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August 2018
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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




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“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



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