Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 30.09.2017 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday)

The next question comes: “What are shravana-dasha and varana-dasha?”[1] Finally some good questions! Do you feel excited? But this is really very serious, because these are different levels of spiritual progress. “Shravana-dasha is when one is satisfied by first hearing the philosophy, teachings, etc. during the probationary life. When one is satisfied with shravana, he then comes to accept the guide, the guru and that is the stage of varana-dasha, or acceptance. He has the mood: ‘Now I am prepared to take formal admission in this line and I accept you as my leader. Now whatever you say, I must obey.”

This is varana-dasha, the stage of acceptance. Whatever you say, I must obey.

“At first there is acceptance of a clan, such as Christianity, Mohamedism, etc. to which someone has been introduced. After first accepting a creed, a person will be selected who will be able to satisfy me according to the principles of that creed. He will be able to give me the desired end of life. He is guru. First the creed is accepted and then the guide.”

So the two stages: the stage of shravana-dasha, the stage of listening, paying attention to the teachings – this is, we can say, like the stage of information. Then the next level is when you accept the guidance – this is the stage of transformation: accept and follow.

“Then beyond varana-dasha begins sadhana-dasha. This is the third stage and it means to follow the practices under the guidance of our guru. By following that, we shall gain some realizations and attain a tangible position: ‘Yes, I feel that what was in the words and in the propaganda is now in my heart. My heart feels that it is touched.” Right, from the symptoms you can judge. “And that stage is called prapana-dasha, dedication. Only after being thus established is one able to also distribute such things to others, and that stage is called apana-dasha. Without being established in prapana, full surrender, only with the help of someone who is established there can we go to preach. Do you follow?”

“Are there five stages?” – the next question comes. “Shravana, varana and sadhana are within this camp. Then comes prapana, the tangible feeling, or the position of oneself experiencing the results, the attainment. First we come in touch with that reality, then we become established in that real plane and then we shall be able to distribute to others – apana.”

This is “The Guide”. We have to go through all these different levels of spiritual attainment: to listen first, to inform ourselves; then to accept – this is the way to transform ourselves; and then to be introduced; and then to feel; and then to share.

Therefore it is said: “If you have faith – preach. If you don’t have faith – preach.”

[1] By Shrila Shridhara Maharaj, Centenary Anthology

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