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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

dhruva divya-darshana

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

Question of Kripadham: Gurudev, in connection with the story of Hiranyakashipu I’m reminded of another story in Shrimad Bhagavatam, about Dhruva Maharaj. If I’m correct he wanted to become king and also made a penance and finally he got what he wanted. But he achieved it for a shorter time; and another personality appeared as a result – Vishnu. Could you please explain what the difference between these two cases is?

Swami Tirtha: There’s a big difference. Actually this book contains two stories – one is Prahlad’s story and the other is Dhruva’s story. Why? Because Mahaprabhu was listening to these stories many, many times. Therefore Shrila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj repeats and teaches us through these stories.

And what is the difference? The big difference is that although Dhruva had an ambition ‘I want to rectify a mistake, I want to achieve a position’ – so we can say material motivation – meanwhile he met Narada. He met his spiritual master, who asked: “What do you want, my dear son?” “Well, I want to achieve this and that…” Narada said: “Very nice! If you want to achieve that, I can give you the best mantra for that.” Then Dhruva started to do his also very severe penance and meditation – but under instruction. And who is Narada Muni? He is the apostle of bhakti. So, what can you expect from such a guru? Of course devotion and ecstasy manifested at the end – divya darshan came, Dhruva met God. While who was Hiranyakashipu’s spiritual master? It was his mind. He was performing heavy penance, no doubt, but what kind of ecstasy was found there? And you see, he ‘only’ met Brahma.

So, my dear ones, if you want to follow the instructions of your mind-spiritual master, you can do it. But I tell you, you will have a hard time. Because today your mind will tell you one thing, tomorrow will tell you something else. That master is very difficult to satisfy. While usually what happens with an external spiritual master? For the rest of your life he will tell you only one and the same thing: “Please, do your service!” No jumping here and there, only one. “Why don’t you chant the holy names with a pure heart and soul?” So if you follow, if you decide, if you have your sankalpa with your external spiritual master,again you will have a hard time. Because it’s difficult to listen to the same message during your lifetime – ‘Come on, it’s so boring! I’m going mad! I’ve heard, you told me so many times to be a nice devotee; do you have something else to say? Give me something new!’ It’s difficult to tolerate a spiritual master. As he is obsessed. He is obsessed with this Krishna, obsessed with this prema. And he has no other topic. We cannot discuss football with our master, because he will say: “Football? Yes, the gopas play football with Krishna.” All the time he comes with these Krishna things.

And actually what happens at the end? You meet your spiritual master. Dhruva met the goal of his master, the worshipable God Supreme of his master. Because Narada worships Krishna; so if you follow the instructions of your spiritual master, you will meet the beloved one of your spiritual master. Because what is the essence of Narada? The essence of Narada Muni is Krishna. And what is the essence of Hiranyakashipu’s guru, his mind? It’s Brahma – ‘give me this, give me that’. This is the difference.

So, if you follow your guru, you can meet his heart. If you follow your mind, there will be also some results. Decide for yourself.

Question of Harilila: It is amazing that Brahma came, although he knew that Hiranyakashipu wanted to take his position. I make a parallel: when you desire something from your spiritual master, he is ready to give it to you, to give his qualities to you. It’s quite strange that he made this. He appreciated even the bad disciple.

Swami Tirtha: Well, Hiranyakashipu was a good disciple. His intention was little impure. Bur otherwise he was very intent in his service. Still, until we ask insignificant external things from our superiors or from Krishna, they will give them easily. What is the only thing that they don’t give easily?

Hayagriva: Pure bhakti.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. Prema they don’t give so cheap. Why? Because even Krishna knows that prema is stronger than Him. ‘If I give prema to this person, he will be able to control Me.’ And it’s very difficult to tie Krishna up, to have Him in one place for a long time. He is so free! We envy His freedom so much! Therefore we have this very weak idea of the free will of the soul. Because we want to imitate a certain little amount of His freedom. If you see Krishna here, when you want to see Him the second time there, He is already in another place. He is moving very fast. But if somebody is in jail, he cannot move that fast. So what can you do? Let’s put Krishna into a jail. Where is that jail? Inside the heart – that is the place for Krishna. There you can tie Him up with the bonds of divine love. To repeat the prayers of our previous acharyas: “Ah Krishna, You are so free, it’s impossible to tie You up. You are running so fast away from me. Yet I want to put You into the jail of my heart and bind You up with the chains of my love, so that You can never leave. So that You ever stay with me.”[1] This is the prayer of a devotee.

[1] Bilvamangal Thakur: Shri Chauragraganyam Purushashtakam-



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