Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 08.05.2017 morning, Rila)

Today we have to continue our readings to complete the story because now we are in a very exciting moment. This is Chapter Nine from the Fifth Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam, The Supreme Character of Jada Bharata.

“Shukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, after giving up the body of a deer, Bharata Maharaja took birth in a very pure brahmana family. There was a brahmana who belonged to the dynasty of Angira. He was fully qualified with brahminical qualifications. He could control his mind and senses, and he had studied the Vedic literatures and other subsidiary literatures. He was expert in giving charity, and he was always satisfied, tolerant, very gentle, learned and non-envious. He was self-realized and engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. He remained always in a trance. He had nine equally qualified sons by his first wife, and by his second wife he begot twins — a brother and a sister, of which the male child was said to be the topmost devotee and foremost of saintly kings — Bharata Maharaja. This, then, is the story of the birth he took after giving up the body of a deer.”[1]

Here we get a glimpse of the brahminical qualities: self-control, studies, knowledge, charity, contentment, tolerance, gentle behavior, being learned and no envy. So, if you want to qualify yourselves, here is a list. There are many different qualities that you might obtain. Some people come with qualities; some people can obtain some qualities; others cannot obtain some qualities. But they are the real candidates for the path of mercy.

So, finally, after his off-trail, diversion into another species, Bharata Maharaja came back to the human species.

“Due to his being especially gifted with the Lord’s mercy, Bharata Maharaja could remember the incidents of his past life. Although he received the body of a brahmana, he was still very much afraid of his relatives and friends who were not devotees. He was always very cautious of such association because he feared that he would again fall down. Consequently he manifested himself before the public eye as a madman — dull, blind and deaf — so that others would not try to talk to him. In this way he saved himself from bad association. Within he was always thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord and chanting the Lord’s glories, which save one from the bondage of fruitive action. In this way he saved himself from the onslaught of nondevotee associates.”[2]

Again, very strange behavior, right – coming from a brahmin family and acting like a fool. Externally he is a fool, internally he is a devotee. Well, if I look at myself, externally I try to pose as intelligent and internally I am non-devotee. So, who is more fool – Bharata Maharaja or us?

Practically there is always a little difference, a little discrepancy between the inner picture that you have about yourself and the external reality – your ideals and your reality. His remembrance was always there, he was always conscious about the mistakes he had made and therefore he could maintain his level of consciousness. In the same way we also have to develop this inner core of our conviction. And in the light of that permanent conviction we can go and live and do what is necessary.

In the rasic shastras you will find a special state of bhava. Bhava is very refined divine loving disposition. There are different types, like bhava, vibhava, anubhava, vyabhicari-bhava, many different types of categories. But what I want to mention here this is sthayi-bhava, the permanent mood. We had a griha-stha ceremony here – to stay at your home, to be fixed in your home – stha. So, here is the same – stha, sthayi-bhava, like firmly established bhava, permanently there. If you come to some kind of established, deep-rooted understanding and practice, then you are safe, just like Bharata Maharaja.

(to be continued)

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.9.1-2

[2] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.9.3

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