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Extra English Issues issues

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

 



traditional-indian-motif-jaipur

(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)

 



images (2)

(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



bike-front-door

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Kripadham: A practical question. For example, somebody is close to us in some respect – in family or otherwise – and he does not respect enough our spiritual master, directly showing offensive attitude, and we see that without knowing the person he has an opinion. The question is: what is the result of such a meditation for this person? Is the fact that he is connecting his mind to a holy person enough that he will get good results, although he might be offensive towards this person – like Kamsa, who was offensive towards Krishna, still he got some good results, moksha?

Swami Tirtha: I would say ‘yes’ – in a very hopeful way I would say ‘yes’. Because if you ask that pure saintly person, whether he takes the offences or not – definitely he will not take the offence. But Krishna does not really like if somebody is offensive with His devotees. Yet it depends on us also how we represent our saints. Because you can represent the softest and the most elevated saint in such a way that everybody will be offended. While we can see that today’s media can represent the most insignificant person in such a way that everybody will be astonished. Right? So it depends on us also, how we represent.

Once when I was living in Gyor they stole my bicycle from in front of the house where I was living. When I saw it, somehow I was a little wondering there what to do. Some other people came from the same house and somehow we started a discussion that ‘This bicycle is missing from here. It was here, but now it’s not here…’ Then they said: “Ah, maybe it belonged to that Krishna-person”. And somehow they had not a very pleasant opinion about that person. “Did you meet him?” – I asked. “No, we did not meet him, but he is not nice.” Talking to me – who was that person they’ve never met – in a friendly way: “Well, to you we can tell that he is not very nice.” But I also had to add something, I told them: “I know that person, he is not that bad.” So, it depends on the representation also.

But there was another case in the same house. At that time we did not have any telephone connections, only one old couple had a telephone in the house. So once the devotees sent a message through them, involving them. And they were very-very nice gentle persons, rather elderly. Nothing special – just telling this message, saying ‘hello’ when meeting in the corridor. And then the old man had to be taken to the hospital and soon he died. Then the wife later told us that on his deathbed he was remembering the devotees. So, even if somebody transmits a message, in the last moment he is thinking of the devotees. Krishna’s ways are unlimited. He can help people in very incredible ways. Therefore we have to represent Him and our masters, and our brothers, our sisters in a nice way. So that anybody who comes in contact with you should remember in a positive way.

But we should try to defend the dignity of our mission, of our God, of our superiors, of our faith. Sometimes strongly, sometimes in a gentle way, yet we should show that this is important for us.

 

(to be continued)

 



worship

(continues from the previous Monday)

You all have to become sannyasis – not formally, but internally. Be independent. Because by being independent you can become a better servant. If you are entangled, day and night no end of the stories of life – then you are not aware what’s happening. So please, be aware of your life, of your time, of your environment. Awareness is important. And as internal, secret sannyasis, you can become perfect and exemplary grihasthas. In this way you can prepare yourself for total renunciation – which in our explanation is total dedication. And I think you take all very good lessons of surrender and flexibility and dedication in your families.

The tree main duties of sannyasis are sattva-samshudhi – purification of life; the second is cultivating divine knowledge; and the third one is abhaya, fearlessness. Do you need these in grihastha life? A little knowledge how to resolve problems? A little purity of life? And a big dose of fearlessness? I think you need them. So, this is not a formal way, but an essential way.

So either you are a grihastha or a sannyasi, practically you have to come to the same platform of being independent, yet fully engaged and dedicated in your services. But we have not discussed the sannyasis – if they also practice the qualities of the grihasthas? Well, there are certain qualities they should not embrace, but there are others definitely they should – like being supportive, for example. Yet if the grihasthas start to behave like sannyasis, and the sannyasis start to behave like grihasthas, that’s a big scandal. If you are expected to renounce everything and the sannyasis start to collect everything – it’s not very good. Because if you don’t collect enough, then if next time the sannyasi comes to you, what can he collect from you? Can you say: “Sorry, swamiji, no chapatti for you.” Or if he asks for your son: “Sorry, no son for you. We have only one and we need that.” You have to satisfy these very eager swamis, who want to collect. They want to snatch all your attachments. Therefore they have big temples – to put everything that they collect.

So this is a little reflection about the question whether we should go through all the different experience. But we should not forget about divine love. And in many traditions they say that without experiencing the worldly love, you cannot understand, you cannot progress to divine love. Also they use the erotic poetry, for example, to express the divine love, the divine rapture. But don’t misunderstand symbolism! If somewhere you find that: “The devotees served the wine of ecstasy to Mahaprabhu”, don’t think that it comes from the grapes.

Usually love of the beings and love of God, the loving approach to the beings and the loving approach to the Supreme should go together. Krishna says in the Bhagavatam that “If somebody worships Me in the temple and bows down in front of My deity, but does not respect living entities, he cannot come to Me.”[1] So usually these two platforms should be practiced and they should somehow come together and meet. But that is a big question: which is first? I think that divine love can embrace more people and more living entities than simple so to say ‘material’ love.

 

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.29.22



Bhaktivinoda_and_family

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Kripadham: Can we understand the final goal, prema-bhakti, if we did not understand previous goals, like different dharmas in our lives?

Swami Tirtha: Very good question, because sometimes in the beginning stage we think that ‘yes, it’s possible’. And then in the ultimate stage we don’t think, but we are convinced that this is possible. But in the middle stage better stick to your duty. Because purification is not that easy and not that quick as you might think in the beginning. Because you engage, engage, engage yourself with something and then finally after years you will say: “Hey! I missed whole of my life!” Therefore the general way of Indian tradition suggests that you should go through all the different levels of life, through all the ashrams – then you are accomplished. Of course it does not sound very convincing from my lips, because I skipped a few. Yet we should distinguish between material engagement and real spiritual progress. Krishna is not possessed by renunciates. He is there in everybody’s heart, so everybody is able to establish and cultivate that connection. And as Shrila Shridhara Maharaj expressed, sometimes a brahmachari or a grihastha has much more burning love for Krishna than some ascetics. So it does not depend on your ashram, on your external position; it depends on your internal commitment.

But usually we can say that on a medium and long run, without someone being established nicely in his or her job in life generally, it’s less reliable in spiritual practices either.

Once there was a case. There was a very strong grihastha community and they had a spiritual master. That spiritual master once made a remark publicly: “If you preach about sannyas, you will have very good grihasthas; if you preach about grihastha-ashram, you will have only griha-medhis.” Griha-medhi is who lives a material life and enjoys family. And when it happened, there was an ascetic as a guest. And you know, we have this very special protective system, it’s called ‘wishful hearing’. So practically all the grihastha community used both ears while receiving this message: one in, the other out. But our sannyasi friend paid a lot of attention: “A, very strong message!” So, he engraved that into his memory. And next time when they met again, he quoted the master of the group. He said: “If you speak about sannyas, you will have very nice grihasthas; if you speak about grihastha-ashram, you will have only griha-medhis.” Everybody was astonished. And not only astonished, but offended – so much so that they didn’t dare to ask or reflect on this. After years somebody came to this sannyasi and asked: “Do you remember that expression of yours?” “What?” “That one about the sannyasis, and the grihasthas, and the griha-medhis!” Because everybody was offended that ’Maybe this newcomer wants to attack us, attack our strong family establishment!’  So when finally it came to the surface, they asked: “And where did you take this offensive remark?” Then he said: “This is a direct quotation from your spiritual master!” Oops!

So, sometimes we make mistakes. We try to hide, we don’t like to be exposed. Don’t be griha-medhis, be griha-stha. Ah, sorry, I made a mistake! Sannyas! The only alternative is sannyas! Because what is the meaning of griha-stha? “A person who stays at home”; stha is “to stay in some place”. Griha is the home, stha is the person who is well-established there. “Stability” comes from stha. That means reliable, not simply jumping here and there. Because grihastha should be the support of all others in the society; not only of his own family, but of all others who need any support or help.

And it was very nicely proved and showed by one friend of Gurudev – Shripad Shrutashrava Prabhu. He had six children. I think you can imagine what it is to take care of six children. But all the time they had at least one guest in their home – just to serve the guest also. They had a very intimate connection with Gurudev – so much so that when Gurudev visited that city, he did not go to the temple, but to this family. This person was a very-very exemplary grihastha – how to serve others, how to protect his family. Every week, I think twice – once himself, other times his wife – they went to the temple to cook. And the wife, she always had an eye on the feet of the brahmacharis – if they need some socks, if they have enough medicine. It was very, very nice to see how they shared their family attention with others.

 

(to be continued)

 



fault

(continues from the previous Monday) 

“One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.”[1]

“Surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord” – so it’s not only that we should be selfless, but also we should offer the results of our activities to the Supreme. Therefore it is suggested that it’s not enough first to work and then finally think of Krishna: “And this is for You, by the way!” but even from the very first start, from the beginning we should make it as an offering. Many times you forget this principle. You start a new business, you start big projects in your life without asking or without consulting anyone. If you don’t learn that by asking blessings on your activities it’s much better, then you will not know the know-how of the spiritual progress. Therefore even at the very beginning we should try to satisfy Krishna with our activities. And how to do that? Very easy! Just ask Him. “Ah my Lord, what do You think? This is my offering.” Or if you don’t have a direct link, direct connection – which might happen, that you don’t have the receivers – then ask someone who knows, who can translate the coded answer of the Supreme. Because sometimes the no answer is also an answer.

And then you are “unaffected by sinful actions”. Never affected by sin. Usually I don’t stress too much the topic of sin. Right, usually we don’t speak too much about sin, we don’t speak too much about illusion, we don’t speak too much about the demons. Nevertheless we should know what is what – what is proper action and what is improper action. I think you all can judge what is proper and what is not. If you don’t know, you can start acting and then by the results you will know: ‘It was not good.’ And from the superficial platform when we show that we are ‘devotees’, you should come to a very honest, a very sincere platform.

Sometimes devotees’ lives progress on two levels: one is on stage, in front of others; and the other is behind the scenes. And you think that nobody peeps behind the scenes – when you relax on your principles, when you make something stupid, when you are idle too much, when you use substitutes instead of something real, when you watch movies instead of chanting your rounds, or whatever – I think you all know your shortcomings. So why should I point the finger? Because if I point a finger on you, I have to point three fingers on me. And as I am a bigger sinner than you why should I point out at you?

Be satisfied that I’m not interested in your mistakes. But you should be interested in your own mistakes. Be your own judge. Be your own guru. And be the advocate of others. A judge for yourself and an advocate for others. Instead of wasting your time in thinking that you are progressing, do something! Because even our body belongs to Krishna, it comes from Him. So use it for Him. Everything comes from the divine source. From this ultimate source everything is divided according to nama and rupa, name and form, and is born from foodstuff. So everybody is maintained by foodstuff. Therefore if you have an unwelcome guest, how to get rid of him?

Paramananda: Keep him hungry.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, don’t serve him, he will go away soon. You should apply this for your unwanted internal ‘friends’ – bad conditionings, bad habits, stupid desires, or idleness, whatever… You know, everybody has quite a nice circle of ‘friends’. Don’t supply them, don’t feed them, because then they will grow. Therefore it is said: if there is an unwanted guest or if there is a disease, don’t feed it – it will go away. So fasting, fasting is good. First we refrain from meat, then we control the meat – the body.

 

(to be continued)

 

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.10



moon-lotus

Life is short; but it takes such a long time to survive. So we should use time – this divine power – in a most appropriate way. As we are engaged in so many things in this life of planet Earth, we should be very careful about not wasting our time. And you all know that the best use of time is the worship, the glorification, the meditation over the Supreme Lord. We know it theoretically and I’m sure you all can tell this to a newcomer, but we should also practice. From a formal, official and external platform, we should come to some natural free flow of this spiritual connection.

We read in Shrimad Bhagavad Gita: “One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.”[1]

Strong words for today. Let’s start with the lotus. It’s not only that it’s always above the water – and in this way although born in water, yet always untouched by water – but also when a drop of water is put on the leaf of the lotus, it just runs down because it cannot attach to this waxy surface of the leaf. So please, become lotus flowers – so that action and reaction cannot touch you. But there are some qualifications how to achieve that: “One should perform his duty, without attachment.”

To do your duty without attachment first you should understand what your duty is. Maya Devi is just like a very good boss – engaging everybody. And we are not aware what’s happening, because life is just like a very strong current of a river. You enter the river and immediately you are washed away. This lack of awareness is the prime cause of being under the guidance of illusion.

So, what is our duty, what is our ultimate duty? Some people will tell you that your duty is dharma-artha-kama. That means: be a religious person, or morally well-established; be useful; and enjoy life. Some will add this forth – moksha: go for liberation, find your way to the light. But in one sense we can say that all these four – three plus one – types of engagements are born from the three modes, with all the folk rituals coming from under the three modes. And until we are under the influence of these gunas, we can never get out. In order to find the way out we need something that is above and beyond this influence – something spiritual.

You are clever devotees, sitting here on lectures for a long-long time. So you could give the same lecture: “In order to escape from the clutches of illusion you have to be engaged in spiritual activities!” Powerfully preaching to those, who are ‘deeply engrossed in maya’. But please, before starting to speak like this, engage yourself in spiritual activities. And in the beginning we think: ‘Ah, yes, I put on my dhoti, so I’m very spiritual.’ Or you have given up some very insignificant thing and you think: ‘Ah, it’s a great achievement!’ Or you are engaged in certain practices, but you think that purification is quick and easy. Later on your vision might be a little more realistic – that purification is not that easy. It is fast – if you follow – but it’s not that easy as you think.

Once we were on a mela[2] with devotees and it was a full moon night. One of the senior devotees, who vas very-very-very and fully dedicated – she was famous for doing first the services for others and then maybe something for her – while chanting under the shades of the trees in this full moon night, she said: “Well, maybe this purification is not that easy…” I think that definitely proved her purity.

But first understand your duty and then do it selflessly. If you don’t understand yet the ultimate duty – that is cultivation of prema or glorification of the meeting of Radha and Shyama – then try to find your relative duty and do it nicely, selflessly.

 

(to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 5.10

[2] Spiritual gathering



20883026_10155605320315489_1441111248175560339_n (1)

(continues from the previous Monday)
Question of Mahadev: Should we look at guru as the sole method or messenger for us to connect to God, or we should look at him in a different way?
Swami Tirtha: It depends on the consciousness of the disciple, what he will perceive in the master: whether he will see a fearful instructor; or he will see a messenger of God, as you say; or some more intimate subtle aspect of the higher reality. But as I said, this is under divine control. Guru is a divine function; it’s not a human function. If this divine touch can enter our life, then we are fortunate. And later on we shall develop the small details for ourselves, we should understand for ourselves. But it’s not that the guru is a magician and he will all of a sudden purify my consciousness, provide me with everything in life and also save me for eternity. But this is a process, it depends on the cultivation. And slowly-slowly we should enter deeper and deeper layers of reality, and in this way our picture about our master will also be fine-tuned and may be closer to some reality.
Mahadev: There are many ancient invocations or mantras which glorify the spiritual master. Is there any connection between the mantra and guru himself? There is one of the most famous Indian mantras: Asato maa sat gamaya, which is only recited during sunrise, but could we look a little bit more symbolically at this mantra – like we glorify the light and the guru in the perspective of light as well? Going deeper in the meaning of the mantra it’s like a call for guru.
Swami Tirtha: Well, generally in the Orient everybody knows that by serving the master you will find a sure entrance to higher realities. Therefore the master represents the connection between the humans and the divine realm. In that sense anything that we perceive is part of that connection. Or anything that we practice will help us to realize the importance of that divine connection.
There are direct mantras which glorify the blessings of the master, which express our attitude to our savior. Maybe some other mantras have different texts, but according to our mentality we shall recognize different deeper or more mystic meanings. And of course if we focus on our spiritual master, we can see him everywhere. If we focus on divinity, we shall perceive divinity everywhere. Nothing is excluded from that picture.
In that sense Asato maa sat gamaya – “From unreal lead me to the real, lead me to reality”; who will lead me to reality? Somebody has to take that role. And what is reality for me? Reality is represented by the master, who had already seen the reality. He is a part of that realm and I am a part of this realm; so between the two sides of this ocean somebody has to act like a messenger, like a boatman, who will help me to cross.
Or “From the darkness lead me to the light!” Of course ‘light’ is the eternal light and guru is such a person who can bring the light even in the darkness. So definitely this is a prayer to him also. And ultimately “From death lead me to immortality, lead me to eternity!” – that’s the best prayer to say and to wait for the benefit to come.
Mahadev: And finally, what is to be a spiritual master? Is it difficult to bear all these characters around you and all the responsibilities for other people; or is it just a blissful duty you do for the sake of humanity?
Swami Tirtha: Well, what kind of answer do you want – an official one or a real one?
Mahadev: Both.
Swami Tirtha: All right, then I give you the official: ah, it’s a blissful service! If you want my human opinion also: sometimes this is, of course, unbearable. But the real-real answer is that: I don’t know! Because I’m not a master. I’m a servant of my master. So better we ask him about this question.
And this is not a joke. I want to maintain that mentality – that even though some people expect some spiritual guidance from me, I want to act as their servant, as their help. Just like Shrila Shridhara Maharaj said that “We are students and we shall eternally remain like that” – this is my ambition. Thank you so much!

 



Magician

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Mahadev: It’s very easy to follow your spiritual master when he is around. And what about the cases when guru is very far away, for example? Or even if he passes away, what should the student do after that?

Swami Tirtha: Usually, especially when the spiritual master ‘dies’, so to say, or leaves this planet, then it’s a real test for the disciple: what you have learned. What you have learned by force? What you have learned by heart? What you have learned which is really part of you? And what was a formality….? Because we shall lose the formality. But the essence should stay with us.

Otherwise this whole question is under a divine protection. And I am fully sure, fully convinced that a real master will never leave a real disciple. Just like a real disciple will never leave a real master. And as we believe in the spiritual connection, in the connection between soul and soul, therefore this physical presence is secondary. Of course it’s very important, very useful, and we should take the opportunity, if we have a chance to associate. But we have to cultivate also the spiritual connection, which is always there. This is a connection to the higher reality. So, a real master will never leave. And especially when we are in difficulty, he will come back. He will help us to recall what we have learned.

Mahadev: In such a difficult situation some people have dreams of their guru, or they imagine that they talk to him. How much should we trust these visions? Are they real? Or we should consider that just mental speculations?

Swami Tirtha: It’s difficult to judge. It depends on the person, on the case. But generally we can say that there is a chance to be connected to a higher authority – through dreams, through meditations, through visions. And you can train yourself also in this matter. If you don’t have a chance of physical association, you can imagine your master – just invite your master like you are standing in front of him and put the question, open up the trouble you have. And then you can perceive what kind of answer you will receive. So we can train ourselves. Of course, especially when he is here, it’s easier to train; therefore we shouldn’t miss the opportunity.

But definitely the higher reality can use any objects, any method of the lower reality to approach us. This is a spiritual fact. The only requirement is that we have to be sincere, pure in intention and open to the invitations. Don’t be like a doll in the hands of your imagination and your fantasies.

Mahadev: Talking about death, does death disrupt the connection between guru and student?

Swami Tirtha: Unfortunately I have the experience of both sides. Our spiritual master, so to say, ‘has died’ and unfortunately I had to face the death of some of my disciples. One feeling is more penetrating and more painful than the other. Because it gives us a real realization of separation.

But I feel the connection and the presence of my master. I have my disciples in my prayers. And I believe in the spiritual reality, irrespective of material or bodily death or separation.

 

(to be continued)