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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




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(continues from the previous Monday)

Question of Mahadev: Many people are afraid that if they have a guide in their spiritual life, they will lose some freedom or they will be confined. How would you comment on this kind of feelings from students who are seeking for something, but they don’t have the guts to make a real decision?

Swami Tirtha: Well, once somebody asked the same question from a superior friend of mine and his very simple answer was: “Don’t hesitate!” So, sometimes we have to jump into the darkness. Sometimes we have to throw ourselves to the experience to be exposed – with all the dangers of being hurt, but with all the possibilities of full success. Without risk there is no gain. So, jump into the darkness! But in a reasonable way.

Mahadev: It could be a little bit dangerous, because in present days there are many fake gurus, many fake students as well. What should we do to recognize the real guru in our life?

Swami Tirtha: Once I met a master, belonging to a different line, and he told something very interesting: “If you meet a fake one, be very attentive, because that means the original also exists.” And he put it in a very funny way, he said: “Have you ever met a fake 25$ bill? No. No 25$ bill. Because there is no original 25. But you can meet a fake 100 $ bill, because there is an original one.” So, if we meet a fake one, that should help us to trust that the original also exists. Therefore they say that even a fake guru can teach us a lot – about ourselves. So this is also a kind of help in our spiritual enlightenment.

But we should not be obsessed of having a master or not having a master, because beyond all these formalities and traditions, there is a living connection between your inner essence, your soul, and God as the Supersoul. It’s a working principle, it’s an alive principle. Whenever you need this inner guidance, that will help you to find your external guidance. And whenever you find a proper guidance on the external side, it will help your inner life to grow. So in an ideal case these two sides of the story will definitely help each other.

Mahadev: You said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. If we think that we are ready, what qualities should we seek in a person to decide that he is our master?

Swami Tirtha: There are official rules, official signs or requirements and there are some personal ones. And it’s good to have a balance of both. It is suggested that we should find somebody who belongs to a tradition, who has given up material ambitions and who is fully dedicated to his spiritual practices, has some theoretical knowledge and also some realizations of the teachings. But also we should examine ourselves whether we are accomplished disciples or not. So we have to improve our vision in order to perceive the master qualities in others. And as this whole issue is under divine protection, I’m sure that a sincere seeker will never be frustrated.

Mahadev: And if we finally meet our proper spiritual guide, how we should treat him – as a person, as a messenger of God, as God himself?

Swami Tirtha: Well, they say that worship is for God and respect is for the master. In this way we don’t make any mistakes. But definitely we should give the proper respect to everyone – whether he is a master, or he is a fellow student, or an outsider. That’s a very useful attitude from our side and in this way we can follow and practice the tradition nicely. Spiritual tradition means that we respect all. And if we want to realize about ourselves that we are spiritual entities, we shall be able to see that in the other fellow human beings and other living entities – whether they are our masters or our followers, it does not matter. So, we have to develop a kind of spiritual vision, and then accordingly we can judge how to behave properly in the given situation.

 

(to be continued)



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