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Extra English Issues issues

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 08.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Initiation is one of the sacraments of our tradition. This is like a seal on our life that before we were living in one manner and from now on we live in a different manner. Many people think that initiation is the end of the story. But actually initiation is the beginning of your spiritual journey. So, please, be very attentive.

This day is a special occasion for you, when you can come very close to your spiritual identity. It’s a beginning of a new life; so I think this is a good opportunity.

Once I had a very intensive day. Our ashram moved to a new place, and after packing and rushing and doing all day, in the afternoon I had a little time to chant. There was a beautiful sunshine entering the temple-room. And that day my chanting was, I hope, blessed. Because then I had a special prayer connected to my chanting: ‘Please my Lord, always keep me in the company of the devotees!’ So, I tell you this secret now: if you have special desires, just put these desires on the waves of your chanting.

Initiation also means responsibility. You are responsible not only for your own selves. Those who join the group of devotees, they are responsible for the mission that they start to be part of. And also we should become responsible practitioners of this beautiful chance of meeting the supreme Beauty and the supreme Love in our hearts.

Welcome all of you in the school of bhakti-yoga! The blessings of the Divine Couple should follow your steps! In this way this day of fasting, Ekadashi, is not simply a victory of spirituality over illusion, but this is the grand victory of divine love.



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 08.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

What can we say about divine love? There’s nothing to say, but a lot to perceive.

Love of Godhead is the natural function of the soul. Nothing else. So, if we come closer to our spiritual identity, naturally this will happen, this will flow. Therefore in this life we have no other duty than to remove the obstacles to this original identity to manifest more and more. Some very insignificant things we have to remove – illusions, attachments, anarthas… They are very insignificant compared to the objective. In the golden light of divine love hardly you can see these insignificant things.

It is said, Mahaprabhu was like a golden volcano of divine love. Due to Him we have some understanding about the glories of the holy name. And also we can join the nice tradition of those who chant. Because what is the meaning of devotional life? To celebrate! It is not the hard work, it is not the self-control and this and that – no! To celebrate! To celebrate the union of the Divine Couple. This should be the motivation for us in any field of our life. Most of the time we have our jobs, we have our family affairs, we have so many responsible engagements in the world. Let’s do everything in that mood, in that spirit. ‘Whatever I do today, whatever I say today, whatever I think today – I want to celebrate the union of the Divine Couple.’

Krishna is beauty, Radhika is love. So, what else is there in this creation? Therefore, as we discussed many times, what is religion? The meeting of Beauty and Love in the heart of humans. This is our religion. Divine beauty and divine love should meet in our heart. And in order to achieve that sometimes we have to forget about all the written formalities.

Nevertheless we need to prepare a little bit. These days we agreed, first we have to stabilize our consciousness. We also agreed we have to express our willingness to do something. Also we understood that we have to come closer to Krishna, to be a close companion. Sometimes we might feel superiors to Him, like taking care of His things, of His needs. And also we agreed that we have to construct the inner temple in our heart, the shrine of bhakti.

And how to start there in your heart if you want to change your heart into a temple? First we need to clean a little bit. There’s some dust, there’s some old stuff there, some cobwebs – we have to remove that. Why? Because if you want to invite the Divine Couple, They like only good places. So we have to provide the best place – the most clean, the most pure, the most nicely decorated.

But fortunately originally our heart is just like a lotus. So we only have to let it blossom to the full extent. If everything is ready – clean, nicely arranged, decorated – then you have to extend an invitation. Without the invitation They don’t come. And what is the invitation? Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare! – ‘Please my Lord, please my Goddess, accept Your place on the throne of my heart!’

 

(to be continued)



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 08.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

Today is a special day. Just like any other day in devotional service. Today is a fast day – Ekadashi. This is the eleventh day after the full or the new moon. It’s a time for a little austerity. But this is not simply following an even more special type of diet, but it’s time to celebrate the victory of God over illusion. Actually that is the meaning of Ekadashi. So, we should have Ekadashis permanently, right – to celebrate the victory of divinity over the illusion. But our Lord is merciful enough to distribute these Ekadashis only sporadically. Nevertheless, this is the time to remember His victory.

And today we have to accomplish our study concerning the different relationships to God. There is only one relationship remained that we didn’t discuss. We discussed passive, servitude, friendship, paternal love; only one remained. And this is the loving relationship, conjugal. Then I think today is not only a day of self-austerity, but a day of a very good chance to study or to worship – better to worship – this divine love principle.

Some romantic people say that the most important, the most interesting feeling on this planet Earth in this human life is the love affair. But you know, the even more romantic guys will say that the romantic attachment to God is the most important thing in the whole creation. Some say: ‘God is love’. Others say: ‘Love is God’. So wherever we start, somewhere we shall meet this concept of enthusiastic attachment and affection to divinity.

Nevertheless this divine ecstasy is also reflected on this planet Earth in the bodily conception. We can say that love, affection on the lowest platform is just like an instinct. The whole nature works under this principle – instinctive affection. Then we can say that there is this sweet rapture in the heart. This is like the emotional side of human relationships. If we go further, then there is a very deeply-rooted human appreciation of others, manifested as love in the happy consciousness of a person. While finally there is the broadest and most profound spiritual yearning in us.

So we have a grand scale of different varieties, different reflections of this attachment. Therefore we have to condense it to the most essential stage. There is of course a lot to say about the divine love. But we should understand that from the fulfilling all the necessary rules and regulations, fulfillment will come.

Our human life is like a school, a pool of studies. And we try to take different-different experience here. In the beginning we might think: ‘Ah, there are so many subjects to study.’ But I think there is only one topic to learn in this life. This is the most sensitive and the most hidden, the most secret art – the art of divine love. I think we all agree that we can live without foot, we can live without brain, but we cannot live without heart. If this one is taken away from us, we are like an empty shell. Therefore we need to purify this feeling, to condense this feeling so much, that we can use it in divine service.

There are many different ways to approach the Supreme, but we can say nothing is more charming for Him, for Them, than this dedication. And what is the result of such a loving dedication? The result is the rapture. On whose side? Who will be captured by this rapture?

Answer: God.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. Divine love is so strong that even God cannot resist. And therefore we admire this principle. Therefore we are very fortunate, very blessed and very grateful that we belong to this school of divinity.

(to be continued)



Sep

11

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 You know, it’s not easy with gurus. Because they are too strong and we are too weak. Let me mention one story from our tradition. In Navadvip – this is a very sacred place in Bengal, on the Ganges, close to the ocean – there lived a very famous ascetic saint. His name was Goura Kishora. He belonged to the babaji order; babajis are very renounced persons. They don’t pay practically any attention to the external formalities, they live only for their bhajan – their internal meditation. And this person was extraordinary strong. He was so much committed to chanting the holy names of God – the Hare Krishna mahamantra – that when he felt that ‘It doesn’t come on my lips’ he was ready to jump into the Ganges to drown himself. From this we can understand that spiritual practice doesn’t really depend on us; we need the blessings to be successful in our spiritual life. So, he was in this very renounced mood.

He has a good friend, Bhaktivinod Thakur; once on a stormy night somebody was knocking on the door of Bhaktivinod. He went out and he found his friend babaji standing by the door. He simply asked: “Bhaktivinod, do you have some potatoes at home?” Bhaktivinod was surprised but, then he said: “Yes, maybe we have.” He was searching and he found two pieces of potatoes. He gave these to the babaji, who left without a word in the stormy night. Bhaktivinod was a little perplexed. He thought: ‘What he will do with these two potatoes? During the stormy night?!’ He had no idea. And then he started to understand the story more. Finally he was looking at himself and thought: ‘Ah, Babaji Maharaj was so merciful to me! It looks like I have an attachment to these two pieces of potatoes. He came to stop this attachment of mine!”

So Goura Kishora das Babaji was quite a controversial person. As I mentioned, usually it is expected from babajis to have a very simple and very ascetic lifestyle. Usually babajis have only one loin-cloth. While one day he appeared in the best silken dhoti – very elegant. The worst dhoti is made of jute, a little better is made of cotton, even better is made of better cotton, but the best is made of silk – which is highly forbidden for ascetics. And he came in this very elegant, shining robes. Very unexpected, very unusual! Bhaktivinod asked: “Babaji Maharaj, what is this?” And he said: “Well, you know, so many rascals use some nice cloths, so I thought I will also put one.”

But basically he lived a hidden life. You know, if you are famous for being a great saint, people will come to you for advice. And he didn’t like too much disturbance. Therefore he decided: ‘I will hide under a boat turned upside-down on the bank of the Ganges.’ Yet if you are already famous as a renounced ascetic and people understand that you don’t have a residence, but you hide under a boat – that makes you even more famous. So you might expect more disturbance from the visitors. Then he invented a good way to repel all the visitors, he decided: ‘Let’s throw some fish bones around. In this way people will think that I pose as an ascetic, but I eat fish and then they will not come to me.’

So, he was trying to hide his powers. Sometimes with success, other times with less success. But there was one young person from whose vision he couldn’t hide. This was Bimal Prasad das. He was the son of Bhaktivinod Thakur – the friend of Babaji Maharaj. He was a very educated person and also a very renounced one. So he decided: ‘Whatever I could I have learned already. I feel I need a master now.’ And he approached Babaji Maharaj for shelter. Of course, what do you think, what did he say? “Forget it. We don’t accept disciples.” He was trying to get rid of this young man, but he was very much insisting: “Please, give me your mercy! I want to become your disciple, I want to become your follower!” Babaji Maharaj was thinking: ‘How to get rid of him?’ He said: “I will ask Mahaprabhu what to do. Come back tomorrow.” So, the young man was full of expectation. He came the next morning and asked: “Babaji Maharaj, did you ask Mahaprabhu?” And he said: “I forgot to ask Him!” Finally our young man broke in tears and said: “Mahaprabhu came to bring the ultimate unconditional mercy, but it looks like I’m excluded from this mercy.” Yet that was the moment of victory of the prospective new student. When his future master saw that he was so much committed, he said: “All right, now go to the Ganges, take a bath and come back.” And then he accepted this person as the only disciple. As the only disciple. But this one converted thirty thousand people to Mahaprabhu’s faith.

So, it’s not necessary to collect disciples. This is one little advice when you will become gurus. It’s not necessary to collect disciples. Pick only one. One is enough. One is enough.



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Acharyavan purusho veda[1] – those people who have a guide they know that they will find their way back home back to Godhead. This is a very beautiful connection on the human platform, reaching and bringing us to the divine platform. And as the connection and the worship of Mother Ganga is to take a little water from her and offer it back, to take a little energy of the river and offer it back to her – similarly what is the worship of the spiritual master? You take something from him, you take some of his energies – but don’t forget to offer it back to him.

Why? Because we have learned everything from our master. He was the person to introduce us how to offer incense. We were so ignorant that we didn’t even know how to offer one stick of incense. He taught us what the purpose of flowers being created is. Sometimes he teaches us how to cook. Other times he teaches us how to eat. Prabhupad – 70 plus old Indian sadhu – was ready to teach his disciples how to clean the floor. And you know, as a very experienced old master he knew that life is difficult. And especially if you try to practice some spiritual discipline as a young man, sometimes it’s bitter. Therefore he invented a means – he had a big bucket full of gulab-jamuns, something very sweet. Hundreds of gulabs floating in a very heavy syrup – it’s really so sweet. And whenever his disciples felt a little frustrated by the too much discipline and the too much service, then he always took one ball and put it into the mouth of the disciple – to make it more sweet, to give a higher taste. We have a lower taste, a very insignificant ability to taste the beauty and the harmony of spiritual life; sometimes we need an overdose.

So, it’s natural that we take the energy and the blessings of our masters, but don’t forget to offer it back. Then the circle is done – you receive and you give, you receive and you give.

Therefore we appreciate our masters – because they have taught us everything and we hope that we shall meet in eternity also. Of course for that we need to qualify as a good disciple. Please, if you want to meet your guru in eternity, qualify as a good disciple. When in the next life you meet your master, from his face you will be able to read how good disciple you were during this life. If some divine blissful happiness is manifested on his face, you can be sure: ‘He will accept me this time again’. Not if an intrinsic fear will shine on his face: ‘Ah, he is back again! I couldn’t get rid of him…’

Therefore sometimes give a break to the masters. “I’m your eternal servant!’ ‘Ah, God, save me!’ I tell you, whatever you give, you will receive back. And this is not a curse – it’s reality, it’s the rule. So, if you give some nice service to your master, then when you will become a guru – as Mahaprabhu said, you all become gurus – you can expect that you will receive some nice service.

But apart from jokes – this is a very nice and very intimate relationship. And it is not limited to the human platform. We don’t commit ourselves to a man, we commit ourselves to an angel, a messenger of God. The way to serve the spiritual master is to accomplish his suggestions, to fulfill his teachings for perfection. Therefore we don’t engage ourselves in guruism or personality cult, but we want to follow a personal culture of spirituality. And therefore we worship Shri Guru. Shri Guru is the divine function. So, if we commit ourselves to Shri Guru, to the divine function, then we are eternally safe. And definitely we shall meet in eternity.

 

(to be continued)

[1] Chandogya Upanishad 6.14.2



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

 Before I mentioned the furious aspect of Mother Ganga; now let’s discuss a little bit of the merciful aspect of Mother Ganga. For example, she is very much ready to accept any service. In certain places in India they worship this holy sacred river every day. There are very beautiful offerings of singing and fire, and flower garlands, praying together – very beautiful ceremonies at different places. But do you know what is the dearmost offering to Mother Ganga? It’s the most simple and at the same time the dearest offering to her – they worship Mother Ganga with her own water. They take a little water from the current, pray, and offer it back to the waves. Because we know that this holy water is a sacred object, and the best object of offering is something sanctified, so let’s take – from her, that’s true, but let’s offer this back to her again. And what happens? If we take some water from the very strong current of the Ganges, does it diminish her? No, the Ganges is not smaller due to the few drops that you take; no, it doesn’t diminish. And what happens if you offer this little water back to the river? Does it become bigger? No, it doesn’t become bigger. Nevertheless something happened meanwhile. We have changed. Due to this service, due to this function, due to this offering – we have changed. Mother Ganga doesn’t change. But we have changed.

Do you see the purifying power of the Ganges water? Therefore due to this purifying effect and this connection to the Supreme, Mother Ganga is also considered very-very merciful. She is like an exemplar, she is like an ideal for us. And actually who will connect us back to God? Who is this connection? This is the master. The guru will connect us to Krishna, and therefore Mother Ganga is like a spiritual master – a spiritual mistress, let’s say. They say, if somebody hasn’t found his or her spiritual master in a human form, they can pray to Mother Ganga to get the blessings. You see how important this function is – connecting people to God!

So, if we serve the Ganga, if we serve the spiritual master, the purification effect will come. Therefore this journey to Ganges is very beneficial. Indians love so much their sacred river! Every evening they come together for the celebration. Especially in the upper parts of the Ganges, let’s say in Haridwar for example, during these ceremonies – usually this is in the evening time – they offer special plates made of leafs where they put some flowers and some ghee lamp and also some incense and then they offer these on the waters of the Ganges. This is one way to offer the ashes of our ancestors, of our friends on their last journey. It is said, if the ashes are offered to the Ganges, then a direct connection to heaven is provided. And this is a very beautiful farewell ceremony, to help the soul reach its final destination. Because we who are still alive, in this way, can help those who have departed already to have an easy and spiritual journey.

Mother Ganga teaches us how to serve God, how to reach God. Therefore she is like a mistress. And you know, it’s good to have a protector. It’s good to have a spiritual guide. Guru works on a very subtle platform. He is like a guide on our spiritual journey. Maybe in the first times we want some material guidance from him, but later on we shall understand that the spiritual guidance is much more important. Mahaprabhu said: “You all should become like gurus.” But it doesn’t mean you should collect disciples. No, you should meet the standards. Because guru is such an illuminated person who can help others to enlighten. And if somebody helps us to engage in this purifying process and connects us back home back to Godhead, like the Ganga, we can appreciate that person like our spiritual guide.

 

(to be continued)



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Although before I said that it’s not necessary to travel too much, right now I have to mention one place that is worth visiting. This is Mother Ganga. All the Hindus in India who follow their faith want to visit Ganga at least once in their lifetime. Why? Because for them Mother Ganga is a sacred holy river. This much we all know. But the reason why Mother Ganga is sacred we don’t know.

Actually it’s got a story. The Ganges doesn’t originate on this planet Earth. It reaches the planet, but it comes from above. Actually it comes from the head of Shiva; after touching the head of Shiva it comes to the planet Earth. So we can think: ‘Ah, this is the sanctifying power of the Ganga – it touches the head of Shiva and therefore it is so sacred.’ So much so that people go to the Ganges to take a sacred bath and purify themselves from the sins. But actually the Ganges is a heavenly river, or we can say, a cosmic river. It enters this universe by the lotus feet of Vishnu. So this cosmic water touches the feet of God, then touches the head of Lord Shiva, then it comes to the Earth and then it purifies you. On the Earth it manifests in the Himalayas.

This sacred river is considered a female, a mother. And what is the nature of a mother? Generally very gentle, but sometimes very furious. The Ganges is sometimes very furious – washing away everything on her path. Roads, bridges, temples, people – it doesn’t matter, she shall purify everything.

Once devotees in one ashram built a very special, huge statue of Lord Shiva inside the Ganges water. There was a little artificial island and on a big piece of rock there was a huge, huge, two-three times bigger than a human being figure of Shiva, sitting in a meditative posture. And usually the waters were very nicely flowing at the feet of Lord Shiva. Yet one year huge waves were covering practically the whole body of Shiva. You can imagine yourself meditating while the wild river is just pushing you. And it happened like that – the current was so strong that it destroyed this statue of Shiva.

Therefore in certain sacred spots people provide big chains tied to the bank and by holding on these chains you can take your bath in the Ganges. Otherwise the current is so strong that it will just wipe you away.

Once we had the opportunity to visit the Ganges. When we came late, in the early midday, the water was very cold. It was very difficult to take a bath at that time. So next morning we decided we have to be more strong in our sadhana and we have to go early in the morning to take a bath. And I tell you, at that time the water was very mild – warm actually! So it looks like Mother Ganga serves those who come early, she provides warm water for them. And those who are lazy and come late will receive only the cold water. So, if we are strong in our sadhana, then we can take some benefits. Mother Ganga has both cold and hot running water; hot only for those who come on time. Warm water is there, but there is some preference for those who take it serious.

But I have to tell you, such a dip is a dip in the cosmic waters. Although this is cold, you feel you are purified from innumerable lifetimes’ sins. You can perceive the spiritual purifying power there. It’s not the material quality of the water, it’s the spiritual quality. Because it comes from Lord Shiva, it comes from Lord Vishnu, divine water connects you to divinity.

So if we start our journey as human beings, and if we start from the human platform, let’s go to Mother Ganga – to enjoy the divine connection, to help us to get rid of our sins and to purify us, to come to a higher level of consciousness and existence.

 

(to be continued)

 



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

Thank you very much for joining our session today! I feel really honored that you had taken all the trouble coming here. Irrespective of the cold and snow, you were ready to make the sacrifice. And therefore I feel obliged to ask for your contribution. Please help me, where to start today’s speech – on the human platform or on the divine platform? One opinion says, let’s start from the human; usually the other opinion says, let’s start from the divine. This is very nice, because actually this is what we need – a connection between these two realities, the human and the divine.

We are obsessed with the human reality – which is sometimes limited, other times our path is more successful. I think we all have taken our experience concerning this human life on this planet Earth. I don’t know how it is with you, but I have met both some success and some obstacles. Failures and success are always there on this platform, in this human life. Nevertheless we have a hope and we have a goal. We have a destination. And the goal of our life is not to end this story somehow, but to crystallize the chances of human existence and to reach our original position.

Therefore we have to cultivate our spiritual side. The material side is always limited. In the beginning we think: ‘Ah. Life is so long! I wish I was a grown-up person!’ – all the kids have this desire. Then when you reach your goal and you become a grown-up person, again you are not satisfied and you want to become like a child: ‘Ah, when I was a child, it was so nice and easy!’ So, one secret of successful life is to learn the art of contentment. Another rule for successful life is: no expectation, no frustration. It sounds a little neutral, a little negative, but I think it’s very much true.

And ultimately, beyond all these limitations, we need to cultivate the eternal part of us. If we simply understand that we are eternal, then a new life starts for us. That means we originate from the spiritual energy and we should find our way back home, back to Godhead. As eternal conscious particles of sunshine, let’s say, we have to find our way back home to the divine sun.

This is a journey, life is a journey. And we need to search and find the best destination. Humans like to travel. If you have a fixed job, you are envious of those who have a job with much traveling. Until you have a job with much traveling; then it is not that inviting anymore.

Yet ultimately life here is a journey. You start at your birth and you finish at your death. But what will be the ultimate destination that we search? I tell you, you can go to any place on this planet Earth – you will find the same or very similar rules. Let’s pick a good place – Hawaii? I had a friend from Hawaii. She was a heavy drunkard. She felt that life was so frustrating in Hawaii that alcohol was the only solution for her. So why travel to Hawaii? Life can be so miserable here in Sofia also. There’s no use of traveling that much! But then she changed her mind and decided: ‘No, I will give up this miserable way of life and I will start spiritual practice.” You see, even in the heaven on Earth you can feel very miserable – so much so that you will yearn for spiritual solutions. So why should we travel to Hawaii to search for the spiritual solutions? Why not here? Right here and now.

And then we can start the spiritual journey of our life. We need a connection back to the spiritual realm, the realm of no mistakes. How to reach that plane? That is also a travel, that is also a journey. And it’s good to follow something that connects us to that realm.

(to be continued)



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Swami Tirtha: We can say that family is like association, like a meeting. And we have different features that can meet. What happens if the egos meet?

Krishna Priya: Fight.

Swami Tirtha: Correct, if the egos meet, fight is coming. And actually in this way you lose energy – both parties. This is a destructive association. Therefore we can say that if only the egos meet in a relationship, this brings some diseased state of mind. Fight will bring more fight. This is called roga – ‘disease’. If the egos meet, the result is roga.

What happens if the bodies meet? What is the result of the union of the bodies?

Sanatana: Pleasure, sex.

Swami Tirtha: Yeah, pleasure. Correct – if the bodies meet, the result is pleasure. It’s better than union of the egos – which brings disease. The union of the bodies brings pleasure – at least something that we like. This brings bhoga. Bhoga is ‘pleasure’ – when we enjoy. But unfortunately this type of enjoyment usually doesn’t last long. If your relationship is based only on sexual attraction, that can change very fast.

So, we have our ego, we have our body – to meet, to unite, to associate. What else do we have?

Manjari: Mind.

Swami Tirtha: Uh, don’t mention the mind! The next step we can say is the heart – the meeting of the hearts. But better I say ‘the hearts’ and not ‘the minds’ – when the best emotional part of you meets, unites with another person, what is the result of that?

Hayagriva: Affection.

Swami Tirtha: Correct! Real, deep connection – yoga. If the egos meet – roga, disease. If the bodies meet – bhoga, pleasure. If the hearts meet – yoga, you are united, you feel that ‘he is my partner, she is my partner’. This is high union. To find your life partner – it’s such a good feeling.

There is only one more feature that we have to unite and this is the soul. If the atman meets another atman, this should become prema, divine love.

So, whenever you have any experience in your life, try to analyze it according to this list: which part of you takes part in this meeting. ‘Is this my ego? Is this my body? Is this my heart? Is this my soul?’ And as our ambition, our goal is to come more and more to the spiritual platform, when you reach that, only your soul can unite, only your soul can function.

Sanatana: These levels are interrelated and we have to keep the focus always high on yoga, because if it’s only focused on bhoga, separation comes. And if it’s focused on yoga, then maybe we can achieve prema. Did I understand correctly?

Swami Tirtha: I think so. But what are the priorities? And what is more actual goal in my life today? Maybe in the beginning bhoga is very important. But bhoga very easily can turn into roga. And if we go through all the difficulties of this enjoying mentality and this rejecting or fighting mentality, they are like two extremes, then we might achieve the higher synthesis of yoga – like a higher type of union.

Because family is an ashram, grihastha-ashram. This is a place of spiritual progress. Not a place of running away: ‘I failed today and I’ll run away’ – no! One lifetime – one partner. I know it’s strict, but this should be the ideal. One lifetime – one partner. Why? Because Bhaktivinod Thakur says: We, the living entities, we have a biological tendency of multiplication. You have to control that impulse somehow – by sacred marriage. Not to visit all the flowers in the field as a butterfly. One flower.

 

 



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

I see men, and also women, when they enter a family relationship, they can develop nicely. Very nice qualities manifest, their life starts to expand, they take more responsibility – so it’s an upgrade, it’s a big step in life. But certain things people don’t know when they enter a family relationship. In our tradition it is said that when you marry, you exchange your karmas. Not everything, but some part. In the marriage the man shares his positive karma with the wife, he gives half of his merit to her. Therefore, my dear brothers, if you want to find good partners, collect more merits, because you will have to share. And what is the contribution of the wife? The wife will also give half of her collected things – the troubles. We all have problems, we all have collected some stupidity, right? Of course both parties should develop spiritually and morally – but basically this is the transaction. Therefore the husband should be very strong and very meritorious in order to carry the burden of not only himself, but of two lives, two personalities. Therefore it is not suggested to have many wives, because to carry so much burden is not human. It’s not for enjoyment, it’s for responsibility. It’s divine if we can take care of more people. Like Krishna, He can take care of so many ladies.

So, when we join our lives, we make a deal: we share our fate. That is another part of the relationship – that we rely on each other.

Baladev: Gurudev, I have heard that in every family there are problems, and today I understood the reason. The husband receives much more negative qualities, taking half of the bad karma of his wife, which he has to compensate with less positive qualities as half of his good karma goes to the wife. I feel this is out of balance.

Swami Tirtha: No, no, no, this is not like this.

Baladev: I try to understand. My question is what qualities should the husband develop?

Swami Tirtha: This is the point – in this exchange don’t focus on the other side, focus on your side. Sometimes it happens that you don’t receive anything from your wife, because there are no mistakes there – she is so pure, so spiritual that she doesn’t give you any burdens. But even then we can qualify ourselves more and more to share spiritual benefit with our partner.

As I told you, if we join our lives, then we share what we have. To share our karmic burden – positive or negative doesn’t matter – it’s a mutual responsibility. And ladies have one very strong, very good capacity – consulting power. Therefore this is the duty, and only the duty, the blessed capacity of a woman – to turn a house into a home. It’s a big difference! The only thing the wife needs is attention. So if the husband pays enough attention, then family peace is maintained. I hope now the gopis’ section is satisfied; and then I might come with the only one request of the gopas’ section. Don’t forget about them, because they also need only one thing – and this is appreciation. Only this! If you are a clever wife, you will appreciate your husband. Then everything is nice. Then the goddess and the god are there – because everybody is satisfied.

So, sharing our responsibility, the compassion that ‘I don’t mind how much is the burden. I’m ready to take care of that person for the rest of my life’ – this is the commitment of a husband.

(to be continued)