Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Sometimes we think that if we make another formal step “I will come to higher platform. For example, if I change my dress then I will become a devotee; or I put some special marks on my forehead and immediately it will bring the change of heart also. Or I give the glory to one person that he can be my spiritual master. So I am a serious guy – it is his glory if he accepts me as a disciple. When another guy comes I give him also the chance to teach me, so I take another initiation from him.” There are some people who are collectors of initiations. Especially in India you will find, because people there are very religious and not so fanatic, so to say. So if one teacher comes to your village then everybody joins him: “Ah, Guruji, very nice! “ And he distributes the malas, gives the names and everybody is a follower of this creed. Next week another sadhu is coming from a different line and they say: “Oh, Maharaj, you are so great! We want to follow you!” Once a friend of mine told me that he visited one such village and in one home the different malas were hanging like this. Because for them God is one. If you call Him Shiva, Krishna or Mahadev – at least you should be a sadhu. All sadhus are accepted. And from one point of view this is nice because we should respect all saintly persons, we should respect all special aspects of God. No doubt. But a friend of everyone is a servant of none. And our main ideal is to become servant, right? After service comes friendship. After commitment comes freedom. We should not mix the sequence.

In this way commitment means a very deep connection between the master and the disciple. This is not only a simple similarity or some theoretical understanding, but such a connection that probably in the ideal case is the strongest of everything. Stronger than any other tie in human relationships. Therefore we have to examine what do we join, what list we join. As it is suggested that the disciple should examine the master and the master should examine the disciple.

So if God appeared in our consciousness we should understand that the sadhus will also come. We have understood that God is never alone, He comes in company. That means if you want to invite God in your heart really, then some sadhus will also come with Him. And this makes the whole affair very practical. Because through these servants of God we can express something of our commitment. So when people say that without a guru it is impossible, this is what they mean. Without a guide and without a shelter it is very difficult to express our willingness to serve Lord Krishna.

But this is not a campaign, we are not canvassing people to join a certain mission or group, but we are trying to represent the truth. It is very easy to convince people forcibly to do something. First – quickly brainwash them and then give them a new commitment. This is the neophyte platform.

Do not think that neophyte means that he received initiation only two weeks ago. Fanaticism and neophyte approach does not depend on your age, does not depend on your religion, does not depend on your initiation – it depends on your mental consciousness, on your condition.  If you are stupid – you are stupid, irrespective of any other conditions. Therefore please do not remain on that platform.

So in the beginning we think if I change my dress I will make a big step. You go on doing that for years. Then comes the next step –  “Why should I change my dress, why should I put on my dhoti, what is this sari – I am Bulgarian Why? This is a different culture, this is not my culture.” So this is another step, another phase of your life, of your being engaged in devotional service, in your trying to overcome your neophyte problems. So if you survive the first stupidity – that „if I put on a new dress I will change my consciousness”, this is one very serious disease – then will come the next phase when you do not want to change your dress, when you do not want to do any practice; so if you survive that also, then you will come to the beginner intermediate platform.

Srila Prabhupad in the beginning was very tolerant. When people asked him: “If I want to join your mission should I shave up?” What did he say? No. “Should I change my dress?” No. “Should I give all my money to you?” No. He refused these suggestions. But devotees were so intent and so dedicated that they naturally wanted to follow the good example of their master. Just imagine if you are dedicated to a good example good results you can expect. But if you are dedicated to a bad example what results can you expect?

So definitely from the neophyte platform we should come to the intermediate stage. And sometimes neophyte type problems you can find on higher platforms official ranks, so to say. Because the human shortcomings are not only revealed in the practically neophyte devotees, but on higher platforms also. There was a period when certain preachers were competing each other who had collected more numbers of disciples. If you have 2000 initiates then you are a great guy. If only 1500 – intermediate. 1000 – neophyte. Then the other phase came – who has more money. Because people equals money. The more numbers you have, the more money you can make. How is it said? – sweeter than honey, this is the money. But this was the neophyte competition, I tell you. Intermediate competition came later when we started to count who is more rasik, who can faint when giving a lecture, who can produce some tears when talking about Radha Krishna, who can quote such scriptures that nobody knows on this planet earth. So what is this? This is a neophyte approach, neophyte platform in a very unusual dress. Unfortunately for some people this is reality. Therefore we should be very careful. If our conception that God exists has been born in our heart and mind we should be very careful how to cultivate this conviction. Do not forget – for a competition minimum two parties are necessary. If somebody wants to compete with you do not be so stupid to enter that game.


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