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Extra English Issues issues

driving the thoughts away

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

What are the gradations of service, of servitude? The most brutal form is slavery. At the same time this is the highest also. Because then I’m not my own master, but I’m fully in the possession of somebody else. But this is difficult to understand, no doubt. Therefore many people think that the selfless service is the highest principle.

Then another level of servitude is when consciously, intentionally you identify yourself as a servant. Then when you are a humble servant. And finally the less positive term is the forced service – when you are obliged to do something and although you don’t like it, nevertheless you fulfill it.

So, the top level of servitude is this selfless service and on the divine platform this is devotional service. We always need a qualified service – not a simple service, but a qualified one. And therefore devotional service is the top.

But if we have a service, we also have to observe the motivation. On the job what is your motivation?

Answer: Salary.

Swami Tirtha: We have two motivations: ‘To save my time and to obtain the boss’s money’ – if you are an employee. But this is not a very high motivation. We have to qualify a little bit more. Nevertheless the benefit, any kind of benefit is a motivation for a long time. So the measurement for development of our understanding of service is how selfless it is, how much you are free from the attachment to the fruits. And beyond time, money and benefits there is one very subtle motivation – this is the appreciation. That people appreciate what you do – it gives a very deep satisfaction. What does it mean in service? You serve until it is appreciated. Or if the receiver will say: “Ah, you are such a nice servant!” Then you are ready to do more. If there is no feedback – it’s more difficult to perform.

We have to be aware of these subtle motivations also and not to be on the hook of the feedback of people. People are starving for feedback. Isn’t it? We are starving for appreciation. But be conscious that this is also a subtle enjoyment.

And especially in devotional circles there is one very special feature: if you invent the service, you are very happy and it’s so easy to perform it. But as soon as your spiritual master will say: “Ah, very nice service! Just please go on with this!” – with the same thing – it starts to become a disaster, it’s so difficult! It’s not that he told you: “Please, do this,” but he agreed: “All right, you invented something for your satisfaction – go ahead!” – immediately it changes.

So we have to be very attentive in our observation. We have to analyze ourselves and we have to catch ourselves if we are in this trap. Do you agree? I think many times it happens. Until this is your business, you are very enthusiastic to do it; but as soon as you get an approval for that, you start to lose your enthusiasm.

In service we have to consider two consequences. One is the shreyas – what is useful, utility; and the other one is the preyas – which is very dear. Preyas comes from priya. Unfortunately this is obvious that the human being is designed to accept and follow which is more charming and sweeter than what is more useful. Usually we are like this. We try to enjoy the happiness derived from the senses and the contact of the sense objects, which in the beginning feels like nectar, but at the end turns a little bitter; instead of the sattvic happiness that you can derive from other practices, which in the beginning feels a little bitter, but later it becomes like nectar.

(to be continued)

 



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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 05.01.2017 morning, Sofia)

We studied the neutral relationship. And as we perceive sometimes neutral relationships on the human platform, we understand that this is killing, very painful. But in a positive sense if we can apply that, it brings a kind of stability of consciousness, the finish of inner fight and a kind of stabilized, conscious state of mind of the existence of God. And in the divine relationships this neutrality means that not so much activity is manifested, but this is a very strong state of mind.

Yet if we want to analyze further, we have to add something more to this fixed state of mind. And the first step, if we enhance this fixed consciousness of the Supreme, is some activity. This activity is service. Do you like that term? Usually we don’t like it. We want to be in the enjoyer position, not in the service mood. Although our life is basically service: we serve our family members, we serve our boss, we serve our desires, we serve our dog. Life is service; sometimes you rebel against this service commitment – especially the Bulgarians, because you are big freedom-fighters – but other times you do it naturally. For a mother to think: ‘Ah, this is a painful service to my child!’ – it’s just impossible, it doesn’t exist. And sometimes fathers are very happy to make their sons happy; they serve them in so many different ways. So there are certain cases when this service mood is a natural flow – and we love it! We are happy to do it.

Nevertheless sometimes we think that service is against freedom. Yet this is something very important that we have to understand; as it is declared in the Gita 2.64: “But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through the regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord.” That means freedom has some rules. And if we follow the rules of freedom, then we can achieve the complete mercy of the Supreme – prasadam. Prasad is not only the sanctified foodstuff, but this is the extended mercy of the Supreme.

And many times we might think that service is a one way road, but it is not. It’s a mutual relationship. Service is a mutual relationship. There must be someone who is serving, who is giving; and there must be someone who is accepting. Which is more important?

Answers: Accepting. Both. They cannot exist without each-other.

Swami Tirtha: Once devotees asked: “How does the food become sanctified? How does it turn into prasadam? Did I make the ritual? I bring the plate and I chant the mantras and I throw the water and I ring the bell – is this what makes this normal foodstuff into a sanctified one? Is this my offering, my service that will turn the foodstuff into prasadam?” And actually we can say: no! It becomes prasadam if it is accepted. If Krishna accepts it – then it turns into prasadam. If you make all the extra rituals, but He doesn’t accept it – it’s not prasadam. So, following this principle I say: the accepting party is a little more important.

 

(to be continued)



йоги-Параматма

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2017 evening, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Mahadev: This fontanel on the young babies is open; are there such occasions that an elderly person can open this gate before death, in this lifetime?

Swami Tirtha: It’s possible, but not in a mechanical way. Sometimes people try to achieve spiritual results in mechanical ways, but this is absolutely not recommended. Because it will not bring the results that they desire. Actually this is the demoniac way – to achieve something spiritual in a mechanical way. Same stories are repeated all over in the sacred traditions – when, for example, Ravana wanted to reach the spiritual sky by some technical elevation. Or when people started to build the tower of Babylon; and many other stories.

So, in a mechanical way it is not possible to reach a spiritually higher platform. For that we have to apply the spiritual method properly. Then we can open the upper gate – this is the sahasrara-chakra, or the crown chakra, which is actually a little above the physical skull. In yoga tradition proper this is considered to be the place of perfect consciousness. Even in yoga, traditionally it is said that this is the entrance gate for amrita. So if you are connected through perfect meditation to the perfect level of consciousness, then immediately amrita will enter into your system. Then this amrita drop by drop will enter through the different glands inside the brain and then finally will penetrate the whole system. Everything is resonance. So if you resonate, if you vibrate the soft palate, this is a way to stimulate the glands above the palate and to invite the drops of nectar into your system.

But how to activate that resonance? There’s a very simple way – chant Hare Krishna. Because if you speak nonsense, your whole body will resonate that. If you tell lies, your brain will resonate with these lies. And it’s destructive, it’s just destructive. Therefore we have to stick to the truth. Because then the truth will resonate throughout your body. And as we want to be connected to the topmost platform of perfect consciousness it’s only possible through the truth.

But what is the nectar for us? It’s not the truth. Simply the truth is boring, sorry. We need the divine qualities and the divine nectar of Krishna’s name and Krishna’s pastimes. Therefore if we chant the holy names, then this will resonate in our whole system. This will connect us to the supreme reality. Then if your upper gate opens, it’s very much possible that He will enter again and again, and He will show His presence.

And then a transformation will begin. We can start to drink with our ears, to eat with the heart and to speak with the eyes – this is the divine transformation that we need.

As we agreed, some divine vibration should be there. And the best resonance that we can create in this bodily structure is the chanting, is the resonance of the holy names. I wish that extended moment of eternity is never broken. Please, take this message with you and always be very attentive in your spiritual practices. This is the way to convert an ordinary day into a special celebration.

 



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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2017 evening, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday)

Once Narada Muni was walking around in Vrindavana. He had his lute and he was fully absorbed in chanting the names of his Lord: “Narayan! Narayan!” There is a short version, a medium version and a longer version of the same mantra: namo narayan; namo narayanaya namaha and om namo narayanaya namaha. So, he was absorbed in chanting these mantras and all of a sudden what did he see? He was walking among the tulasis and he saw a dog approaching. Before I go on with the story, I have to mention that it is said that the tulasi is so sacred that if you feed it with some water, if you circumambulate the tulasi or simply if you pass by a tulasi, moksha is guaranteed. So it’s a very sacred, very powerful object. Narada Muni was passing in this tulasi garden when this dog came. You know the nature of dogs when they find a tree. Narada Muni was horrified: “Impossible! To pass urine on the tulasi!?! It’s incredibly sinful! What to do with such an animal!? Although I’m considered to be the apostle of bhakti, this is so offensive that I’ve never heard of that! So what can I do? I have no answer, so I should find some authority.”

Immediately he collected some gandharva friends around and they decided: “We have to find an authority to discuss this very serious topic – a dog was passing urine on the sacred tulasi!” They decided that they will bring this dog to the authorities; but you cannot touch such a sinful thing because you will also become sinful if you come in close contact with it. So the gandharvas and the demigods made a palanquin, the dog jumped into it and the demigods started to carry the palanquin with the dog, with Narada Muni in the front. “Ah, such a job! We have to find a solution. So let’s go to Lord Shiva. He’s the protector of the dhama[1]. This is such a serious issue that we have to consult Shiva.”

So with the grand procession the demigods with the leadership of Narada Muni were carrying the sinful dog to the presence of Lord Shiva. He said: “Ah, Naradaji, so nice that you came! Who is this special person there in the palanquin?” Narada started to describe the story: “Lord Shiva! This dog was passing urine on the tulasi!” Then Shiva was horrified. He tried to open the third eye – because with the third eye he can burn up everything. But he was so much frustrated that even his third eye didn’t open. He was trembling and he said: “I have no idea how to punish such a dog! But we have a higher authority – Lord Brahma is there, let’s ask him.”

So Lord Shiva, Narada Muni, the demigods and the gandharvas were carrying in the palanquin this dog to Brahma-loka. Brahma-loka is the highest sphere of this universe, which you can reach only after unlimited tapasya and renunciation. This is the topmost platform in this universe and from there only one step is the spiritual sky. Brahma was very happy to greet all: “Hey, Shiva, you are here! Narada, my son, you came – so nice! And who is that special person that you are carrying in the palanquin?” And then they started to describe the story. Brahma was horrified. All his four faces turned sour: “I have absolutely no idea what to do with such a sinful dog!” Don’t forget, he is the topmost intelligence in the universe and he said: “No idea. Only God can help. Only He can solve this problem. Let’s go to Vaikuntha, to Lord Vishnu and ask Him.”

So in a grand procession they were crossing the viraja – from the materials sphere they entered the spiritual sky. And what happens in Vaikuntha? There’s Lord Vishnu and all the Lakshmis are serving Him. Usually He smiles. And all our friends came with a very depressed face because they didn’t know what to do. When they entered the palace of Lord Vishnu, He was smiling. He was greeting them very nicely: “Welcome! So nice that you came.” Then He asked: “Who is this special person?” – as if He didn’t know. Then they started to describe the story. And then Lord Vishnu was smiling even more: “You see this is the glory of tulasi! A little service to tulasi, even an offense to tulasi will result that Shiva, Brahma, Narada, all the gandharvas and the demigods are carrying the guy in a palanquin to Me.”

So, what shall we do? Please don’t pass urine on the tulasi – to create a big trouble in your small system. Don’t do that. But we all need the divine presence. We all want to find our way back home, back to Godhead. Always try to find your superiors. And even if we start with a mistake, no problem. Your superiors, your well-wishers will take you back home, back to Godhead.

(to be continued)

[1] The holy Vrindavana



tulasi

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2017 evening, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday)

As we agreed, we have to be practical. If this is the theory – whenever there is a trouble in the world, God will appear – let’s try to put it into practice. As the whole cosmos, the universe is compared to the microcosm of a human being, in the same way the small human being is just like a big cosmos. Then, if there is a trouble in this small little universe, you can also expect that God will appear. How you will meet Him? If we apply formally this method, then you have to create a big trouble in your small system. Because then you can expect that He will come, right? So, make a big scandal! But sorry, it’s not sure that He will come.

If we want to meet the Supreme, we should apply properly the method. What was the method described here? All the superior authorities went to the next level authority. Mother Earth had a trouble – she went to the superior creator Brahma, and then they all went to Vishnu. This method we should apply: if you have trouble in your small little system, go to a higher authority. And if he doesn’t know the solution, then he will take you to the next level. It’s very practical. And then you will sit and meditate on the Supreme Lord, trying to find some answers.

Usually we expect that authorities should know the answers. But my dear ones, a stupid person can ask much more questions than a wise man can answer. And sometimes it happens that even the greatest authorities cannot find the proper answer. May I give you an example of that? You know, sacred objects deserve sacred attention. In the long list of devotional practices, there are many different services recommended – of course chanting the holy names, associating with the sadhus, visiting the temples, coming together on lectures, but also service to the cows, respect to the sacred trees for example, and also to a very special plant – the tulasi. Tulasi is like a bush. It’s also called vrinda. I think we have heard this name? Vrinda-vana; vana is a ‘forest’. And this vrinda is a personification of devotion in a form of a bush. It’s very sacred. And in Vrindavana they grow like a jungle – because this is the place of dedication, this is the place of devotion.

Once I visited India, I went to buy some books in a bookstore, we were selecting a long list and spending so much time; there was one senior Indian gentleman and he asked: “Ah, very nice that you came to India; which places you are going to visit?” I said: “Well, basically we shall go to Vrindavan.” He said: “Vrindavan! Why?! You should go to Kashi, to Benares – there is the Sanskrit knowledge. If you go to Vrindavana, there is only devotion.” And I said: “Correct! Therefore we shall go to Vrindavana!” Because this is the forest of bushes of dedication – this is what we are searching for!

So, tulasi is a very sacred object. It is said Krishna doesn’t accept any offering without the tulasi leaves. Therefore in the duties of a pujari, a person who is doing the service, it’s a very important point to go out in the early mornings, and collect the manjaris and the fresh leaves of the tulasis from the garden for the worship in the temple. It’s something very secret! Of course this is very beneficial, very useful also like a medical herb. But we don’t pay attention to this practical use, but we pay attention to the secret identity of the tulasi. Even while you pick the flowers and the manjaris from the tulasi you have to be very careful. First excuse yourself when you pick one leaf, ask for blessings and then you go.

(to be continued)



Prithvi (1)

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2017 evening, Sofia) 

(continues from the previous Monday) 

We need to fix our consciousness. To stabilize our consciousness and also to find inner peace. And the best practice to achieve this inner peace is to listen to the divine advice, pray for the mercy, remember your spiritual identity – and what was the fourth? Meditation was the fourth. Therefore, my humble suggestion for this evening is to listen to the divine stories of Krishna.

This is a book from Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj, where he discusses certain aspects of the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Here there is some very important topic: why Krishna descends? We are not satisfied with a God hiding in His divine realm, creating the world and then paying no attention to His creatures. No, we need such a Lord who takes care, who is not only starting the whole system, but from time to time visits it. He doesn’t let us down. Therefore we have to inquire: what is the reason for God Supreme to come down to Earth? I think this is a very important topic: why did Krishna descend to this world?

The first reason is that Mother Earth along with the demigods went to Brahma, the secondary creator. Prithivi told him: “Recently my four legs have been broken and I cannot walk. My husband Dharma, religion personified, who is now in the shape of a bull, also cannot walk. Nowadays there is so much sin in this world. Both men and women are like animals. So called saintly persons and sannyasis do not observe the rules of saintly life. They make some artificial show; at the same time however they are always duplicitous. In all these ways we have so many problems. Please, save me and my husband!”

So Mother Earth was troubled. And I think this is a description of today, although it happened quite some time back. It looks like the same story is repeated all the time. There is something nice as it started and then it begins to corrupt. Then the demigoddess of this planet Earth, Prithivi, went to Brahma for consultation.

“Brahma became very worried and went with Prithivi and the demigods to the ocean of milk. There he began to do aradhanam, or meditation on Garbhodakashayi Vishnu. In his trance he heard the Lord’s reply: “I already know about all these troubles. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna is all aware and He will quickly descend. All the demigoddesses should come in the form of earthly ladies to Gokula Vrindavana and Mathura and all the demigods should also come in the form of gopals and the Yadus. Krishna will appear very soon.” This is one reason for Krishna’s descend.

So, if there is too much trouble in this world, you can expect the appearance of the Supreme Lord. At the beginning of the 20th century, Bhaktivinod Thakur was observing the conditions of the Earth, the political situation and everything, and he said: “Ah, this world is so crazy that only an avatar can help.” I don’t know what he would say if he observed the conditions of the world right now. Maybe he would say: ‘Ah, we need a double incarnation’. So whenever there is a trouble, you can expect a compassionate God to come and save you. It’s not that He says: “Ah, you had created the trouble for yourself – now digest it.” No. In the Gita it is said: “With compassion I will appear in their heart and I will give them the transcendental knowledge through which they can come to Me.”[1] 

 (to be continued)

[1] Bhagavad Gita 10.10-11



дверите на щастието

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2017 evening, Sofia)

This is our hope – that Krishna never forsakes us. Although we are separated from divine reality and we are visiting this material realm, nevertheless we should be ready to hope for the best. And fortunately there is one truth that never changes – that Krishna is there in our hearts.

You know that beautiful story when the Supreme Lord was in despair. He didn’t know what to do. He said: “I need a break. I’m so much busy with this and that. I need a place for hiding.” So He called all the angels: “Do you have any suggestion for a hiding place where people cannot find Me? Because they always approach Me with different prayers: ‘Give me this and give me that’. I need a break. But wherever I go they will always find Me. Do you have any suggestion?” Then the angels said: “Ah, we have one place where people will not search for You. Hide in their hearts. Nobody will search for You there.” Of course this is a romantic story. But the truth is the truth – divine presence is there in the heart of every human being.

Do you want to hear another story? A little more yogic, so to say. When our Supreme Lord started to create the universe, He was so much surcharged with emotional surplus that He wanted to share this. And as at the beginning He was alone, He was looking around and He didn’t see anything – there was nobody to share. So finally, the human beings were created. But then they felt very much left alone. They didn’t know how to find each other. Then the Supreme decided: ‘I will enter the bodies of the humans.’ There is a gate for this entrance – it is on the crown chakra or the brahma-randhra – the little opening on the top of the head, the fontanel. Now it’s already closed. You try to find where this entrance gate for the Supreme is, but it’s closed already. Yet many of you have kids – you can see that their head is pulsating there, it’s so tender, so open. This is the gate where He can enter.

In the body of human beings we have some 80,000 different channels starting from the heart. One of these energy channels is directed to the top of the head. Actually through these channels this whole body is pervaded by the consciousness of the soul. But when the moment of death comes, it is said that the heart is illuminated and then the soul starts its journey. If he is fortunate enough, he will take this only channel leading up to the top of the skull. Then through this gate where the soul enters, he can exit the body. This channel doesn’t only lead to the top of the skull, but it’s connected to the Sun. So this is the ultimate channel of illumination. If we follow the path of this divine light, then we can enter the gate of the Sun, from where there is no return. This should be our goal – if we have entered this material body, we should find the proper exit.

The body is compared to a city. The city is defended by a wall. And on the wall there are certain gates through you can enter and cross to go inside. In the same way the sense organs are the gates of the body. The eyes or the ear holes are on the top part and there are some openings on the lower parts also. Up or down – both are gates. But it makes a big difference through which gate you exit your body. If we exit the body by the lower gates, we cannot expect a very elevated next birth. These gates are leading to the lower levels of existence. While if somebody leaves through the upper gates, then the person can expect a very glorious next chapter. And if somebody can exit through the top gate of the body, then this is very fortunate, then you can decide your spiritual future.

So, first we had a romantic story – some angels giving advice to God. Second we had some mystic yoga path of perfection – through the nadi channels, reach the topmost gate of your body and then shoot your spirit soul to the divine realm. But we need something practical. What if at the last moment we cannot fix our mind and instead of the brahma-randhra your soul will pass through some other channel? Therefore you have to clean the dead bodies, because they pass through some lower chakras. So, something practical. Because actually right now, we are not at the beginning of our life, probably we are not at the end of our journey, but somewhere in between. What to do today?

(to be continued)

 



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 (from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2017, morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

We know that all the different relationships to the Supreme are parts of the ocean of rasa. And what is the natural state of the ocean? Peaceful. Hardly you can see any waves. But what happens when the full moon appears in the sky? Agitation comes. The black waves of the Black sea. And the black waves are beautified by the white foam.

So wait until the full moon appears, and then the peace is enhanced with some more beauty. It is said a pure devotee cannot resist all the different waves of divine emotions. Therefore we have to realize that platform, take advantage, achieve that peace in the conflict of body-mind complex, cease the fire, use the antidote for the snake-bite of material existence, stabilize our consciousness and try to fix our commitment on the Supreme. These are the very positive engagements in the shanti practices. Please, don’t forget about these. Always listen to the good advice, hope for the mercy and try to remember God’s pastimes. And also meditate on your spiritual future.

This is what I wanted to share with you about this neutral approach in spirituality. Although this is not the final goal in general, but we can say that this is like a support for stability in other spiritual practices. If somebody is interested more in this spiritual stability, I suggest you study the Bhagavatam, Kapiladev’s teachings, because he is like the protector of shanta-rasa.

Baladev: I have a question related to a quotation from Shrimad Bhagavatam. “The sincere determination is the only qualification necessary to achieve the highest perfection.” The question is how to add this sincere determination to our devotional service?

Swami Tirtha: Well, God consciousness should be fixed in our system as an irrevocable fact. And then all the unnecessary disturbances in the heart – like kama, agitation, material attachments, etc, etc. – will vanish. In this purified state of heart we can immediately perceive this stability and living connection to Supreme. And ultimate perfection? It depends on divine grace. We can do our small little part, to show our willingness. But ultimate perfection depends on them. Therefore we pray. In a neutral way we try to tolerate and we accept what is given, but on a non-passive platform we pray for some extra blessings.

If we take shanti as a foundation, from where you can start the further cultivation, I think it’s a very positive understanding. But if we stop here, it’s stupid. So don’t be satisfied with only a passive approach to the Supreme; there is a lot more to find here. Therefore we wait for the full moon to come. Krishna Chandra, Goura Chandra – why, why Chandra? Why we compare Them to the full moon? Because They will agitate your heart. And They will bring the waves of this peaceful ocean of your consciousness.

Yashoda: This peace is like a basic approach, we need it in the problems of life. When a devotee is not on the level to chant, maybe he can achieve some peace by breathing exercises and meditation. Is there no danger that he may like this path and go astray from devotional practices?

Swami Tirtha: Krishna is the master of yoga. So if you breathe: mat prananathas tu sa eva naparaha[1] – “You are the controller of my prana.” Or if you meditate, you will meet Him in your heart. Actually Krishna’s attractive power is stronger than our resistance. You know sometimes we make a try: ‘All right, I know that illusion is not very much recommended, but let’s try.’ And then you taste it. But Chaitanya Charitamrita gives much better taste.

So even if we fail, let’s say we lose our connection, we stop our spiritual practices – what you have done is never lost. One moment of pure dedication is much more precious and much more effective in your spiritual elevation than a whole lifetime wasted in nonsense. Of course our heart bleeds if somebody doesn’t find his or her place in spiritual life. Somebody leaves the company of the devotees – how come!? But we should be happy that this person was with Krishna, with the service for some time in his life. Because that will save him or her. One moment in the company of the great saints is much more worthy than innumerable wasted lifetimes. Why? Because all these wasted lifetimes are in service of illusion, which is not real, while service of the great saints, connection to the Supreme – this is real. One moment of reality can save you from unlimited quantity of unreal moments. From the unreal lead me to the real.

 

[1] “Оnly He (eva saḥ) is the lord of my life (mat prāṇa-nāthaḥ), nobody else (na aparaḥ)” /Shikshashtakam 8



varanasi-priest-sunrise-worship

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2017, morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

So, shravanam – this is the first practice in shanta-rasa.

The second is very beautiful. The second is hope in mercy. I think this is our path – we hope that some day the divine mercy will shine upon us. Nevertheless we have to tolerate the consequences from previous activities. This is the shadow that we discussed before. Try to tolerate your karma, try to tolerate your shadow. But don’t forget, a selfless action in devotion doesn’t bring new karma. And if you suffer a little bit, then you burn up some of your karma. Then tolerating all the difficulties we gain an entrance to a more purified platform of life. Therefore we have this hope in divine mercy. It will come! If we are committed in our spiritual practices, if we continue to cultivate, then ultimately the divine mercy will also come. So I think this is a very beautiful approach to the Supreme – this hope. Don’t forget about that.

The third one is remembrance. Think of your connection to the Supreme while you live and at the moment of your departure. We need a little training to fix this remembrance.

Yet the memories and reflection – this is more like an intellectual or cognitive practice, but the fourth one is meditation. And meditation is non-intellectual. This is spiritual, when you open up to the spiritual truth. And it will have great effect on our consciousness.

There is a lot to say. But just to give you a little understanding about the results of this passive, neutral way. Spiritual stability is one good result – when you are very much committed to this divine connection. When we took the shelter and we feel that we are there, we are under this protection. Try to find this shelter, meditate on His presence in your heart. And also when you see the divine beauty, admire the grandeur. First we need to appreciate this grandeur; then we can go into more details. Therefore Gurudev said: First you put the crown on the head of Krishna. To understand who is the Supreme. And then later on you can enter into a more intimate relationship – like stealing laddus from His plate. Even on that platform liberation is possible.

So what are the consequences, what are the features of such a great saint whose consciousness is always fixed in his connection with the Supreme? By the way, who is a saintly person? Who is a saint?

Krishna Priya: Who has renounced his self gratification and who is totally dedicated to God and to the service of others.

Swami Tirtha: Yes, the one who is ready to dedicate himself or herself to something higher than his or her private life. Or on whom the divine blessings have dawned.

Some features of such a person: they are always intent in their meditation. They fix their eyes on the tip of the nose. They always behave like an avadhuta – very difficult to understand. But please, if your spiritual master will tell you: “Can you please help me with this service?” don’t fix your gaze on your nose and don’t behave like an avadhuta, because he will not be happy. Avadhuta you know sometimes behaves a little unexpected. He is beyond all the social limitations.

It is said, these great saints in shanti are always very considerate in their speech. They have no material ambitions. They are not mistaken in their self-consciousness and their spiritual identity. They are always serene and think of the Supreme.

So even if you simply try to fulfill the requirements of this neutral approach, you can achieve your stability, you can become a very serious bhakta. In the Bhagavatam it is said: “That state of mind if somebody is fully convinced of My personal form is called shanta-rasa. Nobody can reach pure devotion without first achieving this level.” It’s very obvious – first we have to fix our consciousness and achieve that stability, that shanti, that pacified mood. And then you can go further.

(to be continued)



Nov

14

lord-vishnu

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 04.01.2017, morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

Now let’s focus our attention on neutrality in divine relationships. The five different rasas are like waves on the ocean of divine love. And from these the first wave is neutrality – shanta-rasa. In that respect this is a general term – when this relationship is not specified, it’s only like a general attachment, doesn’t have special features.

The second explanation of this neutrality is like transparence. It is said just like the precious stones. They are transparent and in whatever environment you put them, they will reflect the same colors and beauties. The devotees also have different-different relationships, and in that sense this is also like a general term.

And finally we can say that this neutrality is like a peaceful relationship to the Supreme, a kind of realized platform. As we expect the practitioners of yoga to be very serene, very peaceful, with a very controlled mind.

Nevertheless if we speak about rasa, that’s a living connection, then we need to add something to this peace. Realization in yoga will bring the peace, the stability. But we need to add something to this peace (shanti) if we speak about shanta-rasa. And the best examples for this are the Kumaras. They are four saintly personalities in the ancient times of creation, they are the mental sons of Brahma, the secondary creator. They have taken birth as realized persons. So much so that they didn’t want to enter into the complicated life of this material universe and therefore they decided to remain as small children, celibate young boys. How can you do that? Only if you are very peaceful and very realized. It’s a very high platform. But you remember the story when they wanted to enter Vaikuntha and they were rejected. There were little curses up and down. And then finally to achieve the peace of the situation Lord Vishnu came. Of course the Kumaras, as realized persons, offered obeisances on the spot with the full peace and realization of their yoga vision. But then what happened? They felt a smell. There were some tulasi manjaris offered at the feet of Vishnu and they felt this smell. And then all the peace of their yoga realization was gone. Their neutrality was surcharged with the yearning: “Yes! I want to meet that person from whom such a smell emanates.” So when such urgency to meet Krishna is added to this neutral realization, then we can speak about rasa.

What are the basic practices of shanta-rasa? This is usually like a passive approach, not so much activity is manifested there. But still, what do you think?

Yashoda: Meditation.

Swami Tirtha: Correct, this is the fourth. The first is listening. When you listen about the glories of Krishna, shravanam. If I’m right, even in the Bible it is said that from listening faith is born. So what will be the result of such an attentive listening? Purification of the heart.

Once there was an occasion. One friend of Gurudev had an ashram in South India. And after cooking one devotee took the utensils to the river to clean them. On the way a snake came and bit him. It’s dangerous. So then what the devotees did when they understood what happened? They came together around this person and started to chant the maha-mantra into his ears. And when he regained the consciousness, immediately the whole village was converted to vaishnavism. “Wow – they said – if the holy name is so powerful, better to have an antidote, because in South India there are many snakes!”

But actually the snakebite – this is the material illusion. We all suffer from that snakebite. We have fainted. So what is the story? By spiritual practice you can regain your consciousness. From this insane condition of material life you can come back to your original consciousness. If you listen to the mantra, you can regain your life, so to say. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare – this is the way to regain our life.

(to be continued)