English issues

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

(continues from the previous Friday)

And finally let’s see the followers of the Lord: “Those who are constantly engaged in the personal service of the Lord are called anugas, or followers. Examples of such followers are Sucandra, Mandana, Stamba and Sutamba. They are all inhabitants of the city of Dvaraka, and they are dressed and ornamented like the other associates. The specific services entrusted to the anugas are varied. Mandana always bears the umbrella over the head of Lord Krishna. Sucandra is engaged in fanning with the white camara (bunch of hair), and Sutamba is engaged in supplying betel nuts. All of them are great devotees, and they are always busy in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. There are so many anugas in Vrindavana as well: Raktaka, Patraka, Patri, Madhukantha, Madhuvrata, Rasala, Suvilasa, Premakanda, Marandaka, Ananda, Candrahasa, Payoda, Bakula, Rasada and Sharada are the names. Descriptions of the bodily features of the anugas in Vrindavana are given in the following statement: “Let us offer our respectful obeisances unto the constant associates of the son of Maharaja Nanda. They always stay in Vrindavana, and their bodies are decorated with garlands of pearls and with bangles and bracelets of gold. Their colours are like black bees and the golden moon, and they are dressed just to suit their particular special bodily features. Their specific duties can be understood from a statement by mother Yashoda, who said, ‘Bakula, please cleanse the yellowish dress of Krishna. Varika, you just flavour the bathing water with aguru scent. And Rasala, you just prepare the betel nuts. You can all see that Krishna is approaching. There is dust overhead, and the cows can be seen very distinctly.

Among all the anugas, Raktaka is the best. An example of the attachment felt by Raktaka toward Lord Krishna can be understood from his statement to Rasada: “Just hear me! Please place me so that I may always be engaged in the service of Lord Krishna, who has now become famous as the lifter of the Govardhana Hill.”[1]

It’s a very nice invitation – to become a personal servant of Krishna. Really, did you ever think of giving a special scent to Krishna’s bathing water? Or bringing something for His personal pleasure? It is not only an obligatory duty to worship Krishna in puja and in offerings. No, this is something very personal. Such a nice invitation!

“The devotees of Krishna engaged in His personal service are always very cautious because they know that becoming personal servitors of Lord Krishna is not an ordinary thing. A person who offers respect even to the ants engaged in the service of the Lord becomes eternally happy, so what is there to say of one who offers Krishna direct service? Raktaka once said within himself, “Not only is Krishna my worshipable and servable Lord, but also the girlfriends of Krishna, the gopis, are equally worshipable and servable by me. And not only the gopis, but anyone who is engaged in the service of the Lord is also worshipable and servable by me. I know that I must be very careful not to become overly proud that I am one of the servitors and devotees of the Lord.” From this statement one can understand that the pure devotees, those who are actually engaged in the service of the Lord, are always very cautious and are never overly proud of their service.”

Then Shrila Rupa Goswami further describes the subsections of these different devotional sentiments. And the last section finally:

“Devotees attached to the transcendental loving service of the Lord may be described either as surrendered souls, as souls advanced in devotional knowledge, or as souls completely engaged in transcendental loving service. Such devotees are called respectively neophyte, perfect and eternally perfect.”

So, we must have full and eternal confidence that first we can qualify as neophytes; then go on to the next stage – perfect, not half perfect. And then what was the last? Eternally perfect. Yesterday we were not perfect in service, but from now on for eternity we are committed to that – that means eternally. Because fortunately our past doesn’t exist anymore. Unfortunately, our future doesn’t exist either. Time is latent or let’s say possibly existent in the future. Time is non-existent concerning the past. There is only this present moment. The past is a history, the future is a mystery and the present moment is a gift.

(to be continued)

[1] Nectar of devotion, Ch. 36

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

(continues from the previous Friday)

Now let’s see the third category of servitors – the constant associates.

“In the city of Dvaraka the following devotees are known as Krishna’s close associates: Uddhava, Daruka, Satyaki, Shrutadeva, Shatrujit, Nanda, Upananda and Bhadra. All of these personalities remain with the Lord as His secretaries, but still they are sometimes engaged in His personal service.”[1]

From these personalities let’s take the first two. Who is Daruka? Daruka is the charioteer of Krishna. This is a very prestigious position. Why? Because Krishna has taken this position in connection with Arjuna. It’s something very intimate – Krishna acts in submission, as a servant. He is ready to render that service to His friends. But just imagine that person, from whom Krishna will accept such service!

Sometimes people think that to have a prestigious car is something. And they are happily driving their own cars. But it’s very low-class. Real high-class is to have a driver. If you drive your own car – it’s low-class. Why? Because here Krishna has a driver. This is really elegant. Because sometimes He is ready to act like this. Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that an intimate connection? At the same time this also means control. Because if you drive your own car, it’s only you who knows where you go. But if you have a driver, he will also know where are you going. Somebody is always there to have an eye on you.

So, this is Daruka; strangely enough, I have a friend and his name is Daruka and he is a car mechanic. You see, the name and the profession are connected.

The other person here is Uddhava. Uddhava is a very special friend of Krishna. Before Krishna left this planet, Uddhava had the feeling: ‘I don’t have too much time.’ So, he humbly asked Krishna: “Can You, please, summarize again what is most important?” And then Krishna again summarized His teachings in the Uddhava Gita. These are very, very condensed and very meaningful chapters in the Eleventh Canto of the Shrimad Bhagavatam.

Uddhava is also a very intimate servant of Krishna. Sometimes he acts as a messenger. And as he is very similar by features to Krishna, when he came to Vrindavana the gopies were perplexed: “Maybe our Kirshna has returned? Ah no, this is only Uddhava…” And also Uddhava has different-different tastes, different-different relationships with Krishna. Basically friendship; and a little superior – like a senior friend or relative; and also an affectionate friend. So, do you feel the difference between a simple friend and an affectionate friend? There is a very big difference.

“Out of the many close associates of Lord Krishna, Uddhava is considered the best. The following is a description of him: “His body is blackish like the colour of the Yamuna River, and it is similarly as cool as the waters. He is always decorated with flower garlands first used by Lord Krishna, and he is dressed with yellow silk clothing. His two arms are just like the bolts of a door, his eyes are just like lotus flowers, and he is the most important devotee among all the associates. Let us therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto Uddhava’s lotus feet.

Uddhava has described the transcendental qualities of Shri Krishna as follows: “Lord Shri Krishna, who is our master and worshipable Deity, the controller of Lord Śiva and Lord Brahma, and the controller of the whole universe as well, accepts the controlling orders of Ugrasena, His grandfather. He is the proprietor of millions of universes, but still He begged a little land from the ocean. And although He is just like an ocean of wisdom, He sometimes consults me. He is so great and magnanimous, yet He is engaged in His different activities just like an ordinary person.”

You see, this is what we appreciate, this is what we love in Him – He comes as a human.

(to be continued)

[1] Nectar of devotion, Ch. 36

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

(continues from the previous Friday)

Devotees under the protection and shelter of the Lord – the second category.
“One resident of Vrindavana once told Lord Krishna, “My dear Krishna, O pleasure of Vrindavana! Being afraid of this material existence, we have taken shelter of You, for You can completely protect us! We are well aware of Your greatness. As such, we have given up our desire for liberation and have taken complete shelter under Your lotus feet. Since we have heard about Your ever-increasing transcendental love, we have voluntarily engaged ourselves in Your transcendental service.” This statement is by a devotee who is under the protection and shelter of Lord Krishna.” [1]
You see, we hardly passed the neutral stage; now we come to the servitude. And here is the key for the next stages. Because “We have heard about the ever-increasing love for You and therefore we have taken shelter. We don’t possess that yet, but we have heard about it.” Did you hear about the ever-growing love and attachment to Krishna? Yes, we have heard something about it. Therefore we are ready to take the shelter of this process, of our achariyas, of this invitation. Because faith is the pleasure that we can derive from the appreciation and glorification of the ever-increasing love between Radha and Govinda.
A very beautiful example of taking shelter under the lotus feet of Lord Krishna is mentioned here – Kaliya, the poisonous snake.
“Upon being chastised by Krishna’s constant kicking on his head, Kaliya, the black snake of the Yamuna, came to his senses and admitted, “My dear Lord, I have been so offensive unto You, but still You are so kind that You have marked my head with the impression of Your lotus feet.” This is also an instance, an example of one’s taking shelter under the lotus feet of Krishna.
You see, this is the group of the devotees who are protected by the Lord.

(to be continued)

1. Nectar of devotion, Ch. 36

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

Today I was blessed with the company of a very nice old friend. He is a devotee of Shrila Paramadvaity Maharaja and he is American by nationality, but he is an honorary Hungarian. He speaks perfect Hungarian, which is a miracle. He is a yoga teacher and started to become a devotee in Hungary. And this afternoon we had this meeting with this beautiful old friend – now returning from India to Hungary and on the road he just stopped in Sofia for a while.
You see, this is one advantage of spiritual life of our bhakti process. Because you will have friends all over the world. This is something very precious. And we don’t live in our memories, we don’t live in our past, we don’t live in the future of our hopes. But we live in the eternal happy moment of today.
Therefore, we have to continue our studies about our spiritual science. Which is not only a theoretical construction, but which is living experience. In the morning we started discussing something about the servitude towards the Supreme. And now we have to continue with that.
Shrila Rupa Goswami says: “The devotees of the Lord in servitude are divided into four classes: appointed servants (such as Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, who are appointed to control over the material modes of passion and ignorance), devotees in servitude who are protected by the Lord, devotees who are always associates, and devotees who are simply following in the footsteps of the Lord. “
So, this is our study for today. Appointed servants.
„In a conversation between Jambavati, one of Krishna’s wives, and Kalindi, her friend, Jambavati inquired, “Who is this personality circumambulating our Krishna?” Kalindi replied, “She is Ambika, the superintendent of all universal affairs.” Then Jambavati inquired, “Who is this personality who is trembling at the sight of Krishna?” Kalindi replied, “He is Lord Shiva.” Then Jambavati inquired, “Who is the person offering prayers?” Kalindi replied, “He is Lord Brahma.” Jambavati then asked, “Who is that person who has fallen on the ground and is offering respect to Krishna?” Kalindi replied, “He is Indra, the king of heaven.” Jambavati next inquired, “Who is this person who has come with the demigods and is laughing with them?” Kalindi replied, “He is my elder brother, Yamaraja, the superintendent of death.”
“This conversation offers a description of all the demigods, including Yamaraja, who are engaged in services appointed by the Lord. They are called adhikrita-devata, or demigods appointed to particular types of departmental service” .[1]
Of course, this cannot happen in Sofia. Because your Mahaprabhu knows all of you very well. But in case He doesn’t recognize you due to some ecstasy, He will ask: “Who is this devotee bringing Me flowers?” And then the ashram leader Tulasi will tell Him: “Oh, this is this devotee.” “Who is that other devotee singing to Me so nicely?” and she will say: “Oh, this is Param.” And then: “Who is this who is cooking in my kitchen?” and she will say: “This is Priya, who stopped her sankirtan activities just to cook for You.” “And who is this other gopi whom I haven’t seen for such a long time?” “This is our Ragichka, having a mission in Hungary.” “And who is this nice devotee who has so much affection for Me?” “This is Valyo, chanting his mantras and professing his faith.” And many others, of course – we cannot accomplish the list. Because hundreds and thousands of devotees are here for the service of Mahaprabhu.
And really, it is like this, today you see only 30-40 people here, but in the Bulgarian Purana it will be written “In the beginning of the 21st Century there was a very strong devotional community in Sofia, and thousands were joining the thundering kirtan of Kripadham.” By the way, our Mahaprabhu will ask – because His eyes are full of tears due to ecstasy – “And who is this nice devotee who has his birthday today?” He is our Kripadham Prabhu, ki jay hoooo! And that is reality, this is our reality! We are not limited to 20-30 people; hundreds and thousands are sitting here. Devotional mathematics are very special. You think one plus one is two. But it’s wrong, it’s incorrect. One plus one is minimum three. One – you, one – the other devotee, plus the loving friendship service attitude between you. In union, in harmony, the small is growing. In disharmony, in distrust even the strong is weak. So, please, cultivate what you have! Then the local Purana will tell the truth: “In the beginning of the 21st Century there was a very strong united group of devotees here, in Sofia. And thousands were gathering in the service of Mahaprabhu.”
These are the appointed servants. So please, qualify yourself to be appointed to a special type of service.

(to be continued)

1. Nectar of devotion, Ch. 36

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

(continues from the previous Friday)

Is it possible to overserve Krishna…? You see, sometimes He comes in a deity form to accept our services. And once in a very well established mataji ashram there was a case. You know, in an ashram you have to keep everything under control, because otherwise it will break down. And usually, to keep control over the kitchen is very important. Because if there is no control, one day you will use all the bhoga for the offerings and tomorrow there will be nothing to cook. So you have to be very careful and very proportionate in the kitchen, isn’t that so? When in Gurudev’s ashram the devotees submitted to him the list for what to buy, he said: “Three cauliflowers! No, only one.” It was very sweet and it was very difficult to manage the shopping with him. Because he was very strict and always cutting half the list.

But if we return to the original story: in this ashram everything was fully under control, everything was proportionate and the stock was kept very nicely. But then one day a new lady came and she brought her deities as well – small little Radha-Krishna. And she started to worship her own deities in this ashram. She was very intimately related to her deities and she knew that Krishna loves sweets in the morning. This is the way Krishna starts His day – with some sweets. And she tried to supply it, sneaking into the kitchen, taking all the butter that was proportionately designed for the day, adding some sugar and this and that, and offering all to her Krishna. Because she wanted to serve her beloved Krishna. But then the cook came. She said: ‘All right, now let’s start cooking… and where is the butter?’

This story started to escalate, more and more butter was missing every day. Our dear gopi wanted to overcare so much for her Govinda and He started to become heavier and heavier.  Because she felt that: ‘He loves my sweets so much.’

I know that you very nicely follow all the instructions and everything that you hear in the lectures. But please, be proportionate in the usage of butter.

Vedavid: What if Krishna stole the butter?

Gangamata: It’s a good excuse.

Swami Tirtha: This question you will be able to answer if you were the leader of an ashram and you have to proportionately distribute the butter. Of course, nothing is independent of the divine desire. But we started from overcaring. And actually, the surplus is not the butter and it’s not the sugar that we have to give. The surplus is the affection. And this is never overdosed, this is never a burden. Because pure dedicated love knows all the secrets of love. And this very intelligent service always considers the taste of Krishna. The only question, the only point is whether He likes it this way or not.

Many times I’ve told you when a gopa was massaging the left foot of Krishna. He was nicely giving a massage for half an hour and Krishna was gone in yoga-nidra. And then our gopa thought: ‘All right, I had been massaging the left foot, now I move to the right foot of Krishna. Because I have to distribute my service proportionally.’ So, very softly he gave up massaging the left foot and very softly touched the right foot. Then Krishna just slightly opened His eyes and said: “Go back.” As He likes. Sometimes you might have a suggestion, but we have to obey as He likes. And from this rule only very few devotees are exceptions. When their desire and their willpower overpower Krishna.

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

(continues from the previous Friday)

Question of Shyama Tulasi: Could you make a clear distinction between the two attitudes? One is when you serve for the benefit of those whom you serve and the other is when you are like a mother who is caring for the children, but in such a way that she is preventing them from doing anything. One is for them and the other is instead of them.

Swami Tirtha: To overcare?

Shyama Tulasi: To overcare. Yes.

Swami Tirtha: It’s very simple. If you are driven by instincts, then you do this second type. If you are driven by wisdom, you do the other type – for their benefit. And sometimes this is cruel. If we examine the examples of nature, like the animal kingdom, we shall find different types of parental affection or servitude. For some time the mother dog accepts the little puppies, but when they start to bite too much, she will kick them out. You might say: cruel. But it will make them very strong, and able to stand on their own feet, and to find foodstuff for themselves – not only taking the blood and the milk of the mother. Overcaring, I think, is very instinctive – it’s when you want to dominate. And this is the best way to corrupt. If you overcare for your children, this is the best way to corrupt them. They will always depend on you in a wrong manner. But if you are wise, you will not only provide the freedom, but kick them out sometimes.

Comment: With love.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, for their benefit – to make them stronger, to make them face some realities of life. Therefore, it is said: “For you and with you I am ready to do anything; but instead of you I am not ready to do anything.”

Question of Chakori: Is it possible to overcare for, to overserve Krishna?

Swami Tirtha: To overserve Krishna? ‘Today I have over-japaed myself, over-japa.’ Well, it is possible. So, we have to be careful not to be an annoying servant of the Supreme. You should know your limits. You should know when your presence is accepted and when your presence is a burden. Although you are the best to be saved, still give a break to Krishna sometimes.

This we shall understand from the further explanations of Rupa Goswami, because there are different grades of devotees – not only in servitude, but in other rasas as well. And everybody should act according to this gradation, according to their position and not more – not overcare, not overjump. Because it’s a system, it’s a structure and everybody has to fulfil his or her commitment, duty. Otherwise it’s a mess. Because for example, if those devotees who are supposed to make garlands for Krishna start to overcare for their service and bring two tons of flowers – all right, He can bear the burden, but maybe it’s a little heavy for Him. Or if they start to exchange their services and in the end nobody knows what to do – then it’s a disaster. Of course, spiritual life is always floating, it’s always improving and there are small… well, I wouldn’t say distortions, but changes, and actions and reactions are there. So, it’s a living thing. Nevertheless, according to Rupa Goswami’s descriptions, these different groups of servitors are always under the care of some superiors. This is the way to provide the harmony and the unity of the different services.

(to be continued)


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

(continues from the previous Friday)

We started from the moon, right – that the moon is full of desires. When the moon-god had a major desire, he wanted to join the lilas, the dance of Krishna. But then he was perplexed: What to do? How to come closer to Krishna? He remembered this verse form the Shrimad Bhagavatam: akamah sarva-kamo va moksha-kama udara-dhih – ‘I have only one desire – to come closer to the lilas of Krishna. But what am I to do?’ So he started to consult the saintly devotees: “Please, tell me what can I do? I am in the sky. I am so far from the lilas. What am I to do? Sometimes I have a glimpse of the dance of Krishna and the gopies and it’s so charming that I start to melt, my body is just dissolving and from my full-moon phase I become a crescent moon. So, what am I to do, please instruct me, how can I come closer to the lilas of Krishna?”

Then the saintly devotees said: “Oh, our Krishna is a very expert dancer. A real dancer, a real actor always has a costume. And the most important element of His costume is the peacock feather. As you are a male, you cannot enter into the rasa-dance. Gopeshvar Mahadev will protect all those who want to enter. He himself is a male. But even he had to change his bodily type into a female, so that he can protect the dhama. So even for protection you have to convert yourself, change yourself; what to speak of entering the circle. Transformation, you see. Lord Shiva always has the crescent moon in his hair. And Gopeshvar Mahadev, as a protector of the dhama, although he is in a gopi form, still the crescent moon is there. So maybe you can be satisfied with this.”

“No”, Chandra said: “No, no. It’s not enough for me. I feel excluded from the dance. Give me another piece of advice.” They said: “All right, if you want to come closer, then you should transform yourself into a peacock feather.” Then the moon-god accepted this advice. And the bright full moon turned into a peacock feather. When Krishna saw this beautiful peacock feather, immediately He put it on His head. And then all the gopis that evening were extra charged and charmed by this new peacock feather over the head of Krishna. Then the full moon was even more happy in the sky, because in this way he was introduced into the lilas of Krishna more intimately.

Akamah sarva-kamo va/ moksha-kama udara-dhih/ tivrena bhakti-yogena/ yajeta purusham param[1] – “Whether you have no desire, or all desires, or only one desire, thirstily you have to serve the Supreme with devotion.”

And to accomplish our reading for today: “The devotees of the Lord in servitude are divided into four classes: appointed servants (such as Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, who are appointed to control the material modes of passion and ignorance), devotees in servitude who are protected by the Lord, devotees who are always associates and devotees who are simply following in the footsteps of the Lord”.[2]

So, what was the definition of servitude? Help me, I forgot.

Krishna Priya: Continuous attraction and attachment to Krishna.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. You are part of a systematic spiritual school.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.3.10

[2] Nectar of devotion, Ch.36

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

(continues from the previous Friday)

Now we are under the blessed moment of the full moon, right. And the moon, oh, he is very desirous. What to do if you have a lot of desires? Don’t quote me the Shrimad Bhagavatam so urgently, so immediately. Akamah sarva-kamo va/ moksha-kama udara-dhih/ tivrena bhakti-yogena/ yajeta purusham param.[1] Yes, this is what you wanted to quote, right?

But anyway, Shrimad Bhagavatam is very practical. It’s not something theoretical, floating in the air. No, this is very practical. Sukadeva Goswami and Shrimad Bhagavatam know human nature. Because it starts to describe us: akamah sarva-kamo va – whether you have no kama at all, which is very rare; or you have all the desires possible; moksha-kama – or you have only one desire, for liberation… So, the three categories of human beings are: with no desires, with all desires and with one desire. Akamah sarva-kamo va moksha-kama udara-dhih – whether you have all these varieties, tivrena – with thirst, you are suggested to serve the Supreme with thirst. Tivrena bhakti-yogena – with devotion. In this way you should worship the Supreme. Because then you will be compensated. You will receive everything.

Don’t forget about this. Don’t think that if you have some desires, you are excluded from the chance of perfection. Our chance is to improve ourselves, our standards. Tivrena bhakti-yogena – with deep desire, deep commitment, we should serve with devotion the Supreme. Then you might expect that there will be a transformation. If today you have no desires and a transformation happens to you, what will you receive?

Bhagavat Prasad: The desire to serve.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, you will have a lot of desires, right? If you have all the desires and some transformation comes to you, then what will happen?

Bhagavat Prasad: There will be only one.

Swami Tirtha: No, you will have no desires. That is the neutral platform. From the material ambitions you will come to the neutral platform. And if you have only one desire – of liberation – then what will happen?

Answer: You will achieve it.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, and you can go further. As soon as you go further, automatically it will be fulfilled and it will lose its importance. This is the meaning of transformation – something will change, the ambition will change, the desires will be purified, or nullified we can say.

Therefore we should worship a perfect Lord. We should follow a perfect example. And what is the ambition, what is the only goal of a pure devotee? To serve and to satisfy the Divine Couple. Therefore this very subtle cultivation will help us to acquire the same qualities, the same ambition. And that’s why we stress so much that proper association is crucial. If you associate with drunkards, you will become a drunkard, because these ideals will dominate you. If you associate with saints, saintly ideals will dominate over you. I think it’s common sense, right.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.3.10

(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.