Be Empty

The Teachings of Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar


Sri Tirtha Lal Mahanandhar

'Om Namaha Shivaya'

"The valueless pearl hidden at the bottom of this vast ocean of creation - I am that. The person of great patience and firm determination who dives in to reach Me, facing all the dangerous problems that come on the way, will come to Me. The single-minded one sees none except Me at all times. After achieving this, such a person of arrow-like aim will like to turn into ‘thee valueless pearl’. I am valueless in two ways. Firstly, most people don’t understand My real value, so I am valueless for them, and secondly for the realised souls I am valueless because they know there is nothing that can ever equal My real value. Thus, realise My faceless face which is valueless in two ways, and enjoying Me, always remain happy both ways."


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

    As a young man, in the absence of any teacher or guide, his intense desire to understand the truth of existence eventually led to his experience of spiritual enlightenment. Becoming firmly established in this realisation, he spent most of his life teaching small groups of family, friends and followers while as a father and husband, he continued at the same time to provide for his family. Especially in his later years, he wrote a few pieces from the perspective of his own spiritual experience, including a book called 'Bed Crow' (literally, an utter cry of joy from the bottom of the heart) which is an intensely advaitic (non-duality) work with the simple message - 'BE EMPTY'.

    Although written in English, Bed Crow is sometimes a little difficult to read, and it was for a long time my intention to edit and make it somewhat more readable and thereby available to a wider audience, and so this was the original reason for creating this site. 

    Subsequently, I have collected and edited all the other available writings and teachings that Sri Tirtha Lal produced in English as detailed below. As you will see, there is quite a lot - most of which are only seeing the light of day for the first time here. Belonging to the pre-internet era, I'm sure TL ('True Love, thy own Atman' - as he liked to sign his letters) would have been more than happy to see his writings made available to everyone through such means.

    Apart from the great pleasure I have derived from creating this site, which has enabled me to me to relive the wonderful years I spent with him and his family, it is my hope that perhaps some who find their way here will recognise the authenticity and value of his words, and thereby derive true benefit, sustenance and an enhanced clarity on their own paths toward deeper spiritual understanding.

    The profound implication of Sri Tirtha Lal's teaching and philosophy is that there is indeed a final solution to the transitory and fleeting nature of everything here, 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. 

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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 realisation 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 flickering manifestations - 'expressions' of that which is infinite and encompasses all that can ever be - and yet between such transitory forms and complete formlessness or emptiness 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, realise 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 empty' - as much as you may wish.

Bed Crow

Sri Tirtha Lal now and then used to lament the fact that he had had no teacher or guru himself, saying it might have made his path easier. However, as a consequence of this, his expression and teaching in regard to that which ultimately defies all attempts at being revealed in words is quite unique, following no particular dogma, scripture or formulated religion. Bed Crow is thus his own inspired and very individual message to the world.

Besides the many anecdotal teachings there is a central Context of 45 proclamations. This is uniquely written, for this day and age, from the standpoint of the Supreme Reality, describing the nature of non-duality or advaita in contrast to the everyday reality that we assume to be our daily life and existence. This I have also collated together on a separate page for ease of reference, and likewise the illustrated sayings drawn by TL himself (see links below). Finally there is the essential message and teaching of Bed Crow together with pith instructions for actual practice in the chapters 'Quasar' 1 & 2.

"Bed Crow is divine, so is your empire. This must not be handled roughly. He who respects it as his own heart is fit to rule. Non-interference is the win."

"O! Real aspirants of this world, my heart! You may be of any religion, I have nothing to do with that, but please listen! At the end, do you not want liberation to be your ultimate aim? I know this is your target - to be free for ever. You, the Real, are ever free. There is no attachment, there is no ego in you. But the ego concept that you have had from the very beginning has covered you with so many coverings, just like a spider's web ties the bee".

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 is a free translation into English by Sri Tirtha Lal, expanding into some seamless additional comments in his own inimical style, of the first 60 verses of this classic expression of advaita or non-duality which he loved very much. You may enjoy the directness and freshness of these few 'verses', that really seem to say all that needs to be said, while also included on this page is something of a 'rogue's gallery' of pictures of some of Nepal's own enlightened 'avadhutas', or 'unique ones', past and present.

"Time, objects and space - whatever you see and feel in this phenomenal creation - are indeed no other than the mind. The mind certainly has an omnifarious face - including past time and all. But this mind has no existence in the enlightened soul."

"Of all these objects and activities in this ignorant world of duality – nothing - nothing at all, ever exists in 'Me', who am the purest pure by nature, like the sky."

Teachings of TL

The collected teachings and writings of Sri Tirtha Lal including notes, letters, dictations and tape transcripts in English. 

"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 in full, at the end. Realise this, that is all."

"My friends are dreaming. They are enjoying, they say, in this dreamland. They are suffering, they say, in this dreamland, They are playing, they say, in this dreamland. That is why there is night and day. In fact, when you will wake up, you will see there is no dream - there is no trace of dream - you alone are existing".

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 found stapled together with the title of 'I and You'. It consists of some 28 verses of teachings in the same vein as the context in Bed Crow followed by a series of poetic exhortations and and outpourings which were, perhaps, the draft of another book. 

"Your day and night are never in Me. Your sleeping and waking states are not Mine. So your dream and conscious worlds are nowhere in Me. Twilight and evening are nothing more than your concepts. I am beyond all your concepts - ever free from bondage and liberation. Know Me this way and enjoy eternity."

I and You

the blog, discussion, guest book etc...

Nothing much happening blog-wise as yet, but you are welcome to start a discussion here if you like. There is also forum page that can be added to the site if enough members were interested. You're always welcome to add your comments in the guest book area, and I'd certainly appreciate it if you could let me know about any broken links or typos etc. Thanks.

Another Book of Nothing (by Patrick Lewis)

Although I hesitate to include this here, you may perhaps also be interested to read 'Another Book of Nothing'. It began initially as a way of putting down in writing some thoughts and perspectives about this subject and 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.

I have recently (2021) edited, largely rewritten and made many additions to ABN which hopefully reflect a more thorough and focussed understanding over the years since it was first written. ABN is also subject to ongoing revisions and improvements as time goes on...

Another Book of Nothing