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namisaranya

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 24.08.2016 morning, Ludasto)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“One day, after finishing their morning duties by burning a sacrificial fire and offering a seat of esteem to Shrila Suta Gosvami, the great sages made inquiries with great respect about the following matters”.[1]

The sages started to inquire in a very humble and spiritual way. Something from the purport of Shrila Prabhupada: “Those who listen to the Bhagavatam may put questions to the speaker in order to elicit the clear meaning, but this should not be done in a challenging spirit. One must submit questions with a great regard for the speaker and the subject matter. This is also the way recommended in Bhagavad Gita: one must learn the transcendental subject by submissive aural reception from the right sources. Therefore these sages addressed the speaker Suta Gosvami with great respect.”

One of the basic rules of our devotional community concerning communication is given here by Shrila Prabhupada. “The discussion should be based on great respect for the speaker and the subject matter”. There are three rights and three requirements in communication in our circles. First I give the three rights: we have free communication, there are no taboos, and you can discuss anything. These are the three rights – there’s nothing to hide, open communication. But you can exercise your rights only if you follow the requirements. And the three requirements concerning communication in our circles are: the first what is mentioned by Shrila Prabhupada here – the necessary respect to the other party and to the topic discussed; there are no questions for the sake of questions; and there must be willingness to accept the answer. Do you agree on the rules? Thank you! Then you will have no problems. Whatever comes to you individually in the mission, you can always overcome the difficulties.

Question of Yashoda: There was such a situation in the ashram when there was obvious disrespect to the lecturer. What should be done in such a case? Should the lecturer insist on to be respected, or he has to work to gain this respect?

Swami Tirtha: Well, if we have to fight for respect, that’s too bad. That’s the end of the story. Nevertheless we have to work hard to be a direct representative of something higher. And fortunately you have a very mild and very protective environment in the ashram. Because if the lecturer doesn’t fight for his or her rights, the others will protect him. We have to educate people also that the proper mood of inquiries is not the challenging way. Because then one requirement is missing – the willingness to accept the answer.

But you know sometimes while preaching we face some very funny moments. Such challenging moments are always very beneficial for practicing humility. So, I don’t really see it’s a big problem. Just imagine, once Gaura Kishora das Babaji was visiting a program, a big feast in one temple. He was a full ascetic, extremely independent person. So, the devotees served him prasadam and then a young brahmachari said: “Oh, Babaji Maharaj only comes for the free chapaties!” Then he said: ”Yes! You are correct! Finally you have understood my motivation!”

So, such challenging moments are good for practicing humility. It’s not the problem of Gaura Kishora das Babaji Maharaja; this is the problem of the young brahmachari. But if you hear somebody criticizing your Babaji, stop that.

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.1.5



Gurudeva

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 24.08.2016 morning, Ludasto)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“One day, after finishing their morning duties by burning a sacrificial fire and offering a seat of esteem to Shrila Suta Gosvami, the great sages made inquiries with great respect about the following matters”.[1]

Now let’s focus our attention on the sages, on their lifestyle, because we want to learn how to do it. Sacrificial fire – this was the center of their morning activities. Actually we all have a sacrificial fire in our own bodies. That is a chemical fire burning inside – the fire of digestion, which is the energy quota helping to sustain our individual existence. If we don’t use this energy for a sacred purpose, this is a simple fire. If we dedicate our life to divine service, then it’s a sacrificial fire – it’s a different quality.

How to feed a sacrificial fire? We throw grains and pour ghee into the fire. But how to make spiritual use of the sacrificial fire in one individual? Have you ever thought of that? If somebody has a sacrificial fire inside his individual body, how can he make use of that? It’s very simple: feed the Brahmins – pour ghee and rice into their mouth, into their digestive fire. As they have sacrificed their life for divine purpose, their individual fire is burning for God. And if we satisfy the brahmins, vaishnavas and sages in such a way, then we make a sacrifice.

All right, maybe you don’t ignite a sacrificial fire every morning in your home – that’s possible. But feed your husband every morning, feed your children every morning – then this is the sacrificial fire, offering your grains, offering your ghee into their fire. In this way you do the same. Please, wives, remember this. But I have to remind also my dear brothers that in order to receive your breakfast in the morning you have to dedicate your life to God. Because then this is a sacrificial fire.

Why do I mention this? Because yesterday we agreed we have to cross the limitations of time. Maybe we cannot sit every morning in Naimisharanya to make the sacrificial fire and to listen to the Bhagavatam – that’s possible. But nevertheless whenever you have a chance, with the same mood, with the same commitment and in the same spirit you can practice. Then we can raise the level of consciousness in the most insignificant everyday duties.

And the sages offered a seat of esteem to Shrila Suta Goswami.  Suta is ‘a chariot driver’ as a function and at the same time ‘a bard, a minstrel’ – telling the ancient stories, declaring the truth, this is his other function. Therefore the leader, the professor, so to say, of this meeting is Suta Goswami. A seat of esteem – this is asana. Asana means ‘a posture’, asana means ‘a pillow’, and asana means ‘the seat of Vyasa’ – this is vyasa-asana. Vyasa is the ideal spiritual master. So, whenever you give a lecture in the ashram, you have to become a representative of Vyasa. Therefore we pay respect to the person who gives the lecture. Because at that moment he or she is not himself or herself, but a representative. Therefore giving a lecture is not a prestigious position, it’s a prestigious service position. Then I can become really like a transparent medium.

Can you connect to Vysadev? Maybe to somebody closer, there we can connect. This is parampara system. Parampara system is not a theory. Through this very subtle and very devotional connection and identification it is possible that whenever you speak, your master speaks. If you eat, he is nourished. And if some respect comes to you, it concerns him. This is parampara system.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.1.5



following

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 24.08.2016 morning, Ludasto) 

Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya! This invocation is a prayer for ultimate shelter. The brave and stupid human beings think they don’t need shelter. But those who are really strong and smart know the real source of all power, all knowledge, all pure vision, etc. Those who are strong are ready to accept their weaknesses. Those who have overcome themselves, their false egotism, they are ready to bow their heads to the Supreme. Those who are real masters, they are ready to be servants.

And as this is a prayer for this kind of shelter, what happens if we chant? We take ourselves from under the influence of illusion and submit ourselves under divine protection. Because the way to get rid of one influence is to accept another influence. Instead of a wrong low class of influence we choose a very high class pure influence and there we surrender. This is the personal benefit that you can take by chanting this mantra. And what is the universal benefit of chanting this mantra? That all others whom you invite under this protective shield can take the benefit of divine blessings. Then what is the divine benefit of chanting this mantra? That the Supreme Lord is satisfied. So, it works on three platforms: your individual benefit, the benefit of others and the happiness of the Supreme.

Why do we mention this? Because we have to be smart – to fight our way through the jungle. Because we are searching for some treasure. So through the jungle of all the false concepts, all the traps of illusion and the even bigger traps of false egotism – we cut through all this network and try to connect directly to the pure spiritual essence, divine essence. Nevertheless we should not be depressed by this thick network inside the jungle. Because there are some tracks.

Therefore it is a little symbolic that the sages came together in a jungle, in a forest. As we have read: “Once, in a holy place in the forest of Naimisharanya, great sages headed by the sage Shaunaka assembled to perform a great thousand-year sacrifice for the satisfaction of the Lord and His devotees”[1]. Then today’s verse says:

ta ekada tu munayah

pratar huta-hutagnayah

sat-kritam sutam asinam

papracchur idam adarat

“One day, after finishing their morning duties by burning a sacrificial fire and offering a seat of esteem to Shrila Suta Gosvami, the great sages made inquiries with great respect about the following matters”.[2]

Shrila Prabhupada says: “Morning is the best time for spiritual services”. How do you feel: are you satisfied with one little short morning in a day? No, we have to extend the morning – to have a permanent sunrise every day, so that the sun never sets on the horizon of our hearts and consciousness. Because we don’t have power over the darkness. Therefore stay always in the light. The sages are swimming in the nectar, but they want one gulp more. This is the lifestyle of the sages. What is the lifestyle of general people? When they wake up, it’s too late, they have to run to their jobs. They have the first gulp of strong coffee to boost the system and maybe one cigarette, and then in a very bitter mood they start their day. So, you have to choose which lifestyle you want – a lifestyle of the sages or the people in general. Once you have to decide. It’s possible to live both ways; but you cannot ride two horses with one ass.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.1.4

[2] Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.1.5



DSCN0033

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 23.08.2016 evening, Ludasto) 

(continues from the previous Friday) 

Question: I would like to ask: what was the sacrifice that those sages prepared for thousand years in the forest of Naimisharanya? What kind of sacrifice was that?

Swami Tirtha: Actually this is part of the story itself. So, it will come in the next verses. But even in this verse it was mentioned that it was for pleasing the Supreme Lord and also for satisfying His devotees. Because actually the desire of the sages who came together was to serve the benefit of the world, of the living entities. And this is also a question of philosophy. Because how can we serve the prosperity of all living beings? If we satisfy the source of the creation. So, if Krishna is satisfied, then everybody is satisfied. Therefore the first purpose of the sacrifice is to satisfy the Supreme Lord. But how can we sacrifice the Supreme Lord? Sorry, satisfy the Supreme Lord? If we satisfy His devotees. Therefore these two parties are involved. One is for God, and one is for the servants.

But I said “how to sacrifice the Supreme”, right? You think that this was lapsus linguae, but it’s not. If you study the Rig Veda, you will understand.

So, this we have to study – how to satisfy the Supreme Lord, how to satisfy His beloved devotees. This is the main purpose of our life. We have to firmly believe this! Therefore association with the devotees – this is not a material company for us, this is a sacred practice. Why? Because when God was a little overburdened, then He asked His angels: “I need a place to hide. Tell Me some place where they won’t find Me. I want to hide. But these guys, they always find Me with their prayers: “Help me, give me!” Do you have an idea where can I hide?” Then the angels said: “Oh, you have a very good place for that. This is the heart of the human beings. Nobody will search for You there.”

That means Krishna resides in the hearts. And especially in the hearts of the pure devotees. But then the next question comes: “Who lives in the heart of the pure devotees?” Krishna. Therefore we appreciate the pure devotees so much, because they are in the heart of Govinda and in their heart Govinda is residing. If you want to find God, find your angel. Find your goswamis.



preaching

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 23.08.2016 evening, Ludasto) 

(continues from the previous Friday) 

Question: You were saying that there were three types of Puranas according to the three gunas. Who categorized the people, who give them their specific Puranas to read? Are the teachers distributing the scriptures?

Swami Tirtha: Very good question. It works in different ways. We are very fortunate if our masters guide us and provide us the proper scripture according to our taste, according to our spiritual needs and prospects. But it goes the other way round also. If your inclination leads you to some of the Puranas, it will tell you what kind of guna inspires you. Why? Because those who are in passion, they want to achieve something. So, they will search for that type of information even in the sacred tradition which will satisfy their ambitions. There are some who want to exploit and use destructive powers of spirituality – this is like a tamasic inclination. You generate a kind of half pseudo-spiritual power in order to use it in a wrong manner.

But fortunately the Shrimad Bhagavatam doesn’t belong to any categories like this. Because this is ‘The Spotless Purana’, this is the essential, the pure, purest of the pure. Immaculate . This is not according to the gunas. This is transcendental. And not only a transcendental piece of literature, but it’s considered an incarnation of the Supreme. By body He has withdrawn from this world. But He didn’t leave, because He left the Bhagavatam – this is His written incarnation. So, we are not left alone. Yet another reason why the Bhagavata Purana is so important. It is the Fifth Veda, it is containing the rasic literature, it’s the favorite of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and a personal incarnation of Krishna. And therefore this is for all.

 

akamah sarva-kamo va

moksha-kama udara-dhih

tivrena bhakti-yogena

yajeta purusham param[1]

 

Akamah – whether you have no desire, or you have a lot of desires – sarva-kamo va, or you have only one desire for perfection, liberation – moksha-kama – it doesn’t matter. Tivrena – with a thirst, with an unquenchable thirst, tivrena bhakti-yogena, with devotion, with devotional connection, yajeta purusham param, you should serve the Supreme. The Supreme should be served with a thirsty devotional desire. So, if we belong to any classification, it doesn’t matter, the spirit soul is transcendental. The Bhagavatam as a transcendental piece of literature is concerned directly with the soul. Therefore study of the Bhagavatam is recommended for all. Actually this verse is from the Bhagavatam itself.

Question: Which verse is this?

Swami Tirtha: I don’t know by heart the number, but I hope I remember the meaning.

(to be continued) 

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.3.10



Naimisharanya (1)

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 23.08.2016 evening, Ludasto) 

(continues from the previous Friday) 

This was the introduction so far. Now comes the story itself.

naimishe ’nimisha-kshetre
rishayah shaunakadayah
satra
m svargaya lokaya
sahasra-samam
asata[1] 

“Once upon a time in a holy place in the forest of Naimisharanya the great sages, headed by the sage Shaunaka, assembled to perform a great thousand-year sacrifice for the satisfaction of the Lord and His devotees”.

This is the beginning of the story. There is a sacred spot in Northern India, it’s called Naimisharanya, Naimisha-aranya. What is the meaning of aranya? This is ‘forest’. And what is naimisha? It comes from nimisha, nimisha is like a ‘moment’. Naimisha is ‘belonging to a moment’ – so this is ‘The momentary forest’. What kind of special place is this? A momentary forest? A forest – it takes so much, hundreds of years to cultivate, to grow big! And how is it that it’s called ‘a momentary forest’? Very strange name. Why is that? And why on this spot these holy persons came together? Because actually this forest is a place of quantum leap. Yes, quantum jump, thousands of years back. Why? Because this is a spot where you can transcend time. Where you can go beyond the limited time and you can reach eternity.

So, it is a very special place. This is the place to overcome the limitation of time. Therefore they came together to perform a sacrifice. What kind of sacrifice? When we come together for a sacrifice, after half an hour everybody starts to feel uneasy. Now it’s ten to nine and you feel very uneasy on this sacrifice. While these saints came together for a thousand-year long sacrifice. Just imagine, we have been here together for three days and their perspective was thousand years. How can you perform a thousand-year long sacrifice? It’s very easy – either you alone sit there for one thousand years or you find 999 partners and you sit only for one year.

But this is not a joke. Because the main point, the main importance is the sacrifice. This was the purpose why they came together. So why we come together? To perform the sacrifice. They have come together thousands of years back; now we come together today –  but the purpose, the spirit is he same. Then we can jump back to their time, we can invite the same atmosphere, the same mood, what they were perceiving. Therefore we have to perform this sacrifice ourselves. And what was the direct purpose of this sacrifice? The satisfaction of the Lord and His devotees. So, if we perform our activities for the same purpose, that means we are in Naimisharanya.

I think that’s a very good topic of our meditation and also of our contemplation to travel back in time and to rise in the spirit. And not simply traveling way back in time, but also one step closer to eternity, to eternal values in order to transcend limitations of time.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.1.4



1500-1200_BCE,_Rigveda_manuscript_page_sample_iii,_Sanskrit,_Devanagari

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 23.08.2016 evening, Ludasto)

(continues from the previous Friday)

So, this was the exposition why we pay so much attention to the Bhagavata Purana – because it discusses rasa and therefore this is the ripe fruit of the vedic literature. But please give me another argument why we treat it so high?

Manjari: Because it’s coming from Shukadeva.

Swami Tirtha: Oh, very nice! But give me something more, go deeper! Who is the main authority in our line?

Manjari: Radhika.

Swami Tirtha: All right, how can I say not? But please, little down to Earth. Looks like the kirtan was very ecstatic. So, down to Earth. Who is the main authority in our line?

Yashoda: Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati.

Swami Tirtha: All right, Radhika and Shukadeva are too much in the past. Bhaktisiddhanta is too much in the recent times. In between the two, give me something else.

Answer: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Swami Tirtha: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, correct! Don’t forget about Him! And this was the favorite book of Mahaprabhu. He said: “From the many different revealed scriptures we take this as most important.” And therefore we pay so much attention to the Bhagavatam – because this was His choice. Due to these rasic chapters – therefore this is the ripe fruit.

But in these three verses that we discussed so far, we have got a glorification of the Source. I know it’s a little late, but nevertheless let me ask you a question: the whole vedic literature is divided into two parts, two sections. Which are these two? Shruti

Comment:  And smriti.

Swami Tirtha: If I say shruti, you say smriti. It’s not bad. Yes, these are the two main parts. Shruti – direct revelation and smriti – what is remembered. So, the Puranas – to which category do they belong? Either one or the other. So? There was one suggestion that it belongs to the direct revelation, but actually it belongs to the other class. This is smriti, the sacred tradition, part of the sacred tradition. But especially in Kali Yuga the Puranas, and the Itihasas, and Mahabharata, Ramayana – they are considered just like the Vedas. They are considered the Fifth Veda. So, this is very important to understand – that the ultimate conclusion of the direct revelation and the sacred tradition is the same.

(to be continued)

 



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 23.08.2016 evening, Ludasto)

Now we have to continue our studies. I think it becomes more and more obvious that this is а very condensed spiritual science. Few lines, few sentences, few ideas, but a vast meaning and a very deep background we can find here. The Bhagavatam is considered to be ‘The Spotless Purana’. Why spotless? Because it is very important.

The Puranas are classified in two ways. One classification goes according to the gunas and the other classification goes according to the topics. There are three kinds of gunas and accordingly three types of Puranas. There are sattvic, rajasic and tamasic Puranas. You might raise the question: “How is it? A sacred scripture – tamasic? How is that possible?” But actually this is not the Purana which is tamasic, it’s the person reading it who is tamasic. So, people are classified according to the three categories and there are Puranas for each category. There are Puranas for those people who are under the influence of sattva-guna. There are some Puranas for the rajasic people, and there are some Puranas for those who are influenced by tamas. And actually it is not a tamasic Purana, rather it is a Purana for those who are in tamas.

So, this is one classification; the Puranas transmit a message to each class of people. The other classification is going according to the topics – how is that?

Manjari: About the goal, about the way.

Swami Tirtha: Here there are two classes of Puranas: one is the major Puranas, and what do you think, what is the other? The minor Puranas. Great and the small Puranas. The small Puranas have five topics to discuss. What do you think, how many topics are discussed in the great Puranas?

Sanatana: Five.

Swami Tirtha: This is for the small. Small Puranas have five. Great Puranas?

Sanatana: Double.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. Yes, the small Puranas discuss five topics: like creation and the absolute goal. So, in that sense it is correct what Manjari mentioned – what is the goal, what is the way. And the great Puranas go into a little more detail, they discuss ten main topics. Like the primary creation, the secondary creation, the manvantaras[1], the family lineage of the kings, etc. Also they discuss the ultimate shelter, the method how to reach the goal and what is moksha, what is perfection. So, from among all these different varieties of sacred literature – the Puranas – this Bhagavatam is considered to be topmost, the most important. So much so, that when you are a student in India and you have homework of writing in devanagari[2], the homework is to copy the Bhagavatam, First Canto. It is so important that this is like a textbook in schools. Why this is so important? Actually from among all these 12 Cantos, unlimited chapters and 18 000 verses the most-most important are only 5 chapters. No, no. Sorry, from among the 12 Cantos, one Canto is the most important. Which one is this?

Answer: The Tenth Canto.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, correct. This is the Tenth Canto. And from among all these hundreds and practically thousands of chapters and topics, five main chapters are the most important. Which ones? Which discuss rasa. Therefore this is the ripe fruit of the kalpataru[3] of the vedic literature.

(to be continued) 

[1] The epochs of reign of Manus, progenitors of mankind

[2] The ancient script of the Indian subcontinent

[3] Wish-fulfilling tree



flame of life

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 23.08.2016, morning, Ludasto)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Pibata bhagavatam rasam[1]. This is the main message of this verse – rasik. This literature is for the rasikas. And what is rasa? Rasa is the essential approach, emotional attitude to the Supreme.

And here Shrila Prabhupada mentions: “Every living entity beginning from Brahma, the first born living being within the material world, down to the insignificant ant desires to relish some sort of taste derived from the sense perceptions. These sensual pleasures are technically called rasa. They are of different varieties. In the revealed scriptures the following 12 varieties are enumerated.”

So, what is first? Raudra, anger. This we know, right? You see, the revealed scriptures tell the truth. They speak to you – anger. The second is adbutha, wonder. What is the definition of philosophy by Plato? The art of wondering. So, Plato was a rasik. His philosophy was not simple theory, this was an application, wisdom. To wonder about the beauties of the creation and God! Third one is shringara. What is shringara? Conjugal love. In the old times, in the ashram we received two packages of incense from Gurudev. And you know at that time it was so precious, it was so difficult to obtain that it was like a treasure for us. One package was pale, almost white. What do you think, what was the color of the other? Yes, it was black. The white was called ‘Musk’. Very, very delicate. And the name of the black was ‘Shringara’. At that time it was so precious for us that we couldn’t light one full stick of incense, we used only half for the offerings. So, this was the first encounter with shringara – the black rasa.

The next one is hasya, comedy or jolly approach. One god-brother of Gurudev was called Hasya Priya. Once in the old-old times, in communist times, he visited Budapest. You know at that time to meet devotees it was close to impossible. And while he was walking on the streets in Budapest all of a sudden he saw somebody coming with a kanthi. So, he said: “Haribooool!” The other person said “Haribol!” and passed by. Just like it was very usual to meet devotees on the streets. And Hasya Priya Prabhu after ten years remembered this like an incredible story: “There are so many devotees here in Budapest that they just say “Haribol” and walk by, they don’t pay any attention to you?!” He was amazed, he though that in California there were many devotees, but looks like in Budapest they were much more, it’s much more common. So, hasya, jolly mood or happiness.

Then the next one is vira, chivalry – when you fight for the truth. When you are ready to die for your Gurudev. The next one is daya, mercy – this is how we want to see Krishna, merciful. Then comes dasya, servitorship; then sakhya, fraternity. I think this is very obvious, right? We all know these feelings, we all admire these feelings. But then comes bhayanaka, horror and bibhatsa, shock. Very awkward feelings! Yet did you ever feel that something is so high, so pure that you tremble in front of that truth? Or you are shocked by your behavior? So, it happens! But these are very extreme reactions – like total servitorship, or maybe heroic approach, or shocking experience. “No, we don’t need such extremes!’ Then comes the next one: shanti, peace, neutrality. And finally the 12th rasa is vatsalya or parenthood. Vatsalya means patience, love, care – what you experience daily. So, don’t think if you again have to cook for your family, again you have to wash the dirty socks of your sons and daughters that: ‘Oh, it’s bitter.’ No, it’s rasik! This is for those who are expert in relishing rasa.

But of course, beyond jokes, these different emotional approaches to the Supreme are the basic moods how to express our gratitude and our loving search for the Supreme. So, the invitation and the message from this verse is that we should become a rasik devotee, an expert in relishing rasa.

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.1.3



108138602_634165767491773_5514477138767364462_n

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 23.08.2016, morning, Ludasto)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Shrimad Bhagavatam is a fruit. And fruits are sweet. How to judge whether a fruit is really ripe or not? If it is touched and picked by the beak of a parrot, then you can be sure that this is sweet. The fruit of the Shrimad Bhagavatam was emanating from the beak, from the lips of Shukadeva Goswami.

Parrots are considered very precious in our process. In India, also in Vrindavana, there are a lot of parrots. They are this green type, very loud. Nevertheless you are never annoyed by their noise. And why they are appreciated so much there? Because they are transmitting messages. When Radha and Govinda cannot meet, They want to communicate. It’s little complicated – under the care of the families and the social customs, etc. etc. it’s impossible to meet. There were no handy phones at that time. So, some kind of communication must have been there. And They have chosen the parrots to be Their messengers. From this you can see how much we have degraded in this Kali Yuga. Instead of green parrots we use black telephones. There is a living messenger and here is a dead construction. Yet usually people use this messenger for the same purpose – love messages. But the messages that you send should reflect the victory of dharma over adharma, the victory of the spirit over the matter, the victory of the truth over the illusion. Because this is provided by Shukadeva Goswami in the Shrimad Bhagavatam. It became more tasteful than before. Although it was relishable for all, including liberated souls.

Pibata bhagavatam rasa[1]. Pibata – drink, taste the nectar of the Bhagavatam. And how you can drink the nectar of the Bhagavatam – by your ears. So, a mystic transformation happens to the audience. Now you removed your locks to open up your ears more. This is the mystic transformation that we need. So that we can convert this limited material constitution into a spiritual receiver. A spiritual receiver of the transcendental message. And just like in the first verse there was one very important expression, this was the svarat – the independent Supreme, here is another very important thing mentioned – rasika. Rasika! “Those who are expert in relishing rasa.”

This is a very delicate part of spiritual cultivation. This is not jungle warfare. This is a very delicate part of spiritual cultivation. This is a search for the treasure. Just to take one example from cultivating rasa. Mahaprabhu’s devotees were so sensitive that whenever they met Mahaprabhu, their beloved Lord, immediately they could understand and feel the special emotional mood that He enjoyed. And they could quote the shastras, the shlokas, the rasik stories accordingly. When Mahaprabhu was too much in the mood, they started to quote something that will pacify Him. When He was too much passive, then they quoted something that will agitate Him. Always according to His taste. So, you see what a depth of refined sensitive approach! It’s not that ‘I come with my problems’. No, ‘I come to serve You according to Your taste’. When you come with your problems – this is the jungle warfare. When you understand something about this rasik approach – this is the search for the treasure. So, decide for yourself whether you want to be an anarchist, in the group of the partisan warfare, or you are a hunter for the treasures. And if you enroll in the hunters’ group for the treasures, then come with rasa. Don’t come with a bag of problems.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.1.3