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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2013, morning, Sofia)
 
(continues from the previous Friday)
 
Devotees are there to be served. Because there is one thing we have learned in our process: aradhananaṁ sarveṣaṁ viṣṇor aradhanaṁ param[1] – “From among all the different services the service of God Visnu is the highest.” Is there anything higher? 
Hayagriva: Service of the devotees. 
Swami Tirtha: Correct. Serve those who are dear to Krishna! That is even better service. If we love those who are very dear to Krishna, then this is the best service to Krishna. Therefore sadhu-sanga, or the association of the saintly devotees, is a sacrament in our understanding. Because through them, through devotees you can express your gratitude to Krishna. Bhakata-seva, parama-siddhi[2] – “Service to the devotees is the highest perfection”, right. Such a great opportunity! Therefore it was suggested that you should see everybody as a devotee around you. Because then you are saved in the holy company, and then you will have the chance to perform that service. So, this is one solution. Maybe krishna-tattva is a theoretical truth for us, but vaishnava-tattva is a practical thing. 
But this is not the only solution. Let me quote the example of Vamshidas Babaji. Have you heard about him? Most of you did not. He was a babaji, and babaji is a member of the absolutely renounced order. They haven’t any material possession. One loin-cloth and that’s it. But this babaji, Vamshidas Babaji, he had a personal possession – this was a deity of Krishna. A small, so to say, hand deity of Krishna. They had such a deep and intensive connection, that he was always holding his deity in his right hand, day and night. He was a very austere person: sometimes not sleeping for days and nights, оther times not eating for days, but there was one thing he never gave up – he was holding up his Krishna. And he was not a talkative person, but sometimes his fellow devotees heard him laughing all of a sudden or like answering some questions. Because he had a permanent conversation with his beloved Krishna. In his hand Krishna couldn’t accept a royal worship, because hardly this deity had a wrap around his body. No raja-bhoga offering, no chamaras, no decoration, nothing. But they had a personal relationship. 
So, the example of Vamshidas Babaji is another solution. If we want to establish a direct contact with Krishna, be so strong to catch on Him and never let Him go!
But it is mentioned in the shastras, in the theory that God has six types of opulence – like beauty, knowledge, power, fame and the last one is renunciation. He is renounced or independent. Independent in Krishna’s case means He is moving fast. As He doesn’t come at the expected moment and He is ready to come when He is not expected, He is very easy to leave when unexpected as well, because He is free. He likes His freedom and many times He escapes from us. 
Then what to do? Once a very dedicated devotee was thinking about this: ‘Who can stop Krishna from running away?’ Nobody, because He is free. He is God. How can you stop God from doing this or that? How can you force Him to do this or that? No way! He is independent. ‘Or better we take away His freedom. Better we put Him in a jail. Because from a jail He cannot escape. So, I will turn my heart into a jail and I will put the chains of my love on the hands and legs of Krishna. I will put Him in the dungeon of my heart, so that He can never escape.’ You see there are many, many different options how to turn that theoretical truth into a practical reality for us. Try! If there is a question, there is an answer. 
So, please try to go beyond the senses. This beautiful prayer will help you. Take the holy name with you and pray not only when you are in trouble. That’s true, if you pray when you are in trouble, when you share your trouble with God or with vaishnava, then it will diminish. But pray also when you are happy, because then it will multiply. If you share your happiness, it will multiply. 
 
1. Padma Purana
2. Sharanagati by Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Song 3 Suddha Bhakata Carana Renu 


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