Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 01.10.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

Shall we try to describe this change of mentality from material to spiritual with two stories? The first story about the material mentality is about the lamb and the wolf. The lamb goes to the river to drunk. All of a sudden the wolf also comes to the river to drink. It’s a critical moment. But the lamb is so young and so innocent that it doesn’t realize the danger. And the wolf decides to eat the lamb – of course, what else. Some way or another give it a bad name and kill him. Find a reason, an explanation – and then go for it. The wolf thought: ‘Some way or another I must devour that lamb.’ And he said: “Hey! Can’t you see that I’m drinking the water here? Why are you making the water muddy for me? I shall kill you!” The lamb said: “Ah, sir! You are drinking the water upstream and I’m drinking the water downstream. How is it that I’m making the water muddy for you?” “And why did you call me bad names one year ago?” “Ah, sir! I’m only three months old. How is it that I called you bad names one year ago?” “Then your mother must have done so. Anyway I shall kill you.”

This is the story of the wolf and the lamb and how all these concocted stories are going around. It illustrates how hatred, speaking ill and concocted stories arise from intolerance and envy. I think we can agree that this is the material mentality – if you want to find mistakes, you will find mistakes. As Shrila Prabhupad many times says, you can criticize even the bright full moon for having spots. Shall we read the story of the other type of mentality?

 “Surrender, service and dedication – this is the key to deal with the infinite. Without knowledge and without much energy one can attain fulfillment. It is not necessary to have the energy to be able to move a mountain. Also to read all the scriptures in the world and to put them within our belly will not produce any good. A typical example was shown in the Mahabharata. Krishna foretold that when the Rajasuya-yajna of Yudhishthira Maharaj would be finished, a particular bell there would ring automatically. In that way everyone would know that the yajna was completed. The sacrifice was held and everything was finished, but the bell did not ring.

Bhima asked Krishna, “You said that the bell would ring automatically. Everything has now been finished, but it is not ringing. Why not?” Krishna replied, “No. One thing is still remaining.” “What is that?” “Vaisnava-seva, the service of a vaisnava.” Bhima was surprised: “What do You say? So many munis, risis, Narada, Vyasadeva, and even You Yourself are all satisfied with having been well-fed, yet You say that vaisnava-seva has not been done?” “Yes.” “So where is that vaisnava?”

Krishna then indicated, “Go to the outskirts of town, and there you will find a particular vaisnava of the lowest caste. He does not go anywhere, but he is satisfied by taking the holy name of the Lord and leading a life full of devotion without any care for the world.”

Hearing this, the Pandavas went with a chariot to receive that man. They found him, an ordinary poor man of the lower class – he was a nirupadhi-vaishnava,  who doesn’t expect anything – and they approached him. He was perplexed: “What is this? Oh, so many important men have come to my cottage. What is the matter?” He became very much panic-stricken.

Then they petitioned him with folded palms, “We have come to bring you to take some food at the place of the yajna.” What to do? He could not avoid their order. Draupadi had to cook, so she prepared various palatable dishes. She thought, “Vaisnava-seva has not been done. So many risis, munis, and even Lord Krishna has been fed, but vaisnava-seva was not accomplished!” So with all her skill she cooked foods of various types, and the man was fed. But the bell did not ring.

Bhima asked, “What is the matter? He has finished eating, but the bell has not rung.” Krishna said, “There must have been some offence against this vaisnava-seva, and therefore the bell did not ring. What do you say? Do any of you have any doubt or bad conception about this man?”

The Pandavas then asked one another if any of them had thought any evil about him. At last Draupadi admitted, “I had some thought in my mind that this man is so simple and so insignificant, and although I prepared so many nice curries with the utmost attention and skill, he mixed all the preparations together and then ate that. He does not know how to eat properly, because he comes from a very low class—this is what I had in my mind.”

Then Krishna explained, “There is some contempt for the vaisnava, and therefore the bell has not rung. There is no other option for you than to go to him again, bring him again and feed him again.” So the Pandavas went and brought him again. This time all of them waited with great respect as he took prasadam, and then the bell was ringing with every morsel.

This example is shown to us. Those who are niskincana do not want anything—no name, no fame, or anything of the kind. They are naturally satisfied with whatever comes, and they are wholesale dedicated to the Lord. Such devotion can be found anywhere without any show of grandeur. No worldly grandeur is necessary; just richness of the heart—no knowledge, no education, no honour of a high birth, no power, and no gorgeousness. Krishna consciousness is so full, so sufficient, so absolute, that just a particle of that contains everything. All grandeur, all education, and everything is there: it is of such a nature. Service, self-dedication, saranagati, surrender: that is the necessity, not valour or learning.”[1]

I think this explains everything. This is the way to achieve our spiritual goals. Instead of the wolf consciousness, develop a servant of the vaishnavas consciousness. Try to develop this kind of identity.

(to be continued)

[1] Reading from Centenary Anthology by Shrila Shridhara Maharaj

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