Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 02.10.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

You know the famous story where the father told the son: “All right, my dear son, now as you are smart enough, go to this Guruji and study the Shrimad Bhagavatam from him.” So the boy went and after one year he returned to the father. The father asked: “Have you studied the Shrimad Bhagavatam?” “Yes, I have learned everything and I know everything about the Shrimad Bhagavatam!” Then the father said: “You didn’t understand anything, go back to your master!” All right, the second term of the education started. Another year expired and the boy returned; the father asked: “My dear son, have you learned, have you studied properly?” “Yes, father. Last year it was not correct, but this year I’ve learned everything about the Shrimad Bhagavatam.” The father said: “Go back again!” After the third year the boy came back again and then the father asked: “Now, my dear son, have you studied, have you learned the Shrimad Bhagavatam?” “My dear father, the first year I thought I know everything. The second year I thought I didn’t know in the first year, but then I accomplished. Now after three years of study I realized I don’t understand anything.” Then the father was very satisfied, embraced the son and said: “This is it, my dear son! Now you are really qualified to go back to your master.”

So we need to decode the language of our masters. Many times I have told you, it is a classical story from the old times, when a master asked: “Bring me a cup of water.” And then the disciple would think: “Water? It’s a very simple liquid. And my spiritual master is not a simple person! Simple liquid to a unique person – no! I need to bring the best liquid to the best person. Milk is the best liquid, so I will bring him milk. My Gurudev is so humble that he asked for water, but he meant milk. I’m a faithful disciple, I understand his language. I can read his mind.” The boy comes with the milk and then the master is very angry at him: “My dear son, I didn’t ask for milk, I simply wanted to put my tilak. Water, bring me water!”

And you know, when you hear his story, you say: ‘Ah, yes, in the ancient times, in the Puranic times, maybe in the Mahabharata somewhere it happened.’ But when I saw this with my eyes: Gurudev asked a glass of water and the devotees brought him a glass of milk… and he was furious. Then I understood that we live in eternity. So the old stories are repeated; or we are living in the Puranic times.

And you know, I have told you what is the suggestion of the Vedas when the guru is angry. What is the advice for the disciple, do you remember? Stay away, beyond the reach of sound. You see, the Vedas are like a tenderly caring father towards the disciples.

But why is it important to understand properly the words of our master? Because when he will say: “madhura-rasa” and you will understand “sakhya-bhava” it’s not good. That is when your master asks a cup of milk and you bring a cup of water.

Faithfulness means that I’m fully committed. And nevertheless to do this in such a manner that we don’t annoy our master. So it’s not that you take your residence in his room, because you are so much surrendered. Or give others very obvious symptoms of your total dedication.

But this harmony between student and master is some very profound and basic agreement in service. We agree that in this lifetime we shall try to cultivate this spiritual service of divine love in a joint manner, that we are united in the spirit of service. Because slowly-slowly this is the way how the mood will develop.

Generally we think that the qualifications are expected from the gurus, but actually the real quality is expected from the disciple. So our business is to improve our shishya-abhiman, our shishya mentality. Shishya-abhiman means we pay attention, we let ourselves be instructed. If there is shishya-abhiman, the mentality of a disciple, there is also guru-abhiman, right? Guru-abhiman means that somebody is ready to take the role to instruct and serve others in this way – by instructions.

(to be continued)

Leave a Reply