December 2018
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

young Prabhupad and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Mahadev: In India the tradition is very important from which the spiritual master comes. How important is really in our lives to know that guru comes from a certain tradition? And if he does not, could we look at him as a real guru or we have to have some doubts about his teachings?

Swami Tirtha: I would not say ‘Start with doubts’. Of course it is useful to examine first and then to give your heart. I think it’s much better than first give your heart in an emotional explosion and then you start to think. That is not so healthy. So first try to examine and then try to cultivate.

And usually doubts in that bitter connotation don’t really help spiritual realization. But if we say ‘try to learn, try to examine’, we have all the rights to examine – a person, a teaching, a group. Why not? We have the rights to examine first.

Of course it is important to understand the lineage, especially in India, because they say that all these different spiritual traditions go back to some divine source. So if we can connect back to some divine source, then we are provided a chance to grow. It’s just like belonging to a school. If you belong to a no-name school, all right, you will have a diploma. But if you belong to a topmost school or university, then your diploma is stronger, because you receive a better education and you have better chances. In the same way, it is important to understand the school, the lineage, because then we shall learn accordingly. If you want to become a, let’s say, engineer, then don’t go to the faculty of law, because that’s a different topic. So, in that sense we have to identify what is what, who is who and what is my ambition. And then I have to find a proper school, a proper spiritual lineage – to practice and to educate myself.

Mahadev: How important is for us to really look at the tradition of a guru when we choose a spiritual master. Should we choose a master from a certain tradition or should we choose a master for himself?

Swami Tirtha: Well, there are two opinions. Some say that ‘I choose my master”; others say ‘The master will choose me”. So, how it happens I don’t know. But if we can join a real, authentic, pure personality that will definitely help our spiritual growth. If we join a more problematic person, that will also help. So, we should keep alive this inner conviction that whichever input will come, whichever experience I will have, it should help my spiritual growth.

Mahadev: Once we have a spiritual guidance from a person, should we stick only to this teacher, or we can have various teachers from various traditions? Is it possible in general that you have different gurus in different fields of spiritual knowledge? Is it beneficial for us in our spiritual path?

Swami Tirtha: Usually in the beginning it is suggested: try to learn the truth from one source. Because if in an inexperienced way we run here and there, most probably we will be perplexed and we will lose everything that we had started. But on a more realized platform we can learn from different personalities, even we can appreciate the nice results of other processes. Why not? If my roots deeply connect me to my tradition, I can enjoy my freedom to look around and to perceive the beauty of other realizations.

But to have different lines, different masters – I think this is reserved only for the selected few. It’s better to stick to one tradition, one line, and try to practice and reach the depth of the chances that this school provides us. Some spiritual personalities of course have different chances, different methods for realization. So therefore I say that this is not impossible. But usually for general people like us, it is easier, especially in the beginning, to focus our attention on our studies. And then, let’s say, when you have your master’s degree in your own school, you can look around in a more safe and more proper manner.


(to be continued)

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