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Extra English Issues issues

Mar

18

Centaur

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

Question of Hayagriva: One part of the story of Prahlada was the story of Yamaraja who consults the widows of Hiranyaksha, and we see that Hiranyakashipu understands perfectly the philosophy that he is not the body, but he hasn’t actually realized this. How can we realize practically that we are not the body?

Swami Tirtha: It’s very easy – avoid riding in the car of bad drivers. Because if somebody is a bad driver, you as a passenger are frightened of death, of accident and that increases your bodily consciousness.

But you know, the answer of all the ‘how to’ questions is one. So, ‘How to realize that I’m not the body?’ Chant more!

But I don’t want to use it as an excuse. Well, slowly-slowly, by facing all the anarthas, by purifying ourselves and coming closer to our final atman identity, the bodily consciousness should diminish. Easy to say ‘We are not the bodies’, but practically our body in the present situation is the only instrument by which we can relay to anything outside. With your hand you can take the Gita, with your eyes you can read, with your brain you can understand, right? So body is very important.

Yet the body is full of necessities. It’s a biological construction. So in order to function nicely you have to feed it, you have to give it a little sleep, you have to give it a little enjoyment here and there, because otherwise it doesn’t function. Just like a car – without fuel you cannot use it. In the same way we should take care of this instrument which is given to us, just like a car, to reach the goal. The body is not a worshipable object, but this is an instrument that you can use in your spiritual progress.

A human being is just like a centaur. In a centaur one part is human, the back side is animal. We are like this. We have some very basic, biological, animalistic instincts; and we have a front part with some little brain; you can look up to the sky. Your animalistic back side cannot look up to the sky. But still it is coming with you. What to do! Yet if we engage the body nicely as an instrument in reaching our spiritual goal, it will help us.

We are conditioned by the body. Therefore it is very much suggested that devotees should analyze themselves and find their real identity. So once  we have to understand that we are separate from the body. Body is there, but we are different. Therefore of the two phases of the spiritual progress the first is to capture the conscious identity. Even that is difficult. But the second one is more difficult, because then this captured conscious identity has to be dedicated, we have to put it at the lotus feet of the Lord. So these are the two phases: control yourself, be a master of your existence; and then dedicate yourself to the Supreme.

And I think theoretically we can all agree: ‘Ah, yes, I’m not the body!’ But when your breakfast is missing, some signals start – the body will say: ’I’m also here!’ So, how to realize it? First try to have the theoretical understanding, then try to act accordingly – but this is the mechanical process. If we directly realize that ‘I belong to the Supreme, I’m a citkana, I’m a particle of divine light, divine consciousness’ – then this is the revolutionary way, the direct way. And by chanting, by following all the other services given to us, slowly-slowly these layers of material consciousness are removed.

 



narada-and-kayadhu-291x300

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday) 

So, Prahlada instructs his schoolmates, showing that time and human life is very valuable, and finally stressing that to serve Vishnu, the Supreme, is much more important than anything else.

At the end the demon boys were amazed to hear that Prahlada was a student of Narada. Because they inquired: “Where did you get your knowledge?” And then Prahlada said: “Ah, I have learned it from Narada.” “How! How possible!? You didn’t meet him!” But while Prahlada was in the womb of his mother, the mother met Narada Muni. So we can say that Prahlada had a prenatal education.

So, dear mothers, take care! When a new life is under your hearts, don’t be angry, develop very-very good consciousness. Because there is communication between your child and you. So whatever you do, whatever you think, whatever you hear is being transmitted to the child. You can give good training to the future son or daughter. For example, if you have your child in your womb and all the time you quarrel with your husband, it is this type of training you give. And when the small girl comes, this will be her nature – quarreling. It’s possible. But if you read the Bhagavad Gita, the child can become a scholar of devotional knowledge, science. Yet beware, if he or she is a great soul and you make a mistake in reading the Bhagavatam or the Gita, they may kick you from inside.

It really works – there is a chance to influence, to communicate, to teach certain things to the child in the womb, because he or she is conscious. Life starts at the moment of conception. So there’s a conscious entity inside the body. Therefore bringing new children to the planet Earth is like a very great service.

And finally Prahlada concluded: “On the path of devotion to God there are no distinctions based upon caste or race. Yakshas, rakshasas, women, shudras, cowherds and even sinners, animals and birds are eligible to taste the nectar of devotion to Lord Achyuta. Therefore it is said that the pure devotees of Govinda can see God present in all living entities. And this is the supreme goal, recommended by all the scriptures for all human beings – to see God everywhere and never forget about Him.”[1]

 

[1] From B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The holy life of Prahlada

 



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday) 

“One day the teachers went to their home to do some work, allowing the boys, who were now alone, the opportunity to amuse themselves by playing. The schoolmates of Prahlada called him to play with them; yet Prahlada, who was very wise, smiled and replied with great affection. “Dear friends, please tell me, what is the purpose of this world?” Those innocent boys still had pure hearts, uncontaminated by the contacts with materialists who are attached to pleasure and pain. Because they loved Prahlada and respected him very much, they stopped playing and flocked around him. Sitting in a circle they listened very attentively to his words. And then Prahlada said: ”Those who are intelligent will engage in the service of the Lord from an early age, because it is very rare to obtain a human life. The human birth is temporary, but extremely valuable.”[1]

That means commitment to God doesn’t depend on age. If you are young, you can do it, if you are old, you can do it. Although we use these qualities as excuses: ‘Ah, I’m too young, I cannot join. Ah, now I’m too old, why should I join, I cannot.’ We always use the excuses. But we shouldn’t waste time, because we cannot change the current of time and we cannot bring back even one moment. So we should use the time properly. Therefore every single moment of human life is extremely valuable.

“Then Prahlada continued: “Coming in touch with the lotus feet of Vishnu means serving the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, which is the highest duty of all human beings. Shri Vishnu is the supreme object of love, the supreme controller, the well-wisher and the soul of all living entities. To approach the lotus feet of Shri Vishnu means to execute the process of devotional service in four basic sentiments – in neutral attachment, in servitorship, in friendship and in conjugal love. To follow any of these methods is known as bhagavata-dharma, devotion to the Supreme.”

Then next verse says: “Ah, children of the daityas! The pleasure of sense gratification is available in all life forms, even in the bodies of animals and birds. Just as we receive suffering even without searching for it, sense gratification will come according to our previous karma. Therefore after obtaining this valuable human life, you do not need to strive for sense enjoyment, because by this unnecessary effort valuable time is wasted. By engaging in devotional service at the lotus feet of Lord Mukunda we shall obtain benefits that are far greater than those which can be obtained through material enjoyment. Lord Mukunda will grant us liberation from the bondage of material life and he will give the real pleasure of life. No other worshipable personality is able to rescue us from the clutches of birth and death. For this reason one who is intelligent will fear the sufferings of material existence and understand that without devotion to the Lord one will fall from his position. In other words, without serving the Lord there can be no relief from misery. Having properly understood this point, one should sincerely pursue the real benefit of human life, by engaging in devotional service to the Lord in early childhood, before being attacked by disease and old age.”

And the further verses say: “A human life lasts approximately one hundred years. And during this short span of life those who are controlled by their senses can only take advantage of fifty of these years, as they spend their nights covered by ignorance and deep sleep.” So, while sleeping you cannot enjoy your body. “Of the remaining time ten years are spent with no facility of understanding during childhood, another ten years in playing and sporting during adolescence, and during old age the last twenty years of one’s life are spent as invalid in a life of retirement. The remaining time – only twenty or thirty years – is usually spent in the pursuit of sense enjoyment and the formation of strong attachment that generates innumerable sufferings, resulting in the loss of one’s very self in the deep illusion of bondage to home and family. There is no time left to search for one’s real benefit.”

So, this calculation says: hundred years of lifespan, for fifty years you sleep, for twenty you are ignorant as a small child and you play; and then at the end there are some ten-twenty years of disabled condition – so how much is left? Not so much, right? We have ten good years. Why should we waste these ten years with stupid activities?

We have to be careful about time. Because in that active period of your life you can determine your future – that you will later either enjoy or regret. Activities will definitely bring results. And the karma-phala, the fruits of our activities, will be distributed – if you like it or not. So we should be careful about our activities.

(to be continued)

[1] From B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The holy life of Prahlada

 



Prahlada (2)

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday) 

“Seeing that all the efforts of the daityas were in vain, Hiranyakashipu became afraid. He tied up Prahlada for some time and began to contemplate different methods of killing him. First of all he tried to have Prahlada crushed by a herd of elephants. Then he had him tried to be bitten by big poisonous snakes. Failing to accomplish his goal, he then tried to kill the boy by means of black magic. Then by throwing him off the peak of a very high mountain; by burying him alive; by poisoning his food; by starving him; by freezing him with large quantities of ice; by blowing him away with a very powerful wind; by throwing him into fire and submerging him into water; and by hurling at him great stones. Hiranyakashipu tried countless ways to harm Prahlada, but all efforts failed.

After trying in so many ways to kill the innocent boy, the lord of the daityas realized that he could not do any harm to Prahlada. Now he became very anxious and started to think: ‘I have abused this boy with many harsh words and I have tried to kill him with different weapons. Yet he has such a tremendous power that he cannot be harmed in any way. Even face to face with me he remains fearless. Just as it is not possible to alter the inherent nature of a thing, such as straightening the curved tail of a dog, this boy will never give up his misbehavior towards me.”[1]

This is a very good example: you pull the tail of a dog, then it is straight; as soon as you let it go – it is back again to the original position. So to change the basic nature of things is like this – pull the tail of a dog. Then how can we change our basic nature? Same problem.

So this was the conflict of Hiranyakashipu: ‘I cannot change my boy! He will never give up his service and determination to God.’ So he concluded: ‘This boy must be immortal and if I go against him, I may die.’

“The lord of the demons could see that his own power was diminishing and as a result he became overwhelmed by anxiety. Then the two sons of Shukracharya, Shanda and Amarka, approached him in a solitary place and tried to pacify him; “Ah, lord! All kings become frightened by the mere threat of the movements of your eyes. Singlehandedly you have conquered all the three worlds. Why are you so anxious? Little children do not know what is good and what is bad. They are ignorant and foolish. Therefore there is no merit or fault in their activities. Let Shukracharya now come back so we may ask him for his advice. In the meantime scare Prahlada and do not allow him any chance to escape. Bind him with the magical ropes of Varuna. In this way he will not be exposed to contacts with sadhus and perhaps with time when he is grown up he will change his mind.”

Hiranyakashipu accepted this advice and replied: “Yes, we shall do this! You will teach Prahlada the duties of a family man and king, and also about charity.” With great care Shanda and Amarka again taught Prahlada about material religiosity, economic development and sense gratification. And again the boy studied his lessons and behaved very politely, but did not take their instructions very seriously. In fact he never accepted their instructions as worthy because his teachers were attached to the material world and were therefore controlled by the dualities of attachment and disguise.” 

(to be continued) 

[1] From B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The holy life of Prahlada

 



prahlada_tortured

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia) 

We continue the very instructive story of Shri Prahlada, the prince of full dedication. This story is about a very powerful yet very ill-intentioned king, who is an opponent and offender of God. We shouldn’t say that he is a disbeliever; he believes in the existence of the Supreme, but he doesn’t accept it in a favorable way. And his son is very gentle in character and he is a great devotee, lover of God. This is a conflict situation, right – when the son doesn’t follow the desire of the father. ‘I want to make you just like me, an opponent of the Supreme, and you favor Him? Ah, you disgrace of the family!’ The father asked once: “What is the best that you have learned at school?” And Prahlada said: “Devotion to Vishnu – that is best in life.”

“Seated on his throne, Hiranyakashipu resentfully listened to the speech of his little boy. Blinded by rage, he threw Prahlada off his lap onto the ground with the intention of killing him. How could he tolerate this boy threatening the family lineage?! Seeing that Prahlada did not suffer any injury from his brutal act, Hiranyakashipu began to shout with eyes redden by anger: “Rakshasas, take this child immediately and kill him without delay, because I want him dead!” Upon hearing this, the rakshasas became confused: “What is the king saying? Who should be killed? This is his own son, Prahlada!” Hiranyakashipu saw their astonishment and loudly repeated: “Why are you hesitating? This miserable wretch is not my son, rather he is a killer of my brother! Otherwise how could he betray his own family by serving the feet of Vishnu, the slayer of my brother? How could he gave up his parents and well-wishers while only five years old? This traitor could one day betray Vishnu as well. What is the guarantee that he will keep his faith? And how could he be sure that the untrustworthy Vishnu will be true to his side?”

Even after receiving such clear orders, the rakshasas could not get the courage to kill Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu then proceeded to explain. “If some beneficial medicinal plant grows in the forest, we shall protect it carefully. In the same way, if the son of someone else is very favorable to us, we shall give him all protection and affection. On the other hand, we shall never protect a disease which has appeared in our body and which can destroy it. Rather we shall try to remove that infection. In the same way, if our own son becomes hostile to us, he must be given up at once. If one’s body is contaminated by infection and some limb starts to rot, it is necessary to cut off this limb and discard it in order to protect the rest of the body. Likewise if we wish to protect the dynasty of the daityas, the proper treatment is to remove this child. Just as the uncontrolled senses are the enemies of the yogi, this wicked Prahlada is my greatest enemy, even if he appears to be a friend and family member.”[1]

So, for the sake of higher integrity sometimes we have to sacrifice a lower, smaller principle. In order to save the body, sometimes we have to sacrifice one limb. In order to save our family, we have to sacrifice ourselves. In order to save our village, we have to sacrifice our family. In order to save our country, we have to sacrifice our village. So we should always try to see what the higher principle is and adjust to it. Although it is painful to bring this sacrifice, yet it should be done.

“Thus, encouraged by king Hiranyakashipu, all the rakshasas raised a frightening tumultuous sound. They shouted: “Kill him! Kill him!” while brandishing their spears. They cruelly tried to pierce the vital body parts of Prahlada, who was immersed in meditation on Shri Hari and did not pay any attention. However, just as those who have no accumulated credit of pious activities fall in their plans, all the efforts of the demons were in vain. In the same way that the Supreme Lord cannot be described by words, because He is free from all material qualities, Prahlada could not be hurt by any weapon. Due to his complete absorption in meditation on Shri Govinda, Prahlada sat on the lap of the Lord, thoroughly protected by Him from any attack. Though difficult to believe, such a thing is definitely possible. The Supreme Lord resides at the core of all things that exist, including the demons and their weapons, controlling everything. Without His consent no one can destroy anyone or protect anyone.”

 

(to be continued)

 

[1] From B.B.Tirtha Maharaj’s book The holy life of Prahlada



DO--2709-katherine-mccormack-41098

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Yadunath: Can you please explain in our line what does it mean sad-guru? What is the bread coming from the sad-guru? And what do we have to give in return?

Swami Tirtha: This last part I like.

Sad-guru is not a simple person. It is mentioned that if a person considers a holy place to be an ordinary geographical location, the murti to be made of wood or stone or metal, or the spiritual master to be a simple human being, he commits a great mistake. Formally it might look like. But if we see only the formal side, we shall not see the essence and it will not start to become an active principle in our life.

Sad-guru is such a person, who fully represents guru-tattva in his personality. A real sad-guru is samasta-guru also – represents all the spiritual masters. Samasta is the collected body of gurus. Yet guru is not a theological tattva, not a theological truth or principle; fortunately he is a person. That divine power enters our life through a person. So, maybe to one disciple the same person is a simple guru and for the other he’s a sad-guru. It doesn’t depend on the names or the titles that you achieve. His Holiness Mahamandaleshvar Shri Shri This and That Kamabhogananda Swami. Kama-bhoga – enjoyments and sex. Because you know, there are unlimited titles that people are hunting for. ‘Well, right now I’m only on the H.H. platform.’ H.H. is ‘His Holiness’. ‘I’m still not on H.D.G – His Divine Grace’. So, people are hunting for titles.

What is the point? The point is that I should be able to recognize who is real. It’s not my title, it’s not his title – it’s my vision. And sometimes this is inside the parampara, sometimes it’s outside the parampara. Because guru is a universal principle. But what can you do with a universal principle in your life? Nothing. We need a personal interpretation for that. Therefore our small little-little-little insignificant guru is the greatest of all for us.

So this is the first part of your question. What was the second?

Yadunath: What is the bread that we are eating from him?

Yamuna: And what we have to give in return.

Swami Tirtha: That was the third. I don’t forget that.

Actually we, god-brothers and god-sisters of me, we didn’t eat krishna-prasadam. No. Shall I continue? I think you understand. Let’s leave this question open. Let everybody understand it according to their capacities.

But you know the pelican? How the pelican feeds the small ones? Giving a pre-digested fish. Actually we are like that. We should take only prasadam. For whatever comes from the spiritual master is prasadam. And unfortunately sometimes people misuse this principle.

And what we have to give in exchange? Well, what do you have? Do you have a little water? Little fruit, a few leaves? You can offer them to our Lord. Then He will come with His further requirements.

 



hare-krishna-jai

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

Question of Giridhari: By definition we accept that guru should belong to a tradition, parampara. No doubt it’s like this. But the last king of Bulgarians was German, not Bulgarian. The prince of the demons Prahlada Maharaj was not a demon, he was a bhakta. I’m sure there are so many gurus who do not come from a parampara. This is another incompatibility. Could you please harmonize and put this together?

Swami Tirtha: I can say yes, it’s true – many bona fide gurus can come from outside the tradition. But even if somebody is able to come from outside any tradition, usually they commit themselves to the formalities. The highly elevated chosen ones are free to come, stay and go. But we are not free to come, to stay and to go – I mean people in general. Therefore it is more safe to follow a tradition. And the great teachers usually give this example. But it is possible for some bona fide teachers to come in very unusual, very special ways. What is unexpected and unusual for us is very much usual for them. What may be very formal on the material platform is very essential on the spiritual platform.

We should be able to judge who uses either the tradition or the non-tradition as an excuse. Because many times we want to support ourselves, we want to prove ourselves or our position. And therefore we hide behind the dhoti of our spiritual masters. And if we follow their habits, gestures and words we think that we are on the same platform. There’s a very good example: Shrila Prabhupad, as a seventy, almost eighty year old man, had a walking stick. And the young disciples, twenty year old, also started to have the same stick. ‘If my Gurudev has, I also should have.’ Sorry to say, it was so ridiculous! Some of them were coming with a stick – why?

So, it’s not the imitation. Don’t hide behind the dhoti of your spiritual master, don’t quote him where you have to quote yourself, where you have to show your power. Don’t try to hide your shortcomings with his name. Many times we use the great ones to hide our mistakes.

But anyway, why should we speak too much about mistakes, problems and troubles? The shortcomings of others don’t help us. We should try to commit ourselves as much as possible to the supreme, the highest truth that we had found. And if we find a pure source and a pure transmission, then if we can act to the best of our pure qualities, we are fortunate. Therefore we should faithfully follow these nine processes of devotional service – shravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, etc. – because if we enter deeper and deeper into our divine commitment, definitely we should have a better and a more realistic picture.

Giridhari: What I meant is that Jesus was not a part of guru-parampara

Swami Tirtha: How come?! He was initiated. He took initiation from John the Baptist. This is parampara.

Question: What is the difference between imitation and real following?

Swami Tirtha: Very simple: from the fruits you can judge. By imitation you will not reach any fruits, you will be frustrated; and by real following you will reach your goal. Unfortunately we shall recognize this only at the end – ‘Whether my following was real or only imitation’. But don’t worry, the real gurus will cut your imitation tendencies, however painful it is, they will do it. Because they don’t expect anything in return. You know, to correct people’s mistakes is not a popular job. Because nobody will like that. But we can be sure that if we are committed to a real master, a sad-guru, he will cut everything that is formal or artificial or imitative in our progress.

(to be continued)

 

 



Prahlada

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

Question of Giridhari: I fully agree that we owe everything to the person whose bread we’re eating; and not only bread, because everything is there provided. What we see is that Prahlada really offers respect to his father, but together with this he has also offered his special opinion on a certain topic. How are these two tendencies living together?

Swami Tirtha: Thank you! Now I have to prove myself to remove your doubts. So, Prahlada officially and formally belongs to the asura race. Therefore he gives full respect to the father. But by spiritual lineage he belongs to Vishnu, to the devotional line, as he is committed to the truth. There are two levels of knowledge: one is para and the other is apara, one is higher truth, the other is lower truth. So on the lower platform Prahlada belongs to the demoniac race, he is a son of his father, student of his teachers, etc. – many relative positions. Just like we all have many relative commitments and positions. Yet by spiritual initiation and spiritual connection, he belongs to Narada as his teacher, he belongs to Vishnu as his beloved Lord – and this is the real connection, this is real life. It’s not formal. Therefore with sweet words and respect he wants to pacify the father, yet he’s committed to the truth. And many times it was mentioned in the text: “Because he was questioned publicly.” If the father would ask privately, Prahlada wouldn’t teach the father, because it is not recommended. But as it was a public affair, he used the opportunity to glorify the dignity of Vishnu worship compared to anything else.

So, what we have to learn from this? Give due respect to everyone, according to their position, yet be committed to the truth. Later on we shall see that Prahlada was so much committed, that he was not ready to give up his worship even if he had to face all the troubles and tortures. He was strong when he was put on test. So this is a clash of relative, or material commitments and the superior, or ultimate commitments. And if there is such a clash in our life usually it is recommended to choose the higher connection.

(to be continued)

 



butterfly in the rain

(continues from the previous Monday) 

So the qualities of the owner of the food will come to the eater. Give me one quality of Krishna? One name of our Lord is Hari, right? Hari, thief. So if our masters eat the food of a thief, this quality will come to them! Wow, shall I see my spiritual master as a thief? Yes, in one sense yes. Because Krishna steals from his beloved servants everything that is detrimental for their spiritual progress. So Hari means “to remove” – the Remover; He removes all the obstacles and all the attachments. And those who eat Hari-prasad will also have this quality, they will also work to remove your attachments.

Shrila Goura Kishora Das Babaji was a very highly elevated person in an absolutely renounced order. He practically didn’t have anything. Once in Navadvip there was a stormy night when in Bhaktivinod Thakur’s home somebody was knocking on the door. He opened and in the rain he saw there Goura Kishora Das Babaji. Bhaktivinod had a very high respect to Babaji Maharaj. Although this is a little unusual – that your senior devotional instructor will wake you up at midnight in a storm, knocking at your door, but immediately Bhaktivinod Thakur said: “Ah, Babaji Maharaj, how can I serve you? Maybe you want to come in from the rain? You need a shelter for this night?” Nothing like this. Goura Kishora said: “Do you have a potato?” Bhaktivinod Thakur answered: “…Most probably, yes…” So he went in, searched for the potato and brought it. “Here is the potato.” Goura Kishora Das took it and went away. Bhaktivinod Thakur was deeply wondering: “Very unusual! During the stormy night Babaji Maharaj comes and takes away my last potato.” And immediately he understood that this is not the potato that he had taken away, but his attachment to the last potato. Then he was very happy. Why? Because Goura Kishora Das Babaji Maharaj also ate Hari-prasad. He wanted to take away all that is not good.

And actually this is one very high quality of a spiritual master – that he will take away. But you know, this is Kali Yuga. And there are many Kali Yuga teachers, who will take away the faith of their followers. Or who will take away the money of their followers. Anything! But there are very few who will take away the material suffering. Or who can remove the doubts of the disciples. This is one, we can say, ultimate quality of a spiritual master – that he is able to remove the doubts of the disciples. It’s very important.

Then you will say: why it is not mentioned here? Because it is mentioned in another place.

(to be continued)



20130625GF79878

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2012, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

Question: You have mentioned the two important qualities of a guru – to have divine knowledge and faith. Why it is not mentioned here that he has to be a member of a lineage?

Swami Tirtha: Because it is mentioned in another place. We cannot mention everything in one place. It’s very simple.

And actually the qualities of a guru – it’s a very long list. There are many gurus. Like Shanda and Amarka – belonging to the bramin caste, yet being in educational service of the asura race and they are specialized in politics. They are teachers, and they should be respected. All the teachers should be respected – this is point number one. If you give proper respect to everyone according to their position, you will not commit any mistake. This should be the basic principle – respect everyone according to their status.

But as Shanda and Amarka are the servants of their father and master, Shukrachariya, and also they are in the service of Hiranyakashipu, they are not free to teach, they are not free to act. If you eat somebody’s bread, you are committed to that person. Do you understand this? It’s clear? Once I tried to tell this on a lecture. The next day somebody came to me: “How was that, you mentioned something about prasadam yesterday?” So maybe I couldn’t express myself properly. Therefore I ask: “Do you understand what I mean?” For example, you are a young man, you live at home with your parents, you eat their food; and yet you criticize them. Come on, what is that!? Be on your own, eat your own bread – then you will understand what it means. So it’s not nice. If you depend on others and you criticize those on whom you depend, it’s not nice. Because on dharma, karma, tradition, blood, whatever – you depend on them. Then you are not free.

Shanda and Amarka took the bread of their father and teacher Shukrachariya, and he was at the service of Hiranyakashipu, the demon king. That means they were eating his prasadam. What can we learn from them? Therefore these teachers were committed to this dark tendency.

And what about the vaishnava gurus? Whose bread do they eat?

Hayagriva: Krishna’s.

Swami Tirtha: They eat Krishna’s bread, correct. Are they free to act and to speak? No, no. And there is a very special transmission of energy by food. Some energy is transmitted to you from the person who cooks or whose bread you eat. Some qualities will come to the eater. And this is proven. Once a devotee was somehow in a very bitter mood – sad, a little angry, somehow in a very bad temper. And she was cooking. And believe me, the food was bitter. It was bitter! So be very careful if you cook to have a very positive, very happy and very jolly mood, very dedicated mood to our Lord. Then the food that you prepare will not be only sweet, but divine. And all those who will take this food will also dance in ecstasy.

(to be continued)