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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




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(continues from the previous Monday)
Question of Mahadev: Should we look at guru as the sole method or messenger for us to connect to God, or we should look at him in a different way?
Swami Tirtha: It depends on the consciousness of the disciple, what he will perceive in the master: whether he will see a fearful instructor; or he will see a messenger of God, as you say; or some more intimate subtle aspect of the higher reality. But as I said, this is under divine control. Guru is a divine function; it’s not a human function. If this divine touch can enter our life, then we are fortunate. And later on we shall develop the small details for ourselves, we should understand for ourselves. But it’s not that the guru is a magician and he will all of a sudden purify my consciousness, provide me with everything in life and also save me for eternity. But this is a process, it depends on the cultivation. And slowly-slowly we should enter deeper and deeper layers of reality, and in this way our picture about our master will also be fine-tuned and may be closer to some reality.
Mahadev: There are many ancient invocations or mantras which glorify the spiritual master. Is there any connection between the mantra and guru himself? There is one of the most famous Indian mantras: Asato maa sat gamaya, which is only recited during sunrise, but could we look a little bit more symbolically at this mantra – like we glorify the light and the guru in the perspective of light as well? Going deeper in the meaning of the mantra it’s like a call for guru.
Swami Tirtha: Well, generally in the Orient everybody knows that by serving the master you will find a sure entrance to higher realities. Therefore the master represents the connection between the humans and the divine realm. In that sense anything that we perceive is part of that connection. Or anything that we practice will help us to realize the importance of that divine connection.
There are direct mantras which glorify the blessings of the master, which express our attitude to our savior. Maybe some other mantras have different texts, but according to our mentality we shall recognize different deeper or more mystic meanings. And of course if we focus on our spiritual master, we can see him everywhere. If we focus on divinity, we shall perceive divinity everywhere. Nothing is excluded from that picture.
In that sense Asato maa sat gamaya – “From unreal lead me to the real, lead me to reality”; who will lead me to reality? Somebody has to take that role. And what is reality for me? Reality is represented by the master, who had already seen the reality. He is a part of that realm and I am a part of this realm; so between the two sides of this ocean somebody has to act like a messenger, like a boatman, who will help me to cross.
Or “From the darkness lead me to the light!” Of course ‘light’ is the eternal light and guru is such a person who can bring the light even in the darkness. So definitely this is a prayer to him also. And ultimately “From death lead me to immortality, lead me to eternity!” – that’s the best prayer to say and to wait for the benefit to come.
Mahadev: And finally, what is to be a spiritual master? Is it difficult to bear all these characters around you and all the responsibilities for other people; or is it just a blissful duty you do for the sake of humanity?
Swami Tirtha: Well, what kind of answer do you want – an official one or a real one?
Mahadev: Both.
Swami Tirtha: All right, then I give you the official: ah, it’s a blissful service! If you want my human opinion also: sometimes this is, of course, unbearable. But the real-real answer is that: I don’t know! Because I’m not a master. I’m a servant of my master. So better we ask him about this question.
And this is not a joke. I want to maintain that mentality – that even though some people expect some spiritual guidance from me, I want to act as their servant, as their help. Just like Shrila Shridhara Maharaj said that “We are students and we shall eternally remain like that” – this is my ambition. Thank you so much!

 



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