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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




The main practice of the goswamis was to chant and to offer dandavats. Shrila Puri Maharaj mentions something about the dandavats of the goswamis.  He mentions that Raghunath das Goswami was chanting some twenty-two hours a day and for his personal maintenance he had one – one and a half hours, including eating – if he was eating at all – and sleeping. And he was offering one thousand dandavats every day. Puri Maharaj says: “Today people are so weak, they cannot offer one thousand dandavats.” Just try, calculate – how much time does it take and how many devotees you must meet every day to offer one thousand dandavats?! Therefore Puri Maharaj says: “You westerners have only one chance – this is the holy name. Chant!” and he says: “But loud!”

These practices make you humble. Offering dandavat when meeting a superior or entering a temple – we should not be negligent. If we offer our atman in a humble way, then it is an expression of our inner feelings.

The goswamis’ precious time was spent like this: Chanting for themselves and for the benefit of others, churning the scriptures, associating very deeply in a spiritual way – and in this way they were able to overcome sleeping and eating. And they always had smaranam. First shravanam and kirtanam, and then smaranam. Talking, learning, understanding; and then remembering.

And if you have spent some years in Bhakti, you will have so many things to remember. For example, this time we are here just few days, two or three days. But it is just like an eternity. Few days – and so many things are happening! So, there is a lot to remember. Once Shrila Shridhara Maharaj was looking out of his terrace. And you know what he may see there – the jungle. But he said: “Ah, there are so many things that remind me of Mahaprabhu!” You see only the trees and something green, but to him everything is reminding of Mahaprabhu.

This is the vision that we were discussing: “If a devotee sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost for him.” Do not be satisfied by seeing the form; try to get the essence.

The goswamis had full ecstasy. And this was a kind of mad ecstasy. But at the same time they were charmed by devotion.

Question of Hari-lila: Many times I have heard that we have to chant aloud. Why aloud? My understanding is that every connection is unique. When we want to call somebody, it is not necessary every time to shout, we might say the name tenderly and whispering.

Tirtha Maharaj: It is possible, yes. Still, who is the main authority on chanting? Namacharya Haridas Thakur – ki jay!” You say this every day! You should know what you are saying! He is the nama acharya – acharya, spiritual master, teacher of the holy name, how to chant. And what was his practice? He was chanting three hundred thousand names every day. One hundred thousand in full voice, aloud; one hundred thousand quietly; and one hundred thousand in the mind. What for what? The third one, the chanting in the mind, was for his inner peace, peace of mind. The second one hundred thousand in a low voice was for his spiritual benefit – to purify himself. And the first one was to purify others. Because the holy name has good effect on everyone. So, if you have the capacity to chant as Haridas Thakur, you can follow this.

But chanting together, loud, like singing – this multiplies the power. But, I agree, this is a personal meditation. You have to find your way how to express your feelings. Sometimes you cry out loud: “Krishna!” Other times in intimate moments you just whisper: “Krishna…” So it depends on your mood and so many other things. But this is the idea, that there are different levels of chanting. And we should practice this; and that also.

Ramvijay: Sadhu Maharaj was commenting the chanting also. Because I asked him the same question: “Is it good to chant aloud?” Because he was very much disturbed by this chanting in the room with different voices and said: “Nobody is chanting like this in Vrindavana! You even don’t have to move your tongue!”

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes, but where do you live…?



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