Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 03.01.2018 evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Friday) 

There is a lot more discussion about the theory of shanta-rasa, but let’s discuss a little bit the practice of shanta-rasa.

“Sometimes a devotee in shanta-rasa yawns, stretches his limbs, instructs on devotional service, offers respectful obeisances unto the form of the Lord, offers nice prayers to the Lord and has a desire to give direct service with his body. These are some of the common symptoms of the devotee who is situated in neutrality”. Sometimes you also yawn, especially listening to lectures. It’s a shanta attitude.

“One devotee, after observing the yawning of another devotee, addressed him thus: “My dear mystic, I think that within your heart there is some ecstatic devotional love which is causing you to yawn.”[1]

Once a devotee fell asleep during a lecture. I think we all know that feeling – when you are so much excused… Then Gurudev said that this is the perfect Bhagavatam lecture. Because during the whole day you where serving so intensely that now you fall asleep – this is the best lecture on Shrimad Bhagavatam. It was so nice that he started to glorify the devotee instead of instructing him: “Why don’t you pay more attention?” We can never know what is in the heart of a pure devotee. Whenever he is yawning – maybe this is a sign of ecstasy.

“Other times it is sometimes found that a devotee in the shanta-rasa falls down on the ground, his hairs stand up on his body, and he trembles all over. In this way, different symptoms of ecstatic trance are exhibited automatically by such devotees.”

You see, this is shanta-rasa – sometimes you faint. Before we thought that fainting is something very high, yet here we see that this is something very elementary. But again it is said: “In the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu it is said that when Lord Krishna was blowing His conch shell known as Panchajanya, many great sages who were living in the caves of the mountains immediately reacted, being awakened from their trance of meditation. They immediately saw that the hairs of their bodies were standing. Sometimes devotees in shanta-rasa become stunned, peaceful, jubilant, deliberate, reflective, anxious, dexterous and argumentative. These symptoms indicate continuous ecstasy, or established emotion.”

You see, so much varieties in shanta-rasa! Neutrality – to become stunned or peaceful or reflective, it’s all right. But shanta-rasa and anxiety, argumentation or jubilation – it’s very unusual!

(to be continued) 

[1] The Nectar of Devotion, Ch. 35


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