Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Question of Ramvijay: My question is: we can see that there are many people who readily accept bhakti as ideal in their lives, included myself. We believe that this is the best thing to do, this is the best way of living. Still there are sometimes big obstacles into moving this into practice, I mean converting the ideal into practical life. What is the reason?

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, this is the difference between theory and practice. Because theoretically we can agree: “Yes, this bhakti-yoga is the best, beautiful and most effective and everything! But not for me.” Right? Yet let us put the question in a more positive way: how to put the theory into practice? Because I think we all agree that to work and to live, and to breathe for divine unity and divine Beauty and Love meeting in our hearts – tell me something higher, anything higher! If you give me something higher, I will follow! I will immediately surrender to you. If not, then it is our turn to surrender to this ideal.

And we are all trying to put that theory into practice, with more or less success. This is also a process. And as things in nature work in a very slow manner, we have to wait half an year, or years to get a fruit from a tree… You sow a seed, you put it into the earth and you have to water it, you have to take care of it for years and then after some time maybe some fruits, unripe fruits will come first. Yet even if it is sour, even if it is green, but it is mine! Therefore it is sweet.

But go on cultivating your garden. Next springtime you just check out the apple trees – how many hundreds and millions of flowers you will find on the tree! Only a few will give real fruits. All the flowers are serving life, yet very few will give real fruits. And the best fruits are on the top, always in sunshine. Some fruits are under the tree, others are still catching on the branches, but rotten inside. Never mind, go on cultivating your garden; you will find, you will reap the harvest.

In the same way even if we are not fully successful in putting the theory into practice, go on cultivating. Time will come. If we chant sometimes, these melodies, these harmonies will affect our hearts. It will start to have some effect, some results in our vision.

And until you have minor problems, that means you do not have real problems. Because in real trouble immediately you recognize your real friends. So until you can fight, you have so much time to waste to fight with each other, I feel secure.

Cultivation takes some time, therefore we should cultivate our practice; but later on it will become our vision, it will become our second nature – or first nature. And this is called success.

Ramvijay: Gurudev, if you can comment on the famous Christian saying “Goodwill is the road to hell”?

Tirtha Maharaj: There is another famous Christian saying: “Even the devil is quoting the Bible.” So, shall I quote the shastras about the good will?

Ramvijay: More like what is the meaning of this Christian saying?

Tirtha Maharaj: Well, this is devotion minus intelligence. For example guru tells you: “Cultivate our garden. Can you pick the weeds from our garden?” And you say: “Yes, Gurudev!” so you are running into the garden and picking all the plants that he had planted with so much effort. So, dedication is there and there is nothing in the garden anymore! Devastating devotion! Then you come back to the ashram and say: “Gurudev, the job is done. Everything is round up.” This is dedication without intelligence. Therefore we can say: ask before you do something. Therefore in some ashrams they have these inner rules: if you break – replace; if you do not know – ask; if you take – put it back. Very simple.

Question of Dani: You said to ask if we do not know. But the main problem is not with the things that we do not know, but with those we do not know that we do not know. How to ask about these, if we do not know that we do not know them?

Tirtha Maharaj: This is real intelligence. It is very important. Because, you know, most of the neophytes and most of the simple heads – they do not know what they do not know. Once Dalai Lama was giving a lecture – public lecture, big hall, thousands of people. And one young man said: “I have a remark.” Then they said: “First the lecture and then at the end maybe you can say if you have some questions or remarks.” But he was very pushy and he said: “No, no, no!” and he started: “Well, I have been studying Buddhism for three years already and there are some mistakes here!” They could not stop him from the stupid remarks. Very impolite! It has nothing to know with this very little etiquette, nothing! You study Buddhism for three years already!? And you tell the highest authority: “There is some mistake here.” What is that?! Come on, first take your lesson of humility. Sometimes people who are really uneducated they think that they know and they can correct. We should know our limits.

Intelligence means that you achieve your goals.

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