Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Question of Damodar: I have a practical question. In order to put it I shall relate a story about Shrila Prabhupada. One of his disciples was serving around him and somehow unwillingly stepped on his dhoti. He started to apologize: “Please, Prabhupad, forgive me, I have stepped on your dhoti!” And Prabhupad said: “Never mind! If you are so much engaged in service to Krishna, you can step even on my head.” So my question is how to develop such a strong desire to serve so that all your fears go away?

Tirtha Maharaj: Cook the soup every day! Practical question – practical answer. You will see.

We have one devotee, for the last ten years probably every week she prepares cakes for the devotees, every week! Although she has a job, she has a family, she is busy like everybody else, but without being asked, or forced, or reminded, she is just bringing cakes every week to the meetings. Meanwhile her health changed, she started to be a diabetic. That means, she cannot even take from the cakes. Nevertheless she is doing that! This is service. These sweetmeats started to be indispensible elements of the weekly meetings. Just like provided by God, it is there, like air. And nobody is glorifying her, nobody is praying: “Ah, please, can you do that?” This is her fixed service, for years! And I am very happy that the devotees acknowledged this – this permanent engagement in the service of the vaishnavas. And when there is a birthday for the devotees she is not preparing only the normal cake, but one extra for the person celebrating. If there are two persons – two extra.

So this is what I mean: Bhakti Yoga definitely is a mystical process, but we should be practical in our approach. And we should not escape the chances for service. Because if you don’t cook the soup today, nobody knows whether tomorrow you can cook it or not. Right? Maybe you will not be here or maybe there will be nobody to take your food or offering. So we should be very serious about our service mood. We should not hide from service or do it in such a way that: “Others could also have the benefit of taking my service.” No, we should be very intent on service.

You know the requirements for devotional service. There are two qualities. What are these two? Any ideas? How service starts to be devotional service? Damodar?

Damodar: Devotion.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes, this is one ingredient – we do it with heart and soul. And the other?

Prema: It should be given.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes. It is according to instruction. So if you get an instruction and you perform it with full heart and soul, then this is devotional service. So always be under instruction, under blessings we can say in other words. And burn your candle from both ends.

So, how service becomes devotional service; be always under instruction and blessings, and do it nicely, give the best of your capacities.

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