Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Mahaprabhu thought that Rupa Goswami is the best person to distribute raganuga-bhakti. Therefore he is the shastra-guru, the spiritual master teaching through the scriptures, his book. Rupa Goswami did not describe only the elementary practices in the “Upadeshamrita” first few verses, but the higher types also. Therefore he is considered to be a shastra-guru. According to our practices on the elementary platforms, we shall reach the superior platforms of devotional service. As we perform now, we shall perform on the higher platform also.

Many, many things we understand and we learn through the service of the devotees. Therefore they say that without guru-bhakti there is no krishna-bhakti and that bhakata seva parama siddhi – the service to the devotees is the highest perfection.

Then further it says: “Due to the mercy of my Gurudev I have obtained the company of Sanatan Goswami – says Ragunath Das – who guides us in the spirit of raganuga-bhakti. He reveals the path of regulated devotional service and from him we can understand the real knowledge of sambandha-gyana and some understanding about the surrounding world. From his mercy I have learned about Mathura-mandala, where Radha and Govinda enjoy Their pastimes. Here not only the forests and the hills, but the bushes and the plants, and also the little particles of dust are connected to Radha-Krishna lila. Whatever I see, everything reminds me of Radha and Govinda. My Gurudev has taken me to Vrindavana, in the home of the cows and cowherds. Step by step I will also become like the gopas and I will feel their dedicated and enthusiastic loving service towards Krishna. Due to the mercy of my spiritual master I have understood the Govardhana Hill and Radha Kunda which are the places of Radha-Govinda pastimes. And finally he has given me the hope that one day I will also be able to serve Radha and Madhava. Therefore with a grateful heart I will bow down at his lotus feet.”[1]

This is a list of achievements in bhakti. So many things we have obtained! Like company of the devotees, the beautiful practice of chanting, the conception that God is alive and so many beautiful expressions of our dedication. If we take that list, it is practically unlimited.

“Wherever I look everything reminds me of Radha-Govinda!” Is that a physical place or a state of consciousness? I think it is a state of consciousness, because our guru has taken us to that level of consciousness, where we can see the divine presence everywhere. In the eyes of your kids, in the milk of the cow, in the mountains, theSevenLakes… everywhere, and in the hearts of the devotees so many beautiful things you can see. This is not a physical location, this is a vision. And if you have achieved that platform, then you can stay wherever you want. Hell turns into heaven.

“And step by step I start to become a gopa.” Damodar, how do you think, is this possible?

Damodar: After many steps.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes. But all the long journeys start with the first step. We have to make the first steps, irrespective of the distance of the journey. But “step by step I start to become like a gopa. And I also feel, I also share their loving attachment to Krishna.” Step by step; whether this is vaidhi-sadhana or raganuga-sadhana? When you start to feel the dedication of the gopals – what is that level? Ultimately raganuga. The gopas are the good example – they have that natural, spontaneous love for Krishna. The practitioner is following the example of the gopals and starts to feel the same. This is the main principle of raganuga-bhakti – that we follow a good example. It is not that you give up the principles! What is the main rule of raganuga-bhakti – to forget about the principles? No! I do not agree. No! The main principle is to follow the good example. And before you have to make all the different steps – of controlling yourself, following the principles, achieving a perfect state of consciousness, etc.

[1] from “Shri Guru and his grace”, by Shrila Shridhara Maharaj

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