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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




(from lecture of B.K.Tirtha Maharaj on Sharanagati-part 2, 7th of September 2006, Sofia)

Try to remember: the first two elements of sharanagati are: do what is favorable and avoid what is unfavorable for your bhakti. The next two are subjective duties. These are humility and dedication of the self. They are subjective practices, because this is our own part. These qualities we have to practice, we have to achieve.
To be humble – I think that is obvious. But we should be humble in the proper circle. If you are humble in a group of fools, you will be fooled. If you are humble in a group of cheaters, you will be cheated. But if you are humble in the group of devotees, you will become devoted. Why? Because the human soul is just like a crystal. In whatever circumstances you put that crystal, it will take, suck the influences. Take a pure, transparent crystal. Put it in Damodar Prabhu’s* hand. Hold it in front of his chest. It will reflect the pure white light emanating from him. Give the same crystal to Mother Yasoda. It will emanate blue light.
But if you put the crystal in very dark, very bad circumstances, it will reflect that what is around. Therefore we should be careful with our humility. Do not be a weak crystal. Do not take the bad vibrations, select only the good, pure ones.
Shrila Shridhara Maharaj discusses humility: if a thief enters the temple and snatches away the candle-holders from the altar, what is your humility? Will you say: “O, Prabhu, here is the cash of the temple, take that also”?! Is this the correct humility? Or you will say: “Hey, wait a minute, I’ll beat you up if you try to give some disturbance to our Lord!”
Just to show that this is not a prescription, this is not an always standing recipe, I will give you another story about humility. Once there was an old monk, living in absolute seclusion. He had one little hut and only few belongings. Like one little pot… very few things. Once a thief came to steal everything from his house. The guy was loading everything on the back of a mule when the old monk came back. He caught the person on the spot. He was observing that the hut was empty already and everything was loaded on the back of the animal. Then he saw some mattock that was hiding somewhere in the garden. The old monk said: “Wait a minute, my dear, here is my instrument, take this also” and he put it on the back of the mule. That was his level of humility. With this type of humility he won that person. Immediately he understood: “O, I have offended a great saint!” and surrendered on the spot.
What is the difference between the two stories? In the former case somebody tries to give disturbance to the temple. In the latter somebody is giving trouble only to you personally. For Krishna, for the temple, for the mission you can fight. You can protect Krishna’s interests. You can protect the person from committing a great mistake. But if somebody tries to take away something from you, actually this is done by Krishna. And if He has forgotten about something, you should remind Him: “Hey! I still have this attachment. Please, take this also!” Because I do not want to depend on my mattock, but on You, my Lord!
So humility, real humility should be practiced. Therefore it is suggested that humility should be practiced in the company of saints.
The second subjective part of surrender, sharanagati is dedication of the self. There is a prayer: “O please, accept me as Yours, as Your second one, as Your second self.” Dedication of the self is manifested on that platform, when I fully give myself to God.  In exchange to this, He is also fully giving Himself to me.
Dedication is a special quality of service mood. You can clean the floor with hatred and you can clean the floor with dedication. It is not only performing a duty. It is the quality, how you do it. If this is your profession, you are professional cleaner – then you do, all day long… But you are only waiting four o’clock to come and you forget about it! You get rid of the broom, you just forget about it! But if you are a devotee, can you forget about serving Krishna in any kind of place? So it is not only performing a duty, it is not only engaging your senses. Give your heart and soul! That is dedication of the self.
I think you can feel it is a very broad field – from elementary practices reaching up to utter, ultimate dedication. When you do not even preserve or keep your life for yourself, when you fully dedicate your life to Krishna.
Practice humility in such a way that you do not offend and you do not disturb others. Humility is not a show; this is rather action. Actions speak louder than words. You say “Hare Krishna” sixteen rounds a day, but you are not ready to serve?! This is just like putting an invitation on your door: “Welcome!” And when the guests come you do not give a piece of bread, you do not give a glass of water? You invite Krishna: “Come, come!” and when He comes you do nothing. Maha-mantra is the invitation sign. Be ready to accept your guests!

(to be continued)

*Damodar Prabhu, Mother Yashoda – in this context: disciples of B.K. Tirtha Maharaj, present at the lecture



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