Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(continues from the previous Monday)


Whatever a great personality does is for the benefit of all. And even the most seemingly insignificant action is for a very good purpose. Therefore we have to be very attentive how the great ones act. Sometimes they teach us only how to fold a chadar[1]. And you might think: ‘Come on! This is stupid! I can fold a chadar in a different way also.’ And you can do! But following means to be committed.

There is one very charming example of that. I know a very highly respected teacher who, for example, never takes cauliflowers as prasadam. Once I was there when the devotees tried to offer him cauliflowers. And he said: “What is this? My master never have taken, so I cannot take it either.” I was amazed, you know! That is something! Even by eating or refraining one kind of foodstuff you remember your master.

Of course, there are vaishnava legends: “Gurudev does not like Rooibos tea.” Or “he likes it this way, he likes it that way…” And as many devotees are there, as many versions of these legends. So, in this way either you take cauliflower or you don’t take cauliflower, or you take Rooibos tea or you don’t take Rooibos tea, you remember your master. But don’t miss the point! And the point is that we have got a treasure. All the parampara was working for your benefit. There are some very famous people there, half of the world knows about them; and there are millions unknown vaishnavas, who also helped to preserve the whole stuff.

Once my brothers helped to clean a temple in Vrindavana – an old, half-abandoned temple. And one of them, Shripad Krishnananda Prabhu, brought me a very precious gift from that cleaning. What was that, do you know?

Somebody: Some dust?

Swami Tirtha: Well, dust is very precious. But it was even more precious than dust. He brought four beads from a japa – eaten up by worms, half-devastated by time… But you know, when I was holding it in my hand I had the feeling: “Hundreds of years of devotion are here in my hand.”

This is what we have to preserve – this continuation of ecstasy. So, if after, let’s say, hundreds of years some of your future temples will be abandoned or you have some little chapel, a bhajana-kutir, and people will excavate and will find your half-eaten japa, they will feel very fortunate: “Ah, there were some great ones who helped to preserve this mission here in Bulgaria.”

This is the way to pay our debts. Once devotees asked Shrila Prabhupada: “How can we make you happy? By selling more books? By bringing you more money? Or what, tell us what?” He said: “Ah, that’s nothing. If you will become pure devotees – then I am satisfied.”

So, how can you pay your debt to Shrila Prabhupad? You might feel: ‘I am not connected to Shrila Prabhupad. He is like a grand-grandfather to me.’ Looks like very far away. But actually he is smiling on our altar. And sometimes the father is very strict with the kid, because he had to control the kid. But the grandfather is never heavy. Grandfather is always very tender and soft. Our spiritual father sometimes has to help us to come to our senses. But the spiritual grandfather is always very, very tender and soft. Why it is like this? Because the responsibility is with the father. And love is with the grandfather.

So, if you want to pay your debt to Shrila Prabhupad, don’t forget about this: “Be a pure devotee!” Then you have paid your debt. You don’t have to do anything else. You don’t have to belong to a certain group or organization; these are just secondary formalities. What we have to do is to be committed to the divine message. And by doing your service today you pay your debts to your masters, in one way you pay your debt to Krishna Das, “this very fallen and insignificant servant”, who was composing this song[2].

This is the way how we should contribute – a little energy we put into this whole system. And however insignificant you give, incredible you will receive. Is it good to be indebted? Yes, yes… This is a sweet commitment. In this way it gives a little chance for us to serve.



[1] Chadar – big scarf used in India as outer garment

[2] Jaya Radhe Jaya Krishna Jaya Vrindavan


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