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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 26.08.2016 morning, Ludasto)

Today we’ve come together for the celebration of a saint. His name is very meaningful – Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. What does it mean abhaya? ‘No fear’. Charana aravinda means ‘the lotus of the feet, lotus feet’; ‘who has surrendered at the lotus feet of the Lord’. Bhakti signifies the school that he belonged to as an initiated practitioner and sannyasi. Vedanta as we discussed the other day is ‘the top cream of the Vedas’, the best part. And swami is ‘lord, master of himself’. And finally Prabhupada, another title, is ‘a person who has totally surrendered at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord’. Because the ultimate Prabhu is God Himself.

So, the names are always meaningful. The name invites qualities. Prabhupada was born in a brahmin family and his father was very ambitious. He was not fond of this new type of education and raising the kids – to have no expectations. No, he had two very high expectations for his son. What was that, do you remember?

Krishna Priya: To become a mridanga player.

Swami Tirtha: This was one, and the other?

Paramananda: To be a great devotee of Radharani.

Swami Tirtha: Correct. You see – what kind of expectations, my God! A totally different set of values. And what happened? He fulfilled both expectations. He was an extreme mridanga player. When they were preaching together with Shrila Shridhara Maharaja, his good friend, they had an agreement. Because Shridhara Maharaja was considered the best philosopher of the time, they agreed, “All right, you will give the lecture, and I will play the mridanga.” Even from this one little thing we can learn a lot. To have the humility, to give way to a superior, to an elder who knows something better. And also to contribute with something that you are master of. Also we can learn that we have to cooperate. Devotional life, service means to cooperate.

We could quote so many aspects of Shrila Prabhupada’s life. You can read his biography from different sources; different disciples have written very meaningful and very personal biographies of their master. You can read all these stories, and actually you have to read his biography. Why? Because from his example we can understand something about dedication of the self. If you receive a message – how to cherish that message for your whole lifetime. And when the time comes, to make it fully blossom. When he met his spiritual master as a young man, immediately Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati told him: “You are a young man speaking good English; why don’t you preach in the West?” It happened in 1922, I think. And when did he start his preaching career?

Answer: In 1966.

Swami Tirtha: 1966 – that means to cherish the instruction of your master for a whole lifetime, more than 40 years!

(to be continued)

 



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