Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

There is one very nice story with the Gurudev of Sadhu Maharaj when he was very old. And so it happened that on that day – on that specific day – it was ekadashi. And on ekadashi usually you don’t take anything, or maximum some fruits – you control your eating. And of course Babaji Maharaj was fully conversant and fully under control. But at that morning he was eating rice and dal with chapati on ekadashi day – a little strange, unusual. Gurudev is keeping the ekadashi vows for hundred years, and now all of a sudden one day he is just eating chapati and rice and dal, what is strictly forbidden on ekadashi! Everybody was amazed a little bit. I think at that time Sadhu Maharaj arrived and he said: “Ah, very nice that you came! Come, join the prasadam!” He was a little shocked: “Ah, what to do now? Because you know, you have to keep the vows, but when guru says: “Do this?!” And what do you think? What did he do? He said: “All right, Gurudev, I am coming.” And he started to eat dal and rice and chapati on ekadashi. But then came another disciple, who was a very strict follower of sadhana. Babaji Maharaj again said: “Ah, very nice that you came! Come, join us, take prasadam!” Then this guy said: “This is ekadashi vrata. Today I cannot take.” And Babaji Maharaj said: “Very nice!”

So there are different levels of doing, acting, joining, understanding – we are not uniform. What is proper behaviour for one, might be very disturbing for another. Of course we have to learn the basic rules, no doubt, it’s out of question. But you can see how a real spiritual master will create such circumstances, so that the disciples should learn something. And we can say both behaviours are proper. One is more sadhanic, more controlled, it is not bad. But the other one is more flexible, more like following the taste. And actually it is approved by shastra. Because in shastra it is said that ekadashi vrata is very strong. But you can take water, you can take milk, you can take fruits, you can take medicine, you can take maha-prasadam and you can take whatever is given by guru. With these you don’t break your ekadashi vow. So even if you are very strict in following shastra or sadhana or whatever, there is always a chance to be mistaken. While the other decision was devotional. Of course we are not trying to find excuses and ways to avoid some little difficulties and tapasya. But I think you understand the point – that in some cases we have to give up our attachment.

And this invitation from the spiritual master is actually working on all platforms. Because practically we are attached to our material conditionings. When we are still outside the devotional circles, the devotees will invite: “Come, join us!” and you will say: “Ah, no, no, I am busy. I have to do this, I have to do that…” – that means you are not on that platform. So they invite from one state of consciousness to join another state of consciousness: “Come! Make one step!”

In the same way this invitation is permanently with us. Always going further and further, just like in the discussion of Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Ray about what is the goal of life: “To make Krishna happy.” “Yes, you are right, but go deeper. What is the next step?” So it is always going on. And finally Ramananda, although he was a great pandit, said: “There is one more step, but there is no shastra about that. I know the steps, but shastra does not know.” Then what did Mahaprabhu say? “Be silent.” I think this is very, very instructive story. In the temple of Shrila Shridhara Maharaj the devotees know by heart that chapter from “Chaitanya Charitamrita” although this is some three hundred and more verses. Because it is so important what is the goal of life.


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