Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

“O best among men (Arjuna), the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.”[1]

Shrila Prabhupada says in the purport: “Anyone who is steady in his determination for the advanced stage of spiritual realization and can equally tolerate the onslaughts of distress and happiness is certainly a person eligible for liberation. In the varnashrama institution, the fourth stage of life, namely the renounced order (sannyasa), is a painstaking situation. But one who is serious about making his life perfect surely adopts the sannyasa order of life in spite of all difficulties. The difficulties usually arise from having to sever family relationships, to give up the connection of wife and children. But if anyone is able to tolerate such difficulties, surely his path to spiritual realization is complete. Similarly in Arjuna’s discharge of duties as a kshatriya, he is advised to persevere, even if it is difficult to fight with his family members or similarly beloved persons. Lord Chaitanya took sannyasa at the age of twenty-four and his dependents, young wife as well as old mother, had no one else to look after them. Yet for a higher cause He took sannyasa and was steady in the discharge of higher duties. That is the way of achieving liberation from material bondage.

Question of Keshava: In the purport Shrila Prabhupada gives explanation with the sannyasi. He does not give explanation with somebody who is under the influence of distress or happiness. Why does the person realize liberation through the sannyasa way?

Tirtha Maharaj: Sannyasa is one way to achieve liberation. But this is not the only way. Because liberation is easy. Bhakti is difficult to achieve. And Krishna is not reserved for sannyasis, right? I am making an anti-propaganda now. But this is true! God resides in everybody’s heart, not only in the sannyasi’s heart. He is there in your heart. What are the consequences if we accept this? That means that He is always with us. Always watching. And He is always calling. The telephone is calling only sometimes, but His call is permanent. When shall we pick up the phone? When shall we answer the call? It is not a question of sannyasa. It is a question of desire. Sometimes it is a question of suffering, because we have to suffer a little bit to understand that this is not our home. To come to a real understanding. Other times this is a question of happiness, spiritual fulfillment – that helps us to be attracted to the divine beauty. So, either distress or happiness helps you to come closer.

Many people think that sannyasa is only an order of life. But actually we can say that sannyasa is an inner mood – to be connected to the Divine Couple. In that sense we all should become sannyasis, to have only one divine ideal – Divine Love. That is sannyasa. It is not the color, it is not the robes. This is the inner desire, when you are running.

So, we must obtain the inner mood. Not simply of renunciation, because renunciation is bitter. But dedication! Because dedication is sweet. This is what we have to obtain; then easily we can give up what is superficial. We are searching for the higher taste, inner fulfillment. The formulas and dogmas are not enough. We need the real thing – divine experience, our living faith and our feedback fromKrishna. This is what we need.

So sannyasa is one way, but bhakti is the general way. This is a way for everyone. Sannyasaas an order of life is not for everyone. But the inner mood is general.

[1] “Bhagavad-gita” 2.15

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