Be Empty

Losing the self to be the Self



    This site is dedicated to Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar of Kathmandu, Nepal, who passed away a few years ago.

    He spent most of his life teaching small groups of family and friends, and among them a few 'westerners'. I count  myself as fortunate to have been included among them.

    As a 'householder', he continued to provide for his family, but in his later years he wrote a few books and commentaries, the first of which was 'Bed Crow', begun in January 1985, - an intensely advaitic work with the simple message, 'be empty'.

    Although written in English, it is somewhat difficult to read, and it has long been my intention to  render it in some way more 'readable', and this is the main reason for this site.

    This work has now been completed. Since it seems important that it should be retain as much as possible of the original, especially as it concerns a subject that is often mis-interpreted, I have, with the permission of his family,  reproduced as faithfully as possible, the text and illustrations penned by his own hand, providing just a little re-phrasing, correction of grammar, and the occasional condensing of repetitive passages. Hopefully none of the sense of the original has thereby been lost.

    Since first reading 'Bed Crow' some 20 years ago, its teaching has steadily become a personal 'lifeline'. The profound implication of its philosophy is that there is indeed a final solution to the seemingly interminable ups and downs of life, its good and bad, its sufferings and joy, and a sublime resolution to the enigma of existence itself.

     For myself, it has provided a path, - the way of emptiness, - such that I feel a need for no other. Perhaps there are others for whom it will do the same. 

                                                                                   Patrick Lewis.

                              Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar


April 2010: This site has expanded over the last few years to include more writings as detailed below.  These include  Sri Tirtha  Lal's version of the first 60 verses of the Avadhuta Gita of  Dattatreya and a transcription of two large notebooks of Tirtha Lal's teachings dating from the early 1970's when I first met him, which I rediscovered on a recent trip to Nepal. Most recently added are a collection of writings which were hand-written and stapled together under the title of 'I and You'.



What? Another guru? Yes. This is my personal pleasure, to publish here the writings and teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal, and a way of recapturing and enjoying his presence. He may not be so easy to understand and his language may not appear as clear-cut as some, but you will find no contradiction between the realization he describes and that of all such authentic souls throughout the ages. The relationship between seeker and guru is intensely personal yet its uniqueness lies in the transcendence of personality. Both forms are but a flickering manifestation of an expression that is infinite and encompasses all that can ever be - and yet between the presence or absence of which, there is ultimately no distinction to be made.

It's a matter of resonance whether you find his words inspirational or not. The intellect is always looking for a magic formula, climbing ladders of concepts and perspectives - seeking, in fact, its own demise in the end of any further questioning. The heart however, seeks unity - and the whole point of a guru is the reversal of individuation through trust in the wisdom and love of our own highest self that he/she represents, and as a ray returning to the sun it never left nor could ever be apart from, realize that the shining and that which shines - is one.

So what you find here is but another offering of the love that is the light of all - free for the taking, trusting, and being, as much as you may wish.

Bed Crow

The 'revision' of  Bed Crow  is now complete, although some proof-reading remains to be done.  I have generally done a very 'light' editing, - putting the contents on the title page, correcting some grammar and spelling, condensing a few repetitious phrases and introducing more paragraph breaks. Hopefully this makes it easier to read, and indeed, I hope you will enjoy reading it. 

Some of the later chapters involve a lot of repetition and play on words between the use of  two or more similes or metaphors simultaneously, to the extent that I feel the central point may be lost in some confusion, and the reader's attention begin to wander.  I have therefore simplified the text as much as possible by means of some cuts and condensations that I hope retain the essential theme and essence of the original. If you are in any doubt, you may wish to compare it with the original.

Your comments are always welcome. 

Should you wish to purchase Bed Crow in its original format, unabridged, edited or revised........please send US$10.00 (by some means more secure than cash) preferably by direct transfer to the account of Sri Achyut Mahanandhar at NIC (Nepal Investment) Bank, a/c number 10712KB, with a covering letter to him at 256 Maiti Devi, Kathmandu (Ward 33), Nepal. Sorry for the hassle.

 In fact Sri Achyut says he is quite happy to provide the original Bed Crow for the original price of US$5.00, however I am concerned that may not even cover the postage and packing these days........thus I have suggested US$10.00.  Nevertheless, you will understand that it is hardly a money-making exercise, and should you have difficulty, I'm sure he will be happy to send it to you for less.

Editor's preamble
Bed Crow


The Avadhuta Gita - an interpretation in English of verses 1-60 by Sri Tirtha Lal

 'The Avadhuta Gita of Dattatreya' or "Song of the Free". This was discovered recently during a visit to the family in Kathmandu. While something of a free translation including some seamless additions from Sri Tirtha Lal himself, I think you will enjoy the directness and freshness of these few 'verses', that really seem to say all that needs to be said. The Avadhuta Gita 1-60 also includes something of  a 'rogue's gallery' of pictures of some of Nepal's own 'avadhutas', or 'unique ones', past and present.

Teachings of TL

Notes, letters, dictations, tape transcripts and writings from 1971 on.  Parts 1 to 8, being the contents of 2 large notebooks has now been completed. There remain a few more writings from various sources and Tirtha Lal's songs to Lord Shiva which he composed and sang each Shivratri Day for many years, which will hopefully form the basis of Part 9 at some time in the future.

Teachings of TL

I and You

This is a compilation of teachings and statements on about 100 pages that were hand-written by TL and stapled together with the title of 'I and You'. It consists of some 28 verses of teachings in the vein of Bed Crow and various pronouncements and outpourings which were, perhaps, the draft of another book. Many of the pages are written in a kind of free verse which, with  capital letters of varying sizes indicating emphasis, sounds much like the spoken word. 

I and You


Another Book of Nothing

You may perhaps, also be interested to read 'Another Book of Nothing'.   Indeed, if this whole subject is fairly new to you, you may like to read it  first as a relatively basic and easy to follow introduction to the other works presented here. It emerged a few years ago, initially as a way of putting down in writing my thoughts and understandings which have evolved over many years since I first met Sri Tirtha Lal nearly 40 years ago. It represents a kind of progression of 'spiritual'  perceptions written both in retrospect and contemplation, leading from some simple observations, through a world of gods and goddesses, and culminating in  some enigmatic expressions of Advaita philosophy. It contains the quoted words of many great souls throughout the ages, from over 2000 years ago to the present era,  which point to a perennial and universal wisdom that seems to have always been present and which has continued to flow, though often unseen, through many different faiths.

Another Book of Nothing, while more or less complete, still requires a few finishing touches such as a list of contents and bibliography. Most importantly of all, there may be some quotes and pictures with copyright still extant and for which permission to re-print them remains pending in the present draft.

If you enjoy reading Another Book of Nothing and would be interested in obtaining it as a proper book, please let me know here. If there is sufficient interest I will arrange for it to be published and printed in proper book form, and inform you accordingly.

Another Book of Nothing


the blog, discussion etc...

Nothing much happening blog-wise as yet. You're welcome to add your comments here however, or in the guest book area. There's also a facility for a discussion forum which can be added to this site if anyone is interested.

I  intend to add a Links page of some favourite resources and references at some point in the future...