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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




monk-carrying-water

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 7.09.2015 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday)

Question of Tejasvini: You mentioned that first we have to clarify our position. How we can do it? And how we can act accordingly?

Swami Tirtha: Well, very nice question. Thank you! If we want to identify our position, then we need to distinguish between the bodily and the spiritual platform. Because no doubt our bodily identity has some needs. The body has to be fed to gain some energy. The body has to sleep, the body has so many other desires and needs – it’s a long list. While the spirit, the soul needs a different foodstuff. There also a kind of energy input is necessary, but of another type. And in order to progress nicely we have to understand the proportion of our attention over our body and spirit: how much we are under the bodily influence and how much we can identify ourselves in the spiritual sense. Because maybe our soul wants to chant the Holy names day and night. But the body will say for the day ‘I’m busy’, and for the night ‘I am tired’. This is the situation, let’s face reality. We all know what the theory is: ‘Oh, loving ecstasy day and night!’ Yet Monday morning comes and ‘Oh, I have to rush to my job and then I am back at home and in the evening I’m so exhausted that I just crumble.’ Does it happen sometimes? ‘Yes, we know this feeling. Finally something we understood from the lecture. This tells about our life.’

Then what to do? Somehow this material life wants to exhaust you totally, wants to capture your soul; you have to sell your soul in order to reach any little achievement. If we analyze this question a little bit more, then very soon we shall find some very beautiful ideal for us. ‘Yes, I want to be like this devotee. I want to have that kind of devotion like Narottam dasa Takura.’ Or whatever. But very soon we realize we don’t have that. Don’t worry, every long journey starts with the first steps.

Nevertheless we have to find an identity for ourselves. I think for a considerably long time in our spiritual practices if we identify ourselves as servants or students of our master – it helps us. Because this is our reality, this we can accomplish. Maybe I cannot accomplish madhurya-prema and gopi-bhava all of a sudden. This is very unrealistic. But I can have this new identity ‘Yes, I belong to a spiritual lineage, I belong to my master!’ This we can do, this is real. And then through this new identity that we acquire, we can start a process of purification – by serving, by association, by chanting. And then slowly-slowly the anarthas or the obstacles will be removed.

So, this is my suggestion: let’s try to identify ourselves as servants, as students of our masters. Because an obedient student follows his master. Wherever the master goes, the student will also follow. Sometimes the master will say: ”Now I go alone.” Then you have to wait by the door. Don’t worry, he will return to pick you. So, this sincere and honest sense of reality means: ‘I identify myself in a realistic way.’

But you might say: ‘All right, in the beginning I identify myself as a student or a servant of my master. Until I don’t have pure vision, until I’m not enlightened – all right, I am a servant! But what happens with my identity if I am enlightened? Finally will I become a master? I have been a servant for such a long time. I have been listening to these lectures for how many years! Finally I want to give the lectures – so that others are listening to my revelations. So, what happens if I achieve enlightenment?’

Let me quote a story about a Buddhist monastery. The young man joined the Buddhist monastery and he asked the mahant, the swamiji: “I want to achieve buddhahood. I want to achieve enlightenment. What am I to do?” and the old man said: “Oh, very nice that you came, my dear son! If you want to achieve enlightenment, you have to carry the water and chop the firewood.” “Very nice my master, I will very diligently carry the water and chop the wood. But tell me, what will happen after I achieve enlightenment? What am I to do?” “Carry the water and chop the wood.” Same activity, but on a different platform.

So, what will happen to us if after identifying ourselves with ‘a student of my master’ finally we achieve liberation? Then again this identity will help you, but on a higher platform. It’s not necessary to become masters. Be a master of yourself. To win over others – this is strength. To win over yourself – this is power.

(to be continued)

 

 



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