Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

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Question of Krishna Priya:
What is preventing us from being fully dedicated and performing our services with full heart and soul?

Tirtha Maharaj: Ignorance as a subjective contribution; and also illusion as, so to say, objective obstacle. But ultimately we can say that this is a lack of faith, lack of rasa, lack of love.

Actually your question was more refined than Arjuna’s question in the “Gita”, because Arjuna asked: “What is this force that brings humans to sinful activities? What is this?” And then Krishna says: “Kama esha krodha esha rajo-guna samudbhavah[1] – This is kama, this is the lust that pushes humans to sinful activities.

But this question was about the sinful activities; your question was about lack of ability to perform something nice. This is the similar problem, but on a different level. So the answer is a little different. Of course, we could say: “Ah, this is kama, this is illusion. But this is a little more refined. Therefore I can say that ultimately that is lack of faith. Faith in a very broad sense. Like, for example, if we don’t know the method, how it works, then we are ignorant of the results and we are hesitant to do it. Right, this is very much possible – you are hesitating: “Maybe it is good, maybe it is not good.” This is one element of this inability.

The other is when we are negligent about our service: “I don’t mind if the soup is salty or not, or it is too hot or too spicy – I don’t mind.” This is not a nice approach if we don’t pay attention. And it will also prevent us from the ability to taste it, to do it fully.

But ultimately we can say that this is a lack of love. Because if you love someone, then you want to give him the best, right? And giving the best means sacrifice. But Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says: “Sacrifice is joy.” Shall I give you an example? In the old days, you know, the budget of the temple was quite limited. And bananas were not really available in the shops in those days. And one of my brothers told to Gurudev: “Bananas are so expensive that we cannot afford, I cannot buy for devotees bananas, because it is too expensive”- that was the explanation. And Gurudev said: “What?! Expensive? Then you don’t eat bananas, but buy it for the others!” Because service means sacrifice. In both senses: make the efforts to take the money to buy the bananas; and you don’t take! It’s double tapasya. Work – and no bananas! So beware, beware before starting this Bhakti Yoga process! It is full of tapasya. You have to work and there is no banana. But this means heart and soul service to others: I take the efforts, I take the troubles in order others could enjoy the benefit. It is so obvious!

And this is not only a banana question. Because once it happenned that Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was in danger. When the devotees were travelling together, big group, in some places they were not very well accepted. Sometimes instead of throwing flowers over them, they were throwing stones over them. And once Bhaktisiddhanta was threatened to be killed. And he had one disciple, Keshava Maharaj, who looked very much like him. So what was the idea of the disciple? “I will go disguised as you, better they kill me and you are safe.” So this is not a question of bananas. This is a question of the readiness to give our life to save the temple, to serve the devotees, to save our master.

This is what I mean: the theory is there – apply it in your life. This is a serious thing. Don’t be reluctant in service.

[1] “Bhagavad Gita”3.37

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