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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




Jesus said: “Don’t punish them, they don’t know what they are doing!” If you have the same level of mercy and humility as Jesus, then you can have the same approach. Yet what was that situation? They were criticizing him personally. But when the exchange officers in the temple were using God’s place for their business, he was chastising and driving them out! He made a whip out of some ropes and he was just beating them up. Arjuna also said: “My dear Krishna, I don’t want to fight, because I think fighting is himsa and I want to practice ahimsa. I’m a devotee, I’m a bramin type, I want to go meditating… You do whatever You want.” Did Krishna approve? He did not say: “You are fool number one” in the beginning; He started to impress Arjuna what should be done.

 

You should not fight for yourself. If somebody tells you: “You are fool number one,” you accept, you say: “All right!” But if somebody is criticizing your brothers, your sisters, your line, your guru, your deities, you have all the rights to protest. And not only right, but this is a duty. Duty to say: “No.”

 

Of course, there are different levels of protest. You should act according to your nature and according to your power. There are fighter type devotees, there are intellectual fighters, and there are some defenders. Whatever power we have, we should use that power. If you can convince a person with words, then you can use your words. But you should be wise enough to recognize a situation, when there is no place for words. “Sorry, this is your opinion. You can have that. But do not disturb me. I respect you; you also please respect me. You can leave. Thank you for coming, you can leave.” You can arrange this in polite way also. But when one of my brothers was defending Gurudev[1] very strongly – when he had some opposition, some bad criticism – I was very happy to have such brothers, that there are some, who are ready to defend the dignity of my spiritual master.

 

Because there are different levels of spiritual masters also. There are some coming directly from the spiritual sky, there are some spiritual masters, who are not yet liberated, still guru should be respected. And the protection of my spiritual master is the best for me. May be the other one is bigger, may be the other one is more powerful, may be the third one knows much more things – still if Krishna gives me this protection, he is my father. Right? In a very similar way! My father is my father. May be the neighbor is more powerful, may be the second one has more money, or whatever, still he is my father! All my attachment is to him, all my love is to him. I respect the others also, but I have only one father. May be I have many uncles, relatives, but father is one. The position of the father should be always respected. And it should be protected also! This is a divine mission – to protect the dignity of the status.

 

Do not hate the person, who has some critique. You should always differentiate between the person and the activity. May be we hate the activity, but we do not hate the person.

 

If somebody comes with a critique, you must be fully equipped with all the shastric evidences to cut it into pieces. Therefore we should learn. And also use and apply the theory in the practice. Fortunately the shastras are so vast that you can find support of anything. But we should find the essence also. You can give an answer if you are more competent. You can give a final answer if you are fully competent. You see? If you are on the same level, then it is fighting. No answer, just fight. You must be more competent, more professional to adjust the situation, to use the wisdom to finish the misconceptions. But if somebody comes to me, trying to criticize my spiritual master, he has not so much future. Because he does not know; I know. This is the difference; I was there, he was not there. On what basis he can say anything?!

 

You should never protest or object if somebody is coming with critique to you, even if it has no basis at all. Trinad api sunichena, taror api sahishnuna – be more tolerant than a tree. But if somebody is trying to offend your line, your master, your father – then it is recommended to protest in some way.

 

For us our organizations are not impersonal. This is also divine; everything that is divine should be protected and served. ISKCON is Krishna’s family, Gaudiya Math is Krishna’s family. We should defend the dignity of our friendship, of our community! But not in a stupid way. Because in many cases the situation is like this, that we behave so stupid, that we give the basis for criticism. And then you say: “O, he is a demon!” It is not correct! It also depends on you – how do you represent Krishna consciousness, how do you represent your spiritual master. If you represent very nicely, very humbly – who can give any bad remark?! If you are an accomplished vaishnava, everybody will respect you. At least 99 percent of the people.

 

 

[1] B.A.Narayan Maharaj



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