Be Empty

The Teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar




    This site is dedicated to the teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar of Kathmandu, Nepal, who passed away in the early 2000s.

    He spent most of his life teaching the spiritual path to small groups of family and friends, and among them a very few 'westerners'. As a 'householder', he continued at the same time 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 was for a long time my intention to edit and make it somewhat more 'readable' and hence available to a wider audience, and this was the original reason for this site.     

   Following this, I have collected all the available writings and teachings that Sri Tirtha Lal produced in English and have included them here on this website, as detailed below.

   Over the many years since I first met Sri Tirtha Lal in 1971, his teaching - and particularly that contained in Bed Crow - has been 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                                                                                                                                 


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. His language may not appear as clear-cut as some, but you will find no contradiction between the realization he so earnestly describes and that of all such authentic souls throughout the ages. The relationship between seeker and guru or spiritual teacher 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


Since it seems important that it should 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. Hopefully none of the sense of the original has thereby been lost. 

Thus I have generally done a very 'light' editing - providing just a little re-phrasing here and there, correcting some grammar and spelling, condensing a few repetitious passages or phrases and introducing more paragraph breaks. Hopefully this makes it easier to read while retaining the unique flavour of TL's style of expression, 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

The complete collection of teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal in the form of notes, letters, dictations, tape transcripts and writings from 1971 on.  

 "I have given him (Patrick) duty, - whatever I say you will note down that – whether I will play or, or say anything. It will be helpful for you people in future in my absence. Not only to you people, to the world, I tell you. The whole world one day has to agree about what I have said to you, that, yes, this man has really said something – and his each word has got millions of rupees’ value.

This world has to agree with me, although I am an ordinary man, the very ordinary man. But I will definitely say, if you will keep this thing in record, the world one day has to say, yes, he is one of the real men in the world, but sorry, now he is not in this body, he left. This world has to say.

You note down this thing – whatever I am saying. Not a single thing I have said wrong. Everything I am saying correct and that is my experience I am telling you. Not of the book – nothing of that sort. You know, I myself am a book of the world, - why should I have to read other books? This I truly say, because you are a friend of mine..."

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 same vein and context as 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


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. 

Another Book of Nothing

Although I hesitate to include this here, you may perhaps also be interested to read 'Another Book of Nothing'. It emerged initially as a way of putting down in writing some thoughts and perspectives about this subject which have evolved over many years since I first started wondering what it's all about. It represents a kind of progression of musings 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