Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




Question: About the humility – it’s a big topic. The more humble you are this is a sign of your experience and realizations. For me it is very difficult when somebody says something to allow myself some time to think, but I am reacting immediately and this is not humility.

Tirtha Maharaj: Probably not.

Question: How can I learn this humility?

Tirtha Maharaj: It’s very simple. If you are upset and you are ready to give a reaction, there are three steps: the first one is – count until ten before you open your mouth. But count slowly and until you come to ten your vision will change. Yet sometimes even that doesn’t help. Then if you are still very passionate to react in an avadhuta way, you should apply the second step: take a cup of water and drink it. You have to go out to the kitchen, find a cup, bring the water, take it and you will be pacified. But even if it doesn’t help and you are still passionate to react in an avadhuta way, then go to a different room – instead of the kitchen you go to the bathroom – and check your face in the mirror. You will see: ‘Oh, this enraged guy it’s not me.’ So, three steps to control your passionate reaction.

If you want to add something more, for long time humility or normal reactions – we have to force ourselves to do that. But later on, by overall spiritual development you come to higher platforms of tolerance, purity, peace of mind, etc. So due to your overall development these little mistakes and bad reactions will just disappear. And what will help our overall spiritual progress? This is not simply the conscious control of your bad habits, but a positive practice of the loving and dedicated principles. So, from this pessimistic way that ‘I have to fight my bad conditioning’, we have to turn into a positive approach: ‘Oh, I want to serve the others. I want to be connected to God.’ Then automatically the negative will go.

And those who are educated in the shastras can raise a word also: Rupa Gosvami has given a different method: adau shraddha tatha sadhu-sanga bhajana-kriya tatha anartha-nivritti[1]… He said: anartha-nivritti. That means: try to get rid of your anarthas. Artha means wealth or something precious, and anartha means something not precious, unworthy. So, Rupa Gosvami said: first there is faith, then there is sadhu-sanga, then there is the intensive form of sadhu-sanga by associating with the spiritual master, then start the activities of worship, and then we have to cultivate this – how to get rid of our anarthas. But actually the previous one, bhajana-kriya, is the counterpart of anartha-nivritti, that makes the picture complete. Because anartha-nivritti means, nivritti – renounce, renounce your anarthas. And we can say that bhajana-kriya is also artha-pravritti, practice your. So, this is first – if you have a good practice, automatically your bad practice and your bad habits will diminish. Therefore adau shraddha – first is the faith. And what is before faith? Is there anything before faith? Well, sukriti is the zero platform. Sukriti is like consciously or unconsciously you do something good. Which one is more precious – conscious or unconscious?

Answer: Conscious.

Hari Lila: How can you do something unconsciously if it is not your nature? Maybe your nature has changed first.

Tirtha Maharaj: Good, good. But, anyway if we have somehow a positive nature like sattvic typeready to share, ready to serve, ready to contribute, like a good person – then by chance we might serve a vaishnava. This is the best sukriti.

Once there was a bhakta, and well, at that time our ashram was quite poor in conditions. So our friend went to make a telephone call – it was in the ancient time when we had telephones only on the corners. It was in May and he was collecting some flowers meanwhile on the street. The telephone booth was outside of another garden and one lady was working something in the garden. It was a flower garden, and she saw the flowers in the hand of our devotee. By seeing these flowers in the hand of the young man, she said: “I can give you more flowers!” So, our brahmachari said: “Yes, thank you! That is very nice.” And when the lady handed over a few more flowers, he said: “You know, this will go to the altar of our temple.” And the lady said: “Then wait a minute.” And she came with a big bouquet.

So, here both are included – agyata and gyata-sukriti. Which is more precious? I think agyata is more precious, but this is only my reading. You said gyata, or intentional good activity is better, but for me the more charming is the natural flow. And when she understood that ‘my offering is going to end up on the altar’, she was expanding her service. And isn’t it the perfection of our ideal – a selfless, and intentional service of God? This is our ideal and she is practicing that through a vaishnava. Therefore we can say it’s before faith – because maybe she didn’t have the faith concretely in Krishna, or Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – still she have this intention to serve: ‘Oh, he’s got one flower, I have so many flowers, I can give more. And when I understood that he is going to the temple, I will give him more, more, more!’ Dedication is there. Therefore we have to be very careful; if you have one flower in your hand, maybe people will naturally try to serve you. So, whatever is given to you, you should not keep it for yourself, it is not for you – it is for the Supreme Lord. You are only a messenger. Whatever is given to you, you should transfer it to your superiors. Whatever. It is not only few pieces of flowers, but whatever is given to you in this lifetime. If you are a vaishnava, you are only a transmitter, you are only a messenger.


(to be continued)


[1] Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.4.15-16

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