volumes contain his reminiscences of his discipleship under that great master, who was also known as Munilal Swami. But more than personal recollections, these volumes, which were originally published in Hindi, are most valuable presentations of the teachings of both Swami Vishnu Tirth and Swami Shivom Tirth. These two masters speak as one voice. As Swami Shivom Tirth puts it (vol. 1, p. 11): “The sermons of Maharajshri in this book are basically the churning of my heart.”

The lineage of Yoga represented in this series originated with Gangadhar Tirth Maharaj, Swami Vishnu Tirth’sguru, and revolves around the method of direct spiritual transmission, or shakti-pata.This is how Swami Vishnu Tirth explained the process: “The Guru does not give any power, he simply directs his kind attention toward the disciple. The power, Shakti, is already present in every being and there is no need for any external power. There is no other power existing outside. A living being needs the Guru- Shakti   . . . only to awaken the dormant power which is extroverted, directed towards the world. The power and giving the support of that power are two different things. Out of sheer kindness the Guru extends support to the disciple. The Guru’s power returns to him after awakening the dormant power within the disciple” (vol. 1, p. 37).

After such initiation, spiritual growth occurs naturally and automatically. The disciple needs no other, external support. Purification happens spontaneously, leading gradually to liberation itself.

Through this competent English translation, we are now able to catch a priceless glimpse of an authentic Yoga lineage and its inner workings. One cannot fail to be struck by the beauty of a traditional discipleship and the crystal clarity of the mind of a sage—in this case, two sages of great spiritual attainment. We can benefit enormously from Swami Shivom Tirth’s own early struggles on the spiritual path and learn from his experience with circumnavigating the many pitfalls that present themselves in the course of rigorous self-transformation. His dedication to his guru and the path are exemplary, and his many insights are truly inspiring.

Whether Swami Shivom Tirth talks about spiritual discipline, service, tolerance, negative emotions, love, the power of the mind, visions, dreams, or yogic powers, he always manages to persuade by his penetrating understanding and commendable straightforwardness.

Anyone interested in spiritual growth will profoundly benefit from the distilled wisdom contained in these three volumes.

Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form requires prior permission from Traditional Yoga Studies.

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