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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 09.05.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“O brahmana, you appear to be moving in this world very much covered and unknown to others. Who are you? Are you a learned brahmana and a saintly person? I see that you are wearing a sacred thread. Are you one of those exalted, liberated saints such as Dattatreya and other highly advanced, learned scholars? May I ask whose disciple you are? Where do you live? Why have you come to this place? Is your mission in coming here to do good for us? Please let me know who you are.”[1]

Here is mentioned that Jada Bharata wears a sacred thread. This is a sign of the brahmins, it’s a symbol of learning. And it also represents the three Vedas. Just imagine yourself if the three Vedas embrace your upper body – you are protected by the truth. Then you cannot do anything, automatically you are disciplined. There is another sign of a spiritual practitioner and this is the shikha. This is like a tuft of hair on the top of the head. Especially for men, because ladies naturally have long hair. We might say that these are external symbols, external signs. They symbolize spiritual knowledge and renunciation. Yet sometimes we might possess the symbols, but we don’t posses the qualities. So, which is more important – to have long hair and less qualities, or to have normal hairstyle and more qualities? They say that on the more realized platform renunciation is not a question of hairstyle. And spiritual knowledge, divine knowledge is not a question of having some threads around your shoulders or not. Although we respect all the forms and traditions, nevertheless we should pay more attention to the essence.

Let’s take one example. The six Goswamis, the direct followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu 500 years ago – they were excellent brahmanas and they were excellent in accomplishment of all spiritual knowledge, renunciation, dedication, whatever. But ultimately they are not described as wearing the brahmana’s thread for example. Why? Because they renounce all these formalities for the sake of full dedication to their beloved Mahaprabhu. Because we can say that hairstyle, some colors of garment, or this brahmana’s thread are like caste symbols. It doesn’t signify your eternal position. It shows our relative position in a society, but it doesn’t reflect our original position. Because our original position is to be a humble servant of the Divine Couple. Is there any symbol for that? How do you think?

Raga: The light from the heart, from the soul shows.

Swami Tirtha: Yes. But the heart usually is hidden deep. It’s not externalized too much. There is a very beautiful song, how was that? Mama mana mandire – “Please, my Lord. Always live in the temple of my heart, of my mind. I will worship You with the best offerings. I will bring flowers to You. I will bring sandalwood to You. And I will worship You with the flame of my eyes and the water of my tears.” So, we can say these are the signs of our eternal position being a loving servant of the Supreme. But again, sometimes it’s easy to possess the external signs. Some tears in your eyes everybody can produce – a good actor can produce that immediately. But to possess the real qualities that’s different. So, therefore we are not running after external symptoms, but rather for some inner trembling. It’s a surer symbol.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam, 5.10.16



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