English issues

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2018 morning, Sofia)

So far we were reading about the neutral attitude towards the Supreme Lord. In one word, in one expression we can say that this is the level of consciousness about Godhead. And as we mentioned, it has an effect over ourselves, but there is not so much feedback towards God.

If we try to understand and apply this principle of neutral relationship and try to see which is the way to improve that standard, then we shall understand that there must be something further, that we have to do something about this relationship. It is called servitude. So, let’s see what important message Shrila Rupa Goswami provides about this next stage.

Transcendental affection or servitude. You see affection, a kind of loving relationship – it means to serve. Sometimes we have a hard time to find a proper definition of love or service… If you know the one, you will know the second as well. If I love someone, I am ready to make him or her happy. I make the sacrifice and he is happy. Love is service, right? And this is also true the other way around. Sometimes we don’t like the expression “to serve”. Because we like that others serve us, not that we serve them. So, ‘service’ doesn’t sound very inviting. But if we understand the inner depth, inner meaning of this servitude – that it’s an expression of love, affection – then it is very charming already.

That also means: if you have to serve something or somebody, you have to do it with affection. I think you perceive, you understand the difference between ‘do only what you like’ and ‘whatever you do, do it with love’. One is selecting: ‘Ah, I like this, I don’t like that’ – this is the mental platform. The other is the devotional platform: ‘Whatever I do, I try to do it with this surcharge of affection’. So there’s a big difference! Please, try to remember it.

The transcendental mellow of affection has been accepted by authorities like Shridhara Swami as a perfectional stage of devotion. It is just above the humour of neutrality and is a requisite for the development of the serving humour. In literature such as Nama-kaumudi this state of existence is accepted as continuous affection for or attraction to Krishna. Authorities like Shukadeva consider this stage of affection to be in the neutral stage, but in any case, this affection is relished by the devotees in different transcendental tastes, and therefore the general name for this state is affection, or pure affection for Krishna.”[1]

What was the most important definition given here?

Some activity from your side? Or ‘We’re just sitting here because we always sit here, so today we also come here and sit. We have two ears – one in, one out.’ If somebody asks you: “Hey, can you tell me what is this servitude to God? What is your conception about service to God?” Then what will you say?

Chakori: Pure attachment to God.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, in general we can answer like this; but here was a proper definition. “The servitude is the continuous affection for or attraction to Krishna.” This is the definition. What was the definition of neutrality? You remember – to maintain the permanent state of spiritual identity, spiritual consciousness. Undisturbed, permanent, spiritual consciousness. And here we get this very important definition: “Continuous affection or attraction for Krishna”.

(to be continued)

[1] Nectar of devotion Ch. 35



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.01.2018 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

There are some trees in India which blossom only when a young, pure, chaste lady walks under their shade and softly touches the tree. Why? Because this touch is so powerful that the tree starts to tremble and to be transformed. Just like when the lovers meet. One small little touch or caress brings the utmost happiness! You start to tremble. Do you remember that pure, intense feeling? When we perceive the touch of divinity, when Krishna caresses you – through the sunshine, through the air, the wind, through the touch of another devotee – you can start to tremble.

In the Eleventh Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam it is described how to see God Krishna everywhere. And it is mentioned: we can see Him in the sun, we can see Him in the moon. We can worship Him in the sacrificial fire. We can worship Him through a brahmana, we can worship Him in general in the human beings. Then also we can worship Him in our heart. There are so many chances to be connected! Because Krishna cannot escape a pure heart. And when this divine touch, pure divine touch, comes to us, then maybe we shall also start to tremble. Maybe the tree of our consciousness will also blossom. And finally, ultimately it will bring some good fruits as well.

So, shanta-rasa is like an introduction into the further, deeper considerations of devotional service connection. As we agreed, shanta-rasa in a primary sense is the ability to maintain our undisturbed spiritual consciousness and position. But also it was mentioned that shanta-rasa is the ability to always focus on the Lord. So, we should try to achieve at least that platform. This is not the end of our story, not the end of our journey, but this is the beginning. Something more should come beyond this peaceful disposition towards the Supreme. And always remember, if you hear the conch-shell at the beginning of the arati, you can tremble a little bit.

Yet neutrality is a little more focused on ourselves. ‘The name of Krishna, the form of Krishna, the remembrance of Krishna has a positive effect over me.’ So, it is more concerning ourselves. This is when you receive. And the next step is when you give. Then the circle starts to work: you receive and you give; you get and you share.

Have you ever tried, have you ever experienced that? That things start to really happen when you start to give? May I tell you a practical experience?

Maybe I have told you already and don’t take it as a propaganda, please. But you know in our ashram in Ludasto we worship Giriraj as the ultimate shelter of the devotees and the place of Krishna-lila. And sometimes the celebrations are on weekdays and the devotees cannot come together. So, usually we have the celebrations on the weekend and we do some other services on the exact date of the event. So, this was the celebration of the Govardhana-lila. I was engaged with so many different other services. All of a sudden an inspiration came that ‘you should give a donation’. You know, usually it doesn’t happen that you give a donation in your own temple. But when it came to my mind: ‘Wait a minute, this is not my temple, I am also a guest here. This is His temple. So if He wants some donation from me – of course, the first banknote that I find I will give.’ So, I took the first and I gave it: ‘All right, if You want like this, of course I will supply.’ My dear once, in two days 20 times more came to the ashram.

I told you, don’t take it as a propaganda! When at the end of the month you’re running down your money and you go to the temple to give the final banknote, just to receive 20 times more – no, then it will not work. But when the invitation is pure and you are ready to jump, then it will work. Even if more money is not coming, it works. Because it’s not a question of receiving, it’s a question of giving. If first you are invited to give, be sure you will be invited to receive. If you perform your job, He will also be merciful to you. And this is not a financial question. This is a question of exchange. ‘Give me something – so that I can also give you something.’ This is the flow: I receive and I give; I give and I receive. And please, don’t calculate: ‘My Lord, it’s not 20 times more, it’s only 10 times more. Where is the balance?’

Be ready to see these small, little insignificant events in your life – when there is an invitation from the Supreme: ‘Please, join Me! Pay some attention to Me, do something for Me!’ And then you have to be ready to give, and to do, and to jump, and to serve. So, when the divine touch is there, we are ready to tremble. Don’t think that this is theory. It’s not a legend, it’s reality. Even if you are not supplied, your giving is accepted. Your offering is accepted.



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.01.2018 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“Once a great realized sage was lamenting that the Supreme Lord Krishna was living in Dvaraka, but that he was unable to take advantage of seeing Him. After thinking this, the sage immediately became stunned. He was thinking that he was simply wasting his time. In other words, the sage lamented because the Supreme Personality of Godhead was personally present, but he still could not take advantage of this because of his meditation.
“When Lord Krishna, along with His elder brother Balarama and sister Subhadra, came to Kurukshetra in a chariot on the occasion of a solar eclipse, many mystic yogis also came. When these mystic yogis saw Lord Krishna and Balarama, they exclaimed that now that they had seen the excellent bodily effulgence of the Lord, they had almost forgotten the pleasure derived from impersonal Brahman realization. In this connection one of the mystics approached Krishna and said, “My dear Lord, You are always full with transcendental bliss, excelling all other spiritual positions. And so, simply by seeing You from a distant place, I have come to the conclusion that there is no need of my being situated in the transcendental bliss of impersonal Brahman.
“Bilvamangala Thakura, in his book Krishna-karnamrita, says, “Let the impersonalists be engaged in the process of transcendental realization by worshiping the impersonal Brahman. Although I was also initiated into that path of Brahman realization, I have now become misled by a naughty boy – one who is very cunning, who is very much attached to the gopis and who has made me His maidservant. So I have now forgotten the process of Brahman realization.
Bilvamangala Thakura was first spiritually initiated for impersonal realization of the Absolute Truth, but later on, by his association with Krishna in Vrindavana, he became an experienced devotee. The same thing happened to Shukadeva Gosvami, who also reformed himself by the grace of the Lord and took to the path of devotional service, giving up the way of impersonal realization.” [1]

Here these different concepts of Godhead are practically discussed. Whether we perceive His general presence, divine vibration, energy platform; or we see a personal face, a personal form. Sometimes we lose our vision due to this divine effulgence. We don’t see the face of the Supreme behind this effulgence. But as without the sun there is no sunshine, in the same way without the face behind there is no emanation. Without the person behind there is no emanation of any energies. Therefore it is a very nice prayer: “Oh, my Lord, powerful like the fire, please, remove this effulgence that covers You, that hides You from me, from my sight and show me Your original presence.”
And usually for those who are in this passive mood in relationship with the Supreme, it is mentioned that: “According to some authorities, this condition cannot be accepted as one of the transcendental humors, or rasas, but Shrila Rupa Gosvami says that even if one does not accept it as a transcendental humor, one must still accept it as the beginning position of devotional service. However, if one is not further raised to the platform of actual service to the Lord, he is not considered to be on the platform of transcendental mellow. In this connection, in the Eleventh Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna personally instructs Uddhava like this: “The state of being established in My personal form is called shanta-rasa, and without being situated in this position, no one can advance to actual pure devotional service.” In other words, no one can be situated in the personal feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead without being situated at least in shanta-rasa.” So, first at least we should be established in the shanta-rasa in order to progress further.

(to be continued)

1. The Nectar of Devotion, Ch. 35



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.01.2018 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

There is a lot more discussion about the theory of shanta-rasa, but let’s discuss a little bit the practice of shanta-rasa.

“Sometimes a devotee in shanta-rasa yawns, stretches his limbs, instructs on devotional service, offers respectful obeisances unto the form of the Lord, offers nice prayers to the Lord and has a desire to give direct service with his body. These are some of the common symptoms of the devotee who is situated in neutrality”. Sometimes you also yawn, especially listening to lectures. It’s a shanta attitude.

“One devotee, after observing the yawning of another devotee, addressed him thus: “My dear mystic, I think that within your heart there is some ecstatic devotional love which is causing you to yawn.”[1]

Once a devotee fell asleep during a lecture. I think we all know that feeling – when you are so much excused… Then Gurudev said that this is the perfect Bhagavatam lecture. Because during the whole day you where serving so intensely that now you fall asleep – this is the best lecture on Shrimad Bhagavatam. It was so nice that he started to glorify the devotee instead of instructing him: “Why don’t you pay more attention?” We can never know what is in the heart of a pure devotee. Whenever he is yawning – maybe this is a sign of ecstasy.

“Other times it is sometimes found that a devotee in the shanta-rasa falls down on the ground, his hairs stand up on his body, and he trembles all over. In this way, different symptoms of ecstatic trance are exhibited automatically by such devotees.”

You see, this is shanta-rasa – sometimes you faint. Before we thought that fainting is something very high, yet here we see that this is something very elementary. But again it is said: “In the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu it is said that when Lord Krishna was blowing His conch shell known as Panchajanya, many great sages who were living in the caves of the mountains immediately reacted, being awakened from their trance of meditation. They immediately saw that the hairs of their bodies were standing. Sometimes devotees in shanta-rasa become stunned, peaceful, jubilant, deliberate, reflective, anxious, dexterous and argumentative. These symptoms indicate continuous ecstasy, or established emotion.”

You see, so much varieties in shanta-rasa! Neutrality – to become stunned or peaceful or reflective, it’s all right. But shanta-rasa and anxiety, argumentation or jubilation – it’s very unusual!

(to be continued) 

[1] The Nectar of Devotion, Ch. 35

 



Jan

11

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.01.2018 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Just imagine yourself knocking on the door of Goloka Vrindavana and the gatekeeper, Gopeshvara Mahadeva, will say: “Oh, it’s very nice that you came, but please answer my three questions. How many verses from the Gita you have learned?”

“None. I’ve learned some, but I forgot them.”

“All right, you fail. My second question: How much time of your life have you spent in devotional service?”

Well, if we join the mission when we are 20 years old, that means we have missed 20 years from devotional service. It will take another 20 years to achieve a 50:50 balance. Just imagine what happens if you join the devotees when you are 50! It will take a long time to achieve this 50:50 balance. What to speak of those days when you are in maya, although you have joined the mission.

And the third question of Gopeshvara Mahadeva: “Who is your ideal in spiritual life? Whom do you follow?”

“My mind!”

“All right. Then go back.”

Only three questions. So, please learn something. At least something we should study. And this can convert our consciousness, this can purify our consciousness.

Of course, pure faith doesn’t depend on the information. It’s not a question of information. Our salvation depends on our pure heart. Because Krishna can enlighten even the most stupid ones, inject them with full and perfect knowledge. It is possible; nevertheless this is good to follow the practice, good to follow the instructions. This should be a natural inclination for us – to learn and also to put it into practice. To learn, to hear about Krishna’s qualities; and how can we put this into practice – by appreciating them.

So, this “To be prominent in exhibiting knowledge”[1] means that we are prominent in performing our service. We have to be deeply convinced that by performing our little-little service we can accomplish all the spiritual goals and ambitions.

The next feature is “To associate always with learned devotees; and to discuss the conclusion of the Vedas with elevated persons”. You see, these are the qualities of elevated persons, who rise to the status of shanta-rasa.

(to be continued)

[1] The Nectar of Devotion, Ch. 35



Jan

4

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.01.2018 evening, Sofia)

We shall continue our readings concerning the neutral love of God.

“The impulse of a saintly person is to be engaged in the study of the Vedas, especially the Upanishadic portions; to live always in a place where there is no disturbance from the common people; to think always of the eternal form of Krishna; to be ready to consider and understand the Absolute Truth; to be always prominent in exhibiting knowledge; to see the Supreme Lord in His universal form; to associate always with learned devotees; and to discuss the conclusion of the Vedas with similarly elevated persons. All of these qualifications of a saintly person serve to raise him to the status of shanta-rasa.”[1]

So, here we receive a full-scale program to qualify for this elementary stage of devotional service. I think you all agreed that you will become saintly persons. Because this is the way to elevate ourselves to this neutral stage of devotional service. And here is the program for that elevation.

First it is said: “You have a natural inclination to study and discuss the Vedas.” Why should we study the revealed scriptures? Because through them we are connected to the Supreme truth. They will always guide us and lead us to a superior direction. The Vedas don’t discuss anything secondary. They always fix our attention on a superior goal.

Then: “To live always in a place where there is no disturbance from the common people.” It’s not so easy to do. But we should achieve that state of undisturbed consciousness. Sometimes you can see pictures of people doing their meditations in busy cities and on high streets, etc. And in the beginning it was very difficult for me to accept these pictures. Because I said: ‘Oh, wait a minute, is this the place of your meditation?!’ But later on I understood: yes, even in the most disturbed conditions we should maintain a balanced and peaceful state of mind. Because balance is the basis of higher achievements. If you think: ‘Oh, I can do my meditation only in peaceful conditions. Don’t disturb me now because I am in my meditation,’ when death knocks on your door you will say: ‘No, no, don’t disturb my meditation, because I want to maintain my peace of mind.’ This is a crisis period! You cannot say: ‘Where is my peace?’ because there is no peace. Urgently and desperately we have to maintain that fixed state of mind.

“To think always of the eternal form of Krishna” – this is another impulse that we should have. And fortunately Krishna’s form is so attractive that it captures our attention.

“To be ready to consider and understand the Absolute Truth” – this is the topic of discussion that we have right now; and “To be always prominent in exhibiting knowledge” . Sometimes we try to show our knowledge in order to gain more attention. Because knowledge is considered something prestigious. Knowledge is power. Those who have more knowledge, usually they have more power. But in spiritual sense we should never make this mistake – to show off with the intention to impress somebody, or to show our greatness due to our great knowledge.

Once our Gurudev told one of his disciples: “Go to such and such city and give a public lecture.” Then this devotee said: “But Gurudev, you know I don’t like to go on a stage, give speeches and take this role.” Then Gurudev said in a very grave mood: “I didn’t tell you to go and make a show, but I told you to give a lecture.” Do you see the difference? When we want to show our knowledge, our expertise in the shastras, that’s a mistake, that’s failure – the service mood is missing. Even reading the shastras or reading prayers is a form of sacrifice in the original sense. So, it’s called svadhyaya-yagya. That means – to repeat, to recollect, to worship the mantras, the prayers, the shastras by repeating them is a form of service. Yet we need to study, because if we don’t study, then there is nothing to remember.

(to be continued)

[1] The Nectar of Devotion, Ch. 35



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.01.2018 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Question of Pavitra: It was mentioned in the book of Shrila Rupa Goswami Nectar of devotion that Lord Vishnu liberates even the demons. So, there is a chance.

Swami Tirtha: Yes! Bkaktivinod Thakur also says: “Oh, my Lord! I am sitting here and in Your temple. You had liberated so many demons before. I wait for my turn.”

But you mentioned something very important. Because if Krishna is sarva karna karanam, then this feature of killing the demons is also coming from Him, right? Or the Creator of the world – this feature also comes from Him. And all the other possible concepts about the Supreme, or the functions of God, or whatever – comes from Him. These are just like different vibrations emanating from that same source. One aspect is like that, the other feature is like that, the third emanation is like a wave – so many varieties are there.

But what kind of wavelength do we receive, are connected to? This is the question. Whether we are connected to one very elementary wave, like Creator. It’s very external, because this function is connected to the material world. Or killing the demons – sounds a little weird, but to eliminate the demoniac mentality sounds a little better. Or to create, or recreate the balance – it’s another feature, but again external. So, what is the essential feature, what is an essential connection to this ultimate cause? This is when we can touch the nature of that cause. And that nature is sach-chid-ananda, therefore we can connect to that original nature by the same principles, by the same instruments.

Krishna exists eternally, right? With which instrument can we connect to His eternal existence? With your prana, with your life, if you give the same principle connected to Him. And then how can we approach this chid aspect? By dedicating the thoughts and wishes and the emotions to Him. This is the connection with that feature. And ultimately how can we understand His blissful aspect? With connecting our bliss to His bliss. The joy of self is there. We all have a certain amount of joy of self. So, connect this, give your prema to Him. Prana and prema.

This is the way to be connected to the ultimate feature of the ultimate source. Don’t be satisfied with some theoretical rules of existence. Live as a devotee. Don’t be satisfied with some theoretical concepts of consciousness. Think of Him. And don’t be satisfied with some bitter morsels of material satisfaction. But dance in ecstasy! What an invitation, my dear ones! This is the way to be connected with the ultimate feature of the ultimate source.

 



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.01.2018 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“Actually, all Vedic culture is aiming at understanding Lord Vishnu. In the Rig Veda one mantra says that any advanced saintly person is always aspiring to be fixed in meditation upon the lotus feet of Vishnu”.

This is a very important mantra from the Rig Veda, declaring that the blessing divine feet of the Supreme Lord are ruling the whole created world. And the enlightened sages always have the vision of the lotus feet of the Lord in their hearts. This is a very nice ideal to have so we could come to that platform, to be able to visualize the feet of our beloved Lord. You might say that it sounds a little neutral. But think for yourself what your stage is.

“If one cultivates devotional service further and further, under proper guidance, other features of devotional service will gradually become manifest. At this stage of shanta-rasa, one can see Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the deliverer of even the demons. The Lord is appreciated by such would-be devotees as the eternal transcendental form, the chief of all self-realized souls, the Supersoul and the Supreme Brahman. He is also appreciated as being completely peaceful, completely controlled and pure, merciful to the devotees and untouched by any material condition. This appreciation of Lord Vishnu in awe and veneration by the saintly is to be understood as the sign that they are situated in the shanta-rasa, or the neutral stage of devotional service.”[1]

Here something very nice, very interesting is mentioned. Such would-be devotees. So, those who are in the mood of this shanta-rasa – they are the future devotees. You know there are only two types of human beings: the devotees and the future devotees. And practically we can conclude that all the different religions are in this reverential mood. In one sense, they worship the Supreme in shanta mood. Here it is mentioned that these are the features of shanta-rasa: appreciate the greatness, appreciate the peacefulness and the other qualities of the Lord and worship in a reverential mood. So we can see it describes the universal approach of the human beings to the Supreme. These features we can find all around and this is a very good background, because they are the future devotees.

And now something very important. “The qualities of a saintly person are described in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu as follows.” Because it is important to understand if we have an aspiration to become a would-be devotee in the far future. That means you will become a saintly person and then you don’t need to know the qualities.

“A saintly person is one who understands fully that simply by discharging devotional service he can become confident of liberation. He is always situated in the regulative principles of devotional life and at the same time aspires to be liberated from material entanglement.” So first there is a conviction and then there is action.

“A saintly person thinks like this: “When shall I be able to live alone in the caves of the mountains? When shall I be dressed simply with undergarments? When shall I be satisfied by eating simply a little fruit and vegetables? When will it be possible for me to always think of the lotus feet of Mukunda, who is the source of the Brahman effulgence? When, in such a spiritual condition of life, shall I fully understand my days and nights to be insignificant moments in eternal time?”

This is a general saint; but who is a devotional saint? “The devotees and self-realized persons who are engaged in preaching the glories of the Lord always maintain an ecstatic love for the Lord within their hearts. Thus they are benefited by the rays of the ecstatic moon, and they are called saintly persons.”[2]

This is a suggestion of Rupa Goswami: “To become a saintly person, always maintain an ecstatic love for the Lord within your heart.”

So, remember what is the stage of neutral devotional service – to be able to maintain your spiritual position permanently. And what is the upgrade of neutral devotional service? To maintain this loving relationship within your hearts.

(to be continued)

[1] Nectar of Devotion, 35

[2] Nectar of Devotion, 35



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.01.2018 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

 “Some great sages have attained this neutral position by practicing austerity, penance and meditation to control the senses. Such sages are generally called mystic yogis, and in most cases they are inclined to appreciate the spiritual pleasure of the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth. They are practically unaware of the transcendental pleasure derived from personal contact with the Supreme Godhead.”[1]

So, even this kind of enlightenment is charming. But…

“Actually the transcendental pleasure derived in association with the Supreme Person is far greater than the pleasure derived from impersonal Brahman realization, because of the direct meeting with the eternal form of the Lord.”

Here we can understand that both ways of approach are good. There is nothing wrong in spiritual sense. One is good and the other is better. As there are no bad devotees, right? Only good devotees are there. And some are better.

These questions are also discussed by Arjuna and Krishna in the Gita: which path is better, so to say. “What is Your opinion about it?” – asks Arjuna. And then Krishna says: “Everybody will come to Me ultimately.”[2] Because sarva karana karanam, ‘I am the cause of all causes. So, ultimately everything will return to Me.’

“When some great saintly persons who had undergone penances and austerities saw the four-handed transcendental form of Vishnu, they remarked, “This four-handed form of the Lord, manifested in a bluish color, is the reservoir of all pleasure and the center of our living force. Actually, when we see this eternal form of Vishnu, we, along with many other paramahamsas, become immediately captivated by the beauty of the Lord.”[3]

Two very important factors are mentioned here. That this form of the Lord is the source of pleasure and the source of life; “reservoir of all pleasure and the center of our living force”. And you know we have only these two possessions – our life and our love. Prana and prema – this is all what we have. And this is related to this personal concept. Do you feel the difference between existence and life? Existence is theoretical, it’s empty. While life is an exchange. In life the things start to happen. When something happens to us, we feel: ‘Yes, this is my life!’ If nothing happened there: ‘It’s boring, it’s death.’ So, simply apply the same principle in the spiritual sense. Existence is theoretical, it’s dry. While life, spiritual life, is full of charm, full of exchange.

Many times people ask: “All right, what happens in perfection?” Because we think that this is just the opposite of whatever we perceive here. Here we perceive activity and life; and there you think: ‘It’s just empty, nothing happens there. Oh, maybe this is our perfection’. But I tell you, real life starts over there. Whatever we think is life here, it’s a mistake. Real life starts over there.

So, this is our positive conception about perfection. It’s not a theoretical conception, but it’s a living experience, living exchange. Our prana and our prema are connected there, manifested there. And what does it mean on the practical platform? That our life is our ishta-devata. Or “The devotees are living in my heart”. Or “My life is dedicated to the ashram.” It’s beautiful. Because ‘my prana is there’. So if you say “My life and my blood are for the ashram, but I don’t do any service there”, it’s sounds weird. If your heart is there, do something! It’s not only empty words.

(to be continued)

[1] Nectar of Devotion, 35

[2] Bhagavad Gita 12.3-4

[3] Nectar of Devotion, 35



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.01.2018 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

So, my humble suggestion is to read something about the divine relationships from Shrila Rupa Goswami. In order to accomplish a study, we have to start at the beginning. We are ready to jump to the conclusion, but nevertheless we have to start at the beginning. Therefore today we shall read about the neutral love of Godhead. Do you like neutral relationships in your experience?

Krishna Piya: Not so much.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, if somebody is neutral, there is nothing to do with that, right? Not so much exchange there. And in one sense we can say that this is most bitter. If I have a positive relationship to someone, that makes me happy. But we’ve discussed many times, even for a good fight we need a good partner. To have a conflict – that’s an intimate relationship. No, really! With a really neutral person you don’t have any conflicts, do you? It’s true. So, even fighting is a relationship. Even an enemy is a friend. Beware not that your friend becomes an enemy, but treat your enemy as a friend. To have a real enemy, it’s a gift of God. But truly I mean, that to have a good partner for discussion, to have a quality partner for a debate – it’s a gift. Because that will bring something out of you – some reasoning, some answers, some reactions. It agitates you so much that you can show something.

So, we can conclude that there is not so much use of the neutral relationship. Nevertheless the science of divine relationships starts with the neutral relationship to Godhead. Why? Because on the divine platform even neutrality has some meaning. It also has a place. We cannot really handle neutral relationships in the daily life, but in divine relationships they’ve got a place.

“Shrila Rupa Goswami offers his respectful prayers to the eternal Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is always so beautiful and for whom the pure devotees are always engaged in loving transcendental service. This third division of Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu describes the five primary kinds of devotional service – namely neutrality, servitude, fraternity, parenthood and conjugal love. These five items will be very elaborately explained here, and thus they have been figuratively described as the five waves on the western side of this ocean of the nectar of devotion. When one is actually able to maintain the transcendental position, his stage is called neutrality in devotional service. “[1]

So, here we got the definition: “one who is actually able to maintain his or her transcendental position in devotional service – that stage is called neutrality.” Do you have any questions? I think now we have homework – to climb up to that very high level to be able to maintain our spiritual consciousness. So, when in a very brave and audacious mood you say: ‘Ah, neutrality is nothing, it’s zero’, then first please think of yourself for a moment. Whether we can maintain our spiritual position, spiritual consciousness, or not? Unfortunately many times not. That means we are not on the neutral stage of devotional service. Then what is our stage? Conjugal love, or supreme ecstasies? We are most probably below that level of neutrality.

But what is below neutrality? Atheism; is this our level? Hopefully not. Maybe a little higher, we don’t deny that there is a Supreme Lord. Then maybe we are adharmacharies? Adharmachari is a person who doesn’t follow the principles of dharma. Well, I think this is us. Many times we cannot follow the principles of dharma, right? So, maybe we are adharmacharies. Or if we force yourself to control yourself and follow your sadhana, then maybe we can improve the standards and maybe we can become dharmacharies – followers of the dharma. But from among thousands of dharmacharies, very few are enlightened, accomplished. Spiritual perfection and emancipation, liberation is very rare. I don’t know whether you feel yourself liberated or not, but it’s rare. And from among the many liberated souls, very few are emotionally connected to Krishna. There starts neutrality. At least these souls can maintain their spiritual identity consciousness.

And it is very nicely described by the acharias how these progressive stages happen. First we hear the information about proper living, but we cannot follow. Then sometimes it happens: ‘Today I could accomplish, I could do something. Today I met the sunrise. Today I didn’t sleep during the day time.’ Great achievements. ‘Today I was not vehemently violent, only a little bit. That means you could accomplish something; many times you forget, but sometimes you accomplish, you remember. And then the next stage means you are doing well, but sometimes you fail. The majority of times you are on a good standard, but sometimes mistakes come, your shadow again covers you, the old habits return. They call: whether you treat the old friends nicely or not. And then on the next stage this disappears and ultimately devotional service is established in the heart as an irrevocable fact.

But you know whether you are on the failing platform, or on the majority better platform, or on the accomplished platform, on the other side – everybody is a fan of you. Somebody is waiting for you. When we first heard about the chance for perfection, there was a grand celebration in the spiritual sky. When you made the first steps in your spiritual progress, all the demigods were jumping. When you had your first fail, then Krishna was smiling. And when you made your first accomplishments, He was smiling even more charmingly. So, don’t worry. Don’t hesitate to make you first steps. God is good. And you should also become good! His job is accomplished. Now comes your part.

(to be continued)

[1] Nectar of Devotion, 35