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Extra English Issues issues

daisies

(от лекция на Свами Тиртха, май 2012, София)

(продължава от предишния понеделник)

„Отчаянa от неизбежната смърт на съпругата си, птицата кулинга плачела така, когато по силата на времето ловецът я наближил и я пронизал с една стрела, убивайки и нея. О, глупави царици, вие също сте лишени от разбиране, досущ като тази птица кулинга, неспособна да види собствената си надвиснала смърт. Дори да продължавате да плачете сто години, няма да можете да си върнете съпруга.”

Този разговор между Яма и цариците бил цитиран от Хиранякашипу, врага на Вишну[1], а сетне той заключил:

„О, съпруго и синове на  моя скъп брат, жените и роднините на цар Суягя били смаяни от тези наставления на Яма в облика на момче и осъзнали, че всички материални неща са временни. Нищо не може винаги да остане такова, каквото го виждаме сега.”

Това вярно ли е? За нещастие е вярно. Но не забравяйте, има две тенденции. Материалните неща, които виждате сега, ще западнат. А духовните неща, които виждате днес, ще се разгърнат, ще израснат. Целият материален свят отива към разрушение. Докато всичко духовно върви към приобщаване, към завръщане в духовния свят. Ала промените са налице. Едната е разпадане, а другата – усъвършенстване. Изберете в коя посока искате да се влеете. Обаче нищо не може да остане винаги каквото го виждаме сега.

„След като разговарял с тях, Яма се оттеглил, а близките на царя извършили погребалните церемонии. По същия начин и вие не бива да скърбите твърде много за себе си или за другите. Кои са тези хора, за които всички скърбим? Та нима има нещо, което бихме могли да наречем „наше”? Всички подобни обозначения се дължат на невежество и привързаност към тялото, на нищо друго.”

Като чу тези напътствия Дити, майката на Хиранякша, за известно време забрави да скърби за мъртвия си син.”

И така, какво ни казва тази история? Какво е посланието ѝ? Тази история не е за смъртта. Тази история не е за скръбта. Не, тази история е прослава на живота! Тя не разказва за материалната смърт, а за духовната вечност. Затова моля ви, не се натъжавайте от сериозните ѝ думи, а се стремете да се радвате на посланието ѝ: „Ние не сме телата”.

И има начин да съживим своето духовно съзнание: „Кришна, дай ми милостта да служа на Твоите свети имена!” Харе Кришна Харе Кришна Кришна Кришна Харе Харе Харе Рама Харе Рама Рама Рама Харе Харе.

[1] В книгата на Б.Б.Тиртха Махарадж „Светият живот на Прахлада”

 

 



228189_10151184208440489_1666425476_n

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

“As long as the atman, the soul, is related to the subtle body, it is bound by karma. From these ties of ignorance and forgetfulness comes the mistaken identification with the body and subsequently all suffering.”[1]

So, if we are under the influence of karma and ignorance, then we think that ‘I am identical with my body’ and then we have to take all the consequences.

“But we wrongly believe that whatever we get from the three gunas is permanent.” The three gunas are the three powers of nature – like darkness, energy and light. “If we fantasize at night about being a king, enjoying a king’s opulence and pleasures, our projections are unreal.” Do you have some dreams like that? Well, maybe you don’t want to become kings, but at least successful businessmen, or happy by winning the lottery, or whatever – we all have these fantasies, right? But it’s not real. Even if you get it, you will lose it – it’s not real.

“When we have dreams of sexual activity our experience is illusory”. From a dream no son will be born. And sometimes it happens that a dream turns into a nightmare. For example, you cry because you don’t have a husband. And you have a dream: “Ah, if I had a husband, I would be so happy!” Then God provides you a husband and again you cry: “Ah, I have a husband!” So, your dream manifested in a very nightmarish way. I could mention a dream for a lady also, but as ladies are more in this room now, I think the boys can imagine the same story in their version. Anyway we are crying, right? Either you have or you don’t have – you just cry! And this is not only a joke. Some philosophers said that either you marry or not, you will be sorry for it. I think they had some realization on the troubles of life.

But anyway, let’s go back to our story. So, ”If we have dreams of sexual activity, our experience is illusory and in the same way enjoying the senses in this world is not a real experience. The soul is eternal and the body is not. Therefore there is no need to lament. Those who have no self-realization cannot do anything else but lament, this being their very nature.

Ah, queens, once upon a time there was a kulinga bird, who just like you was lamenting the loss of his wife. A hunter was travelling here and there in the forest and wherever he saw some birds, he would spread out his net and capture and kill them. One day by God’s arrangement, while he was walking in the forest, the hunter saw a pair of kulinga birds, who were husband and wife. So that person put some of their favorite food inside the net and waited hidden from their view. The female kulinga bird saw that very palatable food and became immediately attracted. But then she realized that she was caught in the net and began to struggle and cry, being terribly frightened. Although aggrieved by his wife’s plight, the kulinga male was unable to rescue her, so he also started to lament and cry very pitifully out of his love for her: “How cruel is destiny! How cruel is the law of creation! After falling into this dangerous trap, my wife is crying out for me. What benefit can the destiny obtain from the death of my beloved? Ah cruel fate, after taking away my wife, who is the better half of my body, you should take me also. Without my beloved why should I carry on living?! And our small children are on the nest, waiting for their mother and starving without food. They do not even have feathers yet. How I will be able to take care of these orphaned children without the help of their mother!?

Please, ladies, pay attention. Because here this bird says: “Ah, my wife is the better part of me.” So, you have to qualify to be the better part of your husbands. As soon as you can do that, your husbands will glorify you like anything. But if you expect that respect without really qualifying yourselves, you will not get it.

Please, dear husbands! Whenever out of your natural worship to your wives you want to glorify them, use these expressions: “Ah, the better half of my life! Ah, goddess of our home!” Have you ever seen an angry goddess shouting at you? Impossible! Goddesses are always smiling and generously providing you food, children, whatever you need.

So, it’s very easy to make a harmonious family life. The ladies should respect the husband as the representative of God and the husband should respect the ladies as goddesses.

 

 (to be continued)

 

[1] from B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The Holy Life of Prahlada, the conversation between Yamaraj, the god of death, and the relatives of a person who recently died



reincarnation (1)

(from a lecture of Swami  Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

“When the servants came to take the body (of the king) for cremation, the queens caught hold of the body with a very tight embrace and their lamentation grew even louder. The sunset has passed, but they would not leave their husband’s body. All this crying and lamentation finally came to the ears of Yamaraja in his abode.”[1] Yamaraja is the lord of death in the Indian ancient history. So he is the person to judge people’s hearts. “This lamentation disturbed his mind to such an extent, that he resolved to take the form of a boy and to go to the king’s family personally to speak with them. After reaching there he addressed them as follows: ‘This is truly amazing! – he said. – You are grown-up people, older than me, but here I see you are crying and lamenting without a good reason. You have always seen birth and death occurring around you, yet how great is the attachment you seem to have developed! You should know that all human beings come from an unknown place and again they will have to depart to the unknown. It is unavoidable, since all those who are born must die once. So why do you lament?”

Strong words, isn’t it? Of course we don’t want to be separated from our beloved ones, yet ultimately there is no reason for real lamentation.

Who had seen a dead body? Many… What was your feeling – that body itself was that person whom you loved?

Yamuna: No.

Swami Tirtha: It was different. Different. Strange, unknown. Something was missing from there, right? So we should use our brain – it’s not the body that we liked, it’s something else. We have to search for that.

“Although I’m just a child, I understand this better than you. Taking birth from our parents, we have fallen prey to these material forms that are full of misery. We seem helpless and without protection. Yet there is someone who protects us, otherwise we would not have been able to survive in our mother’s womb and we could easily have been devoured by some ferocious animals. Ah, ignorant people! Our real protector is the Supreme Lord, by whose will alone is this world created, protected and destroyed. Compared to Him all moving and non-moving living entities are very insignificant. He has full power to create and to destroy. Everything is possible for Him. If by chance someone drops an object on the road by travelling, losing it, by the protection of God no one will touch it and he will be able to find it again. Yet without the protection of God even if we keep our property locked up and well-guarded inside our house, we will lose it and it will be destroyed.”

Do you agree? I think you all remember the teachings of Lord Jesus, who said: “Collect your wealth not here where moth and rust will eat it up, but try to find it in another place.”[2] Your wealth should be there in your heart.

“By the merciful glance of the Lord one can survive even after becoming lost in the jungle. Each individual attains a body according to his individual karma and when that karma is finished, the body will vanish. What is the value of this body? This body continuously suffers the six changes of birth, growth, conservation, loss, decline and destruction.”

Here something very important is mentioned – your previous karma will help you to obtain a body. In that sense karma is not a punishment, but this is a chance to burn up your karma.

 

(to be continued)

[1] from B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The Holy Life of Prahlada

[2] Matthew 6.19



Mehrangarh-Fort_Sati-Hands_©-Meinzahn

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

We shall continue our readings from an ancient instructive story about a conflict between the negative forces and the divine forces. There was a great demoniac person, big opponent of God and he had one son who was a big devotee of the Supreme. Just imagine such a conflict! You try to give all the negative education to your son to become a nice demon, and he is not paying attention, he wants to become a good boy. You see, times are changing. What happens today in the 21st Century? Just the opposite: you want to give a good education to your son to become a nice person and he will develop some demoniac qualities. In the ancient times it was the opposite. So sometimes it is good to take a travel in time, turn back the wheel of time a little bit – few hundreds, few thousands, few millions of years back – so that to find the truth.

You see, there is always a competition between light and darkness. This story is about forgetfulness. It’s a conversation between Yamaraj, the god of death, and the relatives of a person who recently died[1].

“In the kingdom of Ushinara there lived a famous king named Suyagya. One day his enemies attacked his kingdom and the king set out with an army to engage in a battle. However in the great fight that started the king was killed. At the news of his death all the citizens of Ushinara were grief-stricken. The body of the king was lying on the battlefield, pierced by many sharp arrows and drenched in blood. Yet in spite of his many wounds, scattered hair and dull eyes, the king’s face still displayed his immense feelings of wrath. His decorated armor was torn to pieces, his jewels and ornaments were scattered all around and the dust of the battlefield clouded the luster of his face. Even his hands had been horribly severed off his body and were thrown around in different places, still grasping weapons that gleamed in the sunlight.

When the king’s family arrived on the scene, they sat down around the dead body and started to cry. The queens beat their chests without cessation and threw themselves at his feet: “Ah, lord of our lives, where have you gone!? How can we survive without you!?” The poor ladies, sunk in desperation, raised a loud wail of lamentation. The torrents of tears that poured from their eyes displayed their endless sorrow and bathed the king’s feet, while the red kunkum smeared on their breasts only served to increase the intense drama of the scene. No longer taking pleasure in elegance and beauty, the queens loosened their nicely arranged hair, tossing and breaking their expensive ornaments. Now that their husband was dead they felt that nothing mattered anymore. Their husband had been their only pleasure and hope and the loss of him left them feeling desperate. Their lamentation filled all the living entities with sorrow.”

So, in those times especially kings had a license to have many wives – more than one. Because what is the duty of a king? It’s to provide the kingdom with an inheritor. Therefore they had to have a big family. Maybe one wife can produce a male child, maybe she cannot – therefore they needed more. So it’s not only for the sake of sense gratification. The point is not the harem, the point is the children.

But you know times are changing, as we agreed. And in those ancient times men were so strong to take care of many ladies. Today they can hardly maintain one. Just imagine, my dear male friends, brothers, if you had to take care of let’s say a dozen wives. ’Ah, one is enough’, right?

But try to get the point – it’s not a strange habit, but this was the system of the social structure. Because what is very important is that the ladies should have a shelter.

So “They addressed their dead husband by saying: “Ah lord and master, how can we bear to see you in this situation? God is so cruel! He has taken away our support and protection – our husband who was dearer to us than life itself. Ah lord of our lives, our husband! Now you lie before us, you who were once maintainer of all the people of Ushinara. You used to make them more happy, but today you have made them most unhappy with your death. Ah, protector of the land, great warrior, you were our best friend, always dutiful and concerned of our welfare. How can we maintain our life without you? Ah lord, please also take us with you, wherever you are going, so that we may serve your feet there where you are.”

You see, that was the level of commitment of these wives. They committed themselves not only for one lifetime, but for the next; they were ready to die with the husband. And there is a fortress in India, in Rajastan actually; when that fortress was under attack, the men finally decided to rush out and die, because there was too much opposition and that was a lost case. And their wives were so strong and so committed, that they were ready to die with the husbands. So to commemorate their dedication, their hand-print is still on the wall of this fortress. They put their palms in kunkum, this red vermilion and they made a print of their hands on the wall. Now it is carved nicely in stone to commemorate that event.

 

(to be continued)

 

[1] from B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The Holy Life of Prahlada



Гурудев 11.I.09-40

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Kripadham: Gurudev, it’s very interesting in this story of Jay and Vijay that somehow these two gatekeepers of the spiritual sky due to their curse eventually are doing such a big mess on Earth and so many people are suffering because of their mistake. Isn’t it like this that more elevated people, let’s say senior people on the spiritual path, they have big responsibility and if they make some kind of mistake or do something bad, this somehow is destroying more things on a bigger scale?

Swami Tirtha: Yes, they have big responsibility. Because if let’s say you escape from my lecture, nobody recognizes. But if I try to escape from my lecture… Maybe it’s due to the (saffron) color; maybe I should use different color so that nobody notices.

Yet there are many different readings of the same story. You can say: “Ah, so many souls are suffering due to these original problems.” But don’t forget, nothing is by chance. All those who participated in these, so to say, sufferings, either they had to go through the sufferings to pay off some karma, or even their sufferings are glorious, because they are involved somehow in the divine arrangements.

But what you mentioned is very much true and very important: that we all have responsibilities in our lives – material and spiritual also. If the last worker is missing from the job, maybe it can be maintained. But if the head is missing, everything will fall apart. It’s the same in a family. If the strong, reliable, exemplary husband is missing, it’s very difficult to maintain it. If the attention of the mother, the wife, who is like the heart of the family, is missing, even more suffering is there. Or a spiritual community: everybody in a group of devotees has a very important place; and if only one person is missing, it’s a great pain. I heard someone telling: “Ah, we are so good, we are so strong that 70% of the devotees leave in one year!” So, ten people join your temple in a year and after one year seven are out – because you are so “strong” and you are so “powerful”. Wait a minute, my dear! If only one person leaves, you should think deeply what you had done wrong. Not that 2/3 of those who join are leaving in one year – it’s not their mistake. So there are different readings of the same story. “We are so great because seven people leave!”

Therefore our vow when joining the devotees is ‘for one lifetime minimum’. Because if I start to be a part of this group and then I withdraw, I will break the picture. Especially there is one position that a devotee with such a service should never leave. This is the cook. The cook should never leave. The singer can leave, no problem; those who listen to the lecture they can leave; those who give the lecture they can leave, even the pujari can leave, because you can substitute all. But until the cook is in his or her place, everybody feels secure. When he or she is out, everybody is very uneasy. Everybody will think: ‘Ah, my spiritual life is in danger!’ So, please, become good cooks. And how can we prevent devotees from leaving? We should make everybody a cook.

 

 

(to be continued)



autumn-tree-2853818_960_720

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday)

“Meanwhile Bhanu, the wife of Hiranyaksha, experienced great suffering due to separation from her husband. Feeling helpless in her grief, she loudly lamented her sudden widowhood. The sons of Hiranyaksha were also desperately grieving the death of their father. After completing his brother’s funeral ceremonies, Hiranyakashipu tried to pacify them. With a comforting voice he said: “Ah, sister-in-law, dear to me like a mother! Ah, children of my valiant brother! You should not grieve like this for such a great hero, who has surrendered his life without fear after an open fight on the battlefield. Warriors and heroes actually inspire for such an honorable death, considering it to be their most desirable achievement.”[1]

This is just like happening in the 21st Century. Here he says that “such an end is a heroic death”. But wait a minute – he died opposing God! Is that a heroic death? Is that a glorious death? Just like today’s media: from the most insignificant thing they can create some very big event and for the most glorious thing they can prove that it’s very bad. So nothing is new under the sun.

Kripadham: It’s very interesting because for so many years we repeat these stories and actually all the time Hiranyaksha is in devotees’ discussions. So maybe in some way he is glorious, because he is in the story?

Swami Tirtha: Yes, because still we are talking about him. But originally Jay and Vijay were good servants of the Lord and their demoniac births are only like a side track, so there are some merits behind. And also their goal – back home, back to Godhead is glorious. But actually there are two ways to achieve glory in this world. Either you become a very great devotee or you become a very great demon. Because then everybody will talk about you.

“In this world – Hiranyakashipu continued – we are like travelers, who stop for some time at a resting place on the road. Why should we lament if we have to leave this place? We all come from different places, we meet for a short time and then leave, each for a different destination. Actually the original form of the self is the soul, which is different from the body and is never destroyed like the body. The soul is eternal and is not subjected to the change of transformation. He is pure, omnipresent and omniscient. The soul does not actually enjoy or suffer material experiences, but perceives pleasure and suffering due to being covered and contaminated by ignorance. For this reason only the self loses his original knowledge and feels loss and lamentation. When the water of a lake trembles, the trees standing on the bank of the lake also seem to tremble in the reflection of the water. Likewise, someone who is moving around will see also the world around him as moving.” Right – if you ride on a boat you might think: ‘All the trees and the hills are moving.’ No, actually you are moving. “Consequently the mind becomes agitated by the three qualities of material nature, but this is actually due to material contamination of identifying ourselves with the mind and body.” You see, he knows the philosophy. You cannot find a mistake here. “To those who identify with their bodies, pleasure means obtaining what is dear to or desired by the body and avoiding what they don’t like. And suffering is inability to get what the body likes or having to experience what the body does not like. This identification with the body is the prime cause of karma, which causes us to take birth in a womb and begin the process of suffering. Karma, or selfish activity, is the root cause of material existence, creating birth, death, ignorance, anxiety and many other sufferings. Although sometimes in the cycle of karma we may gain some understanding and knowledge, we unfortunately tend to forget it all as our material sojourn evolves. This is nicely illustrated in a conversation between Yamaraj, the lord of death and the relatives of a man recently desisted. Please listen as I will narrate this ancient story to you.”

 

(to be continued)

[1] Swami Tirtha continues the reading from B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The Holy Life of Prahlada



ягя

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday)

“As it is an intrinsic nature of the demons to take pleasure in violence and destruction…”[1] Pay attention, please! So, if you are violent and if you destruct things – that means demoniac habits. And the solution is not that you don’t take pleasure in violence and destructing things, still you are performing with a sour face. But try to refrain from these negative activities. Try to serve others in a gentle way and help things to build up.

“…but as this is the nature of the demons, they accepted Hiranyakashipu’s orders with great enthusiasm and respect. Like madmen they began to harass the people. In the rage of destruction they burned to ashes cities, villages, cowsheds, gardens, agriculture fields, forests, ashrams of sages, dwellings of farmers, grazing fields and capitals of kingdoms, and everything else that came to their minds. Some of the demons demolished bridges, buildings and city gates with their iron spears; some felled mango trees, jack-fruit trees and another valuable fruit trees with their axes, cutting them to pieces. In this way the demoniac servants of Hiranyakashipu created a non-stop and greatly serious disturbance for all the people. So much so that the performance of yagyas and other pious activities became extremely difficult, if not impossible. Unable to receive their share of sacrifices, the demigods left the heavenly realm and began to move about in this world.”

Sometimes you can feel that happening even today – that pious activities are very difficult to perform, while there is every chance to do something wrong. Day and night it is possible to get some tobacco and alcohol. But to get some bread and milk… you have to wait until the lorry comes and the shop opens. So we live in a little distorted age, therefore we have to pay extra attention.

Question of Kripadham: Gurudev, when all the demons destroyed yagyas and everything it was mentioned that demigods came to the Earth. Why?

Swami Tirtha: Because they did not receive their share. No yagyas were going up there and they were hungry.

Kripadham: But if they are coming so closely to their devotees, why sufferings for them existed still? I don’t understand that – why they come and they still suffer?

Swami Tirtha: I think you will very easily understand it when Manjari will forget to cook for two or three days. You don’t get your share, and the husband will come down from his very prestigious position, will come very close to the beloved and devoted wife – still there is some inconvenience, right? In the same way, if the cycle of sacrifice and mutual service is broken, this whole chain of peaceful existence is broken as well. Therefore the participants are removed from their respective roles. Demons, who should not dominate, will dominate. Demigods, who should give the blessings, cannot perform their duties. Men, who should sacrifice, cannot do it – everything is upside down. Therefore everybody is searching for solution.

Also we should not forget that everything that happens is a necessary ingredient for the lilas, in order Nrisimhadev could come. Without these problems He could not come. In order to show us a good example. In order to rectify the mistake of Jay and Vijay – the original problem. And to correct the consequences of domination of the demoniac race. So everybody is in a state of expectation: ‘What’s going to happen? I don’t find my place, let’s do something.” Therefore the established order is a little broken and in this way the story evolves.

Our life is also broken a little bit if we give up our practice. Then our picture, our spiritual vision is blocked and we do not see the harmony behind the things. Therefore it is very much necessary to maintain sadachar, spiritual practice.

(to be continued)

 

[1] The reading continues from B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The Holy Life of Prahlada



May

21

кравички-ангели

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

“In their first birth Jay and Viyay became the sons of Diti, the matriarch of demoniac race. The elder son was named Hiranyakashipu and the younger son was named Hiranyaksha. Both commanded the respect of all the demons.”[1]

We know that Hiranyaksha invited Vishnu as an enemy. And also Hiranyakashipu invited Vishnu to fight. Varaha, the incarnation of Vishnu, killed Hiranyaksha. And when Hiranyakashipu saw that his brother was dead, he made a vow to retaliate.

“Fuming with anger, Hiranyakashipu stopped for a while, then continued addressing the demons: “When a tree is cut at the root, all the branches and leafs will naturally dry out. In the same way, if my enemy Vishnu is killed, all the demigods will perish, because Vishnu is their life and soul. Until I succeed in killing Vishnu, you should persist in killing all those who perform acts of spiritual virtue, such as austerities, worship, sacrifices, study of the Vedas, making vows and giving in charity.” You see – everybody according to his capacity. “I will kill God, you kill the servants of God. You are my servants, so you do your job, I will do my job.” So this is their ways. “You should also kill those, such as brahmins, kshatriyas and other human beings, who sincerely follow the religious duty in accordance with the principles of dharma. Vishnu is the beneficiary of the sacrifices performed by the brahmins. Vishnu is well-known as the supreme shelter of dharma and the Lord of sacrifice. The demigods take their share of the sacrifice only after He has. If you kill the brahmins, all sacrifices and the other religious activities will be stopped. As a result Vishnu will become weak and finally will be destroyed. The cows survive by eating grass and they supply ghee from their milk. The brahmanas perform their sacrificial offerings to Vishnu by using ghee and Vedic mantras. Hereby the strength and power of the Lord is nourished. Therefore you should destroy all the trees and plants that can be eaten by the cows and torch all the places where you see cows, brahmins and the Vedas, or people following the system of varnashrama as recommended by the Vedas.”

So, this is the difference between the worship of Vishnu and the worship of Krishna. Vishnu can be worshiped with ghee and Vedic mantras. And how to worship Krishna?

Answers: With service. With love. With the fire of the eyes.

Swami Tirtha: You have learned something. Yeah, simple ghee is not satisfying for Krishna. Because ghee is a product of the milk of the cows; and He wants the ghee of your milk. Don’t forget, your milk is your life; and what is your ghee? It’s your love. So, churn your ocean of milk to get the nectar, to get the ghee – and we should offer this to Krishna.

And what is our Vedic mantra? Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Vedic mantras are very complicated. This age is very fallen. So, if only these three little words are the ones you remember, you can perform all Vedic sacrifices.

 

(to be continued)

[1] Continues the reading from B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The Holy Life of Prahlada

 



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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

We shall start our readings about the holy life of Prahlada. This is a book of Bhakti Vallabh Tirtha Maharaj, a disciple of Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj, who is a disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. Today he is one of the most senior vaishnavas on this planet – senior not only by age, but by respect. Therefore we should pay great attention to his words.

The holy life of Prahlada. Most of you basically know the story. Yet we should always try to find some new ways to enter into the same story and to extract new conclusions from the old stories that we have heard hundreds of times. This is called progress. You repeat the same thing and it will give you a new taste – it’s called progress. This is completely the opposite of the material stuff where you have to find something new to get the same old taste; but in spiritual life we do the same things and yet it will bring new and new alive taste. So this is a very unique process. We don’t have to invent new mantras in order to satisfy our eagerness. Like Shrila Prabhupad said after he had three or five thousand disciples: “Now we have enough milk. It’s time to condense it.”

So, the holy life of Prahlada begins with the birth of Hiranyakashipu. “Once in the course of their travels around the three worlds, the four sages born from the mind of Brahma – the Kumaras – arrived unannounced at Vaikuntha, the residence of the Supreme Lord. Although the four Kumaras are actually very old, their appearance is like that of small children, and they also travel around naked. It so happened that the two doorkeepers of Vaikuntha – Jay and Vijay – saw the four Kumaras approaching. Thinking them to be ordinary children, they prevented them from entering Vaikuntha, addressing them thus: “Where have you come from? Are you unaware that no one can enter here without prior permission?” Although the four Kumaras repeatedly tried to enter Vaikuntha, Jay and Vijay kept turning them away. Finally, becoming angry, the four Kumaras cursed the gatekeepers exclaiming: “You, rascals! You are prohibiting us from entering without exercising proper discrimination and out of pride only! In the abode of the Lord the qualities of ignorance and passion cannot exist. Thus you are not qualified to reside at the lotus feet of the Lord Madhusudhan. We therefore curse you to fall down from this place and be born as demons with material bodies.” And from the blow of the sages’ powerful curse Jay and Vijay immediately felled from their exalted position. Seeing their miserable plight, the four Kumaras took pity on them and promised them that after three lifetimes they will be relieved from the effect of their curse.”

You see, if there is disharmony, then consequents will come. This is a big question – whether in Vaikuntha there might be any disharmony or not? But don’t forget, Jay and Vijay are only gatekeepers, they are outside. Once there was a question: “Where is the limit of illusion? How to find the limit between illusion and real spiritual existence?” You might think that this is a philosophical question. But no, this is a topographical question. Because the last limit of illusion is the entrance door of the temple. Until that moment, until that threshold it’s illusion dominating, but beyond that it’s divine energy dominating.

 

(to be continued)

 



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(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Manjari: Gurudev, you said that first we have to inquire and learn what our dharma is, and then we have to do what is necessary. My question is: sometimes I feel – maybe I’m wrong – but sometimes I feel I know what I’m supposed to do, what is right, and somehow I don’t have the internal strength to do it. Somehow it’s so incredibly difficult to do even the simple things. So from where do I take the strength to do what is right?

Swami Tirtha: It’s very easy – take the strength from your husband. You see how happy he is hearing this message? He is ready to serve you in any way. You are very fortunate. But when he is in need, you should also be ready to serve him in the same way. Therefore grihastha-ashram is a sadhu-sanga, very closed type, very special type.

If the resources of your husband are running out,don’t worry, he’s got some friends. If the resources of the friends are running out, don’t worry, he’s got some well-wishers. And if the resources of the well-wishers are running out, don’t worry, he’s got a God. And He’s got unlimited resources. Other questions?

Question of Paramananda: My inquiry is in the context of this question of Manjari Devi – it basically concerns transcending our worldly duties and offering them to the Supreme. And as Narottam Thakur said in a bhajan dedicated to Rupa Goswami: sei vrata, sei tapa, sei mora mantra-japa, sei mora dharma-karma[1] – so I was wondering how can we understand this type of mood in the context of our worldly duties also?

Swami Tirtha: In the explanation of your question you have given the key to this problem. Because to whom are these verses dedicated? Who is sei mora mantra-japa, tapa, vrata, whatever? Who is that? This is Rupa Gowami. So, if you have a person under whose guidance you live, whom you follow, who is your hero in life – then everything what you do is done for him. And one step higher, soon you will realize if you are a surrendered soul, you will understand that whatever you do is not done by you, it is done through you. But only on condition of full surrender. Otherwise your ego is included and then it distorts the whole situation. Therefore the first step in spiritual progress is to capture our conscious identity. And the second is to dedicate this captured conscious identity at the lotus feet of God Supreme.

Otherwise this was a ‘how to’ question. And you all know the answer of this type of questions. What is the answer?

Paramananda: Chant more.

Swami Tirtha: Correct.

[1] “You are my vows, you are my renunciation, you are the soft repetition of my mantras, you are my dharma and my karma