Extra English Issues issues

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

The next question comes: “What are shravana-dasha and varana-dasha?”[1] Finally some good questions! Do you feel excited? But this is really very serious, because these are different levels of spiritual progress. “Shravana-dasha is when one is satisfied by first hearing the philosophy, teachings, etc. during the probationary life. When one is satisfied with shravana, he then comes to accept the guide, the guru and that is the stage of varana-dasha, or acceptance. He has the mood: ‘Now I am prepared to take formal admission in this line and I accept you as my leader. Now whatever you say, I must obey.”

This is varana-dasha, the stage of acceptance. Whatever you say, I must obey.

“At first there is acceptance of a clan, such as Christianity, Mohamedism, etc. to which someone has been introduced. After first accepting a creed, a person will be selected who will be able to satisfy me according to the principles of that creed. He will be able to give me the desired end of life. He is guru. First the creed is accepted and then the guide.”

So the two stages: the stage of shravana-dasha, the stage of listening, paying attention to the teachings – this is, we can say, like the stage of information. Then the next level is when you accept the guidance – this is the stage of transformation: accept and follow.

“Then beyond varana-dasha begins sadhana-dasha. This is the third stage and it means to follow the practices under the guidance of our guru. By following that, we shall gain some realizations and attain a tangible position: ‘Yes, I feel that what was in the words and in the propaganda is now in my heart. My heart feels that it is touched.” Right, from the symptoms you can judge. “And that stage is called prapana-dasha, dedication. Only after being thus established is one able to also distribute such things to others, and that stage is called apana-dasha. Without being established in prapana, full surrender, only with the help of someone who is established there can we go to preach. Do you follow?”

“Are there five stages?” – the next question comes. “Shravana, varana and sadhana are within this camp. Then comes prapana, the tangible feeling, or the position of oneself experiencing the results, the attainment. First we come in touch with that reality, then we become established in that real plane and then we shall be able to distribute to others – apana.”

This is “The Guide”. We have to go through all these different levels of spiritual attainment: to listen first, to inform ourselves; then to accept – this is the way to transform ourselves; and then to be introduced; and then to feel; and then to share.

Therefore it is said: “If you have faith – preach. If you don’t have faith – preach.”

[1] By Shrila Shridhara Maharaj, Centenary Anthology

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

“Some sort of danger may come on our way, but if we are sincere it will be as a test to us and when we will overcome that it will be an addition to our glory. The temptations will be rejected and disarmed, but they will plead for us again. So sincerity, sincere hankering after the truth is needed if we are to go further. And that is made of sukrity[1] by the grace of the divine agents, who by their nature are wandering through this cursed land to help others, who may not even know that they are being helped.”[2]

You see! This is so nice, if we meet such a wandering saint, that can change our life. We have a very long-standing friend in Hungary; when he was a student, he was hitch-hiking. And who took him in the car? It was Gurudev. He is still around. So a half-an-hour’s drive changed his life forever. So beautiful!

Another example here from Sofia: another friend, he was so confused and so frustrated by life experiences that he wanted to finish it. At that time he received one book of Shrila Prabhupad and it saved his life. So this is the power of such a meeting. It can change you, it can save you – for this lifetime and for eternity. Because hopefully in the ultimate calculation it’s not the stupidity that is on our list, but the small little things that we do properly.

And here it was mentioned that the temptations will be rejected. You know, there are so many things that we have to resist if we want to follow a spiritual path. Once a person said: “Actually there is only one thing that I cannot resist.” “What? – the others inquired – “What is that specific thing?” He said: “Temptation.”

But “temptations will be rejected”. When you have something better than the offer of temptations, then with a smiling face you will walk along. Of course we have to be humble in that respect also; don’t challenge fate! But if somehow we follow the footsteps of the great ones and we catch on the dhoti of our master, then hopefully we are safe.

Maybe you have some questions concerning what we covered so far – this holy trinity of ours? Guru, shastra, sadhu – they all work for us, they help us. And actually we should never forget this – we have much more well-wishers than what we expect. I’m absolutely sure of that.

Harilila: I have one question. What is the difference between guru and sadhu?

Swami Tirtha: Actually the function is very similar, the quality is also very similar. Because who is a sadhu? What is the definition of sadhu?

Answer: Someone who sticks to the truth.

Swami Tirtha: Correct, who lives according to the truth, committed to the truth. That is a sadhu. And he follows sadhana – the path leading to the truth. So if you also follow sadhana, you might become a sadhu. Guru must also live according to the truth. What is the analysis of the word ‘guru’?

Hayagriva: The one who leads from darkness to light.

Swami Tirtha: Correct, who will dispel the darkness. Such a light that will dispel the darkness. So we can say that the qualities and the functions are very similar, but actually it’s the relationship that will turn a sadhu into a guru. Because sadhu is sadhu; we expect him to travel – visit and go. Once somebody gave a very good definition of sadhu: sadhu is such a person who gives a lecture, takes some food and goes. This is the way to satisfy him and get rid of the trouble. But the guru will stay. So, the general sadhu will leave, but the specific sadhu will stay with us. Or maybe we shall stay with him. A special, chosen sadhu starts to become a guru for us, to dispel our darkness.

But this is very nice, what you mention, because: guru, shastra and sadhu – what is in the middle? In the center is shastra. This is what will make a person a guru and this is what will make a person a sadhu. If you follow the shastra then you might become a sadhu, then you might become a guru. So this is the reference, this is the trademark.

(to be continued)

[1] Spiritual merits

[2] By Shrila Shridhara Maharaj, Centenary Anthology

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Just recently a very bright young man asked during a lecture: “How can we trust our spiritual experience? You do some practice and some visions, some realizations come to you; how can you judge whether this is true or not, whether this is a good direction or not?” Is it a good question? It’s very difficult to judge how to trust, what to trust. Which kind of answer would you like to hear – a promising and sweet; or realistic?

Answers: Both.

Swami Tirtha: Well, I will tell both anyways. I’d better ask: which pill do you want first – the bitter or the sweet one? But actually, first I have to give the sweet one. Because the sweet is just what Shridhara Maharaj says: trust yourself. And I also truly share this opinion – we all have this ultimate inner guidance. When you feel, even if you cannot explain, if you are not a philosopher – you feel ‘something is correct, something is not correct here’. I think we all have that capacity. And if you are sincere or pure enough and you are ready to go to the ultimate limit, then you can trust this inner guidance.

At that time I gave this answer to this young man: “Trust yourself. Trust your heart, trust this inner guidance, it is always with you.” But somehow I forgot to give him the bitter… well, not the bitter, but the realistic alternative. Because Shridhara Maharaj also says that if you eat and you are satisfied, do you need to ask anyone about that? No, this is such an elementary feeling: “Now I’m fine”. You don’t inquire about that: “Can you tell me if I’m satisfied?” No, you just feel it, you realize it. And Shridhara Maharaj says you can judge this according to the symptoms. If you eat, certain things will happen to you: your hunger will diminish, your energy will increase, and your satisfaction and content will also grow. So from the symptoms you can double-check your feelings. If we apply this principle to our spiritual satisfaction,  we have to train and educate ourselves to have this inner measurement. To be able to judge: whether I’m more satisfied or not, whether my spiritual hunger is diminished or not, whether I received some more energy or not? So there is the primary feeling and there is the secondary feedback. We all have this capacity. Check yourself and then trust yourself.

Then what is the realistic alternative? If you cannot judge, if you don’t know – ask someone who knows. It’s very simple!

Yashoda: This is not bitter.

Swami Tirtha: Well… it might be bitter, because if we come with our fancy imagination and somebody crushes it, sometimes it gives a bitter taste. But what does it mean? It means you have to find the authority on the question. And if you cannot judge by the symptoms, he can judge according to the symptoms.

Just like it is mentioned in the novel of Bhaktivinod Thakur Jaiva Dharma. This is the story of the spiritual path of a person who is searching for perfection and is trying to find his spiritual guides. He meets a sadhu, then he starts to practice, goes on with this practice deeply and he reaches the limit. And he starts to have such questions, such topics to discuss that the guru says: “I cannot help you anymore. But I have a good friend who can help you. Please go to him and inquire of him.”

So he goes to this very special babaji and he wants to inquire about his spiritual progress. But what does the master say? “Tell me, what is your feeling? How do you feel when you chant the holy names?” And he says: “Well, when I enter the temple of our beloved Lord, sometimes I almost faint. And sometimes when I start to chant the holy names, so much tears come to my eyes and my voice is so choked up that I cannot continue.” And then the master says: “All right, you have achieved the neophyte stage.”

How do you feel when you enter the temple, my dear ones? What happens when you start to chant the holy names? Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. You see, we have to reach at least the neophyte stage. And from this we can understand that we have a bright future, a bright perspective.

So, to decide whether your spiritual feelings or realizations are true, valid or not – either you learn how to refer to your inner guide or you ask an authority.

(to be continued)

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 evening, Sofia)

Let’s continue our readings from Shrila Shridhara Maharaj. Because this is the best engagement for this Saturday evening; what else can we do? This is important topic: “The guide”.

“I wanted to inquire as how to recognize guru, shastra and sadhu?” This is the Holy Trinity of our tradition. But fortunately our tradition is very wealthy, so we have many Holy Trinities. Can you give some other Holy Trinities?

Hayagriva: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva.

Hari Lila: Sat, chit, ananda.

Other: Hari, guru, vaishnava.

Premananda: Radha, Krishna, Gurudeva.

Swami Tirtha: Or Mahaprabhu and Radha-Govinda.

Pavitra: Jagannath, Baladev, Subhadra.

Swami Tirtha: Rupa, Sanatana, Raghunath. Madan-Mohan, Govinda, Gopinath. So many Trinities! But this guru-shastra-sadhu is something very basic and very important.

“We receive confirmation from our heart approval, our inner approval. We must trace it to there, because that took me to my guru. Guru is all in all. But who took me to my guru? It was my inner sentiment, my inner guide. I did not like anything else in the environment, but instead selected that advice. Many others do not care to come here and many may ridicule this life, but what made me come here? I cannot deprecate that internal approval, consciousness and sincerity. Therefore that is an important factor and ultimately we have to depend on that internal consciousness the most. When collecting advice from the scriptures and when seeking or relying on advice from the sadhu, the only thing that takes me there is my inner approval, my inner friend. If it were not for that, I would not have come. Indeed so many others do not come. So who has taken me to this place?

One who sincerely wants real good can never be deceived. When one is a real seeker of the truth, he can never be deceived. Krishna says: ‘My dear boy, one who is sincerely hankering after the truth can never come across misfortune. If apparently some misfortune comes to visit him along the path, that is to enhance his position for his improvement.”

I think this is a very important question: how to identify these sacred sources of information? How to recognize the truth? Many times we feel: ‘Yes, now I’ve got it!’ But what will you say tomorrow? ‘Sorry, it was not that.’ The next day with the same firm conviction you will say: ‘Yesterday I didn’t know, but today I’m sure!’ I think we had wasted many lifetimes with this – when we felt so convinced and then it turned out to be false.

Nevertheless there must be something that will help us to find reality. What is that? Shridhara Maharaj doesn’t say: “This, or that or maybe something else…” – no, immediately he says: “Beyond this holy trinity is the fourth principle – your heart, your inner consent”.

Now you agree, I see, you like it! But the conditions will come later. There are some conditions for this. What? “One who sincerely wants real good, a real seeker of the truth” – such a person can rely on the heart, on the inner guidance. Until we are on that platform… There’s no other source to trust, to really agree. But we need to be very pure and very sincere in this search, in this inner desire. Because if we don’t reach the ultimate edge, the end, the turning point of our existence, I think we may always cheat ourselves.

(to be continued)


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Kripadham: Gurudev, how can we somehow see this aspect of guru, which represents the disciple tattva, not only guru-tattva?

Swami Tirtha: Usually gurus distribute the japas-malas and the disciples accept. But sometimes it might happen in another way – a disciple will bring a japa-mala for the guru. I see now you are perplexed. Unexpected, ha? How can it happen? But don’t forget, they both have their own position. And both are instruments in the hands of the Supreme. If the whole situation, if the whole connection is ideal, pure, transcendental, then all are players of the lila. There is the official hierarchy – this one is considered to be a superior and the other is considered to be a future superior. But what if God has chosen this disciple to bring some new message to the master? Is it possible? We cannot exclude the possibility that through the disciple something will be revealed to the master.

We have a beautiful example of Shyamananda Goswami. I’m sure you are fully aware of the story of Shyamananda and his master: when the spiritual master of Shyamananda Goswami understood what special mercy his young devotee has received, immediately he offered obeisances to him. So who is superior? What is official and what is real?

But your question is very important, because it reminds me again of one very strong face of Gurudev. The standard measurement of his life was serving Shrila Prabhupad. And he said: “Those who help me in serving Shrila Prabhupad are welcome, I’m very happy! But if somebody doesn’t help my service, what can I do with him?”  And he was so committed in his service that it was compelling us to join that service.

I think this is very much according to the principles that we had learned: krishnera-das-anudas-anudas – to be a servant of the servants of the servants of the Supreme. And as Gurudev was serving his superiors, he gave us the best education. Because serving your masters, you instruct your followers. He was very delicate in his dealings and in this way he instructed us to be very delicate in the spiritual practices, to be very sensitive. So if a master is acting as a student towards his master, this is the best education for us.

And the greatest gift of my life was meeting him. Because this totally converted me. I thought there was nothing higher than that. But then I understood that our Lord is unlimited. And after the disappearance of my master He gave me another gift. It is you. Well, not fully or totally converted me… yet… but I’m trying to work hard.

Premananda: Gurudev, we had celebrated the guru principle, but nowadays when many people gather, everybody is afraid that some radical elements might also be there.

Swami Tirtha: We hope that some Radhika elements will be included!

Premananda: So there might be some people who actually came to celebrate the guru person here. But we cannot know this, because they hide.

Swami Tirtha: Yeah, the greatest mystery is when the principle enters our life. When collecting his memories, one disciple of Shrila Prabhupad said: “There are unlimited encounters and stories concerning Prabhupad. But what was the best that will stay with me for this lifetime? When Prabhupad was caressing the shikhas[1] on our heads with his finger.”

Tattva cannot do this. This translates the tattva into practical reality. How much love is there to turn the shikha of a person around your finger!? It’s a natural expression of love. It’s beyond the explanation. Sometimes deeds speak louder than words.

(to be continued)

[1] Tufts of hair

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

The worship of Shri Guru is not a personality cult, but this is a personal divine culture. There is a big difference between the two. This is not guruism, it’s a humble worship of Shri Guru.

But how to bring this principle closer to us? Shridhara Maharaj helped with some theoretical background: acharyam mam vijaniyan [1]– “Know that I am the acharya”, says Krishna; or “Religion means proper adjustment and according to our capacity we will be positioned in service.”

And you help me a lot today to remember my master. He was like a divine volcano, but sweet. Strong! If a volcano erupts close to you, you feel devastated, right? Nevertheless it was sweet, so sweet that we could not separate ourselves from those eruptions. And you know, Gurudev was very sensitive on so many issues. Once he said: “Preaching krishna-bhakti is not like a salesman trying to sell vacuum cleaners.” This was his conception about preaching. It’s not canvassing, it’s trying to show the supreme reality to others.

Once on 1988 on Janmashtami day he entered the temple room in brilliant clothes, with freshly shaved head and he was like a powerful angel entering the place to bring everybody closer to their ideals. So he was fully representing the guru principle – to be so strong that it’s irresistible.

Other times he was playing football with his disciples. I don’t know if you expect your divine master to play football with you. But I tell you, if you play football with your spiritual master, it’s not so easy. Because just imagine yourself – you are a better player and he is in the party losing. What can you do? It’s a very uneasy feeling.

Therefore spiritual life is, I think, a great experience. To meet the divine principle in our life in a personal form will crush all the conceptions that we had before. You expect something and you will receive something else.

And in 1984, December he gave a lecture; it was a very serious lecture, most of it we didn’t really understand, we didn’t catch why he is talking about that. But the essence of this lecture was three pieces of advice: “Krishna is never lost, guru is never lost and service is never lost”. I’m very grateful to have had the chance to be present on that lecture, because if you would remember only these three pieces of advice, you can accomplish successfully your spiritual journey. So please take it as an offering, it might serve you well.

Of course this is an unlimited principle, unlimited topic. But from time to time it’s good to return to this point and to see how the divine principle starts to act on my life. Shri Guru, Guru-dev – that will always join something more, not simply the person, the vaishnava, but also Shri Guru, divine tattva, Guru-dev, divine personality.

Who is an angel? What does an angel do? He brings the message.  Angels enter our life not only to make us happy and to make our life easy. They come to make our life more complicated. At least before I didn’t have the message. All right, my life was a dark dungeon, but at least I didn’t have any concept of light. Less trouble. Now the same dungeon is here, but I have a concept of light. And I have got the message: search for divine light, divine truth. More difficult, more complicated. So think twice!

Comment: It’s too late.

Swami Tirtha: What can we do… Then let’s follow the angels. Let’s bring the message to others.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.17.27

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

“You have joined the Gaudia Mission, but this is so huge – so many departments, so many Maths, so many duties! But where is my mission? At first it is a hazy thing, a big thing. Then, after you were admitted, you were taken in and placed in a particular direction. Your attention was directed towards some post, you went there and gradually you were given some duty to discharge. The whole of the mission is yours, but still you have a particular department and a particular duty, and that will increase more and more. It is possible that you may become the personal secretary of your Gurudev, or a preacher, or a cook for your Gurumaharaj, and some may be asked to go to other places to preach. Sometimes those may be dangerous places for the devotees, but someone also have to take that kind of duty. Adjustment is necessary. First there is entrance within a mission, then adjustment begins.”[1] I think it happened with all of us in the same manner.

“Religion is proper adjustment, according to the fitness of the man who is given admission. Do you follow?” “Yes, yes, I follow, but still I have some questions.” Shridhara Maharaj says: “What kind of question you might still have?!”

This is something to remember! How this divine principle, guru-tattva, will enter our life and wholly change what we have perceived and understood so far. In one sense it will shatter into pieces all that we had before. This is the admittance into the mission – to break you. The next step is the proper adjustment – when you can build up a new reality, a spiritual reality, a divine reality in your life. And according to our abilities and according to our readiness, we are positioned in certain places.

So please, remember that it’s not only the masters, the gurus who represent a principle, but you as disciples also represent the divine principle of the student. And many people think that to be a guru is very prestigious. ‘He will always receive the garland and not me.’ But actually to be on the other side, to be a disciple, in my humble opinion is more prestigious. Because in this way we can serve those who are dear to Krishna. And the best way to serve someone is to serve those who are the beloved ones of this person. So if you meet a person on the street who is walking his dog and if you want to capture the heart of that person, what will you say? “Such a nice dog!” Or if you see a dog walking his master on the street and you want to capture the heart of the dog, what you will say? “Ah, such a nice master you have!” Serve those whom people love and they will be enamored with you! But if you meet a friend on the street and you say: “Ah, I love you so much, but this dirty dog here… just kick him out!”, he will not love you. Therefore God says: “Those who worship me in the temples with all the ceremonies, but are cruel and misbehave with others, they don’t really worship Me, I don’t accept them.”

Serve those, appreciate those whom Krishna loves – then you can capture His attention. Therefore we are so fortunate, because our Lord provided us with the company of those whom He loves. He has given us the devotees. He has given us the masters. This is the way to approach the Supreme – serve, love those whom He also loves. It’s very simple. Therefore we celebrate the guru principle. Because through serving this principle we can satisfy the Supreme Lord.

(to be continued)

[1] from Shrila Shridhara Maharaj, ‘Specific service’

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

“There is oneness, unity. But more efficient service may be drawn from a particular point rather than a higher point. Everyone has their particular capacity and service and if they serve from there, they will be best utilized. If located in a higher circle for which he has no such fitness, enmity will be created and he will be a loser. Do you follow?”[1] – that was the next question of Shridhara Maharaj. And then the devotee says: “It is still not so clear for me.”

So this is what we can see – the two participants are floating on different levels. One is trying to use all his ear and brain capacity to understand something, but as that capacity is limited, he will understand very little; while the other is using all his heart and all his mouth and all his emotions to explain something – and he also feels limited. ‘I need millions of mouths to properly glorify my master!’ – this is the feeling of the great ones. And what is the feeling of the small ones? ‘I need millions of ears to listen to you!’ So, “it is still not quite clear for me…”

Then Shridhara Maharaj says: “Acharyam mam vijaniyan[2] – in the beginning stage we are told that the acharya, the guru, is Krishna. Then Raghunath das Goswami, the acharya of prayojana, the ultimate goal, says that the acharya’s position is not that of God Himself, but is that of His most favorite one. Ultimately we find that Krishna’s dear-most is in the department of His potency and that is guru.”

You see, it’s so nice. First we see the divine function, and this is good. Later on our vision is more refined and we can differentiate between sevya-bhagavan and sevak-bhagavan – the served God and the servitor-God aspects. Therefore we sing so often: sakshad-dharitvena … kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasyam[3] – “The spiritual master is very dear to Krishna”.

“In the beginning it is mentioned in the shastra that Brahman means the Absolute as the whole. But by clear vision we see that there are Narayan, Vasudeva, Ramachandra and so many forms. And by even more clear estimation we will find Krishna to be within. Do you follow?”

Now, after all these theories, let’s come to a story. “Once Krishna was in a conference, with Balarama and Uddhava. And they saw a mass of light approaching. Then after a little time a figure became visible within that mass of light. Then, after the light mass approached even closer, they could see the figure of a male person. And then still closer – they could see: ‘Ah, this is Devarishi Narada!’ So, in this was from far off you may get a conception of the whole – just as by viewing the Himalayas from a distance you can see many things. But as much as you approach you will find specific parts, with more clarity. And when you will actually arrive, there you will find your Lord and your friends and you will mix there. At that time you do not find the whole Himalaya, but you are located in one particular position. And there, not within the whole, you will find that the desired end of your life has been fulfilled.” So beautiful! You cannot take shelter in a huge mountain range, but you can take shelter in a small cave.

“Similarly, when you approach Krishna from afar, He is sat-chit-ananda, He is infinite! Then, as you approach Him, because you are so small, you will be located in a particular position. In this way, according to your fitness you will be taken into a particular position of service. There you will engage in whatever service is required from you and from there you will draw the fullest satisfaction to your nature.”


(to be continued)


[1] from Shrila Shridhara Maharaj, ‘Specific service’

[2] Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.17.27

[3] Shri Gurvashtakam, 7

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 morning, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

I think the best way to celebrate the guru-principle is to remember those representatives who bring this principle so close to us. Therefore I’d like to read from Shrila Shridhara Maharaj. ‘Specific service’; this is a question and answer meeting.

“Question: The disciple sees his guru as absolute, but others may see the same person in a relative conception. So, is the guru relative or absolute?

Shrila Shridhara Maharaj: Generally the advice is that in the beginning the disciple will look at his guru as a representative of the Supreme Lord Himself. But when he makes some progress and inner enlightenment begins, he will gradually find that Krishna, the Absolute, has a particular system and He has His potencies of different varieties. According to the disciple’s inner awakenment, he will have fitness for that particular class of service. That will be considered and he will be taken under guidance in that particular type of service.”

So, that means that in the beginning we have a general conception of divine principle: ‘My master is very divine’. And later on our vision should not change to ‘He is not divine’, but to be more specific: ‘He is divine in a special way’.

“When one sees his guru gradually according to his innate capacity and quality, he will find dasya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vatsalya-rasa or madhurya-rasa. The government grants the service. He will face some examination, some test, and he will be put in a particular department, where he will find his immediate boss under whom he will serve and be guided. That is the general situation and in this way the devotee will find his maximum gain there.”

It’s like a hierarchy. And the original meaning of hierarchy is ‘the structure of sanctity’. So it’s a divine structure and if you integrate yourself into this hierarchical structure, which is based on divine principles, then you will find your prospect. What is a family? A family is a hierarchy. Some participants might have some misunderstanding, like prabhus might think that they are the boss; let them live according to this illusion. But in general we can say that there is a head of the family, there is a mother of the family, there are some kids in the family. And if a kid integrates nicely into this structure, he will find shelter. Problems will start when he starts fighting for his freedom. Then the hierarchy is broken and he will find no shelter or a different shelter. In the same way, if we integrate ourselves into a spiritual structure, so to say, then we can find our place, we can find our service. And this gives us a prospect – where to go, how to act, how to think, how to feel.

“At first the whole system is as if one – like an integrated unity. Then a devotee will find himself in a particular part of that system, arranged according to his fitness and awakenment. Then finally he will be posted as a servitor to a particular guru, under whose guidance he will do anything and everything required from him.”

So, gurus have an eternal path and disciples also have an eternal path. And sometimes these tracks meet and cross. Sometimes a devotee is given to a guru and other times a guru is given to a devotee. But as both parties, the guru and the disciple, represent the principle – the principle of guru and the principle of the disciple – when they meet and this meeting is harmonious, then this is a divine act. So don’t think that only guru is a principle. Sishya is also a principle. Not a theory, it is a tangible reality.

(to be continued)


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 morning, Sofia)

We came here together for a Vyasa-puja celebration. I hope you don’t have the illusion that you will be able to celebrate a person, an individual, because we came together to celebrate a divine tattva, a divine principle. Nevertheless you might ask: “But how to celebrate a principle? What is a principle? It sounds so theoretical.” And you are correct, a principle usually is theoretical. But don’t forget, we are part of a mystic process. And mystic means – theory might become practice; a principle might become personal. And it is also true on our present stage of realization in our process: whatever seems like an inaccessibly high destination might become true for you, for us. Are you happy to be part of such a mystic process?

In most of the cases, for people in general God is a principle, an ideal, a power. Many say that this is like a purple haze. But if somebody would tell you that you are a purple haze, you will be offended: “No! I am a person! I am more!” So principles should turn into personalities.

Or a principle of dedication, of divine life – it’s nice. So many millions of people have started their career on this planet Earth to accomplish that goal. Because it’s so inviting, it’s so charming! How can we live without ideals!? It’s impossible. This is not life, this is only survival. Ideals will make us live properly. So this principle, divine life, is so inviting that we are ready to run to it. But we shouldn’t be satisfied to have a divine life on principle, to have a divine life theoretically. It’s not enough! We need to put it into practice, we have to realize that.

‘Realization’ again sounds very technical. But I think you understand what I mean: from the clouds – down to earth, here and now. And this is not a corruption, this is an upgrade of the present stage of life.

Where to find God? Where to find devotion as a living reality? History will say: search in the past. Mystery will say: search in the future. But love will say: here and now. Why wait for heaven, if we can have a taste for that here? Why wait for the next lifetime if you can accomplish now, today? And again, if we are not able to be spiritually happy today – when will the day come when you can do that? Because if you postpone: ‘Tomorrow I will be a good devotee’, that tomorrow never comes. That tomorrow should happen today, right now.

Guru for many people is a principle, a heavy principle. Because guru means ‘heavy’. Heavy in what sense? He is heavy like the Himalayas, you cannot shake him. However you try, you cannot – he is so strong, so firm, so established. Because guru is a principle, right? And how can you shake a principle? We can only approach a principle and we can admire a principle. We cannot corrupt a principle. The personal experience and the principle are different. Theory and practice are different.

Love in general for most people is again a principle – impossible to realize. And sometimes our experience is bitter. But should it compromise the principle of love? It’s impossible! The principle is always perfect. My understanding of that principle and my realization of that principle are partial, they’re limited; but divine reality is not limited.

So, if we return to the original point: guru for many people is a principle. And this is a divine principle. But as this is divine, therefore it is sensitive. It’s a very delicate principle. Is it good to have a spiritual master? Is it Bulgarian ‘yes’? And is it easy to have a spiritual master? You know, Indians have an advantage, because they can shake their head as they like and it will mean as you like – you read this body language according to your understanding. You see, such a refined culture! One gesture can mean anything. So it’s very delicate; same with the divine love principle, same with the guru principle – they are very delicate. One little signal can mean all. Therefore we came together to celebrate this principle – the guru-tattva. It’s so nice, so strong, so elevated! This is beyond human capacities – as it is divine.

(to be continued)