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English issues

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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 11.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

“The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision the learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater”.[1]

So, the humble sage, due to true knowledge will have the equal vision. Many times we want to identify our level of achievement in spiritual life. You can exactly understand this by how much appreciation you have; if I have an equal vision, a peaceful and equal vision or not? Because all these objects to be seen are different – like a dog, and an elephant, and a bramin, and a low caste person. The form is different, but the essence behind is the same.

So, if you want to understand your position, just examine your attitude. And always try to have a long term vision. We should be independent of the likes and dislikes of our material senses. But we can do that only if we have a divine, a transcendental measure.

We have something important here to do, in life in general. And also practically here in the ashram – we have to help people come closer to their spiritual ideals. But we can do this only if we also come closer to our spiritual ideals. Once Shrila Prabhupada said: “Instead of the many resolutions and discussions, and meetings, and this, and that,… just chant, chant more!”

So, you know the method, you know the goal, you also know your present condition; try to bring these three aspects closer to each other. Not in such a way that you bring down your ideals, but rather you elevate your present condition. Try to work on Krishna’s plans and desires to manifest.

Question of Manjari: Is it possible that we interfere, prevent the will of Krishna to manifest?

Swami Tirtha: If you are powerful enough. There is somebody to control Krishna’s plans. But basically we should help people understand that there is a Supreme Lord and first of all we have to obey Him. The smaller details might come later.

In our shastras it is said that by singing some mantras you can churn, you can obtain the blessings from the Supreme. So, it is possible. Especially if we sing for others. Of course I don’t want to compromise the highest aspect of the maha-mantra for example – that it should be chanted for Their happiness, not for our benefit. What is the duty of a devotee? To give less hindrance to Krishna’s activities. But even if you try to put some obstacles, He is cleverer to avoid your obstacles.

Please, go on with your services! Be stronger in your dedication and deeper in your convictions, come to more and more realized platforms of our beautiful ideals. Grow in devotion! And whatever we have, we should try to offer for the satisfaction of our Mahaprabhu here. Don’t be enamored or astonished by the possible numbers and success. Don’t believe it. Always search for deeper substance.

Of course it’s a good feeling if we are more together, but we should be determined enough to go on with our spiritual practice if nobody pays attention. But, you know, I lose my power. Some years back I told one devotee that I am ready to continue even if everybody leaves. But losing power means that you start to depend on others more and more. So, maybe some of you might think that you depend on me, but this is the other way round. I depend on you. This is like a rasa dance. Who is running after whom? Anyway, we are running after each other.

So, please help me to accomplish what was inherited from our masters. This is a way of transmission. We don’t have too much freedom on this point; we have to cultivate what we have got. The great ones say: “If you come with me, I will go with you!’

[1] “Bhagavad Gita” 5.18

 



Sanatan Goswami

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

(continued from the previous Friday) 

Once a very poor man approached a saint. This saint was Sanatan Goswami, one of the six followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And our friend knew that this saint had the philosopher’s stone. You know, this is such a special stone that can convert practically anything into gold. Our friend thought: ‘Well, I’m so much in need. If I have wealth, I can manage my life, I will be happy.’ So, he approached Sanatan Goswami and said: “Oh, Goswamiji, I have been suffering for such a long time and I heard that you have this stone. Do you really have it?” “Yes, I have it.” “You know, I want to finish with my poor condition, may I have it?” “Yes, you can have it”. Our friend was a little surprised. “How is it that I can have it? Very nice! And where can I find it?” “Oh, just go, there is this pile of garbage, you can find it”. So our friend rushed there, searched a little bit and found the stone. He was very happy and went back home, now possessing the key of success. ‘Now, I will be wealthy! I will be happy!’

But then he started to think: ‘Wait a minute, if Sanatan Goswami keeps this very precious stone in the garbage – this is not the place for such treasure – he must have even more precious treasures! If this is lying on the pile, then I cannot imagine what kind of wealth he’s got’. He couldn’t sleep that night. He was full of expectation and imaginations: ‘How is that!?’ So, in the morning he went back to our saint. The word goswami means ‘the lord of the senses’, it’s a title to ascetics of the renounced order; their main duty is to dedicate fully themselves to divine activities – meditation, teachings and divine rapture. So, Sanatan Goswami was sitting under his tree, deeply absorbed in meditation. Our friend came very excited and said: “Goswamiji!” “Oh, very nice, my son, that you came – are you happy?” “I brought back your stone! I don’t need it anymore! If you keep this stone in the garbage, you must have something more precious! Do you really have something more precious?” Sanatan Goswami replied: “Yes, of course I have something more precious than this stupid philosopher’s stone!” and our friend said: “May I have it?” Sanatan Goswami replied: “Yes, you can have it!” “What are your conditions?” “You should throw your stone into the river.” Just imagine yourself, you have the key of your dreams in your hand and you have to get rid of that?! Isn’t it like this shadow that told you: ‘Stop now! Should I risk or not? All risk, no gain! Who knows what is there!’ But he was brave enough, so he went to the river and threw it in. After that he came back to Sanatan Goswami and said: “I did it! Now where is your treasure?” and then Sanatan Goswami said: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And our friend was very happy.

You know, in our tradition there are certain miraculous elements. One is a magic cow. But her capacities, although very productive, are yet limited. How much milk does a good cow gives per day? A good cow will give 30 liters of milk per day. Thirty liters – it’s close to the maximum. But a kama-dhenu, a magic cow can give unlimited quantity of milk, how much you want! In that respect her capacity is unlimited. But she cannot give cappuccino, she can give only milk. So, in that respect she is limited. Then there is this philosopher’s stone. And what is the nature of this stone? It can convert iron into gold. It’s not that like the cow can produce more milk the stone can produce more iron – no, it can change the quality of the thing that it touches, from the iron it can create gold. But it cannot produce, let’s say, diamonds from iron. So, there is also a limitation.

But this is not the ultimate magic thing in our tradition. We have a magic tree also. This is kalpataru, or the wish-fulfilling tree. It is not that it will only produce milk and more milk, it’s not that it will convert one item into another; but it can fulfill your dreams, your desires. Whatever you want it can produce. So, if you are hungry and if you happen to sit under a wish-fulfilling tree and you say: ‘Oh, I am so hungry, maybe a nice breakfast should come!’, it will come. So, you can try. Sit under different trees. Your question is: how to recognize? If your breakfast comes, that was a wish-fulfilling tree. So, there is even less limitation for this tree. But this is also very insignificant compared to the magic power of the holy name. Because this is something divine that can make you fully satisfied. The point is not to become a faithful, or believer from a non-believer. This is not the big change. You need nor a kama-dhenu, nor a magic stone, nor a kalpatharu for that. It’s not a big thing. The big change is when from a general believer you become an ecstatic lover of God. That is the big change. And that is accomplished by this divine spiritual touchstone of the holy name. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

 



Apr

11

palms

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

(continued from the previous Friday) 

Question: I’d like to ask if faith is a function of our free will, or it is also predestined.

Swami Tirtha: Generally people say that faith is a gift. And usually gift comes from somebody, it’s not collected in your pockets, somebody gives this to you. Where does the faith come from? In the Bhagavad Gita it is described: ‘Faith comes from the association of the saints, from the holy company’. If we associate with faithful people, we shall collect some faith. If we associate with drunkards, we shall also become a drunkard. So, select your company. But once we enter this divine company, I think our free will is gone. Why? Because this company of the saints and this divine atmosphere is so sweet that we cannot get rid of that. It’s so charming. Is that free will that you cannot get rid of something? It’s not! But are we ready to enjoy such a situation? Yes! With happiness we are ready to jump into this… well, I wanted to say ocean of nectar, but it is really like that.

Human beings usually have very limited free will and usually it doesn’t happen in the way how generally people feel or think about free will: ‘I can decide whether I am a king or a beggar.’ You cannot! It is said in the Shrimad Bhagavatam for example that the fate of the gopis is written on their foreheads. That means their fate is predicted. Much of our fate is also written on our foreheads or on other parts of the body. For example on your palms. What is written there? Have you checked? Actually what do you see in your palms?

Yamuna: A network of lines.

Swami Tirtha: Do you see some characters, some letters there? Do you see the “M”? So, two M’s are written on both of our palms – what is that? Actually this is written in Latin so everybody can understand, irrespective of your country, language and culture. This is memento mori – remember death. You are given two hands – to remember that you will pass. We all have to pass. So, live with this memory. This is not a fearful memory or an expectation, no – this is reality. So, we should live in such a way that we could freely go.

But you know meanwhile sometimes we experience little difficulties. Karma strikes back. Therefore people are very keen on visiting this kind of trainings like karma-release training for a weekend. ‘Give me the quick and easy method of liberation!’ Although we also have a method of changing your fate, changing your lines even. It’s very simple. You have to clap during the bhajan – bhajan is when we sing and we clap. This will change the lines on your palms. This will change your fate. So, the best, easiest and quick method of ‘how to erase my karma’ is this.

Usually people like the expensive weekend trainings. So, if you want to pay also, you can put a little donation into the box. Then your material misconception will also feel satisfied. ‘Yes! It was so expensive that it’s for sure!’ Because we are so stupid. If something is free, then we think it’s worthless.

(to be continued)

 



960

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

(continued from the previous Friday) 

Question of Yadunath: Gurudev, many of us ask themselves the question: “Are these my ideas or God’s ideas about what’s going to manifest?” So, how to tell?

Swami Tirtha: If it doesn’t happen, it was your idea. I think I don’t have to accomplish the sentence. The other part – you can add. So, be clever! Sometimes life gives very complicated questions. How to judge? How to see God? It’s not that complicated. If something happens, it’s according to Him. Of course we know that there are some other players around also, but basically we can say that it’s due to Him. Why? Because nothing is independent of the divine surveillance.

But of course this is only like a theoretical tenet. It doesn’t really make our heart fly. ‘Oh, everything comes from God! All my suffering comes from God!’ – no, not in that way! Because as we agreed, faith is not a torture on yourself. No, this is a happy way of liberation. Why? Because we can lose only one thing in this process – it is our chains.

Comment: Sometimes a person is very stubborn and doesn’t know when to stop. Before understanding what is His idea or not His idea, he is too much stubborn.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, all right, give three chances. If it doesn’t happen for the third time… But your question is very proper. We have to be determined. I hope you will not misunderstand. Once a devotional couple told me: “Oh, maybe we desire a son.” After one year I asked: “What happened?“ and they said: “Well, we tried once, but it didn’t come!” So, at least try three times. Maybe it will come.

Question: In the Bible the definition of faith – I can’t exactly quote – is “The knowledge about things you can’t see.’ From this point of view firm conviction is very close to knowledge. But what would be the difference between the firm conviction and the knowledge, if there is such?

Swami Tirtha: Very good question, thank you. Well, knowledge is theory. Conviction is realization. And this is like a strange word, realization. What is that? But the meaning, the practice of realization is that this truth becomes yours. It’s your private vision, it’s your private feeling, it’s your private experience.

So, what is the difference between the worldly beliefs and this conviction, or the knowledge and the conviction? The material world is based on sensual experience. Therefore people will say: ‘I believe if I see’. Because they belong to a visual culture, so to say. ‘If I see, I will believe’. And what is the approach of a spiritual personality? ‘If I believe, I will see’. This is the opposite. ‘I give the chance to the higher reality to manifest to me if I believe. Then I will see, if I have the connection to the higher reality, then it will be obvious for me. No second question.’

So, real faith is not an intellectual game. It’s not in the head, its closer to us, it’s in the heart. Because intelligence can bring us only to the limit of the material ocean. It cannot bring us to the other side of that ocean. Knowledge is part of the sattva-guna, it’s connected to sattva-guna. And this guna can only bring us to liberation, not more. If we want to go further, then we have to apply a different method. And this different method is the faith as an approach to the Supreme reality. It’s a very delicate thing. It’s very easy to shake, or destroy the faith of someone. But if our faith is not tested, we don’t know how strong it is.

 

 

(to be continued)

 



They (1)

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

(continued from the previous Friday) 

Firm conviction – what is that? That is something that will never change. If you examine yourself, you will find tons of things that change around you and in you. If you look into the mirror, you don’t recognize the 16 year old boy or girl. It’s just gone, you have changed – I mean your bodily structure has changed. Where is your youth? Where are your ideals? When we are young we have so beautiful ideals: ‘Yes, we shall change the world!’ Anybody had such conception at that time? Yes, we all had that! And later on what did you find? ‘I couldn’t change the world. I couldn’t even change myself.’ So, then again we raise both hands: ‘I give up, my Lord!’ And then some miracle will start happening.

So, firm conviction means something that never changes. It’s easy to say, but if you check the list of your convictions, if you check the list of your ideals – how many of them did not change throughout the last ten years? How many didn’t change for the last year? How many didn’t change for the last week? This world is going through a permanent transformation; you also. Yet there is something behind and beyond all these external experiences, that says: ‘I am’, that says: ‘You are’. These are the ultimate sentences of spiritual inquiry. ‘I am’ and ‘You are’. But we have to ask who is telling this. For a long time we think: ‘I say I am. I am the center of the world. But actually this is said by God: ‘I am’. Then what about you? You exist only if He says: ‘You are’. So, ‘I am’ is reserved for God. And ‘You are’ is also a merciful exclamation from the Supreme.

This is how we can connect our intelligence, our mind, our faith with the Supreme – if we try to go deeper and deeper into this beautiful realm of faith, if we try to search for the root of the existence. And the root of existence is practically non else than the meeting of Divine Beauty and Love. This is the origin of everything. All else come from that meeting. Just like the children – they come from the meeting of the father and mother. So, everything comes from this meeting of Divine Beauty and Love – that is Krishna and Radha. Because Krishna is the ultimate Beauty and Radha is the ultimate Love, so their union helps everything else to manifest.

This is very high above us. Yet we have to connect our intelligence there. But this is not the ultimate way to approach something higher. The proper method is through faith – and this is a mystical experience. Because something will be revealed to us, unexpected. Shrila Shridhara Maharadja says: ”Krishna’s ways are full of miracles”. So, be ready for miracles. Miracles exist only for those who are ready.

Once again the text for our divine enquiry: “When one’s intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the Supreme, then one becomes fully cleansed of misgivings through complete knowledge and thus proceeds straight on the path of liberation.”[1]

(to be continued)

[1] “Bhagavad Gita”, 5.17

 



Mar

21

Golden!

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

(continued from the previous Friday) 

Shall we discuss faith a little bit? So, what is faith? If faith is a belief – we don’t know, therefore we believe – this is a hope. We hope against hope, in most of the cases we hope for a better turn, but usually we don’t do anything about it.

Yet faith is an active principle. So, if we want to enter deeper – what is faith proper – then we shall understand: all the different theologies will tell you that ”Faith is to accept the will of God”. That sounds more serious, right. This is not only my belief, my hope. This is something coming from above. If we want to specify a little bit more, in our tradition faith is defined in a following way: ”Faith is the firm conviction that by serving Krishna all other services are performed.” That means, by serving God you perform all your duties. Although we have many duties – to our family, to our body, to our tax office, etc. Many different duties we have. How to accomplish all? Plus you are indebted to the ancient sages and the great well-wishers of all times to practically all our teachers who taught us how to write, how to read – unlimited. So, on the practical level and on the mystical level we are indebted much more than if you take a loan from a bank. Because if you have a loan from the bank, probably you can pay it during your lifetime. But this debt cannot be paid in many lifetimes. So, faith means by serving God we pay all our debts, we perform all duties.

Now, please tomorrow don’t tell this to your boss: “My dear boss, I have performed my duty for today, because I served God.” So, don’t misuse this. But try to understand the deeper levels of faith – faith is that by serving God we can practically serve everyone. Because not only the human body is compared to a tree, but God is also compared to a universal tree. And all the leaves and flowers and fruits are us – all the different living entities. And if we water the roots of this tree, all the tree will flourish. So, if we dedicate our service to God, then through His roots, through His system our little insignificant service, these little drops of water that we can give, will be distributed to everyone, to the whole creation proportionately. If you want to water the fruits and the flowers, the tree will die. Therefore it is suggested later on in the Gita that you should search out the roots of existence and give your service there.

So, this is another definition of faith – “By serving the root you can serve all.” Are you satisfied with this definition? Shall we stop enquiries here, without entering deeper and higher recesses of the spiritual science? Or shall we go on? We should not stop in our enquiry. It’s not a joke. Why do I make jokes sometimes? Just to show you that many times we have doubts and we want to stop half way. This is when our shadow tells us: ‘Oh, why do you run so fast?’ When the circumstances or your inner weakness will tell you: ‘Ah, take it easy!’ But don’t stop in your search; go on, because this divine knowledge is endless. We enter one room and there are unlimited rooms waiting for us.

So, the next definition of faith, which is a little more astonishing, is: ”Faith is that happiness that you draw from the ever-increasing spiritual bliss of Krishna and Radha’s meeting”. Sounds different, ah? It’s not a belief. It is not our mental construction, but it’s something very divine. And the basic nature of faith – according to this definition – is bliss. It’s not suffering, it’s not torture – it’s bliss. And what is the feature of this spiritual bliss? That it grows. It’s not a stagnant one. And what is the source of this? Union of the Divine Couple – if Beauty and Love meet, that gives happiness to their followers. Just imagine, if Divine Beauty and Divine Love meet – that’s an eruption. That is the Golden Avatar, like golden volcano. So, this is a very high class definition of faith – spiritual bliss coming from God and His lilas.

But this is a little difficult definition. You will hardly remember it tomorrow. Therefore if I may help you to sum it up, an all-inclusive definition of faith is: ”Faith is a conviction acquired through love.” Do you agree? ”Faith is a deep conviction in our heart achieved through love”. Here everything is described in this one little sentence. Faith according to this definition is not a belief, not something that I don’t know. But this is something that I deeply know, deeply feel in my innermost existence! Therefore om means ‘yes’. If there is any meaning of om, this is ‘yes, what you are searching for it exists.’ In your temples how do they say the om? Amen, but the meaning is the same. ‘Yes, what you are searching for it exists’. So, it’s a deep conviction that ‘my home, my shelter is there’. How can we achieve that firm conviction? The method is also described here – through love. Not material, but divine love.

 

(to be continued)

 

 



thirst

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 10.01.2013, evening, Sofia)

I’m very happy to be here together with you. I feel honored that you take the time and trouble, and I’m sure that our Lord appreciates your efforts very much. There is a lot to say, but even more is impossible to be said. And what we cannot say by words, it’s very easy to express by emotionally surcharged words – that means divine song.

So, please allow me to quote a few verses from the divine scripture Bhagavad Gita. During the last days we discussed the perfection of activities, and actually the best supreme activity is to glorify God together through the holy names. This starts a very subtle and a very effective change in our life. Divine energy enters our consciousness and we start to use our lips for a different purpose than before. The function of our ears also transforms and instead of listening to the news of the world and repeating that insignificant material information, we start to be able to pay attention to the divine sound. And this transformation is very powerful over our system. Before we were searching for independent happiness and contentment, yet we felt ever incomplete. Before we were searching for comforts, yet we always felt uneasy. But now due to this change you start to pay attention to the divine message, and all of a sudden you will feel: ‘I’m satisfied. It doesn’t matter if I have something, if I don’t have anything – I’m satisfied.’ This change is like a turning point and we all need such turning points in our lives. So, let’s help each other to let it happen – from our selfish egotism we should come to our good self.

So, we read from the 5th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. This is about “Karma-yoga – Action in Krishna Consciousness”: “When one’s intelligence, mind, faith and refuge are all fixed in the Supreme, then one becomes fully cleansed of misgivings through complete knowledge and thus proceeds straight on the path of liberation.”[1]

This is the way to get rid of misconceptions, although it is very difficult to catch the truth. Yet, if we have our attention, if we have our faith, and if we have our intelligence fixed in the Supreme, then this change is starting. It doesn’t accomplish, it starts.

What is the most important part of a human being? What do you think?

Answer: The soul, the heart.

Swami Tirtha: Soul, heart – yes, correct. Once I asked a very young man, and he identified a different part of his body as the most important. But you know it changes from time to time. And finally after some consideration, we come to our inner self. And we find that here, in our bosom. So, you are residing there in this body. The body is like a tree, and the heart is like a main branch of this tree. And two birds reside on that tree. One is you, trying to taste the different fruits of the tree. How many times have we found a sweet fruit? Many times it happens, but they’re small ones, like berries. Have you ever found some sour fruits also, or bitter ones? Unfortunately they are bigger, like water-melon. Bad luck, this material life is arranged like this – little sweetness and big bitterness. That means this little bird, we, try to enjoy the fruits of our activities. And we are very busy enjoying these fruits, although they are sour and bitter, and sometimes little sweet. Yet, on the branch of this tree another bird is there, observing. This is Krishna’s presence in our heart. That Supersoul is the observer, your inner guide, ready to provide all the necessary circumstances that you need for enlightenment. Good and bad experiences come under divine supervision. So, nothing is independent from the divine surveillance. It’s easy to accept this when something nice comes to us ‘Oh, finally God recognizes my greatness!’ But when something difficult or unexpected comes, then we revolt. For example some suffering, some disease comes to you – what is the first question? Why? Although we have to remember that ‘why?’ as a question is not approved in spiritual enquiries. ‘Why me? Why not you?’ – It’s a wrong question. And we have lots of other questions. But better we try to focus our mind, intelligence, knowledge and faith on God.

 

 

(to be continued)

 

[1] Bhagavad Gita, 5.17

 



sadhu-sanga

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Question: Why does the faith have to be tested? I believe that Krishna knows very well how much faithful you are, how much dedicated you are. Why is this happening?

Swami Tirtha: Guru puts the faith on test. Don’t blame it on Krishna! Blame it on guru! He is the main troublemaker.

Comment: He should also know.

Swami Tirtha: Therefore he does it. The question is whether you know. Don’t worry these tests are sweet. Sometimes we die, but it’s sweet.

Question of Paramananda: What is the biggest test, the ultimate test for the faith?

Swami Tirtha: Are you ready to listen to the answer?

Answer: Yes.

Swami Tirtha: The ultimate test of faith is not losing the vision of God. Because usually people don’t have a vision of God. So, there is nothing to lose in that respect. But when you lose your vision of guru – that is one very good test about your faith. Whether this is a personality cult, or a divine culture? Which is a big difference. Therefore I would never support a personality cult, but we should come to a very high and very elevated platform of cultivation. And definitely we need realizations. Not only beliefs, but realizations – about divinity, about reality, about my position, about the position of others, about divine power dominating over my life. This is one good test.

Question of Pavitra: You mentioned before that we have to be mild and tender towards everybody, because we don’t know who the chosen one of Krishna is. What do you exactly mean by this?

Swami Tirtha: Be mild and tender – this is what I mean. Other things are maybe complicated, but this we can understand. Of course mild and tender is not a material quality. Many times we mistake one for the other. Material goodness is not spiritual consciousness, but of course it doesn’t mean that you should be materially bad. It is not that ‘We practice material badness in order to be spiritual. As material goodness is not spiritual, therefore we practice material badness’. First, please, come to the level of goodness and then you can go further.

Mild and tender. Sometimes we are not mild and tender. Who is a good friend – the one who is always mild and tender? Or who is strong sometimes? The real friend will tell you the truth, which is usually hard to swallow. But a real spiritual friend, having a master’s degree,will tell the bitter truth in such a way that you are happy about it. Therefore the spiritual master is our good friend also. Because he will tell us the truth, and officially we have to be happy about it.



Feb

28

hand by hand

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

We should dedicate ourselves to some very high goal. We have to be fanatic about it. Usually we don’t appreciate fanaticism too much. But how can we reach anything without a big dose of fanaticism? It’s impossible! We have to dedicate our efforts to achieve something. If you are not fanatic about your faith, what will you reach?

Take the example of a sportsman. How much time does it take to achieve a gold medal at the Olympics? Minimum 10 years of heavy efforts day and night, every day. Although this is only a gold medal at the Olympic Games. Really they give their lives for their purpose. And our goal is not a gold medal. Our goal is the Golden Avatar. And how many crises a champion had to go through? You cannot imagine! Failures, mistakes and then the trainer comes and says: “No, run more!” When you feel like dead, he says: “Now continue!” What happens at the end? Everybody is crying when they stand on the highest platform and hear their national anthem. And what they will think and feel on that platform; ‘Oh, forget about the past. This moment is worth having all the troubles.’

So, in order to become a saintly person we have to go through all these difficulties. This is not a competition first of all. Spiritual life is not a competition. And there is a very nice example for that. Usually the most interesting athletic competition is the hundred meters run. What is the world record? 9.58 – so, in less than 10 seconds they are able to cover 100 meters. It’s incredible! And they say that the runners are not aware of the situation. They say that it is not sure that they breathe during these 10 seconds. They don’t know. They ran in a trance. They are just beyond the ordinary level of consciousness. So, the present day champion – I don’t know the name – he said: “Well, today there live more than 6 billion people on Earth. In the past there were some 4 more billion people, let’s say. And I am the fastest of all these 10 billion people!” Just imagine, that is something! I mean really, I don’t make it as a joke. Of course a rabbit can run faster than you, so it’s not a big thing, you are not faster than the 20 billion rabbits. But anyway, if you can be the best in all humanity, that is something great! Therefore all these 40 or 50 thousand people come together in the stadium to see who is running best. And you know for the last few years after the Olympic Games they always organize Paralympic Games. And they also have the 100 meters run. They had the starting shot and they started to move. After some moments one of them fell over. Fell over – that means he could not continue the run. And the person who was running at the front somehow noticed this. Then he stopped. And he returned. And everybody else stopped and returned. They joined their hands and they were walking the 100 hundred meters. All together. Spiritual life is not a competition. Who is best, who comes first, who comes last?

There are many examples how to approach the saintly qualities. Don’t worry if sometimes you stop and you go back to your friend, to your brother. Because this is not a one man show. And Krishna doesn’t need only the great ones and the good ones, and the super ones. We need the small ones also. We need the little slow ones, and the little stupid ones. Because you can never know who is the dearest to Krishna.

What is my vision of the Sofia ashram? Although here I see only champions… but when the time comes, hand in hand you walk. This is my vision. What is your vision? Please, adjust your vision if you have a different one.

So, to remove the cover of ignorance and to come to real vision we have to improve ourselves. Raise the level of awareness, and if we have a very high ideal, a very high goal, then it will be very easy to raise our level of awareness. Because compared to these ideals – selfless divine love, rapture, ecstasy of spiritual trance – compared to that everything is insignificant. Therefore it is suggested: always observe the Lotus feet of God. Raise your vision, don’t look into the mud. Always perform dharma and nothing irreligious. Look far, not close and pay respect to those whom we have to respect.

(to be continued)

 



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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2013, morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

Obtaining your food – all the living entities are fighting about that. If you have a dog, a very obedient dog, and you give him to eat and you try to take away the plate from him, he will bite you. At least he will be disturbed very much. So, don’t interfere too much into these basic instincts of humans either. Let them have their privacy to a certain extent. Give space to each other. Don’t interfere into every little detail, if you want to become a real pure, saintly personality.

How to overcome these basic instincts, especially in spiritual life, when we want to be aware of the supreme reality, not the secondary reality of material life? The supreme reality! Very simple, you have to become a saint! And who is a saint? A saint is a person who is ready to dedicate his or her life for some higher, divine goal. This is a saintly personality – who is ready to give his life for a divine goal. Do you agree? Do you want to become a saint? Yes, we have to identify this as our goal: ‘I want to become a pure, dedicated servant of the Supreme!’

I think I told you one joke. There are some monastic orders which are very strict in the western Christianity. One of them is based on silence. The monks in the monastery have to keep silent. And the joke says, once a year they have a chance to speak up. So, a young practitioner joined. First after one year when the time came for speaking up, he said: “It’s very cold in my small cell.” Next year passed. Then the abbot said: “What do you say, my dear son?” And he said: “And my bed is very hard.” All right, and next year passed. On the third occasion the abbot said: “Well, if you only complain all the time, you can go home“. So, there are some strict orders. If we use our only chance per year for speaking up, giving such contribution, who will be happy about that? Don’t blame the cold. Don’t blame the hard bed. Don’t blame the environment. You see how it is a universal message there in all traditions? Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says: “Don’t blame the environment.”

So, ultimately these are very difficult verses actually[1]. It’s a very difficult topic, because first we understood that ‘Oh, it’s only the gunas working. It’s not me’. Therefore it’s very easy to blame the gunas. If I make a mistake, I might easily say: “Oh, this is shastric: it’s not me! It’s only the gunas, Prabhu! Why are you upset on my behavior? It’s not me! It’s only the modes of material nature.” I think you all understand. We shouldn’t blame the gunas, we shouldn’t blame Krishna: “You had created me like this, so now You should tolerate!” Don’t blame others! We should always raise our level of awareness. And that means we dedicate ourselves to some very high goal.

 

(to be continued)

 

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.14-15