Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Question of Shanti Devi: Sometimes devotees say: “Ah, this is my feeling, I cannot go against my feeling, this is coming from inside, what shastra says is not applying to me.” So, how can we be in the line of shastra, but not to neglect ourselves?

Tirtha Maharaj: First just neglect yourself, no problem. Later on we can come back to the question: “What about us?” Because without taming the wild animal you cannot come to higher truth. That means control, that means yoga. How many steps are there in the spiritual practice? Three. What are these three? The first is taming the wild animal – control yourself. The second one is associate – learn how to tolerate others, learn to cooperate, unite your powers, unite your energies. This is the social platform, group dynamics, we can say. First is control yourself, second is learn to cooperate with others, and then comes the third – the real spiritual practice. Until we cannot subdue ourselves and we cannot tolerate the others – what we are talking about?! Be practical.

Therefore we need these three steps. In the beginning we have to renounce our private ideas, we have to adjust to others, this is natural. But if we follow a pure process and we are under a proper guidance, then we shall not lose our private identity, our character, but it will be enhanced; it will be purified and then enhanced. So in this way we do not lose.

But your question is how to stick to the shastras and at the same time stick to ourselves. The best situation is when there is harmony between guru, shastra, sadhu and hridoy – when with your heart you can agree with the shastras, with the instructions of your master and with the practice of others. But in most of the cases this harmony is not fully developed. We are working hard and we are trying our best, but still sometimes we do not understand shastra, Because we need newspapers instead of “Shrimad Bhagavatam”. Other times we read too much stastra. Too much knowledge – it is a big disturbance! Too little knowledge – you will be cheated; too much knowledge – you will be robed! You have to find the golden middle path. Mahaprabhu said: “Do not read many books.” This was one good advice. Because if you read books for the sake of polishing your I-do-not-know-what, to show your knowledge, to enjoy how people admire your abilities: “He has read this unknown author coming from who knows what source…” No, this is not the correct mood. We better study the shastra, but at the same time keep moderate in this respect.

So this is about shastra. Guru, instruction of guru: previously I have mentioned one case when even Nityananda Prabhu was, so to say, reshaping the instruction that He has got. Many times we are doing the same. We are following the example, right – He was doing, we are also doing. But maybe the quality is a little different. We have this tendency to find the excuses – why we do something or why we neglect something. But if you are serious about yourself and you are ready to look into the mirror, then sooner or later you will understand that this is a mistake. Then you’ll try to stick more properly to the instruction.

And then sadhu; sadhu is a very important topic for us, because at least there is something to criticize. We need sadhus, because there we can see all the mistakes.

So we can misuse all these references. And there is one ultimate reference that Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says – hridoy, your heart. You have to listen to your heart. Because how to judge, how to understand, how to find out the truth? Only with the inner search. Because in most of the case, even if we are very well versed in the scriptures, this is not enough to find the truth. If we are blind followers of the instructions of our masters, we will not reach the goal. And if we neglect the sadhus, if we do not respect the sadhus – our brothers, sisters, people in general – then I think God will not be happy with our offerings.

So if our heart will tell us: “Yes! Take the essence of the scriptures,” if our heart will tell us: “Yes! Try to grab the lotus feet of your master,” if our heart will tell us: “Yes! Embrace the sadhus,” I think this is a proper reference how to use these three main sources of reference for our best benefit.


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