Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha



(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 07.05.2017 morning, Rila)

(continues from the previous Friday)

“Although in the body of a deer, Bharata Maharaja, due to his rigid devotional service in his past life, could understand the cause of his birth in that body. Considering his past and present life, he constantly repented his activities, speaking in the following way: “What misfortune! I have fallen from the path of the self-realized. I gave up my real sons, wife and home to advance in spiritual life, and I took shelter in a solitary holy place in the forest. I became self-controlled and self-realized, and I engaged constantly in devotional service — hearing, thinking, chanting, worshiping and remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. I was successful in my attempt, so much so that my mind was always absorbed in devotional service. However, due to my personal foolishness, my mind again became attached — this time to a deer. Now I have obtained the body of a deer and have fallen far from my devotional practices.”[1]

So, anushravana, listening; manana, thinking; sankirtana, glorifying; aradhana, worshipping – these are the elements of spiritual practice.

“Although Bharata Maharaja received the body of a deer, by constant repentance he became completely detached from all material things. He did not disclose these things to anyone (to the other deer), but he left his mother deer in a place known as Kalanjara Mountain, where he was born. He again went to the forest of Shalagrama and to the ashrama of Pulastya and Pulaha. Remaining in that ashrama, the great King Bharata Maharaja was now very careful not to fall victim to bad association. Without disclosing his past to anyone, he remained in that ashrama and ate dry leaves only. He was not exactly alone, for he had the association of the Supersoul. In this way he waited for death in the body of a deer. Bathing in that holy place, he finally gave up that body.”[2]

You see, this is the happy story of a spiritual practitioner. You face yourself, you understand your shortcomings and mistakes, but there is always a chance to correct. And although Bharata Maharaja was an exceptional king in his active period, he had chosen the path of the renounciate – and this is like an outsider from the society. Usually the society tries to maintain good standards and cultivate all the human purushartas – like dharma (merit), artha, kama. But a renounciate discards them – only moksha. So, he is an outsider. Then came this little mistake in the final meditation and he became a member of the deer community. But again he was an outsider there. Because usually the other deer they don’t have that memory of their past life. But he had and he wanted to correct himself, so again he was an outsider. Nevertheless he was never alone, because he perceived very strongly, very deeply the divine presence, the Paramatma. ‘I’m not alone. Somebody is here with me.’

Nevertheless as most of you are not outsiders of your society and community, if you meet such an estranged outsider – like an ascetic or something, please, try to domesticate him for a while. Give some chapatti to him not only dry leaves. Then you accomplish your dharma and he is also satisfied.

Therefore we support the grihastha community – somebody has to produce the chapattis. If everybody is an ascetic, who will bring the chapattis? Grihastha life is also an ashram, a place and an institution for spiritual progress. Stha in Sanskrit means ‘to stay’. Don’t run away, be established. Grihastha – established in a griha, in a home. Not simply a building, but a home. Not a house, a home. It’s different. So, the first duty of grihasthas is to convert a house into a home. And the upgrade of that duty is to turn the home into a temple.

[1] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.8.28-29

[2] Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.8.30-31

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