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English issues

B.A.Narayan Maharaj

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2013, morning, Sofia ) 

“One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person, free from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna.”[1]

Very important advice is given here – be independent! Renunciation doesn’t mean destruction of the objects. But it means to achieve a neutral, an unattached position. To be in such a renounced state of mind doesn’t mean that you change the color of your dress and you enter a monastic order. But it means that you develop an inner attitude to the dualities of life. Whether the external circumstances are favorable or unfavorable – you are equal, you’re in the state of equipoise. Is it easy to achieve? I think we all have some experience concerning this. But this is full renunciation.

Just to mention one practical story, because sometimes we might think that: ‘Oh this is too much theoretical’. Once in the old times Gurudev visited us. And ‘the old times’ means under police surveillance. Those were little risky times. Usually he was travelling in disguise, appearing in very unexpected moments – he knew his ways how to penetrate the system. And he gave us some very good, longstanding lessons. For example: “Don’t stop your car in front of the house where you give the lecture!” This is a very practical advice in conspiracy. Because if the police comes and you have to escape through the windows, it’s very difficult to reach your car if it is in front. Right, it’s very practical. You see, gurus give theoretical and practical knowledge at the same time. It’s still with me. I don’t park in front of this house. Of course it’s little difficult to jump from the window here, but believe or not, it happened on our farm – that when the police came devotees were escaping through the window.

Anyway, that’s another story. But once Gurudev was leaving and with one devotee he was approaching his car. And what did he see on the next corner where his car was parked? A big crowd around the car, two police cars standing beside, because his car was broken. Somebody broke the window and tried to rob it. And Gurudev with some bags was approaching – actually he was supposed to come here, to Sofia from Budapest. So they were approaching, approaching and he said to this devotee: ”Hey! There is a little trouble!” and they went aside and parted. Not to put the devotee into danger. But he was absolutely neutral. Just imagine, like a dissident, entering the country under danger; and he was totally undisturbed.

So, this is dedication, total dependence on God, on Krishna’s mercy and protection. This is the practical definition to be neutral, renounced. But he was very intent and very focused on the mission. Because after two-three hours of formalities, he could start and reach here in Sofia. “Such a person, free from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage”.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.3



spiritual-development

In the west we are born in karma-desh. Karma-desh means the place of action. People in India are born in dharma-desh. Dharma-desh is a place for dharma – not simply religious duties, but fulfillment of human prospects and ambitions. They know the secrets of dharma and we have to learn the secrets of action. The Indian masters say that it’s very difficult with the western disciples. Because if they give an instruction to an Indian disciple, he will follow. If you tell him: “Sit in this corner and chant for two years”, he will do it. If you say to a western disciple: “Just sit here for ten minutes and try to meditate”, he will say: “Why?” Why? Because we are so active, we are agitated by action. Our motivation always pushes us to do something. But unfortunately we do many nonsense activities. Therefore we have to learn the art of action, because we are full of activities.

The Bhagavad Gita is like an encyclopedia of divine knowledge. Today we read from the Fifth Chapter. Arjuna said: O Krsna, first of all You ask me to renounce work, and then again You recommend work with devotion. Now will You kindly tell me definitely which of the two is more beneficial?”[1]

So, to receive opposing instructions is quite challenging. Because in the Third Chapter Krishna was talking about karma-yoga – action, the yoga of action. And then He was talking about the transcendental knowledge, a kind of meditation. So: ‘act and think’. That was a challenge for Arjuna whether ‘to do or not to do’. Therefore he asked which is more beneficial. Then the Personality of Godhead replied: “The renunciation of work and work in devotion are both good for liberation. But of the two, work in devotional service is better than renunciation of work”. [2]

We understood that action will always bring reaction. Usually this is what we don’t take into consideration – that our actions will bring reactions. Sounds logical, yet we always forget about this. We act unconsciously, irresponsibly; and then we are surprised that some reactions will come. For example, you make all the possible nonsense in your life and then you blame God: “Oh, why do You punish me?” So, first you have to understand: purify your existence; and then hope for a better version. But the more delicate question comes: you try to dedicate your life and still some punishment comes to you. Crime and punishment. So, if there is a punishment, there must be some crime. Nothing is without a good reason. We see half of the story – the punishment. Yet we have to be clever enough to see the reasons why it happens to us.

But it does not matter if some reactions come or don’t come to you, don’t blame it on others. Shrila Shridhara Maharaja says: “Don’t blame the environment.” Whatever fruit is there it’s for you. We have to pick the fruits of our actions.

From this we can understand that action always brings some consequences. Therefore with all good reason you may say: “Then stop the action. If there is no action, there is no reaction.” Sounds logical, but it is very impractical: as the western disciples cannot sit in ten minutes meditating. So for us non-action – as a compensation of action and reaction – is not an alternative. Therefore we need another remedy. And this remedy is given here by Krishna – action in devotion. It looks like the same, but it’s completely different. Before I was cultivating my garden, today I am cultivating my garden – but something has changed. If your mentality changes meanwhile, the action will bring different fruits. Then the equation is not ‘action brings reaction’, but ‘devotional action brings affection’. The simple action will bring you to this network of karmic reactions. But devotional activities, spiritual activities are very powerful. And they will bring purification, they will bring liberation to you.

There are some people who have problems digesting milk; sometimes kids also have such problem. What is the best remedy if you have the stomach problems due to milk? Any ideas?

Answer: Curd.

Swami Tirtha: Correct, how do you know?

Answer: From the books of Prabhupad.

Swami Tirtha: Fine! Although curd is another form of milk, it’s only milk! But it can cure the problem caused by milk. In the same way, activity – but a little transformed activity like devotional, spiritualized activity – can cure the problem given by simple activity. Once I mentioned this on a lecture and there was a lady doctor – she took care of some children in a children’s camp – and she said: “Correct, last time it happened to us also”. So, it was a very good feedback – our scriptures tell the truth. Therefore the real remedy for curing the problems caused by activity is devotional activity, spiritual activity.

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.1

[2] Bhagavad Gita 5.2



ecc214e9dc82bd88374ebd890d41b555-749568

(continues from the previous Friday) 

I am so happy to see so many masters here. Sometimes, you know, people want to inquire, they want to understand who is who and what is what. So sometimes they ask me: “Oh, by the way, how many disciples do you have?” Because they might think that if I have many, then I am a good and great, reliable guru and if I have few, then it’s not good. Usually then I say that: “Oh, I have no disciples”. And then you should see their faces. They are totally frustrated, like: “No disciples?! He is off the line, and we don’t have to pay any attention to this guy.” But when I add: ”I don’t have any disciples, I have only masters to serve,” then this is total disturbance. It’s beyond their capacity to understand. But please, realize that this is a stupid question! “And how many disciples do you have?” What? You have a list in your pocket and you say: “Ah, two hundred and fifty”, or what? This is not a proper question. This is not a proper inquiry.

So, why is such a person very fortunate, who has disciples. who is in a position, so to say, to have followers, or disciples? The reason is not that sometimes he gets a garland, or sometimes he gets chapatti. But what he couldn’t accomplish in the service of his guru, what he couldn’t dedicate to his master, he can give it to those, whom he should consider masters again. In this way the new circle of dance is formed. Because one is running after the other. And in the circle of dance there is no beginning and no end. And everybody is a very important participant. So, therefore I wish that you should all have many disciples. Whatever you missed as a chance for service in your life as a disciple, you will be able to accomplish as a master. Therefore Mahaprabhu said: “You should all become gurus!” Not for sitting on an elevated place, not for having fancy clothes, but for being able to accomplish what you could not do while being a disciple.

Something very-very important was mentioned in the song of Narottam Das Thakur[1]. Many points are very important here, but one says that” Ah, Vaishnava Goswami, in your heart there is the residence of Govindaji.” Fortunately from this year on the presence of Govinda is not only a theoretical remark, this is reality. And the other part of this sentence is that “all the pure devotees live in the heart of Govinda.” Therefore it is so glorious to become pure devotees, because then you will have a divine residence.

The presence of Radha-Govindaji not only in the Pecs ashram, but in the whole mission – this is a very remarkable change. Recently I had been talking to a half-outsider friend and she asked: “What happened in the Pecs ashram last year?” I was thinking: ‘Oh, changes? Well, shall I talk about the square meters, or the refurbishment of the ashram, or what?’ And I discussed that, but after a little while she asked: “And what about the appearance of Radha-Govindaji?” Then I said: ”Oh, yes! That was the real change.” Because with Them a special mood of service appeared – and this is the exchange between the servant and God, between human and the Supreme. Krishna as Govinda is a good shepherd, so to say – someone who takes care of His folk, someone who guides them, who treats them nice and who reciprocates. Therefore this mood of service should pervade the daily practices of the devotees.

We shouldn’t set the standard too high – that we want to worship Gopinath; there is a good reason that Govindaji is there, because that is reciprocation. So, whatever you offer, you will receive something. And this mood should grow in Pecs – that we have somebody who takes care of us, we have a guide, we have God who takes care of us.

Govindaji is one of the main temples of Vrindavan. The first is connected to Sanatana Goswami – Madana Mohan – to attract, to capture the attention. The second is connected to Rupa Goswami – this is for reciprocation – Govindaji. And the third one is connected to Ragunath das Goswami – Gopinath, the rasa. But Rupa Goswami is the teacher of the whole sampradaya, of the whole movement. So, if Radha-Govindaji are there in Pecs, They invite us to enter into that mood, and we should provide a chance for others also to enter into that loving exchange with the Supreme. So, if we receive the blessings of Rupa Goswami, we should help people to understand that, to come closer to that ideal.

[1] Ei baro karuna koro



ssm_sp

“O Vaishnava Gosvami, please be merciful to me. Except you no one can liberate the fallen souls. Where can I find such a merciful personality by whose simple presence all the sins run far away? If one bathes many times in the sacred Ganges one can purify oneself, but your power is so great that the fallen souls are purified simply by seeing you. The holy name can liberate those who commit an offense against Lord Hari, but if someone offenses you, he has no chance for salvation. Your heart is a residence of Shri Govinda, and Govindaji always says: “The vaishnavas live in My heart.” In all possible future lives that I might have I wish the dust of your lotus feet should come to me. Please, consider Narottama as yours and be merciful to him.”[1]

I am very grateful that you all came; this is a very nice chance for celebrating. Your presence reminds me of my duty, because my duty is to do some service to the superior vaishnavas. I feel very fortunate because I have many superiors. Actually the superiors are taking that side of the temple room and the minors sit on this side.

But I think today you came for some celebration. What do we celebrate? Please, don’t celebrate the person, celebrate the tattva. We should celebrate the truth – that spiritual essence that changes our life, because that is the divine power. And if that divine power touches our life, then it transforms our mentality, approach and even there is a chance to change our identity. You might think that this is done by a person; sorry, this is done by the divine function. This is the institution that works over us – guru as a principle. And therefore if we celebrate one of the many gurus, practically we celebrate all the gurus. So, don’t be victims of guruism. What we need is not the personality cult – this is the divine culture. The personal culture, this is what we need. Samasta-guru is all the body of the gurus, all the representatives of this divine function.

“Simply by observing you, O Vaishnava Gosvami, sins run away and I feel I am purified”. The three great personalities in our line are mentioned in this respect. One is Shrila Prabhupada who is an emblematic spiritual master. The second is Shrila Shridhara Maharaja who is also a very emblematic spiritual master. And the third one is Shrila Puri Maharaja, Bhakti Promod Puri Maharaj; he is again a very gentle and emblematic figure of guru-tattva and guru person. Why? We have different approaches to our spiritual masters. You can listen to him, for example. It’s very unusual, but sometimes it happens. So, you take the advice; or you disrespect; or you hurt him. There are different ways to approach a spiritual master.

One main approach to a spiritual master is service, right? It is said that the ambition of all the vaishnavas is a very special type of condition, it’s called ecstasy. This is the ambition of all different vaishnavas. And it is said that serving Shrila Prabhupada – that was ecstasy. By serving him you could feel that special power that was mentioned in this song also. There is another approach to the spiritual master, and this is careful listening, paying attention to his words. And it is said that simply by paying attention to Shrila Shridhara Maharaja, listening to him – that was ecstasy. You didn’t have to serve too much – it was enough to listen, to pay attention, that was ecstasy. But you know, as Kali Yuga improves the abilities of the vaishnavas decrease. So, for Shrila Prabhupad there was some little service, for Shrila Shridhara Maharaja there was only listening. But you know, finally with Shrila Puri Maharaja you didn’t have to serve him, you didn’t have to listen to him – it was enough to see him. Why? Because he was like a grandfather of all the vaishnavas, irrespective of lines and countries and missions and this and that… He was a very old man, thin, sitting in his room all the time, not moving, not going out. Everybody was coming and entering his room and asking for the blessings. And by his vision you could see: ’Oh, my presence here is appreciated. He trusts me, he likes that I am trying.’

This is a celebration. If we remember that by serving, by listening to, by seeing a pure devotee we can progress – that is a real celebration.

 

(to be continued)

[1] Ei baro karuna koro – devotional song by Narottama Das Thakur



Murari-gopis

(continues from the previous Friday)

Question of Kamen: Can we say that wherever there is faith there is no bhakti and wherever there is bhakti there is no faith?

Swami Tirtha: Very good question! Well, I wouldn’t say that if there is the one, the other cannot be. I wouldn’t say that. But definitely on the highest rasic platforms there is only one element. Just remember when Krishna disappeared from the rasa dance and the gopis started to chase after Him. So much so, that they almost caught Him. Then Krishna was perplexed a little bit: ‘Now what to do?’ That’s a real moment – when God becomes perplexed. He didn’t know what to do and He decided: ‘Oh, maybe I will show My divine form.’ So immediately He sat behind one bush and showed the Narayana aspect – with four arms, beauty, glory and everything. The gopis came from between the bushes, and immediately when they saw Narayana sitting there they said: “Ah, namo Narayanaya! Have you seen our Krishna?”

You see, faith is for God, love is for ‘our Krishna’. Because ‘He is ours! It’s not that we are for Him! He is for us!”

Other times He said: “Dear gopis, I have to go to Mathura, I have to go to Dwaraka. I will become a king, so please, be satisfied! We had a nice time, but it’s over. Still, you can for example meditate over Мe.” But what was the answer of the gopis: “Meditation? Simple, dry, theoretical meditation!? No, we want You!” So, in the highest rasic platform we can say there isn’t even faith, only this rapture.

All right, now we understood something about our goal. Please, also examine our present position. But don’t worry, it’s not hopeless. What will give us the hope? That our faith will bring us to the entrance door of love.

Thank you for these topics. Today I have understood something – before I had only one opponent, knowledge. Now I understood I have two – faith included.



in my heart

Question of Mahadev: Could we say that faith as an abstract subject is more like aishvarya-rasa and that there is something more that can be added to the faith, which we call normally madhurya-rasa, pure prema? Could we say that they are the same theoretically, but there are some subtle differences between the two things?

Swami Tirtha: We should start with the classification of Rupa Goswami: adau shraddha[1] – the first step is faith. Or better we go to the ground floor. What is before faith? Before faith there is sukriti. Sukriti, or the pious activities, will bring you to the level of being able to dedicate your faith to the pure persons and to some process. If we are fortunate enough to dedicate our faith, then we start to associate with the proper people – adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sangah. And a very special type of association is when we commit ourselves to follow some teaching. Then practically by the following and by the instructions of the superiors we can start bhajana-kriya, or the acts of devotion, of worship. The result of bhajana-kriya, or the result of active bhajan, we can say, is that you will be purified. That’s called anartha-nivritti – no cultivation of bad habits. So, how can we reach that platform? If you are focused on your anarthas (mistakes) and you will always think of how not to cultivate your bad habits, you develop an anartha consciousness. You will always think of your anarthas. Therefore before that there is bhajana-kriya. Bhajana-kriya in another way is artha-pravritti – that is cultivation of spiritual values. So, by following the spiritual process we can be purified of our mistakes or shortcomings. Then through some other levels of freedom from attachment and taste we come to the platform of bhava and prema. So, faith in that picture is like an introduction into the whole process and at the other end of that process is pure and ecstatic love.

Bhakti is a highly mystic process. So, of course that is true that the instrument and the goal are the same. If the goal is ecstatic pure love of Godhead, it should be equal to the initial step also – like introductory faith. Still there is a little difference between the two.

But that’s true, if we consider faith as a general way of religious practice, that will introduce us maximum to the majestic aspect of the Supreme. And that is aishvarya kind of approach. Yet Krishna says in the Gita twice – He very rarely repeats the same message twice – “only through devotion one can understand Me as I am[2] So, only through devotion we can come into embrace of the Supreme. So, we can say faith is not enough for that. We must have the faith that we shall get the invitation. But it depends on the invitation; it doesn’t depend on our faith. That is the difference. We do believe that divine love takes us further.

But let’s examine the same concerning the sadhus around us. We can say that faith equals to theory or mind – it’s like a spiritual fact. If you accept the guru from the mind, theoretically, you will have so many problems. If you accept your sadhu from your heart, with emotions, you can approach him very closely. Because guru is a very strange principle – it can make you or break you. And as we want to enroll the school of emotional approach to the Supreme truth, therefore it is better to accept our sadhu from the heart. But it is suggested: first examine, then love. Not the opposite: first fall in love quickly, and then try to analyze. I have been waiting for my master five years and then I started to torture him.

In that sense faith and love are completely different. The result will be absolutely different. One is theoretical and the other is real, substantial. And we are not talking about only human or worldly emotions, no! Rather divine emotions. Because the ultimate identity of our atma, of our soul is ananda-maya. That means ‘made of bliss’. That’s your emotional self. We have an existential self, this is the sat aspect; we have an intellectual self, a cognitive self – this is cit conscious particle; and we have an emotional self, which is ananda platform.

(to be continued)

[1] Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, Purva, 4.15

[2] Bhagavad Gita 18.55; 11.54

 



japa

(continues from the previous Friday)

The feeling of a vaishnava is that ‘I am meant for Him, I am created for Him.’ In Krishna Book there is a definition of a demigod, of a deva. It says: “These divine personalities live only for the sake of Krishna”. Tat-priya-artha. Tat means “that, He”. Priya means “happiness” or “bliss”; and artha means “value”, “orientation”, ”for something”. So, they live only for the happiness of Krishna. Do you want to become a demigod – to live only for the happiness of Krishna? Or we can say – because this demigod doesn’t sound very appealing to the devotees – do you want to become an angel? Yes! You know, this angel faith is very popular these days, everybody communicates with the angels. But you can become like angels. To live only for the sake, for the happiness of the Supreme – then you are an angel. Therefore please remember this beautiful explanation of the Hare-Krishna maha-mantra. Do you remember that?

Prema: Which one?

Swami Tirtha: Oh, there are many! Let’s start with one. But don’t tell the explanation of Raghunath das Goswami – that is not public. So, there are many different explanations of this mantra. Basically our teachers, our acharyas described Krishna and Radha in this beautiful mantra – how they look for each other, how they meet each other. For example Bhakti Pramod Puri Maharaja gave a very nice explanation. Rupa Goswami, Jiva Goswami, Gopal Guru Goswami – they all give explanations about the maha-mantra. So, there are many explanations. But you can also chant the maha-mantra in a special mood of search. If you are blind, of you don’t see the Supreme Lord, what should you say? You should say ‘Hare Krishna’, meaning: ”Where are You, my Lord?” Then what will be the answer? To ‘Hare Krishna’ the answer is ‘Hare Krishna’ – with a little different meaning. Because the first was: “Where are You?” The second is: “I am here”. If there is a question, there is an answer. “Where are You?” “I am here!”

Are you satisfied with this? Because you are still in the darkness. Now you understand that somebody is here, but who is here? How should you ask who is here? Yes, ‘Krishna, Krishna! Is that You? Who are You?’ What will be the answer? ‘Hare Hare!’ But what is the meaning of ‘Hare Hare’? “I am your happiness!”

All right, now we know that there is somebody. We also know that He is for our happiness. And we also have learned that He gives an answer. Shall we inquire further? What is the next question? Maybe, ‘Hare Rama’. Then what is the meaning of ‘Hare Rama’?

Ramvijay: “Who is with You.”

Swami Tirtha: You see, different acharyas give different explanations. So, this explanation is more down to earth. It’s more desperate. It will ask: “Do You love me?” – Do you expect any answer? What is the answer to this ‘Hare Rama’? Yes, ‘Hare Rama’ again – but what is the meaning?

Comment: “Of course, I love you.”

Swami Tirtha: Yes, but anything more? “I love you, but do you love Me?” What is the next step? ‘Rama Rama’. With what meaning? Here it brings the total surrender, meaning “I am Yours”. And then what is the final sequence of our mantra?

Yadunath: “You are mine”. ‘Hare Hare’.

Swami Tirtha: “I am Yours and You are mine.” So, if a devotee is created for God, please don’t compromise His creation. Don’t show the faults in His creation. Please inquire, the mantra is for inquiry. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And if you inquire, if there is a question, there is an answer.



lightsword

(continues from the previous Friday)

Whatever little insignificant service that we can offer to the Lord will definitely bring a result. Lila Avatar Prabhu told me in the morning that he’s been visiting lectures for two years. I told him that I’ve been visiting lectures for… I don’t know, I cannot really calculate. Let’s say twenty years. And to tell you the truth I hardly feel any change. It doesn’t mean that at the first moment I had the full realization and I was so perfect at the beginning that it was impossible to improve that standard. But you know, it is said that bhakti is a very quick process, still sometimes you feel it looks like very slow. Just like bathing the coal. It doesn’t matter how much you wash the coal it will stay black.

Sometimes you do your spiritual practice and you don’t feel the results. You visit the lectures for twenty years and you feel: ‘Hey! There is no result of visiting lectures! Maybe I should start a different lifestyle. I’ve listened to the same old message for the last twenty years: that Krishna is the Supreme Lord – but I don’t know. And I should do something, but I am lazy.’ You can have your old friends, your doubts, returning from time to time. So, you decide after twenty years: ‘From now on I will start a different lifestyle instead of visiting these lectures with no result! I will start my private life.’ You can start a free lifestyle. And after two years of free lifestyle you will end up with the same feeling: ‘No change, no results.’ During those twenty years you have learned that a simple lifestyle might bring some karmic results. But in two years you have checked ‘No, sorry! No results, I am fine! I am still like at the beginning, like after twenty years. Like after twenty-two years. No results.’

But please, my dear ones, don’t give it up – I mean not the karmic lifestyle. Because what is the result of your twenty years listening to lectures? It is that you are still sitting here. So your spiritual activities will bring very subtle and very delicate fruits, but they will bring fruits. In the same way, the free life style will also bring very subtle fruits. But you know what the result of twenty years spiritual service is. Yet you don’t know what the result of twenty years karmic life is. So, better we stick to that version that we have tried. Because sometimes really devotees might feel ‘I’ve been doing this and no change. Where is this perfection? What is this ecstasy?’

Once in Nandafalva there was a lecture and at the end of the lecture when there were some questions one young man asked: “You always mention this ecstasy – can you tell something about that?” I said: “But listen, all the time we were discussing that.” Then five minutes later he again returned: “But what is this ecstasy?” Three or four times he returned to the same topic, although this was the basic topic of the whole lecture. All right, but how to find this extraordinary feeling?

Let me tell you another story. One of my very dear brothers, who is like a shining example of faith for me, when he met the devotees immediately he was charmed. He was living in Budapest and he knew that the devotees had their ashram in the next village. But he had no address, nothing, no part of the village to find. So what did he do? He went to the village and in a very desperate mood he was going along the streets, crying and shouting: “Haribol, haribol!” – searching for the devotees. And what happened? Finally he found the ashram. Then when he joined, he was in full ecstasy for seven days. Really he was out. Then once there was a big program, big meeting, a big dancing kirtan. And after the kirtan he asked the preacher: “Can you tell me what that very special feeling at the end of the kirtan is?” “You know, this is ecstasy.” So, sometimes you have it, but you don’t know that you have it. Since that time he is still a very good kirtaniya – singer and dancer.

Sometimes we can maintain the same standards for twenty, thirty years or lifetimes. So, don’t worry if after two years or after twenty years you don’t feel the immediate results of enjoying full perfection.

 

(to be continued)



following the footsteps

(continues from the previous Friday) 

Ultimately we can say that the cause of all causes is one – Krishna. But in order to multiply His happiness, He expands His energies. That is our explanation for the manifestation of this multiplicity of the world. He wants to expand. And one of the greatest and the most powerful expansions of His energies is divine love. Some say that God is love; they call themselves ‘religious people’. Others say that love is God; they call themselves ‘passionate’. But anyway, I say God is beauty. Krishna is beauty supreme. But then where is the love, where is the divine love? The divine love is manifested as a very special identity and this is Shrimati Radharani. Is it possible that love lacks beauty?

Answer: No.

Swami Tirtha: Is it possible that beauty lacks love?

Comment: In material world very often.

Swami Tirtha: Very often that happens. Therefore beauty is searching after love. In the diaries of Swarupa Damodara Goswami, who was like a personal secretary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he gives a very special and very important verse. He says that: “Radha and Krishna, these two identities, although originally one, They separate from each other in order to be attracted to each other again and again. And sometimes when They meet Their embrace is so strong, that they lose Their separate identity. And this loss of separate identity is Chaitanya – when the unity principle between beauty and love is so strong that it overrides the diversity principle. May I ask you, is this the basic topic of our faith or not?

Answer: Our main faith is that there is also place for us there.

Swami Tirtha: Thank you, this is a very nice opinion. But my personal faith is that by following the footsteps of the great ones we can reach our goal. Faith. It’s not enough if you dedicate your faith to some theological truths or facts. Or if you become a fanatic of some dogmatism. Or you believe in some theories. We should also have faith in practice. Faith is a living principle. Sometimes these abstract teachings of some very high complicated truths are so far away from us. But let’s find something closer that we can dedicate our faith to.

And Krishna knows this desire of the human beings of practical faith, not something theoretical or abstract. Therefore He provides different objects of this practical faith. One is Radha-kunda – the faith and the trust in the holy places. If you visit the holy places, immediately your level of consciousness will be elevated highly. Therefore we visit the tirthas – to elevate our consciousness. Other holy objects that we dedicate our faith to are the saintly vaishnavas around. So, sadhu-sangha, or holy association, is a divine principle extended to us. Therefore we should treat it in a divine way. It’s not that we are forced to appreciate it. Once a devotee asked Gurudev: “How can we judge which level a devotee achieved?“ And Gurudev was practically upset by this question. He said: “The vaishnavas are not given by Krishna in order to be judged, they are there to be served.” Because this is a divine principle, manifesting in divine personalities. So, always try to treat the vaishnavas around you in this way. And another object of our practical faith is our spiritual meditation – like the holy name. Or whatever little insignificant service that we can offer to the Lord – it will definitely bring a result.

 

(to be continued)



такава старост

We shall read from our book “The Loving Search for the Lost Servant” which so far helped us to understand the extraordinary features of krishna-bhakti. When usually people search after truth or God, from these teachings we can understand that the compassionate God is searching after the lost human beings. Religion means ‘we need Him’; and super-religion means ‘He needs us’. We cannot do anything else than let this invitation extended to us, work over us. And what is the way back? The way back is a path of faith. Therefore now we read about faith.

“Faith is the only means through which we can see, hear, or feel the higher world; otherwise it is all meaningless to us. To understand that plane, an inner awakenment is necessary. We can connect with the upper world only through a higher source. Therefore divyam-jnanam, knowledge of the higher plane, is not an ordinary knowledge; it is a transcendental, supramental feeling and sense. But to realize this, surrender is compulsory. After that, we may go on hearing and chanting, remembering and worshiping and praising the Lord, or rendering so many other kinds of service, but the first thing – the foundation of devotion – must be self-surrender. Otherwise nothing will be effected; our show of devotion will all be imitation. We must sincerely feel, “I shall be faithful in my service to the Supreme Lord. I am meant for Him. I am ready to die to live. I want to live for Him only, and not for fulfilling any separate interest. I want nothing less than the absolute. I want to be His completely.” This sort of intensity is an indispensable necessity for a devotee. A devotee has to conceive, to feel, that he is meant for Krishna. He is not an independent entity; He is dependent on Krishna – the highest absolute center – and nothing else.”[1]

So far two very important things were described. One is the nature of faith and the other is the nature of a devotee. Generally for some of our fellow human beings faith is only a belief – they believe what they don’t know. ‘I don’t know therefore I believe.’ What is that? This is not spiritual science. Shrila Prabhupad says that: “Bhakti-yoga is the method for scientific understanding of God”. Once I mentioned this on a lecture and all of a sudden a very bright young man said: “Scientific?!” He was surprised. Because usually people think that science and religion are two different things. And in most of the cases they are right. Unfortunately science doesn’t have enough faith and faith doesn’t have enough science, enough knowledge. But with blind faith we will end up in the ditch. Still, if we are blind, we cannot be enlightened, that’s for sure.

But here a different definition of faith is given, which is: “The only possible means of approach of a higher realm.” These days we agreed that the Vedas teach us very strictly like a father and Puranas teach us very softly like a mother, while the acharyas – the teachers, the gurus – they teach us very sweetly like a lover. Just imagine: if these first words – “there is no other way” – this is the sweetest essence, then how strict the Vedas or the Puranas must be? So, for Shrila Shridhara Maharaja faith meant the greatest power for a human being, which will bridge the gap between your present position and the divine reality. What is the source of faith?

Comment: Love.

Giridhari: There is nothing that is not given, or not coming from God, so it means faith is also coming from God?

Swami Tirtha: Do you see the beauty of bhakti? Two different approaches, both are correct.

Comment of Giridhari: As love and God is the same.

Swami Tirtha: Sometimes they have a schizophrenia, but that is divine. They are divided in order to be united again. If we want to be very concrete, we can say that faith comes from the faithful, from those who are faithful. Yet where does the faith of the faithful come? Objectively, on the tattva platform, we can say “Yes, the ultimate source is the Supreme Lord, God.” Or from a rasic point of view we can say that the source of faith, the origin of faith is love, divine love. But sometimes it is difficult to judge which one is first: love or faith. Whether God loves the souls so much that He injects faith into their hearts? Or whether humans have such a faith that the God of love cannot resist?

 

 

(to be continued)

[1] The Loving Search for the Lost Servant”,1st chapter, Planets of faith.